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No Country For Heroes (BenHawkins x Lusterless Nova)


BenHawkinsLivesHere

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BenHawkinsLivesHere

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@Lusterless Nova
Jacob was sitting almost arrogantly in a merchant’s stall. Much like Jacob himself, the stall looked different from the rest of the merchant stalls in the marketplace of this poor village. It was set apart. It was clearly well built but the structure itself was strangely done. Jacob liked it that way!

Right now, Jacob was just relaxing. He looked to have no cares in the world. He had his nice sneakered shoes up and he just watched as the people of the village passed by. Jacob was well known in this village. He had been ridiculously busy with interest when he first started creating items. The items he sold were actually a hot commodity until recently. But the novelty of it had worn off. He had been selling the same items for a few months now. People still came, but they just bought what they needed and left. The villagers had no idea what else he could create given the chance. There was no haggling or drama over anything in his stall. The listed prices were fair because while he wanted to make money to venture out and find new resources...he also just wanted to help. There wasn’t much wealth in this village. 

He had created and introduced some basic items to the village. So most of the villagers had access to the basic medicines and hygiene products that would improve life in the village. The village also had some extras like cola and dried ramen.  But while the villagers enjoyed the ramen and cola in the low economic climate of the village...not many people were begging for those items. There wasn’t much of a market for extras when villagers struggled from day to day. 

Jacob was always thinking of things from the modern world that he might create here in this new fantasy world. Things that would help this poor village thrive. He was a genius and a natural scientist. He understood the very natural order of things. It was enough to bring about a new world in this fantasy land.
 

He hated that he had missed the Evil One, but it was probably for the best. He wasn’t really a fighter type anyway! He was an inventor! He had the know how to solve problems quickly and efficiently. That could have been useful for tactics...he could have led an army in battle with his cunning! But at the same time...he wasn’t all that excited about WAR and GLORY!! He was much more about science. Before being brought to this world, he had already been like that. He was a lowly lab assistant who didn’t really matter. NOW, since entering this world he could do scientific calculations faster and more efficient! It was like he had a cheat code...all the knowledge was there! He just needed the supplies and maybe some assistance?

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Lusterless Nova

Another city, another guild branch. And unfortunately for Emily, she was just a tad too late. Others already took the quests that were available. Not the first time, and probably not the last either this happened. This world was at piece, which was great of course. But it was bad for those that made a living being fighters mainly. Most of them became guards, warehouse workers, merchants, anything that could in a way lure coins out of people's pockets. But a mage such as her without connections? Life wasn't easy.

A while later she found herself at the market. While she didn't make a lot of money, she did have reserves and a small income from doing smaller tasks here and there, so she could live off it if she chose wisely what to spend it on. One of the stalls caught her attention more than the others though. Any other had something like a huge piece of cloth over them as roofing. This one was more sturdy. Deciding to at least take a curious look, the small girl went through the crowd. What she saw made her eyes widen in wonder. "Huh?" Soap she could understand. It was neither hard to make, nor difficult. Anyone could offer that. The medicine was a bigger leap, but this world also had potions. What made her suspicious however were the clear bottles, filled with bubbling liquid inside. "Excuse me sir." The man behind the counter, his choice of fashion, the stall itself, and the products were clear hints. But she wanted to make sure. "This drink here. Is it called Coca Cola?" A quick and easy test. This name/brand didn't exist in this world, but it did exist in her own. Needless to say, she was curious how he would react.

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BenHawkinsLivesHere

Business always picked up at the end of the work day. People returning home from their jobs. The rampant illness that had spread throughout the village had really done a toll on the poor village. The medicine he had helped but actually wasn’t strong enough to kick the bacteria that was causing it. It was like the bacteria in this area had seen through his plans to help this village. The plague and not being able to stop it, actually was eating him up inside. To know how to help but not have the resources to actually help...it was brutal to the part of him who wanted to help. He seriously had to kick his butt in gear and start traveling! He needed a different area to explore that might have different resources. All the alchemy in the world was still not good if you only had three ingredients! 
So many people were in the crowd and buying all the medicine he had in stock. He had half a mind to just give it away since he knew it wouldn’t fully cure all the sick people, but at the same time...he needed the coin so he could get leave and get better stuff!! He was almost sold out when an attractive teenage girl approached him and asked a more curious question. Jacob had never seen her before. In his mind she was a striking beauty...and a High Mage from the looks of it. He struggled to say the words at first, but soon they would just come spilling out.

