The Master and The Slave
The warm bright sun gently caresses his skin, and the strong breeze blows away the wood shaving around Nesto shoes. He shakes his leg to get the rest of the wood shaving off his pants. Nesto twirls his newly made wooden staff without any effort at all then he stops, and laid the middle of the staff on the tip of his finger. The balance is perfect because the staff didn't tilt to the right or left.
Satisfy by how the wooden staff turns out, he begins checking it elasticity by bending it. It not heavy like his metal staff used to be, but it gave enough weight that it's comfortable to use. The Wolics in front of him kept looking at him with a confused face.
"Excuse me, but why am I here for?" Za ask.
"I'm trying to change my fighting style to a more non-lethal one, so I need someone to test my staff with," Nesto answers.
"Yeah, but why me? Why not Virzez or the others?" Za ask.
"Vizrez is too big to use on, I will probably break the staff if I used it on her, and I don't want to accidentally kill Grie," Nesto said.
"Wait! Kill?" Za said worriedly.
There are several young humans gather around Nesto, and one of them is Vizrez. She let out a cough, causing Nesto turns to look at the cyclops woman face, he sees her annoyed face because of his comment on her size. "Sorry" Nesto apologizes.
"You will be fine, Wolics can take more hit than a normal human... Probably, I think." Nesto said.
"Even if I do can take more hit, it won't be less painful," Za said.
"I'm going to knock you out, nothing more," Nesto assure him.
Za let out a sigh, "At least you are using a wooden staff, it not like you can kill me with staff," he comments.
"I'm not going to lie, but I kill more people using a staff than the sword," Nesto said.
"Wait, how?" Za ask.
"Standard stuff, jab it through somebody faces or break his neck, break his spine and many more. I more skill on a wooden staff than a sword," Nesto said.
"If you are more lethal using the staff then why are you using it?" Za said as he starts to get scared of the man in front of him.
"As I said before, I have more skill on a wooden staff. So I have more control over it than any other weapons," Nesto said while letting out a smile.
"Do I have a choice in this matter?" Za ask.
"I want to tell you yes, but no. Come on, brave up. You'll be fine," Nesto said.
Za slaps the side of his face with both hands, to kick his fear away and strengthen his bravery. "Let's do this!!" Za said and the crowd cheers.
"Okay, knee, stomach, head," Nesto said to himself as he targets the vital points.
With ease, Nesto twirls the wooden staff again with his hands while focusing on Za vital points. Za closes his eyes and clenches his teeth while waiting for the coming strike. Like the wind, the staff hit Za on the knee first causing him to lower to his knee, then it hit his stomach which causes him to bend forward, and lastly, it hit his head; knocking him out.
It only takes one movement to do all that and using the same momentum for each strike. The crowd jaw drops down while they look at Za laying face first on the grass ground. While unconscious, Za let out a surprisingly amount of gas out from his butt which causes Vizrez to laugh aloud. The crowd let out a smile and some giggle, while Nesto waves the bad stench away from his nose.
"I should cook something more digestible," Nesto comments.
A few young humans walk up to Nesto with sparkly eyes that show admiration.
"Sir Nesto, can you teach us how to fight?" One of the humans with long brown hair, striking green eyes, and fresh hopeful face ask.
"Your name is 'Melud' right?" Nesto ask.
"Yes, that's me!" Melud said with excitement in his voice.
"Why do you all want to learn to fight?" Nesto ask.
"I answer for the rest of the group that we want to protect this place. This place is like a home to us, and when the Woodfolk, we were useless to protect our self... We don't want the same thing to happens, we want to be strong for our friend and family," Melud answers, his eyes and the other shows determinations.
"Young and brave, sure I'll teach you all how to fight, but I won't teach you how to kill," Nesto said.
"Yes!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!" Melud cheers, his friends all hug each other in excitement while Nesto let out a smile.
"When do we start?" Melud ask.
"Right now, seem okay," Nesto said.
"Stop! Sorry to bother you all, but Nesto is occupied right now," Neya step in.
"I need him to escort me to the town," Neya said.
"I'm sorry, but we'll start tomorrow then. For now, make yourself a wooden staff for practice," Nesto said then the young humans let out a disappointed sigh as they walk away from him.
