Once the group had left the room, I silently sent a prayer towards Aurivy, asking her where I would need to go next. Next up is… the lycan. He’s at the homeland as well, so there’s no need to change bodies this time if you don’t want to.
I gave a brief nod at that, checking my ki and mana levels, making sure that they were fine to continue. Okay… take me wherever I need to go, then.
This time, there was no golden mist wrapping around me. Just a single blink and I had moved from the dimly lit manor to the top of a tall building within a wide city. It took me a moment to recognize the city, since I hadn’t looked at the maps up close in a while. But… this should be the capital of the Second Kingdom of Accal, if memory served. Though, that question was quickly answered by the paper that appeared in my hands barely a moment later.
Your target this time is Jaythan Shawn, alias Big Bad Wolf. He is one of the most feared assassins among the four kingdoms, his identity shrouded in secrecy from the public. He will accept any paying job, no matter how cruel, cowardly, or dangerous.
I couldn’t help but gulp silently when I read the contents of this mission. Level two hundred and ninety was already a big hurdle, but… I was supposed to assassinate the highest level assassin in the world. If there was a ray of hope, it was that the information did not mention any accomplices. Knowing how thorough Accalia is in her reports, that means that he works alone.
Okay, Accalia… I’ll hunt him, so lead the way. I whispered a silent prayer towards the Goddess of the Hunt herself. Naturally, my first step was to get off the building that Aurivy had placed me on. Something that was rather easy, as there was a door behind me.
As I walked through the city, following the path Accalia set for me, I began to plan for how I could do this. It was safe to assume that a high level assassin would have techniques to find people hiding, so I could not take as much of a stealthy approach. Likewise, if we were to have a prolonged battle, he could possibly even have ways to kill me if I don’t go all out.
The only way to do this would be to settle it with a single, powerful attack. Something that could cripple or kill him all at once, like I had done with the last two. It just became harder here, because I doubted that I could sneak up on him as easily.
As I thought about the situation, I felt the tug from Accalia growing stronger. Glancing up, I saw a large lycan male walking down the road ahead of me, moving towards me. He had a carefree smile on his face, his eyes glancing from building to building. As he scanned over the crowd, he didn’t even seem to register me walking, or at least that’s what it looked like.
A needle… Seeing him, I suddenly realized what I needed to complete this ‘hunt’. Accalia, I need a needle, made of a naturally strong metal that could easily pierce the skin of someone with twenty stamina without any enchantments.
As soon as I said that, I felt something thin and cold pressing against the palm of my hand, and up between my fingers. I didn’t have to look to know that she had immediately provided the weapon that I had asked for. I gave a silent thanks, walking past Jaythan. I couldn’t risk focusing enough on him to peek into his thoughts while he could see me, or he might be on guard against me.
Thanks to Accalia constantly guiding me towards Jaythan, I was able to place some distance between us. I wasn’t surprised to see him out and about at night like this, but it would have certainly made life easier if he was in bed like the last target. Accalia, what is he doing anyways?
He’s… on another mission, Dale. Accalia whispered back to me. Right now, he’s tracking his target, and looking for a suitable location to attack. His current target is the second princess. A few nobles offered him a great deal of coin to get rid of her, as she was a potential political rival for her older sister.
Doesn’t the princess have a retinue of guards or something? I couldn’t help but ask, glancing towards the building next to me. Jaythan should be on the other side of that building…
She does. However, this late at night she will sometimes leave the castle with them to deliver food and supplies to local orphanages and businesses. It’s her charitable nature that makes nobles view her as such a political threat. Abducting her from in front of her guards is child’s play for him.
I gave a brief nod, and in the distance I could hear the clicking of metal against metal and heavy footsteps. That will be her armed guard, then…
Using my chakra, I jumped up onto the building that was separating myself and Jaythan. How long do his victims last before he kills them?
...Up to twelve hours. If the request specifically calls for torture, he can make it take as much as a week before he kills them.
I gave another nod as I heard that, lying in wait and doing my best to keep my presence as minimal as possible. I could see the princess walking down the street, six guards surrounding her. The princess herself was a silver haired beauty, looking to be in her late teens.
As for her guards… each of them were over level two hundred, all wearing heavy metal armor that covered most of their bodies. They were walking down the road, towards the direction where Jaythan was standing. I saw him humming slightly to himself as he walked down an alley, before seeming to disappear.
Moments later, when the princess and her guards turned a corner, he appeared again. Just as the guards behind her lost sight of her, Jaythan appeared next to the princess just long enough to place a hand on her shoulder before the two of them disappeared. A moment later, when the guards had likewise turned the corner, they shouted out in surprise that the princess was nowhere to be seen.
