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Kervin’s Point of View:

 

"We finally made it!" I cry out as we enter the inspection line to get into Teeburn. A few people passing by give me odd looks, but I don't care right now.

 

We traveled light and never stopped moving, and it still took us eight days to reach the city. We did break a record, though; we were attacked by bandits three times this trip. They swarmed us like flies, almost like they could smell the gold I was transporting.

 

I look over my shoulder at my goods. This is the emptiest my cart has been in a while, yet the few things I'm hauling are worth close to 100 gold coins.

 

I’m vibrating in my seat in anticipation.

 

If the general approves of the arrow, Aaliyah and I stand to make a good deal of profit. I bet the girl is probably in her forge right now, prepping to make the next arrow when I arrive with more kaglese.

 

“What are you thinking about?” I nearly fall off of my cart when Reel whispers in my ear. I never felt him hop into the cart or when he got directly behind me.

 

“The day I no longer need to deal with you,” I snap back at him.

 

Reel only smiles and chuckles at my look of anger. “You say that, but you know you need me. Who was the one that spotted the bandits, and who was the one who killed the most of them?" Reel smiles at my displeasure, showing off his teeth.

 

I don’t acknowledge the man who is a pain in my ass and instead focus on the line in front of me.

 

He's right, though. Ever since I started hauling stuff for Aaliyah, I’ve seen a subtle change in the bandits that attack us. Usually, a bandit group will ask you to give up a part of your wares and let you be on your way if you comply.

 

It's always a gamble what a merchant is carrying, and if too many merchants in an area die, there's less money moving around. And merchants who do travel, travel with a small army, not the kind of target a smart bandit group is willing to take on.

 

I missed the days when it was those types of bandits trying to rob me.

 

The three groups that attacked us were half the size of standard bandit groups; the largest only had five people. But it wasn't hungry farmers or young men desperate for a few coins, the people that attacked my cart this time didn’t try to negotiate.

 

Each tried to ambush us, and if it weren't for Reel, they likely would've succeeded. They were professional highwaymen and knew we were carrying expensive goods even though we didn’t look it.

 

I always thought it was people in the merchant profession who held skills related to money. Still, Reel explained to us every decent bandit has a skill dedicated to sniffing out coin on a person, and the better ones can approximate goods as well.

 

I glance to my left and right at Lurte and Ryiba. They were each only able to handle a single bandit while Reel had to take care of the rest.

 

I’ll have to ask Aaliyah to forge them some better gear when she has some free time, whenever that is.

 

When we make it to the front of the line, I show my credentials, and we're quickly let through after they inspect the crates of arrows.

 

As we make our way down Teeburn’s main road, I try to spot all the differences since we were here last. Many more shops are open, and most of the inns look like they've finally seen a new coat of paint.

 

There are a lot more people walking around as well. The magic weather from the fighting has only grown stronger, so everyone is wearing thick pants along with a light shirt, along with their coats tied around their waists. They're prepared for the weather to shift at a moment's notice.

 

Even though spring is coming fast, it feels like the middle of summer because of this magical heatwave. We all had to take our jackets off when we approached the city, but we're still sweating in our heavy trousers.

 

I see a few restaurants advertising temperature-controlled rooms meant to draw in wealthy merchants and stalls with people offering snow-filled pouches to cool your person. That's quite ingenious; they probably gather the snow when the weather shifts and wait for a heatwave to sell it for a profit.

 

Focus, Kervin, I berate myself. Cracking the reins, I usher my bivol towards the army’s supply station.

 

Sadly, we soon hit another line of carts, trying to make it into the army’s clearing. Lurte and Ryiba keep an eye on the area while Reel lays down in the back of the cart.

 

It takes over an hour before we reach the front of the line, and I can better see the clearing the army is using to receive goods. Gone are the haphazard spots for carts to park, and in their place are marked areas each wagon has to fit into. Many carts are pushed close together, enough so you can’t walk in between them.

