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[Vol 1] Chapter 15: Rat in a Trap

As the dust storm got closer, Baya could vaguely make out the looks of the people riding the mounts. They were about eight people riding towards the direction of Marquis city, and by the looks of the insignia on the outfit of the one leading the pack, he could tell they were warriors from the Marquis household. He felt relative assured as he realized they were not bandits, but he still decided to wait for them ride past himself. After some minutes, Baya got back onto the road and continued his journey.

Willard stood firmly still as he stared out through the window of the inn. He watched as the everyday life of the citizens of Marquis city played out in its normal accord. The streets were lively with merchants selling to their various customers, people filled the streets and all seemed quite normal. Suddenly, Willard noticed a group of people riding their mounts and heading towards the city palace. It was forbidden for regular citizens to ride their mounts within the borders of Marquis city, and as such, one could immediately tell these were warriors of the governing Marquis household. Willard stared fixatedly on the leader of the squad almost as if he was staring at a familiar figure. Willard retracted his gaze as he got a sense of deep danger looking at that man. At all cost, he was going to avoid any unnecessary contact with that particular man.

Now that Baya had gone to retrieve the living fire plant, Willard was left accomplishing minor task all by himself. Willard exited the inn wearing an inconspicuous outfit, he was trying to avoid any and all attention if possible. He was going to grab a meal from a nearby restaurant and use this opportunity to find out the current affairs of the city. Whilst eating, Willard heard all sorts of stories from minor affairs like the attires the different dukes wore to the varying functions to more political ones, like the advances of neighboring kingdoms. Although all these were informative, it wasn’t what he was currently interested in. He wanted to know about the affairs of the founding households, and more specifically the Helden household.

‘Can it be they are no longer interested in me?’ Willard hesitantly thought to himself. Given how people of power held their image in the highest regards, he couldn’t believe that was the end of that event. Willard continued paying attention to the conversations of the various people in the restaurant. One conversation in particular caught his attention. There was a group of four that had taken up the table directly behind him.

“I am not sure why Lord Asyut wants us to this, but we have to be very careful in accomplishing this task,” a man with short black hair whispered to the people on his table. He was one of the four men that had taken the table behind Willard. Hearing Asyut’s name, Willard’s full focus was on those men. From that bit of information, he could infer that those men belong to the Helden household, and are on a secret mission assigned to them personally by Asyut. This was exactly the kind of information he had sought by coming out today. And as luck would have it, the information had come to him. Willard decided at that point to follow this lead to its end. He was going to continue spying on these people until he found out what Asyut was planning.

Willard had his own ideas as to what their mission might be, but he needed to confirm what it was. Willard assumed the task these men were about to carry involved him in some way, so he wanted to be a step ahead of them. Willard left the restaurant and found a place to lurk in the shadows. He was waiting for the men to finish their meal, so he could tail them. Not too long after Willard left the restaurant, the four men also got out and started heading east towards the city gates. Willard followed them the way to the perimeters of the gate. While following, Willard was completely puzzled at their intentions. He had originally assumed Asyut would have tasked them with something pertaining to himself, but to his surprise, these men were heading out of the city. Willard contemplated stopping his watch over them, but in the end decided to follow it through. As the four men left the city, Willard waited some time before exiting behind them.

After walking some time, Willard could see the silhouette of three of the four men that he was tailing. He couldn’t quite figure out where the fourth one had gone, so he decided to go through the woods just to be safe. Willard continued following the three from the woods for some time when all of a sudden sounds of what seemed like a carriage could be heard coming from the distance. Willard focused his full attention on the carriage to try and figure out who that might be.

“Who are you?” A man said while gently walking towards Willard. Willard was immediately jolted back to reality. He was completely shocked and dumbfounded to hear and see someone approach him like that. He had been the one tailing people and now he was caught completely by surprise. As the man got closer, Willard could make out the facial structure, and immediately recognized this person. He was the dark haired man among the four that sat behind him at the restaurant. He was also the one who was missing from the group.

“How did you find out?” Willard asked while he started gathering earth energy. Willard knew for this man to have found out he was tailing them, he wasn’t an ordinary person.

“I won’t ask again. Who are you?” The man said while pulling his sword from its sheath.

Willard seeing this knew this was the real deal. This man before him was most likely at the elemental energy level. He had a vastly more terrifying presence than even the chief of the Yellow Hem village. Willard also knew that no matter what explanation he gave to this man, he would still come for his life. Willard immediately started laughing. His laughter was so loud that it even startled the dark short haired man. Willard pointed as he raised his hands pointing to the direction behind the man. Concurrently, the man turned to look at the direction Willard was pointing in. To his surprise, there was nothing there. The next thing the man heard was loud steps Willard had taken, as he immediately started to run towards the direction of the other three men and the carriage. Willard knew if he had to fight one on one against this man he would be at a serious disadvantage.

‘How did I become the rat in a trap?’ Willard questioned himself as he ran. If one was paying close attention to the floor, they would have noticed some little protrusion on the ground with every step Willard took. Although Willard wasn’t at the level where he could freely utilize earth elemental energy, he had a well above average control of the earth elemental energy. He was creating the protrusion to help boost his speed as every time it was created it would propel him forward. The Dark haired man was chasing right behind, he was completely stunned at how fast Willard was running, but none the less he was quickly catching up to Willard.

Willard seeing the man quickly catching up to him became even more frantic. Willard got onto the road and continued running. ‘How the hell do I get out of this?’ Willard lamented as he continued running towards the group of three and the incoming carriage. Suddenly, a loud whistling noise was heard. The group of three turned around to discover a young man and their companion running towards them.


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