Grimly, his muscles aching from the strain of continuous katana wielding, his face pale from the stress of being wounded and healed repeatedly in a short period of time, his breathing ragged and shallow, Musashi glared at his enemy.  Sorely wounded, his vile opponent had reduced Musashi to near-death several times; only his recent trip to Maegara’s Greater Heal potion vendor and comfortably margined expense account had saved him thus far, as evidenced by the assortment of bottles that lay strewn about the greenery they battled upon.  However, his supply was almost gone, and with each exchange of blows it was Musashi who fared the worse; unless he could receive some assistance, he feared he might not walk away from this conflict.

"Help!  Prithee, assist me against this vile creature!  Aaahhh…"

Sighing, Kagero turned around briefly from the tree where she was carving kindling, and without looking, slashed once with the skinning knife she was using to pare deadwood from the branches.  One slice into the neck of the surprised hind and the inoffensive woodland creature fell gurgling to the forest floor.

"Mu, that was pathetic," she admonished him as she went back to carving.  "A HIND for Pete’s sake… don’t you want to go into dungeons and such?  Good money there ya know."

"Bah, and what’s wrong with an honest day’s work?" said Mu as he carved away some ribs and leather from the deceased animal; field dressing a kill was a skill known to everyone in Sosaria, for some strange reason.  Musashi pointed to a section of the hide, beaming.  "See, here’s where I really nailed her!" he exclaimed, indicating a slight crease in the pelt where his mighty blade had undoubtedly caused a few hairs to point the wrong way.

Kagero yawned.  "Mu, yer missing out on a lot of fun I tell you.  Dungeon crawling gives life excitement and meaning.  You have to get a bit better at preserving yourself than THAT."

"Hey, I might be able to go to an umm easy dungeon…" said Mu, quickly sewing the hides into studded leather bustiers, the best selling leather item available, as might be expected from such a flimsy, revealing female garment in this oft-sophomoric society.  Mu had once tried unsuccessfully to convince Kagero to model one for him; the ensuing scene was not nearly as pretty as he had originally envisioned.  His then-broken nose still twinged at the memory.

"Mu, I tried to take you to Wrong once.  You ran around in circles for 10 minutes trying to escape from a rat."

"Well it was a dungeon rat!"

"We were still on the road!  Mu, you really want to sit around in a tailor shop for the rest of your life cutting freakin’ cloth?  Yeesh, you need to learn to fight for pete’s sake!"  (Note:  This was before Mu had discovered the art of torturing polar bears for fun and skill advancement.)

"Bah, why is it necessary to learn to be a grandmaster fighter?  Is there not room in this rich, character-filled environment for those of a more peaceful bent?  For ones such as I, who prefer the company of good friends and the telling of an interesting, gripping story rather than constant bloodshed?  Here, perhaps these two gentlemen could confirm my assertations…" he said, indicating two good people who had just walked out of some nearby brush.

Mu greeted the newcomers.  "Hail and well met, friends!  Prithee, might you have a moment to discuss the nature of life and war, of conflict and art, for the edification of my misguided companion here?"

Kagero sighed and also greeted the newcomers.  "Corp Por" she said, sending an energy bolt into the abdomen of the traveller who was standing closest to Mu, killing him instantly (and showering Mu with blood).  The other took off at a frantic pace, Kagero winging him with a crossbow bolt before he disappeared over a nearby ridge.

"What the… Kagero, now that’s the kind of rash action which is sure to only generate further conflict between us and our contemporaries!" scolded Mu, worriedly cleaning the blood and offal from his clothing.

Kagero looked down at the ground, kicking at the dirt.  "Yeah you’re right.  I’m so sorry Mu.  Oh by the way, that loser I dropped took all of your black pearl while you were chatting with him," she said, quickly grabbing up the magical reagents from the mutilated corpse.

Mu gaped… "Hmm, well I… I didn’t… see I was… err…" while Kagero happily stripped the thief of his other belongings.  "I see your point.  Maybe we should recall back to town and you could umm train me?"

"Yah sure… oh wait… I see that other thief around…" she said as she took off at a jog.

"Hey!  I need some pearl to get back there!"

"Consider this an object lesson!" she cackled as she took aim and sent a crossbow quarrel flying through the woods; a distant cry of pain and the sounds of footsteps and Kagero was off on the chase, leaving the hapless Mu to trudge his sullen way back to Vesper.

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