"Darn it!" Leguna cried as he jumped in his seat. He could see everything clearly.
Vera was attacked by an assassin that had used the opportunity of Kurdak being distracted to catch her off-guard as well. Though she had impressive offensive abilities, close combat was still Vera's Achilles's heel. She was instantly at a loss when the assassin jumped her without warning.
The assassin made a light cut with his dagger, sending a slight pain down Vera's arm as her strength left it, causing her to drop her longbow. Having disarmed the women, he snickered. He blocked her desperate strike and pierced her other arm. A wave of searing pain shot through it and she nearly fainted. The years she'd been a mercenary had tempered her will. Enduring the pain, she tried to retreat again.
Three seconds had elapsed since the attack began and Kurdak finally noticed what was going on. With a loud grunt, he swung his sword at the two warriors, forcing them away.
"Buzz off!" he cried as he kicked another away again and dashed towards Vera.
Fortunately, killing was forbidden, so she had yet to be fatally wounded. Audible gasps reverberated around the colosseum. The audience were dissatisfied with the assassin. It was one thing to attack someone by surprise, but another entirely to keep lashing out at someone who couldn't resist. The assassin saw Kurdak coming. He slashed across the back of Vera's neck, knocking her out, before removing her badges.
Kurdak arrived just as the assassin stood back up, putting away the badges.
"Sorry, but I have to make it through. Your partner's badges are now mine," the assassin said. Looking at Vera, he whistled, "She really is a pretty woman."
"Are you in cahoots with those three?"
Though Kurdak felt rage burning him, he knew this was precisely the time he had to remain calm. He stared coldly at the man. He appeared to be in his mid-twenties and sported a head of short, red hair. He had a disgusting pride and arrogance about him.
The assassin shook his head. Kurdak knelt and looked at Vera. After making sure she had only been knocked out, he sighed.
"Your name?" hissed Kurdak.
The bell sounded as he spoke. He couldn't attack anymore, but he was determined to get back at the bastard. Of course he wouldn't attack him now, or strike at him directly. He had no intention of going to prison here. He would have his chance later in the tournament.
"You want to take it out on me?" the assassin mocked, "Nigruela. If you've heard of me and have half a brain, you know to avoid me."
Kurdak didn't care. He nodded and told him his name in response.
"I won't forget it."
Nigruela shrugged before turning to leave. Kurdak grit his teeth so hard they creaked slightly. He looked at Vera, whom he held in his arms. He almost lost it and tried to kill him, but his reason triumphed after a long struggle. His first priority was protecting his woman.
An hour later back at the inn, Leguna mumbled quietly as he sat.
"I'll see what I can find out."
"Alright," Kurdak responded gloomily.
Though he made it through in the end, Vera was out. Her disqualification wasn't of much concern, her injuries were. Kurdak vowed he would get back at her attacker. Leguna looked at the two speechless girls.
"I'm going out for a bit. Stay here and help Boss. He's not in a good mood now."
"Don't worry, Sis will be fine," Eirinn said.
"Don't worry. Innie will be good."
Innilis knew now wasn't the time to throw a tantrum, so she nodded obediently.
After telling the two, Leguna left. The inn had two floors. The upper floor had the guest rooms and the lower a bar. It was night time and everyone crowded around small tables and big mugs of alcohol. Some barked loudly with red faces; servers went around offering refills; and bards played in corners for coin, room, and board.
Leguna frowned at the sight. He was an extrovert in small company, but crowds and rowdy places made him uncomfortable. One of the guests, however, distracted him immediately. They were the three people Kurdak had fought at the end of the day's match.
"Darn it, what's with our luck today?! We didn't just not get their badges, that bastard used us!" the ranger blasted. Both his comrades had obtained seven badges, while he only had six. The results weren't out yet, but he knew he was out.
"Forget it. Stop complaining. At least we're still better off than them," said the apparent leader, "I heard the two already had enough badges to make it to the next round, but then that guy took the woman's and now she's out. I guess they think we're partially responsible."
"Hmph! She fell for the ambush because she wasn't competent enough! What does that have to do with us?!"
"She's incompetent?" a lofty voice asked, "Tell me, how much better are you, then?"
Leguna walked over with an unfriendly gaze. He did indeed hold them partially responsible. It angered him that one of them didn't share his view. He didn't know the assassin, but he could guess his strength. He'd attacked at the perfect time. He was a little flashier than efficient, but still good enough to get the job done. But it meant he was worse than Leguna, though not much.
Vera aside, even an experienced warrior would be at a loss when attacked by such an assassin. Yet, the ranger was calling her incompetent! Leguna couldn't help but mock.
"And what does my skill have to do with you?? Sure she's good with a bow, but that did nothing for her, now did it? Besides, I don't think her archery is brag-worthy either."
Leguna raised his eyebrow and slowly made his way to the ranger's back. He leaned down and whispered in a provocative tone.
"Okay, so maybe she can't hold her bow right now, but what about you? You think I can't put you in the same state?"
The ranger was already in a bad mood; Leguna's provocation only made it worse. He put his mug down and reached for his knife on the table but Leguna was faster than him. The knife vanished the moment his mug hit the table and a moment later he felt an intense pain pierce his hand. He screamed. But no one heard him in through the clout of the packed inn.
His companions immediately reacted. One grabbed his sword and prepared to draw. The moment his hand touched the hilt of his sword, a fork pierced through the hilt, grazing his hand. Leguna had aimed carefully, however, and it hadn't damaged any bones. The warrior felt the slight energy pulse coming from the fork. If the little bastard had been serious, he'd have lost his hand.
"A dining knife isn't really sharp, so his hand is fractured now," Leguna said calmly, "If he doesn't get treatment immediately, he'd won't even be able to use it to eat ever again."
"Who are you? I don't remember offending you," the warrior said coldly.
"You offended me just now."
Leguna twisted the knife. The poor sod in front of him screamed and moaned several times. "I will give you enough time to treat your friend. But, you must answer a few questions first. So, your friend's hand's well being depends on how fast you answer."
"Is that assassin related to you?"
"No. He's name is Nigruela. He's always been a loner."
Leguna twisted the knife again. The sod yelped again.
"We don't have anything to do with him. We're only being polite because you're holding our comrade hostage, but don't go too far. We will make a scene if need be and you won't be any better off than us when the dust settles. I promise you."
"Alright. I'll believe you. Second question. Who is this Nigruela?"
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