As she rinsed off the soap she returned her attention to me. She gave me a once over with her eyes before she moved towards me. I backed myself against the wall trying to keep her away. With nowhere to go she gently ran her hand down my chest with a seductive smile. I gulped loudly as it was a very sexy expression, and her soft hand felt nice.
“My family has the kids for the evening. I am all yours.”, she said coming in closer.
“Pease, stop it.”, I said, “I know your children need a father, but why me?”
“Your inventions make life so much easier, the kids adore you, and you are single.”, she said coming in to kiss me.
I put my hand on her mouth while looking at her with a cold expression. She stopped her advances with a hesitant look.
“Is that all?”, I asked her.
“Yes?”, she replied.
I gently pushed her back, and got out of the shower. I dried off before getting dressed. I looked back at her before walking out to leave her with a few words.
“If those are the only three reasons you are interested in me then find another man…”, I said walking out.
I went to bed straight away without having dinner. She left the bathroom a short time after me returning upstairs. The next morning I went out on my normal patrol in a crappy mood. Last night left a bad taste in my mouth, and I just ate some fish I managed to catch. When I got back to town I knew something was off.
The people were giving me a wider berth than normal so Sara must have talked to them. I headed straight to Sebitas to get answers.
“Yes…about that. It seems you upset Sara by denying her advance on you. The villagers seem to think it was because you think yourself above her.”, he said.
“I asked her last night why she made advances on me, and she gave me three reasons why.”, I said flatly, “The reason I wanted to hear she never once said.”
“And that would be?”, he inquired.
“That it was because she loved me.”, I stated, “Not once did she say that to me or even imply it aside from the physical aspect. Who would sleep with someone who doesn’t love them!?”
I slammed my fist down on the table in anger. This whole situation now was irritating me to no end.
“Listen…now that you guys have more people I should be able to leave you without any issues. You have another blacksmith, and with the new men you are more than capable of guarding the town.”, I pointed out.
He went wide-eyed quickly trying to change my mind. To him I was a valued member of the town as a fighter, and as a blacksmith. As we talked back, and forth he realized I wasn’t going to change my mind. He then asked when I would be leaving then.
“Two days from now. I will leave early morning as to not bother anyone.”, I said.
He nodded sinking back into his seat. I left to go home to pack as the new blacksmith was settling into the position. I packed the very few belongings I had as I would be roughing it in the woods for the remainder of my stay. The children were confused as to why I was leaving the house. I decided then to break the news to them.
“I am leaving town in two days.”, I said, “The village is now protected by very brave, and strong men so you will be safe.”
When they heard I was leaving the hung their heads before running off crying. I felt bad, but I didn’t want to lie to them. Walking out of the house I pitched camp next to where I met the Herald of Change. I started a small fire, and did some fishing to get dinner. As I cooked the small fish I did manage to catch Sebitas came to see me.
“The children are upset that you are leaving.”, he said, “Especially Sara’s children.”
“I feel bad, but if there is no love from her I don’t want her.”, I said firmly.
“I understand that you want someone who loves you emotionally. I sought the same thing when I searched for a bride, and it took years to find her.”, he said.
He sat down with me to chat till the sun started to set. As he got up to leave we spotted a little fuzzball peeking at us from behind a few bushes. He smiled leaving her to join me without anyone to bother us. She walked over carrying her stuffed animal to speak with me.
“Are you really gonna leave us?”, she asked.
I nodded which made her panic.
“I didn’t mean what I said before! Please don’t go!!”, she said.
I pulled her into my arms holding her tightly. Stroking her hair softly she burrowed into my chest trying to hide her tears.
“You didn’t do anything wrong. Things have improved here enough that I can leave without worrying about you.”, I said softly, “Your mother can find another Daddy for you that will love you very much. He could…”
“I DON’T WANT ANOTHER PAPA!!! I WANT YOU TO BE MY PAPA!!”, she demanded pounding her small fists into my chest.
I wasn’t sure how to respond to her. In the end the only thing I could do was stroke her hair till she fell asleep. When she did I carried her back to her home to her bed. The other children were sound asleep so I had to leave quietly as their mother was entertaining company.
As I walked back to my camp I decided to leave in the morning as soon as there was light in the sky. I feel asleep soundly listening to the sounds of the night. The next morning I put out my fire, and left so no one would find me. With the morning light it was a breeze to move quickly as the heat had yet to arrive. I kept the pace up till around noon when I found a small stream to fish in.
Since I wasn’t stupid enough to walk in the noon day sun I rested while I ate a few crayfish I found after cooking them. Around one I left again passing the slaver carts in a hurry. The bodies had been dragged off so I didn’t want to stick around to see what dragged them off. By nightfall I reached the torched remains of a village.
