I opened my eyes, only to see an unfamiliar ceiling above me. It was dark outside; the night must have been descended already…
Where am I?
I stifled a groan, not wanting to move any part of my aching body.
“How long was I out?” I mumbled and then saw Sera sleeping nearby.
I looked around. The room we were in was actually shack. This might be the gardener’s cabin if I recall correctly. We had made it but didn’t Sera say that she had asked to help. Where are all the TR guards? I mean, wasn’t Sera kind of important member of this family? Surely this hadn’t been an assassination attempt but an unlucky highwaymen ambush?
I was patched up and still felt a blade in my back. I reached over but found nothing, but a bandage. Sera must be tending my wounds. What a good girl she is. Well it was fully healed thanks to my regeneration. I could feel the rejuvenating magic, and my wounds were regenerating quickly. But I still feel sore… Sure, I was healed but I’m still exhausted after fighting Emilia last night.
Sera was laying on her side in a nearby couch. The bed wasn’t large enough to fit both of us. I could see her string from here. Intended? Maybe. Before attack, she had behaved rather keen to have sex with me. I wonder why she so obsessed to give me her virginity.
Looking at Sera and remembering her skills in magic, made me remember my own skills. Should’ve cast some spells. I always forget I can do that. Funny how tight situations like a fight of life and death can make you forget stuff. Naturally, I can reflect my experiences to my past, and remember the combat quite vividly. If you live enough to remember stuff that is. Yeah, surviving comes first but learning from your mistakes makes you a better fighter.
Sitting up and looking at how the moon peeked around the cloud. The night was early, and if the help wasn’t going to come, we should get a move on. Something wasn’t right, I could feel it, and I should follow my gut.
“Sera…” I whispered as my location was still uncertain.
Sera, however, snapped awake at an instant. She must’ve just been resting her eyes.
“Kousuke, you’re okay!” Sera exclaimed happily.
“Yeah, I’m okay.” I said as I peeked through the window there is no guard at all. “I guess the other…”
“The others didn’t make it…”
“I see… How about you? Looking good?” I smiled and nodded towards of her ass.
“Oh!” Sera stood up but smiled seductively.
“You should still wait for a moment. Here” Sera walked up to me and helped me sit down on the bed.
Sera caressed my wounds. “You know, scars are sexy.”
“Yeah, I guess… I’ve a collection. Probably, you saw them. What does it make me then?” I smirked “A beast?”
Sera bit her lip as she scanned my muscular body head to toe. “Umm. I prefer term, savage.”
We laughed which lightened the lingering mysterious atmosphere. It’s been a while since I flirted with girl.
“Where are we?”
“We should be about a few hours away from Mansion. I wonder… Hmh.” Sera sat next to me. “I carried you here…”
“What? You carried me?” I interrupted “How?”
Sera carried me here? Please don’t tell this girl actually strong as Gorilla.
“With the magic of course,” Sera said smiling and tapped her satchel that for some reason seemed like a purse in a moonlight.
The reflecting moonlight complimented her blue eyes and pale white skin that made her look like a ghost. Sera had always looked happy before, but now, she had this certain melancholy in her eyes. She… She was…
“Beautiful.” I said, but then I realized, and continued “Moon.”
“Mmmh.” Sera looked outside the window leaning behind. “Have you ever thought how much moon gets to see?”
Sera was leaning behind with straight hands, her plentiful breasts pointing towards the only window, the only source of light in the whole cabin.
“During the night, all the shameful happens,” Sera said, and we both slid a little bit closer to each other.
Then I snapped back to reality:
“You fine?” I asked hesitantly.
“Yeah. Just scrapes.” Sera said but didn’t seem to understand my intentions as her voice was still super seductive.
Ah, screw it. Just don’t get too much into it, my brain practically yelled, putting far too much emphasis on it. Sera took my hand and lowered it to her breast.
“Pretty straight forward, eh?” I said as I pulled my hand off.
“How much game can you handle?” Sera leaned further back until she was up only by her elbow.
‘Quiet’ I signaled her with my finger, Sera froze – she had understood the gesture. I peeked through the window again and saw shadows lurking around the woods.
“They found us,” I whispered.
Sera nodded, and both of us got on the floor. I crawled to my armor that was laying on open drawer, and chair. I stared at the gap on my back. Fuck, that blade had been spellbound as it penetrated full way through.
