Crossover Fan Fiction ❯ Ranting of a Shield Hero(ine) ❯ Ranting: Chapter 3 ( Chapter 3 )
“I hereby announce that the King has granted the Spear Hero dominion over the village of Lute. As such he demands a toll to cover its expense of 30 pieces of silver to either enter or exit the village,” said the red haired princess, with a demented grin. She came with the spear fondler, and a twenty knights with polearms.
“Shield Hero, this is an outrage!” declared the Mayor. “You are the one who saved us from the monster attack.” The knights immediately brandished their weapons at the villagers.
“If it isn’t the rapist hero, and his victim. Are you kinky like that? Like to be forced and used, princess? That’s really sick, you know,” I called out, good and loud. The knights looked very uncomfortable, then a bunch of hooded ninja types showed up with a scroll, knelt under their blue-grey cloaks and presented the princess deviant while she read it. She noticeably paled from the building anger at my accurate taunt.
“We should have a race around the village for control of this land and the right to tax it.”
“Why should anyone listen to a fallen and clearly demented slut? You’re following around the man you claimed raped you. So either you LIKED IT, or you LIED to attack the reputation of a Hero who is meant to protect the entire kingdom against monsters which threaten us all. Which is it? And was the tax your idea or his?” I called out, nice and loud. The knights lowered their weapons, turning at the FINALLY stated choices that everyone was wondering about. “Well?”
The kneeling ninjas didn’t move. I didn’t move, just grinned with my raised eyebrow. The villagers looked to be pondering some regicide, and they outnumbered the knights 15 to 1.
“Ummm. We’ll withdraw for this day, but we’ll be back!”
“Hey ninjas. You should check your princess for Dark Magic. She’s clearly deranged, and is bringing SHAME upon your kingdom, and ridicule against your king. Maybe the hero has poisoned her? Or maybe some enemy agent from another kingdom?” I called out again, nice and loud. The Spear Hero looked quite upset.
“But she said...,” he muttered, which everybody heard. “And then she said…,” and I could see the wheels finally turning in his mind. Then he started cursing, first at the princess and then at himself for falling for such obvious manipulation.
“Hey Spear-boy. Women can be cruel. Some of them like to watch you bleed. Haven’t you learned that yet?” I called out in Japanese at him. He frowned at the comment and shook his head. So naïve. Boys are fools.
I think if I hadn’t been there, and in a sour mood at the time, I might have been forced to run laps on a donkey against Spear Fondler and his racing lizard. And the magic knights would totally have cheated and made it a humiliating loss, and the result would have been rebellion and a massacre of the knights and princess and the death of the Spear Hero by pitchfork. The waves would have been worse and wiped out the kingdom after that.
Instead, I went back to my garden and pondered the herbs. My little victory over the devil princess and the Spear Hero had given me a couple skill points. I wanted something to make my herbs and veggies grow faster so I could get my food cart going. I found something in my support skill tree, a branch off of Area Heal. There was one for Rapid Growth. I read the description and gave that a couple skill points, which lets me use it on animals as well as plants. I tried it on the garden and my little bird glowed too, and grew several inches over a minute’s time. That was interesting. The herbs also grew about a week’s worth. I did that some more. I did it some more. I used the tea herbs to make tea, drank that, ate a boar skewer, and rested a little. Then I did that spell some more until evening and I returned to the tavern for another good meal, an ale with the villagers, and a nice soothing rest.
The following morning Filo, which was the name I’d given to my bird, was hip high from exposure to the rapid growth spell. She happily followed Raphtalia and I around on her own two feet now. The bird was surprisingly quick. Another day of growth spells on my garden, with spillover onto Filo and she was over 7 feet tall. It was amazing how much the spell effected what was essentially a chick a few weeks ago. She ate her weight in all kinds of food. When I killed six boars I gave her three of them and used the spell while she ate. It was amazing. You could actually see her get bigger and bigger. She was big, and flightless as all filolials were, but thicker than I’d see before. I tried riding her, and she took my weight. So now I had a mount, or possibly something to pull my future foot cart. Things were coming together.