Nesto turn to face his masters "Town?"
"Yeah, I need to buy seeds for the crop, fabric for their cloth, sewing kit and sell a few of the Wyvern skin," Neya said.
"Sure. Excuse me, While I ready the wagon first," Nesto said and walk toward the wagon with the wooden staff in his hand.
Za still unconscious on the ground let out a final burst of gas, Neya's head recoils away from the smell. She walks away and heads to Vizrez while pinching her nose, to keep the smell away. The cyclops woman is talking to the other humans when Neya taps her back to grab her attention.
She turns her body to face the elf girl, "Morning chief."
"Morning Vizrez, Nesto and me are going to the town to buy some stuff, can you stay here and guard the camp while I'm gone," Neya said.
"Sure, no problem chief," Vizrez said while she let out a yawn.
Neya waves goodbye to the woman and walks toward the wall with an intention to talk to Vel. Arriving at the spike wall, she tries to search for a trace of the Woodfolk boy on the branches, but she found none.
"Vel? Are you there?" Neya calls out.
Vel head pops out from the leaves, "Present."
"Can you watch the camp for me while I'm gone?" Neya ask.
"Me?" The boy said, Neya response by nodding her heads.
"Ok. From Afar. Destination?" Vel ask.
"I'm going to Grimsby with Nesto," Neya answers.
"Outside. Careful. Elf near the road." Vel warn.
"I didn't know you care about me," Neya joke.
"No. Forget what I said. Bye," Vel said in disagreement then disappear into the tree.
Neya amuses by Vel cute flutters response, she couldn't help, but let out a smile. She starts to walk back toward the camp. At the camp, the wagon is ready by Nesto and are waiting for her. She climbs the wagon with ease; Nesto wiggles the reins and off they go toward the path they used to get into the forest.
It was an uneventful ride, they manage to get out of the forest without anyone notices them. It doesn't take long for them to arrive at Grimsby; a small normal town with more Satyr walking around than any other races. The wagon stopped in front of a clothing store, Nesto gets off the wagon and tied the horse rein at a post.
Nesto grabs one of the sacks containing the Wyvern skin, and with Neya by his side, both of them enter the store. The door open, the bell ring and behind the counter reveals an old Satyr with a welcoming smile.
"May I help you, Miss?" The Satyr asks.
"I have something that might interest you," Neya said, she walks to the counter and places the sack on it.
The Satyr opens the sack revealing the Wyvern skin inside, his jaw drop opens, "How did you manage to get a very high-quality material?"
"It's a trade secret," Neya said with a smile.
The Satyr let out a laugh, "I understand, but may I ask, what do you want me to do with it?"
"Nothing, I want to it sell to you," Neya answers.
"Hmm, I don't think I can't afford to pay for it," The Satyr said.
"How about a deal, pay which amount you can in coins and the rest with your fabrics and sewing kit," Neya offers.
"Tempting offers, tempting indeed, I'll take it. Go ahead, pick whichever fabric you wish from my storage," The Satyr said.
The deal went smooth as it can be, Neya went ahead to pick several colors of fabric from the storage then Nesto brought the fabrics and the sewing kit into the wagon in which he stores it. Then they went to the general store to buy a few bags of different crop of seeds, suitable for growing in four seasons.
Nesto took an opportunity to buy a large number of ingredients for the camps while Neya sent a letter to her friends at the academy. They also shop for a few other stuff that can benefit the camps and the humans living in the camps.
The sun was beginning to slumber when they head back to the wagon with all the items in their hand. Nesto stops when he felt an aura of bloodlust coming from around the corner; where their wagons are located. He stops Neya on her tracks, then sneakily peeks out of the corner, and examine their wagons.
"What's the matter, Nesto?" Neya asks worriedly.
"I sense danger, be careful," Nesto peek out the corner and see someone he hasn't seen for a while.
"Hello friend, long time no see," 167 greet him with a smile on his face while waving his hand.
Nesto steps out from the corner while Neya pokes her heads out from the corner, "It's you."
"Hey, kid. I see you have grown," 167 said.
"I'm sorry about letting out the bloodlust, I'm just messing with you," 167 continue.
Nesto let out a frown, letting the elf know that the joke was not amusing. "You look horrible."
