Getting the sword back was meant to be child's play. Haerin would simply stalk the oblivious head guard into his chancery, stay hidden behind a corner until he left, dash into the room and begin rummaging around to find the elusive blade. Unfortunately for him, things weren't as simple as he planned them out to be.

It started off alright; Haerin managed to follow the head guard without being caught, silently creeping behind the towering armoured elf as he did so. He tailed him all the way to the prison's chancery, where he hid behind one of the corners of the winding, thin halls of the prison. He even managed to dash into the room after the head guard left. But that was when things began to go awry, because the moment Haerin found Temujin's sword in a chest of contraband on the floor of the chancery, he heard a voice behind him.

"You seriously didn't think I wouldn't be able to notice you, child?" It was the gruff voice of a battle-hardened soldier. The head guard.

Haerin slowly turned around to find him standing in the doorway, a cocky grin on his face. Shit.

"I won't lie, you were very hard to notice. I never managed to see you, but I did manage to hear you." The guard put a finger to his ear. "I enhanced my hearing with magic, you see. I'm very thorough when it comes to trespassers like you. That's why I was made head guard."

Haerin rose from the chest, clutching the scabbard of Temujin's sword as hard as his heart pounded in his chest. He looked the head guard straight in the eye. "Is that so?"

"Indeed. No prisoner has escaped the wrath of the Golems here thanks to me."

"Perhaps," Haerin said shakily, "To thank you for your service to the Golems, I should send you straight to the Engineers' doorstep?" He gripped the cool metal of the hilt and began to draw out the blade clumsily, the curved, long sword screeching against the metal scabbard as it was roughly dragged against it. The guard laughed and drew nearer to Haerin, taking out a circular piece of metal etched with strange markings from within his breastplate; a magic circle, ready to be charged and release a powerful attack, infinitely stronger than any magic one could perform by hand.

"Are you trying to pick a fight with me? You don't look like any soldier at all, and you certainly can't use that sword let alone a magic circle. Drop the weapon, child. You can't fight against me."

Haerin slowly began to walk towards the guard as he tried to hold the heavy halfling weapon up, with its scabbard in his other hand. The guard laughed again, before holding up the circle and approaching his foe. "I'm giving you one more chance. This magic circle is called sunfire. The flames it summons causes burns that will overwhelm you with such torment that your vision will blacken, and it will never ease. It's can literally blind you through pain. You're holding a sword you can barely lift, let alone swing. So, are you still going to fight me?"

Haerin tried to point the curved blade at the guard without it falling. "Of course. In fact, my plan has already succeeded. I've already won."

The guard raised an eyebrow. "What plan? What ingenious idea could you possibly have to defeat someone who's ten times stronger than you in every way?"

"There's really only one thing I could do in this situation," Haerin replied calmly as he walked around the guard in what looked like a feeble attempt to be threatening.

"And that is?"

My back's to the open doorway, idiot. What else would I do?

Haerin grinned. "Run the hell away."

And with that, Haerin sprinted straight out of the chancery, clutching the sword and scabbard and leaving a bewildered guard behind him. He knew he didn't have much time until the other guards would find him, so he would have to get to Temujin as quickly as possible. There was only one thing he could do when he had at least fifty well-trained soldier-guards searching for him when he was now officially a criminal, and that was to grab Temujin and run as far away as he could, to Perechain.

Forgetting all notions of stealth, Haerin's footsteps rang loudly across the floors of the vast prison as he dashed towards Temujin's cell, sword in hand. His shallow breaths echoed through the winding, thin halls of the prison and tiny beads of sweat began to form on his forehead, and not before long, guards began to respond. Their voices began to boom around sharp, tight corners, demanding Haerin to halt, and at one point he even saw a pillar of shining sunfire erupt from just around the corner, barely licking his skin with bright, white embers. Eventually the painful torture came to a close, as Haerin almost laughed in relief when he saw Temujin lounging around in his jail cell.

Haerin suddenly thrust Temujin's sword through the bars of the jail cell, much to Temujin's surprise who hadn't even noticed Haerin.

"Cut through them," Haerin said, his voice raspy from the air being roughly dragged against his throat when he was running.

Temujin had a bewildered look on his face as he took the sword. "What are you-"

"Cut through the bars. We don't have time."

"If we don't have time, then why are we using the slowest method to get out of here possible? It would take me at least five minutes to cut through these."

