The long silence seemed to last an eternity as the man glared at Tucker. Never had anyone spoken to him in this manner and he was about to pull out his sword and chop off Tucker's head right there and then. Tucker could see the anger on the man's face and he realised that the situation had become more dangerous than it had been just moments ago. At first it had just seemed that it was a man who was trying his luck but now it seemed that he and Jessica would be lucky to get out of here with their bodies intact.
"What did you say?" asked the man with great anger in his voice. "Did you just seriously tell me to back away? Nobody tells me what I can't do! I am going to have your lady friend here and there's not a damn thing you can do about it!"
"Maybe we can work out some kind of wager," replied Tucker. He was having to think quickly on his feet. An idea did spring to mind but it was very risky. "How about this, we have ourselves a little drinking contest, if you win you can have my so called lady friend here but if I win you leave us be and never disturb us again."
The man stood there for a moment and thought about the proposition. Jessica couldn't believe what she was hearing, Tucker was actually going to challenge this man in a drinking contest and she was going to be the trophy. She didn't like being used like an item like this and she was trying to hide her frustration. She very rarely got angry at Tucker but now she could feel some rage towards him getting bottled up inside of her. She did feel some sense of gratitude however since he was defending her honour and it was the first time a man had ever defended her honour like this.
The man began to laugh and his laugh felt like a blow horn going off. It was so loud that it was difficult for anyone in the inn not to hear it. The man didn't think that Tucker had a hope of beating him in a drinking contest. Tucker was nowhere near as large as him and the man could down more pints of ale than almost any other man in Angleland.
"You got yourself a wager but as soon as I win I'll be giving your lady friend a bastard," said the man with some laughter in his voice.
"If I have my way it'll be sometime before she has her first child," replied Tucker trying to be confident. He was thinking through all the different ways that he could resolve this situation and although he did have an idea in mind it was risky and there was no guarantee that it would work.
"Err gentlemen can I have a word with my friend in private please?" asked Jessica with a somewhat nervous smile on her face.
For the moment this was allowed as Jessica stood up and grabbed the wrist of Tucker. She was holding onto it so tightly that it was causing him some pain. She more or less dragged him to the tavern's restroom which wasn't another more than a wooden box in the ground with a hole on the top. It was in its own separate room so that anyone wanting to do their business did have some privacy.
Almost as soon as the two were in the restroom together Jessica's face turned even more angry and that wasn't just because she felt cramped in the tiny restroom. She stood above him like an opposing figure and although she couldn't stand up to her full height in here it was obvious to Tucker that she wanted him to know that she wasn't happy with him. All he could do was stand there and look up at her.
"Just what in the name of the Gods do you think you're doing?" asked Jessica with a sharpness of rage in her voice. "You're actually going to have a wager that might end up with me being raped?"
"You won't get raped, you'd grow to your full size before he could even lay a hand on you," replied Tucker. He tried to make it seem that the situation wasn't as bad as it actually was. But it seemed to be falling onto deaf ears.
"That's beside the point!" Her voice was a little louder and Tucker noticed her grow an extra couple of inches. "You don't do this to any woman, especially me, I'm supposed to be your best friend and you're using me as if I was a thing. I thought that you were different Tucker Martel but you're just like all the others who see me as a freak."
"It's alright Jessica I have a few aces up my sleeves." He tried to smile up at her in an attempt to calm the towering figure before him. "I would never wager anything like this if I didn't have some kind of plan. You know me by now, I would never do that could get you harmed. You're my best friend and as soon to be knight it is my duty to protect the women, children and the weak against those who wish to harm them. I just ask you if you can trust me on this one, that is all I ask."
Jessica stood there thinking for a few moments and although she was still angry at Tucker she admitted that he was right. He had never done anything to ever put her in harm's way and he most likely would not start now. She still didn't like the idea that he had done something like this without consulting her first.
"Ok but if you pull anything like this again I'm walking us straight back to Morgan and you'll spend the entire journey in my pocket," said Jessica with some anger still in her voice. She crossed her arms and she did shrink those extra couple of inches and was back down at an even eight foot.
"Ok Jessica that's fine. Now I believe I have a contest to win."
Several minutes later both Tucker and his opponent was sitting down at a table staring at each other. Almost everyone in the tavern was gathered around the table waiting to see the contest before them. They couldn't believe that anyone was brave enough to face such a legendary outlaw. The outlaw who Tucker was going to try and out-drink was a black hearted man simply known as The Wolf. He was legendary amongst these parts for his acts of both anger and lust. He took many women against their will and had his way with them. To him Jessica was going to be the next woman to join a very long list.
