Chapter 5: The Groping Shadow
The elven inn was calm and cozy. Its interior had a nice palette of light colors to it, reminding Katrina of milk chocolate. Soft greenery was sprouting out of walls here and there, making it seem like the place was in the middle of a forest. The air was filled with the smell of pastry and the sounds of violin, masterfully played by the local bard. Katrina and Sophia sat opposite to each other at the table in the corner.
The redhead wanted to choose one near the large window, but Sophia convinced her that she likes this one more, for obvious reasons. Most of the other tables were free, as the number of patrons was quite low. As was explained by a good-looking, young waitress who brought them their menus, people weren’t too kin to going into inns in a situation like this, everyone was saving money and trying to stay away from public places.
The folks here were mostly relaxed about the girls’ nudity, which was a relief. Although one family got a bit agitated, with a white-haired woman having to explain to her kids “where these ladies lost their dresses”. Sophia tried her best to focus on her tiredness and hunger, her cheeks rosy from all the attention. The redhead was a bit disappointed that the rumors of naturist solar elves that she heard on the way here turned out to be exaggerated. At least this inn didn’t feel like it had anything to do with naturism, as even the waitress was fully closed, wearing a long emerald dress under her apron.
The nudies ordered some traditional elven food, happy with the mayor’s promise to cover their expenses, and began discussing the case. Katrina said that with the provided information she’ll be able to deal with some archmages quickly. Studying their abilities beforehand and encountering them one at a time with swift strikes should’ve been enough to get the upper hand, even though their insanity was a very chaotic factor and would mean a lot of risks. Seems like they’ll still have to improvise.
As to what caused the craze, Katrina was at a loss just like everyone else. She said that the counselor Gunther seemed suspicious at first, but it turned out he was suffering as well, albeit to a smaller degree. Still, the redhead advised Sophia to not trust him, just like any other wizard. The blonde had to ask why the redhead has this prejudice.
“Wizards are posh and pompous folks, very proud of their new magic that can be learned easy and doesn’t abide by the natural laws. Yet, they’re also overconfident, which often leads to grave mistakes or outright loss of control. That’s new magic for ya, trying to master the whole world while barely mastering your own powers. Trust me, I had to learn it the hard way,” Katrina’s gaze became heavy for a second, “especially pyromancers.”
Sophia nodded and leaned over her cream soup, its warm flavor felt like heaven after today’s adventures. Katrina was eating her fried chicken, and the way she did it managed to attract a couple of gazes. The redhead didn’t seem to follow any etiquette, as she grabbed and ripped the food with her bare hands, bit into it like a savage beast, and occasionally licked her fingers. The contrast with Sophia’s polite and slow eating was laughable. Yet, the priestess didn’t find her companion disgusting, on the contrary, she seemed oddly endearing.
“Well,” the redhead said when their meal was over and they got up from their seats, “let’s go for an evening walk, get some fresh air.”
“Oh, I thought we got enough air already,” Sophia said in a pleading tone, her legs tired from all the climbing, walking and riding.
“Come on, no time to be lazy! You need to be at your maximum physical capabilities if you’re to help me fighting the wizards. You’ll have enough time to rest before tomorrow either way!”
Katrina energetically jumped behind the chair, causing the patrons to gaze at her bouncing boobs. Sophia realized that she won’t be able to walk away from this one and got up with a sigh. The night was cool and windy, Sophia felt slight goosebumps appearing on her skin and her nipples getting harder. Katrina grabbed the priestess’ hand and suggested they walk arm in arm, her magical warmth spread across the blonde’s body like a pleasant wave.
“I sure hope we don’t get mugged,” Sophia chuckled nervously.
“Oh, as if I’d allow it,” Katrina touched the handle of her sword with a smile.
The trade district seemed very different at night: no glowing lights of the marketplace, no crowds of citizens cutting each other off to buy something cheap, no carriages and pack horses blocking the way for the pedestrians. It was quiet and dark, very dark, not a single source of life except for the moon and the shining stars.
