“We are finally back!” Reia was in a joyful mood since returning to civilization.
You would think that, as a Demihuman, she would feel more comfortable in a different setting, but she seemed to have come to enjoy her time in Human settlements. I suppose it had something to do with me.
Before, she was always alone, and most Humans wanted nothing to do with her. She also had a difficult time with her own tribe because she spent most of her time outside the village and didn’t feel close to them. They always welcomed her and treated her with respect, but there was a distance there that could not easily be overcome.
She began to change when she met me, the first Human somewhat around her age that she could relate to. Orban had taken a liking to her, but he was a much older man who saw her more as a daughter than anything else. She had great respect for him, perhaps even affection towards him as a fatherly figure, but it wasn’t a kind of relationship that could give her a sense of belonging.
I felt she found that sense of belonging with me. She always smiled brightly when we were together and we had become as close as lovers, although nothing was official yet. She had difficulty in the beginning and her lack of confidence often stifled our relationship, but after she almost died, she no longer held her emotions back from me. I could tell she loved me deeply and I was anticipating finally hearing those words from her.
“It is good to be back! It’s too bad Allein and Nes didn’t want to join us.” I already knew why they did not enter the town, but Tris didn’t know the reason and I was just keeping up appearances for their sake.
“I am exhausted! We should head to the Guild first since we just got back though.”
There would be some paperwork and other things to take care of there. Thing like calculating rewards, checking our status, ranking up as an adventurer, etc.
“Fayde…” Tris seemed uncertain about something, she hadn’t been the same since the dungeon.
“I will head to the Guild later, there is something important I need to do.”
“Okay…” I hoped she wasn’t feeling uncomfortable around me now.
“Don’t worry, I won’t be gone for long.”
She said her goodbyes and left Reia and I alone at the town entrance.
“She seems to be in a rush.” Reia said.
“Fayde, what do you think could be so important?”
“Who knows? It’s not like she doesn’t have a life that doesn’t include us. I don’t think it’s strange for her to have family and friends she wants to see, especially when coming back from a dangerous place like a dungeon.”
“That’s true I guess.”
Reia always seemed a little tense around Tris. It might be because she is the only other human in our group and other Humans made her uncomfortable. I had hoped the two could become good friends. It wasn’t like they disliked each other, but there was definitely some tension between the two.
“I am sure she has her reasons. Let’s head to the Guild.”
“Weren’t you just in a good mood? I’ll buy you some new armor since your old one was damaged in the dungeon.” That seemed to cheer her up a little bit.
When we arrived at the Guild, Orban was already there and waved at us. We had all come back together with the caravan, but Orban had rushed back to the Guild ahead of us.
“Fayde, I am going to go check my status, okay?”
I motioned for her to go on ahead while I walked over to Orban to talk with him.
“Fayde, I heard something troublesome when I arrived” Orban said while rubbing his chin.
“My assistants informed me that there have been some people asking around about the Foxkin tribe lately.”
“What do you mean?”
It wasn’t that common for people to be asking about the Foxkin tribe, but it wasn’t that uncommon either. This seemed like a special case since Orban’s tone was quite serious.
“They were looking for Reia so that she could lead them to the Foxkin village. They were trying to be somewhat discreet about it, but it seems to be the lord’s men.” Orban whispered this to me while leaning in close and glancing from side to side.
“What would the lord want with Reia and the Foxkin?” I asked inquisitively.
“I heard tensions have been on the rise between La’gun and Jaspel, they say there might be war soon.” I still had no idea how the two were related.
“What does that have to do with the fox-kin tribe?”
“Isn’t it obvious? They might be trying to force them to fight in the war.”
I didn’t consider that because I didn’t really even think of them as being part of this Kingdom. They lived barely on the outskirts of the Kingdom of La’gun and rarely ever interacted with the Kingdom in any way. They also had a special status that was given to them by the former king. I suppose the current king might see things differently.
“Are you kidding me? They would try to force them to fight? The kingdom doesn’t even help them when slavers try to infiltrate the forest, and they expect the Foxkin to fight for them?”
I was angry when I heard that.
I knew that they were only looking to use the fox-kin in their own schemes.
“They don’t know where the village is, but it is only a matter of time and if they seriously start combing the forest, this could cause a huge incident.”
I nodded, we had to do something about this, we couldn’t just let the Kingdom do whatever they wanted.
“Could it be something else though? I don’t want to just jump to conclusions.”
It wasn’t as if I really thought it was something else, but I wasn’t too familiar with the king of this country.
“Whatever it is, it can’t be good. You need to take Reia and go before they find her. They might try to get the information out of her.”
After Orban finished talking I noticed Reia approaching us. She seemed to be concerned about something, but I was feeling anxious from the news Orban shared.
“Fayde I need to talk to you about….”
I quickly interrupted her, “Reia, we need to go, now!”
I grabbed her hand without allowing her to say anything. She tried to talk a few times but I hurried her along asking her to be quiet for now.
Before leaving I asked Orban to give a message to Tris for me, to meet up with us as soon as possible.
I didn’t want to stay in the town longer than I had to.
