What is this?!
Chu stared at the girl half sitting on the makeshift bed. The roll-a-coaster of emotions he had faced for the last few hours was all because of this little girl.
He choked back the emotions trying to erupt inside of him. He calmed himself to keep up his normally mature disposition. The tears were wiped, the trembling restrained by well-regulated breathing.
His voice betrayed him once he opened his mouth. The worries and relief couldn’t be contained as he talked. It was like the first time he did a presentation to his seniors at work.
“H-how a-are you feeling?”
“The pain is gone but I feel really tired.”
She answered softly in an exhausted voice.
Her complexion was deathly pale, he guessed it was probably from the loss of blood. He was no expert but the blood she lost was a huge amount. He still shuddered when he remembered during the stitching how much blood flowed out at that time alone.
Yesterday she had a pale and clammy look. It was like a person who was bedridden for years in a hospital suffering from some incurable illness.
This morning she still had that pale complexion not to mention that weary appearance. Her blue eyes however, were now brighter and sharper than before. They radiated vitality and health. There was something else about them but he couldn’t quite place it at the moment.
He came over and squeezed between the others crowded around at her side.
“Chu, Chu look. Look at her cut. Chu look at her cut!”
The boy next to him grabbed the sheet and without a care stripped it off of her in his excitement. Lucy had on a clean cotton short top vest and a long cotton pants that resembled and functioned like pajamas for sleepwear. It seems that the girls had properly cleaned and dressed her when she woke up.
Lucy’s face started to turn red. Chu wanted to say something at first but the words were halted in his mouth. It was because his eyes were now locked as he stared at her abdomen. She blushed some more even though Chu’s gaze was certainly not one of lust but one of curiosity. It was like the kind of attraction a baby has on seeing a strange new toy for the first time.
Even so, Lucy was still a young girl and this was her first time exposing that much skin to so much people.
The others were not aware of the thoughts running across Lucy’s head at the moment. Chu was busy scrutinizing the previously three heavy wounds. His mind rolled over the words ‘formerly three wounds‘ because all that remained from last night in front of him were three scars.
If wasn’t for the threads from the stitching the day before, Chu might have thought this was a scar from something that happened months ago, if not years. This type of healing ability was unprecedented in his past life. Something like this would have been termed a miracle and be recorded in the annals of medical achievement.
It seemed the others discovered this when the girls helped in the cleaning and dressing. This information was passed on to the others as well. In the height of being amazed and joy that Lucy was now fine, they had no problems in letting Chu rest.
The girls had just done their job and had relayed the news to the boys occupying the lookout. It was during their conversations when Chu woke up.
“Miki, later you are going to have to cut the threads and pull them out from the skin. We cannot allow them to remain.”
This world did not have the technology like his old one. If the threads were not removed they would only add to being unsightly on her skin. It may even lead to infection, something he was definitely unfamiliar with in this world. All he knew was that when a person got stitches it had to be removed. Again his knowledge in both worlds in this field was sorely lacking.
His mind was spinning at the possibility that this was related to the tattoo she acquired in the morning. Those serious thoughts that required quiet contemplation was broken by the boy beside him.
“Chu, Chu look, look see how the cut is healed? But that’s not all, look, look even Lucy’s scabs and sores from before are all gone…look Chu! “
Totally oblivious to the hostile stares from the girls standing around him he grabbed Lucy’s hand and started pointing to places on it. He even went so far as to point to places on her exposed stomach. Clod had long turned and backed away slowly. Only a fool would not have noticed the expressions of anger and embarrassment on those girls’ faces.
“See Chu, all here on her hands were sores when we first met her. All vanished, all gone. Look, see there was a scab here on her abdomen yesterday. It was there when we were sewing her up. Allllll gone…see look here…lo…”
“What the heck are you doing?”
“I didn’t tell you nothing when you first flung the sheet, but you do know this is a girl in front of you right?!”
“How the heck can you just grab a girls’ hand without asking and do what you want.”
“How the heck can you be so bold as to point out a girl’s blemishes to her face?”
Slap Slap Slap
“How much of an idiot are you. Read the fricking mood of those around you, you klutz!”
Slap Slap Slap
“Do you even know what shame is?”
“Get Clod and wrap that carcass in a piece of canvas. Drag it to the cage and crack open the outside door. I want it frozen before lunch.”
All Chu’s emotions were finally vented onto this idiot in satisfaction.
When he first opened his eyes in this world, he was alone. Through various circumstances he was estranged from his parents and forced to live a life in abject poverty. According to the workings of this world, this meant he was doomed to continue into a downward spiral until death.
Risking his life he changed this fate that was written for him. It was his determination to survive and climb out of this situation which forced him to act. But alone he had no chance for redemption. It was only through the help of these two friends could he stand in a different place.
