It was dark and damp. The caves were closing in, not with rock, but of orcs. Paroppe's group was surrounded and wounded. They had come in here in search of a rumor that ancient runes and an altar were discovered here. If that was true, then did that person know about the orcs or was this a trap. She didn't know. The only thing was that her axe had blood dripping from it and she needed to fight for her life.
It had been a month since the end of the festival. She found a group of adventurers roaming the streets and talked to them. They said they were leaving the city going to explore the next place on their list. It was a small village, north of Suul, about two weeks away on foot. She foraged, slept, and fought next to these people. She considered them friends. Even when they heard the rumor, she went with them for the adventure.
Now she was trapped and slicing orcs by the dozen. Everyone behind her was hurt and others dying. There wasn't anything she could do. She wanted to do this on her own, after Lera left her, but now she needed help. Her tech pad was in her bag that Lera gave her. She didn't take it out unless she was on break, but eventually noticed that Lera was answering her less and less as time went on. Then it hit her. How much she was messaging Lera was frustrating if someone did it to her.
Of course those thoughts were shut down as a club hit her side and knocked her against the cave wall. Paroppe tried to get air in her lungs, but she couldn't. Her breathing was shallow, gasping for air. Anything to get into her lungs, but nothing. She was suffocating.
She looked at the orc in defiance. She was going to die, but that didn't matter. Ayanni mattered, her family mattered, it seemed stupid that she was going to die to something like this. A simple trap or whatever was going to be the end of her. The club came, but not on to her body, off to the side. Two of her friends jumped on the orc stabbing at it with their knives. Blood leaking out of their mouths, even one was missing an arm. She was losing consciousness, her vision was darkening.
She needed to focus, anything she could do. Both of her hands went to her chest. She casted with little awareness left, a healing spell. She needed to breathe, anything. But it wasn't enough as her vision left her and darkness arrived.
"Jev do you really need to wear that mask?" Ayanni was helping out the city. Working on the roads. They were fixing small cracks along the way with magic.
It was a part of his plan. He was going to put more effort into politics of the city. The Counsel needs to be voted for. They serve for two years, before another set of votes take place. Right now working with the community, from the ground up during the day, was his way to get people to like him. To vote for him in the future. Something small, something mundane, and yet everyone around would recognize his efforts and support him in the future.
Jev was by his side, as a bodyguard. Although when Ayanni proposed this idea, it was as an assistant. Jev wanted to stay in the city, to care for his family. Ayanni understood that and this was his idea. To work towards serving this city. Helping everyone he could and protecting them.
Actually since they had tech pads, they had been invited to appear in front of the Counsel. Paroppe included at that time, before she left. With tech pads, they had the opportunity to work with the Counsel. There was a bit of difficulty with the system as there were seven tech pads before and seven Counsel members to match them, with the addition of three more tech pads, they could expand. Though the problem was getting the people to accept them if they wanted to become a member.
Paroppe had declined, stating she wanted to go out and explore. The Counsel agreed that it was an alright idea. Though she had to send updates on the surroundings and land. It would help them scout around with clear visuals rather than reports. It would only add to the information they could gather.
Jev on the other hand said that he was going to stay here, but becoming someone important wasn't his thing. He was fine with staying next to Ayanni, who wanted to become a member like his mother.
So Ayanni and Jev were out on the streets, but instead of showing his face, Jev decided he wanted to hide it. To become someone who could protect Ayanni from the shadows. To keep his anonymity from the public to protect his family. So the only natural response from Jev was, "yes."
They continued their walk on the streets, when it was safe, and the sidewalks. Fixing any cracks they could find and marking the bigger ones for those with a natural earth magic specialization.
Lera was doing her work like normal. Scrapping the food on the dishes, washing them off with water, and putting them in the dishwasher. Every so often she would take out the trash and make sure to keep her hands washed at all times when touching anything clean.
She didn't talk with her coworkers other than the small stuff. 'Sunny weather we are having', 'how is your day' and 'good job'. The usual stuff and she either nodded or answered when appropriate. The only things she did talk about were the questions she had about her job. Nothing more than that. It made her a good employee, but lonely person in the process.
Not completely alone anyhow.
Byyuan had for some reason taken a liking to her. He was young and maybe he didn't have friends, but Lera noticed that he too stayed away from the others. Like there was a barrier holding him back. It didn't matter and on her breaks, over this past week, she would just listen to him talk. School, the world, even some science along the way.
"… I just don't get why people need a license to drive. Most people I see driving around are just terrible, my mother included. Seriously I have no idea how anyone could let her drive a car." Byyuan was venting
Lera just smiled and nodded. He was venting right now. She was staring at the clouds passing by while listening to him.
"When I get my license…"
Lera was waiting for him to finish, but he didn't. The sound stopped around her. Silence surrounded her. She looked around to see a transparent screen. It showed Lera in danger about to die. Lera freaked out and teleported herself there. She looked at the scene around her and there was blood. Lots of blood and bodies and limbs. It was a mess. Lera healed Paroppe and waited for her to come. She didn't know what had happened to Paroppe, so she laid her in her lap. Her body was gone from work, but she didn't pay attention to that. Paroppe was a priority. She needed to know what was going on.
Paroppe opened her eyes to see Lera above her.
"Lera…?" For a moment she thought she was weak, but now she felt strong. There was no pain, no dizziness or anything she would expect. She was fine and safe. "Where…"
Paroppe shot up out of Lera's lap looking around. Her friends, comrades, the people who she fought with were on the ground. Two of them were still in combat with the orc that had hurt her. She took the knife out of her belt and stabbed it into the orc. Not once, but over and over. Marks were made, even blood came out of the wound, but it was spurts that froze like everything else in the world.
