The sheer height of the canyon walls made me feel extremely small. The canyon walls seemed to break through the clouds high in the sky. As I admired the scenery Garmella told me about the legend surround this area.
“According to legend there is supposed to be an entire kingdom that reigns over the plateaus in this area. No one knows for sure though as there is no roads, stairs, or other methods of traveling to the top. Wind Magic can’t get you high enough to see over the lip of the canyon wall.”, she said.
“Has anyone ever tried climbing the walls?”, I asked.
“Yes, my mother said a couple tried to climb it some forty years ago. No one saw them for several weeks till the husband’s corpse fell out of the clouds turning to dust on impact.”, she said with shivers, “The wife was never seen, and her body is presumed to be on the wall somewhere.”
“Quite a gruesome legend if you ask me.”, I said.
“I know so the sooner we get through the better. I don’t want her corpse falling on me.”, she said looking around.
We continued on into the maze of canyons following trail markers for a while. As the day wore on something seemed off to me so pulled off into a small gully. She asked me why we stopped, but the answer came soon enough. Four leather armored brutes came around the bend where we had just come. They must be the bandits she had mentioned before walking into the canyon.
“Where the hell they go?”, one of them asked, “They didn’t spot us did they?”
I covered Garmella’s mouth so she didn’t accidentally say anything with the men being so close. We pressed our bodies against the floor keeping out of sight because we were at a disadvantage. Sure I could use Earth Magic, but there was no telling how unstable the rock was in this area. They searched the area for us, and decided that we had spotted something and ran after it. The four men quickly took off running down the path trying to find us. Once they disappeared we came out of hiding catching our breath.
“How long do you think that bought us?”, she asked.
“If they know the area I am guessing it bought us an hour or so.”, I said.
Both of us quickly, but carefully took off following the trail. Things seemed peacefully for a while till the sun started to set. Having a fire tonight was like inviting them to come catch us so we agreed on an alternative plan. The two of us would cuddle together for warmth till the sun came back up. With no fire to cook we ended up eating jerky which I hated. As night fell we cuddled up under a blanket trying to get some sleep taking turns watching for any signs of bandits.
Around 1am Garmella woke me open saying she could see light off down the canyon from us. Instead of four brutes we could make out a female leading a small band of ten men heading this way. We had nowhere to hide so we curled up behind a rock hoping they wouldn’t see us. The group almost passed us, but the last man in the group managed to pick us out in the darkness.
“Boss, there is two people here hiding behind that rock.”, he said.
Looking at him I realized he had owl eyes which was how he managed to pick us out. The group stopped to look at us so I immediately went on the defensive. Putting Garmella behind me I shielded her from them.
“We are simple travelers trying to make it through the canyon. Please leave us be.”, I asked.
The men parted revealing their extremely bodacious female leader. She had dark chocolate-colored skin, silver hair, and very seductive violet eyes. Looking her over she appeared to be a Dark Elf so I had to be careful since I had yet to learn her people’s magic or anything about them. Parting her amazing deep red lips she began speaking to us.
“You say you are travelers yet you hide from us, why?”, she asked.
“We already had run-ins with bandits today, and naturally assumed you were bandits seeing how you are dressed.”, I said, “We don’t want any trouble from you so please leave us be.”
“Boss, I think these people haven’t been through here before. If they mistook us for bandits then we should explain things to them.”, the owl eyed man suggested.
“I know! No need to tell me what I already intend to do.”, she said, “We are not your average bandits. We only take from the rich and wealthy not from poor citizens like yourselves. If you would be so kind as to follow us we will take you to a safe place.”
I looked back at Garmella for her input. She looked them over, and said that she believe them. Trusting my companions judgement we accepted the offer following them back to their base. The bandit group had mined into the side of the cliff to make a small town like some of the Native Americans did in my country. They took us inside where other travelers were enjoying themselves around a giant bonfire. We sat near them warming up around the fire. The apparent bandit chief sat next to me to talk. The fluid motion of her bouncing guns was too much not to watch. None of the other men around us made eye contact with her knockers which made me hesitate.
“Are they attracted to men, or is she really scary?”, I thought.
That question was soon answered when she asked if I found her attractive.
“As a man I do find you quite attractive.”, I replied honestly.
“If you had the chance would you force yourself on me?”, she asked.
“I only pursue the willing. It isn’t right to force yourself on others.”, I responded.
“If I said it was fine though you would then?”, she questioned.
“If you gave me permission of course I would.”, I said like it was a no brain answer.
“Even though you have a woman?”, she said.
“We aren’t together in that manner.”, both of us said.
