Don't Worry, We Have the Best Supporter in Our Team
This is bad. Jayce is being pushed back, thought Alice.
Alice was providing as much support as she could for Aiden to protect the escaping prisoners. The bandits kept appearing out of their tents in the camp.
Struggling, she did her utmost best to manage her mana well, including her mana potions as she had two mana potions left.
As she prepared another long-range spell: Frost Spear, for every spear she manifested, they were thinly shaped for higher firepower and speed as to not give the bandits a chance to evade. Once she completed her projectiles, she immediately fired them off at her targets.
Judging from Aiden’s action, he seemed to have the same idea as Alice’s as he was picking up his pace, taking down every bandit he could hear.
Thanks to that, all the bandits were taken down.
Without a moment to waste, she prepared another spell to heal Jayce, but she later heard a sound of the tree branches rustling behind her.
She immediately disengaged her incantation and turned to look toward the source of the sound.
There was no response.
Noir unsheathed a dagger from its arm, ready to attack if the intruder was an enemy.
Deactivating the monocle’s enchantment, Alice squinted her eyes. There was a shadow slowly approaching them. Alice’s eyes went wide.
“I’ve seen you before. You’re the waitress who served us in the inn.”
“Glad you recognize me. My name is Irene, and sorry for startling you. I’ve heard from the village chief that you were going to save the prisoners, so I thought I might as well take this chance to help out. But for now, consider me as a fellow adventurer instead of a waitress.”
Alice didn’t sense anything malicious from her words, so she was confident that she had a good intention behind her purpose. She called Noir to stand-down and it did as she said.
Instead of a maid outfit, Irene was wearing light-weight gear of dark-silver top-apparel, hazel brown shorts, a brown back-quiver slung on her right shoulder, and a well detailed wooden bow in her hand.
For some reason, the bow in her hand somehow gave out an odd aura when the moonlight shone upon it.
“So, what’s the current situation?” asked Irene.
Alice brought her senses back by that question. She later explained her partner’s predicament and another comrade, Aiden, decided to assist them to fight off against the bandits.
Irene nodded in affirmation along with her explanation, with a hand on her chin, then she asked the next question.
“So your boyfriend is now alone and currently fighting the bandit leader. Where is the bandit leader?”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” she retorted and continued, “The bandit leader was on the south side of the camp.”
She pointed her finger at the bandit leader. Of course, she could see it clearly due to the monocle’s enchantment. She realized that and offered the monocle to Irene.
“It’s fine. I could see it clearly,” she reassured.
Normally, no matter how much training an adventurer undergoes to increase one’s eyesight, they could never have a clear vision from that distance between Alice and the bandit leader. Therefore, Alice reached one conclusion about Irene’s statement.
“Your keen eyesight is your passive skill, right?” asked Alice.
“Right on target,” she confirmed. “Now then, let’s help them defeat the bandit leader.”
She nocked an arrow to her bow and began her incantation.
“O goddess of the forest, Artemis, hear my call, let your wind guide my arrow to strike the hearts of my enemies from afar.”
The arrow on her bow was gradually cloaked with the wind.
From Alice’s perspective, she saw a spirit approached Irene’s bow and imbued its power to the arrow.
When the arrow was fully shrouded with the wind, Irene fired her arrow straight at the point between Jayce and the bandit leader. That sole arrow was enough to cause an explosion, sending dirt and grasses in the air, and leaving a crater where it had landed.
She was hoping this shot will provide an opportunity for Jayce to retreat, based on Alice’s information.
Alice stood there with a wryly smile.
Isn’t that a little too extreme?
She equipped the monocle back and scanned the area where the arrow landed. The bandit leader was stunned by the sudden explosion, while Jayce sheathed his obsidian weapons back to his waist holsters and retreated towards the east side of the camp.
When the explosion subsides, Alice’s eye went wide. The arrow that just landed was still fine, despite that it was just a normal arrow. She turned her attention to Irene, who was now breathing unsteadily.
“Are you okay? You don’t seem to be looking too good.”
Alice couldn’t help but worry about her, despite that this was her second encounter with Irene.
“I-I’m fine,” answered Irene.
Turned out that Irene’s contract with the spirit of the forest was that she could only fire two spirits-imbued arrows a day. If she cast more than twice, she will experience mana-deficiency, fell unconscious, and it could take a few days to recover.
“If the situation calls for it, I will—"
“No,” Alice interjected, “I will not let that happen.”
Alice couldn’t stand on watching her comrades experiencing this kind of burden. She extended her hand toward Irene.
“Irene, I have an idea. I’m not sure whether it will work, but can you trust me?”
Irene had no idea what Alice had in mind. She didn’t have enough time to think this through.
“Alright, let’s hear it.”
“Let’s see. Judging by the explosion from earlier, a third party must be a friend to provide an opportunity for me to retreat, and I have about three minutes to prepare before the bandit leader finds me.”
