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Introduction:

Noah discovers a festival of violence.
Nightlife

The hour was late, the city was dark, and Noah was sitting against Bella’s headboard, enjoying her oral devotion to his manhood. She varied between voracious slurping and tender lovemaking, using the softness of her mouth to project her lust while giving his shaft and balls the attention they deserved. Her head was rested on his lap, comfortable, like she could have fallen asleep. Bella was rebuilding Noah’s erection after his most recent climax, and her pussy, glazed like a cinnamon roll, welcomed his massaging fingers. He wouldn’t give her any rest, never let the intensity of her sensations dull. Even now, he was keeping her riled while he stirred his seed inside her and mixed it with her nectar. Her ears were also being messaged, like they were a weakness to be used against her.

Noah looked to the window, hearing metal striking metal.

“I think someone is fighting outside.”

“Oh, it’s just the Red Revelry,” Bella mumbled between slobbers.

“Red Revelry?”

She began stroking him to free her mouth for talking. “That’s what they call it. It happens in the nights leading up to Knight’s Day; applicants to the academy going out into the streets and fighting under the cover of darkness. They’ll talk about it down in the bar, bragging about how they get bored waiting for enrollment and want to indulge their thirst for blood and violence.”

The priest’s words now made sense. If Noah had been in the streets at night with his weapons, someone might have believed him to be looking for a fight.

“I’m going to go check it out,” he said as he pulled away from Bella.

“What? No! Just let the soldiers deal with it!”

He got to his feet and began pulling on his clothes. “I’m not going out to take part or try to stop it, I just want to watch. It sounds too interesting to pass up.”

Bella embraced him like she had down in the bar, with her wandering hands finding his erect member. “Come back to bed. You can do whatever you want to me.”

“Hmmm, if you say so, then.”

Noah broke free from her hold and walked over to a robe hanging on the wall. He removed the linen belt, as well as a scarf from the top of the nearby bureau. Bella didn’t object as he turned the scarf into a blindfold, nor did she resist Noah pushing her down onto her stomach and tying her hands to the headboard. He could hear her breathing quicken as he once more moved around the room, her bunny ears quivering as she tried to discern his actions.

“Do you know what I’m holding in my hand right now?” Noah asked.

“N-no,” she replied.

He returned to the bed with one of the candles that lit the room and kneeled over her. “This will give you a hint.”

He tilted the candle, making Bella yelp as globs of hot wax splashed onto her exposed back. She shuddered, her breathing frantic. He moved the candle down, dribbling wax onto her lower back and her luscious cheeks. Every splatter made her whimper, but she didn’t complain as he left twin trails of wax running down the backs of her legs and on the bottoms of her feet.

“It-it’s a candle?”

“That’s right,” he said while rubbing it between her legs, getting the bottom nice and slick. He gave Bella no warning, instead just letting her gasp in surprise when he inserted the bottom end into her anus and positioning it so that it stood upright.

“As the candle burns, the wax will continue to melt and trickle down, ever so slowly.” He leaned forward, whispering into her ear. “You’ll probably begin to feel it all too soon, the scalding drops running across your skin, the heat of the flame as it burns down the length. You have to keep it standing straight up, as letting it tilt or shake will make it even worse. I’m going to go out for a bit. Hopefully, I’ll get back in time to pull it out. When I arrive, if the candle is still inserted, I’ll give you a big reward.”

For safety’s sake, he extinguished the candle before he put it inside her, but she didn’t need to know that. Waiting for something that would never come, the unfulfilled anticipation of that first hot drop reaching her anus, would be better for keeping her focused.

“Wait, Jake! Don’t go!”

“I’ll be back soon enough.”

With his invisibility activated, he climbed out the window and disappeared into the night.

----------

The waxing moon shone down on Colbrand, with clouds stretching their shadows across the city. Crickets chirped, hiding the sound of blades colliding. Bloodlust filled the air. They moved from shadow to shadow, masked brawlers chasing nothing more than a good time. Only those who were armed took part in the merriment, but the homeless, sleeping in the streets, still did their best not to move or make any sound, and to ignore everything they saw and heard.

