Chapter 14:

No Hero

No Hero: Chronicles of a Nameless Misfit

I sprinted immediately, not even giving Magnus a chance to get his sword. Grabbing one of the many pieces of wood on the ground I lowered my stance and chucked a crate at him. Instinctively guarding the projectile exploded on his arm but gave me enough time to close distance without him noticing.

Right in front of him, I attempted an upright slash aimed at his face. Magnus was quick and blocked with the hilt of his sword. He then kicked my leg to make me lose balance and strike down, his blade cutting the cloth of my gilet. I rolled away to avoid getting slashed again.

“How did you get here brat? There should be a barrier around here that Clara…” a grin grew on his face “So the ‘Men-eater’ is dead. You even came here by yourself, saving me a lot of work! Today is a wonderful day!”

We ran into each other and started exchanging slashes, trading blows with our swords. Since Magnus’ previous sword was in my hands he was forced to use a cheap metal sword. The weapon was still deadly in his hands as slashes kept sneaking behind my guards and cutting my clothes. Thanks to my reflexes I could still manage to avoid them wounding my body by swiftly changing the placement of my blade and re-route his sword at the last second.

“You have improved, Hero! I’m sure you came here because your slave friend told you there were still girls here” I took a step back as the blade cut the air in front of my hip.

“I’m not a Hero...And I’m here to get revenge on you”

“Oh, boo-hoo you’re mad that I beat you up. I’m sorry, do you want to call your mommy now?”

With that exchange, I regained part of my forces and continued fighting. The girls in the cages were praying for my success as Magnus and I lit the center of the cavern with sparks. Hearing the clanging of iron had become a normal routine for me, dueling with other mercenaries and watching Larce working had helped me adapt to that metallic and frightening sound. Each slash and block resonated in my bones, my whole body was one with the sword in my hands. Despite the situation, I was enjoying that fight, it was proof of everything I had done so far that helped me improve and not get knocked out with one punch. Magnus gave me a reason to get stronger, we were now on equal terms. Each slash and each block convinced me that I could beat him.

Magnus changed his stance and I followed him in his movements keeping up the pace. The trading began getting faster. Our blades collided and with a swift motion, I stuck Magnus in my hilt.

“You’ve got some tricks up your sleeves huh? But this isn’t enough”

With sheer strength, he broke out my parry bringing my sword with him and creating an opening. My legs were now off guard and it took Magnus only one swing to wound both. Just like our first battle, he used dirty tricks to win.

The cut wasn’t deep but it still reduced my speed and ability to step away from the fight. Although we were fighting in close combat this move of his made my chances of winning even lower. I had to find a way around this problem. My mind was only focused on trying to fend off every hit.

His brute style forced me to retreat with every exchange, every step was a toll on my legs and the wall of the cave behind my back was slowly getting closer. That would have been the end of me. Armor would have intervened by that time but it counted as a defeat anyway.

“I was wrong about you” Magnus had the luxury to talk even during all that “After watching you fight the Goblin King I thought you were a troublesome opponent but look at you here, out of breath, struggling to make a comeback”

“Your underdogs helped me in the fight, too bad they will not report that to you”

“Aha, so you killed three of them. Didn’t you feel awful when you tore their life out of their bodies? They were so confident that you were a small fry and yet they perished” my back bumped on the wall “That’s not what a Hero does”

Magnus thrust his sword at my chest. With my free hand, I grabbed the dagger I had stolen before and redirected the pierce to my side, just enough to get the sword stuck in the rock. A trickle of blood dripped from his blade. I ducked and left Magnus trying to get his sword back. With the tip of the dagger, I got the ring that was holding the keys, hung on Magnus’ belt, and threw it in the cage.

“You pesky little bastard” Magnus didn’t notice the keys missing “I commend you on your little play. Can you just let me kill you so we can end this easily? You’re almost done regardless”

“I can still kick your teeth in if I wanted to” the pain in my legs had stopped.

“Such confidence” he opened his arms “I’m gonna make you the same offer as last time. Join me, the Boss needs people like you in the Skulk”

“What’s in it for me?” I tried to buy time

“You can have money, women, fame, power....anything your hands can hold. If you join you can choose one of them to become your personal toy” he pointed at the girls “It’s not an offer that I give often”

“The money sounds nice but I’ll have to decline”

I threw my dagger at his shoulder, that move was unexpected even for him, and didn’t evade. The blade stuck in his clothes piercing the flesh. Magnus tore the weapon and glanced at me.

