Outside The Joyous Lion, Ryk breathed a sigh of relief. Though Lucile had ran out of the tavern in a rush to purge the Sovereign Fist from Saint-Lusan and rescue Chiya’s parents, she had the patience to wait for him. To go forth alone, without information or backup was tantamount to suicide.
“Alright then, Ryk. Have any idea where to begin?” She was impatient, and ready to go.
However, as they didn’t even have a clue where to find the heretics, nor Chiya’s parents, he didn’t have any idea. He was at a loss, but he had numerous contacts in the city that may have information. Out of all of them, one came to mind.
“I think I do. I’ll introduce you to a friend of mine who knows a lot about the seedier aspects of Saint-Lusan.”
“Oho… I see. Well then, introduce me to your ‘friend’” Lucile did not sound amused.
Ryk nodded and began to lead Lucile through the streets of Saint-Lusan, taking winding turns and through back alleys. As they got further and further away from the city center, the houses became more and more dilapidated. The squatters and poor were much more numerous and visible here than the more affluent areas near the center and around the Allard estate.
Lucile kept her guard up as they walked, hand on the handle of the dagger she kept at her waist. Her greatsword would be difficult to use in the tight alleys.
Looking back, Ryk glanced at the lord of Saint-Lusan who darting her eyes at each person they passed. Though her face was that of caution, Ryk could also see in her eyes compassion for the downtrodden. But even if she wanted to, she could not help them. At least, not at the moment.
All around, they could feel the stares of the people on them. Why were these knights in their land? Are they here to arrest someone? Could we mug them? They look wealthy. Such thoughts probably went through the people in this area, who only knew life of being poor.
“Hey, Ryk. Are we almost there? Feels like we’ve been walking for at least an hour now.”
“That’s because we have been. And yes, we’re almost there.”
Though Saint-Lusan’s population had a sizable population, at around fourteen thousand residents, the city had grown wide instead of tall. As such, getting from any one part of the city to another took a good amount of time. It was to be expected that the walk would take at least an hour, and that Lucile had probably never been to this area of the city.
As they walked, Ryk could feel a sense of unease, as if someone was about to attack. He motioned for Lucile to halt.
“Something amiss?” she asked, as she quickly drew her dagger. The women and children who were out on the street saw this and ran back inside their homes.
Ryk drew his sword. He knelt down, plunging the blade into the earth and his palming the ground with his free hand as he closed his eyes.
Lucile stepped back, as she gave Ryk space to cast a spell. He didn’t utter a word, so it must have been something simple. She could see the visible manifestation of mana work its way from Ryk into the sword and then into the ground.
Suddenly, he stood up and readied his sword. “I sense four of them. Two ahead of us, two behind us. Armed. Closing in quickly.” They were in a bad position, as the street was so thin that only two people could stand side by side as they walked.
The two of them quickly casted magic on their weapons to imbue them with elemental properties, Light magic for Lucile, and earthen magic for Ryk.
They had barely finished when the mysterious assailants appeared before them. Each were clad in black and red robes, and on each robe was the sigil of a fist on a inverted seven pointed star. They spoke no words, and each held a dagger. They wore no armor, only wearing simple clothes underneath the robes.
The two knights stood with their backs against each other. They didn’t need any words to convey that they had each other’s back covered.
“Remember, if we can capture one of them, they could give us a clue to the location of their cell,” Ryk stated.
“Got it, I kill two, and you capture one and kill the other.”
“No! keep as many alive as you-”
But it was too late. Lucile had already charged towards her pair of targets with a battle cry. Ryk wanted to stop her, to not go in irrationally, but her hotheadedness had already pushed her to attack.
However, Ryk had to contend with the pair in front of him, so he had to focus. They were too close for him to have enough time to cast a spell, so he had to rely on his martial ability for this fight.
“Surrender yourselves, members of the Sovereign Fist, and we shall allow you to live.” Having them surrender would be much more preferable than having to actually fight, though Ryk didn’t expect this to really work.
And it didn’t.
