“Hold on, let me try something,” Kubo said to the apparition.
Kubo knew he was supposed to react more, but as a world traveler, nothing could really surprise him anymore. He simply took it as it was and nothing more.
The image inside the [Terra Sense] had blurred further when the apparition was surprised to what he had just said. He had to concentrate very hard just to make the train of words coming out of the cloaked man’s mouth. The best concentration he could muster was while in meditation, and so the next course of action was obvious. Kubo sat and meditated.
As his focus on his surroundings fell to the background, the man appeared even clearer in his mind. A young human who bore this noble bearing who looked down on others, not in sense of superiority, but curiosity instead.
“How about it? Is it working?” asked the apparition as he grew impatient.
“Yeah, it’s working alright, name and objective, please,” Kubo demanded with a growl.
“No, wait, this is fascinating, I’m not actually dreaming, I’m not dreaming, right? Are you my dream construct? Why I even asked that? Anything you say will-”
“Shut the fuck up,” Kubo cursed inside his head. “Name and objective,” he made his threat sounded real even if he didn’t know he could do anything to this person other than cut the line. And that’s a big maybe.
The other man gasped, “sorry, I’m just too excited, you see I-”
“Okay! I got it! I’m Theodore, call me Theo if you want. As for objective, I don’t have any than observe and record, and I was watching the lizard-kins until you appear.”
“Good, I’m Kubo,” he said, “your turn.”
“My turn for what… oh! The question, right!?” Theo was pacing around thinking about it before he made a decision, “where are you now, Mister Kubo?”
Kubo groaned, “lose the ‘mister’, and I’m in the Wilds, not far from the town known as FearHollow. Where are you from?”
“FearHollow? Oh my Gawd!! That far away? No wonder it felt so far,” Theo cleared his throat, “I’m in the city of lights, Nibrium. It’s a city for people to study magic and its Elements. I’m the person of science instead, even if I could dream weird stuff like this. But this is not a dream, you are too complicated to be a dream, right!? Anyway, I don’t have the leeway of moving around to study things of my interest, and so, I learned this, Astral Domain, the magic used by the barbarians… sorry, not you of course. Only the books here called your people bar- that. I should shut up, yes?”
“Yeah, you should,” Kubo chuckled, “is there a lizard-”
“Ah! Shit, shit, shit I’m running out of essence. I’m sorry, but my time is out! Let’s talk again later, okay, buddy?”
Kubo sighed, “sure, but knock first before you enter, you got me?”
“Oh! Sure I’m n-”
Theo was cut off in the middle of his sentence.
“Well that is random,” Kubo mumbled.
Astral Domain, that is the first time I heard it. The realm of the soul maybe?
Kubo shrugged to no one and continued walking. The answer would present itself when the time comes, there was no need to get over-excited about it.
He walked around and gathered what ores he needed to replace his blade. Kubo took his time at making his dream blade. A giant freaking cleaver. The process of pulling the ores out from the veins and shaping them took him almost the entire day before he was ready to head back to the town.
After challenging the lizard-folks’ captain himself, he figured that he wouldn’t be staying long in this place. There was no way he would take back his words but where would he go? Was there another town that tolerates lizard-folks?
I guess I have to find out, he mused inside.
As he got nearer to the town, Kubo once again limited the natural disperse of his [Essence Aura]. His domains had to be kept secret for now as he already had enough trouble as it was.
And surely enough, trouble was already waiting for him by the walls when he got there. Three humans clad in full metal armor from head to toe was standing by the walls. The usual team of girls was on the walls looking down which include Cassy, and surprisingly, even Teresa.
Kubo felt a bad vibe from this, and it might have to do what Teresa had told them, or should he say, what she didn’t tell them. Maybe Cassy hadn’t been overreacting after all.
Old-scale Jaar stood at the side while making sure that Kubo knew that he wasn’t going to lend a hand. The green-scale only smiled in amusement. This is entertainment for him.