“We don’t know their motives, but I am sure they’re not just plain highwaymen.” I put on my chest plate and helmet.
“Then we should try to get back to Mansion…”
“Or long enough to unjam the device.” I ripped off my broken visor and threw it out. “Come.”
I reloaded my rifle and pistol. I still had one more grenade and an extra clip for the pistol. The sheath of my sword was broken, and thus, I had to tuck the blade under my belt.
We snuck to out and saw a bunch of corpses lying in a pile at the edge of the forest. They were most definitely just innocent bystanders that passed this place or who lived near this hut. The bodies were mangled like after a bear attack.
“How cruel…” Sera stated horrified from the sight.
I shrugged. I see this girl does have conscience. Sure, she might bitch when we first met but she does have heart.
Now back to the assassins. I don’t know what their motive is but one thing was sure.
Their Sera didn’t know any assassination attempts. Maybe Erich had kept some secrets from her. He sure seemed too nice to be as pure as a dove.
I could tell the attackers were close. We hid on the porch, and I grasped my sword. They were still searching for us, instead of attacking. I guess the attackers had only had a hunch where we were.
“I can take them,” I said so clearly, she could read my lips.
Sera nodded, I tried to rose up, but the act had been too much for my recovering body, I collapsed with a clunk.
“Fuck!” I hissed.
Had the blade that stabbed me been casted with paralyze poison or something? Well, isn’t that nice one.
The murmurs stopped, and then came to closer. Sera acted quickly she mumbled and incantation, and we were covered in hazy cloud – that I could only interpret as some sort of invisibility spell. Sera was concentrating cast her spell.
Two attackers, holding an ornamented axis came to look at the porch. They even glanced inside the hut and gave each other silent hand gestures of which I could read. They thought we were still around and might be hiding on the roof or cellar.
Men left, and as they had diverted to a distance from us, Sera whispered to my ear “If it comes down to life and death. Please. Leave me behind.”
Since when you become a heroine? I shook my head with a quick flick.
“I will not leave you. I feel better already.”
“No…” Sera started as her concentration seemed to slip every time she spoke.
I mumbled an incantation and cast my agility spell. The green spell ran through my veins, and I felt stronger and faster.As long I can move, those fuckers shall pay for what they’ve done to me and Sera. I care a shit about her family though.
Stand up; I take a look where the men were. Shouldn’t they know that I had a ranged weapon?
I turned to Sera as I took my rifle.
“If it came down to the worst-possible scenario, RUN.”
Sera opened her mouth, but I interrupted her “Nod is enough.”
She meekly nodded.
With a few shaky steps I made my distance from concentrating Sera, who had started to sweat. The spell was really intense, I mean, it was super powerful too… But seriously, are you going use that kind of spell just for bunch of assassins? Talk about wasting mana.
“I am off hunting,” I said and started to crawl quietly towards the edge of the forest.
I raised my rifle on top of the pile of corpses and used it as a rather gruesome gun stand. Through the scope, I could count five to ten men around patrolling around the hut. The moonlight cast a drawn-out shadow of men, so most of them would be easy targets.
I took a deep breath, and searched the man on the roof with my scope and then…
The shot echoed in the forest, and the bullet penetrated his head. I could see it a gory puff against the moonlight. Right away the rest of the gang was alerted and started to run into the woods.
As the roof man’s corpse fell to the ground with an earth-shaking thump, I took another aim and picked up two more.
*BANG BANG *
Six. Six was the number of opponents remaining. Sera had lowered her head, and I felt the spell dissolving over me. I took this to my advantage to make a run for it and change my positioning. Soon enough, I saw an arrow to pierce my spot – too predictable, assassins. Too predictable.
Indeed, it felt that the invisibility spell lifted every time I moved, and as I stopped among the woods, the spell engulfed me once more – slowly and surely. I believe the spell will completely lost its effect if I move around too much.
I scanned the field like a hunter for his prey – nothing. I glanced the arrows that had stuck into the corpses what I can determine from shooting angle they came from the southwest. Arrows are convenient that way. Determining angle from a bullet would be whole another story.
Scoping in my rifle, I saw the slightest movement on top of a rock. It was a person, even though I wasn’t sure. The scope was not alike in a sniper rifle, but considering the distance, it was enough. He was hunkered down, somewhat which made me sure; animals aren’t that flexible. If it was rock formation of some sort, I would notice right away, and so would they. Ah, fuck it.
