The creature barely reached Bloom’s waist, but the hard muscles beneath its bristly black fur spoke of its power. A line of spike-like white fur ran from above the centre of its forehead to its whole back. But what drew Bloom’s eyes the most were two red tusks curving out of the sides of its face like huge hooks. The light from her torch brought a shine to them like polished metal. She gulped.
The beast let out a jet of air from its nostrils, raising a cloud of dust into the air as she took one step back.
“Uh…” She froze. “It’s too late to run I think.”
Bloom glanced behind the creature at the path reaching the depths of the rocky area and shook her head. Wild boars were rather hot-headed creatures. Rather than trying to mess with it, she should try for another way, maybe? But would it let her go?
Brandish boar! Even its name sounded so dangerous!
Bloom crouched slightly. The creature’s musky smell, the soft rustle of its fur, its black golf ball sized eyes; nothing escaped her attention as she backed away one step at a time. Any suspicious move from it, and she was ready to bolt. But the boar just stood there, staring at her with great interest.
Some distance away, Bloom stood up again. “This should be enough,” she muttered. At this distance, she should be able to run if the boar charged at her. Besides, the creature still wasn’t moving.
It’s probably not going to att—
[Yeah, you really know nothing about them.]
Snapping branches and crackling twigs screamed alarms in Bloom’s mind. Her hair stood straight as an unknown, threatening pressure rushed at her back.
She dived to the side by reflex, but too late! It hit her thigh with the explosive force of a speeding car, took her legs out from under her and sent her rolling. she barrelled through the rocky ground, coming to a sprawling stop just before the leisurely standing boar.
[You have received a critical hit.]
[Damage Received: 50]
“What!” Bloom choked out, raising her face from the dirt. Another one! This one twice as big as the other one, with huge tusks that curved around so much, they almost touched its forehead.
[Brandish boars are never alone.]
[Red Tusked Brandish Boar (Male)
[And if there’s a female, the male’s not far away.]
The humongous creature pranced around where she was standing seconds ago. It danced in circles, blowing jets of air at the sky with each snort as it showed off its galant form in front of its mate.
The female boar snorted too, a derisive snort. It ambled towards Bloom at a relaxed pace, swaying its hips almost seductively.
Bloom’s heart quaked as the smaller creature drew closer. She had to get away! Now!
An electric pain jolted through her entire body as soon as she tried to move. Her right calf bent at a weird angle and a Jagged piece of bone jutted out from below her knee. Its gleaming white cut a striking contrast against the red of blood, shining in the firelight from her fallen torch in the nearby dry bushes.
“Ah!” She stared at it, dumbfounded for a moment before a piercing scream ripped out of her throat.
She couldn’t stop. This pain! Just like the one three years ago! No! She didn’t want this!
[You’re lucky you’re just level one.]
Another bout of pain erupted from her back as the female boar’s tusk stabbed into her.
[Damage Received: 25.]
[Your condition is critical. You are bleeding.]
[Damage Received: 2]
[Damage Received: 2]
[Damage Received: 2]
Grey replaced the red of her HP bar at a rapid pace. Bloom groaned, trying to claw at her back as the creature lifted her off the ground with its tusk.
[You’d only suffer more if you had more hit points. These boars like to play with their food.]
The boar swung its head and flung her away. Her body sailed through the air and crashed on the side of a tree, sliding to the ground like a ragdoll.
Almost in the passing, she noticed the same bar below both her assailant’s name and levels that had turned from yellow to red. Theirs were full.
Oh! So they have it too.
Her bar turned fully grey and the pain faded into darkness, as that last fleeting thought lingered in her mind.
[You have died.]
[You have dropped the following item(s): Hard bread x 2.]
Bloom fell faster and faster. The wind stifled her scream, blocking her nose, mouth, eyes, cutting against her skin as her body rushed to the ground like a meteor. But in the next instant, all of those extreme sensations vanished and she was back to the respawn point where she had started her journey.
She propped a hand against the glowing tree, fighting to stay standing. Her head spun like a Ferris wheel on steroids, from both this experience and,
I freaking died!
She stared at her left thigh. It was whole again! The bone was right there, shining against the scarlet blood.
It looked so beautiful…
“I’m mad!” she muttered, shuddering at her own thought. Beautiful! Like hell it was. She took a few deep breaths to calm her thumping heart and stood up again.
So that was death. Horrible! If she had to feel this each time she got injured…
She rubbed her face, trying to forget the experience. She didn’t want to go out anymore. Better to just sit in one place if things like that could happen outside.
“Tsk!” A spark of anger crushed that thought. “Coward!” she scolded herself, storming out of the stone circle.
Those two killed me! I’m not just gonna let them go like that!
