The group met at the center table; it was mostly clear with just a few things, such as Arslan’s notebook. Avelyn and Mandilyn chose to be at his sides, present beside Arslan’s left and right arms.
Arslan pulled a vial of thick amber liquid, placing it on the table. The viscous liquid stuck to the sides of the glass and slowly let gravity take it down to the bottom of the vessel. He looked at both girls and revealed the contents. “Since not everyone was here last time, this is sap from a Butterwood tree-beast. Both of you were made using this stuff. ”
Almost instantly as it was put down, Avelyn picked up the bottle and uncorked it. She brought the vial close to her face and recoiled from the sudden pungent odor. She capped it right back, but the smell had lingered causing her to cover her nose.
Mandilyn shouted, “No!” She exploded slamming her hands on the table. “I am not doing that again!”
Arslan, slightly taken back, spoke calmly, “You don’t even know what I’m about to say.”
Mandilyn crossed her arms, “I know exactly what you’re going to say, and I’m not looking for a tree again!” She shouted.
“We don’t need to find a tree again.” He snickered finding her sudden outburst humorous.
“We don’t?” she questioned. Her arms slightly unfolded and she brought her voice down a few levels.
“No, we don’t.” He continued to smile, “We’re way out of the area for them to grow, besides now that I think about it the trees might actually be endangered.”
Mandilyn relaxed a bit, exhaling a bout of air. “Good. To both of those things.”
“However,” he continued, “We might have to do something slightly worse.”
Mandilyn tensed right back up. “...Tell me... how much worse?” She urged him to go on.
“Bees, lots and lots of bees. We are going to be stealing their honey.”
“Bees? That shouldn’t be too hard.”
“Here in Northberry, these aren’t normal bees, these are giant bees,” he explained.
Mandilyn leaned forward. “And the honey, what’s different?”
“Nothing really, just purities,” Arslan said pointing to the vial in Avelyn’s hands, “that's around seventy to eighty percent purity. The honey is like sixty to seventy.”
“I hope it smells a lot better,” Avelyn interrupted tapping the glass with her index finger’s claw.
“If it’s just bees it shouldn’t be hard, right?”
“Mmm-no, these bees are like ‘C’ tier, and ‘A’ tier when they swarm.”
“Well, can’t you do that thing with the fusion again?” Mandilyn asked.
Arslan pulled the grey gem from the only thing to survive from the lab explosion, his bag. He placed it on the table, and the gem was indistinguishable from any old rock. “Don’t think I can, at least not until I figure out what this thing is.” He put his hand over his mouth and thought aloud, “Perhaps I should give it to Bernard to study.”
Mandilyn sighed, “Then what’s the plan!?” she threw her arms up in the air in frustration.
“I did say this was a hunt,” Arslan stated.
“Okay, you lost me. You said it was dangerous to fight them. Then what are we going to do!?” she complained.
“Bucktooth, it's simple.” Avelyn smirked cocking her head to the side, “We kill the leader.”
“Exactly,” Arslan confirmed.
“What? How did you figure that out.”
“I’m not dumb, Bucktooth,” Avelyn countered. “You kill the head of the pack to silence the rest.”
“Eh.” Arslan waved his hand slightly. “Sort of, bees are eusocial insects meaning they have something like a hive mind. If we kill the queen the entire colony should go into chaos.”
“So,” Mandilyn started, “Let me get this straight?”
Arslan crossed his arms. “Alright. I’ll let you know when you’re wrong.”
She continued, “We fight our way in,” Arslan nodded. “Rush to the queen, kill her, and escape while everything is out of control.”
“More or less, that's the plan,” he confirmed again.
“That sounds way too simple to actually work.” she deadpanned.
Arslan shrugged, “It’s what I’m working with. I know nothing about the colonies around here. I just know that they’re here.”
“Alright, when do we start?”
Arslan put the satchel over his shoulder. “After a little shopping?”
“Why? Don’t we have everything?”
Arslan shook his head, and pointed at Avelyn, “We can’t go with her looking like that.”
Avelyn looked down at her apparel and asked, “What's wrong with it?”
“For starters, it's not very combat oriented.”
“Does it really matter?” She asked, “Not much can get past my scales, anyway.”
Arslan walked over to her and poked her stomach; it was soft and caused her to jump a little. “Most of your body is still soft though.”
She growled at the statement.
Mandilyn inhaled deeply; she was nearly jumping with joy, almost singing, “I’m so glad it doesn’t smell like fish here!”
They traveled down the streets of the city of Northberry. Compared to Winterwell the races were less diverse here, the majority of the residents were either of elvish descent or human, it was often rare to see any other race. The streets were also more developed and suited for the travel of vehicles. Every building was neatly packed together with very little space in between them.
Unsurprisingly Avelyn and Mandilyn attracted quite a fair bit of attention. With good reason, Mandilyn was no longer wearing her headwear exposing her long rabbit ears whilst Avelyn’s tail just swayed slowly every step she took.
They approached a small building tucked in between two taller ones, a smithery it was. When they opened the door, a tiny bell alerted a black haired, smooth-faced half-dwarf to their presence, he nearly spat out the water that he was drinking, then shouted, “Whyat in god’s name!?”
“Hey,” Arslan casually greeted. “You do armors?”
“Yeah, but, whyat are those two!?” he shouted.
Arslan looked at Mandilyn and asked, “What would you call yourself?”
She just shrugged, “Never thought about.”
Arslan raised his eyebrow in uncertainty, “A rabbit and a drake?”
“If’n that's a drake and a rabbit, well you definitely just confused me!”
Avelyn snorted, “Do you have a problem with me being a drake?”
“Uh. No, it's just that...you don’t look very much like one?” he sputtered.
“I agree. It’s weird being able to hold things.”
Arslan let out a fake cough to break the conversation, “So, I’m going to need to see your wares.”
“I hate it.” Avelyn deadpanned, walking out in a full set of plate mail armor. Every little bit of her skin had become covered by the highly reflective metal. For every one step, there were at least two or three clangs. With the full set on her head looked tiny in comparison.
“You know,” Arslan said laughing, “I knew you would hate it, but I couldn’t resist having you try it and look dumb in it.”
“This makes me feel redundant and scrapes against my scales,” she continued to complain.
Arslan turned to the half-dwarf. “Got anything else?”
He shook his head, “I don’t really have too many adventurers come by looking for light armor these days.”
“What if you remove some of the pieces?” Mandilyn interjected.
Arslan looked at the half-dwarf and asked, “Can you?”
“Uhh, sure?” the dwarf said with a bit of uncertainty.
He went over and removed the upper portions of the armor leaving the breastplate, stomach guard and the forearm protection. The lower half mostly stayed the same, and the tabard extended just beyond the thigh armor. Her tail freely swayed in happiness.
She did a slow circle and moved her arms around; the majority of her movements were unimpeded. “I like it.”
Arslan clapped his hands together. “Great! Now, do you have any axes?”