Chapter 30: Off They Go

Chapter 30: Kira’s Story

Stretching out her toes, Kira yawned and wriggled out of her sleeping bag. Basking in the sounds of morning, Kira looked around before realizing she was in James’s spare tent. She tried to remember what had happened yesterday. She’d been hunting for the alpha and chased down the pack after she’d ended up victorious… then she’d found James and ended up here somehow.

She looked through the details of last night in her head.

[Ancestral ??? Berserker] Class

Level 7->8 [Taking down of alpha]

Skill Gained: Pack Leader!

A frown passed across her lips. It seemed this Class was quite unusual. Normally, taking out the leader of a group that had terrorized countless travelers would’ve granted her far more levels… Still, putting the disappointing news out of her mind, she focused on the Skill, mentally activating it. Immediately, she sensed a slight aura around herself that made her feel more confident. She wasn’t quite sure what it was, but she decided it was probably an area of effect boost for allies. She’d have to test it out later with James once they were in privacy. After all, he enjoyed examining Skills and determining their constraints and effects. In his own words, knowledge was power.

Sighing at how he’d probably try to force her to start reading some of his boring books again, Kira looked down at the bandages on her arms. With a shrug, she removed them, revealing clean fur beneath, as it should be.

“You woke up! I was starting to get worried…” James came in carrying a bowl of steaming oatmeal that Kira happily took and started eating. “Uh, Kira…”

Kira looked up, licking her lips with her long tongue to remove the grains of oatmeal glued around her lips.

With a sheepish look, James handed her a wooden spoon. “You know you don’t have to eat like that.”

Kira smiled and stopped slurping on the oatmeal like a common pet. Master James was so thoughtful about such things, even if it would’ve been far simpler for everyone if she’d just munched the food. Elegantly using the wooden spoon, Kira listened as James detailed what had happened before she’d fallen asleep.

“We were a bit worried that you’d contract lycanthropy even though we gave you some of our anti-werewolf potions I’d stocked up before the trip because of how bad your wounds were and how long we’d given the disease to replicate. By the way, one of the travelers was a healer and helped make sure you were at maximum regeneration rate before you fell asleep. I’ve been meaning to thank her before we leave…”

Kira nodded, happy to just listen to James as he explained that her racial Class had appeared to fight off the lycanthropy before it could take effect. All in all, it was the typical mumbo jumbo stuff her master would come up with every once in a while. For all that, she enjoyed these moments with him.

He remarks that both Diana and Howard gained a few levels, with Diana upgrading a Skill, which Howard had wanted her to practice with him. Licking her bowl clean, Kira placed it to the side as she pulled on James’s pants, making him glance down. Gesturing at the pillow on her bedspread, she muttered, “Sit down, Master. You’ve had a long day, and I need a pillow.”

Barely suppressing a hearty laugh, James sat down cross-legged, and Kira rested her head on his lap.

Suddenly, Kira remembered something. Turning her head to face James, she worriedly asked, “Are Howard and Diana okay?”

Running his fingers through the soft fur between her ears, James answered, “Oh, they’re fine. They had a few injuries, but nothing that would persist past a good night’s sleep, and certainly nothing that outweighed the two Levels both gained. Diana also gained a new Skill that really excited Howard, so he’s been making her train ever since the sun came up.”

Kira listened to James’s rhythmic breathing while they waited for the pair to return. For her, all was right in the world.

 

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The attack had left six dead and four others besides Kira injured. Anyone else injured had just drunk a potion to ward again lycanthropy and promote passive regeneration and woken up fine this morning. Even after five years in this world, James had still not wrapped his head around the fact that a night of sleep and a warm meal would heal all but death and the most grievous of injuries. However, he couldn’t explore the mechanics of this today because duty called. Olaf’s loud bellowing as his team packed their belongings into the wagon attracted his attention. 

Since they and the heroes had anyway planned to travel the same way, the heroes had decided to take point on defense while asking Diana to help them if they needed it. In this way, James would gain a bit of free protection while the heroes would get to carry a lighter load. 

Still slightly flushed from a morning of strenuous training, the Knight in question sat by her grandfather who drove the wagon as James and Kira slept behind them. Wringing out her hair which was still wet from her bath at the nearby stream, Diana had a lot of questions. All were about Kira.

