As Lone and Sophie were getting prepared for yet another expedition into the island's forest, a thought crossed Sophie's mind while she was watching Lone do a double check on their equipment. "Lone."
"Hmm?" He kept his focus on their gear, but he divided some of his attention onto the girl.
"Well..." Sophie tilted her head a bit shyly before she said, "I've never thought about it until now, but why don't you make some armour and wear it? Like some light chainmail or some padded gambeson."
Lone stopped what he was doing and raised an eyebrow. "You... You make a good point. I never even considered that."
Confusion filled Sophie's face. "You didn't? Really? But you considered the weapons?" She wasn't trying to sound condescending. The last thing Sophie wanted was to sour her relationship with Lone, but she genuinely was puzzled by him forgetting about something as important as armour.
Lone coughed lightly. "Well, armour is a thing of the past back on Earth. I don't know when the last time that you left your dimension was, but the kinds of armour you know are definitely nothing more than antiques in most places. I guess I should have considered ballistic armour... I can be a real idiot at times."
"You're not an idiot!" Sophie's cheeks turned red when Lone gave her a strange look for suddenly defending him. She hid her face in her hands. "So... are you going to make some?" she asked, hoping that he would forget what had just happened.
Lone chuckled softly. "I guess I should. I enjoy levelling up my skills, but nearly dying every time is definitely not enjoyable."
Sophie couldn't agree more. Her head bobbed up and down rapidly to help express just how much she detested the idea of Lone getting himself hurt over and over again.
Lone sat back down and started taking his boots off. "Well, if I'm gonna be using my mana to create armour, there's no point in us going out today. We'll stay here for a few days I guess while we figure it out. That okay with you, Soph?"
Once again, Sophie nodded, but this time, with her lips upturned into a big, happy smile. "Still, I'm a bit surprised that you suggested gambeson. You don't know much about weapons, so I kinda assumed that would translate to armour as well."
Sophie pouted. Once Lone was finished taking his boots off, she wagged her own in front of him. "Mine too, please."
Sighing lightly, Lone replied. "Fine, fine."
As he was removing her footwear, Sophie answered his question. "I could never fight off all of the knights that came after me. Most of them were just stupid farmers and peasants following the will of their 'god', but it was still far too much for me. It was easier to invest in good armour and keep running instead of trying to fight them seriously. I even wore full-plate at one point."
"Really? Full-plate?" Trying to picture the tiny girl in a suit of medieval armour made the former-teacher laugh out loud.
Sophie's cheeks puffed up. "I didn't do it in this body! Full-plate isn't that heavy, but I needed to be in my fifteen-year-old version at the very least to wear it without feeling all stiff and icky."
"Did you wear those shirts too? The ones that are just linen under the armour but chainmail around the arms and armpits," Lone questioned as he finished helping Sophie with her boots.
"Yup! I did. They got really sweaty though..." Sophie was thrilled that she finally had something to talk about with Lone where she could actually contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. "You know a lot about armour too, Lone."
Gently petting her head, Lone smiled. "I was a history teacher. The curriculum usually forced me to teach kids about the world wars, but medieval stuff was my true calling. The middle ages fascinate me. The Roman Empire is pretty interesting as well."
Sophie didn't know what Lone was referencing when he said 'world wars'. She had lived through many wars that had claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and each one could easily be called a world war, so she tried to redivert the conversation back to the topic that she was well-versed in.
"So can you tell which will be best for you? Y'know, like with the weapons. I feel like you'd look good in full plate!" The image of Lone fighting off hordes of goblins while dressed in shining armour from head to toe crossed Sophie's mind and made her heart feel funny.
Lone moved back into the living area of the keep as the girl followed him. Once he was on a sofa and she had found her place on his lap with several of his tails in her arms, he replied, "Another interesting idea. Maybe. It sounds likely. You're full of good ideas today, huh?"
Sophie hummed proudly as she buried her face in the fluffy limbs she was holding hostage. "I'm always full of good ideas."
Lone laughed and stroked her hair playfully. "Right. Of course you are. What kinds of armour do you think I should test? I'm thinking full-plate, half-plate, gambeson, leather, and just chainmail. If this body follows what my game character was good at, heavy armour will be the answer. So maybe reinforced steel full-plate. I never used armour on my character really, but when I did, it was heavy armour."
"What about that 'ballistic' stuff you mentioned earlier?" Sophie asked.
Lone just shook his head. "It's good, but considering the world we're in, I have a pretty good hunch that real armour will be more beneficial. On another note, what about you? You should get some armour too. For all of your forms, not just your normal one."
Sophie frowned. "I dunno."
Lone was a little shocked. "You... don't know? I thought you said that you've tried out all sorts of armour before..."
Sophie's face darkened. She didn't want Lone's opinion of her to drop. "I-It's been a long time s-since I wore ar-armour so I forgot! Plus, you'd be able to tell what's best for me anyway, wouldn't you?"
Lone placed his chin on Sophie's head as if it was the most normal thing to do in the world. "I guess you're right. Well, I'm gonna have to get a good look at your other forms and maybe measure them. I'm not sure if creation magic will fill in the blanks for me when it comes to your three sizes as a fifteen and a twenty-year-old, and I'd rather not waste mana when possible."
Sophie practically jumped off of Lone's knees and began stripping. This time, he didn't just stare blankly. Catching her hand before it could peel off any more of her clothing, Lone groaned in frustration. "Not now. I... I need to mentally prepare myself first. I also need to make some baggy clothes for your other forms too."