“Oh…”, she retorted.
“We are just traveling together.”, Garmella said.
“I see then would you like me to travel with you?”, she said with a sly smile.
The surrounding men scooted away hearing those words which made me nervous.
“What’s the catch?”, I asked, “A woman like you wouldn’t give in for no reason.”
She laughed nodding her head with delight.
“Finally a man who realizes I am above his strike range.”, she laughed.
“You aren’t above me…we are equal.”, I said.
She stopped laughing to look at me with a straight face.
“Is that a challenge?”, she asked.
“Why not it isn’t like I have something else to do. Name the game, and wager.”, I said.
“We will have a one on one duel. Magic and all manner of weapons are allowed.”, she said, “First one to be knocked out or yield is the winner.”
“You still haven’t said the wagers.”, I reminded her.
“If you win I will travel with you as it seems neither of you have any lick of sense.”, she replied, “If I win you will work in my gang for a year before you can leave. How does that sound?”
I smiled standing up next to her with my hand stretched out to her.
“You got yourself a deal. The only stipulation I have is if either of us win nothing neither side can make the other do sexual acts. I have to look after my companion after all.”, I stated.
“Fair enough I accept that term.”, she said shaking my hand, “Let’s go out to the field to fight. I don’t want to damage the buildings we chiseled out ourselves.”
Nodding she lead me out to the fighting spot just outside town. Everyone gathered around ready to watch the fight with bated breath. I drew my sword getting into position. The crowd looked at my sword with surprise as it was well-kept. She drew her two short sword giving a showy spin as she drew them out. Both of us assumed stances twenty feet from each other, and waited for the agreed upon judge to give the signal. As soon as he said fight I launched several Fireballs at her.
Caught off guard by the number of spells she attempted to dodge them, but only managed to dodge the first five receiving the final three head on. The ensuing explosion sent her flying backwards sliding across the ground. Before I could smile she was off like a bullet running towards me. Using Earth Magic I unleveled the ground causing her to lose her footing. As she slid again I slammed my fist into her face knocking her into the air for a few seconds. Immediately getting up she threw her short swords at me which I barely managed to dodge. They flew past my head, and the next thing I knew she was attempting to wrestle me to the ground.
As a child I had a fascination with wrestling so I knew how to fight her. Wrapping my arms around her waist I piledrived her head into the ground before rolling around to put her in a Full Nelson. With her arms, and head immobilized I wrapped my legs around her waist to try, and attempt to squeeze the air out of her. I wasn’t muscular enough to do it so I opted to use it as a way of stretching out her body by bending backwards. With her stomach wide open I proceed to use Earth Magic to pumble her abdomen with stones. Eventually the pain became too much for her, and she yielded. The surrounding men were astonished that I had beaten her, and she was just as surprised as them.
“You aren’t some simple travelers, are you?”, she questioned as I let her go.
“Actually only she is. I am the Eighth Summoned Hero from the Empire. You know the one that they are looking all over the place for.”, I said with a chuckle.
No one thought it was funny as it was a serious matter to them.
“You have a bounty on your head you know?”, the Dark Elf said.
“I already had to kill one of the other Hero’s when she attempted to massacre a village over me.”, I said.
“I see. Well either way a deal is a deal.”, she said shaking my hand, “I am Esmeralda, and I look forward to traveling with you from now on.”
The gang members started tearing up hearing those words come from her mouth. They looked at me ordering me to take good care of her or else. I promised to take care of her after we left in the morning. Before the group broke up after the fight though I asked them a question.
“So what is your gangs name by the way?”, I asked.
“We are….”, the men said getting into weird poses, “We are the The Canyon Avacolida Gang!!”
“The Canyon Avocado Gang??”, I said a bit confused, “Are their Avocados in this world?”
“Not Avocados you idiot! It is Avacolida!!”, the men said, “It is the bosses last name!”
The men were proud to say it, but it made Esmeralda a bit embarrassed. I corrected my pronunciation of their name to calm them down as we walked back into camp together. As the men took up their nighttime positions I found myself stuck between two angry women.
“Why are you sharing his blanket!”, Garmella demanded.
“I am a member of this group now as well!”, Esmeralda said, “I will not be treated any less than you.”
“You are just trying to tempt him with your useless sacks of meat.”, Garmella snapped squeezing Esmeralda’s breasts.
“Your just jealous because you have none!!”, Esmeralda shouted.
The arguing continued as the men looked at me like I was on death row. Eventually the two of them passed out around 2am so I managed to get a few hours of sleep before I was dragged out of bed in the morning.