 

"Name and plate?" A male soldier asks me. Despite the hot weather, he's standing tall in full gear and has an emblem designating him a lieutenant.

 

“Kervin, from Silver Herd,” I tell the man and hand him my plate.

 

He visually perks up when he hears my name. He takes my plate and scans over it lightning fast. “Mr. Kervin, it’s good to have you back.” The soldier hands me my plate back and sends a few hand signals across the clearing.

 

Another soldier comes running over. The man who inspected my plate turns to the new arrival. "This is Kervin from Silver Herd; take him to the captain's reception area."

 

“Sir,” the new soldier salutes his superior officer and gestures for me to follow. I never thought I would ever end up receiving special treatment like this.

 

We’re escorted back to the area we used for our private meeting last time, and I'm surprised how much they've improved it. One of the old buildings that made up the alley we conducted our business in is torn down, and a tent has taken its place. The area is level and even has a campfire going.

 

And just like in the central clearing, they have a space set aside for carts to park.

 

"The captain will be here momentarily," the soldier informs me before walking back to his post.

 

“Let’s get the crates unloaded and opened before he arrives,” I direct Lurte and Ryiba. Reel gets up to help now that he’s in the army’s camp and needs to look productive.

 

The six crates holding the arrow shafts and arrowheads are quickly unloaded.

 

Soon I hear an excited voice behind me, “Kervin, I was waiting for you to return!” I almost activate my merchant skills just from hearing Captain Nathanael’s voice.

 

I make sure to put on a polite smile before I turn around.

 

“Captain Nathanael, you’re looking well. I see you’re getting busier.” I offer up some small talk.

 

“That we have,” he tells me. “Did you wait long?”

 

“It took us an hour just to make it into your clearing,” I offhandedly inform him.

 

"That won't do," he says with a serious look on his face. "Whenever you have a delivery for the general, you can come to the front of the line. My men will take care of it." I try not to look intimidated by how quickly he shifted into business mode upon hearing how long I had to wait.

 

“I’ll thank you in advance then,” I slightly bow my head.

 

"Think nothing of it. The general is very pleased with the arrows you've already sold us and is excited to receive her order. Did it turn out as planned?" The captain smiles at me, but his eyes drill into me, looking for any weakness.

 

This old man is just as tricky to deal with like last time. "Our blacksmith did complete the order but got carried away in the process, I’m afraid."

 

“Are you trying to raise your price after accepting the job?” The captain questions me with a stern glare.

 

“I thought we were friends?" I ask, raising an eyebrow. "Haven't I stuck to my prices in the past? I believe it was you who asked me if I would go back on my word last time," I point out to him.

 

The captain blankly stares at me before replacing his frigid look with a happy smile. "I don't remember what I said exactly last time, but friends aren't held up on trivial details like that."

 

I curse the crafty swindler while he playfully laughs. He knows as well as I do that the negotiations have already begun even if we aren’t arguing over numbers yet.

 

I wait for his fake laughter to die down before discussing the general's order. "I am well aware of the budget the general gave me, and I plan to honor it. The price will remain 10 gold coins; you can consider it as Silver Herd's goodwill towards our country's military that's working so hard to protect us."

 

"I'm sure your generosity will be well received. If the general likes the arrow, how much do you plan on charging for others like it?" The captain casually asks.

 

Not this time, you old demon, "It's hard to say. Our craftsman is positive; they can further improve the design. Who's to say the next arrow will be worth the same as the one I have right now. I’ll have to wait to negotiate further deals.” Take that; I gloat to myself.

 

"That sounds quite reasonable," the captain nods his head, but I can see a new crease on his forehead. "Why don't we settle on the price for the other arrows you brought then." When he realizes he can't lock in the future arrows' prices, he smoothly switches targets. "How many did you bring this time?"

 

“I have 400 of the same arrows I delivered last time, switchable arrowheads and all. It would've been more but fulfilling the general's order took precedence."