When I returned to the village I found that things were going okay. I spent some coin and effort to turn a damaged wagon into a vehicle to carry my food supplies, my Grill, which I’d gotten made by the local blacksmith, and charcoal I’d traded for from a local wood-cutter couple, and some of my garden of herbs and vegetables I harvested towards my project. Then I tried cooking and selling to the local villagers, a copper for three skewers. It wasn’t much, but they didn’t have much money here. They were poor. This got my bonafides as a Merchant and so the Mayor presented me with a Merchant pass, which would let me use roads without paying tolls. This will be a huge advantage, and make being a travelling food cart a viable way to make money. It would also let me find more herbs and vegetables to make my Nourishing Soup and improve that skill further.
The following day, with more food in the wagon and a means for Filo to pull us along we proceeded out of town and up a mountain road. Moving along steadily we soon encountered a haggard looking man who was stumbling along. He carried a small bag stuffed with straw, which he said contained medicine for his poor sickly mother. I raised an eyebrow but he didn’t look the type to lie, though I have to be honest here: men lie to me all the time. Usually when they move their lips, they are lying to me. It’s a woman’s burden, knowing this fact. But maybe this one time it was true? I took a chance. I had a shield.
“Raphtalia, please stay here and guard the wagon. I’ll see if I can get this medicine to this man’s mother on the back of Filo. You can pay me a silver for this, yes?”
“I don’t have a silver because I spent it all to buy this medicine. But I have some things I might give you worth that much? Would that be okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, we can do that. I’m not unreasonable. Let’s go.” I climbed onto the back of Filo and the man climbed up behind me and we raced away. I think we were going close to 60 kph, which is really fast on a two legged bird’s back. She corners better than a race car, lots of leaning. A short time later I showed my merchant pass to the border guard, who looked sour about losing a bribe, and then continued on to the village a few miles later.
The shack where the guy lived was run down, and inside his mother was gasping in pain. He gave her the medicine, which she did not like the taste of, so I heated up some of my Nourishing Soup on the nearby fire and gave it to her to remove the foul taste of the medicine. She perked up afterwards, though whether it was the medicine or my soup, I don’t know. I’d like to believe it was the soup. The man gave me a large sack full of veggies, including some large turnips, parsnips, various other root vegetables, and some celery, which I’d been after and wasn’t available in Lute’s woods. I offered him a copper for seeds for each of these plants and he hemmed and hawed and we end bargaining for 3 coppers and five seeds of each type of plant. It was what he could spare. Satisfied, I returned over the border and to my wagon, where Raphtalia was slouching, bored out of her mind.
I hooked up Filo and we returned at a slower pace to our original destination, a small town with some trade a few days ride away. When we got there two days later, I cooked some food, made some money, and did some trading. I also got offered a job to carry a merchant to another town. He had some goods he needed carrying and his usual guards were working another job, and so I negotiated three silvers out of him for a fare and we set off. Later that day we arrived facing an ambush with a bunch of local bandits, a crooked merchant, and a mercenary ninja. Raphtalia use a spell to make herself invisible like that one movie with Arnold Schwartzenegger in the Yucatan jungle, and Filo leapt out of her traces and ate a couple of the bandits before they surrendered.
“We’ll tell everyone the Shield Hero is a bandit!”
“The Spear Hero is the rapist. I helped defeat the first wave with one of my two fighters. I am only getting stronger. And Filo already ate two of you. You want to be tough? You want to threaten, tied up in ropes at my feet? Filo, you want to eat some more idiots?” she chirped yes.
“Wait! Wait! I can pay you!” all of them insisted. They bought their freedom with their stolen hoard of goods from prior merchants they’d robbed and killed. What a racket. I felt bad, but its money and I need money. We’d scared them and they might reconsider this line of work. Onwards with my merchant, who admitted there had been some bad blood between him and a few fellow merchants in the same trade meant he owed me. When we arrived in the larger town, a local trading hub, he introduced me to the trader’s guild, and got me recommended for approval there, and paid for the fee as an apology, and followed this with some enchanting skills for working gemstones into magical gems, which is something of a secret worth money, and several types of spells and crafting tricks. It was useful and removed any feelings of anger that lingered over that ambush.
