Jessica had been sound asleep in her small bed. She wasn't dreaming about anything in particular but she was suddenly awoken by the door to her room being opened loudly. Slowly she opened her eyes and she could see Brian standing there with what seemed to be a crossbow. What was somewhat surprising for her was the fact that the crossbow was scaled down to his size.
At first Jessica thought that she was in some kind of dream, she knew that it couldn't be morning yet unless the Brian and his wife started their work before dawn. It was possible but she felt that it was unlikely. When she fully realised that he was carrying a crossbow she thought that he intended to shoot her with it, it would be a big mistake on his part but before she acted she wanted to see what he did first.
"W-What is it?" asked Jessica as she was still half asleep. She was ready to grow at any moment but since she was a guest under his roof she would show some restraint. Besides she didn't particularly like hurting people.
"Come on get up," replied Brian. There was much annoyance in his voice but Jessica sense that it was not her that was the target of her anger.
"What's happening?" She slowly got back up to her feet but unfortunately she forgot how low the ceiling was and she felt a sharp impact on her head. She crouched down a little and rubbed her head. If she hadn't been fully awake before she was now.
"Some fucking thieves are trying to steal my livestock again!" His voice was angry but still quite quiet. Jessica assumed that it meant that Wanda was still asleep and he didn't want to disturb her. "You and I are going to find them and make sure none of my livestock. I ain't going to make ends meet if my cattle keep getting stolen. Now hurry before they escape." He was in no mood to wait. This had not been the first time that this had happened to him but he intended this to be the last.
Jessica followed Brian outside of the house and even though he was small in stature he could move quickly. It only took them a few moments before they were outside and in the darkness not much could be seen. Brian lifted his crossbow up in anticipation to fire it at one of the thieves. Jessica looked around and she couldn't see anything abnormal, everything looked to be calm and all she could hear were a few animal noises.
"Are you sure that there's anyone out here?" asked Jessica as she took a look around. She did have a much higher vantage point than Brian but he seemed more than certain that there was someone there.
"Yeah they're out here," replied Brian. "I can smell them." He took a few steps forwards and was constantly looking around. At that moment in time he couldn't see anyone out there but he knew the thieves were there. "If you see one of them show them no mercy." She wasn't sure if he was joking in that respect but from his tone of voice she could tell that he meant every word. "You go in that direction." He pointed towards an area where he wanted Jessica to look. "And I'll look in this direction." He pointed towards another area which was in the opposite direction to where he had originally pointed. "We'll meet back here in half an hour, got it?"
"Yeah sure." She was a little confused with everything that was happening but she saw this as her first stage of work towards repaying Brian and Wanda for their hospitality. "What do you want me to do if I find one?"
"I told you, no mercy."
With that Brian moved in the direction that he had pointed out. Jessica went the opposite way and she tried to search for the thieves. She still didn't believe that there was anyone else out there but she still did what she had been told. She didn't know whether Brian could actually smell people out there trying to steal his livestock or if he was paranoid. Either way it caused her some concern.
Jessica stayed deafly quiet so that she could try and hear if there were indeed any thieves. So far her search had completely turned up blank. Since it was so dark and she thought that Brian was a decent enough distance away from her she decided to increase her size. Rather than going to her maximum size she decided to only grow to around thirty feet which she felt would be more than enough.
At her height Jessica had a much greater vantage point but the darkness still considered to be an issue. She even contemplated going back to the house and getting some kind of source of light. It would allow her to see much better but it would also make her easier to see by any thieves that were out there.
Suddenly Jessica notices something move in the darkness. For the first few moments she thought that it was just some cattle but the figure seemed to be too small for that and the body type was all wrong. Slowly she made her way towards it and at first the figure didn't seem to notice her.
It was only when she was close enough did Jessica finally grab the figure with both hands and lift it up to her level. When she brought it closer to her she could see that she had caught a man and it wasn't Brian. He was of normal height although at Jessica's current size he was only just over a foot tall. He had been carrying something but when she had grabbed him it caused him to drop them.
"What are you doing here?" asked Jessica but this time she made sure her voice was intimidating. She didn't particularly like scaring people but it was certainly better than hurting them.
"You're a fucking monster!" shouted the man with much fear. He began to struggle but Jessica's grip on him was too tight. It was not tight enough to cause him any discomfort but rather just to make sure that he didn't fall.
"The only monster I see here is you." She never liked being called a monster but she didn't let her emotions cloud her. If she increased her aggression towards him she would become the monster that he stated. "Now tell me what you're doing here or else I might just get the dropsies."
