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Home > God Rising: Battle of Atela

27 Part III . 2

 Two weeks had passed since they'd been hiding in a cave. Orion's health improved and his magic had a slight increase but regeneration was slow.

He'd found a way to heal himself by soaking his body in the water he'd modified to have restoring capacities. Along with Anna, they went deeper into the cave to find a new source of water they could drink because he couldn't be purifying the pool he had turned to a remedial bath every time they both used it.

Luckily they found a crack that had water running through it, and they concluded there was a pure water source linking to the cave.

The need for water was settled, and food was handled majorly by Anna. Orion would create a thing or two, while she'd prepare something they could both eat with the little they had.

Things went that way for the two of them until Orion was in good health again.

"Are you ready?" Anna gestured as her hand entwined with Orion's, and the two of them ventured into the daylight after so long.

"Are you used to camping outdoors?" He asked as he swooped her off her feet. He was about to jump.

"Y-yeah" she shut her eyes and once she opened them again he'd landed on a field wet with dew, and he placed her on her feet.

"I don't know where we are, but we have to keep walking. If you ever get tired tell me, so I'll carry you on my back." Orion had little time. He had to get to his planet soon.

They had no money and had no idea what he was going to do. He could only hope he'd find favorable luck along the roads he was about to travel.

They spent the morning journeying the unfamiliar clearcut acre of the grassland, and stopping to pluck a few wild fruits that were safe to consume.

Whenever there were streams to cross, he'd carry Anna in his arms again and skip across watercourse before proceeding with her.

Once the light of the day vanished into night, he put Anna on his back and continued to walk while she fell asleep.

By the time Orion got tired, it started to dawn. He was glad he didn't encounter a trap set by bandits for travelers such as himself. It would've added to more of his problems.

Anna uttered a yawn as she woke up. It became clear in less than a second that she'd unintentionally fallen asleep on Orion's back throughout the night.

"I'm sorry! I'm so so sorry" she expressed her apology for the little mistake that Orion didn't pay much attention to.

"It's fine."

"You didn't get to sleep right?"

"I'm actually used to this. It's just that I'm not getting any younger, and my internal wound is adding to my problems."

"I want to get off your back now" Orion stopped walking, and she got down his back.

"Don't you want to rest?" He shook his head.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." She hoped he was telling the truth.

With time ,they spotted a few cottages along a river, and a bright smile appeared on their faces. They'd finally found somewhere to stay after long walks.

Once they got to the other side of the river, they surveyed what looked like a normal community.

There were only fourteen thatched roof cottages of different sizes and it looked like the big ones belonged to families. They could tell by the clothes that were hung to dry on cords.

"Excuse me?" Anna was surprised the second her back was tapped. A man with a little girl hiding behind him had questions to ask the two he'd never seen before.

"What are you doing here?" His voice was grating, although it looked like he was forcing it to be that way, and his face and attitude was something unwelcoming.

"We're travellers. We need somewhere to stay" Orion tried to explain their situation politely, but the man was unmoved.

"Where's your money?"

"We don't have."

"GET OUT OF HERE THEN!!!" Anna was frightened by the scowl on Orion's face. The man who was bearing his head high was unafraid of what Orion could do. He had ten sons he'd raised, and some were older than Orion (he assumed because Orion looked like someone in his early twenties) He was certain he could handle the Foxman.

"What's going on here?" Just when Orion was about to leave, someone else joined the discussion that was about to end.

"Young man?!" The Foxman wondered where the voice was coming from until he lowered his head to see an old lady in front of him. He took a step back to carefully analyze what was going on.

The man seemed to be troubled by the old lady's appearance, while the five-year-old girl he was with was elated.

"Grandma!!!" She ran towards the girl, and the old lady's bony arms wrapped around her grandchild.

Orion's eyes glazed, and he called over for Anna to follow him, but she didn't move.

Anna turned to the old lady to explain all over, and soon the senior diverted her gaze to both Orion and the man in their midst.

"Oh my!" She exclaimed "Don't mind my son. He's just looking out for our small community. Please accept our apology."

Anna waved it off, while Orion and the unfriendly man exchanged glances of contempt.

"There's a free cottage for the both of you to stay."

"Thank you so much Ma'am" Anna bowed, but Orion didn't do the same. The old lady wasn't offended like Anna thought she would.

She led them to the vacant cottage that was well-furnished. It was unbelievable that someone wasn't living there because everything was perfectly in place.

"I'll be back tomorrow to explain how we run this place later. Feel free to use whatever you see here, and if you need to, there's a washroom for men and women separately. Have a splendid evening" She waved before closing the door for them.

Orion thought of having a hot bath before sleeping, while Anna thought of a proper meal they could both eat.

"Anna, I'm going to the washroom to have a bath. You should too" She nodded and watched him leave.

Anna made her way to the steamy washroom, took her garments off and dunked herself into the pool that was shockingly warm.

The door of the wooden structure opened and the old lady walked in with the little girl of before, and a middle-aged woman. Anna remembered her friend that ran an orphanage by just looking at the woman that was undressing. Their eyes met, and Anna quickly looked away. She didn't mean to stare that long, and she didn't know how to explain herself.

Again, she didn't get the reaction she thought was coming to her. What she did was overlooked like it never happened.

"Hello young lady" The old lady greeted as she got into the bath.

"Hello" Anna returned the greeting.

"I didn't think we'd meet again"

"Y-yes, my..." she didn't know what to call Orion since they hadn't decided the terms of their relationship "My lover suggested I have a bath." He cheeks reddened after her statement, and it made her feel sheepish.

