Chester and Jonathan were going over a mountain, and the sooner they finished that part of their journey, the better.
The further up they went, the colder it got.
Jonathan appreciated the scenery. He felt a bit satisfied. He was right to try living a life untainted by fame and wealth. He had done everything he could to walk away from the tragedies that led to his rise in popularity in his previous world. Jonathan was living life in a different way, and it was working.
The mountain pass they had to go through was narrow and full of snow. It was impossible to continue riding, they had to dismount and lead their steads through.
After they made it through the narrow part of the pass, Jonathan and Chester were greeted by the sight of a bloody battle.
A beast was gorging itself on the body of a dead horse. There was a bloody patch of snow only a few feet from the horse, with discarded metal armor. It had killed a knight. The beast was skinny, but long sharp plates interspersed with quills covered most of its body.
Jonathan let go of Biscuit’s reins and immediately drew the longsword he had recently purchased. He would be using it for the first time in battle today. The transmigrator handed Liam’s blade to Chester, as the bard didn’t have a real weapon.
The beast turned around. After eyeing the blade for a few moments, it started to pace around the two men. The animal was clearly paranoid about not being allowed to finish his meal, and rightly so.
Chester spotted that another horse, smaller in size, was trembling nearby. Someone had a hold of its reins and was slowly backing away. The bard quietly informed his friend that there was a survivor and horse to the right.
Jonathan moved to the left. He kept his sword raised in front of his chest.
When the beast moved to attack Jonathan, Jonathan dodged away from the claw aimed at his chest. Meanwhile, Chester used the dagger to target a tendon in the beast’s back leg and quickly backed away before he got kicked in the face.
Oceton spat out a bolt of fire as he flew over.
The plated and quilled animal roared in shrill outrage. It reached up its right claw to swipe at the bird.
Taking advantage of the opening on the right, Jonathan plunged this sword through the side of the beast’s neck. He pulled his sword out with a squelch and avoided the claw that dropped down next to him.
The beast was dead. There wasn’t much that survived a sword through the throat.
The person beside the horse stopped moving away. They stepped out carefully, revealing that the person was actually a young girl dressed in working clothes. “Who are you?” She seemed cautious, but grateful.
“I’m Chester, and this is Jonathan. We’re wandering adventurers.” The bard smiled cheerfully; the expression seemed somewhat diminished by the blood coated snow. “What’s your name?”
“Tam Finilley. I’m a page for Alita’s capital guard.” She was shivering in the cold and likely in shock from the events that occurred, but she was bravely continuing her introduction. There was some steel in her eyes not yet dulled by the miseries and drudgery of life. “I was with a knight, providing service.”
“We can bury the knight, but we should move on after that.” Jonathan cast a glance around the small, snowy clearing. “The blood is going to attract animals.”
Chester handed the dagger back to Jonathan once he cleaned it off in the snow.
The girl was bundled up in a few blankets and the knight—or what was left of him—was deposited in a shallow hole, then covered up with stones.
The three that lived through the encounter with the beast rode for a bit and made a campfire near the rock face. There were enough trees in the area to provide a wind break and wood. Any bloodied clothes were taken off and washed with water from boiled snow, then hung up to dry.
Chester kept talking to the girl, making sure she wasn’t zoning out and stuck in her own head. After some prodding, Jonathan joined the conversation as well.
“Is there anything you want to be?” Chester asked. “I think you mentioned you were a page, right, Tam?”
“I’m a page for now.”
“For now?” Jonathan was rather amused by the kid’s stalwart attitude. “What’s your end goal?”
“I’m a page now, I’ll be a squire soon, and eventually I’ll be a dame.” There was a hint of pride yet no fear or hesitance. Tam’s heart was set on this. She would achieve what she wanted to with her life.
Jonathan furrowed his eyebrows. “A dame?”
“A female knight,” Chester clarified. “There’s a few here and there. For fighting, it’s more common to see women as mages or sometimes criminals. Few decide to go the path of a knight. It does happen though.”
“That’s right. I’m going to be a dame!” Tam’s declaration held an undercurrent of stubbornness. She had likely been told to pick something else as a career. “What do you think?”
“If you enjoy it, go for it,” Chester encouraged wholeheartedly.
“I think you can become a dame, but be careful. He’s . . . We’re . . . special cases when it comes to some things,” Jonathan warned.
Tam sat down between Chester and Jonathan. “You’re holding back.” The page was staring at Jonathan defiantly. Tam seemed rather perceptive for her young age. “I asked you to tell me what you think?”
Jonathan sighed. “If you enjoy it, and you’re not going to end up broke constantly, go for it.” He had done that and survived by various methods. The times when literally no one knew his name were rough.
Tam nodded, seeming satisfied. She then flushed and apologized for being nosy. Apparently she had been trained in manners, but it would take a bit to remember them.
Jonathan went to get firewood. He also found some sticks for kindling and whiting.
Chester—having made a pot of soup for dinner—was already strumming on his mandolin.
Tam ate some and leaned against the rock face. She was getting close to sleeping, but feared the new nightmares that would come. The scene of death and horse innards were implanted underneath her eyes.
Jonathan noticed that none of them were falling asleep. He started whittling and answered questions from the sleepy girl they had helped.
It had been a surprising and stressful day for everyone. Despite the sun not having touched the horizon in the West, they were all drifting closely to the edge of sleep.
Oceton stood up from where he had been laying on Jonathan’s lap. He let out a shriek and launched himself into the air. The bird flapped his wings and fire scorched a nearby tree.
Someone rolled out into the open, having to avoid the fire. They were covered in a heavy cloak, but the hood fell down as they moved. Spikes of ice filled the air.
Hey guys, guess which character decided to come back?
Also, Tam has been introduced. A fun kid.
A new animation has been put up on my youtube channel for this novel. Do check it out. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU3rGtewZ9Q