Survive in the parallel world, please! -
Chapter 15: Don’t play with stray dogs, please!
“Why does this have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? Sometimes I feel like I was brought into this world only to suffer.” Anne complains.
“Why do you say that? Even if the situation is bad, I still think it’s better than dying” helena sighs
“What do you mean? Oh! Right, we were supposedly summoned the moment right before of our death.”
“Come on, don’t be like that, try to be a little more optimistic”
“How can I be optimistic when my stomach growls all day, don’t you understand how embarrassed I feel? A lady like me has an image to protect. And I’m so tired that I can’t even afford to be embarrassed anymore”
The two argue openly as Hiraku walks a little further ahead. For him, who’s over fifty years old, the tragedy that befalls Anne is only a light matter. It’s normal to get sick from time to time, everyone has been through it, more than worrying about your image, she should be worrying about her life.
Even in the world where they come from, where there’s high technology and medicine, diseases as mild as the one that afflicts Anne, if left untreated for too long, can cause death.
After about five minutes away from Bob and Ryu, the forest begins to thin out and they can see a plain in the distance. Since they are obviously not going to find red berries where there are no bushes, they decide to go back into the woods to continue looking.
The girls keep chatting, but Hiraku pays them no mind. He’s trying to keep his attention on the surroundings to find the medicine as soon as possible so they can group up again.
“Look! Those are the flowers that Ryu likes!”
Helena walks briskly over to the flowers, there are about ten of them. Considering how useful they are, silver flowers are too valuable to leave behind.
“You shouldn’t get ahead of yourself like that... HEY! be careful!
Anne yells as a jackal appears out of the bushes.
“Calm down, don’t turn your back on it... remember what happened when Ryu did it? everything will be fine as long as we don’t turn our backs on it” says Hiraku attempting to keep his composure. And perhaps everything would have been fine, but several growls begin to echo from their surroundings.
“We are surrounded! What should we do?”
“Keep calm, don’t drop your weapons and... RUN!”
After hearing the screams we put everything aside, we take our spears and we approach as fast as possible to the source of the loud noises. Hiraku, Anne and Helena emerge from the forest, covered in dirt and some scratches, by the river side while being pursued by a pack of jackals.
Helena runs with a very noticeable limp as she screams at the top of her lungs. Seeing this, Bob leaves me behind striding forward with his long legs. Both his speed and stamina seem superhuman to me, I don’t have anyone else to compare with and this is starting to hurt my self esteem. Seeing both Anne and Hiraku drift further and further away, Helena does her best to catch up but falls on her face.
“STOOOOP, stop right there and hold your position. You can’t leave Helena by herself!”
It’s useless, fear takes over both Anne and Hiraku all the same. Only Bob goes to help but i’m afraid he won’t make it in time. Hearing my voice, Helena tries to calm down, although she’s on the ground, she grabs her spear firmly and turns around just in time to impale a jackal, but even though it was a great hit that took advantage of the creature’s impulse, it manages to escape somehow, with the spear still skewered in its belly.
I have no choice but to throw my stone spear, it’s the best quality and although I can’t do as much damage as Bob or Anne, my instinct tells me I won’t miss. I take a deep breath and take a second to aim correctly. Even if I’m against time, it’s better to be careful since I only have one chance.
I grab my spear from below, it’s at my side now at the height of my waist and my hand grabs it from above, I let go of it just for a moment while I raise it above my head to take advantage of its inertia and start pulling my arm back with all my strength. now the spear is at shoulder height, I lift my foot in front of me and shoot the spear with all the weight and impulse of my body towards the jackal that’s closest to Helena.
I keep running forward without confirming if I hit the target or not, the message seems to indicate that I got it and I no longer hear Helena screaming, this can be good or very bad. Still I have no time to lose, I no longer have the spear, I’m completely unarmed. Realizing this my priority changes, instead of running blindly towards them I need to find a weapon. Without hesitation I pick up the nearest imperial stone and continue on my way. I remember it said it had physical resistance, so in a sense, this should make a good throwing weapon too since it’s supposedly hard.
Now I can see Helena on the ground supporting her weight on one arm, one of her legs is straight and the other is bent. it’s an image that begs for help. Fortunately, both Anne and Hiraku regained their senses at some point and turned back to support her.
Now Anne, Bob and Hiraku are pointing their spears at seven jackals who stop right in front of them. They may be beasts, but they’re not actually stupid. Surely they learned by seeing the failure of their first partner.
