Flooded city

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Chapter 1 The Adventure Begins

The horn sounded three times. The people in the city took everything they needed and then took to the streets. Everyone waited impatiently. Many were whispering, some were unclenching and clenching their fists. The children clutched the stones in determination. The strong voice of the Archmage read out the standard text for such a case, which was always the same and recorded on the holo crystal. The large wooden gate opened. Screams filled the city squares. The blow of the kick and a young guy of eighteen years old flies with a large mark on his ass from the kick to the ground. Plowing more than one meter. He stands up and brushes himself off, shaking his fist. The people begin to laugh loudly and throw stones, dirt and spoiled vegetables at the dunces. The guy, all red with anger, runs through the city and ends up in a field near the city.

— I’ll remind you of this. – The fist was raised to everyone’s laughter.

This is how my story began. I am Mikhail (a sexless slime in the shell of a young guy. I descended from heaven a decade ago and took the form of the boy who found me. The boy himself ran away into the forest, I don’t know his fate, although I guess.) a former student of the Rua Academy of Magicians. They kicked me out for poor academic performance and the fact that I went on a spree with Olga, the daughter of the supreme magician and director of the academy, Ignacio Otoru. Although he only held hands with his daughter. Well, once I spent the night with her in her room. That’s where her dad caught us. And the fun was just beginning. So he kicked me out. Why did I need that fool? I started dating her on a bet, the bet on her was one silver, I wanted to let him go to a local brothel. Although I never received it. Here is the bastard Pavel, and he is also called a friend. Maybe he ratted me out. I wouldn’t be surprised. He had been rolling balls towards her for a long time. But he’s not handsome like me. Although he is the son of King Andrew the Great Fifth of the Otis country, he is the sixth. I am the first and hopefully only son of Baron Theo Urnov, owner of the silver mines and White Rock castle. Rich as a king. And I should have been so rich too. But my stupid daddy married a second time to a young woman in her late twenties, when I myself turned sixteen. He was already nearly fifty. My mother was a quarter demon. She had small horns that she hid behind her hair. She was lucky and her skin color was dark. Everyone thought she was from the south. He saved her from bandits in his youth, when he was an adventurer and patrolled the border. She ran away from her relatives, some kind of clan squabble, so I turn out to be the prince of the land of demons, but only my father and I know about this, my mother died five years ago from stone disease. The father was sad for a long time, but he was advised to find a new wife. And he found Masha through a dating service. Poor, although from a once noble family. Her grandfather lost at cards to a rogue elf, sold his estate and went to drink. She was lucky that her hard-working parents were caught and she didn’t end up in the shelter. She didn’t like me right away. A competitor for future heirs. So she immediately began to act. Then he starts changing clothes with the door open when I pass. Then he won’t close the bathtub when it’s my turn. Then he sits in my room in a robe and teases me with a juicy body. He moves his legs, shows the neckline on his robe. And as she ate bananas, I could barely restrain myself… She told daddy that it was me who was pestering her. What a reptile.

She took all the beautiful maids away from me. Everything was going so well for me with one beautiful maid, a half-human with spotted dog ears and a tail. Then she assigned only old women to me. Severe with warts all over the face. It is not surprising that from starvation I attacked her. That’s why my dad sent me to the academy. “Study, son, and don’t come back home,” were his instructions while three servants, tied up, pushed me into a carriage.

Thanks dad for everything. I won’t be lost, I thought while driving here, beaten, with her panties in my mouth like a gag, her parting gift. I studied for three years. It was easy with the girls as teachers, he made a face and said that he taught but forgot, they gave C grades. And if you did a good extracurricular activity. That’s a five. Then I just went to the doctor to get checked. Otherwise, you never know how much you can catch from these half-humans. Our teachers are almost all of them. Who is a centaur, who is an orc. And there were angels. But I couldn’t make friends with male teachers. I didn’t want to study either. Therefore, I paid in coins, like many others. Before my mother died, she left me some coins in the bank at interest. So I won’t die of hunger. I can take interest every month. But the main amount is only for thirty years. Mom Tatyana knew me well. My studies weren’t going well, so I started playing cards and I got into debt. Therefore, I had to learn the magic of invisibility and fast running. The students here are not as accommodating as the maids. You need to at least know their name before you drag them into bed. One hassle. Okay, at least the local brothel opened a personal account for me. I’ll have to visit them sometime later, to see the centaur lady Agnes, she’s probably exhausted without me. She has the best milk in town.

