Chapter 37:

Ch 37: That's not a berry

I was Born the Unloved Twin

If I were to explain a kackle berry to my previous self I'd say it looks like a giant yellow blueberry but tastes like a lychee cherry cross without the pit. Delicious right?Bookmark here

I'd also say they have the tendency to explode like tiny firecrackers. Bookmark here

They are such inconvenient berries, good luck getting some of these things fresh. A literal cherry bomb. They'll never make ti through normal shipment means without exploding into mush. While the mush is still edible, it's quite fun to pop a mini fruit explosion into your mouth whole. Bookmark here

Due to their delicate nature, they're quite expensive in the market.Bookmark here

It should be no problem if I store them in my inter-dimensional bag but it's not worth the hassle to handpick them all. I prefer the mush anyways, I want to boil it into syrup. Wouldn't it make great a great drink mix or desert ingredient?Bookmark here

Sugar is too expensive in this world, any sweetener is going to be useful. At least tooth decay isn't a big issue among the people with the lack of sweets.Bookmark here

Even with my staff and buckets, it's tedious work to smack and collect the kackle berry mash. Well, Gable probably needs more time with whatever 'catching up' those old geezers are doing. Bookmark here

They're honestly not that old, nor do they look it since they keep in good physical condition, at most they're in their late 40s. But if I'm going to be treated as a child they get to be stinking old geezers.Bookmark here

Of course, Gable is a dashingly handsome old geezer, would give any veteran Hollywood heartthrob a run for their money. Bookmark here

Thank all my accumulated karma points for the chance to bask in his presence. Bookmark here

While I am curious about what's going on, I'm not brown-nosed to the point of intruding. It's fine. When I grow bored with berry slush gathering, the sun is still rather high in the sky. To dawdle a bit longer and give them more time I decide a little extra foraging couldn't hurt. Bookmark here

I take my time wandering off the supposed paths. The extended time here has made rather confident in my woodsy surroundings.Bookmark here

It's much easier using an actual forged metal knife than a tooth. The small fixed blade that Gable left me is probably something of a carving blade given its size. It's the most he can trust me not to injure myself with and honestly that's fair.Bookmark here

There's still something bothering me about earlier but I just can't figure it out. It's lingering behind a very flimsy curtain in my mind, something that feels like it should be very obvious and that's what annoys me.Bookmark here

Oh well, it will come to me eventually.Bookmark here

Something else that comes to me instead is a beautiful dark butterfly fluttering in the wind.Bookmark here

With teeth.Bookmark here

Butterflies... don't....have ... teeth!?! What in the shit?Bookmark here

"Get it you imbeciles!"Bookmark here

"I would already if you didn't miss!"Bookmark here

"Can we please get me out of this net?"Bookmark here

"There it went that way."Bookmark here

The surprise of the ruckus of people isn't too much of a shock as a butterfly with actual teeth but it's a fair shock of noise in an otherwise peacefully quiet place.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

What really matters is that I recognize some of those voices.Bookmark here

"Vinny just take it easy now."Bookmark here

"Just get the damn butterfly!"Bookmark here

Of course, it makes sense for grampa's personal troops to not be too far. Bookmark here

For a moment I wonder if that means my family is here too. Probably not, since the woods are too dense to really go through. The noises indicate that it's a small crowd, most likely just the inner raid crew. That's certainly my necromancer, Vincent, high pitched screeching through the air.Bookmark here

And yes he is mine, even if he doesn't know it yet. So is Miss Tamera and anyone else I find a worthy investment, *cough*shield*cough*. I called dibs.Bookmark here

Since some of my, future, people are in need of this strange fanged butterfly I'll keep an eye on it. It must be of some value if the inner troops are searching for it.Bookmark here

"This way everyone it's- oh, hello there. Excuse me but have you seen a weird butterfly around?"Bookmark here

"God damn it who the fuck are you talking to now?"Bookmark here

Out of the dense trees comes a pair of a weird little boy and a pretty but grumpy looking teenager. I don't recognize the blond teen, who I can't tell if they're a boy or a girl, but the kindergarten looking kid is definitely someone I know. Bookmark here

"What the crap there's supposed to be no one out here, unless..."Bookmark here

"Oh hi Rosalia! Did you get a haircut? It's very nice, have you been well? Funny we were looking for you for a long time but then everyone gave up and left it to the Commander. Did you see him yet? Oh, there's the butterfly!"Bookmark here

How is this child in Grampa's inner party again? You know what, I don't want to know. Especially not if it involves another sharp something to my neck.Bookmark here

"Hello to you too Amar, yes I'm alive and thank you." Bookmark here

"Mmmm that's good, glad you're ok!"Bookmark here

"Oi does the Lord commander know you're here? He's had us looking out for a week. Has a damn magic tracker and we were fucking still lost."Bookmark here

I don't blame the teen for his rudeness, God knows what Gramps put them through. More and more people in the standard-issue beast leather armor begin to stumble through into the clearing. I even see Tamer. Great, saves me the trouble of repeating myself.Bookmark here

"Yes, I've ran into my grandfather already. He's busying discussing matters with his friend sir Gable."Bookmark here

A one-eyed woman I don't know the name of raises a dramatic eyebrow as she approaches the gathering.Bookmark here

"Gable? As in our pissy Gable? Gable with the illusions and perfect hair is out here?"Bookmark here

"Yes, the mage Gable is the one to thanks for my care these past weeks. I was told to "go play' while they're catching up but I can lead you back to them right about now."Bookmark here

