The Road is Full of Dangers (Rene;Aust)


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The dark elf stared at Rene.

She stared at that horse intently, and deeply.

Then, she stood up straight, adopting to put her combat stance away. "Fine, half."

"You never told us how much you wanted." Lola declared.

"Fifty copper." The dark elf replied, and Lola looked amazed that a confrontive bandit was asking for so little. Mind, it was still a fair amount. A room for one in an inn would cost that much. Still, it was affordable.
 

Aust_Nailo

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Rene too was locked in her combat stance for a few moments after hostility ended, a little unsure if the elf would strike the moment she let her guard down. But when the dark elf finally relaxed and agreed to the condition, Rene dropper her guard as well. With the price set at 50 copper, the centaur proceeded to jab her lance gently into the ground so she could dig through her belongings for the coinage."I'm glad we could find some middle ground. Just give me a moment." It was quite a long search, but she eventually found her coin pouch, where she'd dig out the required coinage for the transaction and hand it to the bandit. 50 copper wasn't all that much after all. "I trust that'll be enough?"
 

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With the dark elf paid, it seemed both elf parties happily wanted to leave one another without another word. After a bit of walking, Lola simply said one thing off hand. "I can't believe you didn't win." she said flatly.
 

Aust_Nailo

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Finally free from the annoyances of the dark elf, Rene was quite happy to continue her journey and hopefully without much interruption. But a good bit of walking later and Lola would finally speak up after a good bit of silence. "I'm sorry, alright. I just can't fight in trees and junk. They get in the way and I can't move very quickly around them. Ma never thought I'd have to fight in forests anyway when she was training me, cause she thought I'd be living in the village the rest of my life. She never wanted me follow in her footsteps. Plus, even if I could, I can't climb trees with this damn body of mine! I'm too big!"
 

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"I don't even have to say anything. You already said all the bad things there is to say that would offend a centaur." Lola said flatly, looking amazed at how Rene brought her own self down with her comments on her limitations.

"So, with everything in mind, how ready do you actually feel to take on the world outside your little village? A dark elf will likely be the least of our troubles."
 

Aust_Nailo

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"This is the second time you've said that! What is the big damn deal!? I can learn how to do all that along the way, can't I? You...you could teach me! I mean you elves do it all the time! How hard could it be!" Rene started to grow more excited at the prospect of at least learning something new about combat. But when the next statement came out, Rene grew a little more upset "You sound just like everyone else back home. Said I couldn't cut it out here cause of how sheltered I was. Called me a fool... I'll be just fine out here and I'm not going to crawl back with my tail between my legs! I can take on the outside just fine and I'll stomp out anyone who says otherwise!"
 

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"Teach you what?" the elf sighed. "I cannot teach you how to climb a tree, if that's what you mean. Otherwise, what do I know that you don't?" she inquired back.
 

Aust_Nailo

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"I don't know...maybe teach me how to better fight in the forest? Elves seem to be an expert on that sorta thing and well...I can't compete as you can plainly see. Or...you know what? Don't worry about it. I'm just wasting your time and mine with all this. Let's just get moving." Her voice went from mildly hopeful to dejected in a heartbeat as her mood sank and she retreated into her thoughts. Maybe Lola had a point and she was in over her head out here. But it's not like she was any better back home, being as big of a fool as she was. That bit with the rabbits before she left sorta solidified it. Where the hell was she suppose to be?
 

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"Aren't you a horse?" Lola inquired with a raised eyebrow. "I mean, think about it, one of your key advantages is your speed. You're not meant to be locked into a melee with your opponent. You're supposed to be running around, using your movement to pick and choose conflicts. Why not use a bow and arrow? That'd be perfect if you could learn how to aim and use your ability to pick and choose a fight as you pleased with your mobility. If I recall correctly, I read about centaur nomads of old who used this style of combat, and it worked out for them quite well."
 