With such thoughts, I reached a cave near the river. It was getting dark. There is nothing to do, just go in. I can’t sleep in the open air, I’m not some kind of peasant. When I was carousing and drinking too much, all the innkeepers and cab drivers knew me by sight, so I always woke up in my dorm room. And not always alone. My neighbor, a modest man with an ant-like face, was afraid of ladies, so he envied me. Although I don’t blame them, who would want to sleep with him. You never know what’s in his pants, maybe there’s some kind of claw in there or worse. In scientific books, although it was said that everything was like that of ordinary people, rumor attributed to them various types of perversions. My neighbor seemed harmless to me, so I moved in with him. Although his big eyes scared me.

A fire would be nice. Collected firewood. What kind of spell is there? Teacher of simple spells. Yes, I remembered the harpy Izveta, big breasts, small ass. Low voice, and how she sang after a night of love. Like a nightingale. She said in bed, if you find yourself in nature, don’t forget to light a fire with the spell “O flash of light, grant fire.” Oh, how good it is that the fire is lit. Study light. And how warm it was, just like my fire now. She was really a bad kisser, but what can you do if she has a beak. But how soft, white, red and golden feathers she has in hidden places. Surprisingly clean. And I didn’t catch anything from her, thank you for that. Otherwise, I spent a third of my mother’s money on doctors. I caught almost every known disease. Once it fell off for me, I waited two weeks for the growth spell to work. At that time they called me “Little Whistle,” because even though he was just growing up, I never stopped meeting ladies.

But what a noise there is in this cave. Some rustling noises. So the spell “light” is not suitable. I remembered. This is Chereya, a biology teacher. The lady is old, but it suits me, because she is an elf and looked young at five hundred years old. Spell “Flash”. I played around with her with this spell in bed, she showed me her secret tattoos. I went deeper into the cave. It’s not so scary with light. I didn’t smell any vile creatures. But they can always have anti-magic protection. Magical beasts always transform. I’m walking and I see a huge three-meter spider. I caught someone and weaved a cocoon. He probably caught the beast. I looked closer and saw a tail, a wild bull or a cow, maybe a lynx, the stomach also wants to eat. I haven’t eaten since last night. He sat in prison all night and until dinner. I look at a man in a cocoon. The face is frozen, but clearly alive. Here he is breathing. I chased away my first desire to run. Where should I run, looking at night? I decided to follow the spider. He hung up the loot and left. I ran out and cut the thread with a knife, a gift from my father. Broke the web. What a beautiful face, but grimy. If you are a guy, then there is probably no end to the ladies. You will become my friend. After all, you owe me. Or you’ll take an oath, that’s what you’re supposed to do with half-humans. An ancient custom. He grabbed the body and headed out.

— Where are you taking me? – Said a hoarse voice from the cocoon.

— To the exit. Until the spider came back.

— What a spider!!! – A voice from the cocoon, he just howled in horror.

Footsteps were heard behind me. The steps of many feet. Big and small. Two large three-meter spiders and ten one-meter spiders followed me. I wouldn’t be able to escape. They grabbed me too. The world has gone dark.

— If spiders attack, remember, student, the “mist of poison” spell will save you from them. Think with your head, not your head. Get dressed and leave, otherwise your husband will return soon. Go through the sewer. There are fewer extra eyes there. And there are more spiders. This is where the spell comes in handy. – The image of the teacher kissing me on the forehead, according to the “most dangerous magical creatures” Cyclops Elsa appeared before me. I remember her blue eye and her apartment on the fifth floor. And how he ran across the rooftops in his underpants. Our husband taught practical classes on catching magical animals, his name was Julius. A clever and nimble grandfather approaching seventy.

In his delirium he cast poison spells. The body in my hands began to cough convulsively. We need to protect him.

— General protection spell. – This has saved me more than once: when you drink too much, you make a common defense with a sober person and you can continue drinking.

The cough stopped. I opened my eyes and twelve corpses of spiders lay next to me. One of the spider’s fangs stuck into my leg. He pulled it out. He hid it in the void, like the rest of the bodies. Useful for trade or for drugs. They gave a lot for them in the city. Although they won’t let me in there anymore, the world is big, there are many cities.

The body in the cocoon began to move and hiss like a cat. He looked around, a young handsome guy, a cat-man, very similar to a lady. The ears are black, the tail is white. Freckles on the face, no older than twenty. Cutie, if he were a woman, he could have a blast with her, but he’s a guy, so he’ll become my friend.

— Let me go, let me go. “The guy started kicking. He is lively, although he weighs little. Light and strong.

— Of course, guy. Your savior will set you free.

He took the knife and freed it, while almost accidentally checking his pockets for anything valuable. Not much, but just right for me. His face hardened. But it will survive nothing. The spider wouldn’t have done that to her.

— Who are you and why are you robbing me? – The guy hissed. The tail is erect. He grimaced his face. Really cute. I would have squeezed him in like that. But this will not happen.

