The four adventurers were running as fast as they could through the cave, slimes jumping at them left and right, attempting to become the next inhabitant of their bellies. Thankfully, though, their speed was enough to dodge most of them, although Zeph had to take in a rather small one due to the weight of carrying three foxes on his back.
When everyone made it out of the cave and into the light of day, they took a moment to get their breath. Ajax, Tsuki, and Kyle leaned against some nearby trees to rest their feet, while the three now-saved foxes dismounted Zeph, cheering and thanking their saviors for what they did.
The blue furred fox, who had been dangerously close to popping earlier, spoke with enthusiasm. “If you hadn’t come sooner, I have a feeling I wouldn’t be standing on my own two feet right now!”
The other two foxes, both having fur in different shades of orange save for their chests and stomachs, also expressed their thanks before heading back in the direction of the village. The rest of the group was soon to follow, and luckily they didn’t encounter much opposition on their walk back.
When they arrived at the village gates, they were immediately greeted by the chief, who was still sporting the same, inflated belly he had when they left. With a smile, he led them to his hut and let the group in, giving them some more time to rest up while he spoke to them.
“Well, as I promised, you will be rewarded handsomely for your deed today. Amongst the gold you’ll be getting, I will also give you a few of the crystals we’ve harvested from that cave in previous expeditions.”
At the mention of the crystals, Tsuki remembered a strange quality about them when she was inside that cave. “If I may ask, why did my magic feel somewhat stronger when I was in that cave?”
The chief chuckled, smiling as he answered her question. “You see, these crystals have magical properties to them. We’ve been using them ourselves to enchant some of our weapons, but I’m sure they can be used to enhance your spells.”
At the mention of enchanting weapons, Ajax’s ears perked up. “Wait, did you say we could enchant our stuff?”
The chief nodded. “Yes, and we’ll happily do so with your weapons if you’d like.”
“Oh, hell yes!” Ajax stood up, looking unusually excited at the mere prospect of making his pump better.
“Heh, well come with me, I’ll show you how we do it. Any other takers?”
Zeph, who had laid down previously, now stood up with a sigh and a slight smile. “Sure, what harm could it do?”
The chief led Zeph and Ajax to another hut, leaving Kyle and Tsuki behind to talk amongst each other. As they walked, Zeph kept looking around, seeing as much of the village as he could. He spotted multiple shops along the way, selling things from weapons to herbs to jewelry to other products. Nonetheless, the hut in question for now was plainly obvious when it came into view.
Multiple crates were stacked on each other at the entrance to this house, and from the outside one could see a faint blue light pouring from inside. The group entered the building and saw what looked to be a small pool of water, many of the crystals from the cave having been placed in the bottom and producing a bright blue light as they sat in the water.
A white fox wearing black robes sat by the water, doing what looked like meditating until the trio came in. When they did, he waved his greetings as he stood up. “Hello, I’m Pollip, but you may simply call me Pol if you wish. I’m the enchanter for this village.”
Another fox, who looked to be a guard, came in and said something to the chief, who quickly turned and followed the villager to another area. As he left, he said one last thing to Ajax and Zeph. “I’ll be at the village gates when you’re done, and we’d probably like to have your assistance too.”
The chief and guard hurried off, leaving Zeph and Ajax with Pol standing in front of them. Pol was the next one to speak. “Well, I guess we shouldn’t take too long with this, then. To make a long story short, just hand me something of yours and I’ll dip it into this pool here. The crystals will infuse it with magic and give it some special property; I can usually decipher it for you if you wish. So, who’s going to go first?”
Ajax quickly jumped at the offer, handing his pump to Pol with an excited smile. Pol, doing what he said he’d do, dipped it into the water, causing the crystals to suddenly brighten their glow before going out completely, leaving the trio in darkness save for a couple lit lanterns in the corners of the room.
When Pol took the pump out, he studied it for a moment before smiling and handing it back to Ajax. “From what I can tell, you can now pump from a slight range, just make sure to focus on who you want to target. I have a feeling you’ll be able to know pretty easily who’s in range, too.”
Ajax took the pump and went to give it a test, but quickly realized that would be a horrible idea in the hut, and instead decided to wait as he blushed in embarrassment. Meanwhile, Pol went and replaced the crystals in the pool, taking out the old ones and putting in some new ones, reigniting the blue glow that was previously in the water.
Zeph handed over his bow and Pol repeated the same process as before, placing it into the water and taking it out. Before he could describe the enchantment, though, the ground suddenly shook, causing Ajax and Zeph to grab their weapons and rush out of the hut before anything else was said.
The pair of adventurers rushed to the front of the village, where they found Kyle and Tsuki looking through the front gates nervously at what seemed to be a formidable opponent…
Finally decided to continue this series! The only reason it doesn't have inflation in it is because when I got to where it would have inflation, the story was so long that I felt like I should've ended it where it was. Next chapter will have inflation though, I promise, and I hope you enjoy regardless! Another thing I should mention, the taur that was previously Zaru was renamed to Zeph between this chapter and the last chapter, so yeah.
Kyle owned by CorbinPlayz on Weasyl: https://www.weasyl.com/~corbinplayz
Tsuki, Ajax, and Zeph owned by: Me!
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