In the morning we both felt refreshed. It was a long time ago when we got to sleep in a proper bed, even if it was hard and somewhat uncomfortable. You forget about comfort when you ride for days and days, getting as little shut-eye as you can afford.
We got dressed, I changed my form and we got down to have breakfast. It was nice to eat something with some spices in it. Bland meat got old about a week into our journey. Laura packed everything you might need, from ropes to whetstones and sparkstones. She even packed a tiny pick, in case we decide to do some spelunking. What she didn’t take were any spices or even salt. It was clear she never once cooked in her life. She spent an hour on her knees once we ran out of prepared food… Begging.
After breakfast we walked outside the village, to where we would have a duel. Word to mouth travels quickly, so a large chunk of the population was present, hoping to see human scum crushed by a troll. Mieltzkin took bets, hoping to earn a few extra coppers. He already knew that I had aces up my sleeves. But I didn’t need to use them, I just let Laura loose on the troll.
When she took off her cloak, she revealed her alluring attire of a warrior princess. It was tight and left nothing to the imagination, just how we all like it. She had her sword and daggers fastened at her belt. Taking her sword into both her hands, she took a stance with the sword at her side pointing backwards.
When Nrogara removed his cloak, we could see a man clad in leather armor, granting him great freedom of movement while having decent protection. He took a dagger in his left hand with a reverse grip, pressing it against the length of his arm. It wasn’t too long, but if utilized properly, it can leave grave wounds. In his right he had a short sword. He kneeled low to the ground, almost pressing himself into it. A very low stance. He was tense, like a loaded spring, like a snake ready to strike at its target.
When I gave signal, they both sprang into action. Laura charged into the fray, ready to swing her sword. Nrogara lunged at her, quickly closing the gap of ten meters separating them both. As he moved, using my improved senses and reflexes, I could see his body swaying from side to side, very animal-like. Throughout the fight, his style felt very wild and primal, clearly a style of many generations living in a forest amongst wild beasts. The beasts Nrogara faced were not mere wolves and bears, something more deadly must warrant the use of such a powerful style.
Laura underestimated him, clearly hoping to cleave him with her first strike. I told her that anything goes short of decapitiaon, as most otherwise fatal strikes would heal. The troll was of the similar opinion, clearly not wishing to hold back.
Nrogara dove under her sword, his reflexes very impressive. He then punched her straight in the stomach with his left hand while slashing with the dagger. As he moved behind her, Laura was left with a deep gash through her side, bleeding.
Now she was mad. Her previous angry expression disappeared, leaving a relaxed and confident one instead. This was her battle mode, she would feel the flow of battle, push her body to her limits and she won’t rely on anything other than her instincts. It was a deadly visage for her enemies. Ignoring the pain, she shifted her stance, bringing her sword down, and its tip almost touching the ground.
This was her favorite stance, she called it Reaper’s Dance. Its real name eluded me so I didn’t correct it. This truly looked like a dance. From now on, her every movement of her body would be as one. It would not be like running and swinging and dodging and parrying, with each action a separate step in the sequence of steps. No, now it would be one continual movement, each action merged with another. Her step with her foot would be accompanied with a movement of the sword, the curving of the back, the turning of her head. This was a very instinctive style, usually left unused as there were no opponents able to survive it long enough. I got to see it a few times when we patrolled the borders of our territory. Nrogara, with his extreme reflexes and superb regeneration would surely survive the confrontation…
With her next step she brought her arms in front of her, her hands turning making the sword spin in a beautiful arc. She was already preparing for her next attack. Nrogara came at her, trying to end the fight quickly, hoping for neither of them to get wounded badly. The shift she had gone through was not unnoticed, it unnerved something inside the troll. Perhaps it was some genetic memory of a beast too deadly to fight, or perhaps it was the change in her facial expression. Something made a little buzzer inside his head start screaming “Danger” at him.
He made a number of attempted strikes, each of which would end the duel if they reached the target. Laura repelled them effortlessly. She moved with grace, with beauty. The contrast of their styles made it obvious who would win. The wild, uncontrolled style was quick and powerful, but it was no match for her flawless form. Each swing was diverted with minimum effort, she barely attacked back leaving shallow scratches, when she could easily take off a limb. She was toying with him. Seeing the fight was like seeing a dragon play with a pup. Loud bark but no bite.
