…A Scepter Told Of In Lore…
…And Sealed Away Since Days of Yore…
…Unleashes Its Forbidden Powers…
…And Heralds Trodains Darkest Hour,
The Quest Has Begun.
A young man, who was eighteen years old, dressed in gray travel trousers, an azure colored long sleeve tunic that, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and untied at the neck, was under a tan-orange travel trench coat which had a slit running up to his waist for better maneuverability with a handmade pocket on his right side. A leather bag was hanging against his left hip. And he carried a simple soldier's sword held in a red scabbard against his back. The red scabbard itself was ringed with copper-gold and ended with the same cover at the tip. His face was calm as his blue eyes stared into the sky. Both of his cheeks were marred with three whisker-like birthmarks. Strands of blonde hair escaped and tried to spike out underneath a red bandana that was tied at the back of his head, holding his hair in.
He was sitting on a stump in clearing surrounded by all sorts of sized trees. What looked like a horse-drawn wagon, with no horse, was in front of him to his left. Two wooden barrels were beside it. He just sat calmly on the stump without a care in the world. That is until a squeak caught his attention. He looked down and saw a little brown mouse with a black mo-hawk running along its spine, its tail ended with a black colored spiky fur. He had named it Munchie, for he always ate cheese whenever he could.
He lowered his right hand to Munchie, who then climbs on, raised the mouse close to his pocket and let it scurry in.
"Oy! Guv'!" A voice called out to him. He turned to the voice and saw a very short yet very large, very middle-aged man waving to him. The middle-aged man, called Yangus. Was dressed in nothing but a large fur vest that went to his thighs, large dark blue trouser with a large, as well, red sash wrapped around his bulging, um, stomach or waist, the young man couldn't tell, and a belt with a skinning knife. On his wrists were steel armbands. And on Yangus's head was some sort of spiky helmet, or at least that's what the young man thought it was. His face was stern and a scar was on Yangus's entire left cheek and a plump nose. An oak club was latched to a chain, seeing as it was his weapon of choice, he had another weapon in the wagon but it was just a plain old hammer that better suited for building things. "It's goin' to get dark out soon." Yangus stated. "Let's 'ead inta town, there's better places to spend an evenin'. C'mon, shake a leg."
The young man got up and off the stump and slowly walked over to Yangus, "I prob'ly said it once an' I'll say it again: that it beats me 'ow you're workin' for an' old codger like 'im. But I'm not one to talk, eh? Guess people say the same thing about me, workin' for you…"
At that a little green creature rose off the ground. "Old codger, you say." King Trode said, "I do hope you're not referring to me! What would you know? You wouldn't recognize nobility, even if it came and bit you on the… arrrgh!" King Trode was never green nor was he a strange looking creature. No he was once human but a certain incident happened that led to this. King Trode wore a simple hooded robe that seemed to belong to a monk at his waist was a. He looked to be a miniature Troll, minus the lolling tongue, though he did have more hair than a troll, well if you count five strands hair. Even though he was transformed he never once lost his noble air or his hatred to using 'Barbaric tongue' as he would say. "Enough dillydallying, Naruto, where is the Princess? Where is Medea, where is my precious one and only daughter…?"
So the young man, Naruto, Yangus and King Trode started looking for the princess. When there was rustle near the small river pond, drawing the trio's attention, and out came three smile-faced blue slimes the shape of tear-drops. All three of them charged at the trio or duo if you count King Trode running at the last minute.
"Uh-oh, looks like trouble guv!" Yangus said, but before he could draw his club. Naruto raised his arm stopping Yangus. A confused look appeared on his face, "Aye-aye, wha's all this, you thinkin' of takin' 'em all on, eh?"
Naruto smirked and nodded.
Yangus crossed his thick arms over his chest, or is it stomach? "Alrigh' you're the guv, guv."
Naruto drew his sword and rushed the oncoming slimes. The Slime A attacked going straight to Naruto's head. But he moved to his right at the last second and gave kneeling horizontal spin slice, trying to take out the second and third slimes at once, but only succeeded in getting Slime B who puffed out of existence, as the last one stopped and bounced high up into a near-by tree. Naruto saw this and let his guard down allowing Slime A to get a clean hit on his back. Naruto rolled with the blow and regained his footing. He dashed forward towards the offender, shortening Slime A's victory wobble, and went for a basic slice, felling slime A.
Naruto turned around just in time to see Slime C jump out of the trees and at him. Naruto placed both hands on the hilt of his sword and lowered it. He waited and when the Slime was five feet away and jumped at him, he quickly raised his sword, killing the final Slime in reversed vertical cut.
