It doesn't take long for us to come across a dead body in the middle of the road.
Evan stops the wagon a throw of stone away from it and says: <Dead body ahead… watch out for an ambush>
Lionel nods and starts advancing. I try to keep an eye on the surrounding forest to make sure nobody ambushes us, but the forest seems eerily still.
Lione gets to the body and says loud enough for us to hear: <It looks like it has been torn apart by wild animals… but it’s not normal for animals to leave a body around… they generally eat what they kill, and this body has just been killed, no signs of feeding, the poor guy didn't stand a chance...>
I get distracted by a sudden smell of rancid and putrefaction… coming from behind us. I turn and see a bear, flanked by two stags; their eyes were completely white and gave off an eerie blue glow, but their body seemed intact, no signs of it being killed, even though their smell gave up their nature.
<Evan… we have guests… I’m not very well versed in dead things… but something that smells as awful as they do shouldn’t be moving around> I say keeping my eyes fixed on the animals, ready to fight if need be.
I should at least be able to take on the stags, I just dodge their horns.
<Well Ivo, it's certainly not a good thing for undead animals to behave like that, or be anywhere around here. Lesson number 1 about undead things: they are dead, no point in trying to kill them again, only magic works, if not you need to find who animates them… you might get your chance at killing a magical creature sooner than we expected> Evan says loud enough for the others to hear, as he gets his bow ready and aimed at the animals.
I hear Lionel say: <We got our share of trouble here too… I’m pretty sure those in the trees aren't friendly birds>
I turn around and notice now that there are about 20 assorted birds waiting in the trees around Lionel and Marina, and everything is still silent.
<Should I go look for whoever is leading them?> I ask Evan
<That would be kind, don't die though, I would have to have to add a fox to the things we need to fight, I’m sure us 3 can stall long enough, whoever commands them should be close enough to see or feel us, probably hiding. Good luck> Evan answers his tone of voice telling me he wasn’t too sure about them being able to hold out long enough.
I just need to be quick, I jump down from the wagon and into the forest, a few birds shoot towards me, but I make short work of them with my claws, as they are small and they can't move well once their wings are broken.
I run through the forest realizing now that there is a smell of rotten and dead all around, but even though I don't like it that smell can lead me to whoever is leading these undead creatures, so while the whole forest seems to be reeking of death I go for where the smell is stronger, I can't help it but gag at the smell, but I suck it up and after what seems like an eternity, my senses alert me of something moving through the forest, probably relocating due to all the noise I was making.
I plan to trap the creature in my fire again, giving it only one escape route through me, so I rush ahead, thankful for this body dexterity and soon I see a cat-like creature running on all 4 away from me.
<Hey! stop running you coward!> I taunt it and cast my flames again this time managing a single one wall bending around the cat.
<Damnit! there was supposed to be no magical creature around here! Damn you!> The cat stopped and turned to me, his pelt was pitch black, but a few scars showed, it also had a small backpack on his back and a leather cape, it is shorter than me, like an 8-year-old child.
The cat raised himself on 2 legs and pulled out a dagger with a blade curved like the claw of a cat and said: <Well, it's time to make that a reality, I will enjoy extracting your energy and turning your body into a puppet, at least I’d have something able to take on more than a peasant> his voice filled with spite and hate… what did I even do to him?
But then I remember what I was told about cat people and the fact that they don't care about people unless they have something they want… I guess the magical creature version of them it's not that different.
Before I can attack him 1st he lunges at me and I move away just in time to not get a dagger to my stomach, though he manages to rake the knife along my side leaving a bleeding wound, which got a painful yip out of me.
Shit… that hurts a lot… no time like the present to attempt a healing cast.
I jump back from the cat and put a hand on my wound and use the fire magic to cauterize it, I saw it being done in movies, and it hurts, I need to work on actual healing magic when I can.
The cat grins at me and says: <well, if this is all you can do it's gonna be even easier than I thought> he twirls his knife and lunges at me again, but this time I’m ready, and dodge his lunge and don't get raked, though I feel a disturbance around me and I get hit by a wave of force coming from the cat.
Surprised I get hit and fall to the ground on my face, but I roll to the side just in time to avoid another stab and give him a clawing of my own, drawing blood from his body.
This time he takes some distance from me and says: <well, maybe you are not so bad after all. Oh well, just gonna have to use more magic> his wounds look like they aren’t even bleeding.
This time I go for the offensive I pounced on him keeping an eye on his knife and claws ready to dodge them and deliver a blow, but instead when I get close enough wind seemed to swirl around him and hits me square in the face like a punch, dazing me in the worst of times.
He runs to my flank and jumps up to my shoulders clawing me with his free hand for grip and uses the knife to steady his grip as I try to shake him off, the smell of my blood hits my nose.
I refuse to go down like this, there is so much to discover about this world.
I cast my magic, Shaping it into a ball which I roll behind me in the cat’s blindside, and then as he is bringing his knife to my throat I make the ball jump and hit him square in his back.
The ball burns through his cape and he flinches, letting out a yowl of pain.
That moment is everything I need to reach behind me and slam the cat on the ground, quickly going for his throat before he can use his magic again.
Something strange happens though, my teeth pierce his skin and I can feel his magical energy inside of him, but it is precluded from me.
Then all of a sudden I hear Dento’s voice hurryingly saying: <Dead things don't die unless you use magic. Did you already forget!?>
I Jump a little not expecting someone to raise its voice on me but I keep the cat steady under me even though he manages a few jabs with his knife, though thankfully he misses anything immediately vital, and with his weapon, he can't stab.
I channel my magic into my teeth, guiding the flow towards them, and bit down more strongly and I started feeling magic flowing inside of me.
The cat stopped struggling and I drained his energy and then rolled off his now deprived of any life it could have.
I was Completely exhausted… too much to get back up, even though the energy from the cat gave me a surge, my wounds ached way too much.