Last High Human 7: Unless I Change
It took more than half a day to reach the base. Lyshia got us lost thrice, Newt detected multiple presences of both monsters and wild animals, such as wolves and a bear. We had to turn back and take a detour or at worst, had to duck and wait.
We could have fought and can honestly win easily against all our encounters. But we couldn't afford to lose time and endurance, not in fights against the monsters and their possible reinforcements. Not against their numbers versus our firepower and members: Newt can barely use his sword, Lyshia needed time to use her magic and I am carrying someone.
When we arrived at the outpost, night was well advanced. We easily noticed the fires, burning at the top of five concrete towers linked by walls of the same material. Lyshia signaled our approach by shooting a green magic flare, followed by a yellow one. The wooden gates opened at our arrival.
When the gates opened, soldiers came out and walked to us. I can't identify them, due to the blinding light of the torches they carry.
The closest person held a rapier. She was a woman in a yellowish dress with messy hair. Are dresses mandatory in this army...? At least they are practical: Not long, not loose.
[Woman] "Who the hell are you soldier and what the fuck are you doing here?"
[Lyshia] "Corporal Lyshia from 12th gate battalion, my squad was on duty for the current week at the Sylvarian barrier." Lyshia spoke very fast. "The barrier was sabotaged, allowing Mantissars to intrude and decimate all other members of my squad. Only those two and I survived and managed to repel the enemy. We reactivated the barrier with a day worth of energy and came here for report and ask for reinforcements."
[Woman] "The Sylvarian passage has fallen? That would explain the roaming monsters. And who..."She looked at the unconscious Beastman." No nevermind, that will have to wait. Corporal Brhuork, please guide them to the major." A shaved Dwarf took a step towards us. "Vexia, take care of the injured! Trhuakh, Tehlel, close the gates and resume overwatch!"
The woman started issuing orders to the surrounding soldiers, leaving us alone with the bulky Dwarf. He politely invited us to follow him with his muscular hand.
A tanned girl with grey hairs came to me and carried the Beastman on her back, then walked away.
[Brhuork] "Please follow me. Major Ayuha is this way."
I got tricked again...
The Dwarf spoke with a rough yet feminine voice. No mistaking it, ‘He’ was a ‘She’. I can't make the difference between a male Dwarf, and a female Dwarn. They really looked alike. I, at first, tried differentiating them with the beards presence or not. But when I mistook a beardless Dwarf with a Dwarn, he peacefully convinced me that I was wrong by making a hole in a wall with my head. A marking experience.
We followed corporal Brhuork between the different buildings, until we reached the one built in the center of the outpost. She gestured something, and the Beastmen guarding the door let us pass.
The interior is made of wooden planks. We entered in a long hall with multiple doors on each side, weakly lighted by suspended candles. Corporal Brhuork led us to the last room on the right and knocked. A firm feminine voice answered "Enter".
The Dwarn opened and let us in before closing the door. She did not get in with us.
In the room, a woman with short stature welcomed us in her office. She was sitting in a chair, and held papers in both her hands. She has short horns on her forehead pointing upward. She wore a blue dress with a metalic breastplate. Her skin was the whitest I have ever seen.
[Major Ayuha] "I have never seen your faces. Who are you?"
[Lyshia] "Corporal Lyshia from 12th gate battalion, I have come to make an urgent report."
[Major Ayuha] "You may speak, Corporal. Take a seat and speak."
Lyshia made a long and detailed report while Newt and I wait, standing behind Her. At least some military protocols are familiar. I feared that having to do something I don't know about.
[Major Ayuha] "Very well. You have done well, all of you. You may rest for now, tell the Corporal Brhuork to lead you to the infirmary. Get treated and spend the night there. You can leave."
We all saluted and leave. Lyshia explained to the Dwarn what we've been told, while I tried to find what differs between a Dwarf and a Dwarn. But I honestly can't find a single damned clue. Are they hermaphrodite?
Following the hermaphrodite, we left the building by the same door and turned right. This led us to a bigger building, painted white and built in a U shape structure. We got in by the central doors and are led to the leftmost room from here.