As Naruto sheathed his weapon, he heard Yangus clapping, "That's my guv! You didn't become Palace Guardsman for nothin'!"
"So he defeated a couple of Slimes, big deal." King Trode said, "Our problem still remains! Stop Dillydallying and look, for, the, princess! That's, an, order!"
Naruto hurriedly saluted his king went back to searching alongside Yangus. But didn't need to for soon Naruto heard the clip clopping sound of hooves. He looked and saw a horse, or more specific, the cursed princess Medea. Medea's eyes were Bright green and her fur was white. Her shimmering black-mane was brushed to her left side and braided near the ends. A large blue sheet covered her entire mid-section. And all the necessities to pull the wagon were on her.
"Ah, there you are, Medea!" The now relieved King exclaimed. Everything else the king said Naruto tuned out except when Yangus tapped him on the shoulder and started to talk to him.
"Aye-aye, the 'orse princess is back." He said, "I say we make a move now 'fore it gets dark."
Naruto nodded his agreement after he and Yangus looked up to the reddening sky. And off they went to the nearest town called, Farebury.
As they made their way they saw that there was some smoke coming from the same town they were going to.
'Smoke…?' Naruto thought. 'Guess there was fire earlier.'
Naruto's thinking was short lived as the small group made their way past the large gates and inside town. As they moved onward some of the townsfolk stop doing whatever they had been doing and stared at King Trode then gather in a group. The King, as Naruto saw, was smiling and waving a greeting at them like a normal person would. 'That's the problem, you aren't exactly normal, my lord…' thought Naruto.
They all made it to the south gate entrance. Naruto watched King Trode jumped off the wagon and inspected the surroundings. "Yes, yes… this is it…" He said after a while, "if I'm not mistaken this is the place where master Rylus lives…"
"'old your 'orses, granddad…" Interrupted Yangus, "I thought it was Dhoulmagus that we was after…?"
King Trode Looked at Yangus with much irritation, "I AM NOT YOUR GRANDDAD!" He yelled, "And of course Dhoulmagus is our man. He's the one who turned Medea and I into such laughing stocks. Confound him and confound this stupid curse!" Naruto saw the look of dismay on his king's face, "But it's Medea who's really suffering… and we only agreed on her engagement with the prince of Argonia. Confound him and cofound this curse!"
'But it's for the good of both kingdoms that we find Dhoulmagus, right…?'Naruto, but no matter how many times he thinks that, he still didn't like the idea of losing the princess.
"So, it's imperative that you find master Rylus." King Trode stated drawing Naruto's attention to him, "He's the one who taught Dhoulmagus everything he knew. So, Naruto, will you go look for him?"
Naruto nodded. 'I have no choice.' He thought wearily.
"That's my boy!" King Trode said. "I'll be waiting here with princess while you have a look around. Oh and take this with you too" Trode handed Naruto a piece of parchment, he read what it said, 'Do you know where to find Rylus?' "Knowing you, Naruto, you will have some trouble communicating with locals since you can't really speak without some sort of interruption or mishap to stop you. Though it's rather vexing not knowing how or why though… hmm…" The King's face looked like he was deep in thought, "…well enough of that. Now get to work on finding Rylus."
Naruto saluted to his king and started walking off, though he only got a few steps away before he heard Yangus calling out to him.
"Oy, guv…!" Naruto turned around as Yangus came hopping to him. "You weren't thinkin' of leavin' me behind, I 'ope." Yangus pounded his meaty and hairy chest, "I'm the best there is when comes to findin' people. It's my 'piece de resistance' as they say."
Naruto was somewhat glad that Yangus decided to tag along. And so off they went at first Naruto thought it was going to be easy since the town seemed so small but, looks were deceiving. As he soon found that out, what was a small town was actually bigger than it looked. Now Naruto was really glad to have Yangus tagging along.
Naruto had passed by a-still burning rubble that might have been a house while he sent Yangus to the other side of town asking about any whereabouts as to where this master Rylus lived at. He entered the back door to the Inn and showing the owner the parchment, but the only thing he got was instruction to go up and talk with a part-time maid upstairs.
So he went outside, not before reaching into a small bag and finding only two gold pieces giving him a total of fifty-five pieces of gold, entered through the front door walked up the steps and onto the second floor. He passed a sleeping wife and a grumbling husband. He saw the maid that he was told to talk to, but that's a problem: how is he supposed to talk to her if he can't talk.
The maid had blonde hair and green eyes. She wore a simple green maid outfit she looked and beamed. "Hello, I am Tella, if you need any information on what it means to be a traveler, then, you came to the right person." She said.
