10 Don't go out for a walk at night, please! part 2

If only it was possible to draw a map it'd be very helpful. No, not yet, I'm getting too far ahead of myself.

Helena takes off her shoes before putting her feet in the water, moving forward and making some small groans at the cold. I place the basket on the river bank and set foot inside the water at a distance from her.

"When you see a fish go down the river let me know and I'll try to catch it. If it escapes, then it will be your turn. Let's try to catch the biggest ones, leaving aside the smaller ones" I say to Helena as I hold the harpoon firmly.

"Yes!" Helena answers, it seems that cold affects her a lot because she has her arms crossed close to her body while she shivers, I can also spot two small pieces of evidence supporting my theory, but I'll be keeping that to myself.

At first it's difficult to coordinate, but little by little it becomes much easier and even fun. We are quite successful, only a couple of fish escaped from our deadly harpoons. With the passing of time it also gets hotter, Helena takes this chance to splash me some water and we both end up soaking wet.

We got so many fish I'm amazed, it's more than enough.

If we were already in the cabin I could put some fish to dry, but in here there's no choice but to cook as much as we can to keep it from spoiling.

My wicker basket is overflowing with fish and still we got a few more in our hands, so we head back.

Just like yesterday, everyone is up already. They've dismantled their tents using the wood they were made of to light the fire. There's no point in carrying firewood with us after all.

Longer sticks are used by Hiraku, who fashions a sort of backpack out of them, using the leather pieces to prevent things from falling, they load a bunch of stuff on it. Bob will be taking care of carrying the heaviest load.

My plan to have Bob carry the fish up to the cabin was just ruined. Anyway that's fine, as long as most of us have our hands free, we shouldn't have a problem even if the jackal shows up.

After cooking breakfast, everyone sits on the floor to eat. The atmosphere is more lively than usual due to the abundant fishing.

What surprises me the most is watching Ayumi eat, I look at her dumbfounded as she goes for her third whole fish. When she realizes I'm looking at her, she slowly puts it back near the campfire awkwardly.

"hey! I'm not judging you at all! you can eat as much as you want. It's just that your appetite surprises me a bit" I try her to calm her down.

"It's only natural, when we use our abilities we consume our mana. From what they explained to us when we came, everytime you spend mana you need to recover it with energy from your body. So eating and resting are the only ways to recover mana" Hiraku says as Ayumi picks up again the fish and nibbles on it happily.

"Since we came in here I haven't been able to recover my energy. But it's nothing compared to Helena, her case is worse. She's been healing us using her mana, but the consumption rate of her skill is much higher than mine. After all, I only light the fire"

"That's right, but that doesn't explain why Ayumi is a bottomless pit and Helena isn't" says Anne.

Out of everyone, Anne is the most demure to eat. She's the only one who has not thrown pieces on the ground, nor has she spoken with her mouth full. She only takes small bites and takes her time chewing.

Finishing our breakfast we get up hurriedly, Bob puts out the fire, we pack up and head to my shelter. I really hope I can find the way back.

Everyone starts walking behind me as I lead them through the forest, at first there's a clear path with markings on the trees but as minutes go by I can only walk by what i remember from last time.

"As soon as we get to the tree where I spent the night after being attacked we'll split up to look for my backpack. Whoever finds it must immediately return to that tree that will do as a meeting point. Please don't forget to mark the path" I warn everyone.

"This guy, it hasn't even been five minutes since we left and he already thinks he's the leader of the group" Luke throws his typical snide comment.

Moody, I continue walking in the lead. I hope he changes his attitude at some point, otherwise it could become a bigger problem in the future.

This forest is less dense than where I come from, it's much more difficult to find trails. The path opens in all directions and because of this reason it's quite difficult to find the right way. My only hint would be the backpack, or maybe if I'm lucky, i might be able to find the tree i spent the night on. I cant remember much of the way since I was following Anne.

It's ok anyway, we got up early and everyone was quick to leave. If we hurry we could get there in the afternoon.

It could be luck or just a coincidence, but as I was walking I started to recognize the place, it's not like I knew the trees, it's more than just the feeling I've been here before and since I got no memory of my past this should be a good thing.

When we got to the tree where I spent the night after being attacked by the jackal, we took a short break and put our things on the ground. They all seem alert in case of attack, seeing them like this, they do look more competent than their usual self.

The only one who seems out of focus is Anne as she looks around confused. Now what got into her head?

Suddenly she approaches a particular tree, now that I remember, the first time I saw her she was relieving herself right in that tree.

Could it be that… does she remember the place? Is it possible that she noticed that I could've seen her?

Anne turns sharply to look at the specific tree that served as my home for a night.

"Are you sure this is the tree?"

"Yes why?" I try to hide my anxiety and stay calm answering her.

