Admittedly, the city was extraordinarily well-built, the soldier had to admit. The only real problem with it was that it wasn't covered in the blood of his enemies.
With Galbaer having dismissed the entire squad of knights, their group had been reduced to the soldier, Eld and Isabelle, Galbaer, Aliss, and a rather nervous Yamada. At the moment, Aliss and Galbaer were perusing the inventory of a large armory.
The shop had high ceilings and hefty support beams, oaken logs holding the layered boards above them solidly. A variety of weapon racks were suspended nearby, a small arsenal of increasingly large and fancy weapons arrayed nicely on them. Galbaer was examining a ridged hammer, the long handle wrapped with polished leather. The head of the weapon was probably about two feet long, and at least a foot in either direction. The corners of the metal block were spiked, short stubs of sharp steel protruding from the weapon's head.
As for Aliss, she seemed to be quite interested in what the blacksmith claimed was a magic self-reloading crossbow. She wanted it for the situations in which the soldier wouldn't be present to give her weapons. Granted, her shield was a weapon in and of itself, but after her experience in Hell she wanted something that would produce a bit more gore.
And the soldier?
The soldier was bored out of his mind.
He didn't need phantom axes or flaming broadswords or hammers that could crack the ground like an egg. He had assault rifles, shotguns, machine guns, chain guns, grenades, claymores, landmines, sniper rifles, the Super Shotgun, and of course the BFG. He had a feeling that he could probably summon a rocket launcher, but with the BFG as an option, a simple rocket would be a bit underwhelming.
Aliss held up the crossbow and aimed down its sight, then glanced over at the giant of a smith. "All right, I'll take it. How much?"
The smith grinned, resting one hairy forearm on the counter. "That'll be two hunnerd and thirty gold, missy. Ya got that kinda coin?"
She frowned, displeased. "That's... pretty expensive."
He shrugged. "The price is the price. Don't matter who ya is."
The soldier was getting more and more bored by the minute. How did they even pay for things, anyway?
|<Current Balance: 7,195 Gold, 87 Silver, 23 Copper>|
He glanced at the blue board hovering just in front of his face, and his expression darkened. He still missed <Handyman>, even with his tendency to overstate the damage that the soldier did. The emotionless display of the soldier's evident wealth did not improve his mood in the slightest.
Walking back over to him and shaking her head, Aliss slung the large crossbow over her back. "Man, that was almost a rip-off. Good thing my dad's the Royal Champion. Some perks come with the position, and a permanent discount on weapons is one of the best ones."
Ignoring her for a moment, the soldier exited the building and went to check on Eld and Isabelle. The heavily armored Orthrus was lying on the ground, not moving an inch as a small army of children clambered all over her/them. The seven-foot-tall two-headed dog (dogs?) didn't seem to mind the attention very much. It was kind of cute.
As he approached, the children quickly slid off of their back and scattered into the crowd. He wondered why they'd run, and then remembered that he was quite literally covered in hardened blood. It probably didn't smell too great either, but according to <Handyman>'s advice, the gigantic boost in defense he received from one of his Perks would vanish if he washed the armor. He didn't mind - he'd gone nose-dead after the first month in the Hell he was originally from.
A shout interrupted his thoughts, and he turned around to see the assembled crowds of passersby jumping aside and screaming in surprise. The soldier's eyes narrowed, and he readied himself for whatever was about to come through the crowd, lowering his center of gravity and flexing his hands.
What he decidedly wasn't ready for was a short girl with rabbit ears to come out of the crowd at a full sprint at him. Her large brown eyes widened as she saw him, and she jumped, trying to make it over him. It wouldn't have worked if the height of her jump had been doubled, high as it was, and he reached an arm up and caught her by the collar one-handed.
Taking a closer look at her, he realized that it was in fact a collar he'd grabbed her by. A thick strip of metal encircled her neck, a short length of sawed-off chain dangling from the side. Barefoot, the only clothes she wore was a tattered and filthy white shirt and short brown pants, the ends frayed and splitting. A fuzzy layer of brown fur covered her from head to toe, and even she even had a few uneven whiskers poking out from her cheeks. Her left ear flopped over the side of her head, and the other had a crooked bend in the middle, with a slight nick near the top.
A moment later, a lean, aging man broke free from the crowd, his face twisted in anger and a sword drawn. Searching around for a second, he saw the soldier holding the rabbit girl, and his eyes narrowed.
The expression cleared away almost instantly, giving way to a pleasant, open smile. Turning, the soldier noticed Galbaer, Aliss, and Yamada exiting the smithy. Most of the people present either bowed or backed away, a respectful tension filling the air. Returning his attention to the man, the soldier was uncertain of how to act in this situation.
Folding his hands and bowing slightly, the man spoke. His voice was oily and smooth, a placating tone in his words. The soldier hated it instantly. "My lords and lady, my sincerest apologies for this untimely interruption. One of my slaves was temporarily released as a kindness, and saw fit to seize the opportunity to run."
Even suspended midair, the rabbit girl glared at him, shouting in a choked voice, "Ya two-faced liar! I barely escaped from that wagon! Kindness, my-"
Galbear interrupted, stomping one foot down with a loud clang. "Hold on just a moment, everyone. Doom? What's going on?"
