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[Ayuseya’s point of view]
While the others were out searching for Illsy in the dead of night, I remained at the inn, waiting for him in our room. To pass the time, I looked out the window and polished the sword he made for me.
I can’t help thinking about what Shanteya said… Last night, was that really Illsy or was it the Darkness he told me about? Did that thing take control over his body? Maybe it took him somewhere to build a dungeon or worse… I thought as I tried not to worry too much about this matter.
Illsy was an adult in more ways than one, so he should have been able to take care of himself without a problem. Either bandits or Supremes, I hardly doubted there was anyone in this city capable of taking him on. The only threat to him was the Darkness inside of him.
If what he said about it was true, then it was only a matter of time before he fell under its control or learned how to control it. What I couldn’t understand was why didn’t he do it earlier? Why was he lacking the motivation and desire to push back the only threat to his life with us?
I can’t help but wonder if maybe, for some reason or another, Illsy can’t accept his life with us… and this Darkness of his is actually a means for him to flee if things ever get too… complicated. I shook my head.
It was a very strange thought, completely unrealistic and improbable. Why would Illsy ever feel like he couldn’t accept his life? He was a dungeon after all… If it was a badly treated peasant, I could understand, but him? No… that couldn’t be it.
I stopped polishing and lowered my head.
Closing my eyes, I said “Sigh… Illsy where are you?”
[Shanteya’s point of view]
Not long after I left the inn, I felt the presence of five strangers following me. They were not assassins. If they were, their tracks would have been completely erased. Without giving away the fact that I knew they were on my tail, I continued my search for Master. These people could be connected to his disappearance and if that was so, then I had to be careful. Master was a Godlike Dungeon Lord with abilities far surpassing a Supreme. Capturing him or even injuring him wasn’t an easy feat for anyone under the Supreme Rank.
I took a right turn and headed towards one of the darker parts of this town. A battle was imminent, so at the very least, I had to choose a favorable battleground for myself. Unlike before, I was far stronger now, and I even knew a spell or two, but most of my skills were still at Master Rank or under it. I had yet to learn an Emperor Rank spell.
When it came to skills, out of all of us, Tamara was the weakest because she had none, then followed Ayuseya. When it came to brute strength and speed in combat, Ayuseya was far above me. It was probably due to the boost of power we each received from Master. As his slave, I couldn’t get just as much as his wives did.
Even so, I had nothing to fear even if I were to face a Godlike Rank adventurer, maybe even a Lower Supreme, but this was valid as long as they didn’t use any overwhelming skills.
“Stop!” a black hooded man jumped in front of me and raised his hand up.
I squinted my eyes at him and took out my dagger. This was going to end up as battle, so I made the first move. Side-stepping into the shadows, I rushed towards him with the intent of taking him down.
“Tch! Attack!” he ordered the moment he saw me vanish.
Appearing behind him, I stabbed him between the ribs and then kicked him off the floor.
“Leopol!” shouted one of them.
Just as I did in my former assassin days, I pulled back into the shadows and waited for another prey to show itself. My sudden attack surprised them, and they all formed a circle, back to back. The most typical and effective form of defense. In my younger years, I would have fled right now, but I wasn’t the same.
Pointing my hand at the group, I focused on my Magic Energy and then chanted in a whisper the incantation for the [Fireball] spell. When it was done, I let it rip. A ball of fire of one meter in diameter flew at them and exploded on that spot. They scattered in four directions to escape the blast.
The explosion destroyed the rooftop of the building and probably injured the inhabitants there, alarming everyone around, but this chaos suited me just fine. While one of them didn’t know what to do, I slipped behind him, and punched him in the face. His Magic Armor trembled, but it didn’t shatter, so I punched him again.
Before he had the chance to scream for help, I grabbed him by the throat and dragged him into a nearby alley.
Pressing the edge of my dagger to his neck, I looked into his eyes and asked him “Who are you people and why are you after me?”
“It was an order from the prince. I don’t know why! Please spare me!” he cried.
Out of mercy, I knocked him out with a blow to the back of his head.
“There she is! She took out Leroy!” I looked to my left and saw a furious man raising his sword up.
“Jenkins! Stop!” another shouted, but the fool didn’t listen.
He rushed at me screaming. I jumped back and ran away from him, but at the next intersection, I turned left and jumped through a window at the first floor. It was dark inside, but I could hear the owners talking behind the door about what was happening outside.
“Where is that shikak?!” shouted Jenkins.
As soon as he walked by, I jumped out of the window and quietly followed behind him. Before he got a chance to notice me, I stabbed my dagger between his armor plates and straight into his right lung. Master’s dagger ignored a part of one’s Magic Armor, making it a brilliant weapon for an assassin like myself.
“You… shikak…” he said before he fell to the ground, coughing and spitting blood.
The man fainted from the shock, but he was still alive, barely. I turned him to the side, so he didn’t drown in his own blood, then I fled from the scene of the crime. Technically speaking, the first man I attacked had just as many chances of surviving as this Jenkins fellow.
Looking at his armor, I realized that they weren’t your typical soldiers. They were knights or maybe even Royal Guards. Either way, I couldn’t understand why a royal was after our lives. Did I kill any of his relatives or friends in one of my past missions? No… that couldn’t be it. I mostly operated in the Paramanium Empire.
Then? Maybe it has something to do with Illsy? Did he do or say something to this prince while he was out? I wondered.
It was the most likely possibility unless Nanya or Ayuseya were to be blamed for this surprise attack. Either way, I had no intention of letting myself get captured. I had to flee from these attackers. Reuniting with Nanya, Ayuseya, and Tamara was my first priority right now. Something was happening, and I had to warn them right away.
“Listen up, you wretched el’doraw! I know you are out there! If you don’t surrender right now, your nekatar friend will need a new arm!” the voice thundered from the rooftops.
Nekatar friend? I thought and then my eyes grew big as I realized whom he was talking about. Tamara!
Clenching the hilt of my dagger, I sheathed it, and jumped up on the building. If he was lying, I was going to flee, but she was there, and he had backup. Eight other hooded men joined him.
“Listen, we want to take you alive, but if you force us, we won’t be held responsible for bringing you in without an arm or two. Do you understand?” the man who appeared to be their leader asked as he pointed a sword at Tamara.
Two of them were holding the nekatar, one pulling her arm, the other holding her still. She was unconscious, but still breathing.
“I understand.” I said and knelt down with my hands up.
“Good.” he smiled.
Two of his people walked up to me, grabbed my hands, and cuffed me.
Magic bounds that reduce your power by half… I thought as I felt my strength diminishing.
These things weren’t a problem for me. I could still flee from here and even kill a couple of them, but I was certain they would kill Tamara before I had the chance to save her. If I returned to Master without her, he would certainly be furious with me. After all, it was my job to protect the child while he was gone.
“I never expected you to be so strong. To kill two of my men like that, they were Godlikes too…” he shook his head.
“If you hurry, maybe you can still save them.” I said, hoping this would keep him from unleashing his anger on Tamara.
“I see. You four, go and search them! Right now!” he ordered to some of the men behind him.
Then he looked back at me. I shot him a glare, showing him that I wasn’t afraid of him.
“Take them to the dungeons. The prince will want to have a word with them.” he ordered.
“Yes, Sir!” the others replied and dragged me off in chains.
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