— I am your savior Mikhail Urnov, the future baron of White Rock Castle. – He said it as proudly as possible. He stuck out his chest and raised his nose. He knelt down. A short blue vest and short shorts are his entire outfit. Tattered in places. Therefore, the scars from the whip were visible, which means he was a former slave or worse, with such a face he could work in houses of pleasure, pleasing various ladies.

— Because you saved me, I will serve you. Here’s my oath to you.

— I accept it. “I could use the guy as a servant.” Maybe there will be assistants in business.

A bright flash illuminated the room. A small chain-shaped mark appeared on his neck. What an interesting magic of service. It is weaker than slavery magic. He who serves you with such an oath is faithful to you until death. You can’t let him go. Although there are also limitations. You can’t force him or her to do anything he or she doesn’t want. To sex or murder. But if there was an oath of slavery, then there are no prohibitions. Play it all out.

— What is your name, my friend? – I said, observing the ritual for such spells. It doesn’t matter whether you know the servant’s name or not. These are the customs.

— Sleep, my lord Mikhail. But call me Soph.

— Serve me faithfully.

— Yes.

The ritual was finished. Now the real conversation begins.

— What kind of beech came up with these oaths? “He started scratching behind his ear. I put my hand to my ear. – What are you thinking? “I received a strong blow to my hand.” “I don’t like guys, so keep your friend to yourself.” I’m on the ladies.

That’s a bummer. Of all the cat guys in the world, I saved a special one, it’s good that we immediately understood who was who, otherwise I wasn’t sure with his cute face. And I will have to live with him all my life. This is cool. We’ll go to brothels together and let them cheat. Many will fall for this.

— Why are you keeping silent? Are you going through your options, boss? Not worth it. I won’t be with you in my life. So don’t even think about it. But as a companion and friend I will be faithful to you.

— And that’s good. Let’s gather closer to the exit and we need to block the passage. Otherwise the friends of these spiders will come. We will spend the night in this cave.

— So you also have nowhere to live?

What a news. He is also homeless, like me. This is the meeting.

— Yes, I left the academy of magicians in the city of Rua. I don’t like it there. It got boring. So I decided to walk around the world. Make a name for yourself through adventure.

— It’s clear. – Soph stood up from his knees and shook himself off the dust. “That means they kicked me out of the academy.” Booze or girls? “He looked at me intently. – Girls. Maybe a teacher’s daughter. No, you are a prominent and proud guy. Director’s daughter. They say it’s just a berry. I saw her when I was going through pockets in the city. So he would have eaten it. – The thief licked his plump red lips. Then, remembering, he continued. “So what am I talking about?” And I’m not just a thief, but a specialist. I steal big. I work alone. There is no trust in others, they gave a lot. He stole a good jackpot of six gold pieces.

— Not bad. – This is half of my money with interest per month.

— What am I saying? You won’t be disappointed in me. I can do a lot. Ugh. Do not look at me so. The look is painfully disgusting. Like an animal at the feeder. I’m on the ladies, I hope you are too.

I nodded, he calmed down.

— Do not be distracted. And you’re right about the director. The lady was truly a berry.

— I knew it. But here I am, so I stole money from a spice merchant from the stampede while he was sleeping. I made my way to him at night. He is a famous merchant, he has a lot of money. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill the owner. Well, today for sure. But he saw me and began to call the guards. So I give it a try. He fled the city without looking back. I see the cave is empty. I looked with my night vision, empty. Let me think, I’ll wait. And then you know for yourself.

I just nodded, and we went to the entrance to the cave. I filled up the tunnel. The fire was still burning. He took out a piece of bread, broke it off, and gave half to Sofa. He ate it greedily. He also gave away his piece. I didn’t want to eat anymore. He gladly accepted it. And he’s cute when he eats. Wags his tail. Using magic, he created two sleeping places, placed a guard golem and went to bed. The sight of my abilities delighted him. He’s probably thinking about how to steal something with them. What a long day it is today.

Woke up to a delicious smell. He opened his eyes. My partner is frying fish on a fire. Caught it in a nearby river. I patched up my clothes and washed them.

— Are you awake. Get up, wash your face and eat. The fish will be cooked soon. Let’s have some food and discuss where to go next? What to do? How to live?