"How else are we going to-" Haerin's eye's suddenly widened as an idea struck him like lightning. "Actually, you're right. It would take far too long to cut through these. And hand magic would be too weak to cut through these, I'd need a magic circle. However..."

Just at that moment, the head guard dashed by the corner, locking his eyes onto Haerin with hatred boiling in them.

"THERE HE IS!" The head guard screamed. "I've found you, cowardly boy. Your type makes me sick, too scared and weak to fight straight on."

Perfect timing.

"Well," Haerin replied calmly and softly, "I don't really think I'm the coward here, am I?"

"You ran away! I couldn't care less if you challenged me, or surrendered, but instead you chose to flee like a little bitch! Do you know how annoying it is to chase a rat down while you're trying to kill it?"

"But wouldn't the trained soldier who challenged a young unarmed civilian to a fight be the coward?"

"Why, you..."

The soldier ripped the sunfire magic circle out of his breastplate, his face contorted with rage as he did so. The magic circle began glowing as it was magical energy flowed through it, charging it up as it amplified it into the power of the sun. Its white light grew and grew, until it finally released it all in a powerful white pillar of flames, hurtling right towards Haerin.

Looks like this guy really is an idiot.

Haerin quickly dodged out of the way of the deadly attack, causing it to hurtle right past him and instead hit what he was standing in front of: Temujin's cell bars. After barely an instant passed, the flames had eaten it's way right through the bars, leaving a smouldering, molten mess of the bars and a free halfling swordsman behind as the head guard watched in horror. Temujin rose from the ground of the cell, holding his sword in his left hand, and stepped right through. He grinned at Haerin.

"You're pretty smart, mate. I would've never thought of that." He pointed his sword at the head guard, now shaking in fear. "You beat him. Say something to your foe."

Haerin had no idea what to say, so he simply said what came to his head first. "Uh... fuck you, you're stupid."

Temujin gave Haerin a slightly disappointed look. "Really? You just completely outsmarted this enemy and you're just going to swing childish insults at him? To each his own, I suppose." Temujin drew closer to the head guard, raising his curved, long blade towards him. "Now then, I'm going to leave with my friend, Haerin here, and you won't stop us. Okay?"

The head guard shakily rose his sunfire circle again, and a glow began to sputter across it, but before he could release another fiery attack Temujin had already plunged his sword right through his neck, and the glow faded away as the guard went limp. Haerin felt sick as Temujin drew the sword away and the guard's body slumped over, the life within it long gone as blood spilled from the deep gash. Temujin sighed regretfully. "Your persistence is exemplary, but it ultimately led to your death. My apologies," he mumbled. He turned to Haerin. "Could you give me my scabbard?"

Haerin tried to forget what had just happened as he handed Temujin the scabbard he had been holding. Temujin muttered his thanks as he attached the scabbard to his hip and put the sword in it, the tip still wet with blood. Temujin turned to Haerin and his face went from solemn to anxious. "Haerin, are you feeling okay? You look a little pale after that."

"No... I'm just totally fine..." Haerin lied. In reality, he wanted to tear out his boiling, aching stomach, but he had to ignore it until they were safely out of the city. But despite this, Haerin still felt like his skull was made of air and his eyelids heavier than lead, and before he knew it he had...

Crap. I'm blacking out.

Haerin's head felt like someone was plunging a sword right through it.

"Haerin, are you awake?"

The raspy voice sounded like it belonged to Temujin. Haerin rose from what felt like grass to find Temujin sitting next to him.

"I'm sorry about that. Seeing someone die like that for the first time can be pretty shocking."

"Hu...Huh? Wait, we were in the prison, right? Where are we-" Realisation dawned on Haerin. "Oh. Oh."

Temujin grinned. "It was tricky, but I managed to dash us both out of the city."

Sure enough, the grand tall walls that kept the city safe from the Golems' holy wrath stood before them. They were right outside of the prison that had held Haerin for so long.

"I'm actually glad you've come around so quickly. They might send someone to search for us."

Haerin rose to his feet. "Yeah, you're right. We should get going. Perechain is north of here, it's past noon and the sun is over there, so..." Haerin pointed towards a large, open rolling field. "That way."

Temujin looked towards where Haerin was pointing. "I've never gone in that direction before. Do you know what there is over there?"

"No clue. We're about to find out."


About the author


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Bio: I have no ties with Pizza Hut or the Sicilian Mafia

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