Chapter 11 – Difference in power
‘So much for that approach.’
Just before stepping through the portal to rescue the princess, we established an Echo link. Basically, we could communicate with one another via multiple receivers. Since the echo messaging system was used through telepathic links, we could converse without opening our mouths.
That would greatly reduce the possibility of those around us hearing our plans and strategy, giving us a leg up. Safe to say, it was a good call; as I opened a portal, it displayed an image of where we would be transferred.
The image showed a group of men crowding around something. A closer inspection revealed the princess. Mad couldn’t describe what Drakus felt as he let out a maddening scream and charged through. Rushing into the portal caused us to feel a small nauseating feeling.
“Drakus! Calm down.”
“I’m going to kill them! I’m going to kill them!!”
“Drakus, please control yourself! If we engage them without a plan, we will drag her and the hostages into our fight.”
Listening to my voice of reason, I managed to calm him and back off for now.
Managing to stop Drakus from going on a rampage, I quietly assessed the situation. From the looks of it, the situation was horrible. The princess was laid bare on the floor, her guards were bunched up together unconscious, one was bleedings, and we were surrounded by not only guards but what looked to be assassins as well.
We have still yet to determine our strength compared to this world. The worst case scenario would be that we were weak. If so, then fighting should be a last resort. Putting my brain in overtime, I came up with a plan.
The knight called Mordrid looked to be calling the shots. So, the first order of business was to ‘talk’ with him. How? By bluffing of course.
They didn’t know us and we don’t know them. We’re both enigmas that should be handled with caution; so, we needed to take advantage of the situation. Putting on the best arrogant and narcissistic attitude I could muster; I tried to weasel us out of the situation.
All the while Drakus and Reptilia spoke in my head.
“Huh, never knew you could sound so cocky. Where did this come from?”
“It’s called acting Reptilia. Now please I have to focus.”
“Why not take them out? If we use our most powerful spells and attack, then they wouldn’t be a problem.”
“In any situation, I would agree with Drakus. However, we have no idea where’s the town’s folk are. We can’t involve innocent lives in our fight.”
Going back and forth, we eventually reached a boiling point and negotiation broke down.
“So much for negotiations,” I said with a groan.
Left with no other opinion, we retaliated. Using it as an experiment, I tested the waters. Using a second ranked spell, |Mana Burst| I needed to see our strength compared to theirs. The results were greater than I expected.
Around twenty guards charged at us. Altina attacked and killed about seven with blinding speed. My spell killed the other seven. It was a low tier spell, yet it did so much damage. Imagine if I used a third or one higher. For Drakus however, there was his case.
Busting out one of his more powerful skills, he killed the remaining guards in a blazing slash. Sounds of the flesh burning accompanied the putrid smell. As I watched from a distance, I came to the realization that we just took human lives. We were once humans ourselves, yet I felt nothing. No sadness or horror, it was as if I simply didn’t care.
But it wasn’t just me. Drakus and Reptilia were in the same boat as me. Drakus more out of anger, but even still. As humans, one reason we simply don’t kill willy-nilly was because of our morality to respect other living beings. Yet, we threw it all out the window. What were they feeling? Were there regrets or perhaps, just like me there was nothing?
‘A question for a later date unfortunately.’
“Negotiation have failed. Guess a fight was inevitable after all?” Speaking up, Drakus brought my attention back to the matter at hand, seemingly eager for a fight.
Now that was the million dollar question. I was too occupied, but I managed to form a basic strategy to deal with our opponents.
“Reptilia, take Sirva and deal with the assassins outside of towns. If I’m correct then are some assassins hiding in the outskirts of the town. Most likely reinforcements. We can’t allow them to escape. Altina, Drakus and I will stay here and deal with them.”
“Are you sure you boys can handle them? There is well over a hundred people here.” Voicing her concern, I tried to quell Reptilia’s doubts.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure we can handle it. Watch your back out their Reptilia.”
Since Altina and Sirva couldn’t hear our thoughts, I had canceled the echo channel and informed them. They both understood their roles. Sirva and Reptilia disappeared, leaving Altina, Drakus and I left to deal with all of them.
“So, how are we going to handle this?” Speaking up, Drakus gave me a curious glance while maintaining a vigilant eye on our enemies.
“Drakus, I’ll leave the guards to you. With your monstrous strength, you’ll have no trouble fighting them. I’ll be taking on the assassins by myself.”
