Shenna immediately reached for her necklace of teeth and bones and tapped on one of them. It gave off an eerie glow.
“I hate spiders,” she said as she pulled out a knife and got into a fighting stance. “Ammilgas! Redeem yourself!”
The glow on the necklace got stronger, and suddenly, just as the spider fired a string of web towards her, a skeleton wielding a huge sword rose up from the ground in front of her and struck its blade at the sticky substance, cutting it so it did not reach Shenna.
Hawk had been the main focus of the target until now, but upon getting yet another enemy, the focus shifted to Shenna and the skeleton, which Shenna quickly conjured up a cloak for, making it look like a normal person could be underneath.
The spider did not see that, but Hawk had, and he gave an impressed whistle. “Cool.”
With the spider now busy shooting its web towards Shenna and the cloaked skeleton, Hawk decided to give throwing a dagger at it a go. He did not do it often, but he had to give it a go.
He took a throwing stance and tossed one of his daggers hard towards the spider. It didn’t notice, as it was clearly too busy trying to hit Shenna and her skeletal servant, who kept dodging and blocking any attack.
The dagger hit. The spider screamed in pain, for a moment stopping the attacks. But the dagger did not make a deep wound and quickly fell out. Now it just seemed even more enraged.
Shenna used this opportunity to quickly crouch down on the floor and started inscribing a magic symbol on the floor.
Hawk ran over to where his knife dropped, and barely managed to dodge the many strands of web that were suddenly shot towards him. The spider was shooting them faster and at shorter intervals now.
“I just made it angry,” Hawk muttered. “But how can I take it out when it’s up there?”
That was when he noticed the torch. It was still on the floor, burning with the same green flame as before.
“Maybe fire will work!” he thought, suddenly getting his hopes up.
He ran towards the torch. The spider meanwhile was back to shooting at Shenna and the skeleton, and while the cloaked warrior was doing well, it was getting overwhelmed and unable to deal with it all. Some strands almost hit Shenna as she frantically tried finishing the curse she was inscribing on the floor.
Suddenly, a strand hit her ankles. Ammilgas quickly cut it, but more threads hit her soon and started reeling her in. While Ammilgas tried helping her, a thread aimed directly at him suddenly knocked him back. Shenna was now completely without cover.
The spider took this opportunity and shot more web towards her. First her ankles got trapped, then a hand. Shenna struggled against it while doing all she could to finish the curse. She was so close.
Just as she was about to be dragged away, she slashed her knife across the magic symbol.
“Hawk, get it!” she shouted out just before more strands shot out at her. The hand with her knife was hit, leaving both her arms and legs trapped in the sticky material. But as this happened, the magic symbol started glowing. “It’s gonna fall down! Finish it while you caaammmph!” She was rendered unable to speak as yet more web covered her mouth, and she was dragged along the floor, her arms having gotten pulled behind her, and her legs now fully encased in white spiderweb.
Hawk of course got slightly distracted by this sight, but quickly got his focus back to the fight, as the same glow that the magic symbol gave off appeared under the legs of the spider. Suddenly, it fell from the ceiling, screeching in surprise. Hawk did not miss this chance and grabbed the torch.
“Burn!” he shouted as he tossed the torch on the spider. The spider did not even have a chance to get up again before it burst into flame almost like an explosion. The green flamed fully engulfed it, and the screams of pain became almost unbearable. Shenna was almost happy that some web had covered her ears, because it was excruciating to hear. Hawk had to put his hands over his ears.
The spider tossed and thrashed around. While it did, Hawk suddenly noticed the flame was spreading along the web it had shot out and was going towards Shenna!
Hawk’s eyes went wide and he started running, not caring about his hearing any more.
“SHENNA!” he shouted out, and he could see that she too had noticed the fire that was quickly closing in on her. Fear was evident in her eyes.
But just before the fire got to her webbed body, a cloaked figure cut the strands, making the fire unable to continue.