The direction Accalia was tugging me towards suddenly changed, and I looked off towards the side. He was still close, in the second floor of a nearby building where the windows were closed. How did he…
Darkness. Accalia responded quickly. Most people don’t use darkness as a medium for druid travel because the path will be erased when the sun rises and shines light over the area. Water is typically a more reliable solution.
So, he also has levels as a druid, then. I suppose that makes sense. He would need to be able to get around quickly as an assassin, and nobody is better at getting around quickly in this age than a druid.
Before making my grand entrance, I began to construct the technique that I would be using with the needle. Only when it was done, and the needle began to glow with a faint orange light did I move. The princess’s guards were already spreading out to search the area, but it was unlikely for them to immediately check the building that was part of a different street.
Still, I had little time to act, since he was likely preparing a gate that would take him and the princess to his actual base. And, as if to answer my worries, I saw the glow of a fire from within the window. Shit, he’s wanting to create a portal with fire, and then have the fire cover up his tracks?
With no more time to waste, I used my ki to launch myself into the building, shattering the window as I passed. Inside, the princess lay unconscious on the floor, her health bar barely visible over her head. Next to her, Jaythan was standing with a small fireball in his hand, a surprised look on his face.
Immediately, I threw the needle in my hand towards Jaythan, which he seemed to recognize as a weapon. His face darkened, and he easily sidestepped the attack to dodge. The fire in his hand was briefly extinguished, replaced by a dark energy. However, just as he lowered his posture to lunge at me, his eyes widened in shock.
A low glow could be seen behind his eyes, and within his mouth, before a fire began to erupt inside his body. As he fell, I smiled when I saw the needle sticking into his back. The fire would not kill him immediately, but if he wasn’t treated right away then there shouldn’t be any saving him.
Glancing down towards the princess, I wasn’t exactly fond of the idea of letting the fire spread and kill her in her sleep. So, I scooped her up in my arms in a… yes… in a princess carry, and jumped out the window just as the fire began to spread from Jaythan to the wooden floor of the building.
Once we were down on the ground, I stopped suppressing my presence and unsealed my monk levels long enough to have my ki surge, letting her guards detect the ‘sudden presence of someone strong’ in this direction. Then I suppressed myself quickly once again, jumping back onto a nearby building to hide and enjoy the levels that began to pour in. Unsurprisingly, Accalia’s blessing was a boost to wisdom.
Who’s next? I asked again, a small smile on my face as I saw the guards rushing over to surround the sleeping princess. At least this time, I was able to save someone. It may not seem like much, but being able to see that this training was making a difference did help.
Next is the human… you’d better come back up to change bodies for this. Aurivy suggested, and I gave a brief nod.
“Princess, are you okay?!” Jordan called out to the princess laid out in the streets, gently shaking her shoulder. He could feel a weak ki in her body, and urged his own ki in to remove it.
Suddenly, the princess shot up with a sharp intake of breath, her eyes wide. When she was caught, the Big Bad Wolf had paralyzed her with his ki, making her appear to be unconscious. Yet, she had still been aware, her eyes half-lidded and able to see what was going on. “Where is he?” She asked quickly, looking from side to side.
“Your captor had already fled by the time we arrived, your highness.” Her guard informed her at once, causing the princess to shake her head.
“No, my captor was killed long before you arrived.” She said, glancing off to the side. “Please send a druid to the bakery two streets over. You’ll find the body of a lycan there, burning.” She hadn’t been able to make out much, but the way she had been taken… “It should be the Big Bad Wolf.”
The name caused the six guards to take a sharp breath. They had thought that it was a possibility, given that the princess had been taken from right in front of them. Nobody had ever seen the man long enough to confirm anything aside from his race, and even that was from shamans recreating a scene.
“My lady, pardon my rudeness but… if this is true, how are you still here?” The Big Bad Wolf was like a legend, a story used to scare bullies. It was public knowledge that he had never failed in his missions, and anyone marked for death by him was sure to die.
The princess paused, before letting out a low sigh. “I think… one of the Forest dwellers saved me.” She said in a soft voice, remembering how she had been rescued. However, her words caused even more confusion. Those who lived within the Forbidden Forest rarely emerged. And when they did, they strove to keep their identities hidden.
The only time that they had ever gotten directly involved in royal affairs… was the time when they ended the war between the beastkin and the savages to the west. Still, the guards could already hear the fire burning from behind the building they were near, and knew from that alone that the princess’s words had to be true. Urgently, they called for a druid to douse the flame, so that they could recover the corpse of the Big Bad Wolf.