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A note from kosnik4

Again, this is one of those chapters I actually took the time to make pictures for. If you want to read the better version follow this link.

Sitting on top of my bed, I look at the various magical tools scattered across my sheets. I have my three best sketches of the runes I found in the light hat pinned to the wood to my left on the wall next to my bed.

 

Since Kervin brought me the magic tools a week ago, I've been too busy to analyze them properly. I've already injected mana into each of them, and mother was thrilled when I showed her the water purifier and the enchanted knife.

 

I brought home a small crate of magicite for her to use if I'm not around, but I usually inject my mana into them around dinnertime to keep them working.

 

If Kervin was right about his new schedule, he should be back with the materials I need in another two weeks. I need to practice drawing more runes before he returns.

 

I scan the five magic tools laid out in front of me. I start with the fire box first. I haven't noticed any damage to master's light hat since I started probing it, but I don’t want to start with one of the tools my mom has grown accustomed to using first, just in case.

 

I tuck my legs underneath one another in a cross-legged position and move a flat piece of wood onto my lap. I grab my engraving pen and channel my magic into it.

 

Once my pen is charged, I start injecting my mana into the fire box. Using my mana sense, I look at the runes hidden inside the box.

 

I follow the route my mana takes and single out the individual rune sections.

 

I start where my mana is entering the runic structure and quickly find the same primary symbol I deciphered in the light hat. There are different lines hiding the structure, but it's easy to trace the rune hidden in the mess now that I know what to look for. I find two of the runes on opposite sides of the magic tool’s sides.

 

I’ll have to see how many of these items utilize the same runes and compare them later.

 

I move on to the next section, following my mana, expecting a repeat of the regulating rune I found in the light hat.

 

I smile when I can’t find the rune I’m looking for. There must be a new rune; I jump into deciphering the many lines to find the rune hidden underneath.

 

Using the flow of mana as a guide, a new rune slowly becomes discernable under my eye.

 

The two mana absorbing runes feed into each side of this new regulating rune. The rune slightly changes the mana's frequency like the rune I already copied out of the light helmet. I've studied the light helmet a lot this past month, and I can tell the converted mana is similar but not the same frequency.

 

Different runes must need various frequencies of mana to activate them properly.

 

After I think I’ve found all the dead ends hiding the rune, I carve it into the plank of wood in my lap.

 

I’ll practice drawing it later and add the best representation to my wall of runes.

 

I move on to the last part of the runic structure near the top of the cube. The rune is positioned up against a small metal tube that leads out the top of the box. The flame coming out of the magic tool isn't very impressive, but it’s strong enough to cook on it.

 

The fire rune proves much harder to decipherer. It looks like whoever made the magic tool focused on hiding this rune over the regulator. The whole thing is covered in random lines and dead ends meant to conceal the rune from prying eyes.

 

I was a little disappointed the final result turned out less complicated than I imagined.

 

Mana flows in from the bottom, and the rune produces its flame at the top of the structure. That’s two new runes for me to practice.

 

I set the fire box off to the side and grab its sister, the cold box. As soon as I inject my mana into the magic tool, I quickly find the swirling patterned mana absorbing runes I've seen in the other two tools.

 

I track my mana and find the mana absorbing runes heading into the familiar regulating rune I just deciphered in the fire box. Everything leads to an area that I assume holds the frost rune that’s producing cold air out of holes in the box.

 

I take my time tracing the mana flow in the rune and slowly figure out its design.

 

The circular rune is emitting chilled mana that gathers inside the box and escapes through holes in its top, merging into the surrounding atmosphere. The cold mana blends into the surrounding space; it has little effect on my already cold room.

 

I carefully carve its structure down onto another piece of wood before moving onto the next magical tool. That’s three new runes so far.

 

Because everything is going swimmingly, I decide to look at the water purifier next. I start at the bottom of the device, knowing the cube has to hold the mana absorbing runes. I inject my mana into the tool's base and pause when I notice the difference in the runes structure.

