Chapter 32:

Drunk Talk


“We should call it a day, the sun is about to set.”- Natalie suggests.

“Hm...Personally, I would prefer to get there as soon as possible. I guess we'll just get there tomorrow morning.”- Leo said.

It’s been about a day and a half since Leo’s party left the ancient ruins. Turns out, being tortured by golems is quite beneficial as they were rewarded with magic. With the extra time they have, Natalie, Amber and Sophia have somewhat discovered more of their new magic knowledge. For Natalie, her ancient wind magic has come in quite handy. It allows her to retrieve items from a distance at will, giving a great advantage. Even better is the new spells she learned now allow her wind magic to be used offensively. One spell even allows for healing, something that wind magic in the modern day doesn't do.

The case is more of the same for Sophia, who are a lot more interconnected with nature now. She can grow plants, even summoning ancient trees from the ground. Sophia hasn’t completely grasped the extent of her magic yet, still experimenting to figure out what she can do. Finally, would be Amber, who learns an ancient form of fire magic. To be more accurate, it’s the rare form called chaos magic. It’s the type of magic practiced only by few in the past, it’s offensive capability is incredible, strong attacks with the potential to wipe out towns. There is one downside, the accuracy of chaos magic is very low, so low that no one wants to practice it. That would explain why the magic is lost to time, with no mage willing to use it. Fitting for quite a person whose accuracy is already terrible. She ponders the thoughts of not using it, but ends up trying it out either way.

As the end of the afternoon approaches, the party stops in a nearby forest to set up camp.

“We should pick some berries to make drinks for tonight.”- Natalie suggested.

“Berry picking…Are you serious?”- Sophia said while giving Natalie a weird look, remembering the past.

“Ahaha, don’t worry. That was just a one time thing in the past, you know?”- Natalie laughs, realizing what Sophia was talking about.

“Sigh, I’ll be ok as long as that idiot isn’t the one picking them.”- Sophia said, pointing at Leo.

“Aw come on, it was something we had to do.”- Leo awkwardly grins.

“I’ll do it then!”- Claudius joyfully offers.

“Sounds great, just pick some of the red berries in the nearby area. There should be plenty.”- Natalie said.

“Oh wow, I didn’t want to pick berries either way. I’ll just sit here and figure out what these scrolls do.”- Leo pouts.

Sophia and Amber would then set up the campfire. Sophia summons a tree using her magic, leaving the kindling to Amber. After taking a deep breath, Amber prepares herself for the chaos magic. Leo and Natalie understandably hide behind a boulder for cover in case she misses.

“Burn with desire, flames of hope. Be the force to break through the mold. CHAOS MISSILES!”- Amber cast.

Flame bursts out from her staff as a fire missile forms from it. It’s color is dark, many times darker than the normal shade of fire. The projectile leaps from the staff and curves in a circular pattern towards the small tree. “BOOM” a sound of an explosion can be heard as the chaos missile makes contact, bright light fills the area, followed by a big shockwave. The small tree burns intensely.

“That’s crazy!”- Leo yells.

“Phew.”- Amber breathed a sigh of relief.

With an unconventional campfire now lit, the four sit around and wait for Claudius before they eat dinner. He eventually returns with a bag full of red berries, looking quite proud.

“Alright, dinner time.”- Amber said, pulling out the food from their bags.

“What happened here?”- Claudius asks, pointing at the burning tree.

“Ah… Don’t mind it.”- Leo said.

Claudius gave a confused look for a moment. He decided to ignore it and help Amber prepare the food. Natalie uses the berries that Claudius gathered and puts them into a small container. With a small cube, she pressed on them, releasing juice into small cups. And so their simple dinner is prepared, grilled meat, along with soup and some berry juice. The five all sit down to eat their meal.

“We should try to head out as early as possible. Don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to check out such a famous city.”- Leo said.

“Agreed, I’m also very excited to visit that place.”- Natalie nods her head.

“My home is near there too, maybe we can drop by for a visit. It’s been sometime since I last saw them. I want to introduce Natalie and Amber to them.”- Sophia eagerly said.

“Hey! What about me?”- Leo asks.

“It’s a waste of breath introducing you. Maybe I’ll consider introducing Claudius to them.”- Sophia smirks.

Claudius is too busy eating his food to respond, putting his thumb up for approval. They quickly finish their main course.

“Once again, I would like to give Claudius some credit for picking these berries for us. Now we can all enjoy red berry juice.”- Natalie smiles.

“I pick berries all the time too. Why don’t I get some credit?”- Leo looks over.

“That’s because you won’t shut up about it.”- Amber sighs.

Everyone grabs their drink, ready to toast. Leo suddenly stands up from his seat, preparing to give an elaborate speech. As he stood up, he trips on his bowl of food, spilling his drinks.

“NOOOOOO!”- He screams in despair.

“HAHAHAHAHA YOU IDIOT!!!”- Sophia laughs.

Natalie and Amber facepalms, looking at the idiot that’s laying on the ground.

“Do you want some of my juice?”- Claudius kindly offered.

“’ll just go get some water.”- Leo said, sniffling.

“Are you sure?”- Claudius insisted.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. You guys can start without me.”- He said while doing the walk of shame to get some water.

Walking deeper into the forest, Leo can’t help but smile about how far he has gotten.

“Looks like tomorrow will be another fun day. I’m curious to see why Ingrid wants us there.”- Leo thought to himself, grabbing some water.

