Chapter 2:

2

Balancing the Scales: The Sage Hero's Story


 Kaz wakes up the following day and crawls out from under the wing of his new friend and stretches himself out, then sits down against the wall of the cave. He looks to his right and sees Saphana still slumbering away, and looks to his left and lets out a frightened shriek as he lays his eyes upon a corpse next to him. Clad in metal and leather armor, strewn across the cave’s wall with a single straight sword piercing straight through its side. Bookmark here

Saphana wakes up and hobbles over, wondering about the commotion. She shushes Kaz and explains tiredly, “Oh, that’s a common sight here.” She yawns and continues, “Bandits, goblins, all of them will leave their victims in ditches, or caves. I’m not sure why they left his armor though, that’s a pretty decent set for them to just leave behind. You should try it on, he’s not using it anymore, obviously.”, Saphana pried his helmet off and rolled it over to Kaz. He cringed at the thought of stripping a corpse. “Isn’t this a bit disrespectful?” he asked as he finished removing the last piece of the armor. Just as he removes the breastplate, a small pouch falls out of the armor with a ‘clink’ as it hits the ground. “Oh? Lucky you Kaz, he still has his coin pouch.” Saphana shouts as she heaves a hot breath of fire over the woodpile gathered in front of the cavern. “Put that armor on, I will go catch some breakfast.” She says as she sprints off to find something to eat.

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Kaz finishes putting on the armor, “It fits pretty well, the helmet is way too small though.” He says to himself as digs the sword out of the poor corpse’s gut. He then feels a burning sensation and feels sick to his stomach for a few moments, then oddly enough the pain and feeling in his gut subside almost immediately. “What the hell was that?” Kaz wondered as he tried to rub some of the dried blood off the sword’s tip on the underside of his sneaker. He ties the small sack of coins to his belt and heads outside and begins scraping at the ground with a large stick, he finds a patch of soft soil and begins digging a hole. About a half hour of laborious digging later, Kaz throws up a bit as he drags the corpse out of the cave and into the hole he dug, he crosses the body’s arms and covers it back up with dirt and shoves a small rock into place on top of it. Then he gets on one knee to say a quick prayer. Just as he finishes praying, Saphana returns with a large buck on her back. “Nice!” Kaz hops to his feet and shouts with excitement, he hefts the deer off her back. Saphana looks over and sees the misshapen lump of soil and stone off to the side of the cave and smiles at Kaz before asking him, “Did you…”. Kaz interrupts her, “Yeah, it’s only fair. Nobody deserves to rot in a cave, and as thanks for the armor, I figured he should have a proper send off.” He finishes skinning the deer and shoves his sword in the fire to burn off any nasty remnants from the corpse in an attempt to sanitize the blade, he then shoves the sword through the meat of the deer and sets it over the bonfire. “By the way, Saph. When I put this armor on, it felt like I was on fire for a moment, and I felt sick to my stomach. The pain went away almost instantly though, any ideas?”. The large dragon was staring at the deer over the fire, practically salivating. She snapped out of the trance and answered, “The armor you found probably has magic resistance enchantments of some kind. When you put it on you take trace amounts of the damage type, and in return the armor bolsters your resistance to it. That’s probably why you felt like you did.” Bookmark here

Kaz stares down into the bonfire, watching the deer roast. “Ah, I get it. It’s like a flu shot, you get a weak dose of the virus to train your body against it for later.” He says as he rips a small chunk off the slab of meat for himself. The big blue dragon was about to inquire about what a flu shot was, but she is distracted by the smell of the deer cooking. “This is enough for me, go ahead.” Kaz says, his words muffled by his mouthful of food. Saphana then scoops up what’s left of the deer and swallows it whole. Kaz watches in wonder as he sees the deer slide down her throat and vanish into her belly, “Do you even taste it if you swallow it whole like that?” Kaz taunts. The dragon blushes and replies, “Of course I taste it, it’d take ages if someone as big as I had to eat in such small bites like you do.” She accidentally lets out a loud belch that echoes through the cave. After hearing that, Kaz falls over and begins laughing as Saphana’s face turns beet red. He then scoops some dirt over the fire and watches it sputter for a second and then die out. Kaz sheaths his sword and turns to Saphana, “Ready to head out?” he asks. “Indeed, I am.” Saphana crouches down so Kaz may clamber up onto her back once again, and with that, they’re off once again. Bookmark here

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