“Are you sure? You are a mage and they are assassin, they do counter you.” Looking my way, a geniuine look of concern crossed his face.
“That may be true but need I remind you that we’re not in Eternia? If I am right, then they won’t be a problem. Just take care of the guards and try your best not the level the town. Now then, |Life Cocoon|, |Tri-Barrier|”
Before the fight can go underway, there was one more thing that needed to be taken care of first. Activating my two spells, light bent around the princess. A faded outline of the barrier could be see covering her. Walking forward, Altina stepped through the barrier and stood by the princess.
“Good, now we can fight without any interruptions.”
Turning around, I was pleasantly surprised that Mordrid and his men didn’t attack. They were kind enough to wait. Well, waited wasn’t the exact term, petrified was more apt. Our earlier display of our power instilled a heavy fear into them.
Sensing one last opportunity to end this peacefully, I took the initiative.
“I’ll say this only once. Give up or else.”
Screaming his a response, he charged at us followed by the guards. I thought we would have resolved the issue without violence, but that wasn’t the case.
“Let’s get this over with.”
“Agreed. |Enchant: Warrior’s Courage |, |Enchant: Light Feet|”
Casting two support spells on Drakus, he leaped; no flew forward with a single jump. Closing the distance between him and Mordrid in mere seconds, Drakus planted his feet against Mordrid’s chest-piece. Mordid was sent flying straight through several buildings.
Continuing his momentum, he swung in a circular fashion, decapitating those close to him. Fountains of blood spurted from their body, a geyser of blood and gore rained down. Painting Drakus in blood. Watching their comrades die in a matter of seconds caused many to freeze up.
“You fools! Target the mage, do not allow him to provide support to the demi-human.” A powerful voice yelled out, taking control of the situation. The one issuing orders was an assassin. By the looks of it, he was the leader of the whole operation.
‘Well, at least I know where to start.’ I thought to myself as my eyes laid upon the assassin’s leader. Striding forward, the sound swords clashing diminished. Quickly a number of assassins surrounded their leader, taking a defensive stance.
“So you’re the leader of this operation? I said as we stood but mere meters away.
The leader’s gaze moved up and down, as if sizing me up. “I must say that I’m quite surprise. I didn’t expect the princess rescue squad to be so young.” Speaking in a gravel voice, there was a hint of mockery in his words. “You must be stupidly confident or insane if you think a mage, such as yourself could take us on.”
“I would say you got lucky, if it were Drakus, then all of you would be dead in a matter of minutes. Besides, I’m no ordinary mage.”
“Hmph.” The assassin simply scoffed. “We shall see who’s smiling once you and your friend are dead and the princess is back in our hand.” Flicking his wrist, several assassins rushed towards me. Their speed was certainly impressive, almost as fast as a cheetah.
However, when comparing them to Drakus. They might as well be slowly jogging towards me. Kicking the ground, I was in the air in seconds. In the sky, time seemingly slowed as I watched them. Their attack missing before their heads turning towards the sky in surprise.
“I should probably take some pre-cautions…just in case. |Enchant: Mythril Skin.|, |Mana Spheres|”
The mana around me slowly condensed into orbs. Like a loaded machine gun, I fired them down upon the assassins. They were quick to catch on and scattered amongst the hail of projectiles. Back on the ground, the assassins were jumping around; using the buildings as platforms.
Landing, I continued my barrage of spheres but it was clear that the assassins weren’t going to go hit that easily. They were extremely nimble. The speed at which they moved was faster than my spells. Even then they were coordinated like circus performers, they helped on another out; performing tricks and maneuvers to escape.
“Fine, let’s try this.” Whispering under my breath I went for a different approach. Creating and gathering as much mana spheres as I could create. Releasing them all, they shot in all directions. As per usual the assassins agilely dodged them all. This time however, some weren’t so lucky.
Cries filled the air as some of the assassins dropped like files. “Gotcha!” I scream, a smile on face; evident that plan worked out. Over the coming days, I conducted several experiments to test the limitations of my new body.
One thing I learned that I had an acute control over my mana. An attack like my Mana Spheres, if I were to apply some concentration, I could freely control the spheres to some extent. However there were two glaring flaws.
For starters, I could only control a set amount. And so far I could only control the trajectory of the spheres. The second issue lies in the fact that it needed to be in my line of sight if I wanted to control it. And even then I had some difficulties.