"It's nothing"

She may be saying so, but she's got this look in her eyes. I think she realized. She stands up and nimbly climbs the branches as she closely inspects them, running her finger exactly over the same branch I slept on.

"There's blood here, and it's dried, it looks like you were telling the truth when you said you were attacked afterall. That's a relief, i thought maybe you were lying to us."

"Well, it's time to split up. We'll go in pairs, in case the jackal shows up, but someone has to stay to watch things. Besides, if something happens whoever stays can go help quickly." Hiraku says in a loud voice, though he doesnt sound authoritative.

"That's a good idea Hiraku, I remember running quite a distance, but it shouldn't be more than five minutes running, so it can't be too far. We'll avoid going in the general direction of the settlement anyway, as I'm sure that it's a different direction"

Ayumi and hiraku choose a random direction and leave. Luke and Bob go to the opposite end. Only Anne, Helena and I remain.

"You go with me, you can't stay alone because you're too weak and Helena has the ability to heal wounds so it is better if she stays to support the rest if necessary."

Anne takes my arm and drags me. Not understanding what happens I let myself be dragged away uncomfortably for a couple of meters, I can see Helena a little disappointed. I'm sure she wanted to go with Anne. A little later I struggle to let go but Anne won't release me.

"I can walk by myself, you know?

" Yes, I know... but there's something I want to ask you and I don't want you to run away"

I'm dead. Poison, thirst, illness, hunger, wounds, the jackal, I've been through so many hardships, just to die at the hands of a psychopath in a forsaken forest.


"That day…" Anne blushes a little "that day, did you see anything?"

Yes, I could see everything. You dropped your pants right in front of me, you have a nice figure by the way.

There is no way in hell I'm going to say something like that!!!

"like what?"

"That day... that day I came to gather. I know because I always mark my path. Before I came to this world I really liked to go on excursions. I'm the one with the best orientation in the group as well as a good physical condition, that's why they chose me to explore. Also, even though I don't have a bow yet, I'm an archer and my skills are especially useful for moving around unknown places. So that's why I know I passed specifically through here at the same time you claim you were near."

"Ah, that explains why you're so strong. Well, that day I lost a lot of blood, more than sleeping in the tree, it could be said that I fell unconscious. I'm sorry I cant help you"

After a sigh of relief, she lets go of my arm and we continue walking in dead silence. In this short trip I've been able to verify first-hand Anne's tracking skills.

I don't think it's archery, rather it seems to be a technique acquired through years of practice.

"This path is not the right one, we should have found your backpack by now. Besides, there are no signs that anyone has passed through here."

We quickly retraced our steps. Everyone was waiting for us gathered in the tree as we agreed.

"Too slow! We already found the place!" Bob exclaims loudly with his chest puffed out.

We pick up the luggage and follow closely Luke and Bob who now lead the group.

Everyone's walking impatiently, eager to reach our destination. They must've explored running, both of them are giddy and jump into action before thinking things through. It was lucky they found the backpack in such a short amount of time.

By the time we reach the spot Luke points to I'm already gasping for air, we're still at a fair distance from my backpack, but I can see it.

"that jackal, we saw it, it was close by so be careful" Luke says addressing the group.

"Good thinking guys!!! When we get there we'll give you a bigger piece of fish than the rest" says Hiraku. Ayumi pulls his sleeve complaining, she really is a glutton.

We approach the backpack cautiously, I check its contents:

medicinal herbs, some berries, a couple sharp stones, flint and my two cups are now broken. Everything seems to be covered in a viscous liquid.

"That stupid dog, he left everything covered in drool! everything is ruined, to top it off the whole basket smells fishy"

"What else did you expect it to smell like? you were carrying fish right?" says Anne

"Not necessarily, Ryu taught me how to wrap fish in the leaves from the plant which we obtained the tubers. Not only does it keep the basket from smelling fishy, ​​it also keeps bugs away" says Helena as she shows all the bundles of leaves in her basket.

Helena is always ready to defend me, I like her already.

"Where are we going now?" Ayumi says, without disguising her impatience.

Fortunately, I have a general idea of ​​where the lake is. As long as we get there I can see from the shore and try to set the course to my clearing.

"We have to walk over there" I say looking at Ayumi as I point my finger the other way. Everyone's face turns to stone.

I don't know what's in there but every fiber of my being tells me I shouldn't look back. Is the jackal waiting for me? No, a jackal wouldn't scare them, they should be prepared to face it. I shouldn't be a coward, at least not in front of them if I want to gain their respect.

I turn slowly, fearing what may be lurking behind my back, but the scene before my eyes is even worse than I expected.

The jackal is nearby, although it seems distracted. Surely we could pass him by just making a small detour, avoiding it and then following the path to my cabin without facing any problems.

But we don't do that, I don't do that, instead I run boldly towards the jackal, screaming at the top of my lungs.