I nodded. I went to the river and washed myself. The water is icy. How good. While I was washing, I was thinking what should I do. There aren’t many options. You can’t go home, they won’t let you in. So you need to go to the adventurers guild. There is always a lot of work there. We’ll manage somehow with my knowledge. Moreover, I am not alone. Even though we are not friends. He’s not bad as a partner. I tested his abilities yesterday. Thief status. Abilities include blades of speed, shadow, and nimble fingers. The name alone made my head spin. I once rented one of these in a brothel. I couldn’t walk straight for two days. Nimble fingers. Special skills dance of divine blades. A rare gift. Can cause damage without receiving it for a short time. Almost immortality, albeit temporarily. I returned to his cave. Dispelled the golem. He did a good job last night. Three corpses of magical jackals lay near the entrance. He put them in the void. Selling at the guild. Maybe I’ll raise my rank. I’ll use the money for equipment. I need a staff. What kind of magician am I without him? Your partner will have newer blades and more modest clothing. Otherwise I might attack. I’ll let you know. We need to give him a hint about this later.

— Sit down. So I prepared the place.

He scooped up two piles of leaves from nearby trees. Sit softly upright, like on a feather bed. Nimble fingers. We started eating. He was well-mannered and ate carefully, even aristocratically. Bandits don’t eat like that. You need to learn this from childhood. And not everyone succeeds. There were cases where children of aristocrats were kicked out of their homes due to bad behavior. Is he one of those kids? They often ended up in various gangs or brothels.

— You are also an aristocrat, as I see. – I said, seeing how he began to shake his head. – Don’t argue, I see. Tell the truth, now we will always be together. There shouldn’t be any secrets. I will accept you anyone.

— Yes, I am the son of a lord. But from a very distant country in eastern Malawi. It will take at least two years to go there. They kidnapped me five years ago. But you see, they didn’t return it. Dad died of boredom and did not pay the ransom. And I had no other relatives. They held it like a toy. They tortured me in every way. I went through everything. Then their leader changed and they made me a bandit. I learned to be a thief from them. But I miss home. I should go to my father’s grave. Maybe my title has survived well. That’s why he saved money by plundering, but it’s clear that now it’s not his destiny to visit his homeland.

The face became sad. Tears began to flow. This is where the hatred for everyone comes from. He’s seen a lot of bad things. That’s why he became so angry. I patted him on the shoulder as if he were my equal. This calmed him down.

— I don’t mean you. I will protect you from everything. And you me too. – I said laughing.

— So what are we going to do next? – Soph brushed away tear after tear. But he was determined to move on.

— I think you should join the adventurers guild. To the city of Temyan, it is several hours away. The work is not dusty and there will be plenty of money. You can buy a house. Or for rent. We’ll put your six gold into the guild’s account. Total score.

— As you say, master. But maybe we’ll also steal a little. By a little. Your spells are so wonderful. This golem can break through a wall. There is no need to fiddle with the lock. – The thief looked at my hands in the white gloves of a magician. “Your spells are so useful.” Just rob with them. You magicians are so strong. I have very little magic. There is not enough mana to cast spells. I’m better with swords and blades, bows and crossbows. But I always wanted to become a magician. But apparently it’s not fate.

— We won’t steal. We must live honestly. He wanted to go to prison. Can I teach you how to cast magic?

— So what do you ask in return? I know your tricks. You won’t get anything. – He bared his white teeth. The tail ruffled. He placed his hands on top of the two black daggers that hung from her belt.

— You are my partner. I won’t take anything in return. You swore an oath of allegiance to me. I can’t harm you, just like you can’t harm me. “How could he forget the basic rules of such vows?”

— Yes its true. “He was so happy that he went to hug her.” Then he came to his senses and sat down in his place with a red face.

— Let’s agree right away. I won’t pester you. But you will learn to trust me completely. No tricks. Fine. – You need to be gentle with him. Although he wants to seem strong, he is very vulnerable.

He nodded.

“They don’t know me in the city of Thyme.” Maybe your idea with a guild will work.

We finished the fish. The fire was put out. We packed our things and went on a trip. What will they be like? Time will tell.

Chapter 2 New City

I love to travel. The road has always attracted me to adventure. Although I never went far from the academy. I was in the city of Temyan once and that was at night. I saw off the lady. The wife of a local baron. The lady is young, her husband is not there. Then he ran away in one sock. Maybe he forgot me. I’ll hope so. It’s already been a year.

— The road is wonderful, isn’t it, master? – Said the cheerful Soph. A full stomach and clean air work wonders.

— Stop talking, master. Even though you swore an oath to me, call me by name. I don’t call you servant all the time. It would be unpleasant for you.

— Mikhail understood.

— That’s fine.

Then we walked to the city well and happily. He sang songs and purred. It’s a pity I didn’t let him pet his ears and tail. And I wanted it that way. I taught him spells. But he had no success in them.

This is the city of Thyme. It looks like an ordinary town. The province is not even close to the city with the Rua Academy. There is only a guild and a small estate of the baron. Five streets and one not-so-clean brand with a hotel. You will have to spend the night there with bedbugs. Well, at least I know the magic of getting rid of them. Thanks to my teachers.