All eyes went to the soldier, and he shrugged, setting the rabbit girl down. He kept a tight grip on the collar though, still unsure of what was going on.
The man's face twisted in fury before immediately softening. His voice had a bit more bite to it this time. "I wish to extend my regret in this situation. The slave in question has had several mental issues in the past, and is quite violent."
The soldier's opinion of the rabbit girl went up a notch at the last part, but Aliss frowned. "Mental issues?" She stared at the rabbit girl intensely, then glanced over at Galbaer doubtfully. "She looks perfectly sane to me."
The man continued with a vapid grin, "She is possessed by random fits of madness, milords and lady. Rest assured that my business is treating her with the utmost of gentleness and kindness."
Meanwhile, the rabbit girl looked as though she was about to explode in red-faced fury, but Yamada cut in imperiously. "Sir, you said she is a slave, correct?"
He nodded slowly, and Yamada smirked. "Then I see no reason why I shouldn't purchase her from you, do you? Name your price."
The man's expression curved upwards in a sincere smile. "Why of course, sir Hero. Her price is currently stated at one thousand gold pieces."
A low murmur of surprise went around the crowd at the price, but Yamada didn't even flinch. "Certainly, good sir. I have the coins right here." He held up a bag and raised a glowing hand to it. A moment later, the bag deflated slightly, and he held it forward with a confident smile.
The man hesitantly accepted it, as though he couldn't believe his good luck, and then handed Yamada an iron key. "She's all yours, milord." Turning, he strode off through the crowd, chuckling quietly to himself.
Behind him, Yamada unlocked the rabbit girl's collar and then clenched the key. A second later, he allowed a small pile of molten slag to fall out of his hand and then knelt in front of the girl. "Ma'am, you're free. I have no intention of ever keeping slaves. Do what you will." He grinned proudly, standing back expectantly.
She was frozen for a moment, and then laughed in a dead tone. The laughter went for a solid fifteen seconds, increasing in hysteria, and then she finally spat, "Are you a friggin' idiot!?" Yamada blinked, taken utterly by surprise, and the girl continued, "I don't top four and a half feet on tiptoe! You just paid a thousand gold in coin for a girl who's probably going to be right back in a slave market in less than a week!"
The soldier was genuinely beginning to like this angry little rabbit girl, and kind of wanted to keep her. She was reminding him of his pet rabbit from forever ago.
|<Nameless Lepori (Female) available for <Pet Binding>. Y/N?>|
Interested, the soldier put a hand to his helmet, thinking for a moment. Meanwhile, the rabbit girl who was evidently called a Lepori was still berating Yamada, Galbaer and Aliss watching in amusement. "I mean really! What, do you want a thank-you for your absolutely moronic move right there!?"
Backing away with his hands up, Yamada asked uncertainly, "Did you... not want me to free you?"
The soldier pressed Y on the board, and it flickered for a moment, changing to a different message.
|<NOTICE! Nameless Lepori (Female) has a significantly lower level than you. Do you wish to sacrifice a moderate amount of XP to bring her level to 25?>|
She laughed darkly. "What choice do I have? I was born a slave and I'm probably gonna die a slave, stupid. It's not like anyone's gonna adopt a... what's the word he used? Oh yeah, violent little scrap like me, eh? I might as well go back to that slaver wrapped up in a bow! Stop acting like you're the gods' gift to the universe, pinhead! I could-"
The soldier hit Confirm, and the Lepori doubled over, gasping. Despite the endless barrage of insults he'd just been subjected to, Yamada hurried forward worriedly.
Seconds later, the Lepori's stark ribs filled out, her stick-like arms and legs suddenly inflating with muscle. Standing, she blinked a few times, and then looked at her arms in awe. "What the - what just-" A thought occurred to her, and she made a gesture. Staring at a blank space a short distance in front of her, she slowly wheeled on the soldier. "You made me a Pet!?"
The soldier nodded, and her face alternated between fury and confusion. Whipping towards Aliss, she asked suspiciously, "Hey, you. What's this guy like?"
Startled, Aliss said uncertainly, "Well, he's really violent, kills demons for fun, and doesn't talk pretty much at all. Oh, and he hates Yamada."
The Lepori paused for a moment, thinking, and then straightened. Stomping back over to the soldier, she stared at him for a second, and after a moment, grudgingly bowed. "Thanks. I... I appreciate that." The soldier patted her between the ears, and she froze. "Wait a sec..." Spinning back around, she raised her hand again and stared unblinking at what the soldier presumed was her board. Slowly, she turned to face him, an expression of blatant shock on her face. "Daisy?" She brought her gaze to stare at the soldier's visor, and repeated, "Daisy? You named me Daisy!? What kind of name is that!? How am I supposed ta build a rep with that!? Who's gonna say, 'Aw yeah, there goes that Lepori that killed a bunch of bad guys. Daisy's pretty awesome, right?'!? Nobody! Nobody's gonna say that! Because it..."
She trailed off as she realized that everyone was staring at her, and she shut up. With a serious flush of red rising to her cheeks, she muttered, "Thanks for the name."
The soldier nodded. There was no name for rabbits except for Daisy.