For Ming and Lucy, Chu was willing to risk anything. Because theses were the first two friends who risked their lives, with and for him before he actually made money. His friendship with Ming had even started when they were penniless.
This was the kind of foundation he was looking to build in this world. To venture out into the strange world with companions like these was what he needed and wanted. He didn’t want to be the loner who faced troubles like in his favorite novels. Unlike those terrifying MC’s that impressed him as a teen, the current self was just to vulnerable.
He needed friends to act as support and friends he could trust.
Chu made a note on investigating this worlds medical technology and services. This experience showed how ignorant he was in that important field.
“Miki, start with this operation. What ever tools you use should be boiled in hot water like we did last night. When your finished get the girls to help you take Lucy down to the cellar to wipe her down again.”
“Sue I need you to make some fresh soup for Lucy. Heat the remainder from last night for us to eat. These few days will be soup and maybe bread on the menu until Lucy recovers fully.”
“Soooooouuuuuuuuuppppppp! But I want meeaattt!”
The wails of the boy clambering through the gate were conveniently ignored as Chu continued talking.
“Clean up this place and get the oven going for warmth. We will let Lucy relax here until she is better. I need to do some reading on the effects of these tattoos on people. Organize a watch in the lookout.”
Chu grabbed the big book and headed up the ladder to the platform. The place he was accustomed reading was just over the oven. This sweet spot was away from the smoke that came through the boards but close enough to enjoy the heat that radiated up from below.
This ‘demon compendium’ as Chu named it contained the information of most of the demons that have been sighted for the past hundreds of years. Compiled by the Mage Tower it had sketch illustrations and the basic information about the creatures habits and usual locations.
This didn’t mean that these were all the demons that came from beyond the North mountains. It was just a list of the common and known dangerous ones. There may be other types that were just not seen or recorded. The locations were also those that were most frequented during sightings. This book was in no way a new edition. According to the foreword this damn book was at least over a hundred years old. Thus a demon known to settle in the west may now have changed to the east.
The more Chu read, the more he burned in anger. The information was vague and not specific at all. Take the demon they killed. The information gathered from the book was as follows.
‘Demon wolf spawn from beyond the North mountain. Hunts alone. Found near the mountainous regions near Frost City. Highly dangerous and cunning. Known to chase its prey over large distances from city to city. Last known sighting four hundred years ago. On sighting immediate message to Frost City command is required.
This book was over a hundred years, does that mean that the last time a demon wolf prowled around was about five hundred years ago? The usual habitation was north of Frost City in the mountains. Instead this creature was found sauntering around the forest far south of that place.
As for abilities and what effects such a creature possessed and its effect on a tattoo when used, nothing was recorded.
How was he to know what skill Lucy may have gotten. More importantly how do they activate it?
Simon at the Trading post had a lifestone found from a boar. For those demons, the book gave some idea on the type of skill that may be activated. It never mentioned the process how to do it. The more dangerous demons, and the ones listed under rarely found had no information what so ever.
Chu couldn’t help himself on being frustrated. He did kind of understand the reason behind it. With the poor success rate of activating a talisman and given the rarity and danger of confronting the more deadly demons, it was no wonder information was lacking.
Maybe only in the libraries of the Mage Tower would more comprehensive knowledge be found. At the moment he was far from being able to access those kinds of places. As for the books, he wasn’t versed in the printing and distribution in this world.
Perharps the books were only written every hundrend years to allow time for gathering new information, mass production and distribution? The him right now didn’t have a clue.
It was near noon when he stopped and stretched. He was tired after last nights ordeal and now after this mornings reading he was about to drop from fatigue. If this was not important he would have crashed out sleeping already. His plan now was a hot meal and some sleep to unwind his troubled mind. Just when he was climbing down the ladder he heard a yell.
He nearly fell down as he saw the boy scrambling up from the cellar as if a fire was lit on his ass. On Ming’s face was the expressions of excitement and fear. Mostly fear.
“Chu…Something with Lucy…eyes…like that…”
He stuttered and pointed to the entrance where the dead carcass was securely wrapped.
Chu gave him a glance and walked slowly to the cellar entrance. He was tired and his mind was already starting to shut down. His body was in a go slow mode. He didn’t comprehend the gravity of Ming’s words until it was too late.
Looking past the cellar entrance into the darkness he gasped stumbling backwards in fear as he landed on his butt.
What he saw staring back at him from the darkness was a pair of eyes.
A pair of yellow, vertically slit eyes.
He had seen those eyes before. It was always present in his nightmares.
It resembled the eyes of the thing where Ming’s trembling hand was now pointing.
It was the eyes of the wolf demon.