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Chapter 5 Return

Adam looked around, eyes blinking away the bright light, as he found himself in near six inches of snow that had been piled up by a snowplow, he felt some snow slip into his boots and he cursed as the cold hit his skin and almost instantly melted. Stomping slightly he stepped out of the pile and back onto the sidewalk before looking around. He had found himself back again exactly where he had been summoned from, he glanced at the spot where he had come back, it was not odd to think that a plow would pile snow there, simply bad luck.

Amaruq had sent him back in the morning just as promised, and after a night in that world he had already started to create a checklist of what he was going to want to bring with him. One item was definitely a set of pillows. Seeing as apparently there was no such thing in that world...

Blinking his eyes Adam belatedly wondered if he should just go back to the motel and think about things, but that was not what he needed, he needed to get some coffee into his system and to do some research. With a nod to himself he walked forward, realizing that the snow had accumulated a good deal since he had left, or had been frisked away rather, seeing as Adam had no real say in the matter.

Trudging through t=it he found himself at the door and entered the diner, blowing in along with a swirl of wind and snow. He took the time to stomp off the snow to the best of his abilities and walked to the service counter, ringing the bell once. A college age girl with auburn hair stepped out of the kitchen, and eyed him.

" Table for one?" she asked, looking Adam over.

"Yes," he replied and followed her to the area she pointed out. She waited, not even offering a smile as Adam sat down and ordered. "A coffee please."

"Anything else?" she asked, he could hear the distaste in her voice, but found himself not really caring, why should he care if this waitress thought he was cheap? The coffee in the café was ok at best, but it was caffeine and when you needed caffeine you needed caffeine, and honestly today was one of those days he was going to need it, cheap or no.

After finishing the coffee he left a tip that was more than generous, and frankly more than she deserved. Adam had decided last night, after sleeping on it and waking up to see the alien world. This was an opportunity he would not pass up, he needed a change of location, and apparently people as well.

And it was hard to think of any change of location that would be more of a change...

Adam was going to use his time over the next few months and his dates with Amaruq to find out more about the culture of her people so the transition would be smooth, there was also stuff he needed to do here. He took the walk back to his motel with long purposeful strides, something he hadn't done in a long time. Once he got there he kicked off his boots not really caring that the melting snow would make a mess on the carpet and strode over to his laptop.

It was time for some research.

The first thing he did was look at the money he had in his bank accounts, the one in his checking account was running dangerously low, and as for the one in his savings, well let us just say that stashing twenty-five percent of every paycheck since you were 16 and had your first job was a good way to save a goodly amount of money. Of course when he was first starting out twenty-five percent was a small amount of money, but soon after he had gotten his bachelor's degree and a job in accounting that number had skyrocketed, as had his paycheck, add to this that there was a good amount of interest over the years, and he had a lot more money than he was likely to need in the next three months that he had to spend it. So first things first, he needed to prioritize and make a list.

What exactly did he need to survive in that world?

Well, if what Amaruq said was true then nothing really, all material needs would be met, so perhaps this was not a matter of things he needed but skills he would need. It was a medieval society, or at least that was the feeling he got from the guards and the castle and the like, so it would seem the skills of a medieval person would need to survive, like riding a horse, shooting a bow and melee combat.

All of these are skills that were antiquated in this world, but there were still some things one could do to learn the skills, the problem was that he doubted he would be able to learn the skills that fast, so perhaps it was prudent to carry a backup. With that in mind he opened google and typed his query into the search engine.

"Best handguns for easy maintenance."

The google search brought up several forums discussing the issue, it would seem that a Glock was the way to go, at least in terms of people who were not gun enthusiasts. Hmm, it would seem that the best bet would be to simply go up to a gun store and ask the owner, that would have to wait until tomorrow.

So it was on to the next item, learning how to use a sword, he went ahead and googled that, what he got, unfortunately, was a lot of sites about teaching yourself and looking at the diagrams, and that was all good and fine but he was going to need actual instructions if he wanted to be anywhere in the next three months. So he rephrased his question.

