As Rea sat at her favorite roasted veggies stall and gorged on some delicious carrots she continued to think of Ella. That reminded her of when Melody had first found out that she was being intimate with other people... Rea was hitting rock bottom right about now, at this rate it was only a matter of time before the entire city knew she's ophidian. Spending so much of her time in people's beds, as much as she liked the prospect, was probably a bad idea. The only thing that worried her more than being revealed was the thought of gods being entertained with her promiscuity, giving that a second thought she also realized that in a way it is her best chance at getting in good with the gods.
Airi had really done a number on her view of the higher beings, Rea seriously wasn't sure at this point if she should save lives or just try to screw her way to paradise... literal paradise. Amending that last phrase, Rea seriously wasn't sure at this point if she should save lives or just try to screw her way to redemption. Rea could clearly remember Airi saying, "Otherwise just have fun, gods tend to enjoy watching an entertaining mortal, especially one with your... promiscuity. The quickest way to redemption is unfortunately through the gods, evil stains your soul, just doing good may not be enough." With that in mind she resolved herself to get into more shenanigans, not pass up any chances to grind, and help people in need. As she got up to leave Rea took one look at the veggie seller, then his wife, and said, "... never mind, thanks as usual." Rea decided not to get herself banned from the absolutely tasty veggie stall by causing an uproar.
Upon arriving at the horsemonger farm Rea was greeted by an excited Corn. It seemed that she wasn't the only one who would be happy to resume training. After Rea had a quick conversation with Melody, about checking in on the doctor for her once in a while, they departed for the northern wall of Vestlei. On their way there he began to explain that the next few abilities would be a little messy. When Rea asked why they couldn't just do it at the farm he explained that digging holes on his mother's farm would result in a fate worse than death. Rea had to chuckle at that while imagining Melody burying both of them in the ground. She was also pretty entertained with Corn's current appearance, it honestly reminded her of an elementary school kid going bug catching. Rea silently apologized to the sixteen year old youth about her possibly insulting thoughts. Corn on the other hand had now found out the hard way that going through the city with Rea is a long and arduous journey...
Thirteen sweet potato tempura bites, seven pan-seared squash slices, three grilled corns, five salad wraps, two honey glazed apples, three smitten merchants later...
Corn was shocked, everywhere they stopped on the way people knew Rea. Every time he glanced at their surroundings they seemed to be drawing attention. Something felt off though, it was like half the people knew Rea... because of her eating habits. The other half though, they were just looking at her. Giving into curiosity again Corn asked Rea if she knew why they were all looking at her. Rea simply replied that it was either [Natural Beauty] or [Charm]'s fault most likely. Those were two skills Corn could do without, and when he asked if Rea liked all of the attention she also shook her head no. Rea, noticing that Corn was a bit bothered by the attention, decided to put on her cloak that Steve had given her when she first left the cave... that was a mistake. By this point they were near the gate and Rea ended up being tackled by a guard as soon as she pulled a blood stained cloak from the depths of her pack.
One hour later a thoroughly exhausted teacher and student pair left the local stockade, "Sorry about that Corn, I'd forgotten that I had it on when the wolves attacked me."
Corn sighed at that point, "I can't believe you survived that, do me a favor and just follow me this time. No more detours."
This time Corn led Rea to a tailor shop that his mother uses to get their clothing. To Rea's amusement, it happened to be Lisa's shop. Corn then explained that he wanted to buy Rea a simple traveler's cloak to hide her appearance without drawing attention. Rea wasn't really sure why she hadn't thought of that yet. As Corn looked around the displays Lisa gave her a coy smile and asked Rea to come around back for some hands on measurements. When Rea got around back she had to laugh, Lisa had already made her a cloak... About an hour later Rea returned with the cloak on, Corn was happy to see it but also confused when Lisa didn't accept his money. As the two argued back and forth a bit about payment Rea marveled at her new cloak. Dark midnight blue wasn't always a color she liked, but after some honest compliments from Lisa she was quickly growing fond of it. Rea wasn't really sure what the [Composite Cloth & Leather] material is, but she was very pleased with the [Water Repellent] and [Durable] traits. As with most of Lisa's custom made clothing the design was simple for the most part. What little intricate details she had made were spiraling around the left arm in the form of a serpent and running along her spine in a pattern not unlike her own scales. Rea found the irony of hiding herself while giving people a clue about her true nature comical.
Lisa had explained to Corn that the cloak wasn't really worth all that much and he shouldn't worry about payment. Corn had explained to Lisa that no work should go without pay. Finally giving in, Lisa did accept a small payment of twelve silvers from him. It was at that point that Lisa, in a bit of a bad mood, announced to Rea that some final alterations had to be made. Rea obediently followed Lisa around back and ate lunch.
Half an hour later the pair walked out of Lisa's tailor shop and stopped at her favorite tempura stand. Rea gave Corn a playful smile, "Thanks for the cloak teach."
Corn was busy stuffing his face with what he now believed to be the best avocado in the world, "Dosh meshin ishh."