Leo heads back after he got a cup full of water, hearing loud conversation sounds.

“Looks like they got started, why are they louder than usual though?”- He wonders.

Walking out from a tree line, he was greeted with the sight of Sophia lifting up Natalie for a hug. Amber has some kind of metal pot on her head as she runs around in circles and trips on a bag. Claudius is sitting still in his seat, casually drinking.

“WHY ARE YOU SO FREAKING CUTE!?!?!”- Sophia screams, hugging Natalie.

“See you know, I didn’t join the cult because I’m evil. I joined it because I needed money!”- Natalie completely ignores Sophia, telling her story.

“AJSHJKAFHKJASFH!!!”- Amber is yelling something but Leo couldn’t make out what she was saying with her head inside a pot.

“WHAT IS GOING ON?!?”- Leo shouts in confusion.

“SHUT UP, I’M TELLING MY STORY!”- Natalie scolds Leo.

“I don’t know what happened to them. They just started acting like they were drunk after drinking the juice.”- Claudius said, taking more sips.

Leo rushes over to the basket of berries trying to figure out what’s wrong. Looking at the berries, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Leo can’t help, but be really confused about the situation. Then he suddenly realizes they are currently in the season of fermentation for some berries.

“Claudius must have picked some of the wrong ones and mixed them up in the batch.”- Leo thought.

He searches deeper into the basket, discovering some darker colored berries. This was the cause. Since Claudius picked the berries in the afternoon, the lack of sunlight and minimal knowledge of the berries caused him to pick the wrong kind. Leo can’t fault him on that, facepalming at what just occurred.

“Come here Leo, why are you being so cold?”- Sophia suddenly appeared behind Leo.

She pulls him closer and pats him on the head.

“WHAT?!?”- Leo shouts.

“Shhhh! Quiet down, you’re going to wake everyone up.”- Sophia said.

“BUT EVERYONE IS AWAKE!”- Leo responded.

“You know what? Leo, you are a great guy. I have been thinking that maybe getting married to you isn’t that bad.”- Natalie suddenly said.

“Calm down Natalie! You’re not yourself right now, any more and it will be bad!”- Leo panics.

“No, you’ll be getting married to me.”- Sophia said.

“I have been holding back this whole time, it’s time for me to be brave…”- She continues before Natalie suddenly runs off.

Sophia says no more, quietly chasing after Natalie and the two jog down the road. Leo just sat there, all confused.

“Sh..Should...Should we chase after them?”- He asks, at this point his brain refuses to process the information.

“They should be fine. Actually, I’ll go retrieve them just in case.”- Claudius said.

“Out of curiosity, how are you the only one who’s fine here?”- Leo asks.

“Not sure, probably because of my high alcohol tolerance. You know, my past life.”- Claudius answers.

“Oh, you're right. That makes sense.”- Leo didn’t want to mention more about Claudius’s past.

Claudius walks down the road in the direction of Sophia and Natalie, leaving Leo behind. He is now alone with Amber, whose head is in a pot. Amber laid still in her spot, the two remained quiet. Until suddenly, Amber sits up from her spot and spins her head in a circle. Leo can’t help but look in terror and then runs over to her. He pulls the pot off with ease, revealing a very drunk looking Amber. Her face blushes bright red, similar to her hair. She hiccups once every often as she just stands still and looks at Leo.

“I have seen too much anime to know where this is going! She’ll confess to me!!!”- Leo's thoughts get all excited.

He stares intensely at Amber as his heart pounds faster and faster. His breath almost comes to a hold just anticipating what’s to come.

“Hey...Um…”- Amber said.

“HERE IT COMES!!! EMERGENCY!!! THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR A NERD LIKE ME!!!”- Leo’s thoughts scream as he is trying to keep composure.

“Y...Yes?”- Leo hesitantly asks.

Amber gets even closer to Leo, looking directly at his eyes.

“I...Uh...I”- Amber slowly puts both of her arms up.

“I know what you are going to say, so take your time.”- Leo says.

“GIVE ME MY HELMET BACK!!”- Amber suddenly shouts, punching Leo in the stomach.

“MY STOMACH, MY HEART, AHHH THE PAIN!!!”- Leo collapses as Amber grabs the pot out of his hand.

As he lay there in pain, Amber suddenly got behind him and sat down, putting his head on her lap.

“Huh?!?”- Leo gets confused.

“Thanks Leo. I get to be happy because you saved me.”- She suddenly said.

Leo couldn’t say another word, he just lay there.

“Don’t get it wrong, it's not like I…”- Amber pauses after letting out some of her tsundere side.

“I like you.”- She suddenly said.

Leo’s eyes are wide open, surprised from what he had just heard. He couldn’t believe what she just said after he let his guard down. The two didn’t say another word to each other the rest of the night, with Amber just unexpectedly falling asleep while giving Leo a lap pillow. He sat up and laid her down to sleep. Claudius would also return with a passed out Sophia and a still rambling Natalie. Eventually, everyone enters their slumber, snoring and kicking each other through the night.

Leo couldn’t bring up what he had heard the night before to Amber, who doesn't seem to have any memory of being drunk. Natalie is disappointed by her disgraceful behavior as she retains some of the memory. Sophia just acted normal, also completely forgetting what happened. Only Claudius and Leo know, both just laughing as they continue on their way. Finally, after almost a full week of traveling, they have all made it to Absol, the city of legends.