It took Mel several seconds to get to her feet and discover that the man was awake and sitting upright. She stood in the doorway, pulling out a short sword from some hidden sheath. The blade was bent forward in the middle with the single-edge along the inside; a weapon Mel called a Kukri, though everyone else just called it broken.
"Keep back!" she yelled as she entered an offensive stance, her weight leaning forward.
The man in black was standing at the foot of the bed, his hand holding his head. His face was contorted in pain, giving the distinct impression of a man with a hangover. "What?" he asked, ambling forward.
Mel took a few steps back as the man approached. "Who are you?" she asked, keeping her blade in front of her as she backed away from the door. Soon the man was standing in the doorway instead, squinting in the sunlight. Jesz had fallen to the ground, still clutching her shirt to her chest and staring at him in dread. Next to her, sitting on the tree stump, Eaups had fallen asleep, his head hung in front of him.
"Who am I?" he asked, lowering his hand and looking over the three of them through half-closed eyes. "Who are you?"
Mel glanced over at her comrades briefly in confusion before looking back at him. "I- I asked you first!" she said. Jesz scrambled to her feet once more, her face still flushed in embarrassment.
"You did? Oh... well I'm... uh...." He looked up at them, a hint of worry in his expression. "I don't know."
Mel's voice had a sharp tone of suspicion to it. "I do not believe you. How do we know you are not just trying to dupe us into trusting you or letting you go? If the royal guards come looking for you, it would be best if we just…"
What had distracted Mel was the sight of Jesz walking right past her and up to the man in a huff, still holding her shirt up with one arm. Without a word, she pulled her free arm back and clocked him squarely in the face. The man didn't even try to evade it, but instead fell over as if she was a lumberjack and he was a mighty Scott's Pine. After the punch, she stood over him, red with anger. "How dare you oggle me when I'm vulnerable like that! I was saving myself!" Mel had to pull her away to stop the verbal and physical assault.
"QUIT IT" rang a voice from behind them, familiar yet foreign. With one accord, both Jesz and Mel turned around. Standing before them was Eaups, his eyes radiating a divine purple light and his hair suddenly long and wild. He looked over himself, inspecting his clothing and body. "UGH, what a terrible outfit. At least there's some purple in it. And this body, goodness. Ouch, or whatever his name is, should really start working out."
"Eaups?" Mel asked, wondering what was wrong with her friend. He'd never done THIS before.
"Yeah, that's the name." He sauntered closer to them in a suave, confident manner; it was very unlike Eaups. Although he had no pupils, they got the distinct impression that he was looking over the two of them carefully. "So you must be his companions. Interesting choice, but I think it'll work." He grinned and brushed a lock of his hair out of his face in a move that could launch a thousand swoons.
"Y-you are not Eaups," Mel stated. She was blushing but did not even realize it.
"Of course I'm not," not-Eaups said. "Didn't he tell you? He's my Avatar. I'm Murphy." He got blank stares from the two girls and a leg-twitch from the unconscious man. "THE Murhpy. God of fate, destiny, and all that jazz?" Blank stares. Murphy sighed. "Fine, I'll get right to the point." He straightened himself up and spoke in a distinctly divine voice.
"DO NOT HURT THIS MAN. HE HAS A GREAT DESTINY, AS DO YOU ALL. YOU MUST HELP HIM ACHIEVE HIS FATE OR ELSE THE WORLD WILL BE FORFEIT."
Murphy then winked at Jesz. "Nice outfit, by the way," he said, then summarily collapsed on the ground, a rag doll being dropped. Jesz looked down at her outfit only to find that she had dropped her shirt. In a panic, she screamed, collected her shirt, and ran back inside, pushing the man outside with the others as she slammed the door.