The bar maid brought over a couple of pints of ale inside wooden handled cups. Jessica was standing quite close to the table but she had to stand behind the crowd so that the others could see what was happening.
The Wolf had a confident smile on his face as he grabbed the handle of his first pint of ale. He brought the ale up to his crackled lips and drank it down in a few mighty gulps and almost like magic the ale was completely gone. Tucker didn't know that a man could drink a pint of ale that fast and he was beginning to have second thoughts about this whole thing. He couldn't back out now since it would mean that The Wolf would try and rape his best friend. He knew that Jessica had more than enough strength to fend him off but he didn't want it to have to go to that.
"You're turn!" stated The Wolf as he placed his empty pint cup on the table with a loud thud,
Tucker picked up his pint of ale and he could see that everyone around him was looking straight at him. He could see the concerned look on Jessica's face and the several missing teeth of the Wolf. He went to put the pint near his lips as if to drink it but with one sudden movement he threw the contents of the cup right in the face of the Wolf. There was a loud gasp from everyone in the Tavern and the Wolf was disorientated for the moment as the ale struck his face. Tucker instantly got up to his feet and struck the Wolf square in the face with the wooden pint cup sending the outlaw crashing down to the ground.
The who event had only happened over the space of a few seconds but the Wolf was knocked out cold and there was an awe of silence as the events began to sink in. Jessica was especially surprised with what had happened, this was a side of Tucker that she had never seen before and she didn't know whether to be glad that he had just knocked out the Wolf or to be ashamed of him. He had done all of this for her and for that she couldn't falter him and she did admit that the Wolf most likely what he had coming to him.
Almost as soon as everyone realised that the Wolf was unconscious they dragged him away as Tucker just stood there. His gamble had paid off because if the Wolf hadn't of been knocked unconscious the situation would have been a whole lot worse. Tucker knew from the start that he most likely wouldn't have been able to defeat the Wolf in a straight drinking contest. He knew that it wasn't really noble to strike an opponent down like this but he was still defending the woman that he cared about deeply. In his mind it made his actions just. At least he hoped that he had knocked some sense into the Wolf.
"Sorry about the mess," said Tucker as he turned his head towards the Bar Maid who was also in disbelief over what had just happened. "Put those ales on my tab would you if you'd be so kind." The Bar Maid nodded at Tucker causing him to smile a little. He then looked at Jessica who looked back at him. "I think its best we hit the sack now my dear I think we've had enough to drink for one night."
Over the next few minutes Jessica and Tucker returned to their room while the Wolf was taken outside of the Inn. He wasn't the most popular man in Lake Town so rather than taking him to the town healer he was left in the street by a well. He had not woken up since being struck by Tucker and from the looks of him it would seem that he would be out for a good few hours.
Inside their room Jessica still wasn't all that happy with Tucker. He was sitting on the bed taking off his boots while Jessica was pacing from one side of the room to the other. She had her arms crossed and was having to stoop because she was still too tall to stand up straight. She was keeping her emotions in check since if she lost her temper she would grow in size. She didn't want to burst out of the inn by accident. Tucker still felt confident with himself after taking the Wolf by surprise. He saw it as a step forward for himself and also it made him happy that he had put down someone as vile as the Wolf.
"What were you thinking Tucker?" asked Jessica with some frustration in her voice. "I can't believe that you would have done something like that."
"I told you that I had a plan and I executed it with perfection," replied Tucker as he took off his boots. "I've seen guys like him in Morgan who think that they can boss people around so I thought that I'd take him down a peg or two. I wasn't going to let him talk to you like that without giving him something to show the error of his ways."
"What if your little plan didn't work? All you would have done was make that ass angry. What would have happened then? I couldn't grow in such a small space and stop him from killing you."
"And what would make you think that he could have killed me? Don't forget it's not exactly like I'm unarmed."
"I know but let's face it you're not the most able handed swordsman in Angleland. What if he had been able to draw his sword?"