Kubo stabbed his new huge blade to the ground as he got close. He wouldn’t need it to overpower these people if he had to, besides, it wasn’t made for humans. The armored knights stood a little easier when he did that and one of them even took off his helmet as Kubo got near. Fully armored as they are, they were still small compared to a lizard-folk.
“That is close enough,” said the human who removed the helmet.
“What a welcoming party this is,” Kubo chuckled, “did something happen when I was away?”
“Jaar said you are a reasonable one, so I’ll be blunt. I’m captain Henry from the human side and I’ve got a report that you have forced yourself upon a human woman named Teresa. When confronted, she had affirmed that it was true. As the joint law of the-”
“Wait a minute,” Kubo stopped him, “you say I had forced her?”
“Yes, the victim -”
Kubo groaned in annoyance, “you won’t even hear my side of the story? Have they told you about the one hundred and fifty gold coins the girl took from me?”
“Yes, they did, but that money wasn’t stolen. You handed it to them. They have eyewitnesses.”
“In exchange for the land and service,” Kubo continued.
“Is this agreement written somewhere?” a woman's voice asked before the red hair removed her helmet.
Kubo sighed “no, it is not.”
It sounded pathetic for him to bring that up, but he didn't have much choice because the girl had made the first move against him. Other than for her own personal fascination, Teresa had wanted to keep him quiet about Cassy’s deceit by sleeping with him. Kubo had no intention to take any action either way, but it was clear that Cassy wasn’t informed of this fact. That was how they had ended up in this mess.
“But still you are charged with rape, lizard,” the redhead said it in between her teeth her hand clenched at her sword’s hilt. “Come quietly or I’ll have to use force,” she added.
“Easy there,” Kubo chuckled. “Don’t you have eyewitnesses that she dragged me all over the town for the whole day? Hardly an action of a forced woman, and at the alchemy shop, I’ve had asked her if she had a change of mind. I wonder if they got a recording of that?”
The third knight who was silent all this time sighed. “You noticed that too, huh? There is no fooling you then,” he said before the human captain turned towards him with eyes wide open.
“What the meaning of this, Carl?” he demanded. “You said-”
“Orders from way above your pay grade, Henry,” the man called Carl scoffed. He didn’t show any kind of remorse before turning around and walked away.
Linda still had her hand on the hilt as if she hadn’t heard anything the men had said to each other. She was eager to jump at him at the moment notice. The two races might have been living together in one town, but it seemed the tension between them was still high. The red hair’s green eyes had looked at him like he was some kind of monster to be cut down.
“If I defended against the pink-skin’s attack, would there be any unfair law that they would use against me, Jaar?”
Kubo asked to be sure. Fights like this weren’t rare as people in this world tend to settle their disputes with duels rather than in courts. Might make it right, and no one could hear him when he was dead.
“Nothing that I had heard off, but it's better to be safe, and try not to kill her,” the green-scale laughed before he turned and walked away.
“You think you can take me, a bronze plate, stinking lizard?”
“I won’t know until I've tried,” Kubo chuckled, “you can try if you want, I won’t use any law against you, pink-skins.”
“Linda, don’t do it, I know-”
The woman charged at him with gritting teeth before the captain even had a chance to finish his words. Kubo hadn’t had much time to react before he kicked back to dodge the swing of her sword.
It happened so fast and before he knew it, he had a thin bloody gash on his chest. He also recognized the short sword. It was the one he had sold to the blacksmith. No wonder the human was so confident of herself.
The woman sneered before she charged again like a lunatic.
Kubo activated his [Boost].
The woman was only a half-step away before the world slowed down. The sword which had nicked his chest was already on its way down towards him. The swing aimed to cut him in half, and knowing his own blade, she probably could do just that.
Kubo could see it in her eyes, the grieving fury that demanded blood.