The city welcomed us cordially. The smell of fresh baked goods, shopping arcades with fresh vegetables and fruits. And also two dirty guards at the gate.

— Who are they? – Said a guard in her forties with a wart on her nose. Her wart hung down to her mouth. How can she live with her? There were traces of a recent breakfast of a sandwich with dried lamb and kvass.

— We are wanderers from distant places. We want to go to the guild. Maybe we’ll become adventurers. – Said the cheerful Soph, making eyes at both guards. Apparently she has done this more than once, she has experience.

— Let the cutie kitten pass. He won’t harm us anyway. I’ll look at the boy myself. – Said the second guard, about twenty. Without a wart and quite cute, you can see the senior one on the shift. She looked me over casually. I saw the magician’s gloves and asked a question. – A magician or what? – I nodded. – I don’t like your tribe. You all wield staves. No, to take swords or axes like normal warriors. Ugh. -Where is your staff? Did you drink it?

— No, I lost it. – I said, although I never had a staff. I already have a lot of magic with magic gloves, a family heirloom from my heroic grandfather, a hero of the war with dragons about a hundred years ago. One merchant wanted to buy it from me, even offered one hundred gold pieces, but I refused. Family honor is more important. And in them the magic turns out to be strong, and they spend little manna.

“You magicians always have problems with you.” – She spat disgustingly. – Will you write a missing person’s report? The thing must have been expensive. Judging by your clothes. You are a mid-level magician at least.

— No, there will be no statement. Dropped it into the river. And you will know that I am a magician of the highest level.

— Yes, at least imperial. Pay in gold and come in. – Said the lady with the wart. Apparently she was bored with the conversation. She smiled sweetly at Soph

— Three silver ones? – Said the thief. My friend has kind and gentle voices that have melted more than one heart.

— Five silver and go ahead. – Said the guard without a wart.

I reached out and gave the money out of the void. You won’t even be allowed into the city without money. Although officially everyone is allowed into the city without paying. But I wouldn’t argue with the guards. I don’t want to go to prison for resisting.

Although the guards spoiled my mood, the city lifted it. The beautiful ladies were dizzy. And after passing the local brothel, I indulged in memories, but Soph quickly cooled me off with a blow to the head and we moved on.

Here’s the guild. The same as I remember her. But last time they didn’t let me in. Entry is only for those over eighteen. Those are stupid rules. But today I got in without any problems. The guard at the gate only looked at us disdainfully, without saying a word. There are always a lot of rabble hanging around here. Inside, as always in such places, it was crowded. Someone drank dark kvass, someone played with dice or cards. About twenty people stood near the wall with tasks. Three reception desks. I went to the most beautiful lady who was available. She turned out to be a nice lady Cyclops. She smiled when she saw me. But when I noticed a thief next to me, my ardor diminished. I should at least draw a sign for this cat saying that he is only my friend. Otherwise I will have problems with my personal life.

— Hello, the most beautiful creature in the world. “I said, smiling. The lady immediately covered herself with paint. “I’m with my partner, we’re just friends.” – I emphasized noticing the interest not only of the receptionist, but also of the ladies at the next table. Fine. – We want to register in the guild. I also have things for sale. Skins and bodies.

— Yes, he and I don’t date, I’m dating for ladies. – Soph smiled at the Cyclops. – For little buds like you.

— Oh. I’m so pleased with this. The guild always needs new people. I am your curator Bai – Her cheeks were literally glowing. – Fill out these forms. We will accept the goods in the yard after receiving the documents.

I took the form and began to fill it out. Filled it out quickly. Noticing that my companion did not fill it out, but only twirled it in his hand, without understanding.

— You can’t write? – I asked quietly.

— Read too. Who will teach me the local language in the bandit camp? But my native language is not used here.

I nodded, took the form from him, asked questions and wrote answers. Editing the content a bit. He turned out to be such a foul-mouthed person. Handed over the forms. Cyclops examined them carefully. She took out a large stone of “Truth” and we put our hands together. The receptionist compared the form with the inscription on the stone.

— So this is “Mikhail underwear.” A year ago the whole city was talking about you.

— Yes it’s me. – Why make excuses?

— How interesting it is. You can tell me too. – Said the cheerful Soph, apparently he was interested in this story. That’s probably how he ran away from the ladies.

— I was walking with the wife of the local baron, Anna Yutu. And he ran away at night. I didn’t have time to take much of my clothes. That’s the whole story. – I turned to the curator. How is the bald chub doing?

— Eleanor Yutu died a month ago. And don’t you dare insult him, we loved him here. – Said the angry Baya. But then she changed her face, became sweet again and continued. “We are ruled by his wife Anna Yutu.

“We should go visit her and say hello.”