Well, uh...yes it is.” He looked at her perplexed. “Well...wait a minute...I’m an honest man, after all...It’s actually a really good knock off of Coca-Cola. The actual Coca-Cola syrup is...” he started to explain the intricacies related to the actual Coca-Cola syrup required to make Coca- Cola. He then spoke about how his mixture was still closer to Coca-Cola than the competing brands of RC Cola or Pepsi. 
And then he stopped, “But I’m actually not sure why I just explained all that.” He blushed. The words really did just come spilling out of his mouth. WORD VOMIT. “You likely don’t care or even understand what I just said.” He looked sheepishly down. “The bigger question is the one I should be asking you, I guess.” He paused and studied her. “Where in the world did you hear that name? Coca-cola....” he was now looking at her very curious for an answer. He knew he had never uttered that brand name even in passing.

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Lusterless Nova

Well. That cleared it up. She didn't even consider syrup, but it naturally came to his mind. No level of coincidences could lead to this, meaning... "It's because just like you, I am from another world." It was good that the market itself was busy. If anyone paid attention to them they would think these two fell on their heads a few times. "And I understood almost all of it. I can even add one tidbit. Back in 2006, 3 employees of Coca Cola tried to sell trade secrets to Pepsi Co. The items planned to be sold were a couple classified documents, and one vial of a new Cola variation. Pepsi however informed Coca Cola of the theft, which promptly resulted in the suspects getting arrested." Aside from entertaining him for a bit with a true story, she also wanted to show him that she wasn't to be taken lightly just because of her size. She was smart too, and the sooner they got that out of the way, the better.

"Would you have a few minutes later?" While she didn't expect to find a fellow otherworldler, she was absolutely not against it. She wanted to talk a bit about this world in a way only someone from hers would understand. That... And something to drink, so she pointed to one of the bottles. "And how much for one?" It wouldn't hurt to treat herself for once, so might as well spend some of her savings inefficiently just this time.

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BenHawkinsLivesHere

Jacob looked at her in disbelief. What she said had to be true! “The proof is in the cola, I guess.” He said it seriously but then realized how funny that sounded. He chuckled to himself.  “I actually knew about that story...” Jacob started in on how he had read about that. “It actually made me see Pepsi in a new light.” He smiled as he hadn’t talked to anyone like this in such a long time. At no point did he make light of her claim or did he see this teenage girl as someone to dismiss. She was small but was at least a teenager...not a small child. She was clearly an intelligent young woman.

”This rush tends to die down by 5pm...so I’d be happy to talk with you as I’m closing down for the day?” He nodded his head. “As for the soda, I’ll sell it to you for 2 coins.” He usually sold it for 10 coins but he wanted to talk with her more as well.  “What do you think of the soda!?” Smiling as he continued to sell items to the crowd before him.
“I have to say...I had no idea that any of the heroes who fought the Evil One were still here? Usually the heroes get to return home afterwards!” He of course was referencing anime and mangas. He clearly thought she was part of the Hero’s party that defeated the Evil One...this making his trip here useless. 

Edited by BenHawkinsLivesHere
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Lusterless Nova

So she couldn't really add to his story. A bit of a bummer, but it was also great to hear he knew a bit of history. She also had an appointment now. This day was very interesting so far. And his discount did not escape her. 2 coins would barely cover the bottle alone. She nodded, reached into her robe, and after taking them out of a pouch gladly gave him 2 coins and took a bottle. She immediately took a sip, let it fill her mouth and surround her tongue, and after gulping it down she sighed in relief. This really was Cola. Finally something from home. It warmed her heart, and she nodded, now smiling. "It's wonderful. Just one adjustment." She took the bottle between her 2 hands resting her staff on her shoulder, and instantly the surface of it froze. No light or anything. Just the soft crackling of ice forming on the glass wall inside, and dissolving again. Just like that she cooled it down and took a bigger gulp.

Huh? An interesting assumption, but she shook her head. "I'm not one of the heroes. By the time I arrived the demon lord was already defeated. But I suggest we talk about the rest later." Not that she minded people in general, but something about them being otherworldlers made her want some privacy if possible. It was like re-uniting with a friend, not best as a public event. "I'll be here again at 5 mister..." Oh right. They didn't even introduce themselves, did they? After he gave his name, she nodded. "And I am Emily Hopkins. Please call me Emily. While on that notion, how should I address you? Mr. Baratheon or Jacob?"