In an empty road, a man darted between pools of darkness, eyes scanning every surface and corner for a sign of a possible adversary. There was no mission, no quest, nothing to be gained but everything to lose, yet he could not help himself. His daggers cried for blood, even though he had quenched their thirst earlier in the evening. They craved no ordinary prey, no, the gutter trash and homeless would simply rust the blades and dull the edges with their filthy viscera. His daggers wanted something that would fight back, something to make them earn their reward.

From within an alley, the man spotted his next challenge, another assailant running down the road with a bastard sword at his hip. The man laid in wait for his enemy to approach. He drew his blades and twitched as he heard metal scrape against leather. The adrenaline pumping through him made every sound seem louder than a crack of thunder.

His foe finally came within range and the man leaped out like a spider from its den. Sparks, one of his daggers striking the enemy’s sword, drawn in the blink of an eye, while the second was stopped by a hand grabbing the man’s wrist. They stared each other down through their masks, their arms shaking as they tried to overpower the other. Their breathing was focused and silent, neither wanting the other to know how much they were struggling.

The man jumped back and took a stance, ready to block any incoming slashes. “Chase,” he said.

“Becker,” replied the swordsman.

The sharing of names, rather than etiquette, was a taunt. Whoever lost would know the name of their killer, but their identity would remain secret to the world.

The first swing came, Becker’s sword catching the moonlight as it careened towards Chase. It was a one-handed attack, so Chase blocked with one dagger and used the other to slash at Becker’s hand. He pulled away before the blade could reach him and attempted an uppercut slash. Chase dodged the swing and lost one of his daggers from the kick that followed.

Overhead, a cloud moved over the moon, and its deep shadow eclipsed the two warriors. Chase disappeared into the darkness but Becker wouldn’t let him get away. He couldn’t let him retrieve his dagger. A handful of dirt hit his face, and while his mask blocked most of it, his concentration was broken, and Chase lunged with both blades. The next moment, one blade was deflected and the other missed Becker’s throat but left a deep cut on his shoulder.

The cloud passed overhead and the two men could see. Once, twice, three times, they attacked each other, steel against steel. An untrained eye would only see intermittent sparks in the blackness, but both warriors were dodging and blocking each other’s attacks with unhindered skill. The victor soon claimed his title, Becker circumventing Chase’s daggers and slashing him from shoulder to hip. Blood sprayed like a fountain and Chase’s heart stopped moments after he collapsed.

Becker took a shuddering breath, savoring the taste of victory. Violence for the sake of violence was a delicious sin. The euphoria and excitement, as well as the sound of his heart beating in his ears twisted his thoughts, preventing him from hearing the gust of air behind him. In the next instant, he was airborne, knocked off his feet by an almighty kick. All of his ribs were broken, and like Chase, his life was snuffed out soon after landing, as if the cold ground sucked the essence from his body.

Standing where Becker had just moments ago was a beastman, and his animal traits were on full display. A pair of wings adorned his back, each more than ten feet long. His feet were enlarged, his heels raised off the ground with his simian toes replaced with great talons. A long scarf hid his face and he wore no armor.

He used his feet to pull off Chase’s mask, then muttered a curse in annoyance. The man was too old to be aiming for the academy, just some killer wanting to join in on the carnage. The beastman gave a flap of his mighty wings, propelling himself through the air towards Becker, and removed his mask, only to be once more disappointed. While Becker looked like an academy applicant, his face was too different from the beastman’s. Nobles’ letters of recommendation usually included a physical de***********ion of the candidates they were sending. To pass off as a candidate, he at least needed someone with similar eye color.

“What a waste.”

He took to the sky, searching for the next fight.

----------

“Ah, motherfuckers…”

The words were spoken from a mouth caked in dirt, the result of sleeping face down in an alley. Foley groaned with every breath, trying to remember the last thing he saw. ‘Let’s see, I got to the bar, had a drink… something, something… those guys threw me out. Flying, flying, flying, ground.’

