Chapter 11:

Chapter 3.4, Mirage

Don't Worry, We Have the Best Supporter in Our Team

This is bad. Jayce is being pushed back, thought Alice.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

Struggling, she did her utmost best to manage her mana well, including her mana potions as she had two mana potions left. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

Thanks to that, all the bandits were taken down. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

She immediately disengaged her incantation and turned to look toward the source of the sound.Bookmark here

“Who’s there?”Bookmark here

There was no response. Bookmark here

Noir unsheathed a dagger from its arm, ready to attack if the intruder was an enemy. Bookmark here

Deactivating the monocle’s enchantment, Alice squinted her eyes. There was a shadow slowly approaching them. Alice’s eyes went wide.Bookmark here

“I’ve seen you before. You’re the waitress who served us in the inn.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

For some reason, the bow in her hand somehow gave out an odd aura when the moonlight shone upon it.Bookmark here

“So, what’s the current situation?” asked Irene.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

Irene nodded in affirmation along with her explanation, with a hand on her chin, then she asked the next question. Bookmark here

“So your boyfriend is now alone and currently fighting the bandit leader. Where is the bandit leader?” Bookmark here

“He’s not my boyfriend,” she retorted and continued, “The bandit leader was on the south side of the camp.” Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“It’s fine. I could see it clearly,” she reassured.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“Your keen eyesight is your passive skill, right?” asked Alice.Bookmark here

“Right on target,” she confirmed. “Now then, let’s help them defeat the bandit leader.” Bookmark here

She nocked an arrow to her bow and began her incantation. Bookmark here

“O goddess of the forest, Artemis, hear my call, let your wind guide my arrow to strike the hearts of my enemies from afar.” Bookmark here

The arrow on her bow was gradually cloaked with the wind. Bookmark here

From Alice’s perspective, she saw a spirit approached Irene’s bow and imbued its power to the arrow. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

She was hoping this shot will provide an opportunity for Jayce to retreat, based on Alice’s information.Bookmark here

Alice stood there with a wryly smile. Bookmark here

Isn’t that a little too extreme? Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“Are you okay? You don’t seem to be looking too good.” Bookmark here

Alice couldn’t help but worry about her, despite that this was her second encounter with Irene.Bookmark here

“I-I’m fine,” answered Irene. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“If the situation calls for it, I will—"Bookmark here

“No,” Alice interjected, “I will not let that happen.” Bookmark here

Alice couldn’t stand on watching her comrades experiencing this kind of burden. She extended her hand toward Irene. Bookmark here

“Irene, I have an idea. I’m not sure whether it will work, but can you trust me?” Bookmark here

Irene had no idea what Alice had in mind. She didn’t have enough time to think this through. Bookmark here

“Alright, let’s hear it.”Bookmark here

                                                           ____________________Bookmark here

“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.” Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

The weapon he was looking for materialized in the air above his hands. He gave a few test swings with his right hand alone. Bookmark here

It was a light, but not good enough. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“!” Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Whoa! It’s me.” Bookmark here

He recognized that voice: it was Aiden. Bookmark here

“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…?” Bookmark here

He stopped mid-sentence as he heard a different sound coming from Jayce’s new weapon then continued. Bookmark here

“Never mind. Let’s take this guy down.” Bookmark here

“I know,” Jayce responded.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

Aiden nodded along with his battle strategy, and at the same time, he took out a bottle from his magic gloves. Bookmark here

The size of the bottle was similar to Alice’s potion bottles but slightly smaller. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

The smell of the thick liquid he had poured wafted through the air. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Let’s go,” prompted Jayce.Bookmark here

“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. Bookmark here

“Crap! Jayce!” he shouted as he looked back.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

When the greatsword was a few centimetres away from Jayce’s head, he focused on the inner workings of his magic circuit.Bookmark here

Switching magic circuit to close-range combat: Mirage Blader.Bookmark here

The greatsword, which was just about a hair’s breadth away from Jayce’s head, was parried with an unimaginable force. Bookmark here

Axton eyed at his new weapon. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Just a moment ago, Jayce didn’t unsheathe his longsword when the bandit leader charged at him instead of Aiden. Bookmark here

“Mirage Blader skill: Quickdraw,” muttered Jayce under his breath.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

This time, Jayce didn’t have time to prepare another strike with his longsword. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Thump!Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Jayce took this opportunity to distance himself away from him. Bookmark here

I’m impressed that you figured out the Magic Arrow: Shockwave from the magic gloves I gave you.Bookmark here

“You could have told me earlier! You could have gotten yourself killed!” she lamented.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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, Bookmark here

“Too slow!” shouted Axton, swinging his weapon at his opening. Bookmark here

But a barrage of shockwave arrows came raining down upon his sword. Bookmark here

“Tch.” He clicked his tongue.Bookmark here

Jayce longsword landed on his side, sending Axton flying to the East. But that wasn’t enough. Bookmark here

“Aiden!” shouted Jayce.Bookmark here

“You got it!” Aiden lowered his stance and took off towards his target. Bookmark here

“Assassin skill: Armor Break!” Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

Axton recovered himself in midair and prepared his next stance when he landed on the grassland. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“Where are you looking at?” came a voice behind him.Bookmark here

He immediately swung his greatsword toward the source of sound with a Reversal Slash. At last, his greatsword landed to Jayce’s side, but…Bookmark here

“I said: Where are you looking at?” he repeated.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

                                                           ____________________Bookmark here

“What are you thinking?!” said Alice, lecturing Jayce when they regrouped at the bandit camp. Bookmark here

Even though Jayce apologized to her for being reckless, she didn’t let him off that easily. Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Aiden and Irene listened and waited for their conversation to end, but it seemed that it will take some time to settle down.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“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?”Bookmark here

For some reason, Alice felt a Déjà vu when she witnessed that spectacle. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

At least, they rescued their people, that was all it matters to them.Bookmark here

“If you’re wondering about the reward. We will split it evenly.” Jayce began. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“Irene, what’s your relationship with Aiden?” She couldn’t help but ask due to the way they treated each other.Bookmark here

“We’re childhood friends. His parents and mine were good friends. That’s how I get to know him,” she answered her question nonchalantly. Bookmark here

Upon hearing that, Alice clasped both of her hands together and her eyes began to glimmer. Bookmark here

Jayce didn’t want to make this situation weird between them, so he clapped his hands to gather their attention. Bookmark here

“I hate to interrupt, but shall we resume our discussion elsewhere?”Bookmark here

“Wait a minute. What should we do about these guys?” asked Alice, pointing her finger at a group of unconscious bandits they had defeated.Bookmark here

“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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“I need everyone to gather the bandits around here.”Bookmark 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. Bookmark here

“Tell them: Alice, Aiden, Irene and I completed this quest.” Bookmark here

The golem simply nodded and returned to the portal along with the others. Bookmark here

Now that the camp was free from bandits, Jayce started heading back to the Moon Village. Bookmark here

He looked back over his shoulder to his comrades. Bookmark here

“Let’s head back to the Moon Village and get some rest.” Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.