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BenHawkinsLivesHere

“Glad...you like it...” he muttered. Jacob was awestruck as he saw her ‘slight adjustment.’ His eyes doubled and jaw slack. Of course, he knew just by looking at this girl that she was able to use magic....but her control of that magic was beautiful. She seemed to freeze it just right. It wasn’t frozen solid or just a slight chill...No, she froze the bottle...Just Right! “Oh...wow...” he said in reverence. “That’s—wow!” He was speechless. He just stood there watching her drink the chilled cola. The customers around him starting to grow restless again. “Oh yes...” he forced himself out of his stupor. He continued to work as they talked.

 “Oh really? So you are like me?” He said nodding. That was surprising.
She’s a very skilled High Mage. She would have been amazing! 
He would, of course, respect her wish and wait to talk more about that until they were in a more private place. 

Jacob was often stuck in his mind. His thoughts still racing from all this. The fact they were both summoned here and left without an explicit purpose...it kinda felt special. Here was a person who had an idea of what he was going through. Clearly her abilities were much more clear than his...and she was a young woman...so yeah, it probably wasn’t EXACTLY the same, but there was a kinship in all of this. It made him smile. It was a smile he hadn’t been able to use since he arrived in this new world. 

He heard her starting to leave and just muttered, “Five o’clock...” Smiling then as she introduced herself a few steps away now. “Oh! Pleased to meet you Emily Hopkins.” They we’re too far apart to shake hands. “Just call me Jacob...or Jake if it’s easier?” He chuckled. No one had called him Jake for quite some time now. He hadn’t really had a close friend in well...years. Even before he had been summoned here. He was hopeful this could be the beginning of something good.

She had left now and he worked at his stall. Maybe it was just chance or a better attitude about life... I’m really not alone. ...but he did pretty well today. He hadn’t sold that much Cola or ramen in weeks. Maybe Emily’s magic act had left the villagers thirsty? 

Just before 5pm the entire market thinned out. He started looking then. Now it was 5pm and the marketplace was only populated by the vendors who were all shutting down for the evening. Jacob packed up the unsold goods and the parts of the stall itself that he dismantled and kept with him. He kept an eye on everything around him. He was eager for Emily’s return. 

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Lusterless Nova

An odd way to shorten Jacob, but if he prefered that... "Until later then Jake. And good luck with your trades." With that said, Emily and her precious Cola left his stall. She still had some shopping to do after all. But in the midst of browing through the goods, she would notice that she was happier than before. Happier than she had been in quite some time in fact, even if it didn't show on her face.

At about 5 o clock, she came into his view again, approaching with a small bag. "Hello again. If you would still like to talk, where should we go? And before you suggest it, I am not a resident and can't offer a room right  now." She was a traveler after all, and low on funds. But she did buy some things both of them surely could enjoy once they had some privacy.

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BenHawkinsLivesHere

He was nearly finished with putting everything away for the day. He likely would have been done by now if he hadn’t been so distracted looking for her. She saw him before he saw her. “Hello...you must be some kind of lucky talisman.” He chuckled. “After you left, I almost sold all my cola and half of my ramen.” He shook his head. 
“Well, yeah...I would love to talk.” He nodded still smiling. “We could just go back to where I’m staying?” He shrugged. He didn’t want to give the wrong idea, but he knew she wanted a more private place. “It’s a small apartment. It’s a small transient apartment. It’s nothing fancy but I have a living area.” He watched to gauge her response. “I haven’t been able to travel much...” he didn’t want to go into everything right there. It was embarrassing to be ‘a hero’ heralded to this world, but still not able to fight well. “My place is only a few minutes away?” He said as they started walking. 

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Lusterless Nova

A living lucky charm? Maybe, but she had a different idea. "I think it's because you smile. People don't like sulking or angry faces. Think of it as a social instinct." She didn't have any luck magic after all, and there was nothing special about today. Sometimes it really was simple.
At the invitation to his apartment, she nodded. "I'm not picky. Please lead the way and let me know if you would like me to carry anything." Naturally she would cheat. When given something to carry, it would slowly start to hover around her. It was impossible to deny. Her magic was convenient.

Once they arrived at his place, Emily put her staff into a corner and reached for her robe again. "I feel like this is a special occasion, and I saved up something just for that." From one of her pockets she pulled out a small pouch. Definitely a different one from her money pouch. Opening it would release a familiar smell. Black tea. Nothing too special in their old world, but here it was a luxury to get some actual tea, and not some forest leaves some scammer put through hot water.

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BenHawkinsLivesHere

“Good point...or were you flaunting that frosty cola around the village?” He seriously wasn’t sure what had brought such prosperity but he did like it. Social instinct... I should try to smile more, though. She’s right about that. 

He was pleased she accepted his invitation. “Oh...if you don’t mind?” He handed her the smaller case. Upon handing it to her he realized again the usefulness of that magic. “Wow! That is handy.” He chuckled.  
 

