Chapter 170 Ambush
All three members of the Hand and Cameron suddenly looked towards one of the windows, the latter walking up to it a moment later.
“Did you hear that?” the soldier asked as he opened it and looked outside. Ilea blinked upwards and on top of the big smithy to see a fire in the distance. Quite far away but also quite big. She could make out movements in the distance and flashes of light. Blinking back down, everybody had gathered around the windows.
“There’s a fire and spells being thrown around. A gang bust or something?” she asked but Cameron shook his head.
“Unlikely but let’s hope it’s nothing serious. I’ll go check it out. Open spells creating so much noise at this time of night aren’t exactly planned.” he said and vanished, appearing on the rooftop of the building opposite the smithy before her ran off.
“He didn’t even ask for help.” Trian said and turned to the others. “What should we do?”
“Armor is done, let’s go the the neighborhoods he mentioned. Or do you want to check out what’s going on?” Ilea asked. “Might involve us in some way though.”
“I agree, I think we should keep to the plan.” Kyrian said and looked to Trian. He had the last say in this, they were here for him after all. The mage nodded and looked to the craftsmen before an explosion far too close rocked the building a little.
“I think you should seek shelter.” Ilea said to Balduur and the others when several people entered her Sphere of Perception, rushing towards the guard below. The man had barely removed the sword from its sheath when a blade of wind went straight through his neck, entering the door behind it. He collapsed in silence as the three attackers silently entered the building.
“The imperial guard was just killed. Balduur I think your plan to leave the city might just have to be rushed ahead a little. One of them is coming up.” Ilea said and stepped forward when the door suddenly burst open and a woman slipped inside, dressed in black leather armor, a hood and her face covered. Her eyes scanned the room and got a little bigger as her quick approach slowed down, like a deer caught in a headlight.
“Good evening.” Ilea said as she took a step towards the woman. “Are you perhaps looking for trouble?”
The woman didn’t reply and Ilea could feel her distress through her Sight. She hadn’t expected to run into members of the Hand in the imperial smithy it seemed. “Do you care for any of the other smiths?” Ilea asked, casually turning towards Balduur and the others. “Because one of them is about to be killed.”
“I don’t know them well but they’re colleagues of the craft.” Balduur said but he didn’t seem terribly upset about the situation. The man would’ve likely been able to take care of the intruders himself, if his handshake gave any indication about his fighting capabilities. The wind blade from before, Ilea wasn’t so sure about that. The intruder still standing before them was at level one twenty, not to be underestimated of course but Ilea was pretty confident, especially seeing the woman’s distress.
“I know you don’t know me well but I’ll work for free for you all if you protect them.” the smith with the high pitched voice said, the sound not quite having the same comedic effect as before.
“As you wish.” Ilea said. “A small detour allowed?” she asked and looked at Trian. In that moment the woman before them moved, trying to rush backwards but Ilea had been paying attention through her sphere. She appeared right in the doorway, jabbing her right hand into the woman’s unprotected throat. Something broke and the attacker stumbled backwards, chocking and gurgling as Ilea took a step forward, punching her head with a quick hit. The force was enough to knock her out, sending her down to the ground as Ilea crouched down next to her, healing the damaged wind pipe to avoid her dying.
“Trian the room right below, there’s a guy sneaking up on one of the smiths.” she said and motioned towards Kyrian. “Bindings please.” she said and a metal sphere quickly floated towards her, reforming to create bonds around the woman’s arms and legs, a gag placed in her mouth.
“Go.” Kyrian said and she blinked, right behind the third attacker who was about to intrude on the sleeping quarters that some of the smiths and most of the helpers occupied. She simply grabbed the man’s neck with her arm and started choking. His arm shot up and a magical blade of wind smashed into her helmet, disorienting her for a moment and making her flare up her buffs. She heard a crack and frowned as she moved her head back down.
‘ding’ ‘You have killed [Zenar – Prophecy of the Wind – lvl 102 / Silent Assassin – lvl 92]
“Fuck! Yea great, how about investing some points into Vitality next time you dipshit.” Ilea murmured as she held onto the corpse and moved back up, this time taking the stairs. She hadn’t heard anything coming from the middle floor but saw Trian crouched over a spasming man. ‘And that one should’ve had some Lightning Resistance training.’ she thought. Hopefully she hadn’t just killed an innocent man just looking to free his enslaved friend working for the empire. Bad luck on his side either way.
“God you killed him!” one of the smiths exclaimed as Ilea put down the corpse next to the knocked out woman.
“That’s kind of on him.” she said and looked back to see Trian enter with the last man, that one still breathing.
