When Chapter fifteen begins, Wil is waking up from a night of partying with the worst hangover of his life. Amberle is severely unamused.
Like a good friend, she’s kept track of his valuables—including the elfstones, has mixed up a quick hangover remedy, and even concocted an excuse to keep the inquisitive rovers away while Wil slept off his ridiculous amount of wine. As the obviously more logical and responsible of the two, she’s getting pretty annoyed with Wil not telling her his plans beforehand, especially when he goes and gets himself completely smashed in the middle of them. Unfortunately, it turns out that the reason he didn’t tell her his plan is because—wait for it—he didn’t actually have a plan!
Now, I’ll be fair. Wil did have a bunch of logical points backing up his actions. He just didn’t tell any of them to Amberle before, during, or immediately after they became necessary to know. So…he’s still a dick. Just a logical one.
Wil and Amberle are traveling with the rovers in an attempt to prove themselves and buy back Artaq in exchange for Wil’s services as a healer. So when the rover leader Cephelo decides to continue his course despite word of a “Devil” in their path, Wil and Amberle go along with it. Amberle’s pretty worried that it may be another demon, but Wil just sort of shrugs and carries on.
At the end of the day, Eretria goes to Wil and tells him that she’s been watching him.
She also says that Cephelo has no intention of giving them Artaq back, but that she’ll help Wil get the horse and escape if they take her with them. Cephelo has decided that it’s time to marry Eretria off, and she’s not super pleased with the idea. Escaping on her own would suck because nobody likes rovers so they’d all be mean to her, but if she traveled with Wil, she could ride his good graces and not have too bad of a life. And since he’s pretty easy to manipulate, her plan seems like a good one. Wil says no, but Eretria is convinced that he’ll have no choice but to accept, so she dazzles him with her beauty (no, really) and wanders off.
Chapter sixteen begins with dinner being interrupted by loud, heavy coughing. This is obviously the sign of a devil.
The rovers freak out and grab their weapons, but of course, there’s nothing there. So they go back to eating.
The coughing comes again. Again, they panic and grab their weapons. Again, there’s nothing to be seen. They go back to eating and start playing some music to distract themselves.
The coughing comes a third time, and before they can get to their weapons, a demon wanders into their fire pit. It’s super tall, with saggy gray skin, scales, and tusks, and it just sort of…shambles. Amberle wants to get the hell out of Dodge, but Wil thinks that this demon is too slow and stupid to actually be chasing them, and doesn’t want to leave the rovers to die. So instead of grabbing Artaq and riding away from the people who stole their horse, extorted them, and spied on them, Wil grabs the Elfstones and makes a suicidal charge towards the demon.
Being the quintessential white male hero, Wil breaks down the barrier within himself and channels the power of the Elfstones to totally immolate the demon.
*whew* I was almost a little bit nervous there!
The rovers are suspicious, now. Who is this weird kid who can blow up demons? Cephelo accuses Wil of being a sorcerer; Wil makes a quick segue into threats of death and immollation, they glare at each other for a bit, and then Cephelo gives them their horse back and tells them to leave.
It seems he’s come to the conclusion that it’s unwise to mess with weird hero kids who can blow up demons. Wil does feel a little bad for leaving Eretria behind (she did save his life, and she’s just so gosh-darned pretty!), but Eretria tells him they’ll meet again, and he decides to focus on his goals instead of the pretty girl.
And that’s it! Check back next week to see what Wil and Amberle get up to once they leave the rovers.