Several minutes in and Sophia became more comfortable. She stopped covering up as there was no one around, and rigorously conversed with the knight. The girl told Katrina about the market, where to buy which products, how the prices are and how shady some merchants may get. Then the topic shifted towards magic, Sophia told how Zardiw used to be a town full of wielders with a population that didn’t want anything to do with the new magic. This was due to the high amount of solar elves who stayed true to their traditions. The Kingdom of Tholcing, however, had planned on renovating its magical practices for the sake of convenience and military might.
The king’s servants got their way six years later, when the magic academy was built in Zardiw and started accepting students. Mayor Ridzwalt supported the idea despite being a wielder himself, thinking that it’ll benefit the town and give way to progress. And it did for a while. It turned out Zardiw was full of various contraptions that worked with the use of magic, and now many of them stopped working due to the craze. So the city’s infrastructure was partially paralyzed as well. Katrina remembered seeing abandoned carriages, houses, and odd instruments lying on the streets before, but she attributed them to general panic.
Then, the blonde talked about her church and the sun salutations they used to do as part of their ritual. Katrina listened carefully, only sometimes interrupting with questions. The priestess seemed like a walking encyclopedia, which was very useful considering there was very little information about the town given to Katrina beforehand. They spent a great time, strolling arm in arm until a loud thud from behind interrupted their discussion.
“What was that?!” Sophia jumped and instinctively covered her breasts.
“Hey you, come out!” Katrina looked back at an entirely dark street as if to provoke a possible enemy.
“I… I’d rather come back,” the blonde began to shake.
“Oh. No need to worry. Even if there’s somebody here, my sword will make a short work of them!”
“Well, I do… A-a-a-h, something grabbed my leg!” The priestess shouted.
Katrina ignited her sword in a second thanks to her lightning-fast reflexes. However, as she was about to strike, she realized there was nothing holding her companion.
“You must be imagining things,” the redhead shouted, “but I think we can come back if you’re scared and…”
She suddenly felt a firm grip on both her hips, the girl’s reaction was flawless as she swung her blade across. There was sizzling and weird black smoke dissipating in front of the redhead. She undoubtedly hit the target… But what was this target?
“Alright, we’re going back home!” Katrina said in an energized voice and grabbed her friend by the hand.
As they ran back, their bare feet bouncing off the cobblestone, the sizzling became louder and the thuds continued. Katrina lead the way, her sword lifted up like a torch, but then stopped and gazed at the street: one of the abandoned carriages that seemed to be working off magic just got struck by something. Then another hit followed, crashing one of its wooden wheels to pieces. Suddenly, the entire transport got lifted into the air like a toy.
“Get down!” Katrina shouted and fell down with the priestess, their bare flesh painfully hitting the road.
But it was nothing compared to what could’ve happened, as the carriage just flew right above their heads and crashed into a tent with a deafening noise. Someone tried to kill them, and this someone could easily lunch an entire carriage. Things were looking grim.
Katrina ordered her friend to get up, yet the latter fell down again as soon as she got her footing like her legs got tied all of a sudden. The redhead brought the sword closer and realized what was causing all this: the dark mist surrounding the blonde’s limbs was forming a very distinct shape. It was the shape of two long, scrawny hands. Katrina swung her sword again, making them disappear, let felt the grip on her own body as well. This time, it wasn’t just her legs. The hands gathered around her, grabbing and stroking her toned belly, her taut butt and her nice-looking boobs. Looks like they tried to immobilize her, but the lack of coordination turned this into a very suggestive groping.
“Oh look, even dark otherwordly powers can’t resist!” Katrina grinned and dealt with the mist by lighting herself on fire.
The hands disappeared, but Sophia got scared too and darted away to not get burned. Katrina scolded herself for being so inconsiderate, she’ll have to be more careful from now on. She was fireproof, but her allies weren’t. Having such a nice companion had its price. The companion herself was busy fighting off the hands who tried their best to tie up her arms and legs.