It was then that the spider stopped screaming and moving. All seemed to go quiet, and time was at a standstill.
Hawk suddenly fell on his butt, breathing heavily, a cold sweat on his forehead.
“That was too close…”
The fear of Shenna possibly dying due to his attack was more frightening to him than any fight he had ever been in.
Shenna too was quite shaken by this, but lay still as Ammilgas carefully cut her free. Once she could move without problem and had pulled the web from her mouth, she looked up at the cloaked skeleton.
“You can go now, Ammilgas. And I forgive you for not helping me with the nagas earlier.”
The summoned servant slowly sinks into the ground, and Shenna’s necklace stopped glowin
She finished pulling off all the web from her body and face.
“I really, really don’t like spiders,” she muttered.
Meanwhile, Hawk got to his feet again and walked over to her.
“Hey, you alright?” he asked carefully, afraid she would be angry at him.
To his surprise, she looked up at him with a smile. “I’m alright. Good job killing that thing. Using fire was a good idea.”
Hawk exhaled all the air he had kept in his lungs all this time, a sigh of relief that Shenna did not seem mad at him.
Shenna got up on her feet, and Hawk decided to change the subject.
“That was quite a nifty thing… person… something or other that you had there. It was really cool.”
He looked around in the room. The burning spider was currently giving plenty of light.
“This place really had some hefty monsters. But I guess now we’re free to check out the treasure.”
Shenna gave him a quick smile. “Yeah, I don’t see why we shouldn’t. We’ve earned it.”
With that, she sheathed her knife and wandered over to a pile of gem stones, and Hawk went off on his own to look through the piles of treasure. Shenna was happy to find some gem stones had magical properties. However, that magic was of an unknown nature to her, so she would have to take them with her for further study.
Suddenly, lots of metallic rattling behind her made her tense up. She drew a knife and turned around, ready to fight.
But it was only Hawk. He had put on some golden armour he had found that was clearly too big.
“Does it suit me?” he said jokingly.
Shenna couldn’t help but smirk and laugh a bit. “I don’t think it’s quite your size.”
Hawk laughed too now. “I know. And it would mess with my fighting style. But who knows, some rich warrior out there might want it.”
He took it off and went back to looking around, letting Shenna do her bit of searching. For Shenna, this place was a gold mine in terms of magical items. She kept finding many things that she believed would be worth studying.
But just as she thought she’d finish up and leave soon, Hawk called out.
“Hey, come look over here!”
She ran over, hand on knife, expecting trouble. There had been enough of that already.
“What is it?” she asked as she came to him. He was looking at a part of the wall. He pointed at it, and she could see what it was. A map! It wasn’t detailed, but it showed the known cities and towns of Wotree, Losk and the capital Lescove on top, then the desert and naga temple they were currently at, and further down it seemed to show three small towns or villages, as well as a few forests.
“Do you think this map is correct?” Hawk said while Shenna quickly reached into the small purse where she has put all her treasure so far. To Hawk’s surprise, her hand goes all the way down to her shoulder as she rummages around, even though it’s nowhere near that big. At least on the outside.
“What the…? How big is that thing?” Hawk said in surprise, having forgotten about her magic abilities.
“On the inside? Pretty big. This isn’t the most impressive thing it can do though.”
Shenna eventually pulled out a pen and a parchment and started to copy the map over on the parchment.
“The map might be correct,” she suddenly said, answering Hawk’s previous question. “But we don’t know how old this place is. Those places could be long gone. Still, it could be worth a look. Later, that is.”
While she was busy copying the map, Hawk slowly put his hand into her purse and lowered it. And to his surprise, it felt bottomless. His hand went deeper and deeper, which also made him a bit nervous.
“You may want to be careful with that,” Shenna suddenly said. “It bites.”
Hawk quickly pulled his hand out. “Bites? What sort of thing is this?”
“I’ll show you once we’re out of here,” Shenna said calmly. She was just about done with the map.