 

"That's quite all right. Every arrow you can sell us is appreciated. Give me a moment, and I'll write you a form for you to pick up 50 gold coins at our offices.” Captain Nathanael starts to walk over to his tent.

 

"Wait just a minute," I call out to him. The captain stops and turns back towards me. "I'm sorry to say, but we need to renegotiate their price as well.”

 

"I believe I gave you a very generous price the last time you were here." I feel the captain's merchant skills activate.

 

I grit my teeth as I’m suddenly urged to agree with him. I activate my own skills to reduce the effect of his. “The materials the arrows are made out of are becoming harder to get ahold of. The materials were locally sourced, so a fair price was hard to pinpoint.”

 

“Does that mean you have a price already in mind?” Captain Nathanael asks.

 

“25 silver an arrow,” I tell him.

 

Captain Nathanael's smile straightens out. "We agreed on 10 silver a piece last time; you wish to charge us over double for the same product?" My legs start to tremble under the weight of his stare, but I don't give in.

 

Aaliyah trusted me to do business on her behalf. “I do. You know as well as I do how much the arrows are worth.”

 

“And what if I don’t want to pay that price?” The captain walks menacingly over to me.

 

I gulp down the saliva accumulating in my mouth and stutter out, “Then I’ll sell the arrows to a merchant heading towards the capitol. I’m sure they would pay me more than 10 silver an arrow.”

 

“You’ll take 12 silver per arrow.” I feel the captain’s skills decimate my own, demanding I take the deal.

 

“24.5,” I retort through my clenched teeth, refusing to be bullied into submission.

"You are aware of who I represent, don't you? It would be wise not to push my master's generosity; 14 silver an arrow."

 

I want to say 24.25 an arrow, but the captain's skills keep me from saying it out loud. "21 silver, each," I end up countering.

 

“Tell me, do you think you can bleed us dry? 15 for an arrow.”

 

I can feel the sweat forming on my face, and it isn't from the heat. I gather my courage, "Silver Herd would never try to take advantage of the military. I wish I could agree to your prices, but I represent the blacksmith who created the arrows. I've undersold her goods our last two deals, and I won’t let it happen a third time. 17 silver for each arrow, and that’s my final compromise!” I stand my ground against the weight of the captain.

 

Our eyes lock onto each other, and a silent battle of wills breaks out.

 

I think I can hold out.

 

As soon as that thought enters my head, the pressure from Captain Nathanael's skills increases dramatically. Damn, he was still holding back against me!

 

When my legs start to tremble, and I'm about to fall to my knees, the pressure around me vanishes.

 

“Alright, 17 silver each.” Captain Nathanael smiles at me. “I haven’t seen a merchant improve as fast as you in a while. Took you long enough to figure out your goods’ worth, though.”

 

“What, but what about going against the army?” I ask him slack-jawed.

 

"I was seeing if you'd fold under a little pressure. I didn't think you would threaten to sell your goods elsewhere, though. Your arrows are too important to the general, and I'd have to play dirty if you actually tried to leave." The captain may be smiling and congratulating me, but I can see the resolve in his eyes. If it came to it, I’m sure he would detain me and confiscate my wares if he had to.

 

Our skills finalize the deal, and my body can finally relax as we shake hands.

 

The captain signals a few nearby soldiers, that move over to grab the crates of arrows. He then precedes to fill out a ticket good for 78 gold coins, 10 for the general's order, and 68 for the other arrows.

 

Captain Nathanael hands me the ticket, which I quickly stash in my side pouch. "Now that's over, can I see the arrow for my lady?”

 

“Of course,” I tell him. I move over to my cart and withdraw the long box I placed the arrow in. Flipping the front latch, I carefully open the box and hold it in my arms for the captain to inspect.

 

He digs through the fabric I wrapped the arrow in, and when his eyes settle on the arrow itself, I can see a genuine look of shock cross his face. He quickly hides his surprised expression, “My skills are telling me the materials used on this arrow are quite expensive. I know you said you wouldn’t give me a price for the future arrows, but if my master likes the arrow, what is the price range we’re looking at?”

