Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 7 – First Encounter: A wild rogue knight has appeared!
No more hesitation and dawdling. With all skills and items accounted for, there were no more reasons holding him back from truly experiencing this world. Yet, the first hurdle had reared its ugly head in the form of a directionless path. At a loss, Mordred rolled the dice and chose an arbitrary direction to move. He knew that it could’ve very well be the direction that was the furthest from civilization- if there were any- but with no point of reference it was all the same.
With the inheritance of his avatar’s specs it was likely he could go without sustenance for days, weeks or even months. Irina was also likely the same since her level was capped.
They rushed through the forest like lightning shadows. Mordred stared to notice odd alerts that panged at the back of his head. Like a submarine’s sonar, small blinks were brought to his attention. Lesser animals and weak monsters lurked at the background and he could feel their every movement. Some big, some small, but none of them could be considered a ‘real threat’. Since they were also weaker than the Red Dragon from prior there was no need to individually test them either.
Oddly, these creatures had instinctively understood the vast differences in power between Mordred and them. They made a very clear path. “Hmm,” he hummed. This phenomenon was also observable in the game as well. Unless they were programmed to be specifically hostile, lower levelled monster never attacked players whose level far exceeded their own. The same principle seemed to apply to this world, but different from the visible observations he could make through a monitor he could now ‘feel’ their direct presence and hostility. It was an intrinsic feeling, almost as though he had always had such an ability- no different from an arm or a leg. “Ah… so this is ‘Intuition, perfect,” he nodded. An ability of the Assassin skill-tree.
He continued to rush through the thicket of the forest. A strange sense of tranquillity overcame him. As the winds brushed through his face and the whooshing sounds of trees passing him, it was a calm that he could never have experienced in that bustling and busy former world. The best he could related was a distant memory of a short walk through the park he had gone with his parents long ago- ancient history. A forest littered with monsters that could tear off a person’s head, yet they were nothing more than flies to him now. A ‘leisurely’ stroll.
The sound of rustling trees, the smoothness of the winds, chirping of birds, their strides against the dirt floor- this couldn’t be any more meditative if they tried. Yet even this calm was put to an abrupt end. In the distance, he noticed the rise of black smog. Simultaneously this was a good and bad sign. Smoke indicated some level of intelligent civilization, but one with such large proportions meant that it was out of control. A signal of an incident.
He tilted his head back to Irina who had diligently and silently kept up with him despite speeds that rivalled a bullet train. “I’m going to run, so keep up.” Until now everything had been a ‘leisurely’ stroll after all.
“Understood, my master,” with no hesitations Irina nodded.
This was no ‘running’. For either of them, ‘speeding up’ was the act of weaving multiple speed type skills together to achieve an even greater mobility. Mordred whispered beneath his breath: ‘Silent Movement. Swift Movement. Dark Movement. Shadow Step. Chant of the Wind. Blink. Armour charge. Kinetic Jump. Acceleration. Teleportation.’
In a matter of seconds, they drew impossibly close to the origins of the smoke. “…?!” Mordred’s ‘intuition’ skill suddenly alerted him of several hostile life signatures en route to their position. There was no worry on his face however, and with no desire to bother himself with taking a ‘stance’ or position, he stood with a blank face awaiting his adversaries. This was technically his ‘first contact’, yet from the impressions of enmity it had already devolved into an altercation.
“You think they’re stronger than a Red Dragon?” Mordred posed a question to Irina before deciding how stupid that sounded. “Nevermind.”
Four heavily armoured knights stepped out before him. All armed with shiny swords and shields that were stained with blood. ‘Medieval knights… perfect,’ he sarcastically groaned to himself. Despite his lack of combat training, Mordred easily identified several flaws in how these knights conducted and carried themselves. Their weapons were handled amateurishly, the way they moved with their entire faces covered by a helmet to handicap their own vision. Those shiny blades seemed hardly used yet stained in blood.
The knights paced around arrogantly as they leaked mocking chuckles. Worse than brigands were trained warriors who acted like them. They surrounded Mordred and Irina to deflect any routes of escape. That said, Irina’s signature deadpan expression faded, replaced by a clear sign of disgust and annoyance. Her eyebrows furrowed up and her gloved fists clenched. That these amateurs had the mistaken notion they could lay even a finger on her master’s hair tipped her over.
Sparks flew from her fists as she poised herself, ready to smash in their heads and braze their faces to their helmets eternally. Yet, before she could lunge in for the kill, Mordred stopped her. “Master?” she asked.
“No, wait Irina. It’s fine like this. Things like this is infinitely more interesting if you let them believe they have the upper hand, watch.” Though her master’s words flew over her head she dutifully obliged with his commands. She watched. There was no way harm would before Mordred in the first place. She eased her fists and let the knights do as they pleased… for now.
“Oi, check out this kid’s clothes, they look super expensive,” one knight whispered to another. ‘Strange, it doesn’t resemble any language I know, but I can understand them fine,’ Mordred analysed but shrugged, ‘how convenient’.
“Keke~ yeah, he’s probably some high nobility or something that got lost. Shouldn’t we take him back for ransom?”
“Good idea, and that woman behind him, is she his guard?”
“Pfft, if she is then she’s so stupid she forgot to bring weapons. I mean, her chest is rather disappointing for a woman but she doesn’t have a bid figure. We could get some mileage off her before we sell her off, heh~”
Mordred sighed as he shook his head. ‘These guys play the role of scum so well it’s disgusting’. The knights whispered amongst themselves their nefarious plots, yet he could hear them perfectly as though they were talking conversational levels. ‘Eavesdrop, I see,’ it was almost too painful to hold back laughter.
“Oi kid, why don’t you come with us? You’re lost, aren’t you? I mean such dreadful forests shouldn’t be a place for noble children to wander about, so come with us and we’ll protect you until your guardians come.” One knight spoke as he crept up in disgusting stride with his guard down.
“Unfortunately, my parents are dead,” Mordred responded in jest.
“Hey now, don’t be like that we won’t hurt you or anything…” the moment the knight’s hand touched Mordred’s shoulder was the moment it was liberated from his disgusting body. “Huh…?”