Sep 15, 2019 5:48 AM
Veron steals an Anise
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He understands their complaints, really, but have they considered that he is a ludicrously experienced teleporting shadow master? Because they really should consider that.

The shitty swords do not get to go to his squishy organmeats, he needs those. He's not going to be anywhere where the swords will meet his squishy organmeats. The fire and acid are easily dodged, the lighting manages to zap him (he's not actually fast enough to dodge lightning) but he has dealt with much worse things. He can grit his teeth and carry on. Wizards get to experience his counterargument: his much less shitty sword, to their squishy organmeats. From behind, because he shadowstepped there.

(He is not using Ex-Enserric with these people; they're obviously terrible, but they're not the 'my soul deserves to be eaten' levels of terrible that call for the soul eating sword. He uses the creatively named frost sword, Frostbite. He is not responsible for the name, he's sorry. Devils have terrible senses of humor.)

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The cultists consider complaining about devils' sense of humor but opt to instead die.

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Yep. It's a pretty one sided fight. Soon enough all of the cultists are dead or unconscious. He ties up the ones who are unconscious with the efficiency of someone who has done this kind of thing a lot.

Once he's done with that, he returns to the girl, sword returned to its sheath.

"Hey," he says, gently. He motions next to where she's sitting. "May I?"

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"...Okay," she says quietly.

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He sits down next to her, careful not to crowd her.

"Would you like a healing potion?" he offers.

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She gives him a slightly wary look. "Why?"

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"I've had my fair share of bruises, and I don't much like them, myself."

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She considers, and then nods.

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"All right."

An eight-year-old shouldn't drink a full adult sized healing potion, but he has a spare clean vial or two. He can just carefully pour half of one into another vial for later, dilute what's left with water from his canteen so it'll taste a bit less awful, and offer her the concoction.

"It'll taste a bit awful, but it'll work."

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She drinks it without complaining about the taste. "Thank you," she says when she's finished.

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"You're welcome," he says, with a small smile.

Her bruises feel kind of tingly, but they stop hurting. If she watches, she can see some of the yellow ones fade away entirely. The fresher ones start to fade, too, but they're taking longer at it.

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She looks at her arms and sees the reduction in bruise.

"Are you going to take me back?" she asks, quietly, in a tone that would be afraid if it had more hope in it.

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"My exact words to your foster-mother," he explains, "were 'I will do my best to see to it that you are safe.' And I think I wouldn't be doing that if I just took you back."

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She nods. She looks rather like she wants to cry but doesn't dare.

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He produces a handkerchief from his bag of holding and quietly offers it over. Should she turn out to need it. It is soft and silky and a strange shade of purple. He'd offer to hug her, but he thinks that offering right now might make her think that she has to in order to be safe. A handkerchief is much less able to leverage her in some way.

"So if it's all right with you, I'm going to find you some place better to stay. Some place that's, uh. Not there, and not with them."

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"...Thank you," she says, and looks at the handkerchief in confusion.

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"You're welcome." He notices the look. "Uh - handkerchief. In case of runny noses, bits of dirt or liquids on you that you don't want, that sort of thing. Made to get messy so you're not. You don't have to use it if you'd rather not."

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"...I don't have a runny nose," she says, confused.

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Shrug.

"They're sneaky things, sometimes. Show up out of nowhere and ambush unsuspecting citizens, and suddenly there's snot everywhere. I like to be prepared. But it's fine, you don't have to keep it if you'd rather not."

He's making such a hash of this. Ilmater, have mercy on him, he doesn't know how to succinctly get across to an eight-year-old that he just wants the best for her and doesn't want to scare her.

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"...I don't have pockets."

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He'll just. Take back the handkerchief, yep.

"Sorry. Uh. Do you want something to eat? I realize the cultists might not have fed you."

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"They did a little. ...But yes."

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"Okay," he agrees.

Soup or stew would probably be better for her, or at least better tasting, but they take more time to make than he really has available right now. The foodstuff that doesn't require the time investment is a bit bland, but he was just in town. It isn't stale or unpalatable, or anything. She can have banana bread, dried fruit, a bit of jerky, and water. It is probably much better than whatever the cultists were giving her.

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She really likes the banana bread.

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Oh good. She can have the rest of it, then.

(He makes a note to introduce her to other foods, later.)

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