Getting back to business and ignoring bad manners she asked him if it was time to go. After ordering some take out and carefully packing it away the pair were on their merry way once more. Before they managed to get out of the city Corn had complimented his own genius a few times. Rea really wasn't gathering much attention anymore. Feeling a bit silly for her own lack of common sense she just let Corn's haughty behavior slide. Her tutor was a bit baffled when Rea started to ask more questions about the western region of this continent, the one he hadn't gone into much detail about. Corn decided to appease Rea with, near the mushroom forests and sweet rivers there have been known to be tribes of sentient monsters, sometimes even elven tribes. When Rea got that wanderlust look in her eye again he quickly mentioned that every known one has been hostile, and she really shouldn't try to visit.
Once they were a good distance from the northern wall he pulled out a shovel and told Rea to start digging while watching her surroundings for monsters. As Rea began to dig Corn explained the numerous reasons why being a proficient digger and having the corresponding ability to improve digging efficiency was so important. Rea let most of it fly in one ear and out the other, Nathan had already given her this particular speech when they were gathering rare roots and setting up camps. He also mentioned that if she happened to find a few valuables or spirit stones and learned prospecting along with digging mastery, well, she should once again not learn the job. So of course Rea's response was to stop digging and use [Psychometry] to identify any rather fertile or suspicious patches of earth. After the first few minutes Corn gave up on trying to convince her to just dig in one spot.
Corn placed himself upon a relatively flat stone and watched in amusement as Rea ran to and fro excitedly across the plains. Having decided to enjoy what few warm spring days were left this season Corn pulled out his tempura to go box. As the scent of fried food graced his nostrils once again Corn picked up and devoured a piece of sweet potato... Today this unfortunate child discovered that tempura is soggy and much less delicious after sitting around for a while. When he looked up Corn noticed that a horned rabbit had taken an interest in Rea and was rapidly approaching, before he could call out to warn Rea she had already thrown her mythril tipped ashwood spear. Corn cringed at the sight as Rea calmly gathered her weapon and spoils. He also hadn't expected Rea to do a [Barrel Roll] as she approached her shovel.
Ignoring a laughing brat Rea went back to her digging, she had already attained [Digging Mastery Lv.1] but hadn't bothered to tell him. So far Rea had found three earth spirit stones by looking for fertile land. This particular patch of land however had been recently disturbed, not fertile. When Rea got nearly six feet under she cringed... someone had buried a body. After shouting out to Corn that he needed to go summon the guardsmen Rea proceeded to climb out of the hole. Corn had sensed her uncanny level of serious and gone to do as told.
While Corn was gone Rea gazed absently at the body, she had left a lot of bad people six feet under in her days as Noel. Memories of one particular man, the only one she had decided to bury alive, came to mind. The man liked to choke women during their more intimate moments and had already killed several. He seemed like a nice guy so in order to find out if he was really guilty she had seduced him at a country club that he frequented. That night had been a close one as she herself had very nearly been suffocated in his VIP room. As it turns out the man hadn't been trying to kill his partners, they really had been accidents. In the end Noel bypassed the torture and buried him on the country club's golf course. The man had actually thanked her for stopping him as she nailed the coffin shut, that moment stayed on her mind for a long time. She couldn't understand what sort of person could do something so terrible to innocent people, feel so much remorse, yet still continue to do it. That moment had also caused her to hesitate one day. That hesitation had landed her in the hospital with two shattered knees and a, figuratively speaking, ticking time bomb in her chest. As Noel she had appreciated the irony of dying from a broken heart.
Interrupting her silent contemplation was the same guardsman who had tackled her earlier that day. The level 32 fully armored man identified as one, Paul Barnswine, really didn't have any defining features since she couldn't see past the standard guardsman armor. He was even surprised when she recognized him and asked for an apology. After a slightly reluctant apology, on the guard's part, Rea proceeded to show him what she had dug up. Less than a minute later she was once again under arrest. Corn just sighed and followed along.
After having a sack put over her head and being led into the stockade, Rea once again let out a long drawn sigh and opened her eyes. Once the sack was off she found herself in another cell seated on a hard stool in front of a wooden table. Rea took one look at a middle aged woman with short blonde hair and slanted, almost angry, blue eyes, before saying, "At least I'm not in a cell this time."
The woman chuckled and looked around the cell they had placed her in before responding, "Sorry about last time, the mages did identify it as wolf and snake blood on your cloak... care to explain why there was no human blood?"
A cold sweat ran down Rea's back, "The cloak fell off after I killed the first wolf, he had collapsed on top of it. By the time I was injured the cloak was far away from me."
The woman paused for a moment to consider the facts before sitting down on a stool across from Rea. The place here was beginning to give her the creeps, being surrounded by nothing but stone and iron while behind bars for the first time in a long time was not pleasant at all. Fiddling with a knife the woman decided to continue, "We've not identified the body you found but the mages have given me a time of death, where were you at precisely four nights ago?"
