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A note from RavensDagger

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Abigail looks at the others, then at you. “I guess that cat is out of the bag,” she says.

Daphne is quick to shake her head. “He’s the leader of this expedition, but that hardly gives him much authority over you or your person, and especially not over Dreamer. Hold firm and don’t let him walk all over you... actually, do you want me to accompany you?”

Abigail shakes her head. “No, no I'll be fine.”

“I’m coming,” you say simply.

Abigail looks at you for a moment, then pats your head. “Alright,” she says. “You can come.”

Of course you can, you already said you would. She’s being silly again. You hop off the wagon and help Abigail down with the judicious use of a few tentacles, then the two of you start heading over to where Skinner and Sigmund are standing next to the tree that’s still blocking the road.

You notice Wuffles backpedaling away from you inside her wagon until her doggy bum is pressed right up against the opposite side, she even whimpers a little .”It’s okay,” you tell her. “I’ll be back soon and we can cuddle and I’ll pat you.”

Skinner looks up when Abigail’s shoes crunch over the little rocks on the road. “Ah, Abigail, and Dreamer,” he says. “Thanks for coming so soon. I wanted to, ah, discuss things with you.”

“Yes?” Abigail asks.

Skinner eyes you carefully for a moment, then looks up at Abigail. “Could we talk alone?”

“No,” you say with a shake of your head. Your hand snakes up and grabs onto Abigail’s. “Abigail was hurt really badly. I’m not letting her out of my sight.”

Which leads to a very serious thought. You’re here while your friends are way over there in their wagon still. Too far for you to hear them if then need help with something. That’s... probably a big oversight on your part. What if a bandit sneaks back?

You make an eyetacle spawn out of the side of the wagon, just a long stalk with an eyeball on the end that blinks a few times before wiggling around to face the girls. They’re both staring at it really hard like. Ah, maybe they don’t know it’s a friendly eyetacle.

You help by pushing out a tentacle whose end bit or just a hole lined with serrated teeth, then you make it squish up on the edges in a sort of smile. There, now the girls know that it’s a friendly nomtacle.

A few ears pop out of the sides of the two tentacles so that you can hear and you’re done. Now if something happens you’ll know right away, and it only took a few seconds to set up.

“Dreamer?” Abigail asks. “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” you say. “What does Skinner want?”

The boy takes a deep breath. “I wanted to thank you. You saved us from quite the dangerous situation there. Though I also... question your methods.”

You shrug one shoulder the way Daphne does sometimes. “Someone hurt Abigail. They deserved what happened.”

“You mean the man you disintegrated?” he asks.

“That’s the one, yes. The rest weren’t as mean so I only got rid of them.” Abigail’s hand around yours tightens which might mean you said something wrong. “But don’t worry, no one else hurt Abigail so they all get to keep on doing their stuff until they do hurt Abigail.”

“Right,” Skinner said. “I’ll be sure to inform everyone that they ought to be carefull.” He licks his lips and looks around. “We’re going to continue on our mission. If that’s okay with you? Though things might be delayed on account of needing to take another road. I don’t have the materials or time to move this tree out of the path.”

A tentacle wobbles out from the forest and splits at the end with a loud screeching noise. Then, while everyone is watching, it pinches the middle of the tree and flings it out into the woods the same way your small body might pick up a branch and flick it aside.

“Done!” you say. “Do you think we can get to the inn in time? I’ve never been to a place that’s dedicated to making people sleep before.”

“We’ll see what we can do,” Skinner says faintly.

Abigail places a hand on his shoulder. “Just don’t think about it too hard. It only makes it worse.”

That said, Abigail starts walking back to the wagon with you in tow.

“So?” Daphne asks as you approach and help Abigail climb back to her seat. “Any news?”

“I don’t know,” Abigail says. “He seems open, and that look in his eyes.” Abigail pauses. “I think we can convince him that keeping quiet would be in his best interests, but I’m not good at that sort of thing.”

“I’ll chat with him later, no worries,” Daphne says.

“It ought to help that despite everything, little Dreamer here acted in the best interests of the expedition,” Charlotte adds before she boops your nose. “Did you get any loot from the bad men?” she asks.

You shake your head, then pause to consider. “I filled up my tummy, is that loot?”

Abigail and Daphne both blanch, but Charlotte’s smile only grows. “It most certainly is. You should have saved one for me. I had my sword ready and everything.”

You nod. “Next time.”

A moment later Skinner restarts the engine on the first wagon, then the second’s roars to life and soon the entire expedition begins to move. The adventure continues, but you think that a nice nap in the back of your wagon would feel nicer than just sitting around.

It would give you time to digest while the sky rolls by.

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55 - A Town by a River
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