The Reviver’s Passage: Chapter 2
The duo stopped at a small run-down wooden hut in a peaceful wooded area of the forest behind a river with many flowers. Hestia smiles as she bends down and takes her slippers off. She takes a large clump of her dress in one hand, and takes her jacket off with the other, swinging it over her shoulder.
“What are you doing?” the man asked with a frown.
“We have to wade into the river to get across and to my house. I don’t want to get my clothes wet.” Hestia answered. She stepped into the river, the water reaching a little higher than her ankle this time. She slowly took another step forward. “Step only where I’m stepping, the water is shallowest here.”
“Oh, I see. But why have you not created a bridge? Wouldn’t it be best not to get wet at all?”
“Actually the rock we’re stepping on is my attempt at making a bridge. I figured piling rocks on top of each other in the river would be safer than trying to build an actual bridge. I don’t have the kind of knowledge for that.” She answered.
“OK, so why not bring the bridge above the water line?”
“That was the original plan, but my friend’s illness reached a severe new height, so I had to assist him nearly 24/7. I also used up all the rocks I could reach in this part of the river, and I wouldn’t be able to walk further down the river to get more.”
“Because it’s too heavy?” The man asked as they reached the other side of the river.
Hestia laughed. “No, I’m sure I could’ve carried them perfectly. Being the sole breadwinner comes with its perks. That includes a stronger-than-average body from my job.” She said, turning back to look at him. She then shook her feet dry and put her shoes and jacket back on.
The man tilted his head at her. “Sole breadwinner?”
“I let him move into my house so I could watch over him and his health.”
“But why not let his family do that? Why are you taking care of him?”
Hestia sighed. “I don’t think he has a family. He appeared in the village downriver all alone 10 years ago. That’s when we met, and became close friends after.”
The man noticed her sad tone and decided to change the topic. “What job do you do?”
“I’m a blacksmith. I usually make tableware, farm tools, and occasionally weapons.” She answered smiling.
“Hmmm, what’s your favorite item to make?”
“Swords. They’re so versatile and so deadly.” She answered happily.
“Ah, so that’s how you were able to wield your sword so wonderfully.” He said, smiling brightly.
“Yeah, you can’t make a quality sword if you can’t wield it. So I learned. And I can say I’ve had so much fun learning. It is so useful in a forest filled with so many cowards.”
The man laughed. “Cowards?”
“If they weren’t cowards, why would they prey on innocent-looking people in the forest? Stupid thieves. They should get themselves a good life instead of taking away good lives.” She said shamelessly.
“I see,” He said. Hestia stopped in front of the door of her house. As she pushed the door, it opened with a squeak. The interior was as raggedy as the exterior. The walls were made of old wood, which either had mold growing or was peeling apart. There was minimal furniture inside. There were old rugs on the floor, along with a small kitchen countertop and cabinets. There was a single bed to the left of the tiny house, right beside it on the ground, was a sleeping mat.
But on the bed sat a man. A very pale but handsome-looking man who was coughing into his hand. He was hunched over, his hair covered over his face. When he heard the door open, he turned around with an annoyed expression. A look of shock appeared on his face when he saw the man behind Hestia. His mouth and eyes were open wide, the hand of which was coughing into had not yet fallen to his side.
“You look shocked to see me, sir,” the visiting man said, chuckling.
“Hey, don’t talk to him like that. Show some respect.” Hestia said, elbowing the visiting man in his ribs.
“Oh sorry,” the visiting man grunted.
“I found this man in the forest, well more like he found me. I was being attacked by some highwaymen and…”
“I saved your friend’s life,” the visiting man finished. Hestia had a shocked look on her face as she realized what he said. Her arms were crossed. Hestia turned around quickly, a grimace on her face.
“I killed six of them first!”
“Yes but if I hadn’t intervened you would’ve been killed by the seventh. Some rookie highwayman as well from the way his hands wobbled holding his sword.” He pointed out. He turned to look at her, arms crossed, with one hand palm upwards to the roof.
“How…why?!?!” the man on the bed said stunned.
“Oh, and where should I put the water, I’m still holding it.” the visitor said, holding the bucket up.
“Oh put it by Wally’s bedside,” Hestia said, pointing to a spot by the corner of the bed. The man did just that.
“Oh, so your friend’s name is Wally?” He asked as he walked back to her.
“Oh can’t believe you guessed that.” She said, rolling her eyes. “Yes, yes his name is Wally. I am so proud of you.”
“Thank you,” the man said. He patted her head as he stood back at her side.
“I-, I-… what is going on?!” Wally asked, still stunned.
Hestia frowned looking at her friend. “What’s wrong with you suddenly? He’s not an amazing dude, but he did help me out. He’s pretty innocent and cool. He isn’t that bad. Stop giving him that face.”
Wally lightened his expression slightly. His gaze turned to the visiting man, who returned the gaze back, smiling. Wally’s gaze slightly softened before lightening up, with much force the visiting man couldn’t help but notice. Then he let out a harsh, condescending laugh. Hestia nearly tripped when she heard him laugh. It was like nothing she had ever heard come out of him. He threw his head back, still laughing. The visiting man at this point could tell that his laugh was genuine. After a few seconds, he started coughing heavily. Hestia ran back to his side. And stroked his back as he coughed.
