Bitter cold hurts

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Bitter cold hurts

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Goku was seated on a chair near a fire at an inn. He was not staying there but it was the closest building that served food when he felt the cold come over him. He was dressed warmly and appropriately but the wings he bore made it difficult to truly be warm outside. Most winged creatures flew to warmer climates for the colder times and those that did not typically grew extra fluff to keep warm. Goku, being a hybrid of two races, did not want to leave his home area every time it got chilly and certainly did not inherit the extra fluff. His wings grew a little bit poofier but it was nowhere near enough for him to bear being outside in the wilderness with his current tolerance. Nobody ever told him that spending more time out in the cold would make his body adjust and Goku never considered the possibility on his own. It was too easy to run from problems and come up with half measured solutions such as stopping at an inn to warm up and sip on something warm.

Goku ran through these thoughts as he sat around and the thoughts continued to pester him when he got up and moved to another seat. The only reason he thought about it so much was because a couple of folks from his neighborhood had gone out on a hunting trip “for sport” and he had been invited. Goku thought they were crazy for wanting to brave the winter wilderness. He also felt jealous that they were brave enough to do something new. It was too easy to blame his wings when really Goku was too scared to try even if his wings were going to be alright. This selfward inflection did not yield any results aside from causing Goku to feel sorry for himself. He was not the meditative sort so it was hard to follow one train of thought even when there were no distractions at all in the peaceful inn.

Goku looked out the door that had just opened. “I really do not want to go back out there.” He told himself.

“But if you do not you will not make your appointment and if you do that you will not get paid. AND you will let that poor chap down.”

The money did not concern Goku at this point in time but not holding up his promise did. He mumbled something about being too generous for his own good when he set out again. The blistering cold hit his outer layer the moment that he stepped outside. “Just one more block!” he said. By half way he had already lost the heat from the inn and wished to take refuge again. The shivers started soon after with his wings quivering the most with every gust of wind that caught them. They were folded as tightly as possible with only the base of the wings keeping truly warm.

“There!” he exclaimed when he finally arrived. He banged on the door until someone opened it.

A kind faced elderly man opened the door quickly and ushered Goku inside so he could warm up a little. “It is awfully cold out there is it not? Can I get you anything before we get started?”

Goku held up a hand when he was offered a hot drink. “I just drank so no thanks. I want to get this over with as quickly as possible. I do not think I will last long out there and I am having doubts about my ability to do what I committed to. If I recall, you needed me to transport several sacks to a merchant headed south east bound because you could not make the trip yourself in the cold?”

The old man said “That is correct. It should be no problem for you. It’s only three trips and you have wings! Fly your way back and forth, it might be the easiest money you earned all season.”

Goku shivered even though he was not cold anymore and then said “Listen I have to level with you. There’s no way I can make more than one trip of that distance. I would freeze my wings off, figuratively speaking. I’ll take all the sacks and make one trip. How many are there?”

The old man got riled up. “If you can’t do the work why did you take the job? I am not paying you to risk dropping my goods on an overloaded trip. I can’t believe my ears. This is NOT a negotiation. Take three trips or just get going so I can find someone that can do the work properly.”

Goku folded his arms defensively and leaned against the wall. “I don’t think you understand how cold my wings get. If I could make multiple trips I would. And I had no idea I needed to make more than one. You said you needed goods delivered so how was I supposed to know it would take so many trips?”

“Cold wings. I never. I’m sure I have some extra wool around here. If I wrap them up for you would you stop moaning about them? If you aren’t even going to use those things what good are they?” He went into another room and came back with a handful of scarves that he wrapped around Goku’s wings when he nodded in agreement.

“I need those scarves back,” the old man said, “now get going. This conversation has caused a delay in my plans.”

“Thanks. I hope this works,” Goku said. He hoisted up the first sack which had some weight to it but it was not so heavy that he could not walk properly. He likened it to holding a light weight over a long period of time. He did not see why he could not hold two sacks at a time, one for each arm, but if his employer wanted to set conditions he had to abide by them if he wanted money.

The first thing Goku noticed when he went outside was that the scarves actually worked to keep his wings from freezing over. They were still cold but then again his whole body was slightly cold so he could handle it. He was in awe that he had not tried this before. He caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of some glass and noticed that he looked pretty stupid with his wings bundled up like they were. “Function over fashion I guess,” he said. He could not help but smile at his own appearance.

Goku completed his first trip without issues and had only tired slightly. The second trip was a little more cumbersome. This sack was heavier so he had to use both hands at all times to hold it and had to take frequent breaks near fire. Lowering the bag carefully to the ground and moving the bag from his front to over his shoulder all put strain on his muscles. He was lucky that the trips themselves were not horribly long. If he did fly the trips would take mere minutes to complete but even if he could fly he would not cheat himself out of such a great workout. He felt an unironic sense of accomplishment from doing the job as he promised and he got an exhilarating feeling from having to use his muscles in new ways.

The third trip was easier than the second. Goku did not know whether it was due to the weight being less or because of his new knowledge on how to effectively carry a sack. He could sling it over either arm if he got tired without affecting his walking speed by too much. Despite the relative ease of the final trip Goku could not help but feel very hungry. Keeping his body warm all this time took a lot of energy not to mention all the actual work he was doing. The delightful smells from the restaurants he passed did not help either.

Next thing Goku knew he was sitting down at a restaurant enjoying roasted duck breast with no regard for the job he was supposed to be doing. By the time he finished and got to the merchant to drop off the final sack the merchant had left.

Goku got a sinking feeling in his heart that spread throughout his whole body when the realization clicked in his head. He said “Don’t do this to me…” He saw the wheel tracks in the snow on the ground that led straight down the street.

“Maybe I have time to catch up if I run… but can I even catch up with all these clothes on?” Goku thought hard about whether he feared the cold more versus the bad reputation he would get from failing to see the job through. As much as both outcomes hurt his soul to consider the decision was made for him.

A teenager in a coat approached him from the side. She said, “he left a while ago. Won’t be back for many days but there will be other traders that come by. If you come inside we can discuss these things with you.”

“Don’t bother,” Goku said sadly, “I was delivering these on behalf of someone else. I messed up getting food. I will go tell him and see what he wants done.”

The old man was obviously not happy that Goku had failed but he had little faith that Goku would complete the trips anyways based on their first conversation. He offered to pay Goku half pay but Goku said “no, I did not hold up the deal and I am ashamed for that. I won’t take payment and if you need me to deliver the sacks later I will make myself available for you.” He then left quickly before they could get into an argument.

word count: 1667

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