Selling off the goods in town netted me 200 pieces of silver, a decent amount for all those luxury goods. A few items were magical trinkets and I sold those for a four pieces of actual gold. Other than jewelry, I’d never seen or held a gold coin before. I sewed up a belt to wear under my clothes with the coins inside, separated in the cloth so they wouldn’t clink or make any noise. That was my nest egg. It was free and clear and I was beholden to no-one. No kings, no dukes, no queens or princesses. This was mine.
We gathered more seeds in this town at the marketplace and began our journey back to Lute, and my herb garden. That night, sleeping by the fire with the fully grown and very large Filo at my side I woke to a scream from Raphtalia. Looking around for danger I only found a small naked girl, with blonde hair and wings lying half on top of me.
“Mommy, what’s that noise?” the little girl asked. Oh God. I’ve given Virgin Birth. Call me Mary? No wait. I don’t recall any doves or golden showers and I’m no virgin. I looked around.
“Filo?” I asked the girl. She smiled.
“Yes, Mommy. Filo is hungry.” It figures. Magical bird. I started cooking breakfast as Raphtalia found a cloak for the girl to wear. We ate, and Filo still ate a lot. I don’t know where she puts it. Hollow leg? I’d had some customers like that back in Sapporo. After breakfast she poofed into her huge bird form. Does this make Filo a Magical Girl or a Were-Bird? The old cloak fluttered to the ground, torn by the change.
“That’s going to get expensive.” Rather than go back to Lute as planned I turned us around and returned to the town with the Merchants Guild. I needed information. A few coins changed hands and I got directed to a magical tailor, a lady with a mile a minute gabble and a slightly unhinged giggle you get from drinking Black Russians. It’s the Caffiene in the Kahlua. Drunk and wired. That’s how she was.
“See, for clothes to expand and contract they have to be made out of magical thread, and that requires it be spun from the wearer’s own mana, using a special wheel. I don’t have one of those, but I know an enchanter who does.” She held out her hand. One copper later and I got the address and a note of introduction, which got us in the door.
“I’d love to help you, but my magical gemstone was wrecked in an accident. I need a new one. They’re rare, and valuable, worth a gold piece.”
“Where do the gemstones come from, and what enchantment do they need?”
“I know of a mine where I got my last one.” Thus proceeded a comedy of errors. The mine was closed due to a bunch of monsters. We had to dungeon crawl through a bunch of minor critters, some evil mind damaging bats (one going to my shield for a new skill) and some kind of radioactive squirrels. Why there were mutant squirrels inside a mine I will never know, but I blame Bethesda. I saved the carcasses for later skinning and eating. I suspect they’ll be tasty breaded and fried or skewered on a stick. Either or.
We eventually found the main chamber full of glowing crystals and some kind of chimera inside. Attacks proceeded, and I barely warned away Raphtalia from the counter strike by the snake tail’s bite… and isn’t that an image? It took all four of us to kill it. More ingredients. And access to the magic stone. I used a conveniently available pickaxe to carefully break the big crystal loose, the size of a Daikon Radish, and got some others too, which the witch helpfully identified for their properties. I could make some money out of these. A gold piece each? Yes indeed! Later, back at her shop I completed the enchantment using the spell I’d learned from the merchant a few days earlier and then Filo in girl form got to make spools of magical thread. This went on for hours. I gave her snacks and some Nourishing Soup. Eventually she had made enough thread, and I carried that back up the street and around the corner to the magical tailor, who proceeded to weave the cloth. We went to our inn and got some proper food, a bath, and rested the night. It was three days of labor making cloth and sewing up the design, and a gold piece for all the labor. It was dear to me, but I’ve got a magical Queen Filolial, apparently. She’s meant to be the head bird of a flock of these giants, has serious magical talent with wind, and has already learned some spells. And I just found her egg by mistake. She’s not a slave. She thinks I’m her mommy. I am raising her, so… go me? The gown looked cute and turns into a blue bow when she’s a giant bird, and back into a gown when she’s a little girl. No more unintended nudity or expensive clothing destruction. I thanked our tailor and promised to bring her more business in the future.
The other crystals I turned into magical gems and sold for a tidy profit, doubling how much gold I had. Being a Merchant Adventurer is pretty okay.