“Fayde, you’re back!”
Before I could leave the Guildhall a voice I recognized called out to me, “Ah, Tris. Yeah, Reia and I are back.”
She wasn’t there when we first entered the Guild and she must have arrived while we were in Orban’s office. I wasn’t really in the mood for conversation right now, all I wanted to do was sleep, but I took a moment to greet her. I felt bad that she had been waiting for us to group up, but with one thing after another happening, it had been impossible.
“You look like crap!” Tris laughed while resting one hand on her hip.
“Yeah, we rushed over here without sleeping last night. It’s been a rough couple of days.”
Tris looked me up and down curiously and said, “I can see that, what happened?”
Reia and I explained everything that had happened to us while traveling to the forest and the circumstances of our return. Since we were exhausted, we didn’t talk long but we agreed to meet up again the next day after we fully rested. All of the adventurers in the town would soon be called to fight anyway, and the three of us planned on working together during the battle that was to come.
After leaving the Guild everything became a blur as we headed to the inn where Reia and I each went to our respective rooms to sleep. I was barely conscious as it was and just about as soon as my face hit the pillow, I was out.
Sleep came quickly, and my thoughts were soon overcome by a swirling maelstrom of picturesque scenes and unfamiliar faces. It was one of those moments when you know you are asleep and yet part of you feels awake. You find yourself uncertain whether you are still dreaming and you’re incapable of moving your body.
Countless strange images flashed before my eyes, none of which I recognized. I saw a place that looked similar to Earth, but I knew it wasn’t. The images in my mind spun out of control giving me a sensation of speed and time, and then it stopped.
I was in a dark place, alone. A vertical slit in the center of that space opened, revealing light. It appeared as if it were a doorway, leading to a difference place. I approached the doorway and peered through, and there I saw a wondrous place beyond my imagination and I stepped through.
“So, you have come again.” A beautiful and menacing voice spoke somewhere nearby.
It took a moment to adjust to the light after standing in complete darkness but when I could finally see clearly, there was a familiar looking woman sitting on a throne of glass. After thinking for a moment, I realized that I had seen her before in a similar place while dreaming. Although, the last time I saw her, she was being bathed by servants, and this time it was as if she were expecting me.
“I may have too hastily acted the last time you were in my presence, but I have been waiting for you. I knew you would come again.” Her voice grew more soothing, losing its hostility.
She had been naked the last time, but now she wore clothing, albeit very revealing clothing that barely covered her body. Her form was breathtaking and the more I looked, the more entranced I became.
I struggled to maintain control over my mind and shook my head, No! I can’t lose myself here. There is something very wrong with that woman.
Noticing my struggle, the woman laughed, “I suppose it won’t be that simple then.”
“Did you do something to me?” I shouted at her as my mind became more clear.
The woman covered a devious smile with her right hand, “Nothing in particular… it has been a long time since I did not get my way.”
She rose from her throne and began to approach me seductively. I slowly backed away and looked for a means of escape.
“Perhaps I will make you mine…. “ She said with a hint of flirtation, but all I could see was a poisonous snake waiting to bare its fangs.
“Never!” I blurted it out without hesitation.
Her face twisted and she practically hissed at me, “Then die…..”
Her arm ignited in black flames and she struck with her fingers outstretched in order to pierce my chest.
Before she could make contact, a sudden explosion woke me from my dreams, but her voice lingered in my head, “remain in that broken world….”
It was late at night as a woman stalked the city streets, climbing on to the roof of a building overlooking an inn within the town of Enrain. Her target was there, but she was to remain only an observer and report on the success or failure of her subordinates. Of course, if she had an opportunity to strike from the shadows without being caught, she would not hesitate to use her bow.
Being an agent of the Empire, she was skilled in various fields, but her expertise lay mostly in information gathering and undercover work. She was excellent with a bow and could kill most men with a single shot through the throat if the opportunity presented itself, but that was not usually her role. She would only act once there was no other way, or when it was determined that her job was at an end.
Her partner was the one who was more suitable for assassination, but even he was usually more in a supervisory role. It had not been deemed necessary yet for them to act personally and so they had planned another assassination attempt on their target.
Knowing the inn he was staying in, it was a simple matter to kill the man while he slept, completely unaware of the danger. Here in the town, he would have no one to come to his aid and because of his ignorance, he didn’t even appear to be acting with caution. He most likely felt he was safe within the confines of this town.
The target didn’t even know he was being targeted. In her experience, the man was rather naive to the dangers of this world. She wondered where he came from that he was so coddled.
