“Mei, let’s go inside.”
Mei smiled at Tsura.
Grabbing Danny by a leg she started to drag him behind her. Mei, still with that innocent sweet smile held out a hand for Kimi.
“Big sis Kimi, let’s go.”
Kimi felt as though she had misheard. She just witnessed Mei’s brutality. After breaking Danny’s hand that wasn’t enough, she then proceeded to smash his body into the ground before delivering a violent stomp on his arm breaking it.
Looking down at Mei, as she stared back up with those innocent eyes, one would almost believe that she couldn’t possibly harm even a fly but the truth was different.
Kimi’s hesitation was noticed and Mei grabbed her hand, gripping it tightly. With strength beyond theirs, Mei forcibly dragged them along with her.
Tsura came upon the wall of the cliff and pressed gently on a certain spot.
*Criiii cri cri*
The sound of stone gears grinding against each other could just barely be heard as a door separated from the stone wall and opened inward.
Before it was almost impossible to notice but now that the door had been opened, it was obvious. As Mei dragged the two behind her, Danny noticed that she had no Limiter tattoo on either of her wrists.
(Is this why she’s so strong. There’s nothing at all suppressing her strength.)
Danny held his broken arm in pain as he was taken into this hidden passage.
The path wasn’t long and soon the four were in an open room. Though the room wasn’t large, it was still big enough to accommodate 15 or so people.
Inside, there were blue and yellow glowing crystal gems covering the ceiling and walls, lighting up the room well enough. There was a small wooden table with a few dishes and silverware sitting atop it. A small wooden bed with a thin blanket sat in a corner. There was a bookshelf with around a dozen or so books and even a fireplace that vented out of the cave.
Danny and Kimi looked around in wonder.
“Hahaha, are you curious about this place? Daddy found this room all on his own. He said an alchemist lived here all by himself before he eventually abandoned it for some reason.”
Tsura flicked Mei on her little forehead.
“Mei, that’s enough. They don’t need to know every little detail, do they?”
Mei dropped Danny and rubbed her head painfully. A few tears welled up in the corner of her eyes.
Tsura ignored her daughter and removed a pot from over the fireplace. She didn’t have 4 bowls so she had to make do with what she had. Ladling out 4 portions, two went into bowls while two other portions went into cups. Setting the table, she sat down and began sipping on the soup.
“Ah, if I’m so mean I guess that means I didn’t make this soup for you.”
Mei’s eyes went wide and she ran over to the table.
“Ah, no fair. Mommy’s not mean, mommy’s the nicest person in the whole world.”
“Haha, are you sure?”
Mei nodded her head up and down repeatedly.
“Mommy’s the best best bestest.”
Tsura smiled at Mei and passed her a bowl of soup. Mei dove headfirst into her soup, devouring it like a madman.
“Kimi, if you’d like you and your friend may join us.”
Kimi and Danny shared a confused look with one another.
“I promise I didn’t poison it if that’s what you’re worried about. Look at Mei, she loves it. Please come have some.”
Kimi helped Danny up and the two sat on the floor near the table since there weren’t enough chairs. Tsura gave them the cups of soup and smiled.
Looking into the cup of soup, a few vegetables could be seen floating about. Still, the two didn’t try it.
Giving it a sniff, Danny swirled the contents of the cup about. With an eyebrow raised, he asked.
“What’s in this?”
“A bit of chicken stock, green onion, carrots, a few herbs and spices, potatoes, peas, that’s about it. Sorry that it’s so plain.”
Sitting around, both Kimi and Danny’s stomachs growled multiple times. They couldn’t trust Tsura but they had been running about the forest basically all night. They hadn’t eaten in nearly 16 hours and their bodies were near their physical limit. They needed food to replenish themselves and soon.
Kimi couldn’t bear it any longer and took a sip. As soon as she did, her eyes went wide and the cup was then dumped upside down as she chugged it breathlessly.
Danny couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. Kimi had actually done something so dangerous without a second thought.
“Hahaha, it’s good, right. Mommy always makes the yummiest food.”
Danny’s mind was spinning. His body was tired beyond belief and he was incredibly hungry already. Add the fact that his hand and arm were screaming in pain, which brought on mild difficulty in thinking straight. In the end, even he couldn’t resist.
