Ranger Levin

by

Tyonis

Ranger vs. Assassin (Part 2)

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Idyia of Tribe Tethys was considered the bottom of the best or the best of the worst within her professional circles. She was an above-average assassin, but not so notoriously skilled that her services were too expensive or exotic for most nobles to afford. Serving Lord Cedric Hasting was supposed to finally push her reputation up to a more respectable level. That all came crashing down with an ear-splitting roar.

While she was on guard duty atop the castle roofs, she felt the «Health» tracking «Spell» Lord Hasting cast upon him flare up and die nearly instantly. As if to punctuate her failure, a loud explosion echoed from one of the furthest watchtowers along the castle walls at nearly the same time. Her head snapped in that direction and she barely made out the form of a human male wearing strange, green clothes brandishing an equally strange staff at Lord Hasting's quarters.

Her eyes widened when the mage jumped off the watchtower and landed hard enough to fracture the cobblestones. Most mages would've cast «Slow Fall» or something similar but this man simply relied entirely on his «Health» to survive that descent. Even more shocking, he was unharmed, which meant he still had «Health» to spare.

Idyia scowled as she deliberated how to react. The more objective tactic would be to cut her losses and run. Another high profile job would come eventually and her tribe would survive on Hasting's advanced payment for a few years.

But she had staked her reputation on this job by openly revealing herself to Lord Hasting's inner circle. Once Hasting's assassination came out, her own skill in espionage would be called into question for years. She would have to rebuild her rapport with her clients by taking low-level jobs. There was no telling how long it would take her to repair her reputation and there was no way she could support her tribe with lower-paying jobs. Moreover, on a personal level, she could not accept such an absolute and humiliating defeat.

So she hounded the mage all the way to his inn room. But what ensued was far beyond her expectations.

Rather than a surprise attack, the mage was ready. As soon as she broke through the window, she was met with three arrows before her feet touched the floor.

«Flash»!

Her shortswords made a series of figure eights so quickly they seemed to merge together. The three arrows met her defense and were repelled. Still, the force behind each shot shocked her; her hands were left numb by the impact.

It was then she knew her target was no mage. Like everyone else, she heard of the Hero who accompanied the Princess, but she did not believe such a lauded individual would bother traveling to this backwater kingdom. The world was too vast and there were said to be only six active Heroes at any one time. She had a higher chance of encountering an ancient dragon than a Hero.

And yet, she stared one straight in the face. She was fighting one in a tiny inn room. The very scenario sounded ludicrous in her mind and she was the one living it.

Then, quicker than she could track, the «Ranger» unleashed a barrage of nine arrows. Even with her enhanced abilities, she couldn't even blink. She pushed her «Attributes» to the very limit and even relied on her «Health» to deflect a few shots, but it only took two hits to drain all of her «HP».

«Triple Shot» with no «Cooldown»?!

She bolted for the window. This was not an opponent she could hope to match in a direct confrontation. Though the room itself was tiny, that small space between them was an immense abyss she could not cross. But her adversary gave her no opening to retreat and nailed her foot to the floor as soon as she started turning on her heel.

That reaction time! Is he reading me that easily?!

While suppressing the pain, Idyia ripped her foot free and limped for the window only to be met with another set of three arrows. She had no choice but to spin and block what she could. She barely managed to parry one arrow with each of her shortswords, but the third pierced straight through her shoulder and pinned her to the wall.

It was then she finally noticed the «Ranger» was fighting her with a longbow drawn fully and at a speed faster than most people she knew that had the «Shortbow Specialization Skill».

Even his «Strength» is leagues above mine!

A second arrow to her opposite shoulder destroyed any hope of resistance. She dropped her shortswords in surrender.

So, this is the power of a Hero. How terrifying.

Idyia hung her head in acceptance of her fate.

===

Idyia lay panting on the castle wall as Levin towered over her. Not a single bead of sweat dripped from his brow and he tossed her his rag and sipped lightly from a steel flask that never ran out of cool water.

“I was able to disarm you quicker, this time,” Levin noted. Idyia swallowed her complaints. But she was fuming within. She had a «Skill» completely dedicated to her style of swordsmanship and her «Dexterity» was about to transcend the mortal coil. Yet she was disarmed in less than a minute in conditions that favored her more than her Master. Levin’s «Intelligence» was so high he was able to master swordsmanship even without a «Skill» or «Aspect» dedicated to one.