From her vantage point, she could barely make out the movement of shadows climbing up to a second floor window of the inn, the room where the target slept. She took a moment to survey the area for anyone who could potentially be a witness or call for an alarm, but none were present.
A sudden unnatural gust of wind sent chills down her spine and she reflexively looked up into the sky and for a moment saw a shadow pass over the moon. Her breath caught in her throat, what….. A dragon? Impossible…. It had only been for a fleeting second and she thought it might be her mind playing tricks on her.
A loud explosion reverberated from the direction of the inn drawing her eyes. Where there was once a second floor window, was now a large hole and she could see some of the bodies of her subordinates falling to the ground. A shadow jumped into the hole from somewhere nearby.
What the hell is going on? She thought as she braced herself.
I was suddenly thrown from where I was sleeping and crashed into the wall near the door leading to the hallway. I groaned in pain as I just barely remained conscious from the excessive impact. I could feel the presence of someone nearby as well but I was still struggling to move and couldn’t see who it was.
My vision began to regain focus and I could see a gaping hole where the wall to my bedroom used to be and a shadowy figure jumped in. I could feel the murderous intent spilling out from the person, but I couldn’t respond quickly. Thinking I was going to be attacked, I attempted to crawl to the door. With that loud explosion I knew someone would be coming to investigate.
Before I could drag myself over to the door, I felt the presence jump towards the other one I felt earlier, and the sound of a scream echoed in my ear. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to open the door in my current state, I braced myself for the inevitable and turned my body over to look to my side and just barely caught a blur leap on top of me.
I was fully prepared to die. When I looked up, Allein was staring down at me with a mischievous grin on her face, “that’s twice I saved you…. How are you going to repay me?”
Sitting down right on top of my waist, she pressed her sharp nail into my chest and traced a line down to my abdomen, almost piercing my skin.
“Allein, what are you doing here? Isn’t it dangerous for you to be seen in a Human town?” My head had been hit hard and I still wasn’t fully registering what was going on and blurted that out.
“Isn’t there something else you should be saying… like thank you?” She replied somewhat annoyed.
“Ah.. yeah, thank you?” I still didn’t understand what was going on and could only say that much.
At that moment the door to my bedroom was thrown open and Reia stood there with her sword at the ready. She looked like she was panicking and hurriedly searched the room. She gasped when she saw the large hole in the wall and then she saw Allein sitting on top of me.
“What the hell is going on in here!?” Reia shouted confused and somewhat annoyed.
“Uh, it’s not what it looks like… really. Allein, get off of me already!” I quickly pushed Allein off of me and sat up.
“Tch….. Fayde was attacked again, I saved his life. We need to change locations, now, let’s go to your room Reia.” Even though I pushed Allien off of me, she didn’t allow herself to fall and deftly stood up, holding her hand towards me. I took her hand and she helped me stand.
“Was it just one?” Reia looked like she was ready to murder someone, and for some reason I felt like she was looking straight at me.
“My brother is hunting the ones I didn’t kill in my first attack.” Allein replied in a nonchalant manner.
“Wait a second, you were the one who blew a hole in the wall!? You almost killed me!!! I thought you were trying to save my life!?” I couldn’t just let that slide, I had been blown away with the blast too.
“I knew you wouldn’t die with just that, it was the only way to save you in time. If I had waited even a moment longer, you would be dead.” She jabbed me in the chest with her finger causing me to grunt in pain. Her fingernails are sharp!
“Enough playing, let’s hurry up, I can hear shouts and footsteps approaching.” Reia glared at Allein while speaking.
They helped me gather my belongings and we exited the room and headed over to Reia’s bedroom. I collapsed on her bed and lay there while she healed me. She looked worried as she placed her hand on me, but with her magic complete, I felt much better.
“What you did was reckless Allein! But…. you did save his life and for that I thank you.”
Reia bowed her head slightly towards Allein. Allein responded with a self satisfied smile and said, “of course!”
“But why are assassins trying to kill me? That’s what I want to know…” I verbalized my thoughts hoping someone could provide an answer.
It was clear to me now that these assassins were after me, not just this time but in the forest as well. What wasn’t clear was the reason. I initially thought they might be after Reia since she was a Demihuman.
“Hmm… I wonder.” Allein said while tapping her lips with her index finger.
She was acting suspicious, does she know something? I wondered.
“Allein, is there something you aren’t telling me?” I decided to ask her straight out.
“No, I was just thinking out loud…”
Damn, you’re hiding something aren’t you!