 

Instead of broad lines, these mana absorbing runes are a third the size of the other tools I've looked at. I can tell whoever made this magic tool is a higher caliber enchanter. The runes are small enough that my eyes can't make out the fine details of the structure.

 

I close my eyes and focus purely on Sense Mana. The runes' size would be enough to deter the average person from copying the structure but not me.

 

Unlike the last two boxes, this magic tool has four mana gathering runes like the light hat. I follow the lines from the gathering runes and trace them to two independent regulating runes I found in the boxes. Those regulators both lead to yet another regulating rune, changing the frequency of the mana again.

 

This tool shows me the regulators can be stacked to change the mana's frequency to a finer degree.

 

After the regulators, I track the mana to a new rune. It’s ironic that thanks to these runes' smaller size, it's easier for me to decipher them. Whoever engraved this tool couldn’t add in as many false lines without compromising the rune's detailed structure.

 

Judging by the mana, the next rune is expelling; it has to be a water rune.

Though the water rune isn’t where this enchantment ends, another line breaks off the top of the water rune and goes to another new rune.

 

The rune is engraved near the magic tool's middle, where the water passes from the top part to the bottom. This rune has to be what purifies the water of its impurities. The rune releases a magical aura only half an inch wide but resembles the magic I feel when I cast my cleaning spell.

 

It doesn't take me long to copy down the two new runes. I move the wood planks next to the other three runes I copied and grab another piece of wood and refocus on the water purifiers enchantment.

 

The last three tools I've looked at have all been relatively simple. I feel like I should copy down the water purifier's entire runic structure to reference how runes can be mixed and matched.

The enchantment uses nine runes total to purify the water. I've noticed different runes connect at various points, but they mostly join at triangles or near them.

 

When I transfer the design to paper, I'll put notes around it detailing the insights I think I gained. It won't be until I figure out how to make engraving ink that I can test any of my hypotheses, though.

 

I still have two more tools to examine. I shuffle the magic tools around and move the charging cube and knife in front of me.

 

I start with the cube first.

 

I've charged the cube every night for mom, and I already know this cube is different from any other of the magic tools. I've already pinpointed were inside the runes are, and from what I can tell, there're only three runes total.

 

Though all the tools I've examined have three different types of runes, they have multiple mana gathering segments. The fire and ice boxes had the least number of runes so far. They had two gathering runes, one regulating rune, and a rune that emits the magic for four runes each.

 

I know master isn’t an expert when it comes to runic knowledge, but I'm sure he said enchantments need at least four runes to function correctly. I start to decipherer the runes and watch what happens to my mana as it works its way through the enchantment.

 

I think the person who made the water purifier might have also made this charging box. The runes are small and incredibly hard to perceive, just like the water purifier. It takes me fifteen minutes to figure out the first rune, and that's only thanks to its shape resembling the other mana absorbing runes.

 

As I pour my mana into the rune, I notice it absorbs the same amount of mana as four of its smaller variants. It looks much more complicated to draw, so I wonder why this one is used instead of the others. Each triangle on each of the swirls leads to the next rune.

 

The regulator is the same as the one used in the boxes and the water purifier, so I move on to the third and final rune.

 

The last rune is the most puzzling because it doesn’t have a single triangle in its design. The line leading from the regulating rune is simply attached to one of the corners of this rectangle shaped rune.

 

All the mana I pour into the cube is ending up trapped inside the last rune. I stop supplying the magic tool with my mana to see what happens.

 

The enchantment finishes processing my mana, and most of the runes become inert. The last rune still glows in my mana sight, holding onto the mana I pumped into the tool.

 

Why doesn’t every magic tool have one of these runes? The rune acts like a battery, so I assume every enchantment would be better off with one.

 

I continue to examine the rune and notice a difference in the amount of mana contained within it. The mana contained inside the rune is leaking. I watch the rune continue to dim until all the mana I fed it is gone.

 

After pumping 50 mana into the enchantment to study it, the rune could only hold the mana for twelve minutes.

 

I don't understand the point of this rune. Never the less, I diligently carve it onto a piece of wood. Maybe after I look at the knife, I'll try examining the two magical items together.

