As I procured the wagon, I found quite a bounty of goods on board, from foods to some swords and equipment. We were about halfway through the day remaining silent. I thought I’d break the tension by asking some questions about Sarya. I learned that she was a member of an Elven kingdom that was far south. Her kingdom was built on an enormous tree called the World Tree. It sounded amazing. I also asked her where she learned magic and her reply was ‘at her kingdom’ she also gave me a quick lesson on how magic works in this world.
There are three ‘Binds’ of magic or classes as humans called them. The magic that Connects. The magic that Manipulates and The magic that Heals.
The connection magic connects to the Mana that flows through the world. It’s all around us. It also requires a catalyst to use. Typically a staff made from specific wood embedded with the blood or hairs of magical monsters would allow stronger connection to the magic user and mana.
However, a person couldn’t simply equip a powerful catalyst and use powerful magic. The connection has more meaning than is apparent. The connection also means a bond between the user, the catalyst and the mana that surrounds us. If one of those connections is too weak or isn’t compatible then the connection will sever, sometimes violently, which can result in death.
The Magic that Manipulates is the kind of magic that Sarya possesses. It can manipulate the elements of the world. From fire and water to earth and plants. Sarya had a love for plants at a young age so she wanted to learn how to help them. Magic of this kind required a certain knowledge on a specific language to chant the words necessary to bend it to your will. It was a pact to learn this sort of language. It could take as little as a few months to a year to learn. “Huh…” was my response.
There was finally the Magic that Heals. It was pretty self-explanatory. It only required The Markings that help bind. Apparently the magic used ones very own soul to fuel the healing, it wouldn’t drain the person’s soul permanently but it would make them very weary if they continued to use it without a break. It also required precision to use, or it could make thing worse.
“So why was an Elven woman staying at a castle guarded by a Dragon?” I asked. “Clearly that’s not a place for one such as yourself should stay.” I know I shouldn’t press questions but I wanted to keep talking with her, it was nice to finally have a conversation with someone who wasn’t trying to cuss me or look down on me or… rape me.
“I left the World Tree a year ago to assist more people by using my talents to help the plant life. I wanted to help farmers with their soil by blessing it and bring bountiful harvest. I had found a few settlements that I could help but it turns out that the problem wasn’t so much as with soil but a Dragon. The Dragon had terrorized the local population to some degree so I was hoping to find a way to stop this.”
She paused before continuing. “Some local kingdoms refused to help as the Dragon was too much for them so I decided to try something. I snuck into the castle with a bag of soil and pots and set up a room in the tower. I then used my magic to spawn seeds that caused pollen to affect the Dragon with a deep slumber. I had stayed there hoping to keep it in a sleep until someone would come to help.” She looked at me with a heartwarming smile. I felt heat in my cheeks as I took her info in. “You’re quite brash”I commented. I thought about what she said and sudden it hit me. Those warriors that tried to take the Dragon must have fallen victim to the sleep pollen. They probably had a plan to take out the Dragon but failed to take in to account the pollen that surrounded them. They must have seen the Dragon sleeping and thought that they were going to have it easy but never asked ‘why?’ So they got caught in the pollen and awoke the Dragon, having their entire plan fall through. It would explain why they fell so easy.
I barely noticed any plants with pollen or any sort of plant life in the castle because we were trying to leave as fast as possible but it was also likely due to the Dragon probably burning a majority of it. Well… it wouldn’t do any good to think about the past. So we hurried to the castle to claim the bounty.
We had finally reached the castle mid-day. Unlike the warriors, there were only two of us so we could move faster as a result.
I ‘parked’ the wagon at the gates and made our way inside. I was watching Sarya take in the sights with some amusement. She reminded me of a giddy country bumpkin coming in from the city, taking in all the sights and breathing out in amazement. It was cute to see.
We managed to get to the castle, the guards gave me funny looks but I told them that I was returning from the quest that the Prince gave. They looked like they wanted to deny my entry but as they looked at Sarya, they eventually let me in.
I entered the main hall and a man asked me “Who are you? Why are you here?” I glared at him and replied “I’m here at the request of the Prince. I had finished the request that he gave to save a certain someone.” The man looked past me and noted Sarya. “So she’s…?” “Yes.” I replied. He looked at me again and said. “Where are the other warriors?” “Fallen” I replied. He took that in and said “I see… very well.”
The man led me towards the throne and as I looked upon it. I wanted to curse as I seen the figure on it. The person on the throne was a kid, probably thirteen fourteen years old. HE was the Prince? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.
He was surrounded by beautiful woman feeding him fruit from a platter. There was a man standing next to him failing to hide his disgust with the young Prince. He had some armor that would suggest he was someone of importance. Bodyguard? General? Both?
The man who greeted me cleared his throat to get the Prince’s attention.
“Prince Hamrick? The warrior who rescued the Lady from the castle is here.”
The Prince looked past both the women feeding him and the man, his eyes laid on me for a moment then Sarya. I could feel more eyes on me from other people in the hall. I shifted uncomfortably.