“This must be one of the villages that those people came from.”, I thought saying a small prayer for the dead.
I took shelter for the night in one of the still standing buildings. It was a cold night with just a small fire, but I didn’t want to attract any unwanted attention. The next morning I went through the same routine, and continued the schedule till I cleared the forest three days later. As I broke through the trees I feel to my knees kissing the grass.
“Sweet mother of pearl!! I missed grass so much!!”, I said with a laugh.
Looking ahead of me I saw a road, and a small town close by. I was happy to see signs of civilization after spending a few days by myself. As I passed through the gates after being checked I asked for directions to the nearest inn.
“Down the street on the left. It’s called the Bard’s Rest Stop.”, the guard said, “You taking your slave in too?”
“Slave?”, I said looking behind me.
There on the road was the little girl with her stuffed animal. Seeing her put me in a panic. I quickly ran up to her, and carried into town. Finding a secluded place I put her down, and asked why she followed me.
“I will follow Papa.”, she said.
“You realize how dangerous that was!”, I said falling to my knees, “I would have felt terrible if something happened to you!”
Tears started flowing down my cheeks because I was genuinely scared thinking of the danger she was in. I sighed realizing I had to go back to the village, but it was getting late. We found the inn, and booked a room at a higher price since I insisted she stay in my room.
“The Hell you need her in your room for?”, the innkeeper asked looking at her.
“She is a maid in training! What’s the point in having a maid that can’t assist me with things?”, I snapped.
“Fair enough.”, he said, “Third room on the right.”
We walked back to the room after ordering our food. The little girl was filthy as were her clothes. I stripped her down, and gave her a bath. Wrapping her in a towel I placed her on the bed before getting our food. I brought the food to our room, and ate with her. She was happy to eat some food after several days with little to eat.
“Listen, when we are around humans you need to stay close. Someone could try, and steal you from me.”, I said patting her head.
“Yes, Papa.”, she said hugging me in her towel.
I put her to bed with her clean stuffed animal before getting in bed myself. The next morning using the remaining money I had I bought some supplies, and headed back into the forest. During the trip back she enjoyed herself pointing out unique plants, and animals. Her smiling face warmed my heart because of her innocence. When we arrived back at the village her mother came running out with a ragged expression.
“Baby!!”, she said scooping her up.
She showered her with kisses of joy. Sara had been worried sick ever since her daughter disappeared. Sebitas came running up as well to see what had happened.
“I left the following morning after our conversation. I didn’t realize she had been following me till I reached town. If the guard hadn’t pointed her out I don’t know what would have happened.”, I said scratching my head, “Brought her back as soon as possible because I knew all of you would be worried.”
Looking at the beaming child she started telling everyone about the trip back.
“Papa and I saw lots of pretty flowers Momma! Look I brought you some!!”, she said eagerly showing her the flowers.
Her mother broke down crying her eyes out. She held her oblivious daughter tightly not wanting her to let her go. The village was relieved to have her back unharmed. Sadly though that was cut short by sound of men running in armor. We heard screaming coming the villagers as they ran into the center of town.
“It’s the Army!!”, they shouted gathering in a group.
The formed a tight circle in the middle of the village. Soldiers, and armored knights encircled us standing at attention. Sara kids were scared senseless because of the stories they heard about the Army. I bent over to patted their heads when I heard a familiar voice. The same voice apologized to me before throwing me out of the castle.
“Where is the Hero?!”, she barked, “We checked the main road, and found nothing so he must have come this way.”
She held up a struggling young boy by the hair, and put her sword to his neck.
“The longer you hold your tongues the more of you will die!”, she snapped.
I picked up a stone, and with the assistance of Earth Magic shot it from my hand like a bullet. The rock hit her breastplate knocking off her feet. When she hit the ground her grip was lost for a few seconds which was enough time for the boy to flee. I stepped out of the crowd approaching her in an irritated fashion.
“You have some balls walking in here on your high horse!”, I said, “If you’re looking for a fight I will be more than happy to turn you into jerky.”
She struggled to get up after receiving the rock to the chest. After a few minutes she got up, and removed her helmet. Underneath I saw a brown-haired, tan skinned, and green-eyed bomb shell. I almost gasped out of shock because she looked like an actress.
“You are a hard person to track down…”, she said.
“Well I am only here because one of the children followed me to the town a few days north of here.”, I said, “Anyways why are you here? Wanting to throw me off a cliff this time, or better yet into a bottomless pit?”
“No, the priestess and the King made in error in judgement. They have asked for your safe return to the castle.”, she said.
“HAHA!! Oh wait…your serious.”, I said sarcastically, “Why would I want to go back? You threw me out the first time, and I come to find out you treat non humans like wild animals!! This may not be our world, but it doesn’t mean we given up our ethics and morality!!”