 

I set the charging cube off to the side and carefully pick up the kitchen knife.

 

Gripping the handle, I start feeding the knife a part of my mana. I immediately notice something is wrong.

 

There are no gathering runes on the knife’s handle. All the mana I inject into the knife’s handle is drawn to the tip of the blade. The entire sharpening enchantment is inverted on the face of the knife.

 

The gathering runes are near the knife's tip, while what I assume to be the sharpening rune is etched close to the handle. The slight glow on the knife's edge means the enchantment is working as intended despite the inversed enchantment.

 

I start studying the runes and quickly find the same gathering rune that was used in the charging box. The gathering rune leads to another regulator that matches the previous magic tools before connecting to a new rune.

As the mana passes through the new rune, it takes on the properties of earth mana. I know a fire and frost rune can conjure a flame or chill the surroundings; I wonder what an earth rune does by itself?

 

I make a mental note that I need to test the rune when I’m able to.

 

I follow the converted earth mana into the final rune.

 

The line channeling the earth mana is connected to the triangle with the star shape in it. One more line comes out of the rune and stretches across the knife's edge. It's the mana leaking out of that line that produces the glow on the knifes edge.

 

Kervin said the knife had a sharpening enchantment on it, but looking at it with my mana sense, I don't think that's accurate.

 

The enchantment isn’t sharpening the blade; it's merely strengthening the already sharpened edge. The knife is decently crafted, and someone put real effort into honing it, but the enchantment is only protecting the knifes edge.

 

If the knife were used without the enchantment activated, it would dull like any other knife. And once the blade is dulled, the enchantment would be worthless. Strengthening a dull knife won't help you cut any better.

 

I soon notice another flaw in its design. If the knife becomes dull and needs to be sharpened, won't the enchantment line along the blade's edge be worn away?

 

I don't know if you can modify an existing rune. You can draw a new line across the freshly sharpened edge that would fix it if you can. But if you can't, the knife is reduced to a simple tool with scribbles etched onto it. I’ll need to warn mother not to use the knife unless its enchantment is activated.

 

I decide to make a quick carving of the knife’s enchantment to compare with the water purifier later.

Now I need to see how the two magical tools work with each other.

 

I slip the knife back into its charging box and start injecting my mana. I watch, fascinated by what happens.

 

The charging box takes in my mana and stores it in its last rune. The knife's blade tip rests up against the rune holding all the mana.

 

Even though they aren't connected directly, the mana inside the battery rune is drawn out by the knife's gathering rune. Part of the mana is lost, but the knifes enchantment activates as it should.

 

The charging cube doesn't do anything meaningful by itself but acts as an extension on the knife's enchantment. Maybe different items can hold segments of enchantments that only work when they’re placed together?

 

I look over the many wood carvings scattered across my bed. I learned nine new runes from the magic tools bringing my runic library up to 11.

 

The only tool I still need to look at is master’s pickaxe. I’m confident I won’t break it; I just hope he doesn’t consider the runes as Stone Kin secrets.

 

After looking at the five tools' finer details, I think two people are responsible for making all of them. The style of the runes inside the fire and cold box were too similar to be a coincidence. Also, a lot of the fake lines were used in a similar fashion to hide the runes' structures.

 

The other three tools are much more complex and obviously made by someone with more skill. If all of them were made in Drey than these might be the work of a local enchanter and their apprentice.

 

I gather up everything I can fit in my arms and carry it out of my room. I walk down our hallway and into our living space. I set my wood carvings on the table before putting the water purifier next to our water barrel and the knife and charging cube back on the kitchen counter.

 

“Are you finished practicing, sweety?” Mother asks from her sewing station.

 

"Not yet, I still need to copy everything to parchment," I explain to mother as I approach her.

 

"And you're going to draw out here." Mother already knows my plan. She fiddles in the cupboard she keeps all her supplies in and hands me a small stack of parchment along with some ink and a quill.

