After finishing their food, Sophie skillfully crafted a simple torch out of the campfire for Lone to hold before she got behind him and firmly grasped as many of his tails as her small arms could contain.
|Congratulations! the host's passive skill [Physical Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 6.|
Lone smiled wryly as he carefully edged towards the forest line that was fifteen meters away from their position. 'She must be really scared if she's clinging onto me so tightly... Even if she hates me for it, if whatever's waiting for us is hostile, I need to unsummon her immediately.'
He could only hope that the people hiding in the thicket were just being cautious, but considering the dart Sophie had found in the boar, Lone couldn't help but assume the worst.
Stopping just before the beginning of the forest, Lone whispered to Sophie, "How many of them are there exactly?"
"I think there's four... I can only sense the ones with magic in them, so there might be more... I'm not sure. They kind of look like strange children... They're wearing nothing but rags," Sophie answered in a very unsure tone.
Her mana sensing allowed her to see the world despite being entirely blind. On Earth, this crippled her since magic was long-dead on that planet, however, here on Altros, almost everything had some inkling of magic in it, so Sophie was able to create a blue image of her surroundings via her sensing in her mind.
"Natives maybe?" Lone mumbled. He gathered his courage and shouted, "We know you're there! Come out already! We don't want to hurt you!"
'Let's see what happens... though I doubt they can speak English, can they?' Lone suspected internally.
Sophie jumped slightly at the screeches that filled the air. It was only seconds later that both she and Lone could hear the sound of running. "They... They ran away?"
"Looks like it..." Lone uttered in response. He was just as confused as Sophie was. "Let's look around a bit. Maybe we can learn something about these... things?"
Sophie loosened her grasp on Lone's tail and asked, "Things?"
"Well," Lone replied as he squatted down around the trees at the entrance to the forest to look for anything out of the ordinary before he continued, "They certainly didn't sound like humans. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that there's more to this world than first meets the eye... figuratively speaking."
Sophie tried to not move far from Lone as she began helping him inspect the ground while making sure to utilise her past experience with tracking before she spoke. "What do you mean? I know we're not on Earth anymore, but it can't be too different, can it?"
"I don't know. Magic and Foxkin are certainly new." Lone scratched his head in frustration a bit. He couldn't find anything. Clearly, he wasn't able to visibly see any tracks due to how dark it was even with the help of the torch.
"Lone! Footprints!" Of course, with her unconventional means of seeing, Sophie was able to spot the tracks of these people, or creatures, or whatever they were, with ease. Thankfully, she hadn't completely forgotten the lessons her father had given her when she was still a child.
Lone crouched down and shined the light of the torch in the area that Sophie was pointing towards. "What the... Only four toes? And just like you said, they're tiny..."
"Should we chase them?" Sophie asked. She was personally against the idea, but if Lone thought it would be for the best, she'd do it.
Lone shook his head. "No. We still don't know their intentions, plus, it's too dark for me to see and fight in a worst-case scenario." He then put his free hand on Sophie's head and grinned. "I can't see in the dark like you, now can I?"
Sophie blushed at having forgotten that it was only her that could view the world with nothing more than just magical power. "So... what now?"
"Hmm, I suppose we should just go back to the beach, take turns to sleep, and then explore the island a bit more in the morning. Sitting around waiting to be attacked again won't do us any good, after all," Lone suggested after taking a moment to think.
"O-Okay..." Sophie replied. She was hesitant to confront the little... things that were observing them, but she had to stop being so cowardly and help Lone deal with the strange and frightening situation. At least, that's what she thought.
Back at the beach, Lone was sitting in front of the campfire as he stoked the flames with a stick. He was keeping an eye on the small teepee that Sophie was sleeping in and a frown was on his face.
As he had said earlier, the two would take turns sleeping to avoid being ambushed. He counted themselves lucky that they hadn't been attacked on their first night when they were the least prepared. "I wonder what they are? Disfigured humans... or maybe monsters? I really hope this world doesn't have monsters in it... If it does, I'm going to have to get powerful enough to keep both Soph and myself safe, aren't I?"
Many thoughts were swimming around in the previously pathetic and almost lifeless teacher's head. While he was anxious and scared of the future, something about it all made his heart... race. It was like he had stepped foot into the game that he used to spend every waking second of his free time on: Paradox Online.
It hardly helped that Lone now owned both the body and name of his character, Lone Immortus. He couldn't help but wonder if his friends, Neon, Sino and Zarrin, had noticed that he was missing and thought it was weird. He chuckled a bit at the thought. "I hope they don't worry too much, Neon in particular... he always treated me like a brother, didn't he? The idiot."
It was at this moment in Lone's ponderings that a quiet noise came from Sophie's teepee and she crawled out of it before slowly walking towards Lone.
"Something wrong?" Lone asked in a quiet and relaxed voice.
Sophie nodded her head and sat down next to him. "I couldn't sleep... Do... Do you mind if I cuddle one of your tails? I think it will help..." she asked with an embarrassed tone.
Without replying, Lone swished one of his nine golden tails and gently placed it on Sophie's lap. She immediately grabbed it and hugged it closely. A smile crept onto her face as she rubbed the fur against her cheek.
Lone grinned. "Do you really like my tails that much?"
Sophie's face flushed, but she didn't stop. "Yeah... They're so fluffy and soft... It feels really good to stroke them, you know?" she answered with an emphasis on her 'really' to help make her point abundantly clear.
Sophie casually leaned her body against Lone's as she enjoyed herself.
"You're a strange child," Lone noted with a light laugh.
Sophie pouted. "I'm not a child."
"That's what you have an issue with?" Lone found Sophie's response to be fairly humorous.
"W-Well... I am strange, aren't I? It was because I was different that God kept hunting me for so long..." Sophie squeezed Lone's tail a bit harder when she recalled her past.
|Congratulations! the host's passive skill [Physical Pain Resistance] has levelled up! It is now Beginner Level 7.|
Lone grimaced slightly when he read this system notification. Before he had noticed it, Sophie had placed her head on his lap and she'd closed her eyes. Lone sighed and carefully put a hand on her head.
"It's amazing to see how much you've warmed up to me since yesterday morning. Just how long was it since the last time you received any love? You poor girl..." Lone whispered to Sophie who was snoring lightly as she slept on his knee.
Lone opened his eyes when he heard a lot of rustling and loud movements. 'Shit! Did I doze off in the middle of the night? Great job Lone, really fucking reliable!'
He looked around in a bit of a flurry only to see six small figures with green skin surrounding both him and the still sleeping Sophie. They had pointed ears, pitch-black eyes, were wearing nothing but rags and each one of them was holding a rusted or partially broken weapon of some sort.
Looking around carefully, Lone could see a slightly larger one of these things standing by the teepees as it closely inspecting them. Lone did two things immediately. First, he unsummoned the still unconscious Sophie, and second, he grabbed the spear that was lying next to him before he sprung to his feet.
The green-skinned creatures were startled and began screaming at him.
"Fucking goblins... Shit... Does that mean this island is littered with them? There's no way there are only seven of these things..." Lone mumbled as sweat began to form on his palms.
He was going to have to kill these monsters. If Lone knew anything about goblins, it was that they were cowards who were easily intimidated, but in a group, they were almost fearless and would stop at nothing to kill their prey.
He couldn't be sure that they followed the same habits of the mythical creatures back on Earth, but he wasn't going to stop and ask them.
Support "Lone: The Wanderer [Rewrite]"
- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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