*BANG BANG BANG *
Sharp, a three-round burst of bullet peppered the shadowy figure, and I had been correct. It had been a man. At least one of the archer bastards was vanquished.
“Five.” I kept track silently.
I had to keep constantly moving, despite my invisibility. These attackers were different. They were much more accurate, much more intelligent than ruffians we faced earlier. An elite force – must be. That’s the only logical option.
Along the tree line, two to three persons approached me. They were using trees as cover, and I didn’t have a clean shot.
They obviously had melee weapons; I can take them. Yeah maybe they could cast but to shoot me from afar, they’d have to sacrifice one or two of their own. A risk worth taking. I had six more bullets in my rifle, but I guess I could use my pistol.
I exchanged my guns quickly, readied my pistol and shoot four rounds.
“Urgh!” A shadow fell as the bullet penetrated his knee.
Shit. The darkness was concealing the fuckers too well. The two others took up running – at least one of them was neutralized for a moment…
On the distance, I could hear an incantation. Then I saw a bright glimmering light homing to me. I dodged behind the tree, but the spell didn’t cause any damage.
I was dumbfounded for a rough second until I realized it had been a tracking spell – conjured just to reveal my location. I readied my pistol and shot the remaining ammo in the clip.
“Lef…” Other of the attackers managed to blurt out until the pistol shot penetrated his eye.
The other, let’s call him a bandit A, swung his sword at me, but I parried the attack effortlessly even if changed pulled my blade out mid-attack. I counterattacked and sliced his sword-hand open, but he responded with a left uppercut.
I dodged behind the tree. I had to leave my rifle laying on the ground – no time to pick it up.
Yeah, these are elites. I swung my sword, but then I could hear other steps running towards me from behind. My pistol was empty, but I managed to use it to clobber the bandit A as I turned to face the opponent, let’s just say Bandit B.
As I turned, I swung my blade giving B a strike to remember. I sliced his stomach open, easily. Sadly, the cut wasn’t deep enough. In both corners of my eye, I could see A and B thrusting. B was bleeding, holding his stomach to be staunch the flow. I rolled backwards, grasping my rifle. In the kneeling position, I shoot, but the barrel was jammed from the soil.
“Fuck!” I cursed and threw the rifle away.
I brandished the sword, but A and B were circling around me. I had to block attacks from two different directions. Yeah, these fuckers were elites all right. Their approach even this fencing match was way too coordinated.
I could barely keep up, as I was still exhausted. The agility boosts basically had just made able to perform in my normalized level instead of giving me an actual boost to my abilities. A and B yelled something and thrust forward, but then…
“Whoa!” I fell, as I tripped to the root.
That was unexpected for every party involved. As I made contact to the ground, I was blasted with a warm splatter of blood. I looked up and saw both bandits gurgling blood their swords extended. The trusts had missed me, naturally, but landed on to the throats of both bandits.
Talk about a blessing in a disguise.
A and B were standing only a moment as their black lifeblood dripped in the moonlight. Bandits fell still grasping their blades with a death grip. Friendly fire? Unlucky? Nah. Would you believe me if I’d say it was calculated?
“Ugh, what a mess.” I picked up my rifle and looked around the ground that was covered in dark blood.
Only one bandit was remaining… Well, two since I have to finish the injured and…
Suddenly, I could feel lighter and realized that Sera’s spell has lifted. What? Did I step over a radius of the spell… but then I heard a chilling scream from the cabin – Sera! Everything happened at an instant.
I took up running, but before I got there, I saw porch flash in a purple light. Sera was sitting there, both hands extended, but the attacker was nowhere to be seen. Only bloodied scraps here and there… Ugh, nasty.
“Wow…” I said out loud.
She indeed knew how to make guys explode. Heh. Pun intended.
“You okay?” I said grasping my rifle.
She nodded then pointing behind me. I saw the injured man who lost his lower half crawling away, I took my sword and flung it across the field.
“Rargh!” The man screamed as dying from the blow.
“That should be the all of them…” I said cleaning the dirt from the pipe of my rifle. I packed my weapons and began shamelessly looting the bandits.
I could hear Sera behind me “Umm…” She started.