The visiting man just stood there frowning at the bedridden man, a cold yet calculating look on his face. With a bit of confusion thrown into the mix as well.
The bedridden man stopped his coughing onslaught and brought his hand to his face, he studied the red thick blood dripping down from it in fascination.
“Here wash your hand with this rag,” Hestia said as she handed him a dirty rag from the countertop.
“Oh, yes thank you,” Wally said as he grabbed the rag and wiped his hands clean. He gave it over to Hestia who held it between two fingers and placed it on the ground.
When she looked back up she saw the two men giving each other looks. The visitor was smiling once again, and Wally frowning, with a small smirk on his face.
“What’s wrong now?” Asked Hestia.
“Huh, oh nothing Hestia,” said Wally. Then he smiled softly. “I’m just surprised you didn’t scare him away with your constant never-ending blabber.”
The visitor chuckled as Hestia looked sheepish.
“Even I’m a little surprised.” She admitted. Hands on her hip, and eyes looking to the ground.
“It’s all good Mr. Wally, I quite enjoy talking to her. It’s not every day I run into someone as lively as her,” said the visitor, waving his hand, eyes closed. Wally winced at him.
“Mr.? You had a near fit when I called you ‘sir’ and now you’re calling my friend, who looks to be your age ‘Mr.’? The irony,” said Hestia.
“Oh yes, I apologize about that.”
Hestia rolled her eyes with a smile on her face. The bedridden man kept staring at the visitor who kept staring at him. Hestia strolled over to one of the few pieces of furniture in the room. A small cabinet. She opened it and ruffled through the spices and food inside. She frowned as she moved more jars around, trying to find something.
“Something wrong?” asked Wally, having watched her shuffle around the stuff in the cabinet for an entire minute now. His voice was hoarse.
“Your medication isn’t here. I can’t find it.” She said, slight panic making its way into her voice.
“You might’ve used it up already,” said the visitor, shrugging.
“Maybe, but I need that medicine. Wally needs the medicine every night.” Hestia pouted.
“Calm down, I’m pretty sure I can go one night without the herbal concoction for one night,” said Wally, waving his hands in front of him embarrassedly. But then he broke out in another coughing fit.
The visitor man simply stared at him, making no attempt to help him. Hestia ran to the bucket of water and collected some water in her hands. Quickly, but steadily walked back to his side and raised both hands to his mouth after he finished his fit. He drank steadily. He coughed a few times into her hands but finished the water.
When he was done, she dried her hands on her dress.
“You think you can handle a few hours by yourself again?” She asked the bedridden man.
“Hmm, sure I can. But why do you ask?” He raised his eyes in confusion.
“I’m gonna run down to the village and grab the herbal concoctions.” She answered as she walked towards a cabinet, pulled out two brown flatbreads, put it on a plate, and handed it to him. She grabbed a closed bowl from the same cabinet and opened the lid. She scooped some chutney from the bowl and onto the plate.
“Do you want something to eat?” She asked the visitor.
“Oh yes actually, thank you,” he answered briskly. She grabbed him a plate and piled some food onto his plate. He gave her a small smile and then dug in, unlike Wally. Wally was staring at his friend. She then put the food back in the cabinet.
“It’s pretty late, night is falling. It’s not safe outside. Go tomorrow.” He reasoned, holding the plate in his hand.
“I don’t want to risk it. I’ll be fine.” She answered, not listening to him.
“I said no, I’ll be fine,” said Wally.
“I said no, keep in mind I’m the one with the power here. I can walk and move, don’t even try to order me around.” She said sternly.
“Look, I’m just trying to-”
“If it makes you happier I can accompany her to the village. I personally believe she is perfectly capable of going to the village alone, saying from how quickly and cleanly she killed those highwaymen. But I’ll accompany her if you want,” said the visitor.
The two looked at him in surprise.`
“I don’t really see the need for that…” said Hestia.
“Besides I don’t really have anywhere to go, so maybe I can look for an inn at the village to sleep in,” he added quickly. “Alright then, let’s get going.”
He quickly opened the door and left, leaving the couple blinking in confusion. They turned to look at each other. Hestia with blatant confusion, and Wally with disgust and anger.
Suddenly the door reopened, and the visitor popped his head inside, hair falling.
“Hey, so where is this village and how do we get there?” he asked without a hint of embarrassment on his face.
The couple both stared at him. Then Hestia laughed softly, a soft smile on her face as she walked over to him and put her hand on his shoulder.
“Come on, it’s a very fun way. We have to follow the river.”
“Follow the river?” He asked in surprise. Hestia didn’t answer the man. She walked past him leaving the man and Wally being the only two inside the house. The man gave the smoldering sick man a final look, before following suit.
The Reviver’s Passage: Ch.3 –>
(Next Chapter arrival… we will see)
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