Chu felt his heart was beginning to constrict and about to jump out his throat. He scrambled back in a reflex action away from the entrance. Ming reached down and grabbed his shoulders to pull him up, but both their legs were wobbling like a drunken cat.
Frozen in fear they could only stare at the cellar entrance. In the face of overwhelming power they could only resign to their fate.
From the darkness two small hands emerged slowly and grasped onto the sides of the cellar entrance. Then a small and familiar head poked out followed by a petite body.
Lucy climbed out of the cellar and stretched herself, she was not accustomed to being lethargic. Halfway through this activity she suddenly became aware of the fixed gazes near her side. The two were nearly hugging each other like they had seen a ghost. After what seemed like ages and with their stares continuously locked onto her, she became embarrassed.
“What are you two doing to each other. And why are you looking at me like that?”
“Crap Lucy don’t scare me like that. What the hell! I pissed my pants……”
Chu swallowed his heart back into his body. Literally.
He breathed deeply as he faced the girl. Those blue eyes blinked as they looked back at him in curiosity.
“MEETING! EVERYBODY BY THE OVEN RIGHT NOW! ONLY THE LOOKOUT REMAINS ABOVE!”
This was one of the very few times Chu ever shouted out commands. Most of the time he usually reserved such acts for training.
In moments everyone was gathered by the table near the oven. Ming was hyper, Lucy was curious and Chu was still breathing heavily.
“Settle down, settle down everyone.”
Chu didn’t know if he was trying to reassure himself or the others.
“Okay. I want to know step by step what happened from the time when Lucy was moved from the kitchen to when I called everyone for this meeting. I want to know where everyone was at from then to the present. Let’s start with Lucy.”
Chu unknowingly had developed himself into an enigma in the eyes of his companions. Thus they rarely questioned whatever he wanted or why he did it. Ming was an exception but he was recognized as a special case among the general consensus.
As everyone narrated their actions, a general outline of the time-line and picture was formed.
Miki and Sakura were the first to attend to Lucy . They completed the task of removing the stitches from her abdomen and dressed the wounds after the thread removal. Lucy endured the pain well and they finished quickly without incident. Sue was cooking and preparing hot water for Lucy to wash up at the time. She also made a small fire down in the cellar to ward of the chill when Lucy was ready to sleep.
Dyna was on lookout duty at that time. She only recently switched with Miki who was up there at this time. Ming and Clod were tending to the carcass, moving it as instructed. When Lucy went in the cellar she had a brief wash with a hot cloth and then changed for bed. Sakura and Miki only left when she fell asleep. After that the girls were either in the kitchen or up at the lookout keeping Dyna company. They never noticed anything strange or out of the ordinary.
So far everything was like normal. While they talked Chu made Clod close the trapdoor to the cellar. Both him and Ming were comforting themselves by holding a spear. Given his vast experience in horror flicks and the ‘enlightening’ events of this world he was expecting the unexpected.
His only comfort was that Ming’s knees that were knocking like a drum together was louder than his. The others continued their tale looking at the two of them suspiciously.
Clod was busy cleaning and doing some work out in the open area of the barn. He sent Ming at that time into the cellar for the spears to oil and maintain them. It was there when Ming was making some noise in the darkness he woke Lucy up. Chu was crystal clear on the events that happened after.
The possibility of a wolf demon in the cellar was highly unlikely. But from what he read that species was highly vindictive and liked to toy with its prey. However he believed they would all be dead now if that was the case. What he was most concerned was the fact on what was happening to Lucy. All those damn werewolf movies finally started to take its toll and mess with his fragile mind.
He would not be surprised on anything becoming a possibility in this damn world.
He could only question her.
“Lucy did you feel anything different when you woke up?”
“Hmmm…no, I felt refreshed after the nap and the food Sue gave me before sleeping. I woke up when I heard all that banging in the cellar though. Then I saw Ming near the weapon shelf. He had dropped one of the daggers on the ground and was feeling for it. When I tried to talk to him, he turned to look at me and just ran off.”
“How the heck was I supposed to see the dagger in the dark huh?”
“Wait, wait! That’s not the point you idiot”
Chu stopped the bickering he knew was going to start. He suppressed his imagination that was running wild. At least from what he pieced together, it was highly unlikely there was another wolf demon.
“Lucy go back into the cellar, stand where you were before.”
The girl cocked her head and then went down to do as he asked.
“I was here by the bed.”
“Ok good. Now look and see if you can find the dagger Ming dropped on the far end.”
Right now all the Children except Miki who was up on the lookout were circling around the reopened cellar entrance in curiosity.
“I can’t see it Chu…wait now I can. I see it just by the swords on the ground.”
She looked up towards them pleased in completing her task.
What happened next was not completely unexpected. With the exception of Chu who just gasped and Ming who was trembling at his side in excitement. All the others were in the acts of running, crawling, screaming or simply fainting in shock.
Half hour later they were all sitting around the table drinking some warm water. Some were still reeling in discomfort, one was excited while the fear on most were obvious. Miki was called down to participate this time.