“Two women? Who’s the wench with the short hair? The elf was the one I wanted but I have enough wenches here.” I held my hands at my back, gripping them tightly. This arrogant little shit.
“She’s apparently the warrior who brought the elf back from the castle”
There was a second of silence before laughter roared out from the people as well as the Prince.
The Prince recovered from his laughter before saying “She’s the one? She bested a Dragon? I haven’t heard such lunacy in a long time” He laughed some more. My gaze fell to the floor as I could feel tears coming. This was the first time I had been put in such a humiliating situation. It was unlike anything I had felt before.
The Prince soon silenced the crowd by raising his hands. “Well whether or not that’s true I have the Elven beauty now. Guards? Retrieve her. Oh, and since I am feeling generous today I let you leave this castle unchained and the money will be used to buy her a nice dress for our wedding.”
The guard reached for Sarya and she pulled back. I looked at the guard gritted “If you try to touch her again I’ll ensure you’ll be unable to do so again.”
He looked at me and smirked before trying again. I quickly threw him to the floor before he could react. A loud clang sound rang out as he hit the floor which followed with dead silence.
“W-what…? WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!” The Prince roared “GUARDS! CHAIN THAT BITCH NOW!!” Soon I was surrounded by three more and the guard who I threw stood up to make it four. One guard tried to grab me but I tossed him into another. Two tried and I quickly grabbed one arm and twisted it the other threw a punch and I used my victim as a human shield to take the punch, a crack emitted from my ‘shield’ as he slumped. I threw him into the other guard to make them collapse. The other two charged at me, I swiftly moved to the side and jammed my thumb into one guard’s eye gouging it out. He screamed bloody murder as he fell and rolled away. I tackled the last guard and sat on top on him and started raining fists down onto his face. One after another only he went limp under me.
I stood up and turn to the now horrified Prince. Soon Sarya stood beside me and said “This is enough! We don’t need anymore-“SILENCE!” The Prince screamed. “I AM THE PRINCE! I WILL BE KING! I WILL NOT HAVE THAT BITCH APPOSE ME!” His head snapped to the man standing next to him. “GENERAL TOREN! KILL THAT BITCH!”
The man looked at the Prince and me with a sigh before descending to me drawing his sword. I pushed Sarya away before I drew my mace.
The general stood before me with a calm expression on his face. Despite his heavy looking armor, he didn’t show any sluggish movement or discomfort. I twirled my mace in my grip as we circled each other. He attacked first with a quick jab, I knocked it away.
I needed to get closer. I may not know everything about medieval combat but I knew maces served the purpose of working against armor. Since blade would just glide off most armor. The humble mace was the best choice.
He attacked again and I knocked it away, I quickly advanced passed his sword. He grabbed me to stop me pushing me back. I grabbed his hand to twist it and- *Stab* I could feel something hot run through my stomach. My eyes widen as I slowly looked down to see his blade in my stomach. How did he…?
“NOOOOOO!” I could hear Sarya’s scream echo out. I slowly tried to grab the blade hilt. Maybe if I can… He jerked out the blade from my stomach. I could feel a cold seeping through my body, almost like an icy cold creeping through my body. My legs were losing their strength. Was this how it felt to die?
My mind reeled back to the fight, how did he win? But I knew the answer; he was a battle harden general. He likely survived many battles and was most likely trained from a young age. He had both training and experience; I only had training and little experience from when I entered this world. I was an idiot for thinking I could best him.
He reeled his hand back and over his head, I heard a little voice in the back of my head that said, “Am I going to die here?” I didn’t want to die yet. No… I COULDN’T die here.
I brought his hand down and I quickly threw my mace up into his wrist. I could hear a crack sound as he stifled a cry of pain. I had a chance! I thrust my head forward and connected with his nose. He immediately fell over. I stepped forward and raised my leg, my legs felt like they had iron soles in them. I brought my heel down on his face which made his entire body jerk.
I staggered a bit; Sarya was by my side quickly. “Teela? Teela, are you ok?” She covered my stomach wound with her hand and examined it. “We need to get you to a healer quickly.” I shook my head. “Not yet.” I placed my hand on her shoulder and said, “I have to do this.” She looked confused “B-but why? Does money mean that much to you?” I shook my head again and walked past her. I needed it for the slaves, to buy property.
I walked slowly to the Prince and he panicked, pulling out a small sword embedded with gems. “GET BACK YOU BITCH! I KNOW HOW TO USE THIS!” I wanted to laugh, if he had to clarify that then he clear didn’t know.
He swung at me and I quickly grabbed his hand. I didn’t want to move my body too much as it still hurt. I looked down on him and tighten my grip until he dropped his sword. I gritted through my teeth “I. WANT. THAT. REWARD. NOW.” He was clearly panicking but tried his best to look tough. “H-HOW DARE YOU DEMAND SOMETHI-“*Slap* I quickly brought my hand across his face, the sound echoed through the hall. He looked genuinely surprised that I slapped him. He probably never had anyone hit him before.
