It didn’t occur to Morgan until much later that possibly the two of them should have gone and decently finished off the pack-squirrels. He mildly regretted not doing so. Very, very mildly. After all, the little bastards had gone right for his… well.

At the time, the only thing that either man cared about what distancing themselves from any larger monsters that might be looking for easy protein. As the mage pointed out as they jogged down the abandoned highway, assuming there was a bigger monster around was the smart bet, these days. No sense taking chances.

When the two retreated about a mile or so, the mage stopped, slightly flushed. He was a bit older than Morgan, but seemed to be in decent shape. He leaned on his staff and said, “Thanks, friend. Name’s Ben.”

Morgan nodded back (shaking hands had gone out of fashion, a little, at least when it came to mages). “Morgan,” he said. “Happy to help out. You need an escort back to your camp?” It was also a bit out of fashion to just come out and ask So, you out here alone? These days, people got antsy about answering that sort of question, for some weird reason.

“Nope,” said Ben. “I’m out here alone.” At Morgan’s raised eyebrow, Ben smiled. “Yeah, so maybe that wasn’t the smartest idea. But what the hell, I’m alive, right?”