“Sure, I guess,” Hawk mumbled before looking at the map again. “But wouldn’t it be cool if we found those places? I mean, this could be the greatest treasure down here! All the people in the capital said they don’t know about anything else than Wotree and Losk, so this is sort of huge.”
Shenna finished drawing and put the pen and parchment back in the bottomless purse.
“You ever been to Lescove?” she suddenly asked.
“Uh… for short periods of time, yes. Why do you ask?” Hawk said quizzically.
“Tell you what, then; come back to Lescove with me. We’ll pick up supplies for a longer journey, then we can go looking for some of these places. Sound good?”
Hawk smiled widely. “Sounds like a great plan!”
He almost looked like an excited little boy with the expression he had. Shenna had a hard time believing he could be such a child, yet such a pervert at the same time, as well as a good fighter.
“We’ll spend a little more time here, then we should leave,” Shenna said. Hawk nodded, and they did a bit more digging around again.
After a bit longer, they met up by the door again. Hawk excitedly showed Shenna a dagger he had found, which was in a golden sheath, and the blade itself seemed to be made of diamond or something similar.
“Isn’t this cool?” he said with a big grin. “Do you think that’s real diamond?”
Shenna looked at it for a bit. “Hard to tell. I’ll try to find out when we get back to the city. I have most of my tools in my workshop there.”
Hawk nodded and placed the dagger with his other normal ones. “It’d make a neat weapon for me, though. Imagine if it is diamond. I’d be able to cut through anything! How cool wouldn’t that be?”
Shenna smiled. “It’d be pretty cool. Anyway, I’ve got a bit of gold and such in my purse. We’ll split it when we get back. Unless you’ve got some magic tricks for carrying heavy loads.”
“Me? You gotta be joking. You’re the one with the magic tricks here!”
Shenna laughed a bit. “That’s true. So I’ll be carrying it for now, then.”
Hawk grabbed the torch from before. It was still burning, though the giant spider fire was about to go out. He lead the way back up the stairs, past the still helplessly bound and gagged naga and back to the exit.
The sun was about to set. This meant the temperature of the desert was dropping rapidly.
“Let’s hurry to the forest,” Hawk suggested. “It’s better than sleeping out in the open on a bunch of sand.”
He started walking at a quick pace. Shenna followed. After a little bit, just as the sun was touching the horizon, they could see the forest. They quickened their pace a bit. Walking on sand took a toll on their stamina, but they got to the forest before it got completely dark.
“I’ll gather some firewood for a campfire,” Hawk said and quickly started gathering. But Shenna put a hand on his shoulder and smirked.
“I can do one better than a campfire.”
Shenna reached into her never-ending purse and started turning it inside out. It kept unfolding and getting larger and larger until eventually, a tent the size of a small hut stood in front of the two of them in the clearing.
It was hard for Hawk to believe what he was seeing. Not only because she just made a tent out of a little purse, but because he was so used to surviving just with whatever he could find in the wild that something like this blew his mind.
“Is there anything your magic can’t do?” Hawk asked in amazement.
“Oh, there’s lots it can’t do, but if I have time to prepare I can do some fairly cool things. The bag itself took me about a month to make, but it was definitely worth it.”
“Agreed,” Hawk replied. Then, suddenly, there came a noise from his stomach. “Umm, does the tent have a three course meal inside or something? I’m starving.”
“Not three courses, but there is some fruit in there, plus ingredients for supper.”
She held up the entrance flap so Hawk could enter. He went in and looked around, and was once again amazed at what he saw. There were lit candles, books, tables, a stove, and even a bed! And on the floor lay lots of different soft pillows. It looked more like a palace to Hawk than a simple tent.
But his attention was quickly drawn to a plate of fruit. He walked over to it, grabbed an apple and bit into it. “Mmm, that does good stuff for an empty stomach,” he said with his mouth full of apple.