The duel went for a little while longer. I felt pity seeing Nrogara’s fruitless effort to fight back. It was a useless struggle, a one-sided slaughter so to speak. It was clear who the winner was. It was not empty sound that Meriden was a best warrior amongst the Val people. Frez and I made her into an unstoppable force.
Deciding that it was enough, Laura quickly struck twice, making Nrogara drop his weapons. Even before they landed on the ground, she swung her sword and threw it at him, while quickly taking her daggers off her belt. It impaled him right in the middle of his chest and then he was on the ground, with two shallow cuts on his neck, two daggers pressing against his skin. This was accompanied by the sounds two metal blades hitting the ground.
It was obvious to Nrogara that she did not intend to kill him. A mere inch to the side and his heart would be split in two. A little more force on the daggers, and his blood vessels in the neck would be ruptured, starving his brain of the much needed blood. A single movement more, and his head rolls.
An undoubted victory.
Everyone was astonished. Nrogara was a known man, he traveled a lot and fought a lot. He was experienced and smart. And to fall so easily was something unexpected. Everyone looked at Laura as if she was a monster. Not that she wasn’t.
She withdrew her blades, with quick swings she cleaned them of blood and strapped them in place on her waist. She then took her sword out of his chest, once again swung it to clean away the blood and slid it into the sheath. Her swings were beyond fast, there was no doubt the blades were free of any blood.
Crowd was surprised to see Nrogara stand up as if nothing happened. Being impaled through the chest was surely a fatal wound. But now he just stood up, dusted himself off and walked to me. He kneeled on one knee in front of me.
“I am now in your service.”
The meaning of his words eluded me completely. I thought he would just lead me to the capital and we would part ways. But, instead I gained another subject. To him it was obvious that I spared his life, and to see my slave dispose of him so easily showed that I was on the whole other level. He was right, but he also didn’t know that if I wouldn’t use my power, I had no chance against her. Once, during a spar back home, I almost lost both my hands and my head within twenty seconds of the beginning of the fight. Only my thick fur, my hard skin and Meriden’s restrain saved me. But he didn’t need to know it.
“Very well, I am in your care.”
With that he stood up and we walked to Mieltzkin. This sure needed a celebration.
Throughout all of this the crowd was silent, except of the few cheers at the start. When the whole dynamic of the fight changed, everyone was speechless. A single Orc was very pale and had hard time fighting nausea as he thought back at how he insulted Laura.
Mieltzkin scooped up the money, shook his now full pouch and yelled about drinks and food half price in celebration of the amazing duel we witnessed. He also said some praises about Count Wolfgang Von’Krit, about my modesty, my generosity and my restraint. Jeez, he sure can lay it on thick. He could be my equal in that regard.
We then made our way to his place through the silent crowd. It would take it about twenty more minutes to disperse and begin to talk. The inn was full about an hour later.
We celebrated that day, because why the hell not. We gladly drank the goblin dry. I allowed myself to get drunk enough till my vision got hazy and I even enticed Laura to drink little more than she usually would. There was also a lot of singing, I tried to emulate karaoke, but with no TVs it was useless. Still we had a lot of fun.
People walked up to me and shook my hands, shook Laura’s hand, thanked us for not killing their families and whatnot. A certain Orc guard spread himself on the floor, asking for forgiveness for his words, now knowing full well that it was him who needed to be punished. He asked for lashing and for a beating, as it was what his words warranted. Apparently this much fear can awaken what little intelligence you have.
Overall we had a good time. By the end of the day, we decided that we would leave the next day as we had most of the needed supplies already. Mieltzkin was crying about losing his newfound brother and his sister-in-law for whom he would care deeply and make sure she wouldn’t cry at night if I were to suddenly drop dead in a ditch somewhere.
On that note we bid everyone farewell and went up to our room, of course the greedy goblin didn’t forget to charge us money even in his half delirious state.