Aust_Nailo

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"My mother never really taught me that much about ranged combat...She was melee focused and she trained me to be as well, because we lived in a pretty open place. Plus, I thought I wouldn't be good with the bow because I'm wearing so much armor and junk. Thought it would get in the way." Rene took a deep breath, a little nervous over what Lola would say. If you're willing to teach me, I'd be an attentive student. I want to see what it's like to be like my ancestors."
 

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Lola sighed. "Well, first lesson is a lecture then. You have to be versatile if you want to thrive in combat. Armor and a charging weapon alone aren't going to let you thrive in combat. It'll make you simple and easy to read. The more you can keep your opponent guessing, the more advantage you have over them because they cannot predict you." Lola explained. "I mean, think of if you carried a bow and arrow? That fight with the dark elf would have not been so rough. Her distance would have meant far less. Options are nice like that."
 

Aust_Nailo

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Well, some of this was rather obvious and basic combat lessons. But her mother had neglected to include some of this in her many lectures and Rene wasn't one for versatility. She learned how to fight one, maybe two ways and until now never had to really use any of her training till today. And yes, carrying a bow would have made a world of difference against the dark elf and maybe ended the fight on more favorable terms. "Can't really disagree with you there...Only got a lance and a sword and I can really only use those if I get close enough, which for opponents like the dark elf won't be often. What else? This is gold! I'm sure you have more to teach!"
 

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"Gold... I'd call it common sense..." Lola said with a sigh as they walked. "Look just... I don't know. Think of the different kinds of opponents you will face and their styles of combat, and ponder how you could defeat them. Like, think of an opponent in the air, or something. Or someone who weaves, casting spells at you. Or whatever..." Lola shrugged.

At that, they'd proceed onward, the conversation continuing if Rene wanted as a town came into view. If the last town was a bunny town, then this town was a panda town. There was a nearby lake with bamboo leaves growing prosperously. As well, as they stood over a hill, Rene and Lola would notice that the land below was covered in a light mist, shrouding the town in a light white aura but still not obscuring much.
 

Aust_Nailo

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Rene would ignore the remarks coming from Lola, playing the role of the ever dutiful student. Sure she was annoying Lola from the sounds of it, but she wanted to know everything she could and Lola was her only source of information. The conversation would continue on for a little while longer, Rene eventually admitting she heard enough for today. Soon enough, they'd find themselves in a whole new land that stood out quite differently from her home.

The town itself was covered in a light mist, giving it an exotic or mystical bent to the rather sheltered centaur. It was almost like another world to her. Hell, even the foliage seemed to stand out with the bamboo leaves growing near a lake. "Wow....Now that's something! Come on, we gotta check this place out!"
 

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Lola looked at Rene with a half-lidded glance. "It's just a Xiongmao village from the looks of it..." she said with half disinterest. "Just be careful of it's inhabitants. If you've ever met with a Grizzly before, these people are like their distant cousins. They may look like cute, fluffy and huggable pandas, but they're far from it. They're capable of just as much cruelty and ferocity as their cousins. It's best to assume there's no difference at all as far as behavior, so do not anger them. Okay, Rene? In a straight up fight, I don't think you'll beat one of these. But they cannot match your speed, so just flee if push comes to shove." she warned Rene. "I'm not saying this because I think you'll mess up and anger them all, it's just in case. Even I cannot easily kill them with my arrows. I could shoot one of them right in the chest, where their heart is, and they will not die due to the toughness of their flesh. Only the very talented should challenge such creatures."

With that being said, Lola marched into the town down the path, following the dirt road that led them into the misty village. The town looked as the bunny village did, buildings crafted of the unique wood that grew in Zippangu territory. It looked nice and simple, creating an inviting feeling. However the material was thin and weak, the wood easily breakable, especially so in the presence of the town's inhabitants, the Ren Xiongmao (or simply Pandas to some). However, the town was in a state of good repair, attributing to the normally calm nature of the Xiongmao. However, one look at their razor sharp claws would make one realize that they could cut through stone like butter. Passive by default, but lethal and ferocious if angered.