"Stupid dog! Let go of that cat!"

I don't think about the consequences, I don't think about the danger, I don't think about my safety or the safety of the group. I simply run screaming with teary eyes and then I pounced head first on the jackal.

I manage to corner it against a tree but it refuses to let go of his prey. A faint meow escapes the poor kitty's snout, still half inside into the jackal's jaws. It's badly injured and it's just a kitten, it might not make it even if I get the jackal to let it loose.

I swing my spear with all my might, not caring if i hurt it, I just need to cause it enough pain to frighten it. I somehow managed to land a good hit on its side and he dropped the kitten on the floor while running away.

What do I do now? I'm far ahead of the rest of the group, alone against the forest jackal, I have no chance in fighting alone. This sudden realization about how stupid I was left me frozen in fear.

I look back briefly to see if I'll get help, but it turns out to be a mistake. A sharp pain pierces my leg and I feel something warm dripping.

Health 7/10

But the worst part of everything is what lies in front of my eyes, as the jackal pulls my leg holding tightly onto it, Ayumi is shaking on the ground, Bob is chanting something that sounds like a magic spell although it doesn't seem to be working. Helena cautiously approaches with trembling hands, Luke just watches the scene as he walks slowly. The only one who ran to my aid was Hiraku.

He starts swinging his spear wildly as if it was a club. He hits the jackal and it doesn't even flinch, now that I remember, last time when I hit him with the spear it had the same effect. It must be that he's about as weak as I was back then.

Then the jackal pounces on Hiraku, fearing the worst, I try to get on my feet, but the pain in my leg left me incapable of moving at all.

The only thing I can do is analyze the jackal

Jackal 9/15

Not enough, not nearly enough!

Anne threw her weapon from behind the jackal, preventing it from dodging. It was a good move, it may have even been a great move, but she was left without a weapon. It was a bad idea, the only thing I can do now is watch the fight from afar, I crawl as best I can towards the kitten.

Moon cat 3/20 (bleeding)

Things don't look great for the poor creature, It might even die. If it dies, everything would've been in vain.

Hiraku continues to face the jackal, his gaze shows his determination, he looks like a warrior that's been forged in battle, there's only one slight problem... all he does is swing the spear everywhere, without technique or awareness at all.

When Luke arrives to help he receives a terrible blow to the face and Hiraku gets bitten. There's blood spurting out of Luke's nose, he covers his face with his hands rolling on the floor andletting go of his spear.

What's up with this bunch of worthless heroes?

I know that I am not one to judge, I know, my mistake forced us into a battle that could've been easily avoided, and I was the first to be injured. Still, a group of six heroes facing a single jackal shouldn't even be an issue.

"Bob, stop yelling and join the battle! Helena, use your healing skill on Hiraku! Anne, pick up my spears and fight again!"

I yell directions as loud as I can. Although their first reaction is surprise, they quickly follow my instructions.

"Surround it so he doesn't run away!"

Bob hits the jackal so hard I think I even heard a cracking sound, Anne threw one of my spears right to its neck.

"Hiraku, for goodness sake stop hitting allies, if you can't, you better back off!"

Bob manages to land another hit and the jackal finally drops dead. It was a tough fight, but there's no time to rest. Everyone starts checking their wounds, Ayumi is still on the ground and I'm holding the cat in my arms.

Only now do I realize that it has two tails. It's a beautiful small cream-colored kitten. I don't know how old it is, but it's so tiny.

"Helena, is there anything you can do for this kitty?" I look at Helena with pleading eyes, she shakes her head.

"I spent all my mana healing Luke, I still only managed to heal him for four health points. I think even if I had all my mana, I wouldn't be able to do much for the cat."

Why was she healing luke? she should've healed Hiraku, Luke was just fine.

"Listen Helena, I asked you to Heal Hiraku... in case you're wondering why, it's because Hiraku may be infected by something... and Luke just got a hit to the face"

She looks absent minded, maybe I was too harsh on her, but if this was a fight to the death it can make a huge difference.

Now, what can i do about this cat? I could just give up, continue my journey and get on with my life. But no, I wouldn't be able to forget this moment. I think even if Luke was in this state I wouldn't care so much, why did Helena heal Luke? That guy is a waste of air.

There might be a way but its cost will be high. I search on my sash for medicine, the silver flower's root is still there, I start chewing on it, then I take off my sash and pass the obsidian knife to Bob, who looks at me intrigued.

I spit the paste in my hand and put it on the wounds of the poor feline.

"it's for you to skin the jackal , we can't let the skin go to waste. I think eating it would be a bad idea, though."

I continue to wrap the sash around the cat's wound to prevent blood loss and keeping the medicine in place. It seems to be working as it starts meowing in pain, and I get a new message.

First Aid 1%

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