A tall Elf welcomed us. Long blond hair, white clothes with a red cross on her well developed chest. Sitting on a chair next to the Beastman, she stood when she heard us enter. Her droopy eyes crossed mine. She definitely looks like an airhead.
[Brhuork] "Major Ayuha requested for these people to be treated and spend the night here."
Corporal Brhuork then bowed and left. A model of discreet behavior we have here.
[Elf Nurse] "Well, please sit on a bed."
She had a nice voice and a soft tone. But there was also something else.
We all took a bed and waited. The nurse brought some tools and starts oscillating Lyshia. She undressed and is now in underwears. My presence or Newt's doesn't seem to bother anyone. Still, I avoided looking.
Lyshia received a splint for her twisted finger and gets a cast for her broken arm. It's now Newt's turn. While he undressed I took a look at the Beastman.
His wolf ears were hidden under a bandage surrounding his head. Beastkins don't posses human ears like Elves do, which make it for a strange view when you're not used to it.
[Nurse] "Unlock your jaw please."
The nurse was looking at Newt's tongue and suddenly said that. His jaw cracked and his mouth suddenly opened wider! That... really surprised me. So Lizardkins also possess characteristics of the animals they are derived from, huh.
[Nurse] "You only need to sleep, sweetheart. I see your scales are getting clearer. You will have you definitive build in less than a year. Be sure to carefully set your mind before it's time, ok?"
[Newt] "Yes ma'am!"
Newt got his jaw back in place and answered cheerfully. What is it about setting your mind and building...?
It's now my turn. The nurse gestured taking off my clothes. I took everything off except the pants and the bag. She momentarily loses her composure when she saw all my scars, but quickly regained her cool.
Her cold hands checked my body thoroughly, with calm and dexterity. The auscultation quickly ended.
[Nurse] "You are good. You can sleep in the beds you are sitting on. I will wake you at sunrise."
[Rhod] "The Beastman lost his lover and got out of control. Should we take precautions?"
The nurse looked at him briefly.
[Nurse] "He'll be fine."
She then left quietly. She is nice but a bit cold.
[Lyshia] "Seems like some habits never leave, whatever the situation."
I looked the other way and saw Lyshia getting under her blanket while watching Newt, already asleep.
[Rhod] "He didn't lose time."
[Lyshia] "He never loses time when it comes to sleep. And now, so do I. It's been a tough day for us all. "
She touched a crystal-like thing that emitted light, and the room goes dark.
[Rhod] "Yes. Good night, Corporal."
[Lyshia] "Same for you Rhod."
Good night, huh? That was... I mean, we just arrived and all. We could have spoken a bit or something before. There's a bit of light coming from outside the windows, but my eyes aren't acclimated enough to the darkness to see anything. I get under my blanket too. A lot happened toda-
[Lyshia] "Thank you Rhod. And sorry. I've lost composure and almost got us killed."
[Rhod] "It's nothing corporal. I only did my job."
[Lyshia] "Yeah, right. Whoever you worked for was one lucky bastard. No offense intended."
[Rhod] "It's ok."
[Lyshia] "See you tomorrow."
She turned in her bed and got silent.
Like I was saying... A lot happened today. I should try to sleep.
I suddenly opened my eyes in the half obscurity. A weak bluish light coming from outside was lighting the wall in front of me. On my right, Newt and Lyshia were sleeping: their respiration was calm, deep and regular.
I suddenly understood what knocked me out of my sleep. There was a discreet presence coming from somewhere on my left, creepily approaching. It's leaking a strong yet repressed killing intent. I made slight moves with my body to check if I can move or if there was an irregularity with my limbs, then I prepared them for action.
Out of nowhere, both the presence and killing intent were released, just next to me. There was a whistling of a blade cutting through the air. I rolled on the opposite side of the presence, fell on the ground and got on my feet right away to see the nurse jumping at me, a Scarlet Daggerin in her hands, and the light of madness gleaming in her eyes.