The panda women, when Rene and Lola came into their town, didn't seem to pay them too much mind aside from a stare that lasted a second or two. There were various buildings marked with a kanji that Rene would only slightly know because of her proximity to zippangu for so long. There was an inn, a general store, and a mess hall where the pandas seemed to get together to eat. Other than that, the town was very simple. In addition, there were no men in sight. The village seemed devoid of the opposite gender.
 

Aust_Nailo

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Rene once again listened closely to the advice of her elven companion, taking in all the information she had to offer in regards to these creatures. Rene was very limited in her knowledge of the Xiongmao and only knew about their distant cousins, the Grizzlies. So similar in behavior and ferocity and usually a good idea to not anger the usually passive creatures due to their strength and endurance. She figured if she kept herself calm and composed and didn't do or say anything stupid like she did back home, she might be able to survive here and maybe even make a new fiend or two. Least that was her rather naive hope. If nothing else, the centaur was optimistic. At least the exterior of the village seemed inviting with it's finely crafted buildings made with a unique material. Rene was a tiny bit worried that her body might be too heavy for the buildings, but she'd cross that bridge when she got to it. For now, it was time to actually see if they could meet anyone who might be helpful or friendly.

Rene only faintly recognized the lettering on the various building and was able to identify an inn, a store of sorts and a communal mess hall that the village no doubt met in for meals. Another strange thing Rene noticed was the lack of men. Strange. "Maybe we can take a breather and plan our next destination at the inn. See if this place has an elder or senior person we could talk to. Maybe get the lay of the surrounding land."
 

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"I kind of want to stay here for a while and learn about these people before moving on. Maybe we can help them out around here towards that goal." Lola offered, before they walked into the Inn as it were, where a few other panda women were sitting inside, eating what appeared to be salads while the host over the counter saw the two women come in. "... Hello." she greeted the pair with distant regard, as if she couldn't be assed to work up the inspiration to greet them proper.
 

Aust_Nailo

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"I could live with that."Rene said rather casually in response to Lola's suggestion. Sticking around here for a while would be a nice idea as it would give her a chance to experience this new culture and learn about it's peoples. And helping them out to get there would be good as well. Seems she and Lola had something of an agreement in this particular situation. All they had to do now was settle in somewhere for the evening and make plans for how they would be helping out in the morning. The inn they entered would contain a few of the natives enjoy a nice meal and the owner greeting them rather halfheartedly. Rene wasn't one to be offended so easily, so she addressed them as politely as she could. "Good day. My friend and I would like to rent some lodgings for the evening. How much it cost?"
 

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"Fifty coppers for a night. Come with breakfast..." The panda said boredly, or perhaps she was just very relaxed? "That'll be fine. That's one room for both of us, right?" Lola inquired. "Yeah." the panda girl replied, once again, as if she hardly cared. Lola paid, with Rene able to pay half as well, before they both went upstairs. "Everyone here seems to be in a fog of some kind." She said, before walking into their room after using their given key to find a basic bedroom complete with a dresser, a single bed meant for two, and nightstands. There were two windows as well that looked over the lower grounds of the village, as well as the dense fog. "Well, a metaphorical fog." She added in.
 

Aust_Nailo

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"Got it."Rene dug into the pairs provisions and found the coins necessary to pay for her half of the room. The panda who seemed far more bored then she should be. Unless this state was just natural for them and she was just being paranoid. In fact, the whole town seemed that way and she just couldn't shake the feeling that something odd was happening. "I know what you mean. It's a weird feeling and I gotta be honest, it gives the place a sorta eerie vibe to it. Maybe the fog here is just so natural that it affects them mentally in some way. Can't say I know too much about it, but I always remember feeling a little lazy on cloudy or foggy days back home. Maybe we could ask someone about it."