Normally he would have slept till noon the next day, but a rock had been poking him in the ribs and gave him only a shallow blackout. There was something else that woke him up. He felt like a wineskin about to burst. A dark alley was as good a place as any, so he pissed on the side of the bar while cursing his enemies and the soil he’d bury them in. He staggered out of the alley, still tipsy. The city was as dark as a tomb and the sounds of battle were little more than background noise. The clouds shifted, allowing more moonlight to light up the road. There appeared to be someone standing nearby.

“Oi!” he grunted. No response. “Oi!” he said again. The stranger had his back to Foley and was holding a sword. “Oi, you deaf bastard! Open your damn ears!”

The stranger looked over. He was tall, lanky, though with wide shoulders and a masked face. “Shut your mouth, dwarf. Don’t you know how to play?”

“Just answer me the first time! Where’s an inn? I still got to sleep this off.”

The man began to approach. His steps were quick and erratic. “You’re ruining my night. One more word and I’ll have your tongue.”

“Just give me some directions and fuck off, then I won’t have to put the fear of God in you.”

The man swung his sword with a snarl, and what should have been a blade rending flesh was instead steel on steel. Rather than a sword, Foley blocked with a metal-plated buckler. The man hissed in surprise, seeing what had only moments ago been unsteady legs turn into an unmoving brace. Foley didn’t appear to be challenged at all, and the speed at which he had grabbed his shield was worrying. At a mere four feet, the intoxicated dwarf should have been at least knocked off balance.

“You’re insisting on a fisting, boy-o, and I am more than ready to make some terrible life choices right now,” Foley growled. In response, he closed the distance and hurled a powerful right hook, only to miss by a shameful margin. “Ah fuck.” The swordsman stepped back and lunged again, this time with a downward slash. It was once more stopped by Foley’s shield, with no apparent effort expended on his end. “Let’s try this again.” He knocked the sword out of the way and went in before another punch, only to miss and hit nothing but air. “I swear, I’m usually better than this!”

His foe kept out of range and evaluated his options. He couldn’t determine whether Foley was just putting on an act. He seemed like he could barely stand, but he was strong and fast, if only for a moment. It had to be a trap to lure him in. As he sifted through his thoughts, Foley lowered his head and groaned.

“The ground is spinning. Make it stop spinning.” He then threw up onto the road, to the disgust of his enemy. “Goddamn clams, I knew they smelled off.”

He wasn’t faking it, and even if he was, the swordsman had now found the good fight he was looking for. He charged in, his blade swinging at Foley from all angles and with deadly speed, yet the dwarf blocked his every attack. On the other hand, every punch could miss the broad side of a barn, and he wasn’t armed with anything other than a hunting knife.

“Ah fuck it. Spider Shield!” The buckler on his arm began to glow with a spider-web pattern, and when his enemy once more swung his sword, he realized that he couldn’t pull away. The blade was stuck to the surface of the shield as if with magnetism. “Gotcha now, you slippery chickenshit!”

It was the first accurate punch Foley managed to throw, his boulder-like fist finding its mark and striking the man’s balls. A scream was released, its initial pitch like that of a little girl stung by a bee, then dropping to a bull groaning from a stomach ache. The man dropped to the ground, releasing his sword to tend to his crushed pride.

“Oh God, why would you do that? WHY?!”

“Ah, quit your bitchin’.”

Foley grabbed him by the collar, and before the man could react, the dwarf headbutted him with dizzying force, breaking his nose in the process. The blow that could be compared to a mountain goat’s horns then became a woodpecker’s barrage. Foley struck him again and again, with every blow bloodying the man’s mask. He was eventually dropped so that Foley could catch his breath.

“That’s for insulting my ma! Or was that those other guys? Who are you again?”

“Halt! Nobody move!”

Foley looked over his shoulder to see an amber-haired woman approaching, garbed in polished armor and holding a sword in one hand and a torch in the other. She was in her early twenties, just a few years older than Foley. Her sudden arrival sent Foley’s fallen enemy scrambling to his feet and limping off to fight another day.

“State your name!” she barked.