(If they wanted to kill me they could have done so long ago. If they’re all eating it, that basically eliminates poison. Ah fuck it!)
Danny took a solid swig of the soup and was clearly surprised.
Even with potatoes and carrots in the soup, Danny threw caution to the wind and he too chugged his soup in one go. The carrots and potatoes were so tender though, that he had no need to worry about choking as the vegetables were melting in his mouth.
In only 10 seconds Danny was licking the few drops of soup that were left behind. Looking down into his empty cup, Danny felt waves of regret for finishing it so soon and not savoring it properly.
(Shit, that was too good but it wasn’t enough at all.)
Danny and Kimi looked at one another’s cup and could see the emptiness inside. Locking eyes with one another, a look of determination flashed across their faces.
Kimi cleared her throat and asked gingerly.
“Tsu…Tsura, could I and Danny.”
“You both want some more, I bet.”
Mei cut Kimi off but she was right on the money.
Kimi’s face became slightly red and she nudged Danny in his side but he too had become embarrassed.
Tsura, though, didn’t mind and refilled their cups with more soup. This happened a few more times until Danny and Kimi were finally full.
A little bit later, Mei was quietly sitting at the table, reading one of the old books that were left behind by this cave’s previous owner.
Kimi and Danny were sitting completely still not knowing what they should do.
With Mei having such overwhelming strength and Kimi and Danny’s magic not being very effective, there wasn’t much the two could do against her in such a confined space. Even if they could, say Kimi blinded Mei, once they get out of the cave they’d both still be stuck on the edge of a cliff. Plus, for all they knew, Mei could regenerate her eyes in only a few seconds. From what they saw when Mei and Tsura returned to their human states, their eyes regrew in less than ten seconds.
As they thought about their options, Tsura walked over with a few strips of cloth and a couple of flat boards of wood.
Before Danny or Kimi could say anything, Tsura had already grabbed Danny’s broken arm.
Danny wanted to pull away immediately but once he screamed, Mei looked over at him with a cold look, causing a cold chill to run down his spine. He even bit down on his lower lip to stifle his own scream causing blood to pour from his mouth.
Using the flat pieces of wood and the strips of cloth, Tsura wrapped Danny’s broken arm up making a splint. She did the same for his fingers but unfortunately for the rest of the bones in his hand, there was little she could do. Removing a loose tooth from her mouth, a purple glow encompassed it and a small bottle fell into her hand. Placing the tooth back into her mouth, she stuck it back in place.
Danny couldn’t help but become curious.
“So that’s a magic tool that can store things. I thought magic tools had to use magic gold in order to work?”
Tsura opened the small bottle and a green pungent-smelling thick paste oozed out of it.
Tsura had her hand wrapped in a cloth and she gently spread the nasty green paste on Danny’s arm, hand, and fingers, until the paste was entirely rubbed into his skin. Danny didn’t know what it was but a moment later he could tell it was some type of pain remover, as his soon numbed before fading almost entirely.
“Magic tools don’t need magic gold to work, it’s just that magic tools are about 100 times more efficient with magic gold then they are with other sources. My tooth, for example, were it made from magic gold, I’d probably be able to store 300 by 300 within. Because it’s mainly made from bone though, I get about 2 square feet of room within and no more.”
Danny went quiet again with thought before confirming something.
“Tsura, why are you telling me this, why feed us, and why treat my wounds? Aren’t we supposed to be your enemies?”
Tsura finished with Danny’s wounds and stood up. Sitting down at the table she held her hands tightly together as though she were going to pray.
“We are not enemies. For if we were, I would have already killed that Ryuta boy after what he did to my husband. In the end, though, I do not blame you or your friends. That wasn’t my husband that night and you all were defending yourselves. I understand this, I really do, but still, that was my husband, Mei’s father. Therefore you all have to pay a price.”
Mei was so engrossed with the book in her hands that she didn’t even hear her mother mention her father. Even if she did though, Tsura wasn’t sure if She would even properly understand.
Danny, on the other hand, couldn’t comprehend what they could pay to replace the life of a loved one.
“Your friend has killed my husband, at the same time he’s already made a promise with me. My price isn’t exuberant or demanding in any way. I simply wish for him to keep his original promise to take me and my daughter out of this forest safely. For that, for my husband’s life that he took, I will…For my daughter’s sake, for her freedom, I shall forgive him.”