When the bodies, and transport vehicles were placed half a days ride away all of us breathed a sigh of relief. Construction on the new housing had begun almost immediately afterwards so within a day we managed to get a house built with everyone pulling their weight. I was stuck in the blacksmith shop making nails for the building projects which I managed to finish in a timely manner. Things were starting to change around the village, and not everything for the better…especially for me.
The display of firepower I showed off with the machine gun attracted the attention of some of the widowed, and single women. This made things awkward as they tried to put their best foot forward when making passes at me. Things like showing off cleavage, offering to share a bed, and sometimes even finding one of them in bed was becoming a common occurrence. It was driving me crazy because I was afraid I would ruin the fragile relationship I had with the village. When I brought this to Sebitas attention he started laughing.
“Marrying one of the villagers won’t ruin your relationship with us in the slightest. If it would do anything it would improve it significantly.”, he said, “So if you feel the urge just take one or two of them as your bride. It isn’t unheard of in our culture for a man to have multiple wives so long as he has the resources to do that.”
“Please don’t…I already have enough issues when I find women in my bed every morning. I had to make a special belt they can’t remove just to keep things from happening.”, I said shivering, “Sara already tried to forcibly mate with me even though I was against it.”
He started laughing slapping his knee.
“It is only going to get worse unless you find a woman.”, he said, “Sara may have five kids, but she can still bear more.”
“That’s not the point…I want someone my age.”, I said, “Everyone coming to me is either eighteen and younger, or thirty-five and older. I am freaking twenty-two years old!! Cut my some slack won’t you!!”, I said.
“So that is what your issue is then.”, he said with a sigh, “You won’t even consider them if they are ten years older than you?”
“The lowest I will go is nineteen, and the highest I will go is twenty-seven.”, I said firmly.
“I see.”, he said with a frown, “That eliminates almost all the women in the village flat-out, and completely eliminates all candidates as the women in that age range are married.”
“Then that settles that.”, I said, “Please tell the women to drop their interest in me, and mingle with the other men in the village.”
He sighed nodding with a frown.
“You sure about this?”, he said, “You will end up alone if you turn this opportunity away.”
“If I marry someone over the age of twenty-seven they are more likely to already have a lot of kids. Anyone under the of nineteen would just make me feel icky for even thinking of them as a partner.”, I said, “So yes I am sure.”
He nodded saying he would take care of it, and within two days the behaviour stopped completely to my relief. I lied to Sebitas because I was afraid of commitment after my experience dating other people in my world. If they were anything like my world I wasn’t going to be the only man they looked at so there was no point in attempting a relationship with any of them. I knew that even though couples were married they still slept around in the village just like humans do. Sara had been with several married men already so I knew she wasn’t my type at all.
To take my mind off of things I spent my free time doing blacksmithing which I had maxed out finally. On occasion over the past week since the attack the young girl frequently visited the shop to watch me work. This kind of attention was alright as it was strictly out of curiosity. Well that was what I thought till she asked me a question.
“Is momma not good enough for you?”, she asked me.
I coughed as I swallowed my water wrong when she asked.
“Where did that come from?”, I asked.
“The Elder told momma to give up on you.”, she said, “He said that you wanted someone closer to your age.”
“That is true yes.”, I said.
“Why don’t you want someone older?”, she asked.
“Because…I have my reasons to hold out for someone my age.”, I said.
“Momma is very pretty though.”, she said with a smile boasting about her mother.
I sighed as trying to explain things to a child was going to be impossible. Fortunately her mother came to get for dinner. When the daughter was gone she stuck around for a few minutes.
“Why does age matter to you?”, Sara asked.
“Age isn’t the problem. I told the Elder that because I didn’t want to alarm him with things.”, I said putting my hammer down, “Your village claims not to be like humans yet some of you tend to share your bed with any person you see fit.”
I made sure not to be specific as to who I was referring, but she knew who I was talking about.
“So…you know about the villages dirty secret, and that is why you can’t see any of us as potential partners.”, she said, “Sharing your spouse can keep things happy between husband and wife. There is no need to worry about holding back as everyone…”
“THAT’S NOT THE POINT”, I said slamming my fist onto the workbench, “I want loyalty in my spouse not someone who will sleep around. All of you may have had happy marriages, but some of us have been burned by people who think the way you do. I am one of them…”
High school had been rough with the beatings, but it had been manageable. I met a kind-hearted girl my junior year who I dated till two weeks before graduation when she broke my heart. Secretly she had been sleeping with other men since I wanted to save our first for after we graduated. She broke the news that she was expecting a baby so I quickly broke up with her as there wasn’t even the slightest chance is was mine. The father wanted nothing to do with her so she tried me again after graduation. I turned her away as she still had the same nasty habit of sleeping around.
“So you will turn your back on everyone that cheats?”, she asked.