Sophie tilted her head. "Why?"
Lone used his free hand and placed it over his face. "I'll give you the exact same answer I gave you last time: I don't want to attack you."
Over the course of the next few days, Lone experimented a lot with full sets of different types of armour, partial sets, as well as a combination of various armour types and pieces.
It was incredibly expensive to create the full-plate and the reinforced full-plate armour, in particular. The gambeson and the leather armours he made were fairly simple in design, especially the gambeson since that was essentially just padded linen, but both of them drained him completely just to make a single piece.
Eventually, via his Growth Accelerator skill or whatever ability it was that allowed him to sense the perfect fit for a person, Lone was able to identify that the best armour to match him and his fighting style, was actually none of them.
Lone angrily kicked a metal helmet across the yard, hurting his foot in the process. He grabbed his broken toes and hopped around as he yelled swear after swear. "Motherfucking cunt! What a fucking waste of time! So much mana that I could have fucking used on other fucking shit!"
Sophie covered her ears with her small hands and glared at Lone. "Potty mouth..." She made sure to whisper so as to not accidentally have his anger fall upon herself instead. One of the only things that she still remembered from her time as a mortal was her mother teaching her that swearing was distasteful.
A few more weeks petered on by with no more success. Lone had tried literally every single type of body protection that he could think of, even a kevlar body-suit, which he had to make over the course of an entire week piece by piece.
At this point, his rage had faded into nothing more than discouragement. Sophie gently wrapped her arms around his neck from behind him and rested her head on his shoulder. She looked at his face and smiled sweetly. Even though the two of them were close enough to kiss with the slightest of movements, neither acted skittish or flustered since the thought never even crossed their minds.
"Lone... Why don't you just use the full-plate? Even if it's not your best fit, I'm sure it'll help a lot against the goblins, won't it?" she asked in a tone that was mixed with worry and affection.
Lone smiled wryly. "I mean, you're right, Soph, but this is really bugging me. I want to know exactly what I'm the most suited for. In the game, my character actually never used armour most of the time, but even that doesn't feel right. It's so weird."
"Why do you even want armour? I know I, uh, I suggested it in the first place, but I don't get why you're so obsessed with it now..." she asked. "Didn't you, um, want to... get hurt to level up your skills?"
Scratching his head awkwardly, Lone replied, "Well... Yes and no."
Sophie cocked her head to the side in confusion, pressing it against Lone's face. Seeing this, Lone sighed. "I do want to level up Basic Regen and resistances, yes, but I also want to be prepared to fight something where taking a direct hit from it will result in instant death, more or less. Armour'll help with that, won't it? It never hurts to be more prepared rather than less prepared."
Sophie slowly nodded with her head still cocked, she suggested, "Maybe your skin is your best armour? You can create anything, right? Why not just create more skin. I love watching you do stuff, but seeing you so upset and frustrated, uh, it hurts to look at..."
Lone's cheeks flushed a little. "Christ... If anyone saw us, they'd think I was a pedo... You can say some really mushy things at time- wait, create skin?" Lone's eyes shone as a certain thought entered his mind.
"What's a 'pedo'?" Sophie didn't understand this word despite the world 'translating their words for them', as Lone put it.
Lone grinned. "A very bad person. Good thing you're way past the age-limit, huh? 'Cause if what I just thought of is right, I might just kiss you."
"Ki-Ki-Kiss?!" Sophie might have been oblivious to a lot of things, but kissing wasn't one of them.
Lone sprung to his feet and held his palm out. He stared at it intently. Nothing seemed to happen for some time, but Sophie could sense his mana points were rapidly depleting.
'What's he doing?' Her other personality thought that it was a good opportunity right now that she was distracted to warn herself. 'Be careful. You should stop getting so close to him. He's going to abandon you eventually, so you're only making it harder on your future self, on our future self.'
Sophie shook her head and drowned out the voice that she thought she had been blocking fairly well for a while now. Apparently, not well enough.
Lone and Sophie both watched in amazement as a tiny white needle poked out of Lone's palm. "What's that?" Sophie asked in a very soft voice. She didn't want to disrupt Lone's focus, but her curiosity was killing her.
Lone didn't answer. The needle grew until it was half an inch tall and it then expanded outwards. it only stopped once it had formed the shape of a gauntlet that wrapped around Lone's entire hand.
A gasp left Lone's lips and the gauntlet shattered, leaving nothing in its wake. Lone flopped to the ground with a big smirk on his face. He leaned up and pulled Sophie down until she was on top of him.
He gave her a big kiss on the cheek and laughed. "It actually worked... Bones... Fucking bones... I'm not sure I would have ever figured that out on my own... Damned bones... Whodda thought that'd be my best form of armour? Another sick joke from that fucking god, I'm sure."
Sophie stayed still like a deer caught in the headlights. Her mind had gone completely blank the moment that Lone had planted his lips on her cheek.
"I even got a skill. Thank you, Soph, you're amazing. What would I ever do without you?" Lone asked as he rubbed the girl's hair and held her back with his other hand.
'This is it...' Sophie closed her eyes and slowly coiled her hands around Lone's waist. 'This is what I've always wanted... He's perfect... I don't care what the other me thinks, I can't ruin this. Lone is amazing... He's exactly what I wanted, exactly what I needed...'
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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