“We have it! We have the stone!” Destran immediately piped up out of the blue.
Bloody hell it wasn’t even day break yet! I rubbed my eyes and slowly took in my surroundings, we were still in camp, everyone snoring peacefully away. Aside from the now reformed/relaxed prince who was waving his hands madly with his eyes closed. Yara woke up with a menacing grunt and looked at him, followed by the others.
A full minute later; Destran fully woke up himself and looked at the others in a half dazed half confused way. “What’s wrong? Did something happen?” He said dreamily.
“No, it’s just…” Lyra began.
“Valenstar!!” Destran bellowed.
“What?!” I bellowed back at him in good measure.
“What the hell did you do this time?!” He yelled.
“I put a stick that looked like a dick on your mouth whilst you slept and drew a picture!!” I shouted on the spot.
“What the…? So what really happened?” Destran said quietly to the others, completely dismissing me.
“You were yelling something about finding the stone?” Brena said, wiping her face with a wet cloth.
“Oh… I must have… dreamt it. In fact I’ve felt like I’ve been sleeping for months, and that we had found the stone” Destran said rather melancholy.
“Unfortunately not, we still have a quest to complete Destran. Wishful thinking that we could just end it like that” Yara shook her head.
“Yeah I suppose, but I'm not going anywhere with him around” Destran shot a look at me.
“Is this about my little outburst?” I shrugged.
“No, it’s about everything! You waltzed in here, pretending to be the boss, ordering me around, taking everything for granted. We’re supposed to be a group! Comrades if you will. Not Valenstar and lackeys!” Destran complained.
“Well sorry if I just happen to know the hiding locations of the stone, sorry if I have a somewhat cruel past and story, sorry if I'm so much more interesting than you that I appear to be the main character of our little escapade” I sneered.
“This is a quest, we are companions; we work together. I'm willing to oversee the past if you are, I just want this journey to be done” he continued.
“Fine, I’ll stop being an ass if you stop trying to yank my dick off every time something blows up, attacks us, surprises us, and/or in any other form causes us harm and/or exertion” I agreed after a moment of silence.
Destran stood up, walked over to me, and extended his hand. I looked at it in a moment of awe; I never thought this would ever happen. I stood up myself, after everything I had said to him, about whom I was and what I did, he was still willing to accept me. He had changed. I suppose I had too. I looked at him differently, in fact I looked at all of them differently. I felt something warm inside me when I looked at them.
What is this fuzzy wuzzy pussy baby woman touchy feely crap I am experiencing? This is… strange… I haven’t felt something close to this in… a while… is this what it’s like to have friends? I had completely forgotten. But I’ve always been one to venture into the unknown; maybe it’s time to learn to trust people as well?
I took his hand, just as the sun’s morning rays shined over the brilliantly purple sky and enveloped us, and shook it.
Several hours later, we had a surprise visit. Zahkon had returned to us. Of course his immediate question was to ask about my sanity/safety/’is he going to kill us all’ things. When told I was alright now, he did not look convinced.
“Where did you go?” Yara asked him.
“To clear my head” he answered.
“Find anything important?” Destran interjected.
“Nothing of note” he answered.
“How did you find us?” Brena asked.
“That thing over there” he glanced to me as I picked my toenails beside several empty ale bottles.
“He doesn’t exactly mask our presence does he?” Valak spoke up, I gave him the bird.
“On the contrary, his stench keeps all the animals away including the predators. Whilst keeping the patrols at bay thinking it’s some foul beast” Zahkon smirked, to which all the others laughed. I gave them all the double bird.
“Well at least you’re back, maybe we can continue on now?” Destran said hopefully.
“Actually, there is the main village of the Falath’Nakan not too far from here. I have business there, but can’t enter on my own. With you beside me, Destran, I think I can enter” Zahkon said.
“What kind of business?” Destran asked.
“Important kind, otherwise I wouldn’t ask. I'm sorry I can’t say more” Zahkon said regretfully.
“I don’t mind… it’s just that… Valen… Jack” Destran spoke, to which I was caught unawares of him using my first name. “Is the hiding place for the stone near here?”
“Yes, day’s walk at most. Bout the same distance as that village is, they’re in the same general direction, but one’s west, the other’s southwest. We’d have to pick one and then go to the other” I answered lazily.
“We’ll have to pick a destination then” Lyra spoke up.
“I vote the stone” Destran said.
“Me too” I joined him after a moment.
“I don’t mind” Brena said with a smile.
“I don’t care” Valak said whilst turning his back on us.
“I vote the village then…” Zahkon said, sounding defeated.
“Me too” Lyra said with a forced smile at Zahkon that eventually turned into a genuine one. Something he returned in earnest. I could see the appreciation in his eyes.
“Well Yara? What do you vote for?” Destran asked her.
“Umm… haven’t decided, give me a few minutes?” Yara laughed.
“Whatever” I shrugged before walking off.
I went over to last night’s pot and found some remaining stew in it; I chowed down making unnecessarily loud chomping noises. The group broke off into clusters as Yara sat on a rock to think. Brena made her way over to me; oh boy… this could be awkward. She sat down beside me and snatched the last bit of meat from the pot, I gave her the evils.
“Listen… Jack… about before” Brena began.
“Look, I'm sorry I kissed you back in Kalajes” I sighed.
“No, I mean the other thing” Brena sputtered.
“Oh… I'm sorry I said I didn’t care if you died back in that treetop?” I started guessing.
“No! The other thing!” She said rather annoyed.
“Ohhh…. Now I get ya. I'm sorry I called you an octopus-looking, shrewd, nagging, rectal wart” I chuckled. Worth the slap I got.
“No you idiot! The thing about your family… and Urysus…” she trailed off.
“Oh… I don’t have to apologise to you about that do I? It didn’t really concern you until now right?” I said whilst trying to show I wanted to avoid the subject.
“No, I wanted to apologise to you” she said.
“What for?” I asked surprised.
“For doubting you, suspecting you, I never realised how hard you’ve had it” she said quietly.
“Hey, Urysus’ special ability is that snake tongue of his. Plus I didn’t really do anything to prove my innocence did I? I might very well have been lying” I reassured her.
“Were you?” Brena asked.
“I wish I was” I answered sorrowfully.
“Well I believe you… and if you need someone to talk to, I'm your gal” she smiled at me.
“Wish you were my gal in another way” I winked. Second best slap of the day, I'm gonna break a record!
She left to go over to Destran and talk with him. I watched her go, and my eyes slowly wandered around each member of my group. Destran and I… seems that we had finally put our differences aside… of maybe not? I dunno, I’ll play ball if he plays ball. Brena; the country girl who had a tendency to chop things whilst be everyone’s best friend. Why did I care so much about what she thinks? Damn her rocking body!
Then there’s Zahkon, the other outsider of the group. He and I were very similar. Except for the whole family/village genocide thing, I doubt that kind of thing he’ll ever have to go through. Lyra was trying to find a place in the group. She started off as a cling on to Yara, and has since become her own person. Not too sure what she wants to do yet though.
Valak as well, being paid off by Sethos to do something. I could rat him out now… but… I have an idea… we’ll see how this pans out… but I might be able to use him for something.
Finally Yara. The most level headed person here. The person who keeps out exalted leader sane. The girl who keeps us together… or stops us from smashing us apart… usually by smashing me instead. If there was a real leader in this group, I’d say it was her. But hey what the hell does my opinion count for; I'm currently trying to say the alphabet in farts.
“So Yara, I guess it’s up to you. Where are we heading? The stone’s third hiding place, or the main village of the Falath’Nakan?” Destran asked her.