“Let go of me you fuck, you have nothing to do with this!” the man exclaimed before a shock of lightning went through him. He looked rather young, Ilea thought he’d be around her age. Early twenties that is. His level was around a hundred as well, nothing low but also not incredibly impressive for the capital. The mage she had taken care of had managed to kill the guard below with a single clean strike however, indicating that these weren’t any random thugs.
“I will let go of you when you have told me what I need to know. And now please only speak when I ask it of you.” Trian said and let the man fall to the ground. Before he could even get up, metal bindings were around his ankles and both arms, moving them together against his will and pushing him upright into a kneeling position. His eyes weren’t quite as defiant as his words had been as he looked around the room, the demeanor quickly changing into fear instead of anger.
He was at least smart enough to listen to Trian’s words and didn’t start talking again immediately.
“Who are you people and what are you supposed to do here.” Trian asked. The man looked over to Ilea who was crouching over the knocked out woman again, checking on her vitals. He scanned over the corpse as well, gulping hard and looked back to Trian.
“We’re just mercenaries man, like you guys…,” He said and chuckled awkwardly. “We were supposed to hit specific empire buildings in the city and kill whoever we could inside.” he said, looking around and meeting Ilea’s eyes who had turned towards him. “I’m sorry if we offended somehow.” the man quickly added.
“I assume this is part of a bigger thing right?” Trian asked and the man nodded in response. “Baralia is moving earlier than expected. Seems like our little demon mistake has set the pieces into motion.” Trian said and watched the man gulp again.
“Good thing we got our gear before this started then.” Kyrian said as he stepped up to them.
“Where are your people, I’ll get you there safely and out of the city.” Ilea said, walking up to Balduur and the others.
“Nearby. Let me get my things. You’re welcome to join us.” He said to the other two smiths who watched the scene with wide open eyes.
“I doubt that there is an army nearby and the empire doesn’t know about it.” Trian said. “We should be safe helping them out of the city.” he said. More explosions could be heard, this time further away again.
“That enough payment for the gear?” Ilea asked the smith as she crouched down and closed the mage’s eyes.
“You’re getting better at this.” the smith grumbled as he made hammers and swords vanish into whatever storage item he had.
“Where are we going?” the male smith asked.
“South.” Ilea answered, blinking on top of the building again to assess the situation. There were several fires in the distance now, one rather close as well. Shouts rang through the night and a moment later bells rang through the city. If anybody hadn’t been awake already, now was the time. Spreading her wings, Ilea flew upwards with as much speed as she could.
The night sky had cleared somewhat, allowing her to see quite far. As Trian had suspected, there was no sea of torches anywhere close to the city. Perhaps an army was still waiting somewhere in the dark but she assumed organizing such a large number of people in the pitch black dark of the barren plains must’ve required at least some light.
Moving back down, she blinked back into the building.
“… don’t know anything else, please I beg you, we’re just mercenaries on a job.” the man finished and looked around the room. Trian looked at Kyrian and then at Ilea, the latter just shrugging.
“Your call.” she said, Kyrian not offering anything else either. A massive spasm went through the assassin as lightning burned his insides. Iana looked away in disgust, as did two of the smiths. Balduur just rummaged loudly through a mountain of tools nearby until he pulled out a shiny silver tool.
“There you are.” he said before it vanished. A metal spike formed from one of Kyrian’s spheres before it shot into the remaining assassin’s head with a thud, killing her instantly. Ilea received a little experience for that one as well, having been involved in the fight herself.
“Safer that way.” Trian said as Ilea closed the woman’s eyes as well before moving on to the man Trian had killed. She ignored the thoughts trying to pop into her mind. This wasn’t a game and she had no space for doubts, not now anyways.
“We need to move. Balduur do you have your bloody things together?” Ilea asked and received a nod in response.
“South? Well I’ll come if you’ll allow it. If I’m nearly getting murdered in an imperial smithy then it’s time to get the hell away.” the female smith said.
“As will I.” the one with the high pitched voice added.
“Good, then move.” Trian said as they all exited the room.
“No big sea of torches in the distance.” Ilea said as they descended the stairs and exited the building, stepping over the guard’s corpse and decapitated head.
“Then there shouldn’t be an army. We’ll have to be ready for ambushes though. Try to avoid imperials as well.” he said as they followed Iana and Balduur through the streets. Shouts and a continued ringing of bells livened up the city as the group made their way to their destination.
They were left undisturbed until a burly man clad in heavy armor jumped out from a side street, two handed sword in hand and advancing on them quickly. Ilea prepared herself to intercept before he called out in a hushed voice.
