I could feel sweat dripping from my brow and wiped an agitated hand over my forehead. I ignored my overheating body and kept walking through the woods. At least the trees offered some shade. I needed to stop off at the next town and get an air-conditioned room. One where I could lose some layers in privacy. The clothes helped to hide the obvious, but they were a toll in these temperatures. I stopped, leaning against a tree to catch my breath. I let myself slide down the trunk and tried to figure out what to do. Work had been scarce recently, and I didn't have enough money to waste on booking into a hotel room. I squeezed my eyes shut and ran a hand through my damp hair.
You need to stand up. If you stay here you'll die.
I released a forced breath and pushed both palms into the ground, propelling myself back to my feet. I stumbled a little, something that only increased my inert fears. I gritted my teeth and walked forward. Within a few moments I saw a sign. I knew the town I had to go too. I knew someone there who might be able to help me for a few days. Though I didn't want to be stuck with people for too long. There was a gust of wind and the sound of skittering. I frowned and glanced behind me. A flyer of some kind had gotten caught in the branches of a nearby tree. I paused, wondering if it was some sign. Trust the gods that don't exist to taut me in such a way. I dumped my stuff at the base of the tree and pulled myself up on the first branch. My arms buckled quickly and I landed painfully back on the hard dirt. I yelled a curse and sighed. I could alter my outward appearance, but the fact remained that this body wasn't as strong as my original, and it was greatly weakened. I starred at the piece of paper still struggling in the brown vinery.
“Well, It's not like there's anyone around to be hurt,” I murmured. I lifted a hand and called the wind, trying to channel its course towards me momentarily. The result was instantaneous. I stood up quickly and grabbed the paper before it could rush past. I felt the wind gaining more force behind me and glanced over my shoulder. I swore again, a lot louder. On the plus side, at least I had water now.
I looked at the flyer before the rain ruined it and saw it was advert of some kind for work. I couldn't get all the details before the water damaged it, but I knew it's location. I went back to the sign. It would be in the opposite direction, but the idea of paid work for a short time was what I wanted. Not people who knew far too much about me. Though it hadn't specified the amount, as long as it was enough for a bed and food I wouldn't complain.
The dried dirt quickly turned to mud as I walked and I wondered how long this was going to last. Once I reached the nearest town I handed over the last of my money and got on a bus to Sydney. I doubt I'd even get there in time for the interviews. I watched scenery flint past with bored eyes, trying to figure out if I was being reckless. I watched as children in a passing park laughed, enjoying the rain. I shook my head and turned from the window. I spent the rest of the journey thumbing through my worn journal, looking at the notes and various evidence I'd gathered on him. Maybe the rest of the world was content to be ignorant, but I wasn't. He was going to return. And when he did, I'd make him pay for everything. For the curse, for the years of confusion and self-hate. For every way he took advantage of me. Personal didn't cover how badly I wanted to finish him.
I left the bus quickly when it pulled into the large city's bus station. I glanced around, trying to get my bearings. It had been a while since I'd been here, but I quickly recognised street names. When I reached the building someone was leaving, he was swearing to himself and holding something to his hand that I could see blood seeping through.
“Dummkopf,” I muttered as I passed. He stopped mid-step to glare at me.
“What did you say?” he yelled, practically growling.
“Nothing,” I smirked. I didn't wait for his next words, walking into the building. I had no clue if the person was still here, but I walked to the room reception gave me. I knocked once and walked in, I didn't really have the manners to wait. The boy before me had a mane of black hair and intelligent eyes. It was at odds with his youthful appearance.
“I must be in the wrong room,” I said, turning. He stood up quickly, pushing his chair back with an audible creek as he did.
“Wait, are you here for the Adventure Club?” he asked. I blinked at him, trying to remember if that had been on the flyer.
“I heard there might be work here,” I shrugged.
“What skills do you have?” he asked. I hesitated, did I really want to work for some kid? And 'Adventure Club', really? I had a feeling working with him wouldn't be what I expected. I didn't have the time to mess around with some idealist's plan.
“I think I'm in the wrong place,” I said, turning my back on him again. I walked down the corridor, trying to get away quickly, but he had longer legs and caught up quickly.
“What kind of work were you looking for? I'm looking for people who are willing to fight and protect people,” he said. I sent him a deadpan look, not even bothering to roll my eyes at him.
“Sorry kid, I'm just looking for money,” I replied.
“I'm twenty-three,” he replied, his cheeks flushing. I cocked an eyebrow but didn't question further. I needed to get out of here fast. Maybe I could do a mundane job for a while to build up the money to go back. I didn't want to do it. I prefer working with my magic, no matter the requested purpose. I used to work with the government, catching sorcerer who went off the wagon. But when it became clear they didn't believe he was still around, I left. If I wanted to track him down, I had to do it myself.
“Sorry, but I have better things to do,” I said, pushing past him. “Nice meeting you, kid,” I added, putting emphasis on the last word. I always got a kick out of annoying people like that. I returned to the streets and sighed. Brilliant, another waste of time. Time that he was gathering strength in.