— The nephew of the previous baron rules with his new husband Yegor. Therefore, I forgive you, if you want to work in the guild, do not create problems for us.

— Understood. – I nodded. It’s a pity that the baroness still has good memories.

— Because there are documents there. Are we suitable for your guild? – the partner asked, grabbing the curator’s hand.

— Yes, come over. Here are your cards. “She put two square cards on the table. Our names were displayed on them. – Will you create a clan?

— Let’s. Let there be “The Magician and his friends.” – I said, looking at the dissatisfied face of the thief.

— Such a clan already exists. Need a different name.

— Let’s better call ourselves “Malawi”. So my homeland is called in the east. – Soph said, apparently this means a lot to him. I didn’t argue. He just nodded in approval, receiving an ear-to-ear smile from him. He’s cute when he smiles.

— How interesting I haven’t heard about this country. – The curator checked the records. – The name is free. Wonderful. Your iron rank is the lowest. But you can take on any tasks no higher than two ranks higher than yours. There is an iron rank and so on, steel, bronze, silver and gold. The greatest adventurers receive a platinum rank. But this rank is given personally by the king or the head of the guild for special merits.

— As you remember, I have skins and my friend wants to deposit money into the account. – I turned to the disgruntled thief. – Is it true?

He reluctantly placed six gold pieces on the table. The curator took them and registered them on our common account. Then she went out into the street with us where I took out skins and carcasses from the void. Earned three gold. A lot of. The Guild does not skimp on the reward. Everything was put into the account. Then she came in with us and helped us choose the first task. We took on the task of guarding a trade caravan. It’s a simple job in the evening and you don’t have to pay for a hotel.

The two of us left the guild. Strangely, we were not pestered by regulars. Maybe they have a rule not to bully newbies. After all, over time, fewer and fewer people began to become adventurers. Everyone becomes a bard, a craftsman or a merchant. There is more work there and the pay is better. Being an adventurer you won’t earn much money. And if war starts, they will be drafted like an ordinary soldier.

— Everything went well. It’s a pity, of course, I gave the money to the account. And it’s so nice when they warm your wallet. – At these words his stomach began to growl treacherously. How much will fit in there? We ate in the morning. Although he has a different metabolism, he is half-human.

— Let’s go to the tavern and gather rumors. This is the most important thing in our business. – I said smiling. Then he added more quietly. – Let’s eat fish with light kvass.

Hearing about the fish, his ears began to move, and I rejected the temptation to stroke them. We must respect him, although there were no bad thoughts about him.

Tavrena was nearby, right three houses away. The small town. How does he stay afloat? What makes it stand out? The building of the tavern did not stand out in any way, an ordinary log house of two floors. With a nondescript sign for me: “Tavrena Old Sturgeon”. But my companion was delighted. How he wants to eat. Inside, we were greeted by the usual smell of strong kvass and dumplings in these establishments. I love places like this. In them, my Rare Species teacher Matvey Teorit found five new species of pubic fleas. Therefore, I immediately covered myself with a light veil of poison. We sat down at the first free table. It was crowded. People like to hang out here. Someone was celebrating a wedding. The bride and groom and about twenty guests. On the other hand, there were wakes. People in black clothes were grieving. This is how life is here. Everyone else was walking and having fun for no reason.

— What can I bring you sweets? – Said the young busty elf. I examined her through a spell. Yes, the old lady has seen a lot.

— Grandma, we need some dumplings and light kvass. And bigger and fresher fish for the guy. – I said as politely as possible. Old people must be respected.

— Impudent. It’s always like this with you magicians. Others take me for a girl and give me good tips. And you all see, you bastards. I’ll bring food. – The waitress left with a snort.

— How did you find out that she is a grandmother? – Soph’s curiosity rose when the waitress left.

— I am a magician and can read all the data from everyone. Here he is. “I pointed to a strong man warrior surrounded by strong men like him. They were celebrating something loudly. My partner turned to get a better look at him. Naked to the waist, he evoked respect and fear. – I used to be an elf, and a dark one at that. I wouldn’t believe it myself.

— Yes. Your abilities amaze me. You magicians are so wonderful. What can you say about me?

— We need to look carefully. – I said feigningly. I examined him carefully this morning. – You have seen a lot of evil. I see you are in pain. But you are silent about them. “I put my hand on his stomach. He didn’t pull it away. – Complete healing. “A wave of green light went from my hand to his stomach and spread throughout his body. He smiled. It is clear that the pain is going away. – The pain will go away, but it will return. I can only take them off for a while. To recover, you need drugs. They are expensive. But maybe we can make some money and buy them. You can have children after them. I see you had problems with this.