Reia and I quickly made our way through the town and out of the west gate without stopping to even reply to those who greeted us on the way.
Being an agent of the Empire was a thankless job and often the missions they were sent on were dangerous and extreme.
They might have to live in the wilderness for weeks or even months, or their mission might be to assassinate someone of importance and a variety of other things. None of the missions were easy tasks and she was beginning to think that this mission would be the most difficult of all.
She had originally thought nothing of the target. There didn’t seem to be anything special about him, other than his strange magic, but she had been following him for some time now and he was beginning to exhibit many abnormal traits.
She urgently needed to inform her partner about what she had seen and experienced.
The woman still didn’t understand what the source of the anomaly that appeared within the Divine Sphere was, only that it was somehow connected to the target.
They had failed to repeatedly kill the target because of circumstances that kept swirling out of their control. Instead, she had been tasked with observing for a time to try to figure out a weakness or perhaps more information on what the connection between the target and the anomaly was.
Then there were the two Demihuman siblings which were of some concern. She couldn’t say with absolute certainty, but they may very well be the legendary Dragonkin. If that proved to be true, it would send shockwaves through the Empire.
This mission was already turning into her longest deployment ever. She spent months observing the target, finding very little to be abnormal about him. If anything, she found him to be somewhat unremarkable and began to think that perhaps it was a fluke. His rate of growth seemed strange, but there were other explanations for something like that, so it wasn’t especially noteworthy, although she reported it just in case.
After following the man known as Fayde into the dungeon and seeing what he had done, she was frightened by it. Fayde had exhibited an overwhelming power that left, without a shadow of a doubt in her mind, that he was in fact the source of the anomaly.
Her partner and the last of their subordinates were using an old house that had been abandoned as a base while in this town. It was in an out of the way spot in Enrain and had proven to be an excellent choice for their purposes. When she reached the entrance to their base, she knocked on the door twice, then once, then thrice, which was the code to let those inside know it was her.
The door opened slowly, one of her subordinates peaked out, and then ushered her in when he recognized her. She quickly made her way to the entrance of a cellar. The cellar door was hidden and the cellar was what they used as their operations room.
Inside was a dusty and damp cellar which had a large table in the center with all manner of documents on it. Her partner was currently preparing a missive to send back to the Empire regarding the coming war in the kingdom.
“Ah, you have returned, do you have news?”
“It’s good to see you again. I just returned from the dungeon after observing Fayde and the Demihumans.”
Her partner noticed that she seemed quite anxious and he urged her to continue her report.
“I rushed over here as quickly as I could, he is without a doubt the source of the anomaly.”
“Slow down, take a deep breath and tell me everything.”
She preceded to tell him everything she had experienced while in the dungeon, going into explicit detail regarding Fayde’s use of a strange power to kill the Lizard King as well as to bring the Demihuman Foxkin woman back from the brink of death.
When he heard what Fayde had done, his eyes were filled with murderous intent. He was a zealot who had absolute faith in the Divinities and The Empire.
“Blasphemy! The power to bring one back from death is reserved only for the Divinities themselves!” His words were venemous.
“Are you certain of what you saw?”
“There is no doubt.”
“This needs to be reported immediately. We must capture him, or kill him immediately.”
The female agent didn’t feel any hatred towards the target but this had to be done. This was her holy mission and what she had devoted her entire life to. She would complete her mission without question.
“He is dangerous. I would have acted by now if I could have accomplished that, and all our plans have failed so far. How do you plan to capture him?”
The man laughed in a sinister manner, his laugh always had sent shivers down her spine. Very few made her feel fear, but this man was one of them, and now Fayde would be another.
“We will make use of someone else this time.”
She was a little confused by this.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I have reports that the kingdom has been trying to locate the Foxkin village in order to forcefully draft them to fight in their coming war with the Kingdom of Jaspel. Since it was somewhat related to our mission, I was looking into it. We already know where the Foxkin village is. So, what do you think might happen if we were to inform them of its location?”
She understood what he had in mind now. There was no way the Foxkin would agree to fight for the Kingdom of La’gun. Relations between the two were at their worst point currently.
The Foxkin would fight back, and the Foxkin woman with Fayde would rush to help them. Naturally, he would rush to their aid as well. This could kill two birds with one stone, they could isolate him from the Demihumans that saved him last time and deal with Fayde at the same time.
“You will continue to follow and observe Fayde. If you see an opportunity to capture him, do so. Otherwise, we can let the Kingdom of La’gun do our dirty work. I will give you a magic tool to help you keep yourself hidden from the Demihuman’s senses.”
“And what will you be doing in the meanwhile?”
“I will wait here until I receive word from you and if the plan should fail, I will need to return to the Empire to report directly and request further assistance.”
Tris wasn’t happy with his demanding tone, they were supposed to be partners, but he often acted like this. The plan seemed a good one so she would go along with it, for now.
She left her partner once their meeting was finished and began her pursuit of Fayde.
The man also left their base of operations and quickly hurried through the town to the lord’s manor in order to fulfill his part.
He would inform them of the location of the Foxkin village.