Two Years After
Leguna was fast asleep. He had already been rushing about the wild flatlands for two days and finally, the day when he didn't have to take up night watch had come. So, he slept incredibly soundly.
All of a sudden, a sharp whistling sound echoed over the flat horizons. The whistle should've brought lots of attention to it, but oddly, neither Kurdak, who was on night patrol, nor Vera or Annelotte, sound asleep, reacted.
He buried his head deeper into his sleeping bag as if it could help him drown out the sound. However, it continued to assault his ears and wouldn't go away no matter how he turned about.
His eyes opened and his brows furrowed.
"It's that darned old guy again. The hell's he skipping sleep to mess with me at this time of the night?"
Though he was filled with dread and frustration, he could do nothing but pack up his gear sourly.
Kurdak pulled the blanket tighter. Though it was just before summer solstice, the flatlands were rather cold at night. They were in orcish territory, so they didn't dare start a campfire. A fire in the dark would attract orcs the way cow droppings attracted flies. He could only use a blanket to keep warm.
Though Kurdak noticed the ruffling in the tent behind him, he didn't really mind it. After a while, Leguna came out, looking prepared to leave.
Kurdak looked closely at the youth. He'd been just a dirty, scrawny brat two years earlier. But, for some reason, maybe because of the better living conditions he now enjoyed, his height had shot up; he'd gone from 1.6 meters to almost 1.8. His babyface had even matured somewhat. While he still looked on the slender side, his current form could be considered that of a youth of refined and handsome looks.
"They're calling for you again?" asked Kurdak casually.
He knew Leguna was Moonshadow's main target for development. From time to time, there would be summoned for him to carry out some missions on the premise of training.
"Yes... I can't even get good sleep."
After Leguna's apple developed, his voice had deepened considerably and no longer sounded as childish as before. Kurdak looked at his unwilling expression and chortled.
"If it weren't for their training, would you have improved so quickly? You've almost caught up to me. You've shot from the sixth to the eleventh stratum in just two years. What kind of shit did you eat to grow so fast?"
"Hehe, I'm still far from being able to compare with you or Annie. That girl's already at the 13th stratum. Feeling the pressure, Boss?" teased the kid.
"Why would I be pressured? Only madmen would bother competing with you freaks," Kurdak countered with a carefree shrug, "Alright, run along now. Remember to come back early. We head home in two days."
Leguna nodded and turned to leave. Not long after, he disappeared into the night.
Marolyt sat on a rock leisurely and hummed a bad-sounding tune. From time to time, he blew the whistle in his hand twice.
"Little bastard... I don't believe you won't come," said Marolyt gleefully.
"Can't you come find me at a more normal time? Midnights are for sleep, you know?" said Leguna without reservation as his figure showed up next to the old man all of a sudden.
He'd frequently been given training assignments since he became Wayerliss's disciple. The one usually in charge of notifying him was Arikos. But from time to time, the old man who looked decent on the surface but was actually incredibly crude would take Arikos's place. As for Wayerliss, he had also met up with him in the same fashion a number of times, but it was really uncommon.
All he knew about the old man was his name and the fact that he was Wayerliss's friend. But given the fact that his teacher associated with a ruffian like this, he'd begun to suspect his elven teacher's character.
"This time, it's a sweep mission. If you dare carry this out in the day, I won't stop you," said Marolyt plainly as he took out a crumpled paper strip and handed it to Leguna.
The youth couldn't help but roll his eyes. Though the old ruffian dressed incredibly elegantly, the paper strip he took out looked more crumpled than toilet paper. He forced himself to read the words by the moonlight.
As Marolyt had mentioned, it was a sweeper. The target: the orcs camping at Twilight Oasis in the flatlands. The squad's average stratum was six, give or take, and there were about 20 in total. His mission was to head there and exterminate everyone.
Given that they averaged sixth stratum despite having 20, they should be an elite squad. If it were two years ago, Leguna would rather risk touching Vera's butt than provoking it. But after two years of training, his practical combat experience had grown rich. While the mission was rather difficult, it wasn't as tough as the last few he'd gotten; they nearly cost him his life. Given that he'd already survived his these ordeals, what was there to fear from this one?
"That simple," Marolyt nodded.
He recalled something a moment later and added, "Oh, and, they seem to have a human captive. If you see him, bring him back to your campsite."
"Our campsite? Why?"
This was the first time he'd received such a request.
"You'll understand when you do it," Marolyt said cryptically, "Um... that little beauty in your party is doing fine, right?"
"Old pervert, don't set your sights on Annie all the time! Dammit, you're old enough to be her dad!"
Leguna knew to whom Marolyt referred. Every time he met the old man, he'd ask about Annelotte. At first, he thought it was just the old man expressing worry for a fellow guild member. But as he got to know more about his personality, he began to suspect his intentions.
You little bastard, I am her father! Just you wait... If I really end up your father-in-law one day, I'll make sure you suffer! Otherwise, I won't be the Galestorm Swordsaint! cursed Marolyt under his breath.
All he could do, though, was snap back at Leguna without daring to reveal the truth. Leguna didn't let up either and cursed back at him as he ran towards his destination until the two were out of earshot.
The orc campsite was rather easy to spot. The simple-minded buffoons lit bonfires in such an obvious manner, as if they were afraid Leguna would have a hard time finding them.
He hid in a dark corner and observed quietly. There were four orcs on night patrol who were seated around a rectangular pyre. Though they were talking loudly in orcish, their comrades sleeping in the run-down tents didn't seem disturbed. Instead one could say they were joining in with their snoring.
The youth patiently waited, relaxing. He wasn't tense even though there was a large battle awaiting him. Wayerliss had given him lots of training to mold his mental fortitude. Currently, even if a dagger was thrust at his brows, he wouldn't bat an eye.
He kept on going through the measures he should take in the event of his plan going wrong as well as his possible escape routes. After making sure everything was in order, he finally made his move.
He stimulated his impetus slightly. The deep black aura that coated his form helped him blend naturally into the night, greatly increasing his stealth. He trod lightly, barely making the slightest sound. The four orcs were right in front of him. But due to their loud chattering, they didn't notice him coming closer. The shadowy figure suddenly shot out from the darkness, his left hand clutched the mouth of an orc to prevent it from making a sound while his right swung. Three impetus-infused throwing blades struck the three others' throats. He drew his mithril dagger and severed the orc he was holding's throat.
Everything happened in a split second. Even though the orcs weren't rookies, his surgical precision and lightning attack ended their lives in an instant. He quietly put the corpse in his hand down before listening carefully. When he was certain there weren't any weird movements coming from the others, he entered the tents with his dagger.
Five orcs died in their sleep. Trails of fresh blood flowed in the tent and formed a garish pasture of flowers.
Leguna calmly collected their lives. The slumbering orcs were sheep waiting to be slaughtered. He didn't feel the slightest sympathy for them. Every time he felt a hint, he forced himself to think about Cyranos's death. It would invariably turn him back into a cold and ruthless reaper. Though what he was doing was cruel, it was really effective. He had a steely resolve whenever he faced his enemies.
He stepped outside lightly and entered the second tent. His face was stained with blood, his crimson soaked body made him look all the more sinister.
Half a minute later, he stepped out of the second tent. Just as he was about to harvest third tent's occupants, a weird, loud sound rang out. He quickly discovered movement within the third.
"I gave your little game a slight twist. Otherwise, it would be far too pointless. The orcs shouldn't just die in their sleep."
Even though Marolyt was nowhere to be seen, his voice resounded clearly in Leguna's ear.
"Old guy... You're always acting like a freaking troll!" cried he furiously.
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