Reivyn looked down at the blade that was pressing into his stomach. It didn't penetrate, as the momentum of the thrust had been interrupted by another man appearing and grabbing the blade, holding it steadily in place. The newcomer had casually slashed the assassin's throat as he appeared like the wind. It wasn't immediately fatal, and with his high vitality, if the assassin could escape and reach a medic in time, he could live.
The veiled man activated the same action, be it Skill or magic item, that he had used to fade out of existence on their first encounter, and Reivyn felt frustration that he would have to continue to be on the lookout for random attacks, but he was hopeless to stop the man from escaping.
But just because Reivyn was hopeless, that didn't mean everyone was. The newcomer casually reached out his hand and grasped the assassin by the shoulder. The escape technique was instantly shattered, and the man stumbled to one knee as he grasped his throat instinctively to try and stem the flow of blood. He looked up at the man who held him in place with wild, panicked eyes.
Reivyn turned his attention to his savior and finally got a good look at him. It was the sword wielding Adventurer whom he had just fought side by side with an hour or so ago. The man had his helmet's visor down as he nonchalantly stood over the assassin watching him die. The dying man reached out for anything to hold in a desperate bid to grasp anything to retain his hold on life, but the Adventurer just swatted his attempts to the side with his free hand.
The combat had stopped in the immediate vicinity of the incident, and the stillness slowly spread all around to encompass the entire field. Everyone who could see was staring at the man lying in a growing pool of blood, and they whispered back what they were witnessing to those whose view was obstructed.
The Adventurer suddenly lifted his hand and reached over Reivyn's shoulder. There was a sort of inevitability to the man's movement. He moved neither slow nor fast, but Reivyn felt a sense that whatever his target was would not be able to flee his grasp no matter how hard they struggled. The man attained his goal, and Ren was unceromoniously dragged out into the forefront.
Ren was using both of his hands to grasp the forearm of the Adventurer as he tried with all of his might to resist being pulled forward, all to no avail.
"What do you - Ahhhh!" A flash of light passed through the space with no apparent movement from the Adventurer, and Ren's left hand flew into the air as it was severed. Ren released the man's forearm to grasp at his amputated wrist and screamed in pain and disbelief. The swordsman casually caught the hand that was tumbling through the air, and then he bent down and rummaged through the assassin's body.
Knight-Captain Reifold and Knight-Lieutenant Brand appeared on the scene, and they were accompanied by their apparent counterparts from the other army. They quickly assessed the situation, and the other army commander's face grew beat red with fury at the sight of a slain soldier. He drew his sword and levelled it at the Adventurer who was rummaging through the corpse.
"Halt, immediately, and surrender yourself for arrest," the man screamed with rage. "Knight-Captain Reifold, what is the meaning of this?" The man's sword never waivered as he slightly shifted his attention towards Reivyn's commanding officer.
Knight-Captain Reifold was about to open his mouth, but he stopped and frowned instead. The Adventurer had completely ignored the threat from the other officer, and he continued to search through the dead man's pockets as if there was nothing else going on in the world around him.
The enemy commander returned his focus to the killer when he noticed the look on Knight-Captain Reifold's face, and his anger finally got the best of him. Without any superfluous movements, the military officer thrust his sword forward towards the Adventurer's neck, but the man simply shifted his weight slightly and tilted his head just enough to let the sword pass harmlessly by. He found what he was looking for and stood up to face the officers who had appeared to confront him.
The man who had attacked stood frozen in place, his sword still outstretched, with a look of confusion and fear clearly visible on his face. Knight-Captain Reifold simply frowned as the two Adjutants simultaneously drew their swords and took up a ready stance. The man casually glanced at them through his visor before tossing Ren's hand and the object he had retrieved from the assassin to Knight-Captain Reifold.
Reifold caught the objects in his hand. The thing from the assassin turned out to be a monocle of some sort. He could feel faint strums of mana from it, indicating it was some kind of magic object.
"Look through it here," the Adventurer said as he gestured towards Ren's severed hand. He then gestured at Reivyn's left shoulder, "And here."
Knight-Captain Reifold brought the the monocle up to his eye as he infused some of his mana into it. The palm of the severed hand lit up with a conspicuous light when viewed through the lens. When he shifted his focus to the youngster's shoulder, it also lit up with a bright hand print.
He cut off the connection with the magic item and placed it into his pocket. He turned to the Adjutant and said, "Private Ren has colluded with the enemy to target one of our own. See to it that he receives the minimum necessary medical treatment for his hand, and then place him in irons. He will be held in the stockade until we return to Magron where he will face Court Martial."
Knight-Lieutenant Brand looked down at the still blubbering Ren. He had finally stopped screaming, but he was curled up in a ball on the ground, cradling his broken wrist. The Adjutant realized he still had his sword in hand, so he sheathed it and then brought his hands together and tapped his fingers together in a nervous gesture as he looked at his superior.
"What is it?" Knight-Captain Reifold asked with narrowed eyes.
"Umm, sir, we haven't built a stockade..." The man trailed off as Knight-Captain Reifold just stared at him. "Ahh, right sir." He lifted his hand and signalled off into the distance. "Sergeant Mok, take a detail of levies and build a stockade. You," he pointed at the squad leader of the third squad of second platoon, "he's your man. You take him into custody."
"Yes, sir," the man replied to the order.