"I would have still been at an advantage. I would have been fresh with a good sword in my hand. He would have been drunk, have beer in his eyes and a strong blow struck at his face just moments before. Even then he would still have to have stood up and drawn his sword before he could have tried to kill me but by then I would have already drawn my sword and disarmed him. If he had still been conscious I would have made him apologise to you for what he had been saying, he talked to you as if you were some piece of meat and not an actual person. I won't let anyone talk to my best friend in that manner."
Jessica didn't know what to say. She thought that Tucker had just taken a gamble and hoped for the best. In truth he had thought almost everything through, she could see that the Wolf was beaten even before the contest had started. Although there were times when she thought that Tucker lacked common sense there were times like this that she realised that he had some intelligence. All she could do was sigh and sit on the bed right next to him, even sitting down she still towered above him and she looked down at him.
"I still don't want you to put yourself in danger like that," said Jessica as she allowed her frustration to subside. "I don't know what I would do if anything were to happen to you, you're my only friend."
"And you're my only friend, that is why I couldn't let him talk to you like that. I just wanted to do this for you, I can't count how many times you've gotten me out of trouble and I wanted to do it for you for once. I know it might be an inferiority complex but I just wanted you to know that I'm not just someone who constantly needs protecting, that I'm fully capable of looking after both you and myself. Almost as long as I remember I've always had you watching over me making sure I was safe and I gave you practically nothing back in return."
"But you did Tucker, you were the only kid not to treat me like I was a freak. You were the one who stood by me when everyone else went running. That is more than I could ever do for you, you made me feel normal."
She put her arms around him and embraced him in a hug. It was not the first time that they had hugged but this seemed to be one of the most meaning. It lasted for several moments as both Jessica and Tucker were lost in each other's world. For the moment nothing seemed to matter as they continued to hug. Both had left much behind to go on this quest and right now each other was all that they had.
It was not until just after dawn that the Wolf finally woke up after being struck down by Tucker. For the few moments that he was awake he had no idea where he was or what had happened. One thing that he was certain of was that he had a terrible pain in his cheek. As he began to try and rub over the pain he began to remember the events of the previous night. He remembered having a drinking contest with Tucker before he had ale thrown into his eyes and the pint cup smashed against his face. His confusion began to turn into rage as he pictured Tucker's face in his mind.
Slowly the Wolf got back up to his feet and saw that he was lying just outside the town cobbler. He still didn't know exactly how he got there but that was of little interest to him. All he wanted to do was to get his hands around the neck of the Tucker and to crush his windpipe before having his way with Jessica. That was going to be his prize and after he had finished having his way with her he planned on murdering her just to show that anyone who had a part in harming him would pay a terrible price. All he needed to do now was to go back to the inn and confront the man who was on the top of his hit list.
Inside the inn itself Tucker was unaware of the incoming danger. He was slowly waking up from a nice sleep and found that he couldn't move. Jessica's long and strong arms were wrapped around him and she was still asleep. He tried to move but she was too strong and if anything it only strengthened her grip. She rested her head right on top of his and it seemed that she had a smile on her face.
Jessica herself was dreaming and at first it seemed to be a happy one where she was just the same as everyone else. This was a dream that she had often but suddenly she saw the Wolf in there and he seemed to take Tucker completely by surprise. The villain drove his sword right into the belly of Tucker causing Jessica's poor friend to die instantly. Although it was only a dream to Jessica it seemed very real and when she saw Tucker die it caused her to jolt awake and it seemed to catch Tucker by surprise as well as her grip suddenly tightened around him. He was struggling to breathe and when she realised what she was doing she quickly released her grip and began to turn red.
"Tucker I'm so sorry," said Jessica trying to show that she was truly sorry for what had just happened.
"You don't need to apologise," replied Tucker trying to brush it off as if it were nothing. In truth he had been in a small amount of danger but he knew that Jessica had not meant to do it and that she would never intentionally harm him. "It'll take more than a hug from you to hurt someone like me."
"But still I'm sorry." She tried to give him an apologetic smile. "I guess I'm a hugger when I'm asleep."
"You're a hugger when you're awake as well." He slowly got out of the bed and began to stretch his body. He didn't want to admit that Jessica's hug had made him a little stiff and he needed to perform these stretches to get his body right again. "I'd rather have a woman like you hugging me in my sleep rather than a man stabbing me in the back any day of the week." He bent forwards and backwards doing his stretches. "And if all goes well today we should hopefully complete the first trial."
"I wonder what the trial is, if it is something to do with strength I don't think we'll have a problem there."