My victory was short lived as new assassins filled up their ranks. For a while this was how the match went on. The assassins kept their distance and occasionally charged in for a quick strike and every time I would repel them back.
All I could do was hold them at bay for now. While they were distracted, I took a quick glace to check up on Drakus. As a warrior, he fared much better against his opponent. The guards were all but petrified at Drakus. He attacked with relentless ferocity, not caring if they got hit on him or not. Sighing under my breath, it was one of the few times I regretted not bringing better protective armor.
The moment of distraction gave enough time for an assassin to get in close. Cursing under my breath, I was a second too late as one landed a strike. A blade straight through the jugular.
‘Damn it!’ I cursed, blaming my carelessness. Immediately blood rushed up my throat, making it hard to breathe. The burning sensation of wound exposed. The moment was soon replaced by another feeling entirely.
The moment the blade injured me, numbers popped up as well as my HUD. But it wasn’t just that, it was the exact same HUD from Eternia. The number flashed before my eyes and subtracted from my total health bar. Everything was the same as it was back in Eternia.
‘What did that mean? How could an in-game feature being popping up in real life? And why didn’t it showed up when Drakus and I fought in the Sanctuary? Was there some prerequisite that I missed?’ More and more questioned piled up as they were left unanswered. However I couldn’t exactly answer them with a blade stuck in my throat.
‘Does that mean our life is connected to our health bar? What would happen if it were to reach zero?’ That was the biggest question on my mind.
The damage the assassin dealt to me was almost hilarious. Despite being an Alvian, who was very susceptible to physical damage the assassin’s attack was a joke. I barely saw my health bar move down an inch.
However, he didn’t realize that; so, he continued to press the blade further in, in hopes of killing me. The pain was akin to that of a paper cut. Going limp for a moment, the assassins lowered his guard for me to attack.
“|Electric Bolt|” Placing my hand against his chest, I fired the spell that pierced his body. Dropping dead, I ripped out his weapon and quickly healed myself. “|Restoration|”
Casting a healing spell I healed the cut and within seconds, it was as if the cut wasn’t even there anymore. Touching my neck, the wound was gone but my throat stilled burned. The remaining assassins were shocked that I was still alive despite an attack that would kill any normal man. But, they didn’t stand idly by and they charged at me once more at me.
Teleporting myself away, their attacks all missed as I reappeared on top of a building.
The air cracked as the air sparked as bolts of electricity formed, streaking across the air. Moving and connecting with one another until they formed a rectangular box. Sealing the assassins inside, the moment they all connected. An earth shattering thundering noise filled the air as they were electrocuted.
Landing, those who were fortunate enough to escape retreated in fear.
“Impossible! That was a clean strike to the neck and he lives!” For once I could hear surprise along with a bit of fear in the leader’s voice.
“Don’t act too surprise, I told you I could take you all on. Now then, enough foreplay. It’s about time you and I duke it out. Or maybe you’re the type of assassin that needs your targets back turned to them to kill?”
Coercing him, he took the bait. I could see his eyes flared up in anger. Pushing past his men, he slowly walked forward and took off his cloak. Under his cloak, the assassin had a very fit and maintain body. His skintight uniform only emphasized his bulking muscles.
“If you think that I am just any old assassin, then you’re sorely mistaken boy.” Taking a stance, he lunged forward like a torpedo. Even I was caught off guard by his speed. Crossing my arm, he landed a powerful kick towards my torso.
Kicking my arms, he used the momentum to jump back.
Seeing an opportunity to attack, I unleashed a barrage of projectiles at him. The assassin impressed me yet again, while recovering he threw several throwing knives to intercept my projectiles. Detonating, smoke blinded my vision. Clearing away the smoke, the assassin was nowhere in sight.
“Tell me boy, do you know what a mage and assassin have in common?” Hearing his voice, he was on top of one of the buildings.
‘Since when did our fight turned into a lesson?’ I wondered to myself as the assassin moved from building to building. Even I had a bit of trouble keeping track of his movements.
“They both suck at close combat?” I answered back.
“That is correct. For an assassin, our greatest ally is stealth. Fighting one’s target head on is the worst possible outcome for any normal assassin. But I am no common assassin.” Replying back, his speed increased as he blurred.
“I have spent many years honing my skills. Countless missions have made me who I am. I have surpass the limitation of any assassin! It doesn’t matter who I fight, a mage or warrior. I will always win!”