“You mother…” his mind went blank

During the distraction, I had coated the dagger in the poison I found at the Goblin camp. This gave me a crucial advantage in the fight.

I dashed trying not to waste any precious time bought with that move. Magnus noticed my advance and tried to fend off moving his arm. The poison made him slower and my blade brushed through his open body. An upward slash on his chest cut the uniform open. His skin was exposed and revealed that my hit had been too shallow to do any damage. I moved the blade again, this time aiming for his arm, and knocked his sword out of his hands.

Magnus had regained composure and punched me in the cheek. A ferrous taste permeated my mouth. I spat out one of my teeth hoping healing magic could have made it regrow. I raised my sword, grabbing it with both hands to block a dagger launched at me.

“Do you think this is enough to kill me?” Magnus was unarmed “How low do you think of me? I am the damn wingman of my Boss! I am not some useless being like the ones you defeated before”

His eyes were flushed with anger and will to keep the fight going. Blood dripped from his clenched fists. He didn’t get his sword but walked towards me instead. Was he seriously going to fight with his bare hands?

His arms moved at an incredible speed and a punch hit my torso. I coughed from the blow. It was way more powerful than the last time. Where was this strength coming from?...he held back his true power. This could be dangerous. Having a sword gave me the upper hand but I wasn’t sure how long it would have lasted.


Magnus threw another punch at my chest. I blocked it with my blade using everything I could but it still hit hard. My legs trembled from the recoil. I moved away from his range and tried to attack him behind his back. Just as I lowered my sword he turned around and hit the coming blade with his knuckles sending my slash directly into the ground. Sparkles came from his fists onto my blade and a light shock made my hands twitch. The sword bounced off the ground next to Magnus’ feet. With a bold move, he had blocked another one of my attacks. Being wide open, another punch hit me. My boots slid a few centimeters back, my chest was tingling from what felt like electricity. I looked at my opponent, magic circles orbited around his wrists and small bolts covered his hands in yellow light.

“This feels refreshing. It has been quite a while since I last used magic against someone”

I couldn’t see anything that looked like a catalyst on him, he was a Roch. The only one I had encountered was Claude and he had the power to instill fear just with one gaze. I had nothing to counter his spells and I didn't even know if that was the only one Magnus used. It had been risky fighting him without prior knowledge. I stood back up and calmed down. Just like monsters, even Magnus had to have a cue that anticipated his attacks. If I could find it, some hits might land in the long run. The only thing worrying me was my condition. I could last more normally, but if every punch had that lightning backlash, I would be done after a couple of hits.

“Do you like it? I called this ‘Thunder Fists’! It’s cool isn’t it”

“An unoriginal name but it sure is cool”

“Right? You’re the first one to take one hit of this and still be on your feet. Maybe I went a bit too easy on you” he laughed.

“Please continue doing so” I slapped myself and got back to my usual stance “Come on Rei, you can do this”

Magnus advanced. Every block shocked my arms but my grip never let loose of my only weapon. I was forced on the defensive and circled around my opponent searching for an opening. Every time I tried to strike one of his fists came out of nowhere and hit my sword. It was like fighting a hundred arms at the same time. During all this I analyzed his moves, they were irregular when blocking but every punch had the same motion when Magnus wanted to hit me.

I learned reading my “Sword Combat” volumes that the majority of warriors use the same movements in some or every move he makes. Understanding the right timing and anticipating those moves was what made a great fighter.

Magnus' elbow pointed outwards for a split second, that was the signal. I dodged the punch to the air, feeling the lightning crackle, and continued my charge. Magnus noticed my intentions and placed one of his arms on his chest which he believed was my target. Fluidly changing the direction of my blade I cut his left leg and led the slash upwards towards the arm I just evaded. This time the wound had been deep enough to make Magnus curse at me before sending me away with a push. Electricity spread through my chest as I gained distance.

The bandit hastily bandaged his arm and leg. The magic circle on his right wrist disappeared bringing the sparks with it. One out of two.

I ran keeping my sword low trying to trick him into thinking I was going for an uppercut. Magnus didn’t move. I continued with my plan and raised my sword above my head and struck down. His hand moved and grabbed my blade mid-air blocking it in his fist. The shock of electricity kept going until I let my sword go to avoid getting paralyzed. Magnus threw my sword out of the cave.