“No!” Sophia shouted and sent forth a wave of blinding white light which shone for a second, then disappeared along with the dark hands.
“Solar magic? Good!” Katrina thanked her and kept swinging her sword as the hands got closer and closer, trying to scratch the redhead’s flesh with their nails.
Sophia launched another spark, using the energy that her elven body accumulated over the day. The hands got very confused for a second, then flanked her and suddenly grabbed her boobs. One more caressed her hips and got dangerously close to her tight pussy.
“Wanna me to destroy them or have some fun?” Katrina smirked as she lift up her sword for the next strike.
“Cut them off, cut them!” The blondie screamed in terror.
They kept fighting, Katrina delivering swift blows with the flaming sword and Sophia summoning orbs of white shining, but it didn’t seem like they were making any gains.
“Alright, let’s move!” Katrina grabbed her friend by the hand and started running away, raising her arms and legs to shoot fireballs at the chasing hands in the process.
They dashed away through a narrow street, then dodged several trees and jumped into an old cellar under one of the abandoned buildings. Katrina lit up her sword again and let out a relieved sigh. No hands nearby, only rats and spiders were the girls’ company here. The cellar wasn’t a very welcoming place: the nudies’ feet got soaked in dirty water, the moldy smell hit their noses and the sound of rats made Sophia tremble like a leaf under the storm.
“Alright, we got away for a moment. Now let’s think,” Katrina wiped the sweat off her forehead.
“You’re wounded!” Sophia exclaimed in a caring tone and pointed at the girl’s shoulder, which had a bright red scratch mark on it.
“No-no-no, I have to heal you. Sit down… Ugh, on second thought, just stay where you are.”
Katrina squatted, turning her back to the healer, and the latter slowly began doing her job. Two orbs of soft, dim light appeared in her hands as she put them on the wound. At this moment, Sophia looked entirely different from her usual self. No embarrassment, no fear, just care, and an overarching drive to help someone in need.
“Stay still, please,” Sophia commanded as the wound got smaller and smaller, “here, that should do it.”
“Thanks. You’re great,” Katrina made her companion blush, then flinched from hearing the same thud again.
“It’s following us.”
“Indeed. And I think I remembered who that is now,” Katrina lowered her voice, whispering right into the blonde’s ear, “Gunther gave me a list of the archwizards we need to catch. One of the had this pompous title, “the shadow master”, because of the shadow magic, obviously. Seems like that’s what we’re facing right now. These hands are shadow constructs, that’s why our lights worked so well, the shadows lost their structure.”
“But… The shadows need some kind of light, aren’t they? How can he create them if it’s entirely dark?” The blonde replied even more quietly.
“It seems like the moon shining is enough to support the shadows. That said, as far as I recall, even an archwizard needs to have a reliable source of light to create and realize the shadow magic. It means he has a light somewhere, and we need to find it.”
Sophia nodded, her limbs trembling in fear, but her eyes reflected the sense of duty she had to follow. As soon as thuds got closer, the elf launched another blinding wave into the basement’s exit and charged right out of their hiding along with Katrina. The fight continued, but now the nude girls were on the move, constantly looking for windows with light in them. The hands were shifting and changing directions, trying their best to catch them, but Katrina parried all of their strikes and made sure to cover her friend at all costs. The whirlwind of shadows caused Katrina to use her flames time and time again, yet she also had to shoot carefully to not accidentally start a wildfire.
“How are we gonna find that light?!” Sophia exclaimed, short of breath and covered in sweat.
“Quite easily. Even if shadow attacks can be launched from a great distance, they still have to be controlled directly by the owner. In other words, he needs to be somewhere where he can see us,” the redhead explained, “there!”
She raised her flaming arm and pointed at one of the windows with a figure in it. The two ran towards it, swiftly skirting all the obstacles and getting to the second floor.