'Huh? "What it means to be a traveler"…?' Naruto was confused, 'What's that supposed to mean?'
"By the confused look on your face… I'm guessing… you're thinking that being a traveler means that you just travel, am I right?" Naruto looked at her as if she was crazy, "If you call yourself a traveler just because you went from town to town, then you're dead wrong! Being a traveler is more than you just going from point A to point B, if that's all it take to be called a traveler then everyone would be one. No, you go through woods, mountains and lots of other places that a normal person is too scared of going. Not to mention the rules that makes you a traveler."
She held up her left index finger, and a tone that was for a child, lectured him, "The first rule is: Break Pots and Barrels. You are allowed to break any and all pots and barrels, but not Boxes, why you might ask… it is simple really: by breaking them you have a chance of getting useful items, don't ask how, you just might." She raised a second finger, "Second rule is: If it's not locked enter. Although rude, you can enter any unlocked door and/or house. If you somehow enter a house you can search the dressers and cupboards for anything that might be useful but you cannot I repeat, cannot take anything that is not of use or value to you on your travels for any reasons but to be called a thief. If you don't know what to look for and what not to get then let me give you something that could help."
Naruto watched her rummage through apron pocket and produced a small book. When she handed him the book he took it, "That book will be able to tell you if it is okay to take an item or not simply by recording any item you touch if an item and the information that goes with it does not appear then you are to put it back immediately."
Naruto nodded opened the book and was shocked to see the first page blank. He gave the maid a quizzical look.
"Oh! I forgot to mention that it's in alphabetical order, here" while the book was in Naruto's hands she flipped the page to B and there was his favorite red bandana, "See, it already has an item recorded." Tella raised her third finger, "The third rule is: The loot be yours!" Naruto just stared at her, "um… well… ahem… what I mean is: that if you happen to come across a treasure chest then its 'First come, first serve' that's all." Tella raised her pinky, "Now for the last and final rule, it is the most Important and yet the hardest one ever: Get a license to be a Hunter. That is hardest part with being a traveler. But it's only optional, so if you want to become a Traveler Hunter then you have to find the guild first."
Tella raised her index to her chin, "Even though it is part of being a traveler, no one has ever becomes one. But I hear that if you do you get to anywhere that has yet to be discovered and hunt monsters for payment, though I hear that you aren't allowed to kill any of the monsters you hunt. Anyways, that's all the information I have for you, thank you and good-bye."
Naruto bowed and left the Inn. When he got outside he heard a familiar yell, "Oy! Guv…!"
He turned to the source and saw Yangus running to him, "I found us a lead. This old geezer I asked told me that there was some bloke who goes by the Kalderasha." Leave to Yangus to never give up on saying a name or a word, "So 'e told me tha' to see 'im, we's got to go to tha Pub, quick like."
Naruto nodded and allowed Yangus to lead the way. Few minutes later, He found himself inside looking around.
'Not many people are here' He thought, 'that's good, better chance of finding Kalderasha'
Naruto felt Yangus tapping his shoulder, "Le's go 'ave a chat wiv the bartender, eh?" Naruto started to walk to the bar and when he was only feet or two away he heard the Bartender talking.
"Haven't you had enough Mr. Kalderasha, sir?" He heard him say, "I'm sorry, but your haphazard fortune-telling is costing me a fortune in free drinks."
"My fortunes 'haphazard'…! Are you a complete fool!" The man who had yelled out had the same name as the person Naruto and Yangus were looking for, "Let me tell you this: all fortune-telling is 'haphazard'."
Naruto started to walk up the stairs that led to the bar, and Yangus last Naruto saw he was busy with some rum he had somehow gotten into his hands. He saw a man dress in a strange outfit that screamed, Fortune-teller. He walked right behind the drunken man and wasn't even noticed.
"So what if I saw the fire…" Kalderasha mumbled, "… and if I tried then what? I'll tell you, it would only have led to another disaster!" Kalderasha then slammed his glass of ale on the table, spilling some of the contents.
"If you knew about the fire then shouldn't you 'ave warned Master Rylus?" The Barman asked.
'Warn Rylus?' Naruto thought with sinking feeling, 'don't tell me…' Whatever Naruto was about to finish was interrupted by Kalderasha.
"Ah, Rylus… how many times have I argued with him I'll never know, but I will miss him… MY FORTUNE-TELLING IS NOT PREPOSTEROUSE. Heh-heh... hic…" Kalderasha shouted to the roof as he suddenly picked up his glass so fast that some of the beer spilled over and to Naruto.