We undressed once again, I turned back into a human and we went to bed. Thanks to the drinking and the excitement we experienced, our cuddling session was a lot more hands-on. There was an awful lot of kissing and licking, but not THAT kind of licking. We just attempted to cover as much of each other in our spit as possible. I got to fondle her breasts through her nightgown. I also held her naked butt cheeks as if my dear life depended on it. We were two very horny teenagers that night.
She was developing well for her age. Her breasts were closing in on a B cup. Her butt was also very enticing and curvy. Laura was growing to be a first class beauty, and I would have that beauty all to myself. You could think it was weird, but despite the fact that I looked a lot order, about eighteen or nineteen, and despite the fact that I was reincarnated, as I remember little of anything before this life, I technically was twelve, just like she was.
Anyway, we spent a good few hours studying each other’s bodies and not going further. The privates were still a big no-no. But I was happy still. Afterwards we were exhausted so we fell asleep embracing each other, her body held to my very closely, my arms around her back and my tail wrapped around her. I must say that at some point, her nightgown stopped covering anything below her breasts, so both her stomach and her nether region were in direct view. I was happy, but thankfully I myself still wore my lovely stretchy pants. I just hope Elaya is not going to learn about it when we go back home. Ah, who am I kidding…
Next day we set off towards the capital. According to Nrogara, it is about two weeks travel by foot. During this time we will traverse sand dunes and dry lands. Monster territory is in the most southern part of the continent, far to the east of the Great Forest. The only other place that is as far south, is the Naga empire, and it’s only because they live in water.
Most of the monster territory is a big desert with patches of dry mud and clay. When it meets the ocean, there is some tropical vegetation, like palm trees. To the north there is a jungle, but not like the ones we have back home. Instead of the lovely elves and sexy dryads, here they are riddled with monsters. Being turned to stone by a cockatrice or violated and eaten alive by some tentacle Venus flytrap mutant would be the less scary fate. I would not go there under any threats.
On our journey we would go near few oasises… Or is it oasi? Multiple oasis. And as of Laura’s request we would stop by most of them. Most of the journey was boring. We got attacked by some giant scorpions and scolopendras. What we found out, our swords have little impact on their thick carapace. Laura was pretty useless until Nrogara showed us the exact points to pierce in-between the armor plates. I used my strength, but outside of my bear form it wasn’t that great. Those things were just too damn big to kill with one punch.
When we got to the first oasis Laura was ecstatic. We spent almost two full months constantly moving, we made almost no stops even to wash ourselves. So, having a huge puddle of clear water was a godsend. With a Look, Laura made sure to let Nrogara know not to disturb us, which I reinforced with a low growl. Our private time is that for a reason. While we went toward the water, the troll decided to hunt, so he walked in the opposite direction. A wise decision.
Washing yourself in a lupine form is hard. There is so much more hair to go through, so I had Laura help me. I couldn’t risk exposing myself, even if Nrogara was away. In this world werewolves don’t turn human and back. Laura also requested help washing, which I readily agreed to.
It took us quite a bit of time to go through all the fur and the skin to wash. I won’t lie and say we didn’t enjoy it or we didn’t make it lengthy or purpose. I felt like Laura was considering not waiting much longer. I felt the same way too, but decided not to say anything on the matter.
It is awkward having the tail and horns. Previously my tail was just like a duster, I couldn’t use it for anything other than to balance myself. Now it was proper bone and muscle tail with long hair covering it. Since the transformation my drake features stayed with me in any other form. I could only make an effort to conceal them, getting rid of them was out of the question.
After we washed ourselves, we dressed and had a meal once we found Nrogara. Then we continued on. We made four more stops after this one.
At night we would have to stay in the open and we didn’t light a fire as to not attract any animals that are out there during the night, much to Laura’s discomfort as the nights were actually cold in the desert. She had to spend her nights hugging me to keep warm. Just how did I survive such an ordeal?
We only got attacked twice during the night, both times it was some kind of massive spider with hard carapace. It’s like this world wants to undermine our efforts so far. I should have learned to wield a great-hammer instead of these toothpicks. Both spiders looked like a giant black widows but with no red spot on the top. They were called Widowers. Stupid spiders. Other than that, the rest was just us walking.