“Hault, fiend!” Katrina shouted and busted the door with a powerful strike of both legs simultaneously.
She raised her sword and suddenly froze in surprise. There were no fiends in that house, only two elven women with colored hair. The gals sat at the windowstill, both completely naked, and shared a warm embrace. A purple-haired one slowly fondled her blue-haired friend’s pussy while licking her neck, but suddenly froze and gazed at the intruders in shock.
“What the heck?! Who are you?!” Purple one shouted in anger.
“Oh wow. You know, I once read a dirty book that started exactly like this,” the other one giggled, ogling the redhead’s naked body.
“We are… Uh… Sorry? We’ve mistaken your house for someone else’s,” Katrina was at a loss for words, the first time since arrival. Sophia behind her was redder than a ripe tomato.
“Get out!!!” The purple-haired gal shouted again, launching a pillow at the warrior.
“But come back later if you want, the more the merrier,” the blue one added and bit her lip in arousal.
The nude heroes stormed out of the house, both embarassed to death due to this dumb mistake.
“Well, it was worth a shot!” Katrina said as they ran down the stairs.
“There, another window! In that tower!” Sophia pointed out at a dim light coming from a very high window.
It was very far away and someone would need exceptional eyesight to see what was happening on the streets, but mages were mages, it was entirely possible. The girls went there, but the hands seemed faster than their tired legs. The redhead desperately searched for a solution, and suddenly it appeared in the form of a horse near a tavern. Beside that horse was an armored swordsman, obviously drunk out of his mind, couldn’t even get on the back of his stallion.
“I’m sorry, duty calls!” Katrina pushed him aside and got on the horse himself, then helped Sophia to sit near her.
“What the…” The guy mumbled, “oh gods. They… They warned me that I’ll go out of my mind if I keep drinking so much… Why didn’t I listen?! At least the visions are nice, I guess…”
“Yeah, enjoy it while it lasts!” Katrina shouted and drove the stallion forward. The animal wasn’t very happy about it at first, but after a couple of headpats and some reassuring talk, it agreed to the knight’s terms.
The shadows emerged from the buildings and corners, trying to surround the girls and bring them down.
“I’m on it!” The blonde shouted and kept making the white sparks.
Finally, they arrived at the watchpost. There were bodies scattered around the entrance. Four militiamen, wounded, bloodied and violently choked to death by the crazed wizard who took that tower for himself. As Katrina got off the horse, she launched a fireball into the window with a powerful striking move. The fire scattered throughout the windowframe and the shadows suddenly slowed down. Their master must’ve been put off balance. The knight and her trusted healer ascended the round stone stairway with the flaming sword guiding their way. The shadow master lunged with all of its shadow hands, hoping for one last attack, but Katrina swiftly strike her sword, as if painting a large cross with its orange light. One more jump, and the archwizard was in her reach. It was a bearded, wrinkled old man with a stocky figure and a hunched-over posture, clad in all black. His skin was pale from the curse, but he looked far more human than the geomancer, the craze must’ve affected him later.
“How I hate all of you!” He exclaimed, trying to gather the shadows for the next attack, “everyone here is the same. You pathetic creatures, writhing like ants in this dirty pile of rubbish you call “society”, having to surround yourself with equally boring, stupid people so you won’t feel left out while casting aside everyone who’s even remotely different because you’re scared of… A-a-a-a-h!” He stopped and grabbed his eyes in pain, the priestess just blinded him with her sunwielding.
Craze or no craze, this man was disgusting. The hatred in his eyes and his hurtful words enraged an already angry Katrina, she suddenly realized that it was time to put an end to this old man. The redhead charged, ready to murder the wizard with one decisive blow.
“No, stop! Don’t kill him!” Sophia’s voice pleaded from behind her back.
The knight hesitated for a second. This second cost her a lot, as the wizard extended his arm and a sharp shadow pierced the girl’s bare side, leaving a large wound.
