Chapter 18 : Campfire Stories From Beyond
“P-purscha? Is that you?” Katrin ‘s voice was shaky due to the fact that the voice echoed from the trees.
“Of course. Who else would it be Kat.” The adventurer known as Purscha made herself known, slinking out of the nearby treeline. She was wearing a deep brown cloak, complete with a hood that covered her face.
“Oh! Thank goodness!” Katrin said, holding her chest as she sighed. Agni had never really interacted with Purscha before but Abeni seemed to fall in line around her — thus Agni had no opinion of her one way or the other.
“What are you doing hanging out in the woods? Don’t you know there are Grimlock out there?” Agni asked. She felt somewhat guarded for some reason. Perhaps it was due to her own weariness.
“Of course I do. That’s why I’m looking out. Keep your voices down..” Purscha replied as she moved towards the pair. Agni noticed the way the Nekomata moved, it was like silk — smooth and silent.
“Let’s go.” Purscha said as she motioned towards the light of the campfire just a few meters down the path.
“Well, if I’ll be damned! It’s the weirdo!” Abeni nearly shouted.
“Keep your voice down, bonehead.” Purscha said with exasperation.
“Make yourselves comfortable.” Abeni offered.
This was the first time since Agni had seen Abeni since their “encounter” the previous night and she was honestly surprised. She pegged Abeni as the type to hold grudges based on her pushy personality. Was she actually the type to retreat when challenged?
Katrin quickly took a seat near the fire, presumably to indulge in its warmth. Agni lingered for a moment longer, her gaze cast upon Abeni. In turn Abeni stared at her as well, expectantly waiting for her to take a seat. Eventually after some moments Agni sat down next to Katrin. At the campfire was another woman whom Agni immediately recognized, though this time she seemed to be fully dressed. It was the other Nekomata from the night before, the one whom Abeni was “accosting”. It seemed that perhaps the situation was consensual after all. As soon as their eyes met the Nekomata looked away, her face growing flush. It seems she felt a certain way about the previous night’s events….
Purscha sat down next to Agni, making herself comfortable, greeting the Succubus with a sincere smile.
“So what are you two doing out here? I thought maybe you’d have spent the night in the Tabernacle since we didn’t see you on the road like the other girls.” Purscha remarked.
“You can only stay in the Tabernacle for 48 hours before being ejected. So we had to leave otherwise we might find ourselves outside of the sanctuary zone sometime in the night.” Katrin explained as she held her hands out towards the fire.
“Is it really that chilly out here?” Agni thought to herself as she saw Katrin warming her fingers.
Purscha was wearing a hooded cloak, a leather vest and some skin tight leather pants. Her leather boots reminded Agni of the textbook definition of a thief or rogue. Abeni by contrast was wearing similar chest armor to Agni only it was clearly reinforced for better defense.
“Medium armor–maybe heavy?” Agni thought as she inspected the rest of Abeni’s gear. She was clearly outfitted for some type of melee class. Agni next cast her gaze over to the white haired Nekomata next to Abeni. Her skin was fair and pale, her eyes reddish in color. Her snow white hair was accented by two black cat-ears peeking out from the sides of her head. She was dressed in what appeared to be a full suit of heavy gear which was confusing because based on her statue she was the most petite of the three. Aside from her thighs, all parts of her body were covered in armor, save her hands which were currently exposed. Even though the armor was beginner status like everyone else’s it seemed more aggressive. This definitely didn’t match the personality of the wielder by Agni’s knowledge of her. Agni even spied a rather large two handed sword lying at her side.
“Who’s your friend?” Agni asked, directing the question to Abeni.
“This is Kitai.” Abeni said, adding. “ She’s a bit shy..you know, since…yesterday.”
Agni felt slightly embarrassed, her eyes immediately drawn to Kitai who averted her gaze yet again. Clearly she was embarrassed. At least that’s what Agni originally thought — but her intuition was telling her that perhaps there was more to it.
“Do you know how far we are from the town?” Katrin said, changing the subject.
“No. No clue. A few hours probly.” Purscha replied. She was now chewing on an apple and for the first time Agni got a good look at her face in the light of the campfire. Purscha’s skin was tan, her long bangs fell just to her eye-line showing off her orange hair with brown streaks.
An overbite gave her face character, as a sharp fang jutted out of the left of her mouth by a few centimetres.
All three women were fairly attractive in Agni’s mind, even Abeni as much as she hated to admit it. There was something she just didn’t like about Abeni, something that irked her since the first day they met. She just seemed so…pushy. About everything.
“So… this is awkward as f***…” Abeni said suddenly, lifting her arms to stretch.
“Agreed..” Purscha immediately said. Kitai remained silent as she gazed into the fire.
“Um.. we- we got attacked by a Grimlock on our way here.” Katrin offered up for conversation.
“Wait… you did? And you’re alive?” Abeni said in disbelief.
“That last part wasn’t necessary to say bitch.” Agni thought to herself.
“Mhm! You should have seen Agni. She pulled out her halberd and was like ‘BOOM’ ‘POW’ you’re DEAD!” Katrin animatedly exaggerated Agni’s greatness in the moment.
“Oh? Weirdo’s a bad ass!” Abeni said with a chuckle. This kicked off a series of questions from the other adventurers. Though Purscha was watching guard in the woods, the trio had not run across any of the creatures for themselves — at least not directly. Purscha had been observing them from afar but none dared to come close to the camp. Ultimately Agni surmised that it was due to three reasons. The first was level difference. She would later find out that Abeni and the rest were already level six, five and five — Abeni being the highest level.
The three also decided to use their LP (Level Points) the moment they got them which inflated their stats well beyond what their stats should resemble at their current levels. The last and probably most important reason was that they were a party of three. Simply put, because Agni and Katrin looked weaker they were probably attacked. This implied that Grimlocks may in fact be more than mindless beasts who carefully sized up their targets.
Still, Agni had seen several Grimlock in the woods on their travels since their battle. She never saw the Stags together, they were usually several dozen meters apart. This also suggested the creatures might be territorial and anti-social with one another — another saving grace.
The group of adventurers talked for quite some time about various things. In her ignorance Agni asked what adventurer’s class each of the people around her were, she found out that the Systema would reveal information like that upon leveling up — level 5 according to the three party members there.
Most of the talk centered around Agni’s defeat of the Grimlock, forcing her to recall her short battle.
“So wait, your class is Succubus. But what does that mean exactly?” Abeni asked.
“You can use magic and weapons like a Halberd. What are some of your skills?”
“You’ve never heard of a Succubus before?” Agni asked, feeling shy suddenly.
“Hmm…” Abeni said as she glanced haughtily at Agni, placing her hand on her chin.
“So basically you don’t want to tell us because you have shitty skills. Amirite?” Abeni then said as she clapped her hands together.
Agni grimaced then wondered if Abeni was simply playing stupid to embarrass her. As she sat there with all eyes on her she recalled Wayla’s words earlier in the day.
“Remember. Just be yourself. Everyone else in this world will. The good, the bad, the pure and the corrupt. They all leave their mark. Don’t inhibit yourself.”
With these words echoing in her head Agni puffed up her chest, took a deep breath and said :
“I get extra experience for fondling tits!”