Naruto gasped in surprise and barely moved out of the way. He looked at Kalderasha as though he lost more than his friend. That's when he noticed that Kalderasha was staring at him. And without warning the man got up and into his face.
"You…! Yes, you, show your face to great Kalderasha…" His breath was enough to push Naruto back away from him and it only got worse, "… yes, yessss…"
Just Naruto was becoming both confused and nauseated, well more nauseated than confused, he heard the pub door slam open and someone shouted.
"Quick! Come quick," the voice said, "there's a monster in the town."
With Kalderasha distracted Naruto took this opportunity to get away and see who screamed and lo and behold, it was the fearful townsperson who just ran away when Naruto tried to show him the parchment. He also took note that some of people that were drinking are either getting up or hurrying outside.
'Ah-no… the king…!' Naruto ran down and spotted Yangus taking a few more kegs. He grabbed his busy friend by the arm and half-dragged and half-pulled him to where they last left King Trode and Princess Medea.
The path straight to the town was blocked by a person who seemed to try and keep people from going any further, much to his annoyance.
"Wha's all the rush, guv?" His portly partner asked. But his words fell on deaf ears.
'Got to find another way' Naruto spotted a wandering Bard and past the Bard was, a stairway. 'There!'
This time he really dragged Yangus who kept trying to asking what was happening. He made his way down and in front of an arch with a large clear-span.
And what he made him scared. The King was being pelted with stones that a small group of villagers were throwing.
"This ain't good, guv." Naruto turned to Yangus who seemed just as scared as he was, "we got ta move guv!" With that they rushed off into the group just as King Trode was being protected by Medea, which by then they all stopped.
Naruto made his way through the small band of stone-throwers and right next to his princess, he saw that Yangus rush to small King. Naruto took Medea by her reins and led her and Yangus, who was carrying Trode like nothing at all, outside of the town's northern gates.
Once outside the gates Naruto began to clear the area of any near-by monsters, though it was to vent some steam. When he got back he saw King Trode stomping the ground and Yangus nodding in some sort of agreement.
Naruto was a few steps away when King Trode looked at him, "Well… welcome back had a good venting, hmm?" Trode asked him, but didn't give the time to answer, "Did you find Rylus by any chance?" King Trode then pulled out another parchment and handed it him.
Naruto took it and started to write when he was done he gave it back to his King who read it aloud, "We could not find Rylus but, the reason why is because he… is… DEAD!" king Trode ended, "No, no, no… without Rylus we may never know where that spiteful Dhoulmagus went."
'That's not entirely sure.' our hero thought, 'we just can't find as easy as you thought.'
"Well no matter!" he heard Trode say, "We will have to track him the old fashioned way. Even without Rylus we have a chance of finding him. So let's be on our way-"
"Wait!" Said a voice from behind them, Naruto turned to the source and saw a young girl around his age standing on the small stone bridge dressed in a simple dress that seemed fit for a housewife instead of a girl her age. "Please wait, I need to ask a favor of you…"
Naruto was a bit put off by this, but King Trode Had voiced his own curiosity, "Are you not afraid of me, my dear?"
The girl flinched and almost took a step back, "I… I dreamt about you…" she said, "… I dreamt that there were people traveling with a strange creature, it was sort of half way between a human and a monster…"
"A strange creature…!" Naruto saw his King in a state of shock and Yangus was laughing at the king's misfortune at being called a 'strange creature'.
"I, I'm very sorry I didn't mean to be rude." The girl stated, "My name is Valentina, Maybe I can explain everything to you at my house. It's by the well near the edge of town; I'll be waiting for you!"
And off she went leaving Naruto and his companions behind, confused at her actions.
"Wot was she on about… come round my 'ouse she says." Naruto turned to Yangus who was looking at him.
"Magnificent!" Naruto jumped as Trode shouted out without warning. "She wasn't afraid of at all, not one bit. Ah, she reminds me of my Medea, she's the same age too. Alright Naruto, me boy" Naruto snapped to attention, "You are to go and find this, Valentina, girl and find out what she wants, understood."
His last statement told Naruto that if he were to refuse the king would not. So once again he found himself helpless to do nothing but what he was told to do. He nodded helplessly.
"Good then, I'll be waiting here with the Princess. That is the last time I'll be setting foot in a barbaric town like that! Now off you go."
With a down trodden heart Naruto motioned for Yangus to follow him with a wave of his hand and soon started to make his way back to town. All the while, one weary thought was on his mind.
'I got a bad feeling about this… and it's just going to get worse…'