“Your little play ends here”

Using his wounded arm, Magnus grabbed my belt and pushed me into the pile of fallen crates. A low lament came from the bandit under that as I stepped on his hand. I lost balance while tripping and fell on the wood. Magnus stood over me. The magic circle on his left hand grew bigger and the cloud of sparks around his open hand transformed into a lightning orb. The light and roar of the small thunders overlapped his voice.

“Say hi to Clara for me”

A flash blinded one of my eyes and a pointy object stabbed Magnus. A knife had been thrown from outside the cave. Armor made his move with perfect timing. Letting go of the grip on my belt Magnus took the knife off his hand, the magic circle had disappeared as well. I kicked him away from me with both feet and got back up. Looking outside the cave Magnus lost his attention on me. I spun on my left leg and raised the right. The heel of my boot hit something hard that let out a feeble cry.

After all that time, I landed my hook kick on Magnus. His body started staggering, his eyes directed at me, and then he tripped and fell to the ground unconscious. I couldn’t hold myself anymore and kneeled screaming in the cave out of relief and joy.

“I just couldn’t let you die, Misfit. Sorry to have ruined your fight”

“You don’t know how much I would like to kiss that helm of yours right now”

Armor made his entrance into the cave. His equipment shone under the light of the torches. The knife that struck Magnus was similar to the one I had stolen from his underdogs. Armor must have done the same thing as me. I recovered my weapons and took a deep breath. It was finally over.

The first thing I did was tie the remaining bandits up and joined every restrain together creating a line. There was enough rope and shackles in that cave to wrap them up in a cocoon leaving only the head popping out. Armor opened the cage and helped the girls out. They were barely standing so we decided to let them on the wagon. I decided to check the tent for valuables and information while Armor loaded the wagon with the crates.

A candle on a small table was the only source of light inside. Various documents and papers were left unorganized on the floor. They were all full of transactions between the group and buyers. The amount of Karses and wares are given to different customers identified with a code name were listed. Even the sale of slaves had been written down. Two months of actions were reported in detail. The documents had to be useful to condemn the bandits so I folded them and brought them with me. Other than that, a bunch of booze, food, and weapons were scattered throughout the tent. I picked up every sword and dagger, I would have later sold them to Larce. I decided to keep just one of the daggers. It was nothing special but it could have served as a great starting weapon for Arya.

“What’s this?”

Under a small carpet, I caught a glimpse of a handle. I pushed it aside with a foot and discovered a small wooden hatch. Inside the trapdoor dug into the ground a pouch full of golden coins was hidden. I found myself once again holding an enormous amount of money but opted to use this to help the girls kept locked in the cave. I noticed a recurring symbol on every paper and now on the leather. A black circle with 4 points in a cross-like position. I had seen the same drawing as a tattoo on Magnus’ body. It reminded me of a distorted version of one of the elements of mana: Aether.

“Ready to go back?” Armor was connecting the wagon to the Feather Drakes we used to get there.


We put all the crates back into Panare’s storage hut making sure nothing was missing and rode back to Lyria. The girls in the cart were sleeping.

“You remind me of one of those adventurers described in books” Armor broke the silence of the night “The ones that try to save everyone despite the difficulty”

“Is that a compliment?”

“Not really, despite the courage you almost died back there, thank the Gods I was there keeping an eye on you. This is the third, maybe the fourth time in a month. You’re not the protagonist of a fairy tale, Misfit. Even though you have the guts of a Hero you are far away from being one”

“Did I have to ignore all of this? What would you do in a situation like this?”

“I would have done the same” I tried to talk back “But I have more experience than you”

“I guess you’re right”

I had jumped straight into something way above my league. Unlike the Goblin King and the battle with Clara, which I was forced into, this was a thing I did by my own will. The thought of Magnus doing the same things Arya suffered to others made me act irrationally. Luck had helped me so far but I couldn’t push it anymore.

“You are finally back” Frank greeted us from inside the Eastern Gate

“We have some presents for you”

Armor stopped the Drakes and I pointed at the line of bandits we had used to swipe the road behind us. Frank called other guards and took the men into a room inside the walls. The remaining guards took the girls and said to be bringing them to the city’s cathedral and have priests take them in. The girls thanked us one last time from inside the wagon before getting out of sight.