I shouldn’t have said that; rage crossed his face. Got punched in the face. What did I want? The waitress brought the food and took the money and left, still snorting at me. They ate in silence. He refused to talk to me. We sat until evening. I listened to the conversations, but did not hear any useful information. Everyone praised the Baroness for her new laws. They scolded the king for his stupidity. In short, everything is as before. It’s time to go to work.

— Forgive me for my words. Let’s go, we still have to protect the merchants.

He just nodded, and we left the tavern and went to the merchants. They were waiting for us. Seven gnomes. Everyone, bearded and cheerful, was loading boxes into carts. What there was didn’t bother me.

— I’m Mikhail, this is Soph, we came from the guild to work. – I gave the card to the largest gnome.

— I’m Mateo. And these are my brothers. Only I can speak your way. Half payment upon arrival in the capital of the gnomes Magma. Then we load up another item and head back. We will stop in the capital for an hour. Don’t get lost there. We’ll come back and get the full amount. Agreed.

— Fine. – Why did he tell us this? It was still on the sign. I decided since we are newbies we need to chew on everything. Okay, at least it looks easy. They are strong guys and could handle it themselves. But the merchants’ guild demands protection of the cargo. So we had to hire people. But they didn’t want to pay a lot. And for starters, it’s a good thing for us to do. Not dusty and not bad money. And I’ll see the capital of the gnomes. Haven’t been there yet. Maybe I’ll go see the dwarf ladies. An hour is enough.

— Is your lady mute? Just silent.

— No, I’m not dumb. You little dork. And I’m not a lady, I’m a guy, all my life they’ve been taking me for a lady, I’m tired of it. We’ll do the work or you’re going to stare at me. Maybe he’ll undress so that you can see me better and understand that I’m not a lady.” He was furious. It’s good that this rage is not directed at me.

— I’m silent. Here’s the best place for you. “He pointed to a bench in the cart, on which there was a pillow and a blanket. “We thought there was a lady in the squad, so we bought it for you.” I’d better go ahead and download. You sit down, you can go to bed, we’re leaving in an hour. And sorry if I offended you.

The dwarf ran away to the others. The thief sat down, but his anger did not go away. I sat down opposite him, but then lay down and fell asleep. We need to gain strength. The road is long.

Chapter 3 Bandits and Traders

I haven’t slept so sweetly for a long time. I woke up from the shaking of the cart. It was already morning. The sun rose. The dwarf brothers were arguing about something in a language unknown to me. Although I studied a lot of them at the academy. Soph slept next to him. His sleep was disturbing. He tossed and turned and twitched his arms. Apparently he remembered his life in captivity. He suffered a lot. Now I have become its owner. We need to change. I’ll be gentle with him. He is my servant, debtor of life. Our destinies are connected.

— Mikhail woke up. – Said the familiar voice of Mateo. He rode next to us on a two-meter lizard that stood on both legs. Here they were called “reptiles”.

— Yes, it was a sweet dream. I can’t believe it myself.

— Apparently you had a lot of problems. So they broke out. Rest was needed. – He smiled. He’s a good guy, even though he’s a dwarf.

— Everyone has problems. How much longer to go?

— Seven o’clock, maybe eight. The roads can be crowded. Especially the bridge on the Irig River. There are customs officers standing there shaking money. Scoundrels. – He spat. – Who will restore order here?

— A strong warrior who will return everything back in ten years. – Said the awakened Soph. – In my country it was the same in Malawi.

— It may well be. – The dwarf said sadly. – And good morning. You want to eat. I made tea and made sandwiches. Or do you need a break? Wash there and – He made a significant pause, hinting at the bushes. – Go into the bushes. A magician can do everything. I know about you. I heard rumors.

— Yes I can. – I did not dispel his delusions. A magician’s honor is more valuable. I’ll be patient.

We stopped. While we were walking into the bushes, the gnomes quickly set up tables and chairs. A couple of minutes and I saw two tables with cups of tea and sandwiches filled. I waited for my companion, we ate. He never spoke to me. It may calm down over time. I never understood these demi-humans. They get offended and sulk. No, to talk.

Then they cleaned everything up just as quickly and moved on. Dwarves are funny people. Sang songs. We distributed dark kvass to everyone. After a couple of glasses, I started singing along, even though I didn’t understand the words.

We passed the border calmly. The dwarves gave the grimy guard a paw and moved on. So we found ourselves in a no man’s land between states.

Several hours passed. The dwarves in my cart began to shout something loudly. I realized this is not good. I took a closer look. Oh God. A crowd of magical beasts is coming towards us. My companion didn’t know what to do either, so he just pressed himself against me. Looks with sweet eyes. How can you not protect this? I began to read spells.

— What are you thinking? This is why we came here. – Mateo said proudly. I looked at the other dwarves. They were not afraid, on the contrary, they rejoiced. – We are animal hunters, boy. Sit quietly in the cart, we will do everything ourselves.