Reappearing before me, he dashed forward with lightning speed. Before I utter a spell he landed a blow straight through my heart. Even I was unable to hide my surprise when bypassed my defensive enchantment.
“Now do you see the difference in our strength? Well it’s too late now. Now die in your ow—“
“My god, shut up!”
Before he could finish his sentence, I grabbed hold of his arm. Tightening my grip I punched him right in the chest. Punching with enough force as I could muster, he was sent flying backwards. Staggering backwards, he dropped to his knees. Droplets of blood dripped from his mouth.
“I-Immmpossible… How…” His words were garbled, as if something was stuck inside his throat.
“I told already, I’m no ordinary mage.” Carefully removing the blade, I quickly applied layers of healing spells. Within seconds, the wound was gone and health was restored. Although the wound was gone, the pain still resided.
Turning my attention back to the assassin, several of his subordinated made a perimeter around him.
“That punch just now should have broken several of your ribs. It’s clear who the victor is. Surrender peacefully and we’ll go easy on you.”
Staring back at me, a soft laughter could be heard. “Give up? Hehehe I will admit that I severely underestimated you. However, I will not die a traitor.”
Laughing at my claim, he reached inside his clothes and brought out a small orb. Glowing, I prepared a barrier for an attack, instead, it glowed brightly before shooting up into the sky. Not realizing what purpose was it for, I looked back in horror at the leader.
He plunged his own weapon into his stomach, a suicide.
Hearing Drakus yelp, I turned to see an unexpected development. The assassins too were committing suicide one by one. Before any one of us could act, they all dropped one by one. Amidst the panic and confusion, I received an Echo message from Reptilia.
“Reptilia! What’s wrong?”
“Nothing really wrong….it’s just that the assassin we were fighting suddenly committed suicide.”
Hearing her report, it confirmed it. The assassins were willingly to kill themselves off in order to protect their secret. With them out of the picture. All that was left were the guards, whom were more than happy to relinquish their weapons and surrender.
“Thank you…I have no words to describe my gratitude.”
After the battle was over, everything was brought under order. The town’s guards were assigned to a corner of the square under the watch of the awoken princess guards. Being provided new sets of clothes, she finally expressed her gratitude.
“Well you’re welcome but you should be directing it towards Drakus. He was the one that wanted to save you, I simply tagged along.”
In a sly move, I moved the princess away from me, giving me time to deal with some unfinished business. Walking away, I walked towards the pile of dead assassins. After their suicide they were gathered in one location.
The man known as Cain was watching over them.
“What do you plan on doing with their bodies? Are you going to burying them?” I asked.
“A proper burial is too good for these filthy assassins. Once everything is sorted out we’ll burn the bodies.” His voice was filled with utter distain towards the assassin.
Looking back on the pile, my gaze shifted between one corpses to another. Eventually I came upon the one I was looking for, the leader. Rummaging his body out of the pile, Cain stopped me.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”
“Call it an experiment. Besides, you have no use for their bodies now do you?”
Giving me a hard look, I too stared back at him. Eventually I won out as he let me go. Using |Teleportation|, I transported both myself and the body. Reappearing, we were now within a sector of the forest surrounding the town.
“About time you showed up. Why the heck did you want us to wait in the forest for? And what is with that corpse?”
Hearing Reptilia voice, she along with Sirva jumped from their hiding spot to greet me.
“Sorry. But I needed a waypoint to teleport to. Regarding your second question. I want to try something.”
Carefully laying the body against a tree, I then began rummaging around my [Infinity bag]. Soon enough I came upon the item I was looking for; [The Pixie Wand]. It was a beautiful short stick with a star at the end. The wand was made of ivory with colorful bands decorating the handle.
[The Pixie Wand] was a very special item, in fact it was limited edition item presented to those who cleared a special dungeon. It holds a plethora of abilities, one of which was resurrection. As a mage I spec myself to include high ranked healing magic but the only one who could revival magic would be Shae.Alpha.
‘Hopefully this will be a substitute.’ I thought.
“Activate Pixie Wand: revival.”
Activating the item, the star at the end emitted a warm pink glow. Sparkles dispersed from the tip of the item before gathering around the body of the assassin. Covering his entire body, a heavenly glow radiated.
After a couple of seconds they died down. Slowly the body began to stir and awake.
“W-wh..where am I?”