“I don’t know what backwater village you come from, but where I come from, people give their name before asking for others.”

“Well here in Uther, when a knight asks you your name, you damn well better give it.”

“I’m Jim Foley, happy now?”

“I am Lady Helena Frigga, Bron— Silver Knight of the Utheric Order, and it’s my job to arrest blood-drunk fools like you.”

“Hey, I’m only the fun kind of drunk!”

“Either way, fighting in the streets is illegal.”

“That ladyboy with the pig sticker tried to rob me, you daft cunt!”

In reply, she kicked him square in the chest and knocked him onto his back. “Consider yourself under arrest. You’re lucky I don’t take your head for that little remark. Any last words?”

Foley slowly got back to his feet and staggered over to her, hunched over and struggling to breathe. “Three, actually.” He dropped his head and emptied the contents of his stomach onto her feet. “Ugh! Fucking clams!”

----------

Atop a tower near the castle, five figures stood, garbed in cloaks and masks. Unlike the simple cloth disguises the brawlers in the street were using, these were white ceramic, each depicting doll-like hollow faces and decorated with three lines of runes like pseudo tattoos. The runes and their locations varied from mask to mask.

“Track Grond down, kill any witnesses,” said the leader, standing in the middle of the group.

“What about participants in the Red Revelry?” a woman to his side asked.

“Avoid if possible and kill when needed.”

“We should take this chance to enjoy ourselves. The knights are busy dealing with their own applicants. We can do whatever we want and they’ll never know we were here,” the tallest member of the group said.

“We have our orders, in and out without any contact.”

“We’ll be killing witnesses anyway. What’s wrong with having some fun if there no one around to see it?”

“Oritz, silence yourself,” the leader barked. “Your soul is filthy.”

“Relax, I’ll keep my eye out for Grond. I’ll even bring you his head.”

“Were you not even paying attention to our orders?” the woman hissed.

She stepped towards Oritz and the leader stopped her. “Tora, Oritz, that’s enough. We’re just here to retrieve the elixir before Grond ends up using it. It’s our job to save him, not kill him.”

“Whatever you say.”

The five figures then scattered to different sections of the city.

----------

“I should probably head back and untie Bella.”

Noah repeatedly muttered those words to himself, much in the way he would search for the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, and every step he took was another tap of the snooze button. He was halfway through his mana reservess, but he wanted to continue his walk. He had already witnessed multiple clashes between applicants, as well as any knights who tried to intervene. These collisions were done as quietly as possible, no matter who took part. There were no alarms, no whistles or drums sounding, and aside from a few weapon and monk spells, no one was using magic. Noah studied everyone’s styles, searching for patterns and weaknesses, as well as any moves he could add to his own repertoire. His magic let him observe the fights from up close without anyone knowing, the perfect spectator’s spell. He never released it or dropped his guard, even while crouched in the darkest alleys or perched above the quietest streets.

At the moment, he was watching a pair of swordsmen duel on top of a building. Every inch of skin was covered, and their clothes were tightened to prevent any flapping that might hinder them or give them away. The only way to tell them apart was the type of swords they were wielding. Their moves were slick and unending, neither stopping to calculate or reassess. When one felt that he was at a disadvantage, he’d dart away to another rooftop and they’d collide once more with different footing. The moonlight gleamed on their blades with every swing and the sparks from the colliding edges were like flashes of starlight.

Noah strained his senses to pick up every detail of the fight and the scenery, from which hand the swordsmen favored to the humidity of the evening. He’d scrutinize them with near-obsessive focus, trying to figure out how they contributed to the scene before him and then elaborating on how they came to be. He’d guess at what the two fighters were thinking and look for any hints as to the kind of men they were outside of battle, at how they had been raised, at what brought them to fight like this. For something to entertain him like this was rare, and so many factors had come together to produce this peculiar event, it was like it had its own soul, and like all souls, it was shaped by experience and emotion. Noah felt more interest in the souls of moments than the souls of people.

