Hours passed in quietude as my mother stewed in her fresh grief, and Iros in his anger. I had broken our deal after all... We had sabotaged that orb together, and then almost immediately after, I spilled the beans...
I still did not know who Iros was, not really anyway, or what his relationship to my mother was... But he was fiercely loyal and protective of her, that much was obvious. Since I had plenty of time to myself while we all walked, I chose to deal with the level ups from yesterday.
Pulling up my status window, I thought carefully about what I knew so far. Bloody Melody appeared to still be a mostly physical weapon, the blood stained clothes I still wore was evidence enough of that. If my other weapons were similar, then physical based attributes would probably be best.
Then again... Physical attributes were usually a good idea early on.
With that decided I ended up sinking all 18 points into my STR, DEX, CON. Save 3, which I decided to put into charisma... I mean... I was known to be a bit of a smooth talker back home...
And so with my points allocated, I moved on to my skills window.
Hmmmm I thought idly as I stared at the 3 available points.
"Hmmmm" a feminine voice mocked from beside me. Startled out of my focus, I leapt, spinning around to find my mother smirking with a forced playful expression on her face. "You
e looking to get some new skills, huh?" She asked
"You almost gave me a heart attack!" I replied, grasping exaggeratedly at my heart.
e the one who was sooo~ engrossed in your stats that you walked off trail!" She countered with a wink. "Here, let mom have a look-see. I know a thing or two, ya know?"
"Im trying to pick some skills, but I don really know what will fit for me, and there are so many categories Its really overwhelming." I stated dejectedly as I swung the skills window around so she could see.
"Well, since Ive never heard of your class "Gambler" before, and we don know what kind of skills it gives..." She hymned and hawed as she tapped a finger on her cheek, deep in thought. "Perhaps some general or basic weapon skills would be best." My mother then went on explaining the specific skills under those trees that were available to me. There. Were. So. Many...
We walked and talked for hours, I could tell she was doing her best to keep my dad off her mind, and I was happy to be a source of distraction for her. And so I asked questions galore, and demanded an explanation on virtually every skill she showed me, even the ones I had no intention of taking on.
Time sped by until we finally decided on 3 skills to choose.
-Jack of all trades-
2.5% proficiency bonus on all untrained skills
Rank 1 of 5
5% health per rank
Rank 1 of 5
-Sleight of hand-
5% proficiency with dexterity based deception skills such as pickpocketing, concealing an object or creature or placing something on someones person
Rank 1 of 5
"I still don like that last skill… it makes you sound like such a criminal, sweetheart!" My mother protested once more as she tugged on my arm, practically begging me to undo it.
"I spent a lot of time honing skills like that back on Earth. It would be a shame to lose out on those skills just because I didn put the base points in them." I countered. "Besides, its not like Im going to go around pickpocketing eee~veryone… just the bad guys…" I winked playfully.
My mom gave me a pouty look that told me it was best not to continue this line of questioning, lest I be guilted into changing my decisions...
Turning my attention back to the road, I realized we were finally about to leave the forest. No more sprawling green trees with trunks so thick and massive it would make any man blush with inferiority. However, as we rounded a bend, we found three of these massive trunks blocking the road in what was obviously a man made obstruction…
"Oh boy… What a cliché…" I murmured as my mother scoffed aloud and bounded ahead to Iros without a care in the world. Meanwhile the white haired samurai stood impatiently as he inspected the tree-line ahead.
"How many do you see?" She asked wistfully, as if we were not about to come under attack.
"Around sixty, my lady." He answered curtly, not bothering to hide the irritation in his voice.
My mother scrunched up her face as she leaned up and gripped Iros by the earlobe, twisting and tugging with sharp jagged motions.
"My lady!?" He practically shouted in surprise as she pulled him down to her level.
"I don know whats got you all tense and worked up today, Iros. But you better quit it right now mister! Whether you like it or not, I rely on you! And with that many bandits, Im not sure we can protect poor Kenny!" She whispered loudly, not realizing I could still hear her quite easily….
"Certainly, my Lady Lucy. M-my deepest apologies.." he stated awkwardly. She eyed him carefully for several long moments before releasing him with a toothy grin.
"Much better Iros!" She chuckled as she walked ahead without a care, not even bothering to draw a weapon.