 

“40 gold coins,” I tell him, trying not to look nervous.

 

A few nearby soldiers stumble upon hearing the price, but Captain Nathanael nods in understanding. "I'll discuss it with my master. Would you mind waiting here for a little while?”

 

Like I have a choice. “Are you having the arrow brought to the general now?” I ask.

 

“I am,” Captain Nathanael confirms my suspicions and glances at one of his subordinates. “Get Keill over here. Tell him I have an important delivery for the general.” The soldier salutes and scurry’s off.

 

Nathanael focuses back on me. “Keill is our best runner. It will only take him 20 minutes to deliver the arrow to the fort. We should find out if my master likes the arrow quite soon.”

 

The captain's smile sends a shiver down my back, but my job isn't finished yet. "If I may, can I ask you some personal questions regarding the general?”

 

Captain Nathanael’s good-natured smile hardens. “Personal information regarding my master does not leave house Pitz. Why are you asking this all of a sudden?”

 

Everyone around us tenses. I quickly blurt out the questions Aaliyah asked me to find the answers to before he thinks spies approached us for the information. "Our craftsman wanted to know if she was right or left-handed and what her draw length was. It's the length the general has to…”

 

"Draw her arrow back," Captain Nathanael interrupts me. "My master is a renowned archer. I know what a person’s draw length is.”

 

I cringe as Captain Nathanael leans over and closes the box, and takes it from my arms.

 

“Keill, reporting for duty, captain. What’s the delivery?” I jump from the sudden voice next to us. I don’t know how much more my heart can take. A soldier dressed from head to toe in a camouflaged suit that resembles the rocky terrain around Teeburn scared me half to death with his sudden appearance out of nowhere.

 

“Delivery for the general, her hands only.” Captain Nathanael tells the runner while handing him the box.

 

"Understood!" The soldier hugs the box close to his chest, and the box seems to take on the same color scheme as his suit, making it difficult to spot. He turns and dashes off at an incredible speed.

 

"Almost as fast as her." I hear Reel mumble behind me. Who is he talking about? I send him a quick glance, but he pretends like he didn’t say anything.

 

"Wait here while I talk to my master. It will be up to her if I answer your questions." Captain Nathanael doesn't so much as spare me a second look before he walks off.

 

With my head lowered, I walk back over to my cart and climb back onto my seat. Lurte and Ryiba get comfortable on top of a stack of old bricks nearby.

 

I bury my head into my hands, missing the days I haggled with old ladies in villages over yarn and other simple items.

 

“Tired already?” I hear Reel mock me off to the side now that we’re alone again.

 

I don't even take my face out of my hands. "Shut up, Reel."

 


 

General Emily Pitz’s Point of View:

 

“He asked which hand you prefer to shoot with and your draw length. Apparently, the blacksmith thinks they can improve the arrow further.” Nathanael’s voice echoes out of a ball of magic in the communication mage’s hands.

 

“Did she now? You’re getting my hopes up Nathanael, did the arrow appear top-notch to you?" I ask, without hiding the excitement in my voice.

 

"It did, my lady. I can't judge the magic capabilities, but the materials are definitely tiered 3 and 4. The shaft itself looks like it's pure kaglese." I rub my hands together, listening to Nathanael.

 

“And you sent it by runner already?” I ask for the third time.

 

“It should be at your gates any minute now, my lady,” Nathanael reassures me, unperturbed by me asking the same question again.

 

"I'll contact you as soon as I inspect the arrow," I inform him.

 

"I'll be waiting, my lady." The connection cuts out between us, and the mage in front of me wipes the sweat from their face.

 

"Good job holding the connection," I tell the mage. Messages sent by magic are usually short to save mana, but I talked to Nathanael for nearly twenty minutes.

 

“Thank you for the praise, General Pitz. May I…?” the mage looks at a nearby bench.