The two ran towards him, daggers drawn. The one on his left brought this dagger up in a slash as Ryk sidestepped to the right, dodging it. But the one that was on his right held his dagger low and stabbed at Ryk, aiming for the upper part of his leg, which was unarmored. The tight area meant that Ryk couldn’t completely move out of the way.
“Gah!” Ryk grunted in pain as the dagger found the flesh. He took a few steps back to assess the wound. The blade had managed to make a cut in his leg though he wasn’t sure how deep, and blood was drawn out. “Very well then.”
They were still close, and were moving in again. The one on the right, now went for his arm. This time, Ryk maneuvered to put the attacker in between himself and the other assailant, so that he only had to fight one at a time. He grabbed the attacker’s arm to stop the attack, and pulled him into his sword, piercing him in the gut. The attacker went limp as his fighting energy left him.
Ryk pushed him off his now bloodied sword and to the ground. One attacker left that he had to immediately deal with.
The heretic didn’t give Ryk any chance to rest, as he immediately went to attack him, slashing wildly at Ryk. Ryk kept stepping back, keeping him at the edge of his sword’s reach, but he had to strike at some point.
On attacker’s next slash, a side slash, Ryk made his move. He caught the dagger’s blade against his sword’s crossguard, and in the moment that the attacker was drawing back his dagger, Ryk grabbed that arm, pulled in the attack, and spun around. The attacker was now on his back, but the dagger arm in front, being held down by Ryk. Ryk gripped his blade tightly gripped the hilt of sword and slammed the pommel behind him into the attacker’s abdomen. The assailant let out a scream of paint before immediately crumpling to the ground, knocked out cold.
He was now safe, but he needed to check on Lucile. He looked over at her battle, which was just about to finish. One assailant was on the ground in a pool of his own blood and the other was slashing wildly at her. The attacker had his back towards Ryk. Lucile had some markings on her armor from the attacks, but was otherwise unharmed.
She noticed Ryk watching, and gave a sly smile. As the attacker attempted to slash at her once more, Lucile grabbed the attackers arm and stopped the attack, just as Ryk did. Her gauntlet began to glow, just as it had in the morning. The attacker was stunned watching the gauntlet as Lucile brought her fist into the attacker’s chest, blowing him backwards towards Ryk. It was the same attack she used on him in the morning, but with much more force.
Ryk stepped out of the way as the body flew past him. He took a glance at the attacker, who was assuredly dead.
“Lady Lucile, are you unharmed?” They were safe now, and Ryk took this time to check on his lord.
“I’m fine, Ryk. Though you look like you need some help,” she replied, as she pointed to his leg, which was still bleeding as he hadn’t bandaged it up yet. “Just a few small scratches on my armor. Though I may need to get armor with more coverage. One of the attackers kept going for my gut.”
Lucile’s armor didn’t fully cover her torso, but predominately her upper torso.
“Yes, I’ve said this many times. What if you had gotten a grave injury from being stabbed in the gut? Urgh.” Ryk knelt down in pain from the wound. “Forgive me, Lady Lucile. I need to examine this.”
“Looks like you need more armor too.”
He tore away some of the cloth around the wound and examined the cut. The cut didn’t appear to be deep, but it wasn’t shallow either. He needed to see someone to fix it before it began to fester.
“Let’s move quickly. The person I was going to introduce you to also happens to be with an apothecary. Should be able to, urgh, get information out of that one,” Ryk grunted as he pointed to the knocked out heretic. He grabbed a cloth from his pouch and wrapped it around the wound to stem the bleeding.
“I’ve got him.” Lucile walked over the and put the attacker over her shoulder. “Hmm… a lot lighter than they appear.”
They continued on through the streets, leaving the bodies where they were. They would have to notify the guards of what happened and to collect the bodies, but that would have to be later.
Ryk eventually brought them in front of one of the many buildings. The only identifier for this shack was a sign with a white rosemary painted on. He moved up to the door and did knocked three times.
“Yes! Yes! I’m coming! Ouch! Move out of the way!” The sounds of a young woman frantically moving about and glass shattering were audible through the door.
The sliding window on the door opened and Ryk saw a pair of amber eyes looking right at him.
“Oh. It’s just you.” The displeasure in her voice was as clear as the sky.