The small crowds of mostly hardened adult warriors half groans and half panics, how odd.Bookmark here

"No no no no oh god no that really won't be necessary Young Miss."Bookmark here

"Please just call me Rosalia."Bookmark here

"Oh hey Rosalia, dang nice cut, didn't recognize you like that."Bookmark here

"Hello and thank you Lukas, nice to see you're well too."Bookmark here

Everyone's a little roughed up but overall the troops look to be in fine health. Though some of their expressions aren't very good. Bookmark here

"Ahem, then Rosalia, how long ago did you last see them?"Bookmark here

"I would say about 2 hours ago."Bookmark here

"Oh shit"Bookmark here

"Yeah, way too soon."Bookmark here

"Nope! Not dealing with that. Not again!"Bookmark here

"Little Miss Rosalia, those two have some long ...talks, very very long talks. Don't want to disturb now."Bookmark here

"Oh no, no disturbing, you don't want to do any disturbing."Bookmark here

"Really best to leave them at it for ...another few hours. "Bookmark here

"Do we even have enough healing droughts ready? Calming ones?"Bookmark here

How strange, but the troops know their dynamic better and for much longer than me. They're awkwardly suspicious but I don't sense anyone is trying to lie. What are those two going to violently fight or something?Bookmark here

I never saw Gable as the type to, what a surprise. Bookmark here

Well whatever, they're grown adults with hero & magic shit to go over. I just hope Gable remembers to take the quiche out of the oven before it burns. Bookmark here

Vincent coughs with the subtly and patience of a rhino but it gets my attention.Bookmark here

"Well it's very nice to see you're alive and well Rosalia, truly I'm glad, but have you happen to see a strange butterfly, say about this large, purplish."Bookmark here

"The one with teeth?"Bookmark here

"Yessssssss that's the one."Bookmark here

I not towards the younger grumpy teenager and point to where I last saw the creature fly off too.Bookmark here

"I believe Amar followed it into that bush?"Bookmark here

"Shit! After him!"Bookmark here

What's the big deal I want to ask, but it looks like it's chase first ask later. At least no one is negligent enough to forget about me and leave me behind. The problem is that I'm picked up and carried off like a puppy dog again.Bookmark here

Seriously?Bookmark here

Well at least it's Tamera and not someone I don't know. She has a very comfortable hold and some wonderfully defined biceps, very strong arms, nice arms.Bookmark here

Unlike a certain muscle-bound grampa she can actually use control and not crush me to death even while running. Much appreciated.Bookmark here

In due time we catch up with who I think is Amar or well half of him. He was on his knees and half crawled into a bush.Bookmark here

"Is it in there Amar?"Bookmark here

"Yep!"Bookmark here

"Oh thank the goddess, let me see."Bookmark here

"Ah be careful Vincent."Bookmark here

"I know what I'm doing, now show me where it is."Bookmark here

"Finally" Bookmark here

"Ohhh I want to see too."Bookmark here

"I can't believe we're doing this for one shitty bug."Bookmark here

I agree with the teenaged grumpy cat. Now that we're here can someone explain what's going on? Also teeth on a butterfly? Never heard of that before, why would a bug need teeth? Bookmark here

"Damn it's flying away again!"Bookmark here

"I did say be careful."Bookmark here

Luckily for those who no longer wanted to run the fanged butterfly nearly flutter around the area before gracefully attempting a landing on someone.Bookmark here

"Fuck! Shit! Get it away from me!"Bookmark here

Screamed grumpy Blondie, wildly waving his(?) hand in the air to shoot the little thing.Bookmark here

"Don't do that Yuna!"Bookmark here

"Get your creepy bug away! AHHH Fuck!"Bookmark here

"Yuna!"Bookmark here

So that's what the teeth are for... obviously. Call me old fashioned but I just don't think butterflies should have teeth, especially sharp ones. It's just wrong and painful looking.Bookmark here

"Net! Use the net while it's hosting!"Bookmark here

"It's doing what now?!"Bookmark here

Some of the most powerful well-trained people in the known world, stumbling over a butterfly. This is just reality now.Bookmark here

To be fair it's a really freaky butterfly.Bookmark here

"Got it!"Bookmark here

"Finally!"Bookmark here

The crowd cheers around Vincent except for the bite victim, who's turning redder and less focused by the second.Bookmark here

"Fuck shit what did that thing do to me?"Bookmark here

"To be honest I'm not exactly sure. That's why I wanted to catch the specimen."Bookmark here

"Fuuuuuuuck."Bookmark here

"Yuna you're not looking so well. Here drink this down."Bookmark here

Even with two mid-tier healing droughts he's becoming increasingly incoherent, he almost looks...drunk. This obviously underaged teen looks roaring drunk. Is it a natural drug? Like those psychedelic toads?Bookmark here

Most everyone exchanges looks among themselves except for those straight out laughing at the possibly poisoned teen or busy examining the caught specimen. I can make out snippets of excited murmurs and whispers of legends I've never heard of. Bookmark here

At least he doesn't seem to be dying?Bookmark here

"Yuna how many fingers am I holding up?"Bookmark here

"Smashhy, fuuu, I'm gonna beat yall ashes....guh."Bookmark here

"...."Bookmark here

Oh dear...any healer know what's going on here? Anyone? Vincent?Bookmark here

Yeah, we may need some more help. Bookmark here

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