Chapter 230 Assassination (Part 1)
Before the sun had completely gone down, Faceless quietly swam through the canal, circling the mercenary camp and nearing it from behind.
Her real name was not really Faceless, but rather Aphra a name she liked very much, because it meant 'dust' and had been given to her in the New Holy City by Archbishop Heater. She loved this name, because dust was plain and not flowery. As long as it fell on the ground, one piece wasn't distinguishable from another, just like she wasn't generally.
Only in front of Heather, would Aphra restore her real appearance.
As a member of the arbitration tribunal, she assisted the Archbishop with handling a lot of those fallen, which includes their own witches who had attempted to revolt against the Church, as well as those corrupted secular believers. The reason she had been sent to King’s City was to accomplish an essential mission: Transform a devote Presiding Judge into the King of Graycastle. As for capturing those fallen witches, it was just a part time exercise. Furthermore, she also liked to imitate those witches who were sentenced to get tortured, then experience it herself, from start to finish; sharing the pain of the fallen, and experience even more deeply what she had accomplished, in this way she could atone for her own Devil’s power.
The camp of the other side was erected very cleverly, it was directly by the shore at an elevation surrounded by open land, making it difficult to observe their whereabouts from a lower level, and the witch in the sky prevented her from coming any closer. Aphra had to lurk in a farm warehouse, and wait until nightfall before she could take action.
When the night enveloped the earth, she surprisingly discovered that the situation has changed.
All of the mercenaries had withdrawn from the pier area, and completely fallen back inside the camp. Those foolish Dreamland rats had went so far as to hold some torches up, while gathering together in one place. It looked as if they wanted to tell the other side "Someone is coming to attack the camp". Even if there wasn’t a flying witch, as long as the mercenary group wasn’t blind, they could make out with one glance when the other side would be coming.
What bad luck, her heart became gloomy, if the enemy judged that the number of rats were too many, there wouldn’t be any chance of winning, so they would certainly just retreat to the east. Although it was a taboo to march during the night, if it meant that they could save their life by escaping and splitting up, this taboo wouldn’t matter so much anymore. While the men that belong to Dreamland who should have already encircled the camp, were still at the other side of the pier, and were relying on a few wooden rafts to slowly cross the river. When they had finally set foot on the other side, Aphra was afraid that the other party would have already run away long ago. Making the rats to chase the enemy during the night, would be impossible, but how was she now supposed to find those damned witches?
Aphra hurriedly rushed toward the camp, hoping to merge in with their ranks before they began their retreat.
But after rushing over, she saw an entirely unexpected scene, she discovered that the mercenaries had all assembled themselves nearby.
There were still people patrolling around the camp, and the bonfire burned high, which allowed her to see their silhouettes come and go, showing an orderly picture and not the scene of chaos she had expected.
Did they not choose to retreat?
After a while of careful observation, Aphra confirmed her judgment, at the same time a delighted feeling began to spread through her body. Although she didn’t know for what reason the other side to decide to stay rather than escape as quickly as they could, but with this decision their ending had become predestined. She drew a dagger from her waist, observed the sentry’s actions, and aimed for their weakest position.
Apart from giving her the essential skills to survive in the outside world, Archbishop Heater had also taught her how to fight and kill. While her opponents were not battle-hardened elite mercenaries, which she could see from the arrangements of the sentinels. Taking advantage of the moment the mercenary turned to survey another area, she came in from a low and blind angle and quickly threw herself at him, one hand covering his mouth from behind, and the other masterfully stabbing a knife into his neck.
After quietly killing the mercenary, keeping one hand on top of her enemy she placed the other hand on her own chest, casting her deformation ability. This could be a long or it could be a short process: When she had replaced the King through a substitute, to ensure a long-term effect she had exhausted almost all of the magic in her body and the conversion time had lasted nearly half an hour. But this time, there was no need to try so hard, within the blink of an eye she had turned into the mercenary. Even though the effect would only last for half a day, it would be more than enough time for the assassination.
Before the other patrol had returned, with lightning speed, she pulled down the other’s clothes and put them on herself. Afterward, she dragged his body into the wheat fields. However, when faced with the mercenaries weapon, she became a little confused. The weapon in her hands looked like an iron barrel with a wooden handle that did not have a lance at its tip but rather a swarthy hole.
What is this weapon?
Even after thinking about it for a long time, she was still unable to find the answer, but seeing that the other patrol member was returning, without a better choice Aphra recalled the mercenary’s previous appearance and carried it on her shoulder, assuming the appearance as if she was earnestly doing her sentry duty.
Like on so many previous assassinations, when the other guard passed her, he didn’t discover anything strange about her.
Aphra wasn’t in a hurry to enter the camp to search for the witch's whereabouts, after all, her replacing technique could only imitate the external form, but didn’t allow her to read their memories. So, in case she met one of his acquaintances she would easily be exposed. Thus she decided to wait until these troops were in a state of disorder, which would provide her with the liberty of choosing between countless opportunities.
When the moon was hanging high up in the night sky, the Dreamland fools had finally crossed the canal, and were moving closer to the camp. The moment she heard the call of another sentry and saw the patrols and mercenaries withdrawing to the camp, she knew that her chance had come.
Following the crowd into the camp, Aphra ??was surprised to find out that the other side had far more than only a hundred people. Forming a big circle, they were surrounded by the entire top of the small slope and where either crouching or standing, holding the strange pole in their hands, and always pointing the hole towards the enemy.
But she had not the time to take a further look, taking advantage of the group's attention being focused elsewhere, she bent over and entered the nearest tent.
Soon, battle cries drifted over from the outside, cut off by a burst of the fierce explosion. Frightening Aphra into a little jump with its intense and almost unceasingly noise.
What the hell was going on? On impulse, she wanted to take a look, but then she regained her control back and calmly waited.
After some time, the camp became busy again, and she heard a lot of footsteps and shouted commands, which probably their attempts to adjust their defense in accordance to the enemy's attack. But slowly Aphra became anxious, what took them so long, why hadn’t they attacked the top of the slope yet?!
A while later again, the sounds of explosion gradually thinned out, and when Aphra was no longer able to hear the rats fighting her heart sunk, is... it possible that the Dreamland wastrels were defeated?? Even if the number of mercenaries has been doubled, they were still only 200 – 300 people, surrounded by more than a thousand rats. With this numbers and by attacking from all sides, were they still unable to set foot at the top of the hill?
It seems as if the opportunity was slipping out of her hands.
Making a quick decision, Aphra left the tent, trying to reach the center of the camp. There she would wait for the end of the battle. After all, during the roll call it would be nearly impossible for her to hide from all of their eyes. This really wasn’t how she had planned the infiltration, she was neither familiar with the mercenaries staff nor did she know their password, so she had to act quickly.
Bypassing two tents, Aphra slowly poked around the edge, looking at the center of the camp. There she saw four women sitting around a bonfire, they were most probably the witches their intelligence had spoken off. Although the number wasn't right again, from the beginning of this operation, the damned report hadn't been accurate. Furthermore, for her it didn’t make a difference if she had to kill two or four witches, anyone who was suspected to be corrupted needed to be tortured. And in case the time was too short for torturing, they at least all had to be killed, even if they weren't really corrupted, sacrifices were always necessary.
After she carefully observed her surrounding and decided upon a safe escape route, Aphra stood up from behind the tent, pretending as if nothing had happened as if she was just moving closer to the fire.
Just when she had reached the middle of the open space, Aphra ??felt a cold hard object press against her back.
"Don’t move," a woman voice sounded. "Who are you?"
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