 

I nod my head, acknowledging his rest request. I leave the exhausted mage behind and start walking towards the front gate, followed by Cristopher in the shadows.

 

“Cristopher, send word to Norah to meet me in my office.” I send my steward to have our enchanter ready to inspect the arrow as soon as it arrives. I’ve been checking in with the enchanter regularly these days, enough so that I finally learned her name.

 

My smile widens when I feel Cristopher’s presence disappear.

 

Everyone I pass trembles as I walk by and gives me a large berth. I should probably rein in my enthusiasm, but I've been waiting for this order for a while now. And the arrow has to be good, or that sniveling merchant wouldn't dare throw out a 40-gold price tag for the next one.

 

“Ready to open the gate! Personal delivery arriving!” I call out, causing the people in charge of the massive doors to jump in surprise.

 

The gate guards steal glances at me as they prepare to crack open the doors to allow the runner through. I rarely come here myself, considering I'm able to leave by hopping over the walls. At least I’ve slowly become used to my men staring at me.

 

“Runner arriving! Confirmation 712-35v!” We all hear the authentication code coming from beyond the gate. Without being told, the gatekeepers crack the doors for the runner to come in.

 

The camouflaged runner slips past the gates and buckles over panting.

 

“Runner through, closing!” The gatekeepers echo to one another as they quickly shut and lock the gates. Scholl hasn't made a push to take the fort in over a week, but we can never be too careful.

 

I walk over to the winded runner. “You have your delivery?”

 

"For the general's arms only," he wheezes, facing the ground, not realizing who he's talking to.

 

“That’s why I’m here, soldier.” It’s hard not to laugh when the runner jumps upon hearing me.

 

The runner's camouflage isn't strong enough to keep me from seeing his shocked reaction underneath. “Please forgive me, general. I didn’t notice you were waiting for me.” He hesitates between saluting me and dropping to his knees to beg for forgiveness.

 

I may enjoy giving the men a little scare now and again, but I don't know where their image of me comes from? It's not like I would kill one of our best runners just because he didn't notice I was standing here.

 

I shake my head in dissatisfaction, which causes the runner to pale. "Just hand me the delivery," I choose to move on rather than taking the time to explain why I'm not mad at the poor man.

 

He hands me the wooden box with trembling hands.

 

I put part of my strength into my legs and rocket away from the staring soldiers who were expecting me to punish the frightened runner.

 

You kill one spy impersonating one of your men, and everyone thinks you're a homicidal general, I complain to myself.

 

I ignore everyone's shouts of surprise as I rush to my office.

 

My displeasure quickly fades when I open the door to my office and see Cristopher and Norah waiting for me.

 

“Is that it?” Cristopher points at the box I’m carrying in my arms.

 

“It is,” I answer him as I step into my room and shut the door behind me.

 

“Did you look at it yet?” I’m a little surprised by Cristopher’s excitement. I can understand why Norah looks like she’s about to explode with excitement, but I didn't think Cristopher would be this enthusiastic overseeing my delivery as well.

 

"I haven't had time yet; move out of the way." I brush him aside and set the box on top of my desk. Norah moves closer to me but keeps a respectful distance between us.

 

I flick the simple latch holding the box shut and open the case. The box must have been used to hold a sword, and it's obvious it was randomly grabbed to hold the arrow.

 

I frown, seeing the rags and other miscellaneous fabrics packed into the small box so the contents wouldn’t shift in transit. Why the waste of material? Any arrow meant for me wouldn't be damaged even if you set a crate on top of it?

 

Reaching into the fabric, my fingers brush up against a smooth metallic surface. Like pulling a magic gem out of a mud pit, the beautiful arrow slips out of discarded textiles.

 

“It looks nice, but is it that good?”

 

“General?”

 

“Are you ok?!”

 

I hear Cristopher's voice, but it’s nothing more than a ringing in my ears. I blankly stare at the arrow in my hands.