“What good is marriage if the wife can get knocked up by any man she sleeps with.”, I snapped.
“You won’t find a woman here who hasn’t slept around you know.”, she said.
“If they are willing to stay faithful I will consider it. They also can’t have any diseases, or already be pregnant.”, I said firmly, “Those are my conditions.”
“I understand. If I fulfill those requirements I could persuade you?”, she said.
“I mean no disrespect, but after the men you have been with how are you not pregnant?”, I said shaking my head.
“A woman has her secrets, but I am not so that’s what counts.”, she said, “So is it a yes or a no?”
“If you met the requirements I would consider it, but no guarantee.”, I said.
“A chance is all I wanted to confirm I had.”, she said walking away.
I shrugged the comment off, and returned to my work. That evening I found out just how far she would go to win me over. When I got home I found that all the windows were shut on the ground level which was unusual. Walking inside everything seemed normal considering the house had been repaired just this week. I smelled Sara’s cooking so I knew it must be dinner time for them. She usually has dinner around five so it was weird to have it so late at night. Before I even started walking downstairs five little voices called me upstairs.
“Coming…”, I said.
I walked upstairs, and found the family sitting at the table with a place for me open on the end. I took a seat after having five sets of eyes on me. I knew Sara must have told them to act this way since I couldn’t say no to them. They were having duck for dinner which creeped me out as the neighbors were from the Duck Tribe. How they got away with such things I will never know.
“So how is the food?”, Sara asked.
“It is fine. The duck tastes very good.”, I said.
The kids gave her a thumbs up which made me want to take the comment back. We finished the meal discussing my work, and telling them what it was like in my world. The children were amazed to learn of everything the people on my world had achieved. They were especially curious about the clothing styles of my world. Only one of the children was a boy so I felt bad for him. He didn’t have it rough though as he was the baby of the family at two years of age.
“So how do our world compare to yours?”, she asked.
“Having magic is very convenient, having other races around is really cool, and…other various things are nice.”, I said, “Now the only thing is getting running water, and indoor plumbing in the house. After that this will be perfect.”
“Indoor plumbing and running water?”, they asked confused.
“Indoor plumbing allows you to out a bathroom in your home, and the waste water goes out of the house without anyone needing to do work. Running water means that the water flows through piping that then distributes it to sinks, baths, and toilets.”, I answered.
Their eyes sparkled with excitement at the mention of less work. They immediately asked what it would take to have that.
“Does this world have magic runes?”, I asked.
“Yes…but only a small handful of people can use them. It is a closely guarded secret to the few who dabble in the craft.”, Sara said.
“I see…then we will do this the old fashion way.”, I said with a smile, “Would you kids be up to helping me?”
Everyone nodded so tomorrow we would be building a water tower. The family went to bed filled with excitement for tomorrow. When first light came I was tackled by five children.
“Wake up!”, they shouted with excitement.
With my face buried under them I gave a look of displeasure. Being woken up like this sucked, and I started feeling bad for my parents. I got up since the kids weren’t going to leave me be. After a quick breakfast we got to work.
We got assistance from a mage that was now a member of the village. He used Earth Magic which I acquired without issue just watching him use it once. We built the reservoir on six support beams next to the house. Making pipes out of hardened clay I piped water into the new bathroom, and kitchen. After that the children helped me pipe the waste water pipes down to the river which took most of the day.
“Okay, now the next step your mother has been working on.”, I told them as the six of us went to see her progress.
I left her, and her extended family to run pipes from the river to the windmill I stayed up till the early hours making. I connected it up to the pipes I had installed on the windmill that suck water into the water tower. Once the rotor was free water started getting sucked up, and into the tower.
As we heard the water flow the kids ran into the house to see for themselves. Moments after entering the home they turned the knob, and fresh water came out. We heard them shouting with excitement which made the adults run inside to see as well. I casually walked in to see the adults smile with excitement as well.
“This is amazing, Sara! You should make that man your husband!! If he can make other amazing inventions like this the village will flourish.”, they said patting her on the back.
“The Elder said to not bother him. He is looking for qualities I don’t have.”, she said with a sly smile.
I went to the bathroom to shower as I hadn’t taken one in days. It was nice to scrub myself clean, but the cold water was a bit sad.
“Maybe taking a bath is better since I can heat it with Fire Magic.”, I thought.
I thought I heard the door to the bathroom, but I wasn’t sure. In case it was one of the children using the toilet I didn’t say anything. When the curtain opened revealing a naked Sara I froze in shock. She got in the shower without saying a word, and started washing off. As I tried to get out I was pulled back in by her. Her eyes told me I was to stay in the shower with her so I did.
The water dripping down her body was quite sexy. Under normal circumstances I would just give in, but I had to remember she was in her late thirties. I found that after talking to other villagers since I forgot what Sebitas said. She was a few years younger than my parents which made this very awkward.