He reminded himself of the condition of his obsidian blades from this fight. He mentally took note of restocking his enchanted whetstones when he returns back to his apartment.
Enough of that, he had two and a half minutes to prepare. He undid his waist belt that sheathed his obsidian scimitars and stored it to his magic gloves. He later browsed through his magic gloves for a certain weapon.
The weapon he was looking for materialized in the air above his hands. He gave a few test swings with his right hand alone.
It was a light, but not good enough.
He closed his eyes, tracing and calibrating the runes that were applied to his withdrawn weapon with his mana. He took out and equipped a sheath belt for his new weapon.
Suddenly, he heard a sound coming from the other side of the tent. He took his defensive stance, his right hand gripped on its handle, towards the presence he had just sensed.
“Whoa! It’s me.”
He recognized that voice: it was Aiden.
“We just finished taking care of the bandits. I came to regroup with you to take down the ban… What’s with the new sword…?”
He stopped mid-sentence as he heard a different sound coming from Jayce’s new weapon then continued.
“Never mind. Let’s take this guy down.”
“I know,” Jayce responded.
“I was wondering whether both of you ran off somewhere and never came back, but it seems I was wrong,” said Axton, who was standing in the middle of the camp.
As Jayce and Aiden moved towards their target. He warned Aiden to avoid getting hit by his greatsword and focus on evasion and strike, if possible.
Aiden nodded along with his battle strategy, and at the same time, he took out a bottle from his magic gloves.
The size of the bottle was similar to Alice’s potion bottles but slightly smaller.
He activated one of the blade gauntlets and poured the bottle’s content to his blade then disengage his blade, and repeat the entire procedure to the other blade.
The smell of the thick liquid he had poured wafted through the air.
Judging by the smell, Jayce concluded that it was poison; the majority of the poison seemed to be coming from a snake he could faintly remember somewhere in the mountain he had explored five years ago, while the remaining component seemed to be a coating agent. That explained the battle Aiden had gone through against other bandits.
Even though poisons were meant to kill people or animals from the inside, mana shields will also be disintegrated overtime during physical contact with poisons over time.
The rate of mana shield degradation depended on the potency of the poison. Jayce was impressed by Aiden’s choice of poison, but something was strange about his poison. He put that aside in his mind and focused on the task at hand.
“Let’s go,” prompted Jayce.
“Understood.” Aiden darted towards the bandit leader, blades stretched out under his gauntlet. He swung his blades at the bandit leader’s thigh, but they hit nothing but air. Feeling there was no resistance coming from his blades, he listened for his presence.
“Crap! Jayce!” he shouted as he looked back.
Jayce didn’t need his warning as the bandit leader was right in front of him, with his greatsword swung at him from the side.
When the greatsword was a few centimetres away from Jayce’s head, he focused on the inner workings of his magic circuit.
Switching magic circuit to close-range combat: Mirage Blader.
The greatsword, which was just about a hair’s breadth away from Jayce’s head, was parried with an unimaginable force.
Axton eyed at his new weapon.
It wasn’t any longsword he had seen in his entire life; it was entirely made of glass, reflecting the moonlight to give off an enigma aura, and the handle was wrapped with black leather. If seen from a different perspective, one could not discern the presence of the blade but the handle itself.
Just a moment ago, Jayce didn’t unsheathe his longsword when the bandit leader charged at him instead of Aiden.
“Mirage Blader skill: Quickdraw,” muttered Jayce under his breath.
Axton had never heard of that skill before, but he wouldn’t want to get himself defeated by a young adventurer like him. He brought down his sword with all his might.
This time, Jayce didn’t have time to prepare another strike with his longsword.
That was the drawback using Quickdraw; he needed some time to assumed another stance since they were engaging in close-quarter battle. He knew the consequences of using it, but he gambled his life for this to happen.
There came a sonic boom from the greatsword. It wasn’t some sort of effect of the greatsword’s runes since it didn’t have any other runes crafted on it, aside from hardening enchantment.
It was due to a greyish-blue arrow struck true to the greatsword’s side, deflecting it off course and landed right next to Jayce.
Jayce took this opportunity to distance himself away from him.
“I’m impressed that you figured out the Magic Arrow: Shockwave from the magic gloves I gave you.”
“You could have told me earlier! You could have gotten yourself killed!” she lamented.
It was true that his approach to teaching was dangerous. Because of their recent battle in grimoire’s world, this was all to train her to keep herself rationale when either her comrades or she was in a pinch.
He silently told himself that he would have to apologize to her for this later. He deactivated its rune, reducing its weight back to normal. He focused all his strength onto his legs and dashed forward.
As he swung his longsword for a horizontal slash, he gradually imbued his mana to the runes, causing the weapon to gradually become heavier and stronger,
“Too slow!” shouted Axton, swinging his weapon at his opening.