The elf sitting in the wagon doorway does look horrible from their last encounter, there are visible bags under his eyes and a few scars on his face that were not there before. There is also something off about his left leg, Nesto tries to peek underneath, but couldn't see what is it.
"What happens to you?" Nesto ask.
"Ah, same old story, trying to stop a war, but only delaying it," 167 shrug his shoulders.
"War?" Neya ask.
"Yes, and you inadvertently are also a part of it," 167 said while pointing his fingers at the elf girls.
Neya steps out from the corner, "But I didn't do anything! Except for the slave trader?"
"No, it's not something as meager as that," 167 said.
"Then what?" Neya ask.
"It got something to do with your mom and your dead father," 167 said.
"I don't understand," Neya said.
"Why are you here?" Nesto ask.
"To tell you what's coming" 167 faces became darken as he smiles went away.
Nesto drops the items and pulls his master closer to him, "There is an artifact in which you father discover earlier in his life, and what I gather from people mouth is that the artifact is some sort of weapons."
"A weapon capable of destroying an island, but that what people said. No one actually knows what this artifact does though. However, all of them agrees that it is some kind of weapons." 167 explains.
"What is that artifact has to do with me?" Neya ask.
"Well for starters, your mother wants to use that artifact on Targia, so the king would abolish the new law," 167 said.
"I still don't see why it has to do with me," Neya said.
"Your father is the reason why it has to do with you," 167 said.
"Father?" Neya said while her open palms closed in.
"Dear old daddy, have tons of magister working on the artifact and the only thing they can crack is the lock in which to activate it. So your dad, order his magister to change the lock and make himself into the key. He then orders his knights, to kill every one of his magisters, so no one can change the key. But your dad died before he can't use the damn thing," 167 said.
"And here the fun part, to open the lock, the key need to have the same blood as your father flowing in them and must be alive to do it. Since your father has no living relatives, it all comes down to you, hence the bounty on your head," 167 said while a darken grin appears on his face.
"Me? The key? That's what my mother after?" Neya said while her heart fills with anger and annoyance.
"Yes... That's why your mother wants you," 167 said.
"I know sometimes life can be... terrible," 167 said.
"Neya, stay behind me..." Nesto orders with a look of concern on his face while he glares at the elf sitting in the wagon back door.
Neya gaze when up to her butler's face, fears begin to replace her anger when she saw the same look her butter had when he about to get into a fight.
"A friend after my own, always know what I'm about to do," 167 closed his hands.
The visible metal string appears and surrounds both of them; blocking any way to escape. 167 raise his hand and show the metal string all originate from his gauntlet.
"You were sent here to kill her, tell me who orders it."
"It's not the king or anyone you know, it's the Third-hand decisions," 167 said.
Nesto eyes went to the wagon in which contains his staff and saber. He was a fool to leave them in the wagons, he should have known. He can't use his magic, in fear of getting Neya hurt from his own magic. Damn it, he fails his master, he turns around and embraces Neya into a protective cocoon; hoping the string doesn't kill her.
"I'm sorry Neya," Nesto apologizes.
"It's not your fault," Neya said.
"Wait! 167, please you don't have to do this," Neya plead.
"I care for Targia and the King so much that I willing to sacrifice my own leg for them," 167 stand up, and a glimpse of his fake metal leg show itself to them.
"But I know the king doesn't want it to be like this, don't despair he said," 167 let out a smile and whips his hands.
The metal strings begin to move and fall to the ground then it retracts itself into his gauntlet. 167 release them, he simply walks a few feet away from the wagon and stretches his arms.
"I won't do it, the third-hand serves under the king, not our self. We will follow the king until the very end," 167 said.
"You are letting us go?" Neya ask.
"Yes... I won't kill a friend of mine, besides there is always another way to fight," 167 said.
"You are letting us go, just like that?" Nesto said skeptically about 167 choices.
"Just like that," 167 answers then let out a grin.
"Protect her... It has been a long day, never have I thought that I would gamble, always thought of myself a man of certainty," 167 said.
"Thank you... Friend," Nesto said.
"Don't make me regret it— Friend," 167 said and his entire body disappears into thin air, Nesto notices the magic he used is similar to what a Xintari used.