"Let's hope it comes to that." He finished off his stretches and took out the map that was amongst his personal effects. "I suspect that the first trial will probably be relatively easy but the others will be harder. It's a classic conception and who would want to spoil a classic?" He laughed for a moment as he placed the map on the bed very near to where Jessica was sitting. Most of her body was still under the covers but that seemed to matter little.
From the look of the map the first trial was just a couple of miles south of Lake Town and the pair could easily be there within minutes if Jessica travelled at her full height. Tucker pointed to where the trial was and there was a lot of confidence radiating in his body. Not just because they were on the verge of finding the first trial but also after the acts that he had done the night before he had more or less gotten a much needed boost.
"As you can see the trial is located right here," said Tucker pointing to the location on the map. "If you make yourself your normal size we could be there within minutes. If you still want to remain your present size it might take us a couple of hours but no more than that I believe."
"If it is all the same to you I'd rather remain like this while we're close to Lake Town," replied Jessica with some sadness in her voice. "I don't want to scare the folks of this town, I don't like scaring people."
"Ok that's fine it just means that we'll be walking for an extra couple of hours but it's a good way of getting exercise. Now before we leave I suggest we get some breakfast and maybe buy a couple of supplies before we leave."
"Sure I think I could eat an entire farm." Both of them laughed at what Jessica had just said not because she was joking but because it was very likely that she could eat an entire farm. The amount of food that she could eat at full size was legendary and it was even thought while she was going through a period of above average growth that even a full size whale wouldn't be able to satisfy her hunger.
Over the next hour Tucker and Jessica ate in the tavern, both had cooked breakfasts and although Tucker ate what seemed to be a normal breakfast Jessica ate one that was large enough to feed two fully grown men and even then she admitted that she had enough room for plenty more. She also drank a full litre of milk and stated that she needed the calcium to help her grow.
Tucker felt almost like a child with what he ate in comparison to his best friend but in truth he wouldn't have had it any other way. He was so used to having a giantess as a friend that it almost seemed odd not to have one. He just sat there and smiled as Jessica finished off the last of her breakfast and gulped down the last few sips of milk. To her it felt good having some nice hot foot in her belly and since it was someone else who cooked it besides her she enjoyed it that much more.
"Did you want me to order seconds for you?" asked Tucker as he looked up at the towering woman sitting opposite him.
"No thanks I think I could probably eat our entire budget away," replied Jessica as she wiped her mouth with a nearby tissue like paper. "Besides I have to watch my figure you know."
This caused both of them to laugh and it was almost like they were normal friends just having a run of the mill breakfast together. They didn't leave immediately after finishing their breakfasts, they allowed a little time for it to go before they decided to set off. Tucker was excited to face the first trial and he began to wonder what it was. He thought that whatever the trial was he and Jessica would be able to get past it with some ease. He thought that nothing would be able to stop them.
Before leaving the inn Tucker and Jessica made sure that they had all of their personal effects, they really didn't want to leave anything behind. However this was the least of their troubles. Trouble seemed to follow them almost as soon as they stepped out of the front door of the inn.
Tucker was the first to step out of the inn and he could see that it was a warm spring day. He was thinking that it was a nice day to continue on with the quest but his happiness began to turn into dread as he locked eyes with a man he had hoped to never see again. Standing about one hundred feet away from him was the Wolf who still had a bruise on his face from where Tucker struck him the night before. He was extremely angry with Tucker and as soon as he saw his prey he almost exploded with rage.
"HEY I'VE GOT A BONE TO PICK WITH YOU!" shouted the Wolf in a very loud and angry voice. He began to step towards Tucker and he took his sword out of its carrier. People nearby began to get out of the way and were in sheer terror of the Wolf. They were just glad that it was not them who would suffer his wrath. "NOBODY DOES A DIRTY TRICK LIKE THAT ON ME AND LIVES TO TELL THE TALE!" At this point Jessica had not yet exited the inn so it was only Tucker who was there. "YOU THINK THAT YOU'RE SO CLEVER PULLING THE WOOL OVER MY EYES LIKE THAT, WELL I'M GOING TO RIP YOUR EYES OUT WITH MY BARE HANDS!"
Tucker was somewhat frightened with the situation at hand but he had to admit to himself that it was he who had brought this about. He still was not going to back down and although Jessica was not yet there to back him up he was still going to engage in combat with the Wolf. It was a good way for him to truly test his skills against an actual opponent who actually wanted him dead. He drew out Juggernaut out and began the relatively short distance between the two. Tucker had already attached all of his armour on, it would protect him from strikes to many parts of his body and yet still gave him room to move.