"Sword fighting classes," and surprisingly there was a gym not too far from him that specialized in H.E.M.A or historical European martial arts. Or rather it was one of the workout methods it utilized, well then it looked like he would have to visit them as well, see how much they could hammer into him before he disappeared from this world. And with that he had a plan, something he had not had in the past three months, he smiled as his plan formed and with a contented sigh he walked over to his bed, shrugged out of the coat and pulled off his socks before collapsing into it before promptly passing out, not even bothering to undress.

***

As it would turn out learning how to fight with a sword was not as straightforward as he would have thought, and if the ache of his muscles during the first few weeks were anything to judge by. He had thought that they would give him a wood practice sword and just he don't know teach him, but in truth they hadn't let him even touch anything that looked even remotely like a blade for almost three weeks, and he went every day.

At this rate he would not touch a sword before he needed to leave, so he had asked his instructor Chad who said since he had lasted this long and was doing so well it was time to own a proper blade, even if we would not be using it for a while.

The smithy that he was sending him to was actually quite a ways away, it was about eighty miles out in the middle of nowhere and the man that ran it made swords in passing as a side business, but apparently was certified by the H.E.M.A. organization and was one of the best in his field.

As he pulled into the gravel drive of the smith's house, he could hear the sharp pearls of metal hitting metal and see the plooms of smoke as they curled up from a building that looked like it was built some ways off of the house a good thirty feet or so.

It would look like he had the right place.

The monstrous sound of a hammer crashing down on another surface of metal called out to him as he walked over, as he rounded the corner of the smithy he found himself looking at not a man but a woman who was covered in grease and grime and was swinging a large metal mallet and smashing it over and over again into the surface of a burning piece of metal beating it into submission with sheer will, aggression, and brute force.

It would seem that the name Bobbie was not the male version of the name this time around.

He didn't interrupt her, seeing as he didn't want to mess with her forging and incur the wrath of any woman who could swing a monster like that hammer. As he watched her swing the hammer up and down in a somewhat soothing pattern he allowed his thoughts to drift off, and where do those thoughts take him but back to Amaruq.

So lost in thoughts was he that he didn't notice the lack of hammer falls until some time later and when his eyes refocused he found Bobbie Reyan looking at him with a smirk on her face. She had been wearing a pair of welding goggles and now had them pulled down around her neck, making her face seem like the reverse of a raccoon. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a tight in a ponytail and she was standing there looking at him with a knowing smile on her face.

"It is trance inducing is it not?" she smiled, "The song of fire and metal, the song of the forge." She practically sung saying these last few words.

"It is," he said nodding and answering honestly.

"You must be Mr. Taylor?" she asked sticking out her hand to him, her arms covered in sweat and grease and her hand covered in a thick leather glove to protect her flesh from the lick of the flames.

"That would be me." he nodded, "Which means you must be Bobbie Reyan?" he asked grasping the offered hand without hesitation and they shook each other's hand in greeting, her grip was extremely strong, but then again what had he expected she was after all a blacksmith.

"What no comment about how I am a woman?" she asked with an eyebrow cocked and a small smile still on her lips.

"Weeeelllllll, to be brutally honest I had thought that, but I doubt pissing off a woman who can swing a hammer like that Is good for my health." he said and smiled as she burst out laughing.

"So, I hear you are a blade virgin." She laughed, giggling at the expression on his face. "So, do you have a preference of what sort of sword you would like?" she asked, walking around the anvil and over to a wall practically bristling with blades of every size and shape. Before he could even answer she pulled down a blade and handed it over to him, the sword was a single handed arming sword, short but versatile. He swung it around experimentally, but before he could do anything else she had snatched the blade out of his hand and gave him a different blade. She repeated this until she sighed in frustration and pulled him over and measured his arm, and his palm writing down the measurements before she spoke again. "Leave, go I need to get to work on your sword," she sighed shooing him out, as he turned to leave he wondered if he had imagined the small smile on her lips or the glint of curiosity in her eyes.

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Markious

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