Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 14

Because life can be interesting when you are a character in a video game…

Milla thought of all the stories she had heard from the Visitors who had been to those distant lands in the Barren Steppes on the other side of the same Silent Sea which washed the beaches here.
“I’d heard the Lamia trapped unwary Visitors in their caverns and they had to pay a fine or perform many tasks to be allowed to leave.”
“And I have a bad feeling that might be exactly what’s happened,” Pew said miserably. “Only somehow it’s really happened. Like really really happened.”
Milla blinked a bit and tried to think what could be done. The Lamia were powerful people and she doubted they would be swayed by a bottle of fruit tea and a plate of flyberry cookies.
“I can’t even tell anyone,” Pew said, crest drooping in hopeless defeat. “They wouldn’t believe me. Anymore than they believe about you. And the Lamia are in an end-game zone so it’s not like I can just stroll in there and get him out. I’d need a group. Or a tank and heals at least.”
“A tank? That’s someone good at fighting?”
“Yes. Well, no. More good at keeping the mobs focused on them and tough enough to keep being hit without taking too much damage.”
Milla nodded not really taking in the details, an idea forming in her mind.
“Well I might be able to find one of those and One Eye has some healing potions for sale.”
Pew was staring at her as if she was speaking Elvish.
“I don’t think…”
“No. You don’t. That’s always a big part of the problem,” Milla agreed. “But I do. Fortunately. And I think we need to go on a venture and rescue String.”
Ruffkin leapt up and barked excitedly.
“But you’re an NPC – a quest giver. You can’t just travel around wherever in game. You have to stay here in Wrathburnt Sands. It won’t work.”
Milla got to her feet and started packing. She still had the backpack One Eye had given her and everything she needed to take slid into it. Then she turned back to Pew who was still sitting at the table, despondently munching on the last flyberry cookie.
“Why don’t you let me worry about that. Now you take Ruffkin to One Eye Rye and ask him to look after the little thing while we’re gone. You can pick up any supplies you need for the venture while you are there.”
Snout wrinkling a little doubtfully, Pew got up. Ruffkin seemed to know he was going to be left behind because his tail and ears were down.
“I can’t take you with us,” Milla explained stooping to give him a hug. “It’s too far and too dangerous for a little dog. Besides, One Eye will give you extra treats – he always does when we drop by his shop.”
Looking a little mollified, the dog trotted out after Pew. Milla gave her home a final glance, hoping she’d not be too long away, then closed the door firmly, linked her arm in Pew’s and took the path to the village. She left the two of them at the turn off to the pyramid, brushing aside Pew’s protests.
“Last time you spoke to the drakkonettes it was to shout names and charge at them,” Milla explained reasonably. “I think I’ll do better on my own.”
“Yelling ‘Leroy Jenkins’ isn’t shouting names.”
“They sound like two names to me.”
Pew had opened his mouth to argue again so she silenced him with a quick kiss and left him gaping after her for altogether different reasons from before. In Milla’s view they had been sort of boyfriend and girlfriend for several months now, so a kiss seemed in order.

We will return to Wrathburnt Sands by E.M. Swift-Hook next Sunday.

Return to Wrathburnt Sands was first published in Rise and Rescue Volume 2: Protect and Recover.

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