 

"You need to start buying your own parchment and ink if you're going to be drawing on a regular basis." Mother knows how much I'm making from selling my goods to Kervin and that I can afford it.

 

“I’ll order some from Kervin when he returns. I’ll make sure to replace everything I use,” I assure mother.

 

“It isn’t that big of a deal. I just can’t have you using up all of it in case we need to write to your brother."

 

“I understand,” I say as I move over to our table.

 

I shift in my seat until I feel comfortable. It will take me a few hours to copy the runes onto the parchment. I need each rune to be perfect, so I don’t have to reexamine each magic tool in the future.

 

I dip my quill into the inkpot and wipe the excess ink on its rim. When I have some free coin, I need to ask Kervin if he can get me a better writing tool.

 

He should be back in another two weeks. He must be in Teeburn by now. I wonder if the arrows I made were good enough for the army?

 

I quickly banish any negative thoughts from my mind. I'll worry about it later; right now, every bit of my focus goes into my drawing.

 

I settle into my own little world and start copying each rune onto the parchment in front of me.

 


 

Kervin’s Point of View:

 

I try to pick out the small changes in Teeburn’s surroundings as I guide my bivol towards the army’s trading clearing. If you look closely, you can see the city slowly coming back to life. It’s been less than a month since I was last here, and the number of inns has multiplied.

 

"Gods, your beasts are slow, can't you prod them a little harder?" A whiny voice interrupts my sightseeing. I turn and look at the culprit.

 

"They're moving fine. If you want the cart to move faster, you can help them pull." I scowl at our new companion.

 

“I’m just saying, you should ask headquarters for a pair of their finest bulls now that you’ve been promoted.” Reel continues to complain.

 

I ignore his protests. He’s been complaining about their speed since he joined us in Drey. I would fire him if I could; sadly, we all know why he’s here with us. He had a note signed by the boss himself informing me he was to join my guards.

 

He told me he would follow my orders, but I take everything he says with a grain of salt. It’s obvious he’s here to watch me and gather information for Giovanni.

 

Behind his annoyed façade is a dangerous man. Lurte and Ryiba both agree he's stronger than them. More than once, he's vanished into thin air, only reappearing twenty minutes later saying he had to take a leak. The two daggers at his side are hidden in plain-looking sheaths, but when goblins attacked us on the road, we noticed they were enchanted.

 

What's disturbing the most is how plain he appears. Light brown hair, green eyes, no distinguishing features on his face, even his bone structure is so common you wouldn't look twice at him if you passed him on the road.

 

“Maybe in a few months. I want to see how the business with the army pans out before I ask headquarters for anything.” I tell him, knowing anything I might say might be reported to the boss.

 

“Fine, it’s your decision. Are we almost there yet?" All three of us glare at him, but he pretends not to notice.

 

I chose not to dignify him with an answer. The clearing the army is buying goods in is just up ahead.

 

The familiar clearing comes into view, and we're immediately flagged to an open spot by a soldier with a clipboard. Knowing what he’s going to ask of me, I hold out my Silver Heard plate. “Kervin, from Silver Herd Trading Company. I was told to ask for Captain Nathanael?”

 

The soldier looks at my plate before looking up at me with surprise. “Mr. Kervin, we aren’t expecting you for another week. Wait here while I grab the captain.” The man says as soon as he hands me my plate back.

 

"Wow, didn't know you were such an important guy." Reel laughs, aware of how uncomfortable I am. The last time I was here, I encountered many problems; I would be stupid if I didn’t expect the same to happen again.

 

I spot Captain Nathanael approaching my cart with a big smile on his face. “You’re early,” He shouts when he notices I’m watching his approach.

 

I hop off of my cart and wait for him to reach my cart before I greet him. “It’s nice to see you again, Captain Nathaniel.” I lie through my teeth.

 

"Is it now? I would think you would be mad at me for shorting you last time you were here." He gives me a look that says my fake smile does not fool him.

 

"I would be lying if told you I wasn't a little disappointed after our transaction." I keep up my friendly smile, but I'm sure he knows how I'm feeling.