No, she reevaluated, in order to match Levin, his opponent would need such an edge just to even out the overwhelming weight of her Master’s «Attributes».

Idyia wondered if he understood just how horrifying he was in comparison to even the finest of warriors. He had the «Strength» of a frontline combatant, the «Dexterity» of an archer, the «Intelligence» and «Wisdom» of a mage, and his force of will wasn’t weak either. Yes, someone else with 16 «Intelligence» could learn as fast as he could, but did they have 16 «Constitution» to train for 6 days straight without rest? Or did they have 16 «Dexterity» to pinpoint every single flaw in the minute of muscle movement?

The answer was a resounding no.

In any one «Attribute», Levin could be matched. But when it came to all of them put together? He was truly in a league above everyone else she had ever met. And the scariest part of all? He had no «Aspect» or «Skill» that supported his melee combat power aside from the strange «Unique Skill». If he had a close-range-combat «Aspect» that allowed him to instinctively identify the most optimal method of attacking and defending, Idyia truly believed he would be unstoppable unless he encountered a demigod. She pitied anyone lesser who earned her Master’s ire.

Slowly, she got up and picked up her training swords. They were dulled, but even if they were sharp, they would definitely be edgeless because of how often and how hard Levin attacked. The intensity of their training meant they broke several blunted practice weapons every day.

“Again, Master.” Idyia demanded, readying her stance. Levin followed suit. There was no signal, simply a silent understanding of when each match began. The sound of metal slamming against metal filled the silence while the rest of the royal guard whooped and hollered at the spectacle. To see two «5th Levels» fight each other was a rarity even in the most expensive of gladiatorial arenas and they got to watch the pair spar every single day. This was also part of Lydia’s strategy to win over any doubters to her claims of Levin’s power.

For Idyia, her goals were simple: she could use Levin as a whetstone for her own sharpening. Very few people were willing or even capable of pushing her to this extent. She could already feel the invisible barrier between C and B Rank slowly breaking down with every battle.

“Idyia, I want to try something,” Levin stated during one of their short breaks between matches. “Don’t be offended, but can you read and write?”

Idyia scoffed but she nodded. “Yes, Master Levin.”

“All right, what do you understand about natural sciences?”

“Natural sciences? I apologize, I do not understand.”

“All right, bear with me. I’m going to teach you as much as I can about the natural world. I think that’s the hidden key behind rapid gains in someone’s «Intelligence».”

“What does such a thing entail, Master Levin?”

“So, we’ll start with the scientific method and move on from there.”

Idyia felt her whole world open up after only a short lesson. From then on, Levin instructed her on what he could recall from his own experiences tutoring his daughter through elementary, high school, and college.


Status

Name

Idyia Tethys

Level

5th

Class

Assassin

Health

30

Mana

35

Attributes

Strength

10

Wisdom

11

Dexterity

15

Intelligence

14

Constitution

12

Charisma

6

===

“Seras, your pawn crosses a dangerous line.”

Within an infinite realm of white, a great abyss of glowing stars and galaxies emerged out of a small, infinitesimal hole in space. Whenever the modium of the night sky spoke, various stars and galaxies lit up like highlighted notes.

Seras appeared as small orb in comparison to the endless sky.

“The «God of Knowledge, Thoth». I am housing many guests this century. Perhaps I should improve my realm's décor?”

“Humor does not suit your True Neutral tone of voice, Seras. The agreement was he would not encroach upon topics that threaten the hegemony of the Primaries.”

“My pawn is knowledgeable, but that knowledge falls within the limitations of our agreement.”

“He is teaching a Dark Elf physics.”

“He and his world have a limited understanding of physics. Even the world he comes from does not fully comprehend it. There is nothing to fear. Our rule will not be shaken.”

“I shall hold you personally responsible for any instability this may cause, Seras.”

“I do what I must to maintain the balance.”


And with that, the starry sky collapsed into a blackhole that vanished into the white landscape. Seras slowly faded back into obscurity.

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A note from Tyonis

I will be splitting my attention between writing the next 50 pages and editing out any issues or mistakes in the last few chapters. If you see any problems in the current and/or older chapters and would like to contribute, please leave a comment to help the editing process go faster!

Thanks for all your help and support! 


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Tyonis

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