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A note from Fool

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Fortunately for Ruth, the Spectral Bear did not have that weird stench that he was beginning to associate with some sort of illness that was running rampant in the wood. He’d also found a variety of cutlery ranging from small stone knives to carved wooden forks and skewers, so he eagerly worked on dragging the Spectral Bear into the main room and didn’t concern himself about the long streak of blood he was leaving on the floor or the mess he was making by ripping chunks of flesh off with a large edge of rock.

Skewering big hunks of meat had been easy.

Recreating the fire had been less so. He’d stirred the coals to see if there was any red glow still about, and there was. The embers were barely lit and struggled against the open air after being revealed. It had taken him about twenty minutes and a trip into the inner room to get a part of the bookshelf that was still smoldering after it had been largely exploded, but now he had a respectably small pile of things that were starting to smoke in the fireplace where he’d thrown them on top of the embers. All in all, Ruth was feeling quite pleased with himself.

“This is actually a lot of fun!” Ruth muttered. He grabbed one of the chairs in the room at random and began stomping on it. He threw the pieces on the smoking pile of stuff in the fireplace and waited. There was barely any room in the fireplace now that it was crammed full of stuff. The amount of smoke increased.

Ruth waited.

...and waited.

When he was a dragon he just blew fire from his face so this was all and well truly novel for him. He crossed his arms and began to get irritated as the room filled with smoke. Most of it traveled upward and out of the flue but there was just too much stuff in the fireplace.

“Should I just do that?” Ruth made a vague gesture with his hand and pantomimed sending lightning into the fireplace.

No.

“...” Ruth went to the door and casually pulled it open. It had been halfway cracked anyway because there was no longer a latch. Smoke immediately escaped and a fresh breeze blew in hard, almost causing him to take a step backward. It was windy and cool outside and he took a moment to enjoy the air even as it battered hard against his creature eating clothes. He closed his eyes and stood there for several minutes.

When he opened them again he took a casual glance and noticed most of the trees were bare of leaves and some of them looked to have been stripped of bark as well. The Cannibal Pixies had run out of bugs and animals and creatures to eat and had doubled back at some point to start stripping the plants too.

Thankfully he didn’t hear any buzzing.

When he turned around his eyes widened fractionally at the sight of flame trying to lick its way out of the fireplace.

This fire had gone out of control the moment he’d turned his back on it. Tricky bastard.

Ruth leaped over to the fireplace and pulled the seat portion of the chair he’d thrown in. It was burning quite well. He raised his legs high and put the burning seat as far away from his body as he could as he ran to the door. He tossed it on the ground outside and stomped it out with extreme prejudice. He was no longer immune to fire, after all, and such things had to be taken care of expediently.

Two more trips and the fireplace seemed to be large enough to contain all the fuel once more.

Ruth cast a satisfied look out the door where a smoking pile of wood was dying on the grass and smiled. A job well done.

Several minutes later found him motionless as he crouched in front of the fire and ignored the growing heat and discomfort on his face. He held a wooden skewer handle in one hand and patiently burned the bear meat. Every once in a while it would actually catch fire in places and the smell of burned and singed flesh made him salivate.

When the meat was blackened through he couldn’t take it any longer and pulled it out, he took a big bite and chewed.

Ruth immediately dropped the skewer and jumped to his feet, eyes watering as he jerked around and struggled to think of what to do as the meat burned his mouth. Eventually, he managed to swallow the huge bite he’d taken, feeling victorious, but then the burning pain traveled to his stomach.

Ruth rolled back and forth on the floor in front of the fire and held his stomach, his eyes watering.

↢↦

In a similar fashion, Rush was rolling around back and forth in a great deal of pain himself. The golden crow was slowly starting to show him that it was not minion material. Not minion material at fucking all.

His scales were damaged and cleanly broken all over his body in a very thorough sort of way. His tail was hanging limply and looked like it had personally given up the ghost. If it could have waved a white flag, had it known what a white flag had symbolized, maybe it would have waved one. One of his eyes was swollen shut. His horns were remarkably undamaged except for the point on the right side. It was broken off just the tiniest bit from the end. Just enough to make it blunt and to showcase that his horns were no longer symmetrical.