“Grandfather, how did Kira keep her sanity in her beast form?”

Howard immediately became white in the face, putting his finger to his lips. Taking a furtive glance behind him at the resting pair, he looked at her before sighing.

“In my foolishness, I asked that very question to Master James’s face the first time I witnessed her go all out.” He took a moment to look behind him to be sure the two were asleep. “He refused to tell me, but she did later that day. You remember before when you asked why she didn’t leave James since she was free, correct?” 

Diana nodded. “Their shared response was that she had nowhere else to go,” Diana trailed off, trying to figure out how that detail fit into this story. 

Howard looked down, a little sad about having to remember the story. “The day she became his, he freed her from her servitude collar.” Diana became puzzled. Kira still wore one now… On the other hand, she quickly remembered that it seemed to be rather unusual based on the fact that she’d still been able to transform even while wearing it. “But why would he do that? Isn’t that… dangerous?”

Howard glanced away. “He was raised differently than you or I. Kira is a person to him, and where he hails from, ownership of people is forbidden. In fact, it is a practice shunned outright. That is, at least, how he described it to me. Well, right after being freed, she attacked him. Nothing too serious, but after that, she ran away. Then, she learned the hard way what it was like to be without a home, without anyone to care for you. Every day she’d steal food from stalls and scare the domesticated animals by sleeping in their beds. Every day he would wait for her to come back.”

Howard paused, reflecting on some of the things he had done in his own past. “Every night, she would come back to him after finding nowhere else that would keep her for the night. The complaints and fees for her trouble-making alone must have been hard on him, but he never stopped letting her free.”

Howard stared at her again. “After about a week, she calmed down. Other than forcing her to be cleaned up each time after returning home, he never raised a hand to her or spoke even a single ill word, so she accepted him as her master. After that, she was eager to mend the ills she had caused.”

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Howard paused again to gulp a swig of water before continuing, “James invested a lot of time and effort into Kira. More than any other master of a Hersha girl would. He taught her how to talk, read and write, and even calculate numbers to a great degree. In fact, he originally didn’t plan for her to choose the [Maid] class, but she wanted to better aid him. After a year, her latent Racial [Berserker] abilities awakened with her puberty.” He paused again this time reaching for his sword because a group of foolish [Bandits] had started attacking the wagon. No doubt, their last moments of life would be spent regretting attacking a small group of travelers that had probably double the levels of the entire pack. Diana noticed this too and went to aid the heroes. Life was never quiet, even if sometimes trouble didn’t bring Levels with it.


After the battle finished, and the spoils were collected, Diana washed off her armor and blade before returning to sit beside her grandfather again. Howard picked up where he had left off without missing his place. “When she transformed for the first time, it was shortly after her first heat. I believe the day after, in fact. I do not know all the details, but something fell and would have killed James if Kira had not transformed and stopped the descent of that object. He had immediately rubbed behind her ear as a reward for her. Didn’t hesitate even a moment despite her monster-like fury.” Stilling, Howard stopped as if to say more but was unsure whether it was his place. Diana paused. This seemed a lot like an adverse reaction to a [Dangersense] Skill… 

A voice came from behind them. “I saw it in her eyes; she would never threaten me. Shortly after the incident, a pair of heroes attacked Kira seeing her still transformed. Kira was not hurt, and the heroes were not seriously injured, but from that day forth, we have never trusted them. Kira would never unjustifiably hurt someone. That is the way I raised her.”

Diana looked behind her at the two. She saw Kira stirring while James leaned on an arm, propping up his body to watch them. Kira noticed the position James was in and grabbed his pants, pulling them down his legs. James quickly rubbed behind Kira’s ear, and she gazed at his face. “Master, I want. I’ve been good and it’s been so long.” James looked back toward Diana. She was obviously red-faced, and Howard’s laughing did not help alleviate her embarrassment. By then Kira’s breasts were doing their best to get her what she wanted, and it was obvious that her charms would assure that she would not need to wait long.

Elsewhere in a basement belonging to a Classless engineer, an egg that had lain itself cracked, and a scaled snout popped out. In a high-pitched squeak, a voice asked, “Why’s my name Jeffry?” And far closer, a behemoth of steel marched to save his people. 

 

 

- my thoughts:
Finally got farther than the RR now will post more! <3
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