One of the jackals comes forward, it’s bigger than the rest, it must be the leader. I don’t have the time to try to see their health points, this won’t be an easy battle and if I lose concentration for a second someone could wind up dead.
“What do we do now young Ryu?”
I managed to get where they are, but just running this distance left me out of breath and I need a few seconds to recover.
“Come on Ryu! you’re our leader now and we need you! Helena needs you! we’ll follow your orders, so please do something!”
Anne cries in despair as I try to think what to do, but nothing comes to mind. My first instinct would be to run, but with Helena’s condition it’s not even possible. I need more time!
“The bigger one is the pack leader, be careful with him, don’t allow them to surround you. I will draw his attention somehow, attack anyone who turns his back except the leader”
From my previous encounter with the first jackal, I remember that after climbing the tree, the jackal hid and waited patiently until I tried to climb down. These creatures are smarter than they seem. If I had to guess, the leader stepped forward to take a spear attack and assess the damage he receives. Based on that, he will make the decision on whether or not it is worth attacking the group.
If Bob manages to land a good hit on it, it will surely be hurt, more so now that he’s taking his warrior class seriously. He’ll be much stronger than before. Even so, we can’t exchange blows with them, even if it’s just a few wounds, we may be easy prey for other creatures on the way back. As if that weren’t enough, with only ten health points I could get eaten in one bite.
My best chance is to get away from the group acting as bait, if I can get the leader’s attention the rest will be fine... I think. Since they’re now by the river there are no trees in the immediate vicinity. As soon as I throw the stone, I will have to make a run for it.
The pack leader tries to approach the group, but they don’t back down, so it’s a temporary stalemate. I slowly move away from the group and as soon as I can, I throw the imperial stone that I picked up before with all my strength towards the leader. It lands directly in his eye, a high-pitched shriek is heard, but I don’t look back.
I run as if my life depended on it, mainly because in reality that’s exactly the case. Even fatigued of my previous race, my motivation is more than enough to run the fifty or so meters to the forest.
Damn it! I reach the forest but there are no trees with branches low enough for me to climb, what can I do? I’m not going to fall here, I can’t allow myself a moment of weakness. An idea that could only be described as suicidal comes to me.
After reaching a robust tree I stop in front of it, turning my back on my pursuer. Its sight must be cloudy at least, I focused on hearing every single footstep and at the last second, dodged the pack leader’s fierce attack. A dull noise confirms my success, but it’s too early to celebrate, I finally find a tree with a branch low enough to climb it, I hold on with all my strength and lift my weight with difficulty.
Just in case, I climb a little higher. But the pack leader is on the ground and does not move. I’m not buying it, these dogs play dirty. I won’t fall into its trap, it’s too easy to see through the jackal’s scheme.
A minute goes by and the jackal still doesn’t move. I try to use my analyze skill on it, but I don’t get any information about its health points. I’m worried about the rest of the group, Anne is sick, Hiraku is useless in battle and Helena is in bad shape. I hate to admit it but even though Bob is a bit eccentric, he’s now the most reliable.
I scan my surroundings for something, anything that allows me to go help the rest. There’s a trail of blood, it must have been left by the jackal that Helena managed to hurt, a little further on, the corpse of a jackal lying in a pool of blood gives me hope. the spear is still skewered in its belly.
Most likely the damage wasn’t enough to finish him off, but as he ran away with the spear impaled in its body, the loss of blood ended his life. If I come down from here and the Pack leader is still alive, it will move immediately, if it doesn’t it will lose the only chance at attacking me, since I’ll be able to climb the tree again. In case that happens, if I already have the spear in my hand I might be able to fight him by myself.
But taking the spear out of the dead jackal could be difficult, if i can’t do it in a single move I’ll be in danger. I muster all the courage I have left and drop myself to the ground without hesitation, I run as fast as I can with my cramped legs. I jump towards the spear and somersault on the ground after picking it up, without wasting a single movement I turn around to defend myself against the powerful beast that will surely attack me.
It doesn’t move, the jackal is still inert on the ground, it’s definitely dead.
The rest of the group killed the other jackals and headed towards my direction calling my name out loud.
“Hey guys! i’m over here! are you alright?”
“we’re fine! And the pack leader?”
asks Hiraku panting
“I took care of it”
“you!? but how!? you’re a weakling and you didn’t even have weapons!” Anne exclaims confused
“Hey! you just said I’m your leader, am I not reliable?”