 

The shaft is pure kaglese mixed with mithril, and for the fletching, they used fechin feathers, both good materials but not rare by any standards. However, I've never seen the material used for the arrowhead.

 

My eyes travel every inch of the arrow, taking in its immaculate form. An appraiser would swear it was cast forged, but I can instinctually tell it wasn't forged in such a cheap way.

 

As I pour my magic into the arrow, it freely flows through the whole thing and gathers in the arrowhead. I've held pure kaglese swords before, but none of them have channeled my magic this smoothly.

 

A hand waves in front of my face breaking my concentration. "General! Is it cursed, maybe poisoned?!" Cristopher shouts in my ear.

 

“What are you yelling for, fool?” I snap at my steward.

 

"Thank the gods," he shouts. "As soon as the two of you looked at the arrow, you froze. I thought it might have been a trap of some sort from Scholl."

 

"What?" I glare at the overdramatic man. I look over at my side and see Norah staring wide-eyed at the arrow in my hands.

 

Is that what I looked like? Maybe Cristopher was right to be worried?

 

“Norah,” I try calling out to her.

 

“She’s under the same spell you were,” Cristopher informs me.

 

"Norah!" I activate Commanding Voice, and the girl finally notices I was calling out to her.

 

"Y-e-s g-e-n-e-r-a-l!" She stumbles for a response. It takes a minute for her brain to catch up, but when it does, her cheeks turn crimson. "I'm sorry," she hangs her head in shame or embarrassment, I'm not sure which.

 

"It's fine; I was surprised too." I offer her the arrow.

 

"May I?" She asks, flustered.

 

“Would I be offering it to you otherwise?” I raise an eyebrow at the enchanter.

 

She carefully takes the arrow from my hands and holds it to her eye, focusing on the detailed maker’s mark.

 

“Is there something wrong with the arrow?” Cristopher asks.

 

I can’t help but scoff at the idea. “Far from it, the arrow is better than I ever dreamed,” I inform my steward.

 

“Really?” He asks in disbelief.

 

I nod my head. “The arrows we bought from Kervin were good for an archer around level 75. That arrow,” I point at the arrow Norah is currently drooling over, “Was made for someone over level 100.”

 

Cristopher finally realizes why Norah and I were spellbound. I’ve bought plenty of arrows over the years, and I have experience with arrows meant for someone above level 100. Creating something meant to be freely used by someone with high stats is hard to do, even for experienced artisans. I'd dare say the materials she used to forge this arrow have been pushed to their very limits. Even if a Stone kin master smith used the same materials, I doubt they could forge a better arrow.

 

“Is it as good as the arrows you order from the Stone Kin?” Cristopher hastily asks.

 

“No, it isn't to that level yet," I inform him. "I don't know what Stone Kin use to forge my arrows, but even when I level, they can still handle my increased stats. Other than using my tier 5 skills, the arrows I buy from the Stone Kin don't break, ever. My specialty arrows are meant for level 125+; this arrow is good for someone between level 100 and level 110."

 

“So only a difference of fifteen levels, that isn’t so bad,” Cristopher remarks.

 

He makes it sound so easy. Not even 1% of blacksmiths in our kingdom ever make something like this, and the person who forged it is a young village girl living out in the middle of nowhere.

 

After level 100, it becomes harder and harder to find materials that can stand up to your stats. Every five levels or so, a person above level 100 need to replace their equipment. Not only did she make something useful for someone above level 100, but it would last them their next ten levels. There are only maybe ten individuals in our kingdom that would have proper use of an arrow like this.

 

I’ve found a future hegemon of Olebert. Someone who quite possibly will be able to compete with Stone Kin craftsmen.

 

“Norah.”

 

“Yes, general?” She looks up from the arrow.

 

"I want you to enchant it, so it's as durable as possible. Can you do it?"

 

"I'll do my best, but it will take me some time to accomplish. I've never worked on something like this before. If I mess up on the engraving, I can do more harm than good," she honestly tells me.