We were now on foot. Only the Feather Drake I ‘borrowed’ from the Full Moon kept us company. The big lizard was munching on one of the banners hanging on the stone.

“Where in Gods’ name have you been?” a furious and loud Roxy charged at us “Do you know how long I looked around to find you two?”

“Wait, didn’t she send you to tail me?” I asked Armor who was visibly shaking

“Yeah, about that…”

We got an earful from her about how important it is to let her know when we leave the inn and where we are going. She was trying to find me to inform me that I would have joined a Unit to raid the hideout first thing in the morning. Arya had no clue where I was and Armor had also vanished. She knew something was going on and dispatched some mercenaries to find us.

“Rei, you’re hurt. AGAIN!”

I forgot to hide the many slashes and cut cloth on my body. A mistake I forced myself to never do again since then.

We briefly explained what happened, carefully avoiding the part where I almost died again. Armor saw me take the Feather Drake out and decided to follow me only to find me already at the hideout and decided to join me in the raid. The bandits were taken care of and the girls were freed. End of the story.

“I can’t believe this. Knowing you two, Rei almost died again and you got in the middle of the fight last second”

“You’re scary Chief” Armor didn’t even finish talking when a couple of icicles froze his chest plate.

“Ah, right who I needed” Frank got out of the room and headed to Roxy “The men your guys brought me had bounties on their heads. Who do I give the reward to?”

“How much are we talking about?” Roxy went straight to the focal point

“15k Karses at least”

“I’m taking it as repayment for your bravery, I’ll use this to pay Arya’s license at least” Roxy pointed her gun at me knowing I was going to complain “And I’m taking the weapons in the wagon too since you wanted to sell them to Larce”

“Not the weapons” I kneeled to the ground begging Roxy “I fought hard to get those, my life was on the line”

“So you did almost die”


“Nice one Misfit, now we’re both in trouble” Armor grab my shoulder and lifted me up “Let’s hope she doesn’t hang us upside-down”

With Roxy still shouting at us in the middle of the night, we went back to the Full Moon.

After another hour or two of Roxy reminding us of how stupid we were, we finally got out of the tiger’s den. I was destroyed. I would have loved to dip in hot water if only the public baths were open. I reached my room and opened the door, every muscle I could feel was sore.

“Roxy was looking for you” Arya was still up under the blanket “I tried to cover you as best as I could”

“Thank you, it didn’t work out though” I showed her a bunch of ice on my back “I forgot you were here, I’ll head back down”

“No, please stay. You must be tired”

I sure was.

“I got a thing for you by the way. I thought it could help to save money” I grabbed the dagger from the blade and extended it towards Arya. “Do you know how to use one?”

“No, but I can learn. Thank you…”

Arya looked at the stiletto dagger and tried to mimic a couple of slashes. Her moves were light and rapid at the same time almost as if she wielded a weapon of sorts before. Since she was a Laufer she would have been forced to use the dagger until we could afford a proper catalyst. The thought of money leaving my already empty pockets made me even more tired.

“I don’t know how to repay you for all this kindness. I have nothing to give you...except” she let go of her blanket revealing her bare skin “It’s not much but I hope this is enough. It has been my only way to survive the hardships of being a slave for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I even got to make small requests to ease my life. My other owners had always made me do this to repay them for their help so it doesn’t bother me anymore” her eyes were gloomy and scared.

“I won’t accept that”

“But...this is everything I can do” she came closer and dropped the blanket on the floor, her eyes now teared up “Please. I don’t want to be sold away again because I’m a dead weight”

I lifted the blanket from her feet and covered her. She was surprised by my move. Lua’s story had been hard to digest but this was even worse. Arya had tried everything possible just to survive. I decided to save her to get her out of her troubles and was still convinced to do so. The people who treated her and others poorly had to pay.

“There’s only one way for you to repay your debt”

“What is it?”

“Just stay in my Unit until we are rich enough to steal words out of anyone. It will not be easy so prepare yourself for a bumpy road”

“I will” 

Hey! Ecspo here. Hope you liked this chapter!

Since this is my first serious work and also my first work in English I would very much appreciate any tips, critiques, comments of any kind. Tell me if the chapters are too long, short, or whatever, it would mean a lot to me.