 

"As you should be," he acknowledges my disappointment. "Your goods were a blessing for the army, and the general told me to keep an eye out for your delivery." He looks around us, focusing on Reel for but a moment before addressing me again. "Follow me; we'll discuss your cargo in a more private spot."

 

I hop back up onto my carriage and usher my bivol to follow the captain. He leads us around the army’s wagon train, to a secluded alley between two fallen buildings.

 

We’re out of view from the other merchants.

 

I park my cart and hop down. “Lurte, Ryiba, Reel, start unloading the crates," I order them. For once, Reel does his job without any snide remarks.

 

I turn to Captain Nathanael, “I have 28 spears and 400 arrows. I need 80 gold for everything.” I try to get a jump on him this time and activate all my skills, ready to face the captain’s suppression.

 

He smiles at me, and all the hair on back of my neck stands up. “No need to rush, I already contacted an expert to meet us here to look at the arrows.”

 

"An expert?" I get a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

 

“Yes, she should be here soon. She was quite happy to hear you made it back early.” There’s only one person he could be talking about!

 

“Talking about me, Nathanael.” Everyone jumps except for the captain as a chiding voice echoes between the buildings.

 

I hurriedly look for the general, but I can’t spot her. Lurte and Ryiba aren't having any luck either, but I notice Reel looking up with a concerned look on his face. I follow the direction of his gaze and finally see General Pitz standing on top of a section of a crumbling wall, looking down on us.

 

Her powerful eyes scan each of us, narrowing on Reel before she focuses on me. “Did you bring what I ordered?”

 

Before I can answer her, she vanishes from my sight. I feel a slight breeze next to me; she reappeared, standing four feet away from me!

 

I feel sweat start to form on my brow. “I got you the best arrows my blacksmith could make.” I nervously reply.

 

"Is that so; how many did you bring me?" I feel like I'm being interrogated under her piercing eyes.

 

"400 Lady Pitz," I quickly respond.

 

“And 28 more spears,” Nathanael says from the side.

 

“Let’s take a look at them then.” The general walks past me as I struggle to stand on my weak knees.

 

She walks over to a crate Lurte just placed on the ground. He offers her a crowbar, but she uses her bare hands to rip the lid off with her incredible strength.

 

With her back to me, she reaches inside the crate and removes an arrow.

 

“What is this?” She asks without turning around. Lurte, who can see her expression, looks like the life is being drained from him.

 

"Is something the matter?" I ask. My heart feels like it's about to burst from my chest.

 

She turns around, facing the rest of us. In her hands is an arrow shaft…

 

… just an arrow shaft. Did Aaliyah sell me faulty goods?!

 

Oh gods, because of our fight, I forgot to check the arrows! We headed straight here, and this is the first time we opened the crates!

 

“There must be some mistake,” I stammer.

 

“I’m curious how you plan to explain yourself?” The general slowly walks towards me with the arrow shaft in hand. I feel like the Goddess Ebeon is coming to collect my soul.

 

“It must be a bad batch!” My excuse sounds pathetic even to me; the rage on her faces only intensifies.

 

I don't have time to think of a better excuse, so I double down. "Check the rest of the crates! I'm sure the others are fine!"

 

Sensing the impending doom, my three bodyguards use crowbars to start prying off the lids of the crates. The general casts a sidelong glance at them and watches Reel remove another lid.

 

When his expression drops even further, I start praying for a miracle. He holds up yet another unfinished arrow for everyone to see.

 

"It looks like you and your blacksmith had a falling out. It’s quite a shame.” Bloodlust washes over me with each of her words.

 

She starts walking towards me again.

 

I start to make peace with my life once she's within armlength. She raises her hand and…

 

“Arrowheads!”

 

Her open hand freezes inches before they’re about to grab my neck.

 

She tuns towards Ryiba, who's standing over an open crate. She starts walking towards him, and my legs give out from under me.

 

Sitting on my knees, shaking, I watch her stand over the open crate. She reaches down and removes a shiny arrowhead from the box. It looks flatter than the arrows I usually see sold by blacksmiths and has a weird triangle design.

