Lydis quickly dozed off in the back of the car, Valfafer curled up in her legs. Through the little window at the top the blazing sun intensified.
The car came to a sudden stop, Lydis was knocked over by the jolt. She opened her eyes but the world around her was dark and ominous, the sounds from the other cars gone.
"Valfafer, Valfafer!" Lydis shook him awake.
"I want you to find my bag. It slid away from me earlier when we stopped."
"Go get it yourself."
"Oh? Now you're barking back at me?" Valfafer realized what he had said and quickly went to rub against Lydis's leg.
"I didn't mean it! I'll look for it right away master!" Valfafer sped away from Lydis, searching the massive car for his master's bag. Lydis sat back down. As she tilted her head upwards, she saw the small window. It barely let in any moonlight but Lydis definitely knew that it wasn't daytime from it. A soft scratching noise drew her gaze to the left.
Scrrch, shhh, scrrch shhh.
Little patters of small claws against the metal floor rang throughout the car. Quick little taps that seemed to drag something behind it.
"Master!" Valfafer rounded the corner of a large crate, Lydis's bag in his mouth. Even without light Lydis knew that Valfafer's tail nub would be wagging like crazy. He finally reached Lydis and dropped the bag's handle. Panting slightly Valfafer was looking for a head pat. He had to squeeze through two crates and drag it all the way around. It was a lot of work!
Lydis bent down to pick up her bag. As she rose Valfafer whined a little.
*sigh* "Fine." Lydis bent back down and rubbed Valfafer behind the ears, her fingers rubbing on his head. Valfafer had his mouth open, his lips spread open in a smile, his tail nub wagging wildly. "Good work dog." Lydis stopped and sat back down with her bag in her lap. Seeing as how his job was done Valfafer scampered off to explore the rest of the car. In her bag she had only taken the bare minimum with her.
Inside was a pair of working clothes. Sturdy and easy to move in. One pair of casual clothes. They were for use every other day. Kyle's knife. The brass knuckles and six small black blades. The blades were from the Blood Wolf Variant she fought in the forest. Although Valeri had suspicions on how Lydis found them while looking for Valfafer she still agreed and let one of the other soldiers turn them into blades.
Though they were small, only about six inched long, they were very sharp. It had taken the weapons smith months to complete all six. Pounding the claw again and again. Heating and cooling, melting and reforming. Sometimes Lydis would go in to see how they were doing only to be ushered out quickly. They felt incredibly light and sturdy. Just enough weight to put a comforting feel in her hand.
She continued to shift through her bag. A few days-worth of provisions, a large water jug, the bracelet Valeri gave Lydis, a flashlight and a few treats for Valfafer. As Lydis was rummaging for the flashlight her hands touched something smooth. Like silk, her fingers traced over the intricate wiring and the slight indents where it would it pop out.
She closed her hands around it and pulled out a small orb, about the size of a tennis ball.
The little ball rolled in her hand and rolled upright, four little legs popped out from under it. The head clicked open and the robot's little head stared at Lydis.
"Hello master Lydis." Lydis was a bit shocked. Ui was Nova's modified scouting bot. It had it's own personality and was smart enough to make rational decisions.
"Did you sneak in here with me Ui?"
"No. Master Nova asked me to come with you. He was worried you would get lonely. I'm also here to monitor you in case if anyone bullies you. Should anyone do so…" A small compartment on Ui's left side popped open and a small laser shot out of it, melting a small hole into the crate behind Lydis.
"Oh, you're so precious!" Lydis rubbed her cheek on Ui. The little laser retracted and the Ui unrolled it's body. The tail rolled off, wings unfolded themselves and Ui's spider legs were replaced with four legs with small claws.
"Master Nova said this form was the best for accompanying you." Ui looked like a small dragon with a sleek and slim body. About a foot long from head to the tip of it's tail. The red eyes on it's head glowed slightly in the dark.
Lydis raised her hand and Ui walked along it, resting on her shoulder.
"So this is what Nova was doing to you a few months back. Not only are you highly intelligent you can even change your forms! I was wondering what he was doing when I didn't see you for a while." Lydis poked at Ui's wings. "Can you actually fly?"
"I will attempt to." Ui bent it's knees and pushed off from Lydis, wings spread out on both sides.
Ui fell to the floor.
"It seems master Nova flawed in my new design…" Ui got up and shook it's body, readjusting it's wings and stretching it's tail.
"I think you should try flapping them." Lydis was smiling a bit. Although Ui was very intelligent, it didn't know everything. Even simple things.
"I will attempt another try." Ui climbed back onto Lydis's shoulder and this time it began to flap it's wings vigorously. Ui jumped into the dark. Lydis waited for another crash sound but only a low hum filled the car.
"Ui?" The humming got closer and eventually Lydis could see Ui's red eyes ahead of her. Flying in an eight shaped loop.
"Master Lydis. It seems that I am able to fly after all. I will record this into my memory." Ui came and landed on Lydis's knee. "Is there anything I can assist you with?"
"Actually yeah. Fly up to that small window and check the outside. You should have night lenses installed."
"Yes master." Ui flew off from Lydis's knee and slowly went up to the window. At the same time Valfafer had come back from exploring the rest of the car. He looked up at Ui and watched as the little robot landed on the small ledge.
"Master, is that Ui?"