“Hahaha! As expected from Ryu!” Bob laughs nonchalantly
it’s good that they trust me, but I don’t want them to have unrealistic expectations of me, or in the future they’ll expect me to do this kind of thing all the time.
“It’s not that, it was just luck. by the way, how are you Helena?”
“Not great, it hurts a lot and I can’t use my healing ability”
“Ah, did you spend all your mana?”
“It’s not that, it’s just, I can’t reach it” says Helena looking down at the ground, covering an expression of embarrassment.
“Don’t worry, I’m skilled in first aids. Leave Helena with me while you retrieve the jackal corpses. After all the effort, we can’t afford to waste their skin”
Hearing my words, Helena’s face turns bright red. Not a single word comes out of her mouth as she keeps her eyes shyly on the ground.
“Ok guys, you already heard Ryu, let’s go!”
Anne, Bob and Hiraku slowly walk away, shortly before disappearing into the foliage Anne turns and gazes angrily at me. Her behavior has always puzzled me, sometimes she’s very rude but sometimes she’s also very sweet. If she had a softer character, or if she at least ignored me most of the time like Luke does, my life would be so much easier.
“I wish I brought some silver flowers, they make an excellent medicine”
Helena reaches out her hand to me with a whole flower with the root intact.
“I’m surprised you had time to dig it out, it’s in excellent condition, I’m sure it will be enough”
“Actually, I think it’s my fault the jackals attacked us. I was so happy to find so many of them that I made too much noise and they found me”
“Don’t worry, those things are vicious, still the outcome wasn’t bad at all.”
With the root now in my hand I go to the river, it’s necessary to wash it well before grinding it. Since I don’t have a mortar I have to chew the root until it forms a paste and if it has dirt it will be very uncomfortable, also the wound would get dirty so it can be counterproductive.
“Okay, now show me the wound to apply the medicine”
Helena turns her back to me, then begins to slowly lower her pants revealing her pale skin, in a place rarely hit by sunlight. Although I can’t see her expression, I’m sure she’s blushing, I know this because I am too.
I’m not a child, but I’m not so naive as to believe that she is seducing me. She’s in pain right now and I must not abuse her trust. I move my hand to reach for my sash and, only then do I realize, I don’t have it with me.
“Helena, I’m sorry but I don’t have anything to apply the medicine to you. The cat kept the sash even though it doesn’t need it anymore”
“it’s ok, don’t worry about it, you can use your hands”
“By the way, how much longer do you plan to call it cat? you should start looking for a name for it”
Surely she’s looking for a topic of conversation to distract herself from the embarrassing situation we find ourselves in, but I can’t answer her because I’m currently chewing on the root. It’s a primitive but effective technique. I must carefully check the wound, it’s only a small bite on her rear but it must be deep since it caused her a lot of difficulty to walk. I put the paste in my hand and begin to spread the mixture on the wounds.
first aid 3%
A long moan escapes helena’s lips as soon as my hand touches her, if there really is a god out there somewhere, i pray i never, ever, ever have to do this for Bob.
“You must cover yourself quickly and avoid moving as much as possible, the medicine will take effect soon but it’s quite painful”
“yes, no problem... AYEEE! it hurts! it hurts a lot! you should’ve warned me before”
“don’t worry, at least that won’t leave a scar”
Upon hearing this, a smile invades her face, she must have been really worried about that. Anne, Bob and Hiraku come back soon after. Bob carries the skins on his shoulders, but what draws my attention the most is Anne, she seems really happy. It’s like she’s a different person now, is she mocking me? what’s with that face?
“why so happy anne?” asks Helena trying to distract herself from the pain.
“I found them! I found some red berries and ate... a lot of them. I feel better now”
Her eyes are narrowed drawing an arc on her face. Her happiness must be proportional to the pain she endured these days. I remember how I felt after going through the same thing, in my case, I was so tired and dehydrated that it took me days to recover. But since she’s a lot stronger than me she might be ok within the hour.
“We will camp here tonight, it’s getting late and traveling with Helena in her current condition can be dangerous. Not having a bandage to dress up the wound, it’s possible that the medicine spills, thus reducing its effectiveness.”
Hiraku looks nervous, but before I even get the chance to worry about him he speaks to me
“I’m fine, I really am. It’s just that ever since I got together with Ayumi, we’ve never spent a night separated. I just worry she might be scared or sad, I hope they’re ok back at the cabin”
“Don’t you trust Luke?”