The ark of her sword was clear and Kubo only needed to avoid it as he stepped into her range. Her eyes bulged wide open in surprise but it was too late for her to do anything. Kubo elbowed her stomach and could only hope she wouldn’t die from it.
The world resumed its normal pace as the woman flew towards the wall. She slammed into the thick stone wall in powerful clang before falling to the ground with a thud.
In the background, Carl was already his way up by the walls while Cassy and the other woman made their way down. He didn’t know why Teresa wanted to get down here, but he should focus on his human opponent.
The knight’s weak groan gave a good sign. Blood leaked out of the corner of her mouth as she struggled to get up onto her feet. The woman then fished out a red bottle and took a sip at its contents. She kept the bottle back and lifted her sword to a stance once again. All the shaking had disappeared like it was a lie.
Healing potion, Kubo mused.
It might be plenty in a game, but here, that small bottle of red liquid would cost a fortune. It made sense because there was no way the people in power wouldn’t want to regulate something as miraculous as a healing potion. Monopolizing these consumables would make gold coin rain from the sky.
The human captain stood in her way as the armored woman was correcting her breath and stance, readying herself for another charge.
However, Kubo had doubts that alone would make her stop.
“No! Don’t hurt him!” said a distressed female voice. “You said you are only going to arrest and question him, not kill him!” she said as Teresa used herself to shield him.
Cassy, at the back, looked utterly confused right now. Teresa’s reaction to the fight had thrown her expectation out of the window. Kubo, however, might have an idea what kind of drama was happening in front of his eyes.
“Linda, stand down,” Henry had asked rather than ordered her. “Or you wanted to hurt her too?”
“But captain…” she gritted her teeth as the captain stared at her.
“Open your eyes, Linda, she clearly wasn’t forced. My only question is WHY.”
“I-I, I only-” stuttered Teresa as she failed to find the words to say.
Kubo sighed. “She was probably afraid that the children would think less of her,” he said in Teresa’s stead.
Teresa was afraid that the children would look at her in disgust rather than in admiration as they always had. And so, there was no way the woman would admit that she had slept with a lizard-folk at her own desire. She had intended to keep it a secret, but some idiot had involved the authorities.
The human captain groaned. The man might also have noticed that they should have questioned Teresa while in private. They wouldn’t be in this mess if done properly.
“So, you do understand, right, Kubo?” said Teresa as she turned towards him excited. “I knew you would, and you- you wouldn’t blame me, right?”
Cassy gasped in shock when she heard that, but Teresa hadn’t noticed the reaction at all. The lady is in her own world right now.
The human captain shook his head and gave the quiet nod to Kubo before he walked away from the mess. Linda, the lady knight, looked at him in disgust before she followed her superior while sheathing her blade.
Kubo held Teresa’s tiny hand and sighed.
“I understand why, but that doesn’t mean I’ll just ignore everything. You shouldn’t be with me until you-”
“But why!?” she yelled, “why are you-”
“They will know eventually,” Kubo stated, “it’s your choice for it to be either from your mouth or someone else’s.”
Kubo patted her hand and walked away from the flabbergasted woman. She still couldn’t understand why he walked away from her even when he had understood her perfectly.
Teresa might have missed that understanding her situation didn’t mean what she did hadn’t nicked him inside. The woman could at least be honest with the children. She also might think the big lizard-boy was a simple horny man with a heart made out of stone.
Misconceptions were common between the opposite gender. One way or the other. The prime example was how most women who couldn’t understand why it was painful for men to hear that they ‘still could be friends’.
Some of the things were just too alien for the opposite gender and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Kubo, personally, would rather have had them stab him and leave him to die than hearing those painful words.
Teresa got the exact same confused look on her face as those other women when he had said, “no, thank you,” to them.
Men are not pets, for god’s sake. Not him, at least.
He wouldn’t stay and satisfy her needs just because he was texted enough or something.
Kubo only hoped that this would be the end of it. He wasn’t here for this kind of thing.