As she approached the road block, a single brawny man with a hard face and harder muscles stepped out from the shadows. His short buzz cut hair, muscular arms and scarred face told me that violence was his preferred trade..
"Hold there, woman." He ordered loudly, holding out a hand and motioning for her to stop. My mother complied without a word and merely waited for him to speak further.
"As you can see... The road is blocked. But me and my friends are willing to allow you to pass through our forest to get around it..." His grey eyes flashed with malice as he inspected all my mother and Iros carefully, his eyes not even bothering to take me in, given my shabby blood covered rags. "Lets say ten thousand gold marks. That will be your fee."
My jaw practically slammed into the floor. Ten thousand of anything was a lot, but I presumed that ten thousand gold was A LOT more money than anyone could reasonably pay.... However neither she nor Iros batted an eye.
"Ten thousand? Is that all?" She asked, a quiet malice hidden carefully underneath her seemingly innocent words. The man seemed to falter, eyeing into the woods as if to ask. uhhh, what do I do now?
Clearing his throat as he regained his composure, he spoke with a nervous air this time. "Y-yes. Ten thousand is the fee... If you can pay it." His gaze kept darting between us and the shrouded woods on either side.
Sheesh, Im only level 4 and even I can see right through this guy... I thought.
Just then a man came stumbling out of the woods, a look of horror on his face. He was clearly another bandit, that much was obvious. The tattered leather armor, dirtied bandana wrapped around his face to obscure his features... Yeah, no doubt about it.
The man whispered something quickly into the larger mans ear, which caused his eyes to bulge almost completely out of his head.
"L-l-lady Lucy?! The Savior of Erobos and Lord Iros, the Blade of the East?!" He practically choked on the words as sweat began to visibly pour from his forehead. His eyes darted nervously between the two of them until his will finally broke. "M-my lady-"
"Thats enough." My mother interrupted with a wave of her hand, silencing the man completely. He winced and lowered his head, as if he were ready to receive his judgement. My mother glanced back at Iros and me, wagging her eyebrows as if to say-
"See! I told you, Im a badass!"
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, when Iros spoke up.
"My lady, perhaps this could be a learning opportunity for both your son, and these bandits?" the combination of his words and overly flat monotone gave me the sickening feeling he was about to pit me against this giant of a man.
And he did just that...
"I suggest a wager. Lord Kenneth, vs this... Bandit. Should they win, we will pay their ten thousand fee and leave them in peace to do their bidding." My mothers jaw fell open with disbelief, but Iros offered a hand to stay her protests. "Should Lord Kenneth be victorious, then they are to disband and forever leave this life behind." He strode up beside my mother, leaving me behind to watch as the bandit greedily eyed and calculated his odds against me.
His gaze felt like a spider eyeing its prey, creepy and gross in every sense of the words.
"If they refuse, you can just inflict your judgement on them anyway. This way saves us some time and effort, allows Lord Kenneth an opportunity to hone his skills, and gives these men a second chance at life." Both the bandit leader and I snapped our attention back to the white haired samurai, surprised by his matter of fact logic.
My mother seemingly chewed with the idea, her thumb nail firmly planted between her teeth. She stared first at me, then the bandit leader, then back to me... Apparently unable to make up her mind.
With a sigh, I stepped forward. "Its okay mom, Ill do it. Not only does it save money, it saves lives. Albeit, bandit thug lives. But lives nonetheless."
My mother beamed with pride as I finished speaking, her toothy grin spread wide across her youthful features. A detail that I still could not seem to get over.
"What do you say, Mr. Bandit. Fancy a duel?" I challenged, my gaze firm as I locked eyes with the mammoth of a man, covered head to toe in scars and signs of battle.
The man chuckled deeply, his confidence restored as he glowered back at me. "Call me, Cutter." He answered with a sneer. "And try not to die on me, Id hate to piss off the Lady Lucy." He added as he brandished a long curved scimitar.
As he spoke, scores of other bandits emerged from the trees eagerly to watch the bout.
Strangely, despite Cutters appearance, I felt oddly confident. Like when I knew I had rigged dice or a loaded hand.
"Lucky Slots!" I shouted into the air, summoning forth my power with an eager anticipation.
What would I get this time?