"No you wouldn't."
"Believe me I have not had the best of days today. Do you really want to try me?" She thought that this would be enough to scare him into confessing. But before he could answer both of them could hear Brian approaching. He was asking Jessica if she had found someone and quickly she placed the man down and shrank to her smallest size. She still kept a hold of him so that he couldn't escape.
By then Brian had reached them and he still had his crossbow in his hand. He also seemed willing to fire it on a moment's notice. His expression quickly turned to anger when he saw that Jessica had caught the man. He lifted his crossbow up and pointed it right at him, he could see that the man had a terrified look on his face.
"What the fuck are you doing on my property?" asked Brian. From the tone of his voice Jessica could tell that he wasn't fooling around. "Tell me right now or this arrow is going straight into your black heart."
"The girl's a giant!" exclaimed the man. His words were somewhat distant and it seemed that he was in such a panicked state that he couldn't think clearly.
"Yes I am very tall," replied Jessica who didn't think it was wise at this moment in time to tell Brian about her true size. "But to tell you the truth I never noticed until you told me." She thought a little joke might calm him down.
"I'm not going to ask again!" shouted Brian who was on the verge of shooting the man. He was very skilled with the crossbow and even though it was dark it was unlikely that he would miss his target. "Tell me what you're doing here right now or else I'll be feeding your corpse to the pigs."
"I-I..." Before he could say another word he fainted and Jessica had to act quickly to catch him before he fell onto the ground. His reaction had been a surprise for Brian but not so much for Jessica. It wasn't the first time that someone had fainted because of her size and she doubted that it was the last.
"For fuck sake." Brian was there annoyed by what was happening. Now he couldn't get any answers from the man for a while. He looked at Jessica who was still holding onto him, she looked down at him and she could see just how unhappy he was. "This isn't over, Jessica take him back to the farmhouse and when he wakes up make sure you get answers out of him. I think that there are still more thieves out here. I'm not coming back until I'm sure that they're gone."
"Y-yeah sure," replied Jessica. She wanted to be the one who searched for the thieves but she felt that Brian was capable of looking after himself. She just did as she was told and picked up the man and put him over her shoulder. Brian was impressed with how easy she made it look.
"Make sure Wanda is safe. If she's harmed one of these arrows will be going into your heart."
Jessica didn't like to be threatened but she could see that Brian loved Wanda more than he cared about his own wellbeing. She just nodded to him and made her way back to the farmhouse. She could still make it out even in the darkness and quickly she walked towards it. She was on the lookout for any more thieves but she couldn't see anything that grabbed her attention.
When Jessica did return to the house she made sure to take care with the low ceiling while inside. She placed the man down on a chair and quickly she made her way to the master bedroom where she that Wanda was still asleep. The heavily pregnant woman was sound asleep and Jessica doubted that anything could wake her. She also had to move around quietly just in case she woke her up. She didn't think that Brian would be too impressed if she did that.
After she ensured that Wanda was fine she made her way back to the man who was still unconscious in the chair. She just sat on the floor and watched and waited for him to wake up. She realised that she might be there for some time but she did feel guilty about letting it happen.
Now that she was seeing the man in the light she thought that he looked a little like Sir Tucker. Of course he was someone completely different but there were a few traits that both men shared. It did make her wonder what Sir Tucker was doing, she thought he was alright but she had no idea that right now that he was fighting for his life. If she had known that he was in trouble she might have dropped everything and rushed to his aid.
After several minutes Jessica heard someone come in through the door and she looked over to it. She was ready to react if it were an intruder but much to her relief it was Brian and his crossbow was still loaded. This told her that he hadn't used it and to her this was a small relief.
"Did you find anyone else?" asked Jessica. She decided to remain seated so that she didn't seem so tall and also because of the low ceiling.
"No, the fuckers must have run off before I could find them." He placed his crossbow to one side. "Is Wanda alright?"
"Yeah she's sleeping like a log." She then looked over to the man who was still out. "But our guest here hasn't woken up yet."
"He's no guest, he's vermin." He stepped towards where the man was sitting and began to slap him across the face. "Wake up!"
The slaps seemed to do the trick as the man began to come around. Slowly his eyes began to open and the sight that befell him only furthered his terror. Not only seeing Jessica sitting down near him was terrifying enough but he could also see Brian with his crossbow pointed at him. He wanted to escape but there was no way that he could have gotten passed both of them. Jessica did give him a pleasant smile to try and calm him down but this seemed to be futile.
