28.1. Liar Liar, I Make Fire
“You know, it’s my fault. I should have known this would have happened.”
“How could anyone have known this would happen?”
“I mean, aside from always expecting the worst outcome in any possible situation? I should’ve been more specific— I could’ve chosen my words better too.”
“True. But I thought our explanation was sufficient as well. Neither of us could have predicted this. The blame belongs to neither of us.”
“Well, I’ve known Salvos has lacked common sense for a while…”
“Hey, I heard that!”
I raised a clawed hand in the air at Daniel. He flinched, murmuring an apology.
“S-sorry. I didn’t think you’d take offense to that.”
I grinned, dismissively waving it off.
“I’m not offended. I just thought that’s how a Human would react. You guys seem to be pretty quick to get mad after all.”
“Normally, I’d defend my kind— actually, I probably wouldn’t. Humans suck. But you’re making a great point here—”
An explosion resounded behind us, cutting him off. Edithe clicked her tongue, glancing back at our pursuers. Adventurers from the Iron Champions Company chased after us, hurling magical attacks and firing arrows in our direction as we ran down the gravel road. Daniel shouted back at them.
“What are you guys, crazy?! That could’ve killed us!”
His words reached them, but their reply did not reach us; only a large variety of words I had been told were bad made it through their clamoring. He sighed.
“I can’t believe this. They might really be trying to kill us. Over a Dungeon…”
I cocked my head, confused by the dilemma.
“Why can’t we just k—”
“Because we would get in trouble for breaking the law. Also I’d rather not kill any more people unnecessarily. It’s just… too much.”
I glanced over at him, still running, but not saying a word. An arrow whizzed past my head, landing on the ground just ahead of me with a thunk. Apparently they could attack us without consequences yet we couldn’t do the same to them. It had something to do with them being the Iron Champions Company? And because I stole from them? I didn’t really know.
A ball of fire exploded above our heads and Edithe scowled. She cursed under her breath as she spun around.
“Alright, fuck this. I’ve had enough.”
“What are you—”
The [Mage] that was actually a [Summoner] raised her staff above her head as a glyph formed in the air in front of her. It took shape quickly, giving off an ethereal glow as wisps of light gathered in the center of it. A few moments passed— Edithe just standing there as our pursuers closed the distance. Then a misty being shot out of the summoning circle.
The [Elemental] made of ice hovered between Edithe and the charging adventurers; her frosted arms were crossed in front of her chest as the Human woman addressed her.
“Mistshard, freeze the road but don’t hurt them. Make sure they can’t take a step without slipping and falling on their heads.”
“As you command, master.”
The Spirit spun around and flew towards the dozen-or-so people chasing after us. I watched as a beam of ice shot out of her arms, landing on the ground just ahead of them, forming a thin sheet of ice on the road. It spread out quickly, extending even to the surrounding forest. The adventurers tumbled and fell, shouting and screaming as they did, while Mistshard returned to us.
“That’ll distract them for a while. Come on— into the trees!”
We swerved away from the road, hiding under the tall, green canopy overhead. I watched as the light from the torches carried by the adventurers slowly faded into the distance, only darkness covering us now as we escaped their pursuit.
“I don’t think they’re after us anymore.”
“Good. Now we just have to be prepared for an ambush at the entrance to the Dungeon.”
“Think they will go that far?”
“Probably not. It’s not worth the effort when they can just wait for us to return to the city. Or any city around Falisfied, really. They’ve probably notified every branch of their company by now.”
I glanced between the two Humans as they put out the campfire. I frowned, realizing what was going to happen next.
“Wait— we just left the city. Are you really going to sleep now?”
Daniel smiled at me… apologetically? It clearly wasn’t one out of happiness— it had more of an apprehensive and regretful look to it, if I was studying it right.
“Sorry, Salvos. We’re Humans. Unlike you, we need sleep whether we want to or not.”
“And you’re going to make me sit here and do nothing until the sun comes up again?”
“I mean, you can try to sleep if you want. Mistshard will keep watch for us. Edithe still…”
He eyed the Human woman and she pursed her lips. Neither said anything and I folded my arms.
“Fine, maybe I will.”
He quirked an eyebrow.
“Ok… good luck.”
I watched the Human man lie down, covering himself in a thin cloth blanket. I copied his movement, turning to my side as he did and closed my eyes.
I sat up a while later, bored, and searched for something else to do.