Shenna grabbed some firewood next to the stove and put it into the stove. She lit it before going to a wooden chest. She rummaged through it, finding the ingredients she wanted, along with a pot and some water. While Hawk finishes his apple, she dices up the ingredients, put them all in the pot and start it cooking.
This is all very unusual to Hawk. He usually just cooks some meat over an open fire. It’s not often he even gets a proper meal like this. But while this seems strange to him, it is a welcome change.
Shenna leaves the stove and sits down on the bed and gestures that Hawk can sit down in a chair. “It’ll be done soon now.”
Hawk nodded and looked at the bed. “So… I’m only seeing that one bed. Are we both sleeping there?”
Shenna frowned at him. “There are plenty of cushions that you can use for sleeping on the floor.”
“Oh…” Hawk sounded rather disappointed. Shenna could only imagine he actually wanted to. She rolled her eyes.
“This bed isn’t big enough for two unless they intend to get real cozy, and as I said, you’re not my type.”
He sighed, but accepted it and stood up and started to collect up pillows.
“You asked if I came through a portal,” Hawk suddenly said. “Does that mean you did too?”
“Yeah, it opened up in my lab one day. I decided to go through it and see what was on the other side, and I wound up here.”
“Huh, so you just entered out of curiosity too,” Hawk commented. “But it’s not so bad here, I guess. Sometimes I wonder how things are back where I came from, but this ain’t a bad world.”
“Yeah,” Shenna answered. “It’s taken some getting used to, but it’s not all bad.”
“Well, with pretty girls like you around, I’m certainly not minding at all,” Hawk said with a grin.
Shenna blushed lightly, but quickly regained her composure. “I’m still trying to get used to all the men around here, though. It’s very different from where I come from.”
“You think there’s lots of men? I think there are more girls than men here.”
“In the Kingdom where I come from, there is about one man for every hundred, or maybe two hundred women.”
“This is?” Hawk said, suddenly very excited. His eyes lit up at this information. “So… how does one get there?”
“Through another portal, I figure,” Shenna answered. “Though you’d probably die. That’s what happened to all the men. A great plague killed them.”
Hawk shuddered. “A plague only affecting men? I don’t think I wanna go there any more…”
“Well, to be honest, it affected everyone. It just mostly killed the men. For women, we were all changed by it. Between the plague happened and a cure was found, most of us were not fertile any more. We needed powerful medical science and magic to get pregnant. But I suppose it could be worse. There are many places in my world where the few men are in charge. They own women as if they were cattle. Luckily, we’re more enlightened in the Kingdom.”
“Wait, what?” Hawk suddenly exclaimed. “They own women like that? That’s cruel! Why would they want to do that rather than be nice with them?”
Seeing Hawk’s fascination with girls bound and gagged, Shenna had not expected this from him. Clearly while a major pervert with a bondage fetish, he was still a good person at heart.
“I wish I knew,” Shenna said, shaking her head sadly.
By now, Hawk had collected lots of pillows and put them into a pile that would serve as a makeshift bed. He sat down in the chair again and looked at Shenna.
“So, you said I’m not your type. Exactly what is your type, then?”
“Women,” Shenna said simply. “Preferably skinny and open to a bit of kink, but most definitely female.”
Hawk raised an eyebrow. “Women?” he said, looking confused. It seemed the very prospect of it was new to him.”
“Well, I do come from a world where 99% of the population is female. Most of us do of course prefer women.”
“Ok, that sort of makes sense, I guess,” Hawk said, getting a slightly thoughtful look on his face before suddenly grinning. “So if I had boobs, would you like me then?” he said jokingly.
Shenna raised an eyebrow, and Hawk just laughed a bit more.
Instead of answering, she went over to the pot and took the lid off. A delicious smell filled the tent, and she put the stew she made into two bowls and handed one to Hawk before sitting down on the bed with the one for herself.
“So while we eat, why don’t you tell me about the world you came from?” Shenna said.
