Chapter 34:

Chapter 33. Parting Ways

Zero to Hero

“WHY is the ugly elf here! What’s the meaning of this!” Tina's outburst jolted me awake.


Loud, demanding and no longer deadass drunk, the return of the wolf girl meant my peaceful sleep was rudely disrupted.

“It was either have Carla following me around or let Abigail get turned into minced meat. Which would you prefer?” I retorted, weary of Tina's usual blame game.

“UGH… This is what you get for being so weak! If you were stronger, we wouldn't be in this mess!” Tina's accusations flew as predictably as ever.

“Yeah, yeah… All my fault,” I replied with resignation, brushing off her typical tirade.

Getting out of bed and preparing for breakfast, I gave Yami a few affectionate pats, exchanged greetings with Candace and Abigail, and even acknowledged Carla's presence.

“Have you decided what you want to do, Abigail?” I inquired, taking a seat for breakfast, knowing her decision would affect our plans.

“As much as I'd like to keep traveling with you all, I can’t leave my family and people, especially with my dad missing an arm. I need to return and ensure their well-being,” Abigail explained, her resolve clear.

“What do you mean you won’t be traveling with us!” Tina erupted, stirring up a commotion.

“I haven’t seen my mom since before we met, and I don’t know how my dad’s wound has healed. I can’t just abandon my family,” Abigail clarified, her decision final.

“Tina, I let you tag along, even though I think it’s stupid, so you have to respect Abigail’s decision,” I intervened before Tina's outburst escalated.

“If you want, you can stay with Abigail instead of traveling with us,” Candace suggested, adding fuel to the fire.

As the two engaged in bickering, I noticed Carla had been silently standing behind me the whole time, abstaining from breakfast with the rest of us.

“Why aren’t you eating with us? Don’t like anything here?” I inquired of the stoic elf girl.

“My grandfather has taught me to never do anything without verbal permission. I will eat if you give me permission to do so,” Carla explained.

“Yeah, your grandfather is a piece of shit. Eat when you are hungry, complain if you are unhappy,” I retorted, prompting Carla to suddenly brandish her polearm over my head.

“You bad-mouth my grandfather one more time and I will show no mercy,” she warned again.

“Whatever, you brainwashed psycho… Just sit down and have some breakfast,” I conceded with a sigh.

After finishing our meal and gathering our belongings, we checked out at the front desk, retrieved our horses from the hotel’s stable, and proceeded toward the eastern gate of the city, finally resuming our journey forward after the disastrous detour.

Upon reaching the crossroad outside the city, we paused to say our final farewells to Abigail.

“Well… I guess it’s goodbye, Abigail. Take care on your trip home,” I bid farewell to the departing dog beastman girl.

“Take care, everyone. Thanks for liberating my people, Ken. I know we met under tough circumstances, but I am forever grateful that you didn’t hold it against me or my people,” Abigail expressed her gratitude.

“I don’t regret taking your father’s arm due to the situation we were in. But I do hope he is well since we parted. While I do believe that piece of shit will keep his promise and leave your people alone now. If you want to be extra safe, head for Ostrium city. Go speak with this mixed girl with human ears and an orange-striped tail named Gwen. She works at the Ostrium academy and happens to be my sister. She will for sure give you and your people the help you need to settle in the city and start life anew,” I advised, handing her a sack full of gold for her journey.

Suddenly, Abigail embraced me tightly and pressed her lips to mine, eliciting complaints from the peanut gallery.

“Next time I see you, if I’m still single, I will make a move,” she declared with a hint of mischief.

“Abigail, go get yourself a nice man and go live a happy life. Trust me… You don’t want anything to do with someone like me,” I cautioned before Tina and Candace intervened, pulling her away and scolding her for her impulsive action.

“Is it always this chaotic?” Carla suddenly asked while I was petting Yami and observing the trio chatting with each other, struggling to bid farewell.

“The chaos keeps things from getting mundane. Traveling for weeks on end isn’t exactly that interesting or fun. You ever been away from Aenwyn?” I asked, attempting to learn more about the elf girl.

“Plenty of times. I make the roundtrip to Yelwraek every few months, whenever one of my grandfather’s clients requests for me to be their bodyguard.”

“More like a body pillow than a guard. At least you are familiar with our journey to Yelwraek city. How long is your typical trip?”

“About a month there on horseback and 2 weeks when I run back on my own.”

“You freaking run back? No wonder your stamina is limitless if this is the type of freakish training you do,” I remarked, impressed by the girl's endurance.

After what seemed like an eternity, the pair finally parted ways with Abigail, and with one final reluctant goodbye, we watched her ride off before embarking on our journey towards Yelwraek city.

“I can’t believe we had to let Abigail go and take this ugly elf along instead,” Tina muttered discontentedly.

“Tina… Don’t be rude. Remember how you treated Abigail when we first met her? Don’t judge Carla too harshly just because she is a psycho murderer who works under an even bigger piece of shit,” I reprimanded, hoping to curb Tina’s impulsiveness.

Before I could clarify that I was joking, Carla charged at me with her polearm swinging, intent on ending my life.

“STOP! What are you doing!” I shouted, scrambling to defend myself against her relentless attacks.

“I told you I would end you if you badmouthed my grandfather again,” Carla declared, her expression remaining stoic as she continued her assault.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, I improvised, attempting to diffuse the tension. “I never named a person! Just said you worked under a piece of shit. If you attack me, that means you are the one who believes I meant your grandfather and you believe he’s a piece of shit!”

Miraculously, Carla ceased her barrage of attacks, returning to her normal demeanor as if nothing had happened.

“Okay, I thought having those two around is bad for my health but I clearly need to apologize. You are nothing short of a deranged lunatic. Who tries to kill someone over a joke!” I exclaimed, baffled by the sudden outburst of violence.

“I don’t know how to joke, I don’t know how to tell a joke. But I do know when you are showing my grandfather disrespect; next time, even if it’s implied, I will take your life,” the girl replied firmly, her tone unwavering.

Too drained from dodging her attacks to argue, I made a mental note to never joke around or speak ill of her grandfather, lest my supposed bodyguard send me to my grave.

“Whatever… No point trying to logic with a psycho… At least make yourself useful and lead the way so we can get to Yelwraek city as fast as possible.”

With Carla the stoic psycho in the lead, the rest of us followed closely behind as our journey towards Yelwraek city finally got underway.

True to her words, Carla took us through towns and trails that might seem like longer routes from my maps but offered much better road conditions, allowing our horses to gallop at full strength.

Along the way, we also encountered a few towns where the inhabitants were no doubt in similar situations as Abigail, where unexpecting travelers would have met a sorrowful end. Yet they treated us with fright and reverence due to Carla’s presence.

As much as I wanted to liberate every single one of those poor oppressed, with my limited power, time, and reach, I simply had to ignore their sufferings as we pushed onward.

From the wintry freezing forest of Chelmswells to the wintry mountain tribe to Ostrium city, my home and Aenwyn. After four and a half months, I am once again face to face with the city that destroyed my confidence, my pride, and my desires.

Yelwraek City.