Francis throws a punch in the direction of my stomach, but I flashstep away from it and avoid it with milliseconds to spare.
He tumbles to the ground and skids along the grass. “Owww, ouch ow owie.”
“I knew it!” I shouted. “You brought me here to kill me!”
“No,” Delta says. “Eryk, no—”
I pick Francis up and hoist him over my shoulders. “You will not take me from my life!”
“You’ll have done that yourself if you throw my best friend,” Delta says. “Calm the hell down and let’s explain like rational adults instead of acting like morons like Francis just did.”
I understand what she’s saying. I set Francis down gently on his feet and try not to think about the fact he just tried to attack me seconds ago.
And in the possible event that this is another trick and they’re trying to ambush me again, I make sure to check my stats and Destiny Cards just to make sure I'm prepared.
And my Destiny Card hand:
Transmigrated Spirit: Rank 3. Summon an otherworldly spirit to assist for five minutes. Cost: 444 LP.
Super Hearing: Rank 1. Increase sonic perception abilities dramatically for five minutes. Cost: 70 LP.
Kaio Blast: Rank 3. Doubles combat stats for 2 minutes. Cost: 500 LP.
Minor Heal: Rank 2. Gain 1,000 LP. Cost: 0 LP.
Inventory Slot: Rank 4. Store an item here to retrieve for future use. Current item: Satchel (Size: Extra Large).
Inventory Slot: Rank 4. Store an item here to retrieve for future use. Current item: (Empty)
Inventory Slot: Rank 4. Store an item here to retrieve for future use. Current item: Bow and arrow.
This is all fine and well, though I sorely miss my glorious short sword that was obliterated by a truck during my bout with Buddy, the awful used car dealership man.
If I have to fight my two friends, I’m not going to hold back. Not for anything.
Before they even begin talking, I quickly do a double-move:
First, I use the [Minor Heal] card that’s mostly just a waste of space in my inventory.
I feel a rush on the inside—
—and now I’m healed.
Then, with a Life Point drain, I draw a card—
Well, let’s see what the new card is:
Foresight: Rank 4. See the next five Destiny Cards in the Destiny Deck. Cost: 140 LP.
That’s... an extremely useful card, actually. However, it’s completely useless in a combat situation, so it was a bad draw. My Destiny is not always what I wish.
“Are you even listening to me?” Delta asks.
“Yes, every single word,” I say with an extreme hint of suspicion.
“You look more suspicious than Francis when he keeps saying all that weird stuff to me all day,” she says. “So clearly you’re not.”
“Our third test today is about Destiny Points and fighting,” she says. “We’re going to do a mock fight to see if you can gain points that way.”
“What did you think we were actually trying?”
“I, um, I don’t know.”
“Well, now that you know not to take it seriously, we can—”
“No, this won’t work,” I say. “Fighting alone is not what gives [Adventurers] Destiny Points. It is the act of defeating an an enemy. If you did not tell me that this wasn’t a serious fight and I had thrown Francis like I intended, I perhaps would have earned a Destiny Point. As it stands now, though, that will never happen.”
“Dammit, that’s what I was worried about,” Delta said. “I just didn’t know if you’d injure him or not if you threw him really far.”
“Aw, you care about me,” Francis says.
“I owe a great deal of debt to his parents, so I would be in a lot of trouble if he came to serious harm.”
“Well, I can say that there is no way to earn Destiny Points from fighting unless it is a serious deal. Training, sparring, and play fighting simply will not work. You could have asked me, you know.”
“We know...” Francis looks downtrodden. “My main plan was a huge bust...”
“It was no bust,” I tell him, though mostly to calm him down since it was a fairly stupid idea. “I appreciate your help. You have been very valuable to me in my quest for Destiny Points.”
“Aw, thank you.”
“No, thank you.”
“No, thank YOU.”
“Thank you, but I’m done with this conversation,” Delta says. “If there is no way to fight either of us and gain points, then I guess that’s bunk. We’ll have to find some other way to help you.”
“No more Destiny Points? Then this place was mostly a waste to come to, wasn’t it? Aside from the lovely view, that is.”
“Not a waste YET.” Francis points over to the forest. “Punch those trees!”
“Hurry! They’re enemies! Go punch them!”
“Yes! They’re evil trees!”
“I don’t believe you,” I say.
“Wh—why not?” Francis asks.
“You’re trying to trick me into defeating an ‘opponent’ even though it’s just an inanimate object.”
“Th—You really think that?”
“I’m no idiot, Francis Bacall,” I say. “I am Eryk Solbourne, and while I may be a newcomer to this world, I am not easily fooled!”
“There really is a rustling in those trees, though,” Delta says. “Don’t you see it?”
Huh? What does she mean? I look out in the forest and—
A baby animal runs out into the outcrop and approaches us. It is tiny and cute and surprisingly very friendly.
“Aw, what a nice animal,” I say.
Francis and Delta are in massive shock. Their faces have gone so pale I’m worried they’ll both faint.
“E-e-e-e-eryk,” Francis begins. “T-that’s a bear cub.”
“A bear cub?”
Delta isn’t stammering like Francis, but she looks visibly shocked as well. “A baby bear.”
“So this is the child of a larger animal, you mean?”
“Yeah... A lot larger.”
“I have never seen a bear before,” I say. “If they are this cute, I’d quite like to meet—”
Oh, there it is.