"It's fine. What is your name?"

"Anna Webb"

As their conversation was going on, the other two in the bath were helping each other clean up.

"You can call me Ma Lari. This is my second granddaughter, and this adorable girl is my granddaughter."

They greeted one another before carrying on with their cleansing.

Once Anna was done she waved goodbye but Ma Lari stopped her before she could walk any further "there's still soup available for you and your beau. I'll serve two plates and you both can enjoy the rest of the evening" Along with food, she was given a short loose dress to wear to sleep.

Orion opened the door once his ears picked the sound of gentle knocks. He was trying not to sleep because Anna was still outside. Now that he heard someone at the door, he was sure it was Anna, and he could finally get some sleep.

"Hey" He looked down at the plateful of vegetable stock soup, and boiled potatoes.

He made way for Anna to come in, and she moved towards a sturdy table at the small front room linking to the bedroom.

She took a seat, then blessed their meals. Orion joined her shortly.

"Ma lari said they practice communalism here and that we shouldn't worry too much about paying for the cottage. As long as we contribute, there's no problem."

"What are you going to do?"

"I can assist by cooking, and cleaning."

"That's good" He got up, leaving half of his supper untouched "But...you're have to work as well!"

"Work?" He grimaced at that word. Anna gestured before he left without saying anymore words words. He plunked himself on the bed and his eyes closed afterwards.

***

"Good morning" Anna had woken up earlier to help around with some chores around the settlement while Orion wasn't willing to. Instead, he wanted to sleep all day, and not be disturbed.

"So Ma lari's son said you have to come out, and it's best that you do. We don't want to ruin our image here. We already found somewhere to stay, so let's just do whatever they want to avoid problems."

"I'm not moving." Anger churned within her after what came out of his mouth, and her mind went dark as if storm clouds were gathering.

"Orion all you have to do is cut wood for dinner tonight. That's for starters."

"I'm not interested." Her anger was still smoldering under the face she tried to force to be calm, but her efforts were of no use.

"ORION WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS WRONG! JUST HELP THE COMMUNITY. THAT'S ALL YOU HAVE TO DO"

Orion turned to Anna like an enraged panther. He slowly got out of bed, and approached her. The pressure of his raging sea of anger would force him to say things, and he'd decided to let her know how much he hated when voices are raised at him.

"I DON'T WANT TO WORK AND YOU CAN'T FORCE ME!" He slammed the shelf beside him, and the vase on top was knocked off.

"ANNA, DON'T YOU EVER RAISE YOUR VOICE AT ME. YOU'RE HUMAN AND I'M A BEASTMAN! I DON'T WORK! WHY SHOULD I WHEN I HAVE HUMANS TO DO SO!" He heaved after screaming at the top of his lungs.

"You're right. You're a typical Beastman. It's my fault for thinking you can be any different" Orion sighed as he watched her walk away.

He didn't see her for three hours straight, and he began to regret his choice of words. It was affecting him, but more of the effects weighed on Anna.

'When people are angry they sometimes tell the truth' Anna wondered if Orion meant what he said. She didn't know if she should be too surprised that he still had the sense of superiority. All along she thought he believed in equality, but he's a typical Beastman that doesn't like work, or humans.

Ma Lari noticed the lady was down. Her slow actions and her constant zoning out served as a hint to know her sad mood that afternoon.

"Hello young one" Ma lari approached with a grin, and Anna faked one "Good day Ma Lari."

"I see your boyfriend isn't out yet."

Anna frowned "I'm sorry for his attitude. I tried to explain to him..."

"Don't worry. The only ones that might have a problem with it are my sons, and grandsons. Apart from them, don't trouble yourself too much. I assume that matter is the cause of your mood" the old lady pat her back assuring her everything will be alright.

"Tell me, is this your first fight?"

"I'm not so sure."

"That's fine. I'm certain he'll come out of his shell later. Don't neglect to give him food alright" Anna puffed. She was still mad at him for his blithe ignorance, but she wasn't going to let him starve.

Orion was about to step out to search for food when he heard knocks. He opened the door to see Anna who was trying by all means to avoid eye contact with him. Not a word was uttered by her as she dropped the tray of food for him, and just left. He was missing her company, but he didn't know how to tell her in words because of his pride.

Once the sun was sinking below the horizon, the children came out to play, and the adults were setting up dinner. Orion peeped from his window the moment he overheard Anna's voice and that of a male. He didn't know what they were talking about, but it looked like they were having a decent conversation. Orion was jealous.

He angrily shut the window, before heading to the bath shed to relax and take things off his mind. Minutes had passed since he'd doused himself, and a familiar pair entered afterwards.

The man he didn't like, and the boy that was conversing with his woman.

They had their eyes on Orion as he got out, and they were stunned by the amount of scars his body carried. The foxman fixed a scowl at the boy who looked about Anna's age, or a year older before leaving him to enjoy the shed.

Back at the cottage, Orion met the bedroom door half opened, and a perfumed scent was carried out of the room by a gentle breeze. He looked through the half shut door, and noticed Anna at a corner, applying ointments to her bare body.

He had his eyes on every move she made until his presence was detected. She stopped then moved on to wear her dress. They didn't utter a word to break the odd silence. Anna had things to do, and she wasn't going to stick around for long.

Before he could apologize to Anna, she left to wrap up her chores. He had no other choice but to do the last thing he had on his mind.