His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)
58th of Spring, 5859
Mount Curry, Azdavay / Casamonu
The eternal rain came suddenly came to a close in Casamonu as if God himself got tired of the constant downpour. The mountain bloomed once again with life as the temperatures returned to a milder state. It was still cold, especially up in the mountains, but not cold enough to freeze one to death.
Brown woke up, seeing the sun shining through the clouds for the first time in weeks. The ground had mostly dried up, making it suitable for travel. It was time.
“Young lady… Ayomide! Wake up!” Brown softly shook Ayomide, who laid on the other side of the cave. She was fast asleep under the bear pelt, as usual.
Ayomide mumbled some semi-coherent words as she tried to resist waking up. “Mmh… Give me ten minutes… or ten hours.”
“As a wise man once said, young lady: The early bird gets the worm.”
“But I’m not a bird…”
“That doesn’t matter, does it? Come on, get up young lady, the sun’s already shining.”
“No, it hasn’t been shining for- Yes it is shining. Huh.” Ayomide turned around to meet the sun. “Alright, give me a sec…” She yawned and stretched her arms before rising up from the pelt. The two had breakfast, consisting of cooked slime and boiled bird eggs, while they also discussed their plans for the day.
“So, young lady, Providence has granted us with clear skies today.” Ayomide cringed slightly at Brown’s overly grandiose form of speech “Thus, I’d say that it is time for us to begin my journey to Azdavay.”
Ayomide raised an eyebrow. ‘My?’ “Am I not travelling with you, old man?”
Brown stated the obvious “I don’t think it’d be a good idea for the young lady to go nearby to the town she escaped from.”
Right, there is that aspect to that. But… “Didn’t the adventurers say that travelling by your lonesome through the forest is a bad idea? I could just not enter the town itself while you do the shopping and whatnot.”
Brown closed his eyes to think for a second. “Hmm… It’s your choice, young lady. I can’t and won’t force you to take or not take such a risk. I’ll be fine with our Heavenly Father watching over us.”
If he watched over you so much then why did you end up being executed? “We’re comrades-in-arms, right?” Even though we haven’t had done much… or any fighting. “It simply wouldn’t do if you were to end up being mauled by some weird forest creature.” Ayomide considered herself somewhat lucky due to not having met such a fate.
“Then, young lady, it is decided. We shall set off together to Azdavay.” Brown looked to be pleased at Ayomide’s decision. Comrades were not dime-a-dozen, especially in these mountains most foreign to him. “Let us get ready for our journey!”
The forest of Azdavay, along with the forests of the rest of Casamonu and the northern part of Gemeinplatz, were famous for its vastness. Various forms of deciduous, broad-leaved trees covered the landscape as if they were part of an endless green ocean. Most famous of these trees were the tilia trees and their fruit, whom the locals would often dry to make tilia tea, and chestnuts that were always a welcome addition to one’s diet during winter. Yet, the ones currently visiting the forest were definitely not concerned with any of the aforementioned.
“Why do forests have to have so many bugs!” Shinasi groaned as he swung his spear wildly, in a futile attempt to drive off the flies that had come out in the dry weather.
“You know, flies usually buzz around food that’s left around. Maybe they wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t a milksop.” replied Shakira. She confidently carried her enormous sword on her shoulder, not openly bothered by the flies.
“Am I a milksop or a winesop?! By the Otherworld, at least be consistent!”
Conversation in the forest that surrounded Azdavay went thus. Mud and heat had made the land like heaven for flies looking for easy prey, and foolish adventurers were falling for the flies’ trap.
Their bickering was brought to an end by Shakir. “Ssh! Calm down young’uns, there’s somebody up on the road.” The adventurers suddenly assumed professionality, stopping their bickering and brandishing their weapons. The adventurer’s code stated that one must look cool at all times, and they made sure to abide them.
The figure on the road waved his hand in greeting. “Greetings, fellow travelers!”
“It’s the mountain hermit again.” Shinasi kept cool as Brown approached the adventurer group. The old man was carrying two makeshift spears on one hand while carrying a large clay jar with the other.
Shakir took the job of doing the greeting. “What a coincidence, Mister Brown. What brings you to this road?”
“I was heading down to Azdavay to sell my soap.” Brown pointed at the clay jar that he was carrying. “Your group seems to be heading back as well, I’d be honored to accompany you to Azdavay.”
The adventurers looked at each other in a displeased fashion. Adventurers weren’t wont to providing protection for free. “Well, you see… Uhm…” Shakir began cooking up some excuse to refuse Brown.
Brown understood what they wanted from the look on their faces. “I’m willing to provide you a cut of the profits if you guard me.”
The tone of the adventurers quickly shifted “Gladly sir, we’ll provide our protection!” Shakir smiled as he signaled his comrades to continue their march. Getting a bonus is always nice, innit. With negotiations out of the way, the group of four was free to march on to Azdavay.