(Helix arrowhead sold by Strickland’s archery.)

 

"What do we have here?" The general asks curiously. Her bloodlust vanishes as she looks from the arrow shaft in her left hand to the arrowhead in her right one.

 

We watch in suspense as she examines each in great detail. She pays special attention to the base of the arrowhead before looking at the arrow shaft again.

 

“I get it now,” She says to herself.

 

She holds the arrowhead to the shaft and starts twisting it. The two pieces fit together perfectly. She glances at the other crates and walks over to one that hasn’t been opened yet.

 

She places the arrow in her hands in her quiver and rips open the crate with brute strength.

 

I manage to get back to my feet and start to walk closer to everyone else. I begin to sway, but a strong arm wraps around me, helping me stand.

 

I look to my side to see Nathanael helping me closer to the crates.

 

As we approach, I can see inside the crate she just opened. A different type of arrowhead than the one Ryiba found was in there. Aaliyah made two types of arrowheads for the army. The second type of arrowhead has three sides to it made from solid steel.

 

“What a clever design! Look at this Nathanael,” General Pitz redraws the arrow from her quiver and holds it up for us to see. "The arrowheads twist into the arrow shaft so that you can change them out." She says with an excited smile. You couldn't tell she was just about to kill me.

 

“It’s quite interesting, Miss Emily. But is the composition to your requirements?" Holding me up, the captain smoothly directs one of the strongest people in Olebert.

 

"Always to the point, Nathanael." She smiles before staring at the arrow one more time. Her smile grows wider the longer she looks at it. I can't tell if she's using a skill to examine it or if she's just that knowledgeable.

 

“Your blacksmith didn’t disappoint; you should introduce her to me.”

 

“I’m glad you’re happy with the product. She should be making more for you as we speak.” I try to ignore the carnivorous look she’s giving me and deflect her question. “Do you have any specific requests for her, anything she needs to change?”

 

General Pitz laughs like she just heard a good joke. “Good job underappreciating her work yet again. You should be happy I don’t have the time to find her and steal her from you.”

 

I'm shocked at her words. "Let me tell you what you brought me," She holds the arrow up to her eye level. "This arrow is quality steel mixed with some sort of wind nature magic beast parts. Not only does the material have a good magic conductivity, but its internal structure is perfect for channeling magic. Do you see where the arrowhead and shaft are connected? She forged both materials, so their internal magic matrices align perfectly when the arrowhead is screwed in. Not even my houses best blacksmith could replicate this if I asked him to; these arrows are unique. With basic ingredients, she forged arrows good enough for a level 75 archer."

 

I can’t believe what she just told me.

 

“You asked me if I have a request?” The general gives me an almost manic look. “Tell her I want the best arrow she can make me with 10 gold coins. I want her very best!”

 

She looks at Nathanael, "I want these delivered to the fort immediately." She moves back to the crate, and with lightning-fast movements, assembles twenty more arrows. With her quiver full, she pushes off of the ground and soars into the distance.

 

"Let's set you down." Now that his general is gone, Nathaniel moves me up against my cart. He fishes a note out of his pocket that looks like the one he gave me last time I was here.

 

"You said 80 gold, correct? I'm sure you're aware of where you need to cash it." I watch, slack-jawed, as he scribbles on the parchment.

 

“Wait, that isn’t…”

 

“What your goods were worth?" He cuts me off. "I was surprised by the general's assessment, as well. It's a shame you already gave me a price, and I know no self-respecting Silver Herd merchant would renegotiate after their price was accepted." The old man has a sly smile plastered across his face.

 

He whistles, and five soldiers quickly rush over to my cart. With a few hand signals, they're moving the crates of arrows and the spears out of sight.

 

"I hope you understand why I can't stay longer. I'll be waiting for your return, Mr. Kervin." He gives me a friendly salute and walks away.

 

I slam my hand up against my cart. It happened again!

 

Damn it, Aaliyah. You couldn’t warn me about your new design!