Rea chuckled at her alibi, "Oh boy..."
The woman cocked an eyebrow, "So you can't account for your whereabouts?"
"I can, easily, it's just a little embarrassing is all..." Rea began to twiddle her thumbs.
The woman became impatient, "I suggest you tell me before I convict and execute you, Rea Ainsworth."
Rea took one more glance at the woman with [Psychometry] and spoke timidly, "Sooo, uh, your last name wouldn't happen to be Silversword would it?"
The woman stood back and glared viciously at Rea, "How do you know my name!?"
Rea drooped her head in apology, "Any relation to the hero Lucatiel?"
Silversword immediately calmed down, she had been recognized thanks to her mom before, "What does my mother have to do with this?"
Rea really wasn't quite sure how to say the next part so she just came out with it, "Well I spent the day of the crime and the day after chained up by her."
The woman grinned, "So you are a criminal!"
Rea sighed while shaking her head no, "I was chained to her bed..."
The color of her interrogator’s face visibly drained as men could be heard laughing in the corridor outside of her cell. About thirty seconds later she asked someone to summon the hero in question for an alibi while glaring daggers. When she returned to the cell Rea was already bowing in apology, "I didn't really want to say it if I could help it, sorry about that."
This time it was the woman sighing, "I have a feeling mother told you about me," Rea avoided eye contact, "...what?"
"Well she didn't, but you look a lot alike." Rea was trying to hide her ability by this point.
"I get that often, but most people can't recognize me so easily," the woman was obviously impressed. "Ophelia Silversword, a pleasure to meet you, Rea Ainsworth."
Rea blushed slightly and averted her gaze again, the woman really did look like her mother. While looking away she noticed the chains along one cell wall and began to wonder, "Do you have the same affinity for chains as your mother?"
*Cough cough cough* Ophelia nearly fell over, "No!"
Rea sensing an opportunity here just gave her a coy glance and muttered, "That's a shame."
By the time Lucatiel arrived Rea had very nearly driven her daughter insane, "Having trouble?"
Rea and Ophelia both looked up at Lucatiel and replied in unison, "Yes!"
Ophelia sighed outwardly, she seriously doubted that Rea was guilty now, "Is it true that you had my suspect detained four nights ago?"
Lucatiel paused for a moment in thought before answering, "I believe I was the one detained that night, Rea?"
Rea dropped a fist into her open palm, "Oops you're right, that was the first night wasn't it?"
This time Ophelia did fall off her stool, while glaring back at Rea she asked, "So you were not in chains that night?" Rea nodded yes at that point, "So you could have committed the crime!"
Lucatiel interrupted her daughter, "She really couldn't have."
Ophelia shot her an angry glare, "Why not!?"
Now it was Lucatiel's turn to grin, "Even if I was the one in chains she still spent all night between my legs."
Ophelia quickly dropped on all fours and covered her ears, she really wished she hadn't heard that, "Please take her and leave..."
Lucatiel nodded in understanding while ignoring all the laughing guardsmen. Rea let out a jovial giggle as she was hoisted up over one shoulder. While being carried out of the stockade she apologized to Corn and said that she would return tomorrow morning for more training. When Corn asked worriedly where she was being taken Rea only said that it was time for her punishment. The poor kid and Melody would be worried that night for no good reason... Ophelia decided to pretend that the past hour never happened.
*click* "...uhh, Lucatiel?"
"Very funny, you can let me go now."
"... wait, wait, wait, please, oh god please wait, not again!"
Successfully leaving behind a sleeping martyr, Rea made her way to the horsemonger farm this morning under the cover of darkness. Once she arrived Rea made her way to the barn and plopped down on the bed to catch up on some much needed sleep... unfortunately the familiar sound of a barn door opening and closing could be heard. Melody was now looking down at the exhausted ophidian. Rea was desperately trying to pretend that she was already asleep. Melody sat beside of Rea and took hold of her hands, when Rea winced in pain she realized that the ophidian was still awake. Melody removed her gloves to see what had hurt Rea and gave her a sad expression when she noticed how raw and red the flesh around her wrists were. Rea gave Melody a forlorn smile as the woman began to massage her wrists.
"It must have been terrible Rea, I'm sorry." Melody had a pang of guilt in her voice.
Rea sat up next to Melody and leaned over, placing her head on the woman's shoulder, "It wasn't as bad as it looks... why are you sorry?"
"I'll let you dig up the farm out back, you don't have to go back out today." When Melody said that she realized the woman was blaming herself for sending them out to dig the day before yesterday.
Rea now felt truly vexed, mentally and physically exhausted... ahh what a shame, "I'm really beat Melody," Rea leaned backwards and plopped back down in her resting place beside the woman, "I just need a little rest and I'll feel better."
Melody still had a rather guilty, remorseful expression, "If there's anything I can do Rea, tell me, okay?"
Rea smiled up at Melody and pulled her down, as she snuggled in close to the woman Rea made one last comment, "Just be my pillow for a while," before drifting off to sleep.