But a barrage of shockwave arrows came raining down upon his sword.
“Tch.” He clicked his tongue.
Jayce longsword landed on his side, sending Axton flying to the East. But that wasn’t enough.
“Aiden!” shouted Jayce.
“You got it!” Aiden lowered his stance and took off towards his target.
“Assassin skill: Armor Break!”
His eyes traced for the weakest point of the bandit leader’s mana shield and struck it. Although the majority of his mana shield was destroyed, Axton was still conscious.
Axton recovered himself in midair and prepared his next stance when he landed on the grassland.
Not sparing any moment for the leader, Irene fired another three more shockwave arrows around the bandit leader, producing a cloud of grass and dirt to hinder his vision, while Alice launched five Frost Spears to block his path.
Angry expression formed on his face and he brought down the icicles around him with his blade. When the dust settled down, he returned his focus towards his enemies, but the only enemy he could see was Aiden.
“Where are you looking at?” came a voice behind him.
He immediately swung his greatsword toward the source of sound with a Reversal Slash. At last, his greatsword landed to Jayce’s side, but…
“I said: Where are you looking at?” he repeated.
Axton looked down, Jayce’s hand was on the handle of his sheathed longsword. Impossible is the only word appeared in his head. He knew he had hit him just now.
Jayce pushed his longsword out slightly with his left thumb and cast another Quickdraw from his longsword, ending the battle as the bandit leader tumbled down before him.
“What are you thinking?!” said Alice, lecturing Jayce when they regrouped at the bandit camp.
Even though Jayce apologized to her for being reckless, she didn’t let him off that easily.
Meanwhile, Aiden and Irene listened and waited for their conversation to end, but it seemed that it will take some time to settle down.
Once she settled down, Jayce apologizes to her once more. He knew this might happen, but at the same time, she shouldn’t be that worry when she had saved his life. Realizing he was still wielding his longsword, he put it back in its sheath and deposited it into his magic gloves, leaving himself unarmed.
Alice and Jayce then heard someone groaning. They turned their gaze to Aiden and Irene. Aiden was found to be lying down on the ground, clutching at his head with both hands. Irene's hand turned beet-red after hitting Aiden in the head.
“Who told you to go the bandit camp alone?” she asked in a cold-hearted tone. Her expression was different from the time they met her at the inn.
“I can’t just sit around when our people are suffering,” he retorted as he stood up, rubbing his head with his hand. “Besides, we beat the bandit leader didn’t we?”
For some reason, Alice felt a Déjà vu when she witnessed that spectacle.
Irene acknowledged the fact they did indeed defeat the bandit leader for kidnapping their people, which was requested by the village chief, but they didn’t officially register themselves for that quest, so the reward will be handed over to Alice and Jayce instead.
At least, they rescued their people, that was all it matters to them.
“If you’re wondering about the reward. We will split it evenly.” Jayce began.
He made that decision because he owed them for not only defending the Moon Villagers but also his life. There were multiple death scenarios he had already anticipated if they didn’t choose the right approach.
Aiden and Irene were at a lost of words. They didn’t expect Jayce’s statement. They waved their hands to decline his offer, but then, Alice asked them a question.
“Irene, what’s your relationship with Aiden?” She couldn’t help but ask due to the way they treated each other.
“We’re childhood friends. His parents and mine were good friends. That’s how I get to know him,” she answered her question nonchalantly.
Upon hearing that, Alice clasped both of her hands together and her eyes began to glimmer.
Jayce didn’t want to make this situation weird between them, so he clapped his hands to gather their attention.
“I hate to interrupt, but shall we resume our discussion elsewhere?”
“Wait a minute. What should we do about these guys?” asked Alice, pointing her finger at a group of unconscious bandits they had defeated.
“Don’t worry about it,” he answered, pulling out every throwing knife he had hidden in his sleeves. He then carefully placed them in a well-coordinated manner to form a perfect circle at the closest open area he could find.
The knives he positioned had already been imbued with mana. With a snap of his fingers, the runes emanated a blue glow and each of them produced a string and extended towards to other runes, forming a magic circle as they threaded through the air. A few seconds later, a portal was created before them. Golems came out of the portal and formed a line before him.
“I need everyone to gather the bandits around here.”
With a single command, they walked around the camp in search of every bandit they could find and carried them back to the portal. The last golem approached Jayce. It seemed to be expecting another command from him.
“Tell them: Alice, Aiden, Irene and I completed this quest.”
The golem simply nodded and returned to the portal along with the others.
Now that the camp was free from bandits, Jayce started heading back to the Moon Village.
He looked back over his shoulder to his comrades.
“Let’s head back to the Moon Village and get some rest.”
He didn’t wait for a response, he was really tired after all the fight they had today. Alice and others followed after him, leaving the camp as they had completed their quest.