Reivyn was confused as to what had exactly happened. He realized that there was something tying everything together, but he didn't know what it could be. He looked around. The Adventurer was standing there also surveying the situation around himself constantly. The enemy officers had bent down to remove the veil covering the lower half of the assassin's face. He abruptly stood back up, his mouth set into a thin line.
"Well, Jaron," Knight-Captain Reifold prodded. "Do you know this man?"
"I do," Jaron, the other military commander, answered. Everyone stood in silence for a moment, but he didn't continue.
"Are you going to tell me who it is?" Reifold asked again with a stern tone.
"No, I am not."
Knight-Captain Reifold stared at the man, his face an inscrutable mask. Nobody could tell what he was thinking.
"Very well." Was all he said. He turned to the waiting men and made a twirling motion with his fingers as he said, "Return to the pallisade."
The Platoon Sergeants quickly took charge of their men and had them exit the area back towards the fortifications in an orderly manner. The Adventurers sauntered back, and as the man who had involved himself with Reivyn turned to also join his comrades, the enemy commander once again shouted out.
"Stop right there!" He pointed at the Adventurer who had made it about ten feet or so away. "While this man has committed a crime, it is not your place as an outsider to interfere and mete out punishment. You'll have to come with me to answer for your crimes."
The Adventurer halted his steps and turned to face the enemy officer who was standing there pointing his finger, his face a scarlet red from anger. Reivyn could practically see the steam coming out of his ears. Reivyn rolled his eyes, that man clearly cannot control his temper.
The Adventurer gave the man pointing at him an appraising look, and then he took a step forward... and he was suddenly right next to the man, his arm thrown over his shoulder like they were drinking buddies going out to the bar. He bent his head down and whispered something into his ear that Reivyn's Eavesdropping Skill couldn't pick up.
The officer remained in his pose, now pointing into thin air, as the blood drained from his face. The Adventurer reached across with his free arm and gently patted the man on the face in a mocking gesture before extricating his arm from around his shoulder and resuming his walk.
Jaron refused to give up, though, and he raised his voice once more towards Knight-Captain Reifold. "What about the Claim? The battle was inconclusive. We need to appoint Champions and settle this."
The swordsman casually raised his hand and pointed into the air as he continued walking away without looking back. "My team has petitioned to be Champions for Count Ilpir."
Commander Jaron clenched his fists in front of himself with his head down. Reivyn could see him visibly shaking. The man suddenly threw his head back and yelled into the air.
"Dammit!" He spun around and ordered his Adjutant to get the men retreating down the slope. He called out one final time to Knight-Captain Reifold as he moved away. "Even though I couldn't succeed in pressing the Claim, I will report to the Count about your unfair use of these high level Adventurers as Champions. He'll have to give up some benefits."
Knight-Captain Reifold came to a halt at the man's words. He turned and placed his left hand on the pommel of his sword.
"Fair?" He said. "Fair?!" This was the first time Reivyn had ever heard him raise his voice. Even when addressing an entire crowd, it wasn't necessary for him to speak louder. "After the several stunts you pulled today, I will make sure that the Duke is informed. I might not have concrete evidence of your underhanded tactics, but you had better make sure your backside is wiped clean, because I'm coming for you."
Jaron's eyes had gone wide at the tone from Reifold, and he yelped and gave a little hop as he scurried away at his final words.
Reivyn was walking along with his squad mates when the sword wielding Adventurer showed up next to him. He clapped Reivyn on the shoulder.
"You got talent, kid. Maybe one day we can team up proper," and then he was gone. He didn't appear to hurry, but each of his steps was equivalent to ten of Reivyn's, and he quickly rejoined his team.
Reivyn watched as the big, burly man threw his hands in the air and loudly exclaimed, "You scared 'em off! I was going to be a Champion. A Champion. Now what am I gonna do for fun?"
The swordsman eyed him askance, "You call bullying these weaklings fun?"
The bigger man looked between his other comrades who were studiously ignoring the exchange before looking back to the other man and said, "Yes?"
Reivyn shook his head and returned his focus back to his own squad. That man was surrounded by two armies, confronted by two Tier 3's, one of whom I know is a high level Tier 3, and he acted as if they were all air, he thought. What level is he?
It had been a long and arduous day. The Stamina consumption, despite getting topped up in the medical tent, had accumulated a lot of fatigue in Reivyn's body. All of the other squad members had been right there with him throughout the day, so they weren't any better.
The group of tired men dragged themselves to the chow area for a quick dinner before being dismissed for the evening. They had been exempt from any fire watch duties for the night so they could get some proper rest after their harrowing day.
It had, after all, started much earlier for them than the rest of the troops.
Reivyn collapsed onto his sleeping bag as soon as he managed to get his body in its general vicinity. He looked through his notifications one last time.
|Enemies Defeated x13
Combat Resolved. Calculating...
|Simulated Combat Initiated
Mock Battle (Experience x0.25)
Victory or Defeat Undetermined.
X0.25 = Exp +31
|Skills Levelled Up!
Aim (17 ->19)
Athleticism (32 ->33)
Balance (35 ->36)
Battlefield Awareness (1 ->3)
Evasion (25 ->26)
Inspire (4 ->5)
Iron Will (1 ->2)
Medium Armor (19 ->20)
Observation (29 ->30)
Pain Resistance (26 ->27)
Running (32 ->35)
Spatial Awareness (7 ->9)
Strategy (0 ->1)
Tactics (1 ->2)
|New Skill Unlocked!
Mana Manipulation (0 ->3)
Reivyn smiled from the progress as he drifted off into oblivion.