“Fayde, do you think it has something to do with you being from another world?” Reia sat down next to me and asked gently. She seemed a little shaken by what happened.
“It isn’t like that didn’t occur to me, but how could they possibly know something like that? The only people that know that are you two, Nes and your father Reia. Even if they did know that I was from Earth, why would they be trying to kill me?”
“I don’t know….” She didn’t have an answer either.
Then I realized something, “Allein, what are you even doing here? I am grateful that you saved my life, but weren’t you supposed to be scouting for the Foxkin village?”
Allein walked over to the bed and sat next to me and winked at Reia. She was obviously taunting her again. Reia ignored it this time thankfully.
“We were, but then we saw that the army of monsters left the forest and were crossing the grasslands between the forest and here. We came to tell you that they were coming and would probably arrive by early afternoon tomorrow. It was then that I saw those assassins climbing into the window of the inn.”
I realized from her words how much of a close call that had been. If Allein hadn’t come here to inform us of the movements of the monster’s army, then I would be dead right now. I couldn’t even respond to the threat since I was stuck in that strange dream world. Now that I remember, what was that place? And who was that woman? She was definitely a threat. There were too many unknowns and now my life was in immediate danger for some unknown reason.
I turned to Allein and took both her hands in mine which surprised her. She looked at me with a strange expression I had never seen before. It was almost as if she looked embarrassed by my actions and didn’t know how she should react.
“Allein… thank you.. You saved me again. I don’t know how I could ever repay you, I mean it.” I tried my best to show her my sincerity.
She stuttered slightly, caught completely off guard by my serious tone. I thought I caught a hint of a blush but she turned her head almost immediately.
“O-of course!” Her words were barely more than a whisper, it was quite cute and I couldn’t help but smile at her reaction.
Now how am I going to explain all of this to the innkeeper?
A loud explosion rocked the inn and woke me from my sleep. It took me a moment to react because of the shock, but I soon jumped out of bed and grabbed my equipment. I ran out into the hallway and fear almost overtook me.
That came from the direction of Fayde’s room…. No! At the realization that Fayde might be in danger, I ran towards the end of the hallway where his room was and threw the door open. A large gaping hole was where the bedroom wall used to be. I quickly scanned the room looking for Fayde and praying that he was still alive. If he died here I didn’t know what I would do. I was afraid, more afraid than I expected to be.
My eyes quickly found Fayde laying on the floor and Allein was sitting on top of him in a very provocative position. Seeing that Fayde was still alive, I grew extremely angry without realizing it and shouted, “What the hell is going on here!?”
She explained to me what happened and I was relieved to see Fayde alive and even though I didn’t intend to, my anger showed in my words, “was it just one?” Even though I said that, I didn’t pay attention to her reply because I was still annoyed with the fact that she wouldn’t get off of Fayde.
When she finally did, she poked him even though he was still hurt and I almost shouted at her but instead I glared at her and said, “Enough playing, let’s hurry up, I can hear shouts and footsteps approaching.”
We left Fayde’s room and I healed him, his injuries were bad and he was hurting a lot. I can’t believe Allein hurt him even more despite his injuries! While thinking that, I also realized that she did in fact save him. I felt useless yet again. Allein had now saved Fayde’s life twice and I couldn’t do anything to help him. I was completely and utterly useless and I hated myself more than I was angry at Allein. If anything, I was truly thankful to her.
All I could do now was bow my head to her and say, “What you did was reckless Allein! But…. you did save his life and for that I thank you.”
Her response to me was so smug it pissed me off, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything to her.
As Fayde and Allein discussed the reasons for why he was being targeted by assassins I thoughtlessly sat down next to him and said, “Fayde, do you think it has something to do with you being from another world?”
After those words left my lips, I realized that i had carelessly sat down right next to him, close enough to feel his body heat. I suddenly felt nervous sitting so close to him on my bed. I was so nervous that I didn’t even realize that Allein sat down next to him too.
By the time I did realize it, Fayde was holding her hands in his. I felt furious. What is wrong with me? Am I jealous!?
“That’s enough you two! We need to get some sleep, Fayde sleep on the floor!” I forgot that fayde had been injured not long ago and pushed him off the bed.
“Reia, what the hell!? Ugh…. I wasn’t fully healed you know!” Fayde said angrily and I felt bad for pushing him off but I couldn’t bring myself to apologize.
“Allein and I will sleep in the bed, and when Nes gets here, he can sleep on the floor with you!” I said more angrily than I intended.