"That's so cool!" Valfafer was running in circles below Ui. Panting with his tongue hanging out. Lydis continued to look for the flashlight in her bag when something else wrapped itself around Lydis's arm. By instinct she pulled her arm out and clasped on was a silver bangle. The blue gem in the center was barely visible in the dim light while the smooth carvings on the surface were laced together intricately. Valfafer stopped running and came to look at Lydis's arm. He sniffed it and pulled back quickly, covering his nose with his front paws.
"Master what is that? It reeks of the scary gorilla…" During Valfafer's stay at the camp he had developed a fear and hatred of Amber, thus when it was just Lydis and him he referred to her as a scary gorilla. Though she was stiff and usually very stone faced, when it came to Valfafer's fluffiness, she didn't really know what to do. The first time they had met Amber refused to let go, saying that it was for everyone's safety that she "restrain" the unknown animal.
Chills ran up Valfafer's spine as he recalled the torture he went through every time he met her. Sometimes she used too much force and broke one of his bones, other times she pet him so much that his fur got pulled out. Another time she thought it playful to toss him into the air, in which he crashed with a migrating flock of birds. Of course, they attacked him. Through that it had taken him some time to get over his fear of large birds.
Lydis laughed a little at Valfafer's reaction.
"No, this is just one of her storage bangles. From the gem and the engravings looks like it's a cube two meters across and wide." Lydis touched the gem and it lit up, a small screen showing the items inside and the capacity limit. "If she had given me this earlier I could've taken more things…" Lydis though back to her somewhat broken gun and the blade she had found in the train wreck. They didn't fit in her bag so she had to leave them.
Valfafer got up and sniffed the bangle again.
"I still don't like her scent…" Valfafer pounced onto Lydis's lap, he nuzzled his nose into her leg. "I need to get that scent out of my nose." Lydis ignored Valfafer and continued to look into her bag. She pushed her water bag aside and there she found her flashlight. At the same time Ui landed on Lydis's leg, it's red eyes tilting side to side.
"Master Lydis. I have a general grasp of the situation."
"Really? That's a big help Ui. So, what's going on? Were we attacked by bandits? Is everyone else dead? Have we already reached the city?" Lydis waited expectantly for Ui's answer.
"Based on my calculations none of your guesses are correct. The caravan members are alive and are currently enjoying dinner. Camp was made just outside the opposing forest from the desert after leaving the scouting post. Should we continue this pace we will reach the city in four days."
"Huh, nothing like what I had imagined."
"I have a speculation. Master Lydis is too battle crazed thus leading to your disappointment in the peaceful situation."
"… You make it sound like I want to get attacked."
"Am I wrong?"
"Yes, I'm just… tired! Being cooped inside this car the whole time can be pretty exhausting."
"Confirmed. Readjusting evaluation of master Lydis. I have corrected my mistake. Master Lydis is not 'battle crazed' but 'tired'. Is this correct?"
"Fine, it works. What do we do now?" Valfafer sprang out of Lydis's lap. He scampered to the door and started to scratch frantically.
"Valfafer! What are you doing now?"
"Uh-um-… As embarrassing and awkward as this may seem…" Valfafer stopped scratching at the door. Instead he just sat down and started to nibble on his paw.
"I have to go pee." Lydis stared at Valfafer in disbelief.
"You, dumb, DOG! Why didn't you go before we left camp? Or when we stopped at the river to eat lunch?" Valfafer was silent. In reality he had been too busy exploring and sniffing around to think about peeing on things. Lydis waved the flashlight in the air. "If you pee in this car you better think twice about having kids!" Valfafer cursed internally and held it in as much as he could. In order to move his thoughts elsewhere he pressed against the door with all his might, begging it to open soon.
Outside the car one of the caravan members happened to be near Lydis's car at that moment and heard the scratching noises. Panicked he had run off to tell his superior. Shortly after they returned with four guards, the man who heard the noise and the caravan leader. The old man pulled off the muffler on his mouth. He signaled for two guards to go to the back and the other two to guard the front. He pulled out a small remote and pressed the button. Slowly the door began to open, folding in on itself and being pulled upwards.
After a few seconds something small dashed out from the foot tall gap and disappeared under the other cars. It was too fast to catch in the dark but the light inside the car made them stand their ground. Inside a small figure rose. A cape around it distorted the figure. Slowly it walked towards the entrance. The soldiers tensed and held their weapons ready.
"Wait! Wait! I'm not an enemy!" Lydis raised her hands and walked out from the car. "Valeri should've told you who I am." Ui rested around her shoulders, lasers ready. The caravan leader signaled for the guards to stand down.
"She certainly did tell me that we were also escorting her kid but I didn't think you would be in one of the cargo cars. We have a specific car for people to ride in. How did that happen?" Lydis though about this and came to the conclusion that it was her fault. She had seen people board random cars so she assumed that any car would be fine so she just climbed into the closest one and fell asleep.
"T-that may have been a mistake on my part. I'm still unfamiliar with the customs of riding in a caravan…" The old man smiled and patted Lydis's head.
"It happens occasionally. Don't worry about it but, what was that thing that escaped earlier?"
"Oh, that was my pet. His name is Valfafer and he's a bit, unique, in his fur color. If the guards see a small pinkish dog please tell them to not kill it."
"Rest assured, if we find it again we'll let you know right away."
"Thank you." The old man led Lydis to where the rest of the caravan was eating dinner.
"If you need anything don't hesitate to ask. I know it's a little late but I'm the leader of the Crossroads Caravan. The name's Marlov Gunner, and you miss?"
"I'm Lydis Fawn."
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