“No buts! Get inside. Now!” Two voices drew Bloom’s attention. She thought she recognized one of them. She looked at a three-story green-tiled house a few times bigger than the others beside it. The plump man she had seen blocking Elsa’s lips earlier today was scolding Elsa before the huge wooden door.
“I just want to check if he’s back yet.” Elsa pouted.
“Oh, crows take that boy!” the plump man swore. “He’s the one who made you fool around with that immortal, isn’t he? Thanks to that, I had to do all your work today. You’re not going anywhere near him.” He pointed towards the huge wooden door of the round building. “Now go clean up your mess.”
“Oh yeah, Marcus!” Bloom remembered. She cursed under her breath. “Damn!” That guy… she had forgotten about him. How could she? He let her stand up again for crying out loud.
I’m such a jerk.
She shook her head and walked up to the two of them. “Hey Elsa!” she called out to the girl
“Oh! The immortal!” The plump man, Andrew Ruze, straightened himself. “Do you want something, miss? A room for the night, perhaps? Or is it food?” His attitude was polite, much politer than the other people of Caramis; though it still lacked the naturalness of Thoringar or Marcus and his father.
“No, I have some business with her.” Bloom tilted her head towards Elsa, who was trying to avoid looking at her.
“Business with my daughter?” Andrew’s eyebrows scrunched up. “May I know what it is?”
“Nothing important, just a question.”
The man crossed his arms, eyes glued on Bloom’s every move. “Go on, then.”
Bloom sighed. What was with that attitude? She wasn’t gonna eat his daughter.
“What do you want?” Elsa asked, clearly not thrilled about speaking to her. And most of her attention was somewhere else.
Towards Greyvern’s house, Bloom noted. “Where is this velvet rose field of yours?”
“Velvet rose!” Elsa’s eyes widened. “Why do you ask?”
Bloom could sense the tension, the worry in her voice. Did she guess something? The way Marcus and Elsa were acting before, their relationship must be...
A bitter taste filled Bloom’s mouth. Should she tell her about Marcus’s disappearance? She opened her mouth, “nothing important, I just want to know what they look like.”
“Oh!” relief filled Elsa’s heart. At least it wasn’t about Markie. He must be back already.
He must be!
She frowned. She had no mood for these silly questions now. “Don’t bother asking me, go ask someone else.”
“Well, excuse me!” Bloom sneered. This ungrateful… Why was she trying to spare her feelings just now? She should’ve just—
“Hey! What kind of attitude is that towards a customer,” Elsa’s father scolded. He looked at Bloom. “Don’t mind her attitude, miss. I can show you the way if you want..”
“Hmph!” Elsa twisted her lips. “But she isn’t a customer, is she?”
Bloom shrugged. “I do want to take a room, but....” She glanced at the other girl from the corner of her eyes.
“Oh, don’t worry about her. I’ll straighten her out soon enough,” Elsa’s father said in a soothing voice. “Here, let me show you where it is.”
[You have acquired the location of Firekeep’s Garden.]
Bloom opened the map, checking the new marker on it. “Well well!” she muttered. “Talk about a surprise!” Closing the map with a smile, she thanked Elsa’s dad and turned to go.
“Um, hey!” Elsa called her once again.
“Could you…” Elsa hesitated. “Marcus must be at the mansion with uncle Grey, doing gardening and stuff. Could you go tell him to come see me?”
Messenger of the impossible
Quest difficulty: S
Quest limit: 1 hour
Elsa has requested you to bear a message to Marcus.
1. Find Marcus.
2. Tell him to come and meet Elsa at the inn.Quest Rewards.
+10 affinity with Elsa
-5 affinity with Elsa.
Do you wish to accept this quest? YES/NO.]
[Woah! I can’t believe it! Even you’re not stupid enough to accept this one.] The message paused for a second before continuing more doubtfully. [Are you?]
Bloom ignored the message, as usual, tilting her head as she stared at the expectant look on Elsa’s face.
She didn’t like it.
“Wh- what are you looking at? Would you tell him or not?” the girl said again, a bit nervous this time.
Yeah, she really didn’t like it.
Bloom walked up to Elsa, lowering her head to look straight at the other girl’s eyes. “Go tell him yourself. I don’t have time for that.”
[Elsa’s affinity decreased by -2.]
[You could have said that more gently.]
Looking at Elsa grinding her teeth, Bloom smiled. Yeah. she liked this annoyed, angry look more than her worried one.
She is more lively this way.
“Moron!” Bloom cursed inaudibly, glaring at the yew longbow in her hand. A curse aimed at no one else but herself, and for good reason. Who gave her the bright idea to choose a bow as her weapon?
Oh, right! It was me!
“Oooh! Archery! So cool!” she bit out the words with a hint of scorn. Yeah, to take aim at her enemies, to catch them off guard with her arrows and take them down, that was the stuff she imagined doing while reading those stories. Cause, of course, that would be soooo cool!
If only I knew how to shoot a bow.