“Nothing of value…” I mumbled as I picked the pockets of A and B.
“You think we’re not paying you enough?” Sera asked.
“What makes you think that?” I raised my brow.
“Nothing. Nothing, just wondering why anybody would bother to get his hands dirty with the dead men” Sera smiled.
“Actually Information is more valuable than money right now,” I said as I keep looting. “One of them could some letter or something”
“Fair point, but you know you can buy information too?”
“But can you trust it unless you see it with your own eyes” I flapped a letter in front of her.
Yup, I actually found one. I opened the letter, but it didn’t have any value.
“Okay, well let’s assume that these men were here to get me. Or you, whatever, do you really think they’d keep a contract in their pockets during the mission?”
I didn’t bother to answer as I went through the corpses one by one. After all, it was her loss if she wouldn’t believe me.
“Or an ID who they were? Or wait… A diary for their secret plans!” Sera got excited about mocking me.
I sighed as I keep searching.
“Dear diary, today me and the boys will be going to assassinate Sera Taebutopia Rey. We are hired by person X and take the river upstream to ambush them…’” Sera said with this stupid reading voice.
“Sera, enough. I got the joke. It just wasn’t funny.” I was getting bored with her childish attempts to tease me.
Sera laughed out loud, as I took a few valuables from the pursuers. Nothing special; small bags of coin, a curious looking orb, and throwing knives… Most of the junk was useless. The men didn’t carry anything that would actually reveal their origins. I was sure that they weren’t just assassins though.
“Well, do you have a problem with this?”
“No, no; by all means. It’s just funny to see how our backstories stay with us no matter how the situations evolve…” She smiled.
She was right, you know. I was a man; proud of his roots, where I came from, and how I grew out to be. Her tone was less mocking, and I knew the events that happened this day must’ve brought us a lot closer. Hell, who I am kidding? I think nothing would change her feelings about me now. I should test my theory though…
Sera was walking around relaxed, admiring the moon as I was hunched above a corpse.
“Hey, I think I could put this on your tab…” I smiled.
“Not the first thing you owe me, am I right?” I was teasing her.
Sera blushed and shrugged smiling innocently. “Sounds crazy, eh? I mean it feels like we’re at least friends by now…”
By looking at her expression, it was clear that she was into me. More than just ‘giving me her virginity’ way. She was actually falling for me.
Well, we have a long time to get to know each other, right?” Sera said and sat next to me and hugged my arm. I responded with a nod.
I saw her as a friend that had at least previously made it easier for me to stay faithful to my beloved Evelyn. I glanced at the beautiful, warm pure figure of Sera, and felt my heart pounding – from confusion.
No. I couldn’t. I would just hurt both of them both and for what? For selfishness? Or vigorous animal urges? Aren’t you a larger man than that, Kyou? Don’t give me that ‘but I don’t give a fuck about this world and its people’ since you obviously do. Now, anyways.
Sera just sat next to me in the moonlight without saying anything. I was afraid that she’d confess something I’d have to reject. Luckily, she was too immersed in this beautiful, dangerously romantic night. She closed her eyes, and so did I as the warm night breeze swept through us. We just sat there, among the corpses, without no worry at all. It was fine. It was good. I didn’t want the moment to end, despite the carnage that had taken place here since inevitability of the moment made me think just one thing; I didn’t want to break a girl’s pure heart.
We trudged through the forest all night, and I could finally feel my strength returning, even if I still hadn’t slept. We had talked about nice things, bonded. The whole yesterday seemed like just a one surreal, long date night. So, weird… Luckily, everything had gone smoothly – no hearts broken.
“Finally,” Sera exclaimed, and I saw the TR mansion standing from behind the horizon.
We were approaching it from the western side… Our CMs didn’t work, at least mine didn’t, only until we entered the outskirts of the garden, I could hear it beep.
“Bad reception, huh?” I tapped the small screen of CM.
“Someone must’ve sabotaged them… We should inform, my brother.” Sera answered and tightened her pace.
“Right.” I assumed she was talking about Erich rather than Leonardo.
And I guess even an item that using magic can be sabotaged.
As we entered the villa’s courtyard, I saw dozens of knights running towards us. For the first time, I wasn’t alerted TR symbols approaching me – I was a hero.