She roared in pain, yet dodged the next attack and appeared right near the wizard. In the next second, Katrina hit his head with the handle of her sword and knocked him unconscious. The bearded mage slowly fell to the floor with painful moaning. The knight also had to sit down with blood gushing out of her wounded hip.
“Oh no, hang on!” Sophia ran towards her companion and started healing her, “I’m so-so-so-so sorry for distracting you, I’ll leave fighting up to you from now on, I promise!”
“No, it’s… Alright,” Katrina hissed from the pain, “you were right. I got carried away in the moment. Seeing those dead militiamen, his hateful eyes, and my past relations with wizards like him… I got emotional. You were the just one here. That man might be evil, but he’s also sick. We need to give him at least a chance to be cured.”
The city watch arrived a couple of minutes later, concerned about the people’s reports regarding noise, sparks of light and one instance of a flying carriage. Lieutenant Thomas’ group found the master of shadows beaten and tied up, while the two nude girls sat in the corner with their arms wrapped around each other. Even Sophia barely covered up, exhausted by the fight.
The soldiers were fascinated by the girls’ work and their abilities. Even more by their nudity, probably, but Thomas ordered everyone to be civil and act as if nothing out of ordinary was happening. Rigorous Beld congratulated Katrina on her victory and tried flirting with her again, which was odd considering how the girls looked right now, both of them dirty, covered in sweat, and tired to death, nearly snoozing off where they sat.
The guards made “the master” drink an antimagic potion which made his magic weaker for a while, then wrapped him in enchanted chains to make him unable to cast spells. That’s how Sir Gunther ordered each crazy archwizard to be transported into the prison. For Katrina and Sophia it was time for a bath and some sleep, the watch didn’t have any issues with them, even forgave them for stealing one of their patrol horses. Its owner was too drunk to perform his watchman duties anyway.
“That was a walk and a half, huh?” Katrina asked as she entered their room.
“Indeed, but I would prefer a calmer one next time,” the priestess giggled.
Their living quarters weren’t large but were pleasing to look at with their cozy furniture and greenery of curtains, tablecloth,s and blankets. The only thing that made Sophia a bit uncomfortable was the fact that there was only one queen-sized bed instead of two separate ones, but Katrina didn’t seem to mind that at all. The blonde blushed a little when she realized they’ll be sleeping together, but today the two of them got so close that it didn’t feel strange.
“One more thing,” the nude warrior said and threw away the blankets with a swift move, “no covering up your body!”
“Even with a blanket while sleeping?” The blonde raised her eyebrow in disbelief.
“Even with a blanket while sleeping,” Katrina parroted her in a playful tone, “no long towels or any kind of cosmetics too, by the way.”
Sophia smiled and got into the bed, too tired to worry about such things right now. Although even if she had energy to be surprised, it wouldn’t be that shocking compared to the moment when Katrina told her to strip naked. The redhead knight was quite strict with her rules, but it was just something the priestess will have to deal with.
Her skin was still wet from taking a bath, so the night air felt especially cool. Katrina noted that Sophia had some goosebumps and suddenly moved toward her. The priestess’s body trembled a little when the knight hugged her, wrapping her arm around the blonde’s body.
“In the future, your body will become durable enough to not care about cold… Unless it’s winter,” Katrina whispered, “but until that time, I’ll keep you warm.”
Sophia blushed even more, but didn’t dare to refuse this amazing offer. On the contrary, when the priestess started to fall asleep, she turned towards her companion and snuggled up to her, returning the warm hug. Katrina smiled as she looked at Sophia, who was now peacefully sleeping in her strong arms, using one of her large boobs as a pillow. The redhead thought about how well the two of them worked as a team and how will their connection deepen in the future. Surely, the main reason why Katrina brought the girl with her was her healing abilities, but it turned out that it had more benefits than she could’ve thought. A team of two naked girls seemed far better than a single naked girl, and surely a lot more fun!