I gave a quick nod and carefully inched my way towards the bush. We went through the forest without the smallest sign of an enemy attacking us or even on guard. And the one time we have a little fun while on duty, that’s when we randomly get the drop on them. If it’s going to be like this, I should have Wilheim blindly fire an arrow into a bush more often.
Just a few feet away from the bush, I brought my sword over my head, ready to slash at whoever was trying to hide.
“I yield, I yield!”
“Come out from hiding, coward,” I demanded.
The first thing to emerge from the bush was a pair of small hands.
Whoever was in the bush was hesitant to answer and follow my orders, “I, uh, can’t exactly do that at the moment.”
I poked my sword into the bush, making the person cry out from feeling a sharp point, “You’d best get out of there if you value your life.”
“Okay, okay! Suit yourself.”
After fighting with trying to get themselves out of the bush, a small person emerged, their proportions mixed around to match a human that’s half the size of a real one. Smaller arms and legs, rather pudgy torso and head, and with Wilheim’s arrow stuck in a shoulder, I knew immediately what this person was.
Not taking any chances, I kept my sword pointed towards them, “What’s a hobbit doing out here by themselves. And why are you naked?”
“I was a prisoner being held at a nearby stronghold, but I managed to escape with my life.”
“Sound like we’re heading in the right direction,” Wilheim called out.
“Looks like it,” I replied. “Which way is the stronghold, hobbit?”
The hobbit turned around and pointed to a small hill, “Just on the other side of this bump in the road, you can see it all from the top. You’re not intending on going there, are you?”
“We have orders from the Royal Guard, and the stronghold has something we need. Now unless you plan on sticking around to see a fight breakout, I’d suggest you get yourself out of here.”
The hobbit stared at me for a moment, amazed at our mission to head straight into the enemy base. He was almost excited when he offered his help. “Hang on, I can help you get in without being detected.”
“I marked the route I took to sneak out of there. I can be your guide in and out of there. All I ask for in return is to help me retrieve my gear from the storage room in the stronghold. Deal?”
Wilheim and I looked at one another, shrugging at the simple request.
“Sounds easy enough,” I answered.
The hobbit smiled, “My name is Retalius.”
“Creighton. My partner is Wilheim.”
“Brilliant. So, let’s get underway, shall we?”
Before Retalius had a chance to lead us down to the stronghold, I abruptly reached over and yanked the arrow out of his shoulder. He cried out for a moment and took a deep breath, rubbing his hand on the wound. The area began to glow yellow and a few seconds later, the wound was sealed up, leaving a large scar in place.
“You’re a mage?” Wilheim called out, surprised.
“Learning. I can only do simple magic, like Mend and Cast Light.”
A funny idea came to my mind, “We finally have a healer to finish our trio. Finish this order with us, and I can help get you into the Mages’ Academy back home.”
“I’ll happily take you up on that offer.”
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Copyright © 2021 by Luka Tatsujo