Lionel nods and leaves for the village.

Evan beacons me to the wagon and says: <hey Ivo, we got you some clothes and a cape until we get you signed in to our group is better if you keep your interaction with common folk to a minimum, and yeah, the clothes aren't very good, you’ll know what to buy with your share of the coin.>

He hands me some leather clothing, sturdy, but they fit a bit too big, and are uncomfortable over my fur, though I suppose I look less like a savage child now and more like a farmer… a farmer with a cape that hides his whole body, so basically an outlaw, though I now also have a belt I can hang my stiletto on, so I can carry it.

A few minutes pass and I can see Lionel come out the village gates, followed by a few guys and a herd of sheep and I start making my way to Lionel followed by the others.

Once rejoined Lionel says <so guys, job’s simple, we guard the sheep, the wolves will attack we chase them into the forest, Ivo, you are the most dexterous of us you are gonna chase hard, the wolves are gonna get tired and most likely attack you, do you best to not die, we are gonna attack from range, and don't worry if you get overwhelmed, I’ll catch up, I’m no good at firing arrows anyways, though with my armor I’m considerably slower, so play it safe, climb a tree if needed. We don't need to kill them all as we don’t have the time to track their den and finish them off, but as long as we reduce their numbers considerably the herders are gonna be happy. Herders say there are at least 6 of them. Then there is the problem of the bear, again it's not required, but if he shows up we are gonna get a pretty sizeable bonus, and the tactic with him is to surround him and let Marina blast it with magic, Ivo you can help too, it's too dangerous to fight it head-on.>

I nod… not very happy to play bait, but dogs can’t climb trees, right? I should be safe if I just climb.

We reach a grassland about an hour away from the village and the herders prepare the herd for grazing, while we just set up camp.

<So… Marina, what kind of magic do you use? I still haven't seen you use it yet> I ask, curious.

<Water, I use it mainly to heal, but I can make some mean icicles if need be, I can also put something into stasis for a few seconds… though that requires me to use my whole magical reserve to do so against something living, though I can use it to make sure food doesn't spoil> She answers trailing off a bit.

Evan chimes in <yeah, we generally get some extra fresh food and she keeps it edible for more than a few days without the need to cure it, especially useful if we hunt a deer or something like that, it saves a lot of time that would be spent smoking and curing the meat.>

I nod and ask <can I use my magic to heal too or is fire only for the offense?>

Marina answers <every natural element can be used for everything, while with the fire of course you can’t freeze things, you are gonna figure out what to do with time, really you are only limited by your magical energy reserves and imagination. Plus when you gain more tails you are gonna get access to minor and major aspects, and there you are gonna get a world of possibilities>.

<Major and minor aspects?> I ask

<Yeah, most of the humans that can use magic only can use magic from one of the 4 natural elements. very few get access to an aspect, Demi-humans all get a natural element always and the strongest ones get an aspect, rarely 2. Magical creatures get a natural element and 2 aspects no matter what if they accumulate enough magic. There is no difference between major and minor aspects, we call them like that to distinguish the time at which they get them. For example, magical foxes get the fire element, then their minor aspect is illusion and their major aspect is soul. And all that means is that you are always able to use fire, then are gonna learn Illusion and lastly soul. it doesn't mean that soul is more powerful as every aspect gives you domain over an aspect of the world… there are legends of magical foxes turning a whole mountain into an infinite maze with their powers, or another of a fox creating a whole city with people and all, just with Illusion magic, and way too many time people get killed by said illusions, as a particularly strong illusion can still force your body to shut down… anyone looking at your body would rule it out as you dying of heart failure, but instead maybe you got stabbed or torn apart and your mind actually believed it and wrecked your body with pain… I’m trailing off… sorry, I hope you are gonna be a nice fox though, so we can have some legends or accountings of magical foxes being helpful>

I chuckle and say <are you a fan of magical foxes or something? you seem to know an awful lot>

Marina blushes and says: <no, no, no… not at all, I mean I planned on becoming an adventurer and so I learned as much as I could about various demi-humans and Magical creatures.>