The dwarves took the carts to the side of the road. We stood with nets along the road. A crowd of animals rushed towards them. The first of them began to approach. They caught them with nets. And they stunned them with arrows from crossbows. Although they were small, no more than twenty meters in height, they were dexterous. By the time the herd of magical beasts left, they had caught fifty magical beasts. Mostly large birds. But among them were five magic wolves and a hippopotamus.

— They are migrating now. It’s time to hunt. – Said Mateo, covered in sweat. He was clearly pleased with himself. “We caught such beauties.” And also in no man’s land. You don’t have to pay taxes for catching, only for importing. Profitable. Hooray guys.

All the dwarves shouted joyfully. It was a good day for them. Soph pulled away from me, snorting disdainfully. I realized that I had to end this.

“Hit me and we’ll forget about that conversation.” “I thought he would answer something and start a manly conversation.” But the blow came quickly. In the jaw. In my most valuable place on my face.

— Everyone has passed. “He, apparently having calmed down, continued. – So our fellow gnomes are smugglers. They steal animals during migration and then sell them locally. With the proceeds they buy various goods in Magma and sell them in the country of Otis people. Smart. And most importantly, it’s almost legal. Dwarven border guards do not read well and documents are easy to forge.

— That’s right brother. – Said the cheerful gnome, building a cage on the second cart. – You adventurers will have to switch to a reptile. We need carts like we need cages.

— Let’s go, Mikhail. I get seasick on them, so I’ll sit in the back. I don’t like animals at all. – He said, helping me get up from the floor of the cart. His shot is good.

We got the animal young, but calm. Although the thief still didn’t like him. He stood rooted to the spot in front of him. Everything is shaking. Beat him.

— Are you afraid of reptiles? They are kind. I tamed a lot of these at the academy. “I said and deftly sat on him. Then he patted the green head. This is how they become kinder.

— No, I’m not afraid of them. – Said the shaking Soph. And when the beast began to sniff him, he fell to the ground, closing his eyes. The dwarves, to their credit, did not laugh at him but continued to silently build the cages.

— Sit behind me and close your eyes. He won’t bite, I promise.

— Fine. But if you cheat and he bites me. “He showed me his little fist. Although I already knew its strength.

— I promise.

I got off the reptile. He made her lie down on the ground. The companion sat on him with difficulty. I ordered the beast to stand up. He stood up with lightning speed. The guy began to tremble.

— Close your eyes and don’t open them.

He closed. Apparently he began to trust me. I mounted the beast. He took his hands and put them on his waist. He could not resist and grabbed me. He has strong hands. Nimble fingers.

— That the dwarf brothers are going to Magma.

— Yes. Cheers to the guys on the reptile. – Said the gnome. Everyone else started shouting joyfully. Apparently they are good guys.

Ten minutes and we continued on our way. Cages full of bound animals. Dwarfs singing funny songs. And the cute guy behind me who cursed all the reptiles in this sinful world. This is the song they sang. The senior dwarf translated it for me.

“On the road of stone we go home, we go

Along the road made of planks we go home, we go

Along the road of rubble we go home, we go

We’re going home off-road, we’re going

The road doesn’t matter to us. Only one thing is important to us.

That we’re going home, we’re going

For many years we have been jumping from city to city.

For many years we have been jumping from village to village.

For many years we have been jumping from deserts to forests.

The main thing is not to forget at the end.

That we’re going home, we’re going.

We don’t need wealth and gold.

We don’t need peace and comfort.

The main thing is to always remember friends.

Why are we going on the road?

And most importantly, we’re going home, we’re going.”

The road from a forested area turned into desert. The transition was very abrupt. The winds blew in our faces. Three hours and the road again changed to a plain without trees with bushes and sparse grass. I felt that there was some magic involved here. Large magical changes to the soil do not lead to good. So the magical beasts multiplied. Without such traders and poachers, their numbers would have long ago become alarming. Or maybe she wiped out blessed cities and villages from the face of the earth.

Border. I recognized her immediately. Several thousand soldiers are camped near it. There are also several carts at the entrance. Strangely, the road at that time was deserted almost the entire way. What’s the matter? Need to find out.

— What’s the matter? Who knows?

— I don’t understand myself. When we left, everything was calm. I thought we were lucky that there were no competitors on the road. Now I see that there is a reason. Let’s go and find out. – Mateo said with a blank look. The other dwarves were arguing. Their dissatisfaction with the situation was evident. If the border is closed, we will have to go back with prohibited goods. Which should probably be killed or released. The losses will be big. After all, we will have to pay the full amount. After all, we did our job. They were escorted to the border and back. The guild, of course, will receive its percentage.

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