"W-where the fuck am I?" asked the man who seemed to be on the verge of wetting himself in fear.
"You're in the house of a particularly angry man with a crossbow pointed right at your heart," replied Brian who at this pointed seemed to have an itchy trigger finger. "Now start talking before I make you bleed out. What the fuck are you doing on my property?" He saw the man look at the crossbow and he was still terrified. "It's not the crossbow you should be worried about, it's me now start talking."
"Ok, ok I'll talk. I just wanted some money to get by, I was told that I could sell your cattle off for a decent profit. I even already had a buyer, please I'm just a man doing what he needs to survive, don't kill me."
"Well that all depends on how this conversation goes and if you don't think that I can use this you'd be greatly mistaken. I might be short but it doesn't mean I can't aim, I could hit you in your left testicle from a hundred metres without even having to look twice." He was angry but he could see that this thief was nothing more than a middle man, to stop the problem he would have to take out the source. "You said that you already had a buyer, who is this buyer?"
"Please just let me go, I promise I'll never bother you again."
"Tell me!" He was close to pulling the trigger and Jessica could see that the situation was getting out of hand. She had sat back and allowed things to flow but she felt that if she did nothing someone would get seriously hurt. She could see that the man was absolutely terrified and Brian was seeing red.
"Now wait a second," said Jessica. She held her hand out towards Brian but she didn't touch him. "We don't want to do anything we might regret."
"Stay out of this Jenny," replied Brian. He looked sharply towards her and she had noticed that he hadn't called her by the right name. She was allowing this to slide just so that things didn't get even worse. "When one man steals another man's property he has the right to exact justice in whatever way he sees fit."
"That's not a law that I've ever heard but the fact of the matter is that you're letting your rage blind you. Let me talk to him and I'll try and pry the information out of him, you don't need to worry about that."
"How do I know that you're not working together? You just show up on my doorstep and after a few hours you think that you know me? I know hardly anything about you, you could be a thief just like him."
"I am not a thief." She felt insulted with this accusation but she didn't lash out. Instead she began to use her head rather than strength to get around the situation. "You can stay here and see what happens but all I ask of you is to let me talk to him for a few minutes and if I do anything that makes you think I'm in league with him I'll let you put an arrow into my own heart."
There was a few moments of silence as Brian began to think. Jessica was stern in her words but she began to think that they had fallen on deaf ears. She thought that things might turn out badly but much to her relief she saw Brian lower his crossbow but the rage still seemed to be there.
"You have two minutes and not a second longer," said Brian who didn't seem overally happy with what was going on. "After that this son of a bitch is mine to do so as I please, got it?"
"Yeah I got it." She turned to look at the man who was still sitting down on the chair. He was probably more terrified than he had ever been in his life. "I know that we got on the wrong foot but if you just answer these questions I promise that things will get better. Can you do that for me?"
"Y-yeah." He had been able to mutter these words but hardly anything else although he did admit that right now Jessica was much more comforting than Brian. The vertically challenged man seemed to be much angrier and violent than the tall woman although he had seen her grow to an even larger size.
"Ok first can you tell me your name?" Her voice was as comforting as possible as she wanted to make him feel safe.
"Jimmy." Again he would have probably said more but the terror that he was feeling prevented him from doing so.
"Ok Jimmy my name is Jessica. See both our names begin with a J." She thought that making herself seem more familiar to him might just make him feel a little better. "Now would you be so kind to tell me why I caught you on my friend's property. I promise I won't get angry."
"Please I just want to go home."
"And so do I but you have committed a crime tonight and I want to know why. You have nothing to fear from me or my friend." She knew that she couldn't speak for Brian but she just hoped that it would be enough.
"I'm sorry, I was desperate."
"Why are you so desperate?"
"Taxes have been too high, I've almost lost everything. Everything I took was so that I could make ends meet. Otherwise I would be damning myself and my family. Please I have a son and daughter, don't kill me."
"I promise we won't harm you. You don't have to resort to stealing to get by, there are many decent ways to make money. Believe me I know that it can be hard sometimes but if you begin to become foolish you might do something that you would later regret." She began to see that what she was saying mirrored what had happened between her and Sir Tucker. She didn't dwell on it that much at this point in time as she knew that there were more pressing matters.
"I don't care if he regrets it or not," interrupted Brian who was still eager for retribution for what had happened. "The fact of the matter is that he stole from me and it is within my right to defend my property."