Whoosh! An arrow flew over his shoulder, striking one of the swordsmen in the chest. Noah spun around, spotting an armored knight perched atop a street lamp with a bow in his hands. For a moment, Noah worried that his invisibility had come undone, but the spell was working as it should. Regardless, he rolled out of the way as another arrow flew by and pierced the second warrior’s shoulder. The first had already collapsed and second still had a chance to escape.

He jumped off the roof and into the street below and took off, weaving through shadows. The knight was already in pursuit, and Noah, wanting to see how it would end, joined in the chase. He stuck to the rooftops while the warrior and knight sprinted down the streets. The warrior had a shrinking head start, and every time the knight spotted him, he’d launch an arrow. Beneath the vulture’s gaze, the hyena succumbed to the lion’s claws and was finally seized.

The knight departed with the warrior’s body, and only when everything was silent did Noah step down into the street. The result was rather disappointing. He had been hoping the warrior would put up more of a fight. ‘My mana is getting low. I guess I should head back to Bella.’

He began the trip back to the Knight’s Sheath, though while his mind was eventually pulled from Bella and drawn to another girl, her voice even more pained and fearful. He looked over into the nearby alley, seeing a cloaked man on top of a homeless woman, covering her mouth with one hand and ripping at her clothes with another. He stood and watched while his mind formulated a decision. Beneath the film of magic, the violent scene was reflected in his indifferent eyes, while his breathing and heartbeat were calm as could be.

A dark voice began to stir. ‘Is there any way this can benefit me? I’m pretty sure she can’t reward me with anything of value.’

Then there was another. ‘Besides, I’m taking a big enough risk just being out in the streets invisible. Either I drop my magic and expose myself, or I kill him and she spreads the rumor of an invisible guardian angel. Any action I take could lead to someone identifying my magic and using it against me.’

And a third. ‘I’ll just let the knights deal with this. This isn’t worth my time.’

He couldn’t come up with a useful reason to get involved, but when the voices came, his rule was to disobey. Noah strolled over to the man, pulled back his hood, and plugged a dagger into his spine as if he was charging his phone. Death was instantaneous, the man collapsing like a puppet with its strings cut. He kept the man’s head pulled back so that the young woman could get out from under him, but fear and shock had taken her ability to move. Noah would have to do something to calm her. He didn’t want to break his invisibility, so he summoned his clone to speak through. When it appeared, she screamed in terror and finally managed to get to her feet, leaving Noah confused.

True, someone suddenly appearing out of thin air would have been shocking, but she should have shown some kind of relief that she had been saved. It was when Noah looked down at the body that he realized someone was different. His hand, gripping the man’s skull, was no longer his own. His illusionary clone had taken on the man’s appearance, from his robes to his mask.

‘No way,’ Noah thought to himself as he examined his new appearance.

Not since he learned his second spell had his magic displayed any kind of evolution. Was this an ability he had always possessed or something he just unlocked? Either way, the mana expenditure was much higher, twice that of his regular clone’s appearance. He released his invisibility, now disguised only in the illusion. This had to be studied while it lasted.

‘How did this happen? What triggered it? I’ve killed several men while invisible, but I don’t feel like I can take their forms. I activated my spell while I was making contact with him. Have I ever done that before? No, meaning it must be a condition to activating the spell this way. Are there any other conditions?’

He looked at his hands and rubbed them together. His fingers felt greasy, his whole body did, in fact. His mana, which enveloped him like an aura, had been corrupted by foreign mana. Noah could see it coming from his corpse, the last wisps of energy before all his cells died. Was this supposed to happen? Was this a new ability or a revealed weakness?

He began to lean towards the latter, soon realizing that he couldn’t separate from his clone. He should have been able to control its movements separately from his own, but the mana remained stuck to him. He put his hand over his eye and found that the spell would not deactivate.

“You got to be kidding me,” he hissed.

If this really was because of the body, then he either had to get away from it or possibly wait until total cell death. If he didn’t break the spell, his mana would continue to deplete, and once he was empty, he’d be vulnerable to attackers, or worse. Either way, it was time to return to the Knight’s Sheath, but first, the spoils of victory. He took a minute to loot the man’s corpse, collecting various daggers, vials of unknown concoctions, and a few scrolls. He slipped out of the alley and began running down the dark street, retracing his steps to the brothel. It seemed he had wandered farther than he thought.