Hawk blew a bit on the hot stew to cool it down. “Not much to tell, I think. I grew up in the woods with animals, something I’ve been told isn’t very common, so I guess there is that. I travelled around for a while, often with other adventurers. And there were often monsters and things like that there too, though nothing like those things I saw at the temple. More like overgrown bears and such. Oh, and I once saw a dragon. That was cool.”
“I’ve never seen a dragon,” Shenna said. “In my world, they mostly keep to themselves.”
“Well, I only saw it once, so I’m guessing it’s the same for my world. But in my world, just about the entire world is mapped and explored, unlike here. It has lots of towns, villages and cities.”
Shenna was eating her stew while listening. “So what made you go through the portal?”
Hawk thinks it over for a bit while taking a bite of his stew. “Curiosity, I guess? I saw a couple of women by it, and one of them passed entered. The other turned her back, so I decided to rush over and check it out to see what was on the other side. And just like that, I found myself outside the city.”
Shenna suddenly laughed. “Why am I not surprised?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“I’ve known you for a handful of hours, and jumping through a portal because you were curious seems like something you would do.”
“Well, you did the same, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but I didn’t run in blindly. I probed it with magic and sent spirits through to investigate.”
“That magic of yours is really convenient, huh? Think you can teach me some of it?”
“I might be able to teach you some if binding spirits is what you’re after.”
Hawk wrinkled his forehead a bit. “I’m not too keen on doing stuff with other peoples’ spirits. It belongs to someone else, right? I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna take the freedom of anything away against its will unless absolutely necessary.”
Shenna shrugged. “Some of them want to be used. That’s half the trick to it. Finding a spirit that’s open to what you’re offering. Take Ammilgas, for example. He’s an old spirit, and when I bound him to a bone, he was close to fading completely. Now, in exchange for physical focus, he gets to do what he does best. Kill things.”
“Well, as long as they’re willing.”
Hawk finished eating and handed the bowl to Shenna, smiling. “But man, that tasted good! Haven’t had something this good in… well, I don’t know how long.”
“I can’t really take all the credit for it. That’s what a spirit of a cook pot does, after all.” She took the bowl from Hawk. She was also done eating. “They make things taste good. Taking it up and strengthening it was the hard part, but not pretty much anything I cook in it comes out tasting good.”
“There’s a spirit in the pot too? Those things really are handy. Though I guess it’s not really for me to do that stuff.”
Shenna stood up, took the bowls back to the chest, and put them in. As she walked back, Hawk was stretching and yawning.
“It’s really been a long day… wanna hit the hay?”
Shenna nodded. “Yeah, I’m exhausted.”
Hawk lay down on the pillow-bed he had made. Shenna looked at him for a bit, then the bed.
“Umm, mind turning around away for a bit?”
Hawk, who had already closed his eyes, opened one of them. “Hmm?”
“You see… sleeping in these clothes isn’t very comfortable…”
Hawk was still sleeping in what he had been wearing all this time, using his cape as a blanket. He had not even considered that she might want to change.
“Oh… uh, yeah, sure.”
He turned away, and he could hear Shenna changing. Part of him really wanted to sneak a quick peek, but he knew if he did that Shenna would likely be pissed at him.
Lucky for both of them, it did not take long for Shenna to finish changing.
“Done,” she said. Hawk quickly turned around, but Shenna had pulled her duvet over herself, so he could not see what she was wearing.
She had changed out of her usual clothing to a comfy bra and top and a comfy pair of panties, all of it black. And they were better for sleeping in than a corset and boots, that was for sure.
Hawk sighed a bit disappointed that he did not get to see anything.
Shenna could see the reaction and giggled lightly before muttering a few words, making the candles go out.
“Another spirit to blow out candles?” Hawk asked with a light chuckle.
“Nope, that one was all me,” Shenna answered.
“Well, your magic just keeps being convenient, one way or another.”
Hawk yawned, and so did Shenna.
“Good night, Hawk,” Shenna said and closed her eyes.
“Night, Shenna. See ya in the morning,” Hawk replied.
And soon, they were both asleep.