Chapter 21 – Drinkin Buddies
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Lunella’s eyes flick open in the middle of Tuvaki’s residence. As she looks down on her wounded leg, she can feel her pain intensely. She realizes that someone put her leg in a splint while she slept. She takes a deep breath and looks around; she’s lying on a small bed in a makeshift room. Logs surround her, and light filters into the room through cracks in the wall. After dragging herself out of bed, she stumbles down the hall, limping.

Arriving in the main hall, she sees Domak and Tuvaki sitting around drinking beer together. Lunella questions, “What is going on here?”

“Oh, yer awake,” Domak responded cheerfully, “How’s the splint doing? Does it feel comfortable for ya to walk?”””

“It’s okay, my leg hurts a lot, but I can at least hop around on my good foot.”

Tuvaki speaks, “I’m still surprised by how you managed to hold together during our fight. You were looking pretty awful.”

“Ahh,” Lunella mumbles, staring in silence at the ground.

“Now don’t be like that; come over here, drink, and be merry,” The large orc says

“Yesterday, we were enemies,” Lunella says with a sigh. “I have no intention of getting chummy with you.”

“That was yesterday. Today is today! Aren’t we friends after that fight?”

“It doesn’t work like that. Besides, you kill and eat people. We aren’t friends.”

Domak dismisses her words, “Come sit down here, Lunella. It’s alright.”

The demon approaches casually and sits down on a fur pelt sitting in the huge building.

“Look, there is a reason why I eat people,” Tuvaki confesses, “it’s not an accident that our culture revolves around power. “

Lunella looks at the orc skeptically.

“The only way we can survive is if we are strong. Why do you think our encampment is allowed to exist so close to the city?”

“Wait. Why is it so close?”

“The only reason our encampment is here, and we’re all alive, is because we have the strength to defend ourselves. Each tribe of orcs hunts and offers up humans to their leader. When a monster consumes human flesh, it gives them great power. That’s why my size is so large compared to the others, and it’s because of my existence that our tribe can exist with relative safety. No humans will approach as long as the threat of the orc lord remains.”

“But why do you still eat people then? You’re clearly strong enough.”

“If I don’t eat, I’ll lose my constitution. The effect doesn’t last forever,” The orc justifies, “Aside from humans that come here seeking a fight, we only raid during one month of the year. We limit the number of humans too; it’s through this system that we live.”

“That’s—”

“Even then, the lives of individual orcs are always at risk, and the whole tribe could be wiped out by a strong enough adventurer.”

“Why not cooperate with humans then?”

“Do you think that’s even possible?” Tuvaki scoffs, “I’m not sure humans will ever cooperate with us.”

Lunella raises her voice, “But why? Make me understand why won’t they cooperate.”

Domak is the one to respond, “Answer’s simple. Resources. To support a population of intelligent monsters puts a strain on the resources. Additionally, there is an obvious benefit to hunting monsters, isn’t there?”

“You don’t mean...” the demon responds, realizing what this benefit is.

Tuvaki nods and responds, “That’s right. magic.”

“But—”

That’s the reason why? Peace is impossible because of greed. Lunella pounds her foot on the ground. She stares at the barrel that the unlikely pair have been drinking from. Domak notices her and fills a bowl with the ale, handing it over to her. Gulp, she downs the tankard in a few quick moments.

“Woah, pace yourself,” Domak scolds.

“It’s fine,” Lunella responds confidently before downing another bowl of ale.

The group sits in mostly silence for a while. Lunella then asks, “Where are Amara and the other adventurers?”

Domak answers, “They went home; after what happened, they were completely worn out.”

"Di...d she say anything, Amara?" Lunella says, slurring her first words.

Domak looks at Lunella seriously, “She asked us to take care of ya. But other than that, she didn’t say much. She seemed a little foggy-eyed.”

Lunella downs another bowl of alcohol then goes to get yet another.

“Alright, you’re cut off” Domak grabs the bowl from her hand.

“Aww,” Lunella grabs for it like a child grabbing for candy.

“Ya almost died yesterday, don’t ‘aww’ me.” Domak says, then looks at her arm, “The poison in your arm’s spread.”

“Hmm,” She looks at her arm, and the entire thing is covered in a web of light filling all of her veins. She stares at it in horror.

“You’re going to have to get going quickly. I’ll get ya the supplies you left at the inn tonight. Perhaps Tuvaki can help you out here since both your legs and wings are out of commission.”

“Where is she going?” Tuvaki asks.

Domak fills the orc chief in on the situation. It takes quite a while, and Lunella sneaks in another bowl of ale while the two speak to each other. Finally, the story wraps up, and Tuvaki is left with a stunned expression.

“That is urgent,” the orc shouts, “Very well, I’ll have Aldo escort you. Hopefully, that will keep you from having to fight.”

“Thanksh,” Lunella slurs before she stares at the ceiling, “I wish Amara was coming wi—th.”

The blacksmith smiles goofily as he asks, “I thought ya hated her?”

“Wahh—of course not, she’s soooooo nice,” Lunella responds while her head rolls around her neck.

This time Tuvaki asks with a befuddled expression, “Didn’t she betray you?”

Lunella wobbles a bit then speaks, “Aww I guessh . . . Oh, but well, she did kinda save me. sho....”

With a devilish grin, Domak asks, “So what do ya think of Amara?”

“I—like her, she cute!” Lunella says, continuing to wobble back and forth. When she realizes what she just said, her face turns red.

“““Hahahaha,””” Both the orc chief and the blacksmith both burst out laughing at the smitten demon

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