“Welcome back to the land of the living assassin.” Responding to his question. The assassins turned to us. His eyes widen when his gaze settled on me. Immediately reacting, he tried to stand up only to fail.
“H-how…I…I should be dead!”
“That’s simple, I just revived you, that’s all.”
“You…what?” Answering his question, he turned to me with an expression of disbelief. Staring back at his own body, it looked like he came to turns with what I said.
“Now then, the reason I brought you back to life was because I have some questions and….”
“And what makes you think I’ll talk?”
“Then I’ll kill you and revive you again. This item has a limit on how many times I can use the resurrection spell, but I am I can get you to talk by the time I run out of uses.” Putting in a bit more effort, I managed to make words sound threatening.
Staring at one another, a soft laughter could be heard from the assassin. “I must say I never expected such a development. It’s like I am in any position to deny your request anyway.” Resisting to sigh inwardly, that was a load off my shoulder.
“Good. My first question is this, what organization do you belong to?”
“We call ourselves the Black Order.”
“What is your objective? What were you planning on doing to the princess?”
“Our contract was to capture the Regios princess and deliver her to our client. “
“And who is this client of yours?”
“…I don’t know.”
“…Do you think I’ll believe that?”
I could felt but furrow my brow at his answer. A light hearted chuckle escaped from the assassins.
“It’s the truth. We have never truly meet in person only through a middleman of our client. If anyone has a clue who our client is, it would my commander.”
He doesn’t look to be lying, but that still leaves the question unanswered. In all likelihood, it would have to be a person in high power to order such an operation.
“Ohh, word of warning.” While thinking to myself, the assassin spoke up. “Don’t think that this is over. It’s only a matter of time before the other catch wind of my failure and send more to capture the princess. The Black Order never fails a contract. Now if that is all the question you have, hurry up and kill me.”
“What makes you think I’ll just kill you?” I asked confusedly. Surprisingly the assassin smiled back.
“Please don’t pretend to act surprise. You were planning on killing from the very beginning after you ask questions. Unless….” Staring into my eyes for several seconds, the assassin erupted into laughter. “I see…and here I thought you were some omnipotent being. But it turns out that you’re more human than I thought.”
Laughing to himself, I couldn’t help but feel that I was missing the joke. “And what the heck does that mean?”
“There are two type of people is this world. Those that can kill without hesitation and those can’t. I’ve seen your kind many times before. Those that can kill without hesitation when defending themselves but can’t do so willingly.”
For the first time, I couldn’t rebuke him. A tingling sensation began coursing through my body. I could feel my hands shaking, however I wasn’t the only one. Catching a glimpse of my hands, his laughter only grew.
“To think the man I held in rather high regards is this weak willed. Tell me, what exactly were you even planning on doing after getting your information?”
A wicked smile was sprawled over his face. He was taunting me! My fist tightened in anger, not at him but at myself.
“Nu-Ru, he’s provoking you…don’t listen to him” Feeling her touch, Reptilia laid her hands on my shoulder.
“There’s no need for you to dirty your hands master. Give me the word and I shal–”
Taking a step forward, I immediately cut Sirva off.
“No…I brought him back. He’s my responsibility…”
Looking back at the assassin, he still maintained his smug smile.
“Before you kill me…I would like to know your name.”
“……It’s Nu-Ru.” Taking a second to consider his question, I gave my name.
“Nu-Ru huh? Well Nu-Ru I do hope that you take this lesson to heart. This won’t the first time you’ll have to kill and it won’t certainly be your last….”
Staring straight at him, it was finally time to end it.
After dealing with the assassin, I teleported back to the town with Reptilia and Sirva in tow. Appearing out of nowhere, everyone was caught off guard by our sudden appearance.
“Nu-Ru! There you are!”
Screaming my name, it turned out to be Drakus whom was furiously running towards me. Following behind him was Altina.
“Where the hell were you? Why did you leave me with the princess? What were you doing while you were gone?”
Bombarded with questions, I had a hard time trying to explain everything to him. All the while keeping what truly happen under wrap.
“Hey, are you alright? You look a bit pale…”
“I’m fine…I’m fine. Anyway, where’s the princess?”
Quickly reassuring him and shaking him away, I moved onto a different topic. Pointing, I followed Drakus line of sight to see the princess around her body guards. Rushing towards the princess, I offer her a proposal.
“Princess. Would you like to hire us?”