Evan says snickering: <With a particular focus on anything fluffy and cute, miss “can we ever go to the cat kingdom”>

Marina becomes red at this point and says flustered: <it was a joke!>

I ask: <Cat kingdom?>

Lionel says: <it’s the kingdom to the east of this one, it’s peaceful as the people there are fine with the territory they have, but they don’t like humans too much, and are very militaristic… nevermind the fact that there are undead everywhere… Cat people are nice as long as they want something from you. And yeah cat people are a kind of Demi-human, but there are also necromancer cats… which are very similar to the Demi-human but are instead Magical creatures with 2 tails, and well if you know what necromancer means you get why their lands are full of undead… though the cat people there don't mind it unless it gets out of hand, or if 2 necromancers start fighting each other. you might see cat people once we get to the capital, they are pretty common, as well as dog people, no foxes though, unless you can spot one disguising as someone, in which case tell a guard>

Suddenly I stopped chit-chatting as I heard sheep getting panicked, and shortly after the adventurers picked up on it too and got up.

<Time to work> Lionel said and, started running to the commotion followed by me and the others.

I take point as I was told to and we rush to the panicking sheep and see about 3 wolves trying to scare sheep away from the herd and catch them.

I run at them and they notice me almost instantly and start growling at me, but then see Lionel and the others coming in too and decide to back down, but I'm quick enough to be able to chase them.

The plan works and after a few minutes of chase inside a nearby forest, I find myself surrounded… I have to say it's not a pleasant thing to be surrounded by at least 10 wolves… they are all about my size… without getting on two legs and they circle me.

I just need to buy time right? I have no idea how far they are so I just stare down at the wolves as they study me, I don't want to use magic before the others come, in case they get spooked and run away. So I just assume the fighting stance Evan taught me and get ready.

It didn't take long for the wolves to start attacking me, though no more than one or 2 of them attacked me at once and I could fairly easily dodge and scratch them… though it wasn't simple at all to make sure they didn't drag me down as when one lunged at me another was already trying to bite my leg, but thankfully my keen senses helped me, and met every open mouth with a swift kick, though the wolves learned fast, and, I am not good enough to switch things around to keep the upper hand.

Thankfully as the wolves were starting to land blows and bites an arrow hit a wolf square in his side and he collapsed.

I got surprised by that and lost focus on the wolves surrounding me, and one of them jumped on me and I couldn't dodge in time, though when I fall with the wolf on top of me, he didn't seem to move, in fact, he just lays on top of me limply. It takes me way too long to smell the blood and realize that the wolf is dead… probably an arrow or something, good save… it might just be good to play dead, the wolves would probably not mind me, though they might run away, I doubt 2 wolves would be enough.

I push away the dead wolf from on top of me and raise quickly to my feet, the wolves are running away from the arrows and I need to think fast.

I decided magic would be useful. wolves should be scared of fire and it would stop their running away, I just needed to “throw” it in front of them, so I focused on the ground a few leaps away from the running wolves and summoned magic.

I didn't expect it to work but somehow it did, a small line of fire appeared in front of the running wolves making them skid to a halt and then split to the side of it, hoping to not completely exhaust my magical reserves I cast my magic again projecting more fire until the wolves could only run back towards me and the adventurers.

I just stood there making sure the wolves did not flee and they charged me, I couldn't do much but trip a few of them, leaving them with a few scratches as they charged past me, but by the time they managed to run away 6 of them were on the ground, dead or about to be.

Lionel came up to me and patted my shoulder, then he said: <good job kid, you definitely earned your share of pay, feel free to get their life energy before we go back to the herder.>

I nod and walk over to the wolves, not really knowing what to do, though when I get to them hunger came back to me and I kneeled over the nearest one and gave it a bite, a gentle one and I felt energy flowing into me, the hunger didn't stop so I continued, doing the same to all the wolves. Why is it called life energy if you can get it from dead creatures? I need to inquire more… If I want to survive in this world I need to know more.


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