"Paroppe stop! What is happening?"
"Lera, we were ambushed by these orcs. The people I was with are either dead or injured. We need to protect them and kill the orcs."
"I know you are angry and I will heal your friends, but I won't help you kill those orcs." Lera waved at the orc next to Paroppe, the one she stabbed and those wounds healed over.
"What are you doing Lera?" Paroppe had no idea why Lera would help the orc that had hurt her and her friends.
"Are you going to kill that orc because he can't move?"
"I'm going to kill him for attempting to kill me."
She watched as Lera turned away from her.
"I can't watch this Paroppe. I can't be here for that." She turned back towards Paroppe. "Please let me try talking to them. Let me try to talking to both sides, to end this."
Paroppe wasn't sure. She just wanted to kill them and get out of here, but Lera did have the power to stop this and maybe that might be for the best. There were still at least twenty more orcs that she could see from where she was at and if Lera didn't arrive, she would be gone.
Lera teleported all of Paroppe's group to one side of the cave and the orcs to the other. She made sure the dead were lined up on the ground on both sides as well, but she didn't touch the limbs.
She teleported to her void room and changed into Naka. The costume was an older woman, closer to her other age, total age? Either way Naka was supposed to be an officer of different cities, like Suul. Lera believed this was the best look to convey everyone to stop. A mediator to end this battle.
Once she was back, Lera saw that Paroppe recognized her. She made sure everyone alive was healed up and restarted time for only those in the cave. After all she had a job to get back to.
"Stop! Everyone stop!" She was loud, but still unsure of herself. "Please stop fighting each other."
"Who are you?" Someone shouted from Paroppe's side.
The orcs banged their weapons on a barrier she created to keep both sides from attacking each other.
"I'm Naka, someone who happened to be nearby." Honestly Lera had no idea what she was doing. Just going with the flow and trying to end the fighting. "I want to understand what is happening here, for what reasons, and help any way I can so you both can stop fighting."
One of the orcs walked over towards Lera. She was sandwiched between the barriers to keep herself neutral. The orc held up his hand to stop the others from hitting the barrier lowering the volume of one side of this cave.
"Why should we believe you human?" The accent was terrible. Orcs were allowed to live in Suul. Though they were rare and most were half-orcs. Lera knew those that lived there could speak the common language, but these were speaking in their own language. Right now other than Paroppe, she was the only one who could understand them.
"Just think of me as a concerned third party." She had no idea what she was saying, but it made sense. "Are you their leader?"
The orc nodded.
Lera turned towards the other side and asked them a similar question. "Who is your leader?"
After a couple moments of bickering between two people, one of them stepped forward.
"Me! Call me Nedrith." The elven man said.
Lera turned towards the orc. "What's your name?"
She pulled them through the barrier, so it was just them three in between the rest now.
"You two can understand each other now. I casted a little spell so you can easily understand each other. Now for the start, let's… uh… start with today's events. Ewn-Krosh, why don't you go first. Tell us your side of the story."
"Story? There is none. We need food and they are food."
"Okay… Nedrith… your side of the story." It didn't seem to be going good.
"We came here to study the runes deeper in the cave. Then we were attacked by them."
"Alright…" Lera had no idea what to do. How was she going to get them to stop? She turned towards Ewn-Krosh. "Can you let them go and in return I'll give you food?"
Both of them were standing away from each other and from her, but they both turned towards her.
"You think giving them food is the answer? What happens when they run out and need more? Are you just going to let them kill the next group? Should we let them destroy our village and stand by? Naka, you are a naïve woman."
"We will take your food and kill you. We have the numbers!" Ewn-Krosh roared in the cave and the others behind him did the same. The orcs started slamming against the barrier. Ewn-Krosh and Nedrith started running towards each other to get the advantage for their fight.
"Stop!" Lera created another barrier between them and pushed them back to their respective sides.
'Should I just kill the orcs?' She looked towards Paroppe who was prepared to fight. 'I won't ever kill someone. Never.' But I can pretend I will.
"Until you both can come to an understanding, we will stay here. You have one day otherwise I just kill you all and leave." She even shuddered at how she casually said that. Honestly it hurt her to even say something like, but being their common enemy might help them.
"You can't do this! Everyone start hitting the barriers!" Lera saw that Paroppe was the only one who wasn't doing anything. She just stood there staring at her.
An hour went by and both sides started realizing the situation they were in.
"I will kill you Naka! You humans are all the same." Ewn-Krosh yelled at Lera. Even if they had the exit behind them, she blocked them in the cave. This single cave had time flowing in it, so even if they did get out, somehow, they would be frozen again. Though nothing can break her barriers as she made them that way.
"Why are you doing this Naka?" Paroppe yelled out to her. Lera guessed that she was trying to help everyone out, knowing that there was no way she was going to hurt anyone.
"I want everyone to stop fighting. Not just today, but every day. If you all can work together, not just here, but in the world as well… If I see that you all can cooperate, then you all will be let go. If not… I guess that is just one more day for me." Lera was freaking out. She realized where these words were coming from. One of the antagonists from Sparkling Gate. There was a similar situation there and now she was playing the mysterious visitor. Paroppe must have understood that and that was why she was helping. Lera slammed her hand into her forehead. She didn't know why she did it, but it was too embarrassing not to in a way.
She looked up and everyone was looking at her. She needs a line, something evil.
"If one day for you is too long then… Why don't we speed things up?" She was still on break, even if time wasn't moving. She did want to get back to work. Being normal was fun for her.
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