“THE. REWARD.” I pressured him again. He looked at me with a single tear rolling down his face. “I-I” I slapped him again. I couldn’t control my rage anymore. I grabbed his expensive fur coat and started slapping him relentlessly. My hand started to tingle then soon I lost feeling in it all together. He meekly pushed me back. “S-STOP! P-Please! stop hitting me!”
I stepped back as I took another look at him. Tears were rolling down his now swelling face. He was pretty much sobbing as he looked fearfully at me. “SOMEONE! GIVE HER THE REWARD!” Soon a man quickly ran other with a small chest. He shoved it in my hands. I opened it to see a large sum. Finally… My legs started to buckle out from under me and Sarya was beside me again. She grabbed the chest and hooked my arm over her shoulder. She helped me limp out of the castle. I was grateful she was here, or I may not have left alive.
Sarya had helped me to the healer that helped me before. The old woman was startled but my appearance and immediately rushed to my other side and dragged me to the table. My whole body felt numb. I laid there on the table as the old woman started to work her magic. I felt warmth slowly spread through me. After an uncertain amount of time, I finally looked up and seen that she was done. I tried to get up but Sarya pushed me down.
“You need to rest.” She soothed. I really wanted to but I needed to hurry back to the slaves as quickly as possible. I rolled off the table and felt the sudden heaviness of fatigue. “What are you doing Teela!? You need to rest!” I shook my head. “I can’t yet. I need to get back to them.” Sarya helped me up. “Who? Who do you need to get back to?”
“People who need this money” I replied. I looked at her. “I need you help Sarya.” She looked troubled, biting her lip. “Very well Teela. I hope it’s important enough to risk injuring yourself again.”
She helped me through the door, leaving the old woman empty in her shop.
We had finally reached the slums again and I immediately made my way to the sewer grate. “Hey! Are you guys there?” I waited. Did they leave? Did that fat bast- “Teela?” I heard a familiar voice call from the grate. I breathed a sigh of relief as I moved closer. The older woman who led the slaves looked at me. “You came back?” She had a look of disbelief etched on her face. I nodded.
“I came back and I got a way to get you guys started on a new life.” She looked skeptical. “How are you going to do that?” She asked. “Buying property” I replied. “You got enough coin for such a purchase?” I patted the chest that Sarya held. “Yes. In here.”
She looked at the chest before saying “You expect me to believe that-“I quickly cut her off, my patience was wearing thin. “Look, I know I acted before I thought it out but right now *this* is the best thing for not just you but for the others as well. Can you at least give me a chance to make things right?”
She was quite for a moment before sighing. “Very well.” She disappeared for a moment before returning with the others. We made our way to the office with the deed. I had purchased the deed and had the woman sign it. She was surprised by my offer and signed her name on it. I looked at the name. “Helena?” I said out loud. She nodded. We had made our way to purchase some seeds, wood and tools and farming tools. We finally had everything we needed as we made our way to the wagon and loaded everything in it. We then made our way to the new farmland with new hopes for all of us.
We had arrived at the farm and the first thing to notice was that the deed wasn’t lying. It was in a pretty awful state. The main house and barn was run down and the ground looked unbelievable dry. We searched the whole farm and found that the well had some water.
“Well...” I said. “Let’s get started.”
The next week we pulled in all our effort to make a livable farmland. I helped the slaves with repairing the house and barn. Sarya used her magic to bless the soil with richness. The children helped pick weeds and such and after a long week, we had finally managed to rebuild the entire farm into a pretty good one.
We were sitting at the table eating Helena’s cooking. Meat n’ vegetables stew, with some bread. Sarya told us that she wasn’t able to eat meat so she ate the vegetables and munched on some bread. We had finished and I sat outside the house enjoying the cool night air.
I sighed as I recalled all that had happened. Sarya came out and sat next to me. She looked like there was something she wanted to say. “Sarya? There something you want to ask?” She nodded.
“I just wanted to say that… I was surprised. When you pressed for the coins and attacked the Prince I was worried as to why you would push yourself so far. I thought you were possible greedy or had other personal reasons for it. But when I seen the slaves I was… relived that I was wrong.” She smiled.
I paused, taking in her kind words. “I did do it for personal reasons, Sarya.” I looked at the ground. “I acted before I thought it through and it cost those slaves something. I wanted to be a hero and I ended up doing something rash. Then I wanted to be relived of the burden I caused so I took you and was going to give you away to the Prince. I am selfish Sarya”
She took my hand and looked sincerely at me. “Sometimes a bad reason done for a good cause can still be the right thing to do, Teela.” She smiled again and whispered “I’m glad I met you” She raised my hand and kissed the tip of my finger before turning and leaving.
My face exploded with heat as she left. I looked at the tip of my finger and thought ‘Is this the start of something else?’
Authors note: Well, this chapter was long coming. My only excuse is that I was lazy. I apologize. I also wanted to address something. The 'princess in a castle' (for the record, I never said she was a princess) made some people raise their eyebrows. This story is a reincarnation story that takes place inside a book so I wanted to add a few things that you'd see in a fairytale. I apologize again and I'll try bring more chapters sooner. Cheers.