I kept walking aways, not paying attention to the time, only looking out for the next mark, and trudging my way forward. It was boring, even now it's boring to write about it, so I'll just skip to the part where I got to my base. Well, I got there and found that it was pretty much intact, no damage besides some tusk marks and bites on the side, but it seemed overall, nothing bad had happened. I sighed with relief, the sun casting long shadows on me, beckoning the moon to come and play. I started unpacking my stuff.
I left the barrels of water downstairs, placing all my perishables in one, and freezing it solid with the Manaphage. I placed my couple of tools around the small hut I built on the floor, before climbing my way up top, and crashing into my leafy bed, a layer of leather over it all now, since I had brought it with me. I entered meditation, and walked around for a bit, realizing that my mindscape hadn't really changed much, even though the Manaphage had grown, as had my power. I thought about it while sitting above the waterfall, before drifting to sleep.
I woke up very hot, I was wearing my long coat, and Lupe was resting on my chest, the warm fur-ball was heating me up a bunch. I carefully picked him up and placed him next to me, pulling off my sweaty long coat and hanging it up on a hastily made hook. I pulled off the rest of my garments, leaving only my jeans and underwear, which were worn thin, now that I examined them. Sure they hadn't ever really been bitten or grabbed at much, hell, they avoided burning and melting. I should be happy they lasted me two months of straight wear and tear. I was awake now and decided to enjoy my newfound river and take a nice swim, or at least wash my clothes, while figuring out what I was going to do about clothing since everything I had was winter wear.
I climbed down from my treehouse, and looked out to the river, not seeing anything there, and hurried down. I wanted to rinse off in something warmer than snow. No matter how many times you scrub yourself with it, you're never going to get used to it. I grabbed a bit of jerky and started chewing on it, it was some dragon meat this time, and the beery taste of it brought warmth to my heart. It was a hearty taste and helped me wake up slowly. I brought my bundle of clothing with me to the edge of the river, after smelling it, I realized it had been a while before it had been cleaned, and I was only really able to smell it now because it wasn't below freezing.
I got to the river easily enough, and not seeing anything, shoved my left arm in, absorbing the clean, tasteless water, before scooping some up and drinking it down. It was pretty cold still, being mountain runoff and all, but still, it was nice to drink something that didn't feel like I'd get a brain freeze. I scooped up a couple more handfuls before examining the water below the surface. It was fairly clear, sloping rather quickly in, and after placing a leaf in, moved rather quickly, the leaf swiftly following a bend, and disappearing from sight. I decided to avoid dunking in yet and started washing my clothes, Lupe sitting downstream at first, but after the first dunk of my shirt, he reeled back, looked at me, and moved upstream. Jeez, were they that bad? I pulled out the shirt and shoved my face in it, before pulling it back, and deciding that it was going to be 'wear if needed' item, at least until it was done hanging up and getting enough sunlight to get rid of the stench.
I washed the rest of my stuff and was starting to dry it all when I heard a growling from Lupe. I turned and saw an angry emoticon above his head, and looked around, seeing the cow-bear, the one with the mesmerization ability. I couldn't say for certain that it was the same one, but I had the feeling these things were not common. I whistled for Lupe, calling him back to me, and started backing away, wearing just my underwear, clutching my dripping clothes. It didn't seem interested in me, but I wasn't going to take that as a sign that I wasn't on its shit list. I walked away slowly, it never looked at me as I left its periphery, and I started putting the rest of my sopping wet clothes on. I heard a splash, and looking back, I saw it hop into the river, and without paddling, stay in place, and just relax, the dirt and plants on its back slowly soaking in the water around it.
I don't know why, but at that moment, I felt the urge to pluck those plants and eat them, like knew in my heart that they were potatoes and carrots. I licked my lips and looked away, I would need to be much stronger I felt, or maybe just have the Manaphage take over both my ears. It seemed to be all-powerful, but I wouldn't hurt myself for an assumed gain. This thing came without an instruction manual, after all, I had no idea the risks it posed to me. I got back to my hut thinking about this, squelching in, and tore off my wet clothing, and started to dry it with the Manaphage.
It was a useful tool, and it had saved my life multiple times, hell it was the whole reason I was still alive, but I still had no idea about the long term effects, like smoking, sure it helps you get skinny, but that's because it suppresses appetite, but it makes food taste like shit, and ya'know, cancer. Was I getting magic cancer from using this? I looked at the Manaphage, having replaced a quarter of my face, half my neck, and my upper left torso, and whole left arm, I guess it was pretty invasive. I looked at the rest of my currently naked body since I was thinking all this while doing laundry. I had gotten fuckin' ripped, holy shit. I touched my chest and felt pure rock hard muscle, wow, the magic of Keto and well, magically absorbed life force. I flexed my right arm, lean and muscle-bound, not the showy kind, but the working kind.
I wish I had a mirror now, maybe if I had taken the car mirror. I was pretty happy with my strength, and now my body really showed it all off. I started getting dressed, foregoing the shirts, wearing just the long coat, made of leather and dragon scales, and put on my threadbare jeans and underwear. Where was I going to find a soft, durable leather to replace the inner thighs with, squirrel fur? Suede? Shit, now I wish I had asked more questions at that Ren Faire, with the historical re-enactors. I shrugged and figured it was going to be my least favorite testing I had ever done in this world. I had a couple more things to do today and decided to take care of them after my lunch