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A note from Arthur-67

Hello, hope you all enjoy the two chapters. 
Anyway just to let you know, I've been doing a little rewrite of some of the previous chapters- Mostly chapter 13- Awakening part 3.
I mostly changed the style of how that chapter was written. To try and follow my reviewer's advice. Do let me know what you think,
I have the old version saved just in case it's not good.

Two days, that was how long they walked endlessly through the dungeon, barely able to avoid dangerous monsters through the use of the now depleted monster tackle. Two days of tireless walking with barely a word said, there was nothing to say. Just a job to do.

Two days of fighting weaker monsters, foes not worth wasting monster tackle on. Every wolf, alp, giant rat, and terror bat killed was one less monster that could ambush Elmon.

Two days was all it took for the rations to disappear, devoured by a direwolf during a particularly fierce fight. They had killed its pack, but the loss of their rations made it an uneven trade. You couldn’t eat dungeon born monster meat, not if you wanted to avoid being poisoned that was. The loss of their rations made their situation even direr. If the dungeon didn’t kill them, then starvation surely would. As they became weaker and hungrier, each fight would get harder and harder. Until they were too weak and delirious to go on.

Three days after the loss of their rations, Rohl’s stomach ached in pain and sleep was an almost unachievable task.

The starvation, exhaustion and deliriousness brought questions to Rohl’s mind that he had never had before. One such question he couldn’t help but blurt out as he and Ell laid by the burning fire of their camp. The only thing that kept them safe.

Ell had become a tiny bit become friendlier as they endured this hell together, possibly due to the previous weeks' events, most of which Ell refused to acknowledge. But she still had her usual attitude. Not even starvation could get rid of her sardonic sarcastic way of speaking.

“If you eat me, does it count as cannibalism or taboo or something like that,” Rohl blurted out, the question had been buried in his mind for a while now.

“Pardon.” Was Ell’s confused reply, before she spluttered a mix between a laugh and a cough.

“I mean sure were both humanoids, compatible and sentient races but still different species, human and elf, does that mean it’s okay for you to eat me.” It was a fair question Rohl thought.

“I don’t know, but the wonders that your mind comes up with truly amazes me.”

“I don’t know either, if I die, feel free to eat me. I won’t mind, maybe I’m tender,” Rohl said encouragingly.

“Thanks, you're too kind. We really need to get out of here. You were weird before but now you’re losing it. What makes you think I’d want to eat you anyway. I bet you’d taste disgusting, not to mention your smell.”

“Oi, that hurts you know. Am I not allowed to eat you?” The hurt in Rohl’s tone was completely unconvincing to Ell.

“Of course not, that would be degrading for an elf.”

“Oh wow thanks, I’ll just starve then.”

Rohl turned over in an attempt to get comfier, an action which almost caused him to burn himself in the fire.

“Ow ow.”

The affair earned him another “dumbass,” from the now sniggering Ell.

Still, it snapped Rohl out of the state he’d been in, allowing reflection on the weird conversation he’d just had. A reflection that drew only one conclusion.

“We really need to get out of here.”

“Really, no way. Why didn’t you say so? If you’d said so before, I’d have walked us right out of here.” There was the sarcastic reply Rohl had come to expect from the elf, it made him chuckle slightly.

It was a nice change from the usually tense ‘you’re about to die’ atmosphere of the past few days. Not that he had much hope of surviving but if he were going to die. Then there was one thing that he wanted to ask Ell before he did so. Something he doubted she would answer without some flattery.

“Hey Ell, the amazing, fierce, strong elf who is way better than me.” On second thought he may have gone abit overkill on the flattery, but it was too late now.

Ell’s voice gave a tiny choke as she replied “What?”

“What did you mean by ‘I knew I shouldn’t have stayed here too long’. Did you know something about this forest before we came here?”

Ell froze for a second, after the pause, a deep sigh followed “Picked up on that did you, didn’t think you had it in you.” Ell spoke before she added “being a dumbass an all.”

When Rohl didn’t reply, Ell sighed again. “Not that’s it’s any of your business but since we're for sure going to die here I may as well tell you. If just to shut you up.”

Rohl motioned for her to continue. He blamed their acceptance and ability to joke about their upcoming deaths on shock, deliriousness, and the general belief that there was nothing they could do to change that but do their best.

“You know how there are multiple kinds of elf’s right?”

Rohl didn’t but nodded anyway.

Ell gave a joking “liar,” before continuing “Well, the species don’t mix out of politics, we keep to ourselves and for good reason usually. Well, my parents didn’t keep to that, I’m half wood elf, the species that most other races associate with the name elf. Half wood elf and half kindling elf.”

“What’s a kindling elf?” Rohl asked having never heard of one.

“Let’s say a very rare species of elf with a passion for fire and leave it at that. Anyway, stop butting your big head in, you should be honoured I’m telling you.” Ell’s tone became withdrawn and remorseful as she went on.

“Being half of each means my two heritages fight for control, it’s only happened twice but sometimes the kindling side becomes dominant, and the forests reject me. They’ve been some of the worst times of my life and the reason I left Engrove. My family are full wood elf’s, they tried to help but it wasn’t fair to them, I didn’t want it to happen again there, so I left. When I thought it was happening again here, I panicked. I hate the feeling, so I avoid staying anywhere too long.” Ell said in remorse, her eyes staring unfocused at the sky above them.

Rohl didn’t reply for a good minute, too busy processing how difficult it must have been for her to have to leave her home like that.

“So the reason you were so upset earlier is because you thought it was happening again,”.

“Yep, it was near when we got lost that the forest started feeling off, but I thought it was just my kindling side trying to take over. That’s why I said, ‘I knew I shouldn’t have stayed here too long.”

“I’m sorry,” Rohl said, truthfully he did feel bad for the elf.

“Don’t be, not like your dumbass could have known.”

Maybe the direness of the situation and the mental impact of the past few days caused her to reveal more than she wanted. As a moment later Ell lost her unfocused expression and turned around angrily. Rohl ‘volunteered’ to take first watch so she could sleep.

He did not question her further and just accepted her demands, not arguing with the girl. He had a lot to process from what he’d just heard. He had not expected that and could tell Ell hadn’t meant to tell him so much personal information and for that Rohl would remain silent on the topic. To respect her past and the difficulties it had surely given her. Maybe Rohl would tell her something personal to make her feel better, he would have to think about it.

Rohl knew that there was one thing that required no more thought, he would not question her anymore tonight. If he did Rohl could sense that Ell might have the sudden urge to stab him, something he would rather avoid. Starvation and blood loss didn’t sound like a good combination.

As the night passed and Rohl’s stomach remained empty, a choice had to be made. They were already running on fumes, if they went without food for much longer then it would be over. Weakness would overcome them.

As the pair prepared to search the dungeon once again, Rohl brought up their choices.

“We need to kill a natural-born monster, one that we can eat. It’s that or starve before we even attempt to kill the dungeon.”

Ell only nodded in reply, perhaps too tired to speak more than necessary.

“Luck is all we have. Luck will decide if it’s a natural or dungeon born monster. Luck would decide its strength ranking and if we win the battle.”

“For once you’re right, the next monster we encounter must be fought no matter what. Ill lead and once I hear something, I’ll take us straight to it. It’s a good thing you won’t need to be stealthy for this.”

He only gave her an unamused look before following her further into the dungeon.

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Arthur-67

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