Light, heat, they came so suddenly that Noah barely managed to dodge. A jet of flame out of left field was the last thing he needed. The source was a knight, his face concealed by his helmet with his extended finger acting as a flamethrower. These flames, conjured by magic, were a raging crimson, like boiling blood. Noah had seen a few knights since coming to this world, even found a set of one’s armor in a goblin tunnel. From appearance alone, that poor schmuck was nothing compared to the man Noah faced. A display of his rank adorned the chest plate, a gold-rank knight, equal in authority to a general. His armor was heavier and more encompassing, leaving nothing exposed. He was less of an armored knight and more like a walking tank. Even if Noah’s magic was working, he didn’t have anything that could break through his defenses, or stand up to those flame attacks. This was one of the worst-case scenarios, not that Noah didn’t have options.

“Not one more step, filthy vermin,” the knight ordered.

“I don’t want any trouble, nor do I take part in this madness. I am simply an observer.” Not only his appearance, his voice now matched the slain man’s.

“No one who wears a Harajin mask can be innocent. Your life was forfeit the moment you stepped into my city.”

The knight began to approach and drew a large battle axe, with an edge that screamed ‘execution’.

“I was sent to deliver a peace accord to your king. If you kill a messenger, it will cause a catastrophe.”

“Shut up and die!”

The knight charged towards Noah and swung his axe. Noah dodged the attack and then the second, this time from the side. He was fast, monstrously so, pursuing Noah with a ferocity that left him barely able to dodge. He had a long reach and every fall of his axe split the ground. Noah kept his distance, studying the knight’s moves. Rather than drawing his usual weapons, Noah conjured a sword from within his ring, the sword that matched the armor he had found in the goblin tunnel. He finally took a chance and blocked one of the swings while exposing the blade. The line of runes on the blade were put on full display.

“Look! This sword was entrusted to me by the knight who met me at the harbor. He said it would grant me safe passage.”

Regardless, the berserker tried to push him back and flames began streaming from the openings of his helmet. “You really think me to be such a fool? You think others haven’t lied to try and escape their judgment? I am the royal executioner. My job isn’t to listen or show mercy, it’s to end the life of whoever is put before me!” He released one hand from his axe and pointed his finger at Noah. “And unfortunately for you, my passion for it burns quite fiercely.”

Noah cursed as a ball of flame appeared at the tip of his finger and dodged to the side. His plan to move into the knight’s blind spot was anticipated and he was struck by a jet of flame. He shielded his head with his arm and it took the full brunt of the inferno. He rolled out of the flames and back on his feet to try and open up some space, with any flammable substance between him and the knight now burning.

The situation was now at its worst, as Noah’s right arm was no longer usable. Though his disguise remained unchanged, the burns were 3rd degree, and everything was either numb from the incinerated nerve endings or sending pain signals to his brain that nearly made him retch. All of the moisture in the damaged tissue had been vaporized, leaving both smoke and steam wafting from his arm. With his mana depleting, he could barely stand, and his body would likely be going into shock pretty soon.

“Using big fire spells in the city streets is a bit risky, wouldn’t you say?”

“You think I would be out here if I couldn’t control my power?” He waved his arm and the flames between them were sucked into his palm. “You and you alone will burn.”

“But everyone else has been trying to keep this quiet. You’re burning the curtain that you’re supposed to keep the citizens from looking behind.”

“Good, I want them to see this. I want them to see the flames, to hear the screams of the guilty as I rain my fury upon them. Let them look upon the ashes of your execution and know that it is the fate of anyone who breaks Uther’s laws.”

The guy was a lunatic, and that fact was more dangerous than any spell he could possibly conjure. However, Noah was ready. He returned his sword to his ring and conjured one of the daggers he had taken from the masked man. He lobbed the dagger up into the air towards the knight, and as soon as it left his hand, he conjured a second and repeated the throw, this time hurling it straight. The knight charged, and to his credit, managed to deflect them both. While retreating, Noah hurled a third dagger, and this time, the knight ignored it and let it bounce off his chest plate, same with the fourth. The pattern was formed, now to break it.