"And that doesn't involve murder." She looked at him and she thought that she was speaking out of turn. She was a guest under his roof but she knew that if she allowed Brian to have his way Jimmy wouldn't be leaving alive. "Killing him isn't going to make the situation any better, if anything it will be you who comes out worse."
"Then what do you suggest I do you overgrown bitch." It was obvious that he was becoming more irate and Jessica didn't react to the insult. She could still grow to her maximum size and destroy everything that he cared about except it was something that wasn't in her nature. She would expect such behaviour from Gwen but not from herself. "Let him go and forgive him for his crimes."
"Ideally yes but I know that wouldn't be the case. I suggest that you do what you have done for me this night. You allowed me to stay under your roof in exchange for some work tomorrow. I suggest you do the same to him, there is no doubt that this man wronged you but if you're willing, allow him to work of the debt that he owes to you. Then his crime will be paid and you will have some extra hands on your farm. It is certainly a more reasonable punishment then having a crossbow bolt in his chest."
There was a few moments of silence as Brian began to think about the options before him. Jessica was more nervous than she wanted to admit and it was taking her much of her willpower not to begin growing. She would sometimes grow when she was nervous but she knew what would happen if she did grow. She just waited and much to her relief she saw him lower his crossbow and she gave a sigh of relief.
"Ok you've convinced me," said Brian. He looked over to Jimmy who was still in his seat. "You will be back here tomorrow morning to work off the debt that you have for me." His voice was still stern and made him seem more like a figure of authority rather than just a simple farmer trying to live a normal life.
"Yeah sure, whatever you want," replied Jimmy who saw that he was actually going to be leaving with his life. It was a great relief for him but as he was soon to learn there would be more.
"But know this, if you run I will catch you, if you hide I will find you and if you fight me I will kill you. Got it?" He watched as Jimmy shook his head. "Good and you should be thanking her for saving your life." This made Jessica feel happy that she had saved someone else and this time she didn't have to use her size to do it.
The next thing Brian did was to escort Jimmy off of his property and although he was still tempted to kill him he refrained himself from doing so. He was a man of his word and I he went back on it he wouldn't view himself as that much of a man. He was tired however and just wanted to get back to bed. Slowly he returned to his house where he saw Jessica still sitting there waiting for him. Even sitting down on the ground she was still taller than him. He was used to people being taller than him but not like this, she was the tallest person that he had ever met.
"Thank you for doing that," said Jessica. She felt that sitting down was still her best option as it meant that Brian wouldn't have to look that far up her. She also liked to feel shorter from time to time.
"I didn't do that for you," replied Brian who barely looked at her. "I did that for myself, I do thank you for helping me catch him but as far as my thanks goes. You still have a debt to me for allowing you to stay and I expect you to work it off in the morning." His coldness was upsetting for Jessica but she didn't show much emotion towards it. "Now if it is all the same to you I would like to go back to bed. I suggest that you do the same yourself. You have a lot of work to do in the morning and I still hold you to your word of doing the work of ten men. If not we'll have to discuss our arrangement."
Without saying another word Brian moved away from her and back to the room which he shared with his still sleeping wife. Jessica just stood back up to her full height and craned her head so that she didn't hit the ceiling. She moved back towards the small room that Brian was allowing her to sleep in, it was still too small for her but she couldn't complain since it was either that or nothing.
When she finally got into the small bed she found that she was unable to sleep. Her adrenaline was still pumping after what had just happened but she was still thinking about Sir Tucker. She couldn't help but feel worried about him even though she was still somewhat angry with how they had split up. She could see sense in his logic but she still knew that she had done the right thing when it had come to the third trial.
One thing that Jessica did was that she kept the map safe. Once or twice she had contemplated destroying it but she knew that by doing so any chance of repairing her friendship with Sir Tucker would be ruined. They had just been passing thoughts and she had never given them serious consideration.
Jessica did wonder if Sir Tucker was alright out there by himself. She feared that something terrible would happen to him but for now she didn't know where he was. She had no idea of the danger he was actually in. All she could do right now was slowly drift to sleep and just hope that he would meet her in three days as they had planned. If not she would simply go looking for him, even if she had to travel from one side of Angleland to the other she would do it.
One thing that did disappoint her was the fact that she didn't have anything to hold onto when she slept. She had been used to Sir Tucker being in her arms but with him gone she couldn't help but feel lonely. She had always known that she had Sir Tucker by her side whenever she needed him but now there was an empty feeling inside. It just made her sleep more uncomfortably than she would have liked and she just hoped that things would be better in the morning.