Chu took a deep breath and began his speech. It was imperative that he nipped any signs of fear and discomfort in the bud, here and now. He was not going to ruin what he had built because of ignorance or fear within the group.
“First things first.”
He slammed the demon book down on the table between all of them. By now all of them had a rough idea on its contents. They had personally borne witness to the effect it had on the critically injured girl.
“Lucy has successfully activated her talisman. With it she has gained new skills and abilities that we have never heard about. This…”
He stopped and pointed at the book, turning and making eye contact with each of them
“This has given he something that those in the mighty Military dream about. Even the nobles and high-ranking people in this empire would kill for her luck.”
He gazed at Lucy and smiled. That was a smile they all knew but had previously forgotten. It was a smile when a person was genuinely happy for someone.
“Lucy has shown she has the ability to see in the dark. However when she activates this ability her eyes turn from blue to a golden-yellow. THAT is ALL, she is still the same Lucy, and our companion. Get used to it, because this is an ability which can save our lives.”
“We should be thankful and happy for her and for our luck in having such an amazing friend.”
Chu reprimanded them like a teacher scolding kids for simple mistakes. He was grateful in a sense that his companions were all children. With some coaxing and explanations it was easy for them to understand. If this had been a group of adults as companions. The discontent, suspicion and greed that might have festered would slowly begin to spiral out of control.
The subsequent actions of these children proved his point.
“I’m sorry Lucy, I fainted when you were injured and now I did it again…”
“I remembered that thing when I saw the eyes, I’m sorry I was scared…”
Dyna sobbed as she threw herself on Lucy. The other girls soon followed. Lucy was like the big sister to all of them. Even though she and Miki were near the same age, it was through her that they were all enjoying a better life.
Chu let them continue bonding for the moment. Clod was not to concerned, once Chu was satisfied with the outcome he was fine. Ming was with Chu when they were questioning Simon from the Trading post. He was even more informed than the rest of them. After realizing what had happened, the fear was now replaced by excitement and anticipation.
“Chu get me one of those, but I want one to boost my strength, so Clod doesn’t keep calling me weak.”
“You think those things grow on trees, I just have to go outside and shake one down for you?”
Chu knew exactly what this idiot was thinking when Lucy showed that night-vision type of ability. Even he couldn’t feel a little envious of her. After all who didn’t want something akin to a superpower.
In the late afternoon after lunch Chu, Lucy and Ming were standing in the open area inside the barn.
“Lucy how are you feeling?”
“I feel fine after eating, but I still get tired fast. Its plenty better than this morning though.”
So far he confirmed Lucy had the ability to heal much faster than before. This speed was beyond the scope of modern-day medicine in his old world. The ability to see in the dark was another. She could will it on without much difficulty, but they found that she could not use it for more than ten minutes. After that she had to wait a long period before using it. In fact since the first real testing began after lunch, they were still waiting. Chu believed with practice she would be able to increase the time-frame.
A drawback to her abilities was that her food intake had more than doubled. Lucy was only satisfied after eating a large meal for a grown man. She was embarrassed at the time, but Chu scolded her into continuing until she was content. His reasoning to her was that the last thing he needed was for her to faint in hunger during a hunt.
Only one person voiced their disagreement on her having more food than the rest of them(or more importantly; him). Chu blatantly ignored the dissent and this person was ruthlessly crushed into submission by the others.
“I want to try something. Run from here, up the ladder, down the platform and into the cellar. Don’t use the gate at the fence. Try to activate your ability at the end, have Sakura inform me if it works.”
“Ok, I’m ready.”
Lucy bolted out from near them and scampered over the ladders. Chu didn’t have time to take a few breaths when she entered into the cellar. Sakura shouted out from above the cellar entrance shortly after.
“Chu she says it works, I can see her eyes change color.”
After a few minutes Sakura shouted out that Lucy ability has stopped. Chu instructs her to race back towards them. This is done in record time. Lucy pants a little as she sits down with them.
“Okay Lucy. That’s it for today. I think after a week or so, your body should be in peak form. By then we can really see what you can do.”
“But Chu, how are we going to know what Lucy can do? I remember Simon saying that his strength skill was known because it was expected, so it was easy to train until it activated. Lucy eyes are amazing, but how do we know if she has some souped up killer technique waiting to be activated?”
“I know what you mean. Ming we have to make a trip to the Trading post again. We need to get some information to train Lucy. Then there is the headache behind trying to sell this wolf demon. If we do it right, the benefits are going to be huge, but one misstep could cost us our lives.”
Chu didn’t continue to worry them about that part. He needed to be very careful on attempting that trade. A part of him actually screamed out for him to just bury the carcass and done. He was still in deliberation of it for the time being.
Miki called out from the lookout.
He hurriedly got up and headed towards the platform. Climbing the ladder he joined her at the top.
Scanning the area where she was pointing he took some time to register the situation. It was some time until he made out what she was pointing.
“What the heck?”
In the open snow not to far from the barn, three wolf cubs were dragging themselves across the plains.