“Lady Sera!” Leroy yelled as he was the first one here. “I am glad that you’re safe! We had arranged a search party, right away when we had gathered the bodies of fellow guards.”
“What about the attackers? Did you find out something about attackers?” I intervened, the information might prove useful.
“No. We could only see the blood and odd severed body parts, but no bodies,” Leroy said, “And we came as fast we received the distress signal from sir Richter.”
“Okay, well, that’s good one of the signals came through,” I said almost mockingly. “No bodies, though? I swear I must’ve shot dozens…” I talked to myself, but the words faded out into the nether.
So, in the end, those ruffians would’ve contained some information about the attack or at least clue for motifs. Of course! Why would somebody collect their corpses otherwise?
“The identity of attackers is not important. What is important is the safety of lady Sera. Please, follow me, milady.” Leroy suggested.
Not important? The fuck is wrong with this guy? If you don’t think that’s not important then you must be an idiot!! You should investigate this matter seriously!
“You too, Sir Oda. Lord Erich wants to thank you personally.” Leroy nodded.
We entered Erich’s office, and soon as he noticed us, he stood up to his sister.
“You’re safe!!” Erich said happily as he hugged Sera. Sera hug him back.
“We went to a gardener’s hut, but we were followed. Luckily, I had my trusty bodyguard who dispatched the pursuers with ease.” Sera stated.
Erich turned to face me, scanned me for a while, and then a large smile bounced on his face. He grabbed my hand and shook it.
“Thank you very much for saving my sister…” Erich started.
“Twice,” Sera said proudly.
“Twice,” Erich repeated and then continued. “State your reward. You have saved one of the owners of the estate. Name anything at all!”
What a reward? Evelyn, of course! I want Evelyn that’s for sure? Is she available from ‘anything category’? Could I ask for… No. It would blow my cover along with many other things such as how I knew she was here, who she was, why I would want that… Ugh. That would be just plain dumb.
“Sir-Oda, please. State your reward.” Erich repeated with a serious voice.
I was tempted though. Tempted but the right thing to do…
“I require no reward, sire. I was just doing my duty.” I answered like a soldier.
What I was feeling was true; what would I do with this world’s property? Nothing!
I saw Sera who just stood there frozen, staring me with wide eyes.
“Um, Wh..” Erich laughed; he couldn’t believe what he heard. “There must be something man of your calibre would want, right?”
“No. I don’t have anything in mind. You hired me as a personal bodyguard, didn’t you? Saving my protegee is my sole purpose, and thus, I don’t need a reward from something like that, sire.” I stood in attention.
Sera gasped. She was blushing greatly, and I think everyone in the room, Leroy and Erich noticed it. She even lowered her head after noticing Erich and Leroy staring at her.
“I understand.” Erich said, “But just as with the deeds of the devil, the deeds of good will not go unanswered and unpaid.”
Erich offered me his hand.
“I owe you a very big favor, even though you wouldn’t require that either.” He said as we shook hands. “I’ll send you a smith to take a look of your amor.”
“Most appreciated, sire,” I replied with bow.
Everything was rolling smoothly, ‘a big favor’, yeah, I can use that. Just better not to fuck it up. I wonder what I can do with a power like this. However, saving a friend is not something I would’ve
“Sera, may I talk to you privately.”
“Surely, big brother,” Sera said, still blushing.
Erich gestured Leroy and me to leave the room, and the last thing I remember seeing was tomato colored face of Sera.
On the way to my room I wondered about the attackers; were they after Sera… or me? Would these attackers be employed by Emilia? She was a princess of this kingdom and frankly, fully capable of executing these kinds of tasks. But nah, it’s totally out of her character. She wasn’t a type that would use assassins for this matter. If she really wanted to kill us then, she would come alone and finish the matter by herself.
Who is it then? Who hired the assassins?
Hmm…Wait a minute… I just noticed something wrong… there is difference between first group and second group.
The first groups are professional. The way they fight, the way they moved and how coordinate attack. They’re completely trained for this. And they are good hiding their presence. When they stalked us, I barely noticed their presence. And as for the second groups, they are complete amateur… Yeah, I can only said about them.
How about the intruder in the tournament? Were these persons related to that? I guess only time would tell. Hopefully sooner than later since every day. Every hour. Every second I spend here is one moment closer to Leonardo’s return.
I should come with plan before he returned.