“Balduur, finally. We were worried they'd come for you. What are we to do?” he said and lowered his sword, giving long glances to Ilea and the other companions. The man himself was level one sixty three but Ilea had a feeling the numbers weren't quite telling with that one. “There are attacks all over the place, even some beasts have been seen I hear.” the man added when he grasped the smith's hand.
“We are leaving, back home. It's time.” Balduur said and the man locked eyes with him, a big smile forming behind his beard.
“Come then, we'll bring the news to the others. I'm sure they'll be happy to leave finally.” the man said and turned around, waving for them to follow. He didn't question anybody's presence, either thinking them to be too much of a threat to do so or simply trusting the smith enough. Ilea had a feeling that it was the latter. They walked through several side streets until entering a big closed up square through a high archway.
Shouts and explosions could still be heard from further away and Ilea immediately moved to the front when she perceived movement coming from one of the windows overlooking the square. Her Veil moved in place and blocked the projectile, slowing it enough for her to simply pick it out of the floating defense.
An uneasy feeling spread in her stomach as she looked at the thing in her hand. “Get your people out of here Balduur. They set out demons.” she said and rushed towards the monster whom's eyes she caught through the open window. Blinking up twice, she stood right in front of it.
[Demon – lvl 82]
There was no mistake anymore. Whoever was attacking was prepared to have this city fall. She wouldn't believe any stray mind weaver was capable enough to have entered the city with demons hidden away. Not with the human attackers present at the same time. Her muscles strained as she stepped closer, moving her torso sideways as another bone projectile whistled past her. Ilea stood in front of the demon and her fist crashed against its skull, sending a shockwave of kinetic energy through the bone.
The wall behind the beast was coated in red a second later, the demon's lifeless body sacking to the ground as its blood soaked the rug. The dude won't be happy, Ilea though and checked through the appartment, not finding either corpses or more of the monsters before she blinked outside again, letting herself fall and landing in a crouch on the ground.
The group had advanced through the square, all of them prepared for battle. “Where are your people?” Ilea asked as she joined the running group.
“The entrance with the torch, there!” the armored warrior said and pointed before Ilea sprinted off, blinking occasionally to increase the distance covered. Entering, she descended the stairs following right after. Following the corridor, she came up on two guards standing next to another door, behind which there were beds, goods and a bunch of people. Nothing had advanced this far it seemed. Neither were they a target she assumed.
Coming to a stop in front of the guards, she saw them activate their skills, one of them looking at her with a puzzled expression while the other one slashed his halberd towards her torso. Ilea stepped forward and extended her hand, blocking the weapon on its pole, right before the blade. The man tried to rip the weapon back but her grasp was unyielding.
“Hahaha, you'll have a hard time with that one.” the other guard said, Ilea looking at him. “You are not our enemy are ya?” he asked, still prepared to fight.
“No.” Ilea said, looking at both of them before she let go of the weapon. Trian appeared in the room a moment later, looking around as his lightning calmed down.
“Clear?” he asked and Ilea nodded.
“There are demons nearby. How will we get them out?” she asked and looked at the man.
“Get them close to the wall and fly them over. Nowhere near any of the gates. Any guards we'll have to take care of. At least we don't have to waste gold to pay for our gear.” he said, getting a smile from Ilea under her helmet.
“If there are demons they definitely don't want to stay inside. We'll have to move fast, I don't want to squander this opportunity.” Trian said and Ilea nodded.
“I'll help them out at least but you can leave already.” she suggested but Trian shook his head.
“Don't get overconfident. We have to stay together as much as we can. This won't cost us a lot of time.” he said when the others came into the small space before the shelter's entrance.
“Balduur!” one of the guards shouted and started laughing. “I knew it. Are we leaving?” he asked and the smith nodded, walking past and entering the room before he started shouting for everybody to wake up and get ready.
“Something's coming.” the guard who had attacked Ilea said as he looked towards the corridor with intense eyes. Ilea blinked into the small space and saw a demon approaching. Another low leveled one, leaving more credibility to her theory. The thing was stopped dead in its tracks as Ilea's armored boot landed in its chest, pushing out all the remaining air and piercing its organs with its own ribs as they shattered inwards, killing the beast instantly.
“D... Demons.” one of the guards said, his hands shaking a little. The other one smiled and prepared his ax.
“Again? Were the fuckers following us this far?” he asked, a grin on his face.
“I doubt they're so selective.” Trian said as the villagers prepared to leave, some armored men and women already exiting into the corridor.
“Let's secure the square. Any other entrances?” Ilea asked, waiting until one of the men shook his head before she ran back outside. Tonight would be less sneaky than she had expected. A good change in her book.