"AS SOON AS I'M DONE WITH YOU I'M GOING TO FUCK THAT WHORE OF YOURS!" shouted the Wolf was only a few feet away from Tucker.
"I don't think she'd like that," replied Tucker with a small smile on his face. This was not because he was feeling confident. This was so that he could keep his opponent off-guard and possibly even make him angrier. He had learned that when an opponent got angry their strikes would become sloppy and easy to counter. "And after I'm done with you I'm stick my sword right up your arse."
This was all the Wolf needed to lunge towards Tucker and the wannabe knight was just about to raise his sword in time block the shot. The long sword that the Wolf was using required two hands and was very powerful. For now Tucker only had one sword but he could swing his much quicker than the Wolf could so that would give him an advantage in the fight. One thing he did wish that he had was a shield. At least then it would help him defend against the strong blows of the Wolf. Although he was able to block the first strike too many of those could break his wrist and then he would truly be in a world of trouble.
There were a crowd of people watching the fight between the unknown knight and fearsome outlaw. They didn't exactly know what to expect from this fight and they couldn't help but watch, just to see who would come out victorious.
Each time the Wolf tried to slash Tucker with his mighty sword the smaller and more nimble fighter was able to get out of the way. One other thing that Tucker was counting on was the Wolf getting tired. He had forged swords like the Wolf was using and knew just how heavy they were. Even the strongest and most athletic man would eventually get tired and Tucker was just waiting for fatigue to set in before he struck back.
Inside the inn Jessica was just dealing with a couple of errands before she would step out. She was just paying for the breakfast and filling out a little bit of paper work. Due her time as a giantess for the vast majority of her life she did have some difficulties reading and writing but she was still able to sign on a dotted line. She was unaware of what was happening outside while she went through these errands and she didn't pick up that anything was amiss until she could hear shouting outside. At first she thought that it was nothing serious but when she heard the shouting continuing she decided to investigate for herself. The scene that she saw shocked her.
By the time Jessica had actually stepped through the door she could see Tucker and the Wolf deep within a swordfight. So far neither man had successfully landed a strike, that was partially because Tucker had yet to even try to make a strike. She couldn't believe that Tucker would be in a fight like this and not wait for her to at least be by his side. Almost instantly she began to grow in height.
At first her growth seemed to go unnoticed by everyone watching but as her shadow began to loom over them the townspeople turned around and looked up at the growing woman in front of them. Many of them began to panic and run while the Wolf just stopped in his tracks and a wave of terror overtook his body. Tucker could also see the shadow developing over them, rather than being happy to see his friend he was actually upset. This had been his first chance to truly test his skills with a blade and by growing Jessica had ruined the fight for him. He wasn't sure whether he could have won the fight or not but it seemed that he was never going to find out.
It only took a few additional seconds for Jessica to reach her full height and she bent down and picked up both Tucker and the Wolf. The Wolf himself was terrified at this moment in time, never did he think that the woman that he wanted to have his way with could turn into a towering giantess like this. The look on her face was far from happy and he knew that he was most likely going to be subject of her wrath.
"Just what do you think you're doing?" asked Jessica with a very angry voice. She didn't care at this point what others might think of her. She wanted to get the point clear that she wasn't happy. "You're trying to kill my best friend and I won't let that happen, not while I'm still breathing. If I was a bad person like you I'd crush you right now in my hand, but you're lucky that I'm not. Instead I'm just going to put you on here." With that she placed the Wolf on top of the Inn. Unfortunately for him it didn't look like he had any clear way of getting down. "I guess this'll give you time to think about what you've done and if I hear that you're still up to these ways I will come back and believe me the next time I won't be so gentle. Do you understand?" This got a little nod out of the Wolf who was sitting on the roof, everything was happening so fast that he was dumbstruck. "Good now I hope you come out of all this a better person."
Jessica began to walk away and she felt glad that she had more or less saved Tucker again. Tucker himself was not too happy about her interrupting the fight. He wanted to have seen it to the end and maybe he might have gotten a scar out of it but it would still have been a trophy in his eyes. Something to show that he had been in a swordfight and had walked away from it with his head high. Having Jessica save him hurt him more than any scar and right now he was not very happy with his best friend.