One final throw, not that the knight cared. It was a glass vial, and he realized something was wrong when its contents were splattered on his armor. “Poison!” he cursed. That first breath knocked him off balance, the second breath brought the pain, and the third scrambled his thoughts.

‘Monster repellent, actually,’ Noah mentally muttered.

That window sent him sprinting into the dark alleys, trying to put in as much distance as he could. While he ran, he drank a health potion, his last. His burnt arm went from searing to itching as new flesh was generated. One potion was not enough to restore the damage and it simply covered the afflicted areas with scar tissue and pacified his exposed nerve endings. His arm was still unusable and would have to wait.

He had passed through this area before during the day and made a bee-line for an exposed crawl space under a shop. As soon as he hit the ground, his mana ran out and his illusion broke. It was a little close for comfort, but he timed it well and he had a moment to himself. After catching his breath, he took a gulp of his last mana potion to restore a bit of his strength and then cast his invisibility. With these knights and killers prowling around, this crawl space wasn’t safe. He had to get back to the Knight’s Sheath.

He returned to the streets and hurried to his destination while ignoring everything else in the city. Just because he was invisible didn’t mean he was safe. He had been aware of it since the beginning and encountering that knight and various other enemies had hammered in the fact that his offense and defense left a lot of be desired. As a fighter specializing in stealth, it was his main weakness. He’d have to find some kind of technique or barrier that could protect him, especially from spells that affected large areas, and a means of punching through heavy armor. Despite his wounded arm and near-death battle, this night had been a success. His injuries showed him what he needed to improve on and he had discovered a new manifestation of his magic; two vital pieces of information.

He arrived at the Knight’s Sheath to find all the doors were locked and there were no candles burning inside. All the customers had either gone home or were sound asleep, and none of the staff were available to help. Noah circled the building and stopped at one of the windows. Earlier, Daniel claimed he was sleeping in one of the back rooms, and this window led to it. The window was high up, but Noah was at least able to tap on the glass. It took more than a minute of persistence to finally hear movement inside. The window opened and Daniel stuck his head out, still half asleep.

“Huh? Noah? What are you doing out there?”

“I was craving a walk in the moonlight. Care to let me in?”

“I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I have the authority to unlock the front door, let alone open it. I could lose my job if I let someone in after hours.”

“Well then you’re going to have to deal with Bella, because I tied her to the bed, stuck a candle in her ass, and told her I would be back soon.”

“You did what? Jesus fucking Christ, dude!”

“Quiet! Just hoist me up through the window.”

“Fine, give me your hands.”

“I can only do one, the other is injured.”

“Fucking perfect.”

It was a grueling task that left both men sweaty and bruised, but Daniel managed to lift Noah up by his good arm and pull him through the window. He landed rather ungracefully on Daniel’s cot and got to his feet.

“Thanks.”

“Sure thing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to sleep. Some of us have work tomorrow.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Noah strolled into the parlor and made his way up the stairs. He was once more invisible, just for good measure until he reached Bella’s room. Inside, he found her asleep in the same position he had left her in. The candle had fallen out, probably for the best. He managed to untie her with his good hand, though it took some effort. He was about to climb into bed when an idea struck him. He reactivated his invisibility, no longer feeling the presence of that foreign mana, and when he summoned his clone, it appeared in his image. He dispelled the clone, rested his injured hand on her back, and then cast it again, and his clone still took its normal appearance. The biggest and perhaps deciding difference between her and the masked man was obvious.

“So, it seems I have to kill them first…”

Please comment! Tell me your thoughts!
2 comments

RaudhbjornReport

2021-01-25 10:10:30
Nice! It got a little confusing with all the knights running around in the dark, but otherwise pretty decent. I'm enjoying the "accidental assassin" thing Noah's building up to. Post more chapters!

moooow2Report

2021-01-23 00:25:55
good story!

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