Half an hour passed, and the quartet marched on without incident.
Shinasi stretched his arms and yawned. I’m bored. There’s nothing attacking me other than flies- He stopped this train of thought; it was bad luck to internally and / or externally monologue about things being peaceful.
“What the- [Lightning Missiaagh!” Shakir was suddenly snatched by a green, plant-like tentacle before he could counter it. The remaining trio quickly turned around to meet the source hiding behind the trees: an odd monster that looked like the lovechild of a tulip and an onion. It’s body, as tall as Brown, consisted of a bulb that resembled a blue onion crowned with a red tulip-like flower on top. Several ‘tentacles’, four of them in fact, extended from the bottom of its body with one of them currently holding Shakir.
“What hath God wrought upon this realm…” Brown quickly tossed his jar of soap aside and readied his spears for throwing. Before he could draw first blood however, Shakira rushed with her sufficiently enormous sword to cut the overgrown vegetable. The veggie calmly responded by wrapping her sword with tentacles, blocking her from swinging it.
“Accursed vegetable! Go back to the cutting board where you belong!” Try as she may, Shakira was unable to regain control of her weapon.
“Shakira! This guy’s one of those weaponnapper, we won’t get very far with our weapons!” As if to prove Shinasi’s point, the weaponnapper nabbed his spear.
Shakir was being swung around by the weaponnapper, his body upside-down. The tentacles were wringing him like a wet towel, a scene that’d be the source of fanservice if he wasn’t an old man. “I’ll get him, [Lightning Misspuwah!” He was instantly knocked out by the monster knocking him into a tree.
Brown took a step back to think, before being struck with an idea. He picked up one of his bars of soap from the ground and threw the bar at the monster. The monster caught the bar of soap like any other weapon, as planned so far.
All four of the weaponnapper’s tentacles were now busy holding something. Brown took his spears and threw them in quick succession. His skills at the spear had greatly improved in the two months he had been in Gemeinplatz; one of the spears landed on the tentacle holding Shakir while the other hit the beast right in the bulb. Shakir landed on the ground with a grand thud, being no help as he was still knocked out.
Unfortunately for Brown his spears didn’t seem to be too effective. The weaponnapper used its newly freed tentacle to grab the human who had assailed it. Brown was now left incapacitated by the tentacles surrounding and slowly strangling him. A pious evangelical like John Brown couldn’t Hail Mary out of this sticky situation. He could only pray for some sort of intervention, whether it be divine or profane (though, according to Brown’s fatalistic point of view, any sort of intervention could be considered ‘divine’) mattered not.
Suddenly a figure clad in bear’s pelt jumped out from behind the trees. “Leave the old man alone, you stinky onion!” Ayomide had been trailing behind Brown ever since they had encountered the adventurers. She had intended to keep herself hidden from the adventurers, however, this was no time for stealth.
Ayomide rushed forward to meet the weaponnapper, with one of Brown’s makeshift spears in hand. The monster didn’t do anything as releasing any of its arms would mean potentially releasing a weapon that could harm it (its simple brain couldn’t comprehend the fact that soap is usually not a deadly weapon).
Ayomide was now ten feet (three meters) away from the monster. “[Breeze]!” She threw the spear at the monster’s bulb and, unlike Brown’s last futile attempt, used wind magic to increase its velocity. The spear went in with unnatural speed, piercing through the weaponnappers bulb and coming out from the other side to end up lodged in a nearby tree. The monster’s tentacles dropped to the floor, freeing Brown and everyone’s weapons. It seemed to move no more.
“Who the…” blurted Shinasi. His (and the other adventurers) questions were left unanswered as Ayomide ran away as fast as she ran in. Brown assumed a mildly surprised expression too, as if he had never seen Ayomide in his life. The adventurers stared at each other and Brown in shock while they tried to process what just happened.
“All’s well that ends well.” commented Brown after sufficiently having thanked the Lord for His intervention.
Shakir was the first of the adventurers to recover. “Right… Right, all is well. Shakira, could you use that sword of yours to peel that flowery part of the weaponnapper?”
Shakira obliged, cutting open the ‘tulip’ to reveal a bunch of giant seeds packed inside, along with a glowing semi-solid orb of what looked like nectar.
“Think that this will sell for some money?” commented Shinasi upon observance of their loot.
Shakir smirked and rubbed his hands together in reply. “Will it sell? Of course, it will!” Weaponnapper seeds and nectar were an upper-class delicacy that, while not being too uncommon, still sold for a decent sum. There was more than that they could carry; every seed was as big as a head of cabbage. Everyone, including Brown, took two seeds for themselves, the adventurers leaving the rest in hopes that they’d grow to be more weaponnappers to profit off of. The adventurers stored the nectar in their water flasks. They were close enough to town that they wouldn’t need to drink more water anyways.
With the looting done, the quartet reorganized once again to continue their march on Azdavay…