The walk was short...just like he had stated. He led her inside the apartment. “It is fairly small but it should be fine...” he blushed a bit ashamed by the tiny place. “Yeah, I’ll take that from you.” He put away the cases in his bedroom. He returned to see her taking something out of her robe. “Oh wow! Like real tea leaves?” He was impressed. “They smell nice.” He noted as he closed his eyes as if remembering a memory from long ago. His eyes flashed open!  “I don’t actually have a kitchen though?” Again blushing at the fact it was literally a two room hole in the wall. 

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Lusterless Nova

Emily shook her head at this problem, because it simply wasn't one. "It's fine. At a bare minimum, we need just 2 cups." Didn't even have to be anything fancy, and that didn't seem like a problem. Once brought two cups, Emily put them on the next flat surface, and with her palm created water from the air. Though not naturally. She had 2 tennis ball sized balls of water in front of her. No way the air was naturally humid enough for that. Still, she levitated them into the cups, then held her hands at each of the cups, suddenly making them boil with heat. After that, all that was left to do was to pour in a few of the leaves, and wait for their aromas to spread.

She wasn't even remotely tired from that display of her abilities. Emily simply turned back to Jake, satisfied with herself but calm as ever. "Is there any Ramen left?" She pretty much repeated the same process for 2 bowls, giving the both of them a warm meal and hot drink for later. A few moments passed without Emily saying another word. It was pretty obvious that she simply enjoyed the meal a lot. Once her bowl was empty, she turned to the cups, and with an opward motion of her fingertips made the used up leaves float out and onto the next pile of garbage... or at least onto something where they wouldn't dirty anything. "Thank you for the food. But while I'm sure you have something to talk about, I insist that I go first." She took a sip... and it wasn't as nice as the cola if she was honest. Maybe her expectations were just too high. Regardless, she continued afterward.

"I think we should pool together our resources. Let me explain:" Taking a little breath to collect her thoughts once more, she went on. "You obviously have the mind to do great things, yet you live in a bare minimum apartment. I on the other hand have mostly elemental magic, but because quests are scarc now that the main threat is gone, have nothing to use it on. In other words: We're both screwed. To make just one example however: We could sell ice cold cola on hot days, or hot food in the middle of the market. This are just my first ideas, but I'm sure you see the potential." Odds were she prepared her analysis from the moment they had an appointment. While he worked, she had time to think, and such was her conclusion. Alone they were at the bottom, but together they could only go up.

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Jake was astonished as she did what would have seemed impossible to him. She once again demonstrated how valuable she could be. “Oh! Yeah...it’s just simple ramen.” He smiled as he put the dried ramen in bowls for her to prepare. They both enjoyed the ramen. Jake was familiar with making the ramen but actually didn’t eat it all that often. As she mentioned earlier though , this was a special occasion of sorts. After all, how often does one go from being alone in their circumstances to meeting someone who takes away that loneliness.

They both had things they were dying to talk about with one another. Jake imagined they could start talking over tea. He showed Emily where the compost pile was that he had started. Jake was very interested in reusing resources when he found them. So many resources were so scarce in this world. “Thank you for preparing the ramen for us...and this tea...” he took a sip of the tea. He swallowed the sip but had a hard time disguising just how...gross the tea actually was to him. “Uh this tea...it smelled really good...” he said with a slightly contorted look on his face. “I actually really liked tea in the modern world we came from? I guess my tastes have changed?” He said politely putting the tea down. “Thank you for the tea anyhow.” He tried to move past that and refocus on what Emily wanted to say.  She clearly was equal parts intelligent and beauty. She was well spoken and had planned out this discussion. He sat there listening to her reasoning and thinking about what she was saying. He was patient and listened without any interruptions. “I don’t disagree with what you are saying.” He stopped a moment and then continued. “I am ten billion percent certain that we will be better together than working apart.” He smiled at her. “This was proved first when you chilled the cola earlier. It was then reinforced just now with the ramen and tea...” he supported their shared belief with facts like a true scientist should.  “We are both very intelligent. I have been suffocating without additional resources that you can help collect. Together we can harness the power of science and nature to do better things.” He grinned at her like a mad scientist might. “We can distribute responsibilities and also work side by side with other responsibilities!” He was standing now. “This is exhilarating...” His mind already racing through so many different things they could create. The existing medical situation being one of the first real concerns for this village! 

“I think we should start here in this village but plan to go bigger...and reach bigger villages. Maybe start our own village in a central location!” All the wheels in his head turning at once.  

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