 

I sigh out loud. It's not entirely her fault. I never checked the arrows she sold me, and I was too quick to offer that crafty bastard a price.

 

To make matters worse, I’m sure Reel will report this to Giovanni.

 

I need to get back to Drey and hope they were able to gather the materials I ordered. I need to get back to Aaliyah and discuss the general's request.

 

I look up at the conflicting sky. Dark snow clouds are hovering overhead, but it’s so hot it feels like we’re in the middle of summer. We won’t rest in the city tonight; we'll hit the road as soon as I collect my coin from the barracks.

 

I hop onto my cart as soon as the soldiers finish removing everything.

 

I swear, the next time I come here, I'm asking for triple whatever I think I should quote them.

 

I never thought I could be this mad after earning 80 gold coins. Why would Giovanni want to work with the army in the first place!

 

I steer my bivol out of the clearing, ready to leave this cursed city.

 


 

General Emily Pitz Point of View:

 

I watch Kervin, and his bodyguards leave the clearing from my hiding place, watching the young man retreat with a fire in his eyes.

 

That fire will drive him further, Nathanael will have to be careful when he returns with the next order.

 

I push off the ground with my powerful legs, and the world becomes slower in my eyes as my body moves with incredible speed. I stop directly next to Nathanael.

 

He notices me out of the corner of his eye and doesn't look perturbed by my sudden appearance. “What do you think, my lady?”

 

"His new bodyguard is definitely a spy," I confirm his suspicions.

 

"I thought so; I already sent a message to Silver Herd asking for confirmation that he's theirs. If they don't acknowledge his existence or say he's not theirs, I'll have him dealt with if he's stupid enough to return."

 

I smile at Nathanael. "I doubt it will come to that. I can tell by Kervin’s body language that he despises the man but has resigned himself to put up with it. The only reason he would be acting like that would be if he received orders from his company telling him to do so.”

 

The two of us watch the entrance of the clearing, seeing cart after cart being shuffled around.

 

“How long before you can have the goods ready to be transported?” I ask Nathanael.

 

“My men are preparing as we speak. The cart should be ready in five minutes.”

 

"That's good; we need those arrows."

 

“Is Scholl recovering faster than you expected, my lady?”

 

“No, but that was never my worry. We’ve been fighting them for months now and have continuously driven them back despite our numbers. It’s only a matter of time before they send someone to counter me.”

 

“You need more suppliers before they come, then.”

 

“I’m happy I don’t have to explain myself to you. This will be the last time I leave the fort before our reinforcements arrive," I solemnly tell him.

 

“We were lucky you were able to cripple their army as you have. Who knows, maybe the arrow you commissioned will be strong enough to handle your skills and your worrying is for naught.” Nathanael playfully laughs.

 

"I'm not getting my hopes up. The blacksmith can do wonders with magic conductivity, but I doubt her skills are high enough for what I require. If she can create an arrow that can withstand my bow’s force without any of my skills, it will be a miracle."

 

“I’m sure she’ll be happy for the challenge and the chance to work with premium materials.”

 

"Happier than Kervin, I imagine. I thought I told you to give him a good price?" I give my subordinate a questioning look.

 

“He already gave me a good price before you got here, my lady. What would you have me do, renege on such an offer? We don’t have the luxury to do that.” Nathanael’s playful look becomes serious.

 

“How bad is it?” I ask in a low tone.

 

"Our treasury is running low. I told everyone to be stricter with their negotiating, but we can only stretch our reserves so far. I sent word to the local lords again, but I suspect their willingness to help us is fading.” He says with a scowl.

 

“Use my name if you have to. We need to be ready for Scholl’s retaliation.”

 

“It will be done, my lady.”

 

“I trust you to handle it, Nathanael. I have to return to the fort; I leave everything in your capable hands.”

 

“My lady,” Nathanael salutes me.

 

I nod my head in farewell. I activate my movement skills and launch myself back towards the fort, back towards the battle.”

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A note from kosnik4

6,000 words.

 

Hope you liked it.

 

As always, stay safe.


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kosnik4

Bio: Just love a good story.

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