 

“I understand. Take your time and inform me when it’s ready.”

 

"I'll get started on it right away." I nod my head, and Norah practically bursts through my office’s door, heading for her workshop.

 

“Cristopher, take over command outside for a while. I need some time alone.”

 

My appointed steward gives me a questioning glance but agrees to my request. He shuts my door behind him as he leaves, and I patiently wait for him to stop hiding outside.

 

Once I’m sure I can no longer sense Cristopher lurking outside, I reach into a small pocket that's hidden in my belt. I pull out a gold ring that's encrusted with ten different mana gems and slip it on my finger.

 

I pour mana into the magic item and wait for Nathanael to pick up. As long as one person is supplying mana to one of the rings, the connection will form even if Nathanael can't use magic himself.

 

The two-way communication rings are magic items that have been in the Pitz family for generations. Noble families don’t advertise that they have things like these, and I only use it when I need to have private conversations with Nathanael without going through a mage.

 

“My lady, is something the matter?” Nathanael’s worried voice whispers in my ear.

 

“Nothing like that, Nathanael,” I assure him. “Is the merchant still there?”

 

“Of course, my lady. He’s waiting on your response.”

 

“Good, tell him I want as many arrows as his blacksmith can craft as soon as possible. You can negotiate the price, but they're worth every coin.”

 

“If you’re contacting me through our rings, then I’m to assume the arrow was above your expectations?” Nathanael asks me.

 

I can't help but laugh, "Someone at level 110 can use the arrow."

 

A silence falls between us, and I can just imagine the shocked look on Nathanael’s seasoned face.

 

“Give him the information he wanted,” I communicate through my magic ring.

 

“By your will, my lady. Is there anything else you require?”

 

“Yes. Send word back home; I want one of our best representatives to travel to Blaiton and meet with the head of Silver Herd. I want an introduction to the blacksmith after our reinforcements arrive,” I command Nathanael.

 

“I’ll see to it immediately, my lady.”

 

“I’m sure you will. If I need to contact you further, I’ll go through a mage.”

 

“Happy hunting, Lady Emily.”

 

"You too, Nathanael." I stop supplying mana to my ring, and the connection goes out.

 

I walk behind my desk and sit in the rickety chair that's been in this fort for decades. It will take weeks to send someone from our family estates to Blaiton, but by then, I should be able to turn over the fort to whoever they sent as my replacement.

 

I’ll have to be sneaky. I don't have the luxury to walk through a city without being noticed. People pay attention, no matter where I go.

 

It will be worth it, though, if I can get my hands on someone who can craft proper arrows for me. She already believes she can make even better arrows.

 

The chair groans as I lean back, and I can't help but grin at the idea of meeting someone so talented.

 

I'm just about to chuckle out loud, but my enhanced senses pick up Cristopher running back towards my office. I quickly sit up and face the door. He isn't wasting time by hiding himself, so it has to be important.

 

He only knocks twice before flinging the door open, almost ripping the worn out thing off its hinges. "General! Bad news, we lost contact with our scouts.”

 

The happy expression on my face slips away. “Which one?” I ask for clarification.

 

“That’s the thing, all twelve have suddenly gone dark. And not one of them reported anything abnormal during their last check-ins.” Cristopher explains with a worried expression.

 

I smoothly get up from behind my desk and grab my bow and quiver. “Send word to all personnel that the fort is on emergency notice as of now and recall all our forward units," I command.

 

“All of them?” Cristopher questions.

 

“All of them!” I firmly tell him. “I’ll investigate by myself. You’re in charge until I return.”

 

"Yes, general," Cristopher salutes me, and we split up. While he prepares for the possibility of an attack, I rush to the fort’s walls and vault over.

 

What is Scholl up to now?

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A note from kosnik4

5,600 words.

 

Hope you enjoyed the chapter, and as always, stay safe.


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kosnik4

Bio: Just love a good story.

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