“It’s not that young Ryu, it’s been years together and she’s my wife, so I know her. I’m sure she’ll start crying at night if I don’t come back today”
He might say that, but all im hearing is that he’s going to cry himself to sleep tonight. I guess it can’t be helped, I don’t know how long they’ve been married, it shows that they’re very close.
“All things considered I believe we need to stay in here for the night. I would also like to ask you a few things:
first I need everyone to tell me exactly how many health points you have left. Second, we need firewood, Bob, if you bring me stones I may find a flint among them and try to make a fire. Now that i think about this, it was dumb of me to not bring my flint. Finally, we must set up a temporary shelter, although the skins are fresh we could make use of them right away. We just need to wash them in the river. You can divide the tasks however you see fit, but I still think Bob should be the one looking for rocks and stones”
“I got no problem with that, it’s fun and I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it”
I remain silent for a moment expecting Anne to argue with me or throw in one of her usual comebacks, but that’s not what happens. instead, they put on a serious expression and one by one call out their remaining health points.
“wow! my maximum health points increased!” Bob exclaims in surprise.
“Frankly, I didn’t realize my health points were so low, especially now that I’m feeling good” Anne sighs
“it’s normal, red berries can cure your disease, but to heal even one health point you have to eat a heap, eating enough to fully recover must be impossible.”
As the others walk away, I keep an eye on Helena, scanning the surroundings for any flint or something useful until our eyes meet.
“When we just met, I didn’t think you were so... capable”
“It seems that the only ones who trusted me from the beginning were Bob and Hiraku”
“hehe, they are like that. At first they had a lot of faith in Luke too, although he didn’t always make the right decisions, he always seemed to be confident in what he told us and that calmed us down.”
“Luke, he hates me right? I almost never see him, he always leaves early and I don’t see him until lunchtime. Why is he avoiding me?”
“I don’t know, maybe both of you can talk about it later, but now that you mention it, I haven’t seen him much lately either. maybe he’s going to explore or something”
Bob comes running with his usual energy and brings the stones he had collected earlier. After analyzing them, I start sorting them into different groups. Some of them will help us to make the campfire, but most of them are completely useless at this moment. While Bob goes for more stones I pick one of the imperial rocks up and hit it against a normal stone.
I’m pleased with the result, while the imperial stone retains its shape, the other one broke easily. After experimenting with the imperial stone for a while, I realize that it is very difficult to break, even hitting two imperial stones against each other doesn’t seem to work. So, instead of doing the same thing over and over like a caveman, I start scraping it against a huge rock that just happened to be nearby.
After only a few minutes of polishing it, I manage to file their angles. Every imperial stone I’ve seen so far has a curious shape, almost as if they had spikes, for this reason they are easy to distinguish once you know them, I hope we can take several back to the cabin. Perhaps they have this shape because of its physical resistance.
Because they are practically impossible to split, shaping them will take a long time. Despite this, I’m sure that it was a good call to come to this place, it doesn’t matter if it takes hours to make a tool, it will most likely save us days of work and allow us to do a much better job.
By the time night fell, all the tasks had been successfully completed. We had tents made out of branches and skins, a perfectly functional campfire, and feasted on some grilled fish we brought from home.
For greater security, every tent was placed one in front of the other, very close to each other, forming a kind of triangle. Anne and Helena would sleep in one, bob alone as usual and I get to share my tent with Hiraku. However, due to the risk of being attacked by wild creatures, we decided to stand guard.
Bob took the first turn, so I was able to use his tent for a while, then Hiraku, and finally me. Only the men were tasked with guard duty since both girls needed to recover, they were very weak and their health points dangerously low. Even though my health points are lower than everyone’s even though I’m in perfect condition, I don’t need to recover and therefore I can afford to get up earlier than everyone else.
Since I took the last shift, i was already awake when everyone started to get up. We started packing things up early and then gathering different resources nearby. First, we needed to grab every silver flower we could get our hands on, this is mainly because they are so rare, but also because we don’t plan on coming back anytime soon.
Finding this place was a true blessing, there’s water nearby, some berry bushes, but more importantly, I get the feeling that these imperial stones will play a huge role in our development. It amazes me how durable it is, sadly that same trait is also the reason why I don’t think we’ll be using it as building material. Nevertheless, getting our hands on some quality tools is now possible, this alone will be a complete upgrade for everything. There are a couple issues with it, like its weight for example, but there’ll be enough time for experimenting back at the settlement.
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