The worst part, Lord Rush decided, was that he was hungry. Hunger was not something that he was familiar with as a concept. Certainly not since the golden crow had shown up and been providing it with expansive banquets of food. He was finding that this uncomfortable feeling in his stomach, this emptiness that he could not explain, was something he didn’t care for at all.

He wanted to crawl back into his territory and absorb some of the wonderful mana that was in there, but the not-minion was blocking off his retreat.

No, Arathan was blocking off his retreat. She had been screaming at him for some time and had started to shout her name and punctuate it with a hard poke of her beak. Lord Rush knew that he had a lot of scales on his body. Seriously many! Lord Rush was pretty sure that Arathan had stabbed each and every one of them.

Some of them twice.

Bad. Leaving. Revenge. Wait for it.

Lord Rush finally made the correct decision.

Well, a correct-ish decision.

Lord Rush vanished.

↢↦

Arathan slowly flew up toward a spot near the soul space after Rush left and tried not to feel too good about herself. The triumphant smirk that she could feel trying to project on her face was pretty hard to repress.

She had to admit she might have lost her temper a bit.

If the brat could eat her aura projections and recoup his strength? She would just beat the crap out of him with her body. She was much faster than he. World’s apart faster. Half an hour might not have seemed like a long time, but if anyone asked Rush he could vouch for her by saying it was a very long time to be Arathan’s punching bag.

↢↦

Round two versus the meat skewers had Ruth chewing the meat gingerly. He had waved it around and let it cool the second time and was faring better despite the fact that each bite and chew was excruciating on his burned mouth and throbbing throat.

The next bite was halfway to his mouth when he froze in that position.

The lizard creature was back. It popped into existence to the left of him and gave him a quick glance. Seeing him and noticing that Ruth was aware of his presence, the little creature, Lord Rush, Ruth reminded himself, seemed to deflate slightly and walked quickly and low to the ground behind Ruth.

Ruth turned slightly to watch. Lord Rush looked like someone bigger than he had grabbed him by the tail and beaten him soundly against a tree-trunk.

One of his eyes was swollen shut and the other one was trying valiantly to stay open. Dried mucus was under his eyes and his skin… His scales, rather, were cracked and broken in many places revealing tenderized underskin that was bleeding in places. The tail dragged behind him making gentle rattling noises every time it hit a bump.

“What--” Ruth started to ask.

Shut up, dumb dumb.

Rush found the Spectral Bear and, incredibly, began dragging the carcass that was easily ten times larger than him closer to the fire. When he was next to Ruth the lizard looked at him meaningfully out of one eye.

More.

“Okay.” Ruth handed Rush the skewer he was eating and watched as the small lord laid down and began tearing off chunks as it chewed. It looked like it was in even more pain than he was with his burnt mouth.

Well. I suppose you did help me.

That’s right. More.

Ruth got another two skewers out and pulled off generous slabs of meat from the corpse to adorn them. He crouched in front of the fire and held both of the skewers into the fire.

“I’m Ruth.”

I know, dumb dumb.

The only sounds in the room were the crackling of the fire and the tenacious chewing of the small lizard.

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About the author

Fool

Bio: I'm not by nature a very courageous person. If you have been around enough you might have surmised as much on your own. I started writing these gaming books because I was frustrated, and in desperate need of a way to give voice to the ideas and concepts that I hope to see in a game some day. I'm also trying to write a book about a former dragon without making him into too much of a murder hobo. I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, that's alright too. :)

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Zethuron @Zethuron ago

Thanks for the chapter, heh, i expect him to get revenge for that beatdown.

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Nomad1791 @Nomad1791 ago

I expect him to get slapped if he keeps on with the dumb dumb bit 😂

heridfel @heridfel ago

I see that Ruth seemed to know enough to avoid lighting a spectral bear's fur on fire (that would probably smell terrible), but I'm just waiting to see whether he'll end up sick later from not field dressing it. Then again, even if dragons didn't get sick from eating intestines and whatnot, they probably didn't taste very good, so he might have avoided them anyway.

I'm not entirely sure what senses Lord Rush has, but he could probably eat anything if he wanted it enough.

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