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[Vol 2] Chapter 16: Assassins

The whistling sound was familiar to the group, as they turned around in quick succession. They had heard this particular whistle on numerous occasions in the past, and so they reflexively turned to see what gesture would accompany it. At first, they were startled to see a young man running towards them, but it did not take them a long time to realize what was going on.

“Quickly stop that brat, before the carriage gets here,” the short black haired man said as he continued running.

“That must be the brat Kota said was tailing us,” One of the men in the group of three said as they started to move to block Willards path.

“How did he manage to escape with his life?” Another one asked in surprise.

Earlier while they were within Marquis city, the short black haired man, Kota, had noticed they were being followed. He wanted to find out who that person was and eliminate the person. To his surprise, the person was a youth and a skilled one at that, since he was capable of running away.

The other three quickly spread themselves out to enclose Willard as he got closer. Willard came to a halt and stared at the men before him. He was now perfectly encircled and had no clear path to take. Willard took a second to contemplate his next set of actions. It was clear at this point, that this group’s mission originally had nothing to do with him and that he was the one that presented himself to them. Kota had cut up to him at this point and was making gestures to the group, signaling them to attack Willard in unison.

Willard had finished assessing the group and had made his plans for survival. What would come of it, wasn’t something Willard had complete confidence in, but it was better than just waiting for his eventual demise. Willard was no fool, he knew from the earlier conversation that these people were targeting the carriage that was coming along these paths. Willards primary goal was to drag out this affair until the carriage got close enough to them. Although that sounded like a simple task, it was far from simple. During a battle, life and death can be determined in a matter of seconds. Willard believed that if he was able to hold out just long enough, it would force them to abandon him and proceed to their original target.

‘I guess I have no choice.’ Willard thought to himself, as he started gathering earth elemental energy. From Willards point of view, the most dangerous person in the group was Kota. At all cost, he was going to avoid a fatal attack from this person. As for the rest, he estimated that they were within the natural energy levels. Of course, these were just estimates, as it is impossible for one to know the level of another’s strength just by looking at them.

‘He who takes the first initiative claims victory.’ Willard thought to himself and immediately started running to attack the group of three in front of him. As Willard got closer, one of the men ran forward to intercept and kill him. The man had an already drawn blade the shape of a machete. The man swung his blade across Willards chest in an effort to slash him open. Willard seeing that decided to evade the attack instead of blocking it. He wanted to hide his trump card, the earth elemental energy and martial movement skill, for his eventual fight against Kota. Willard was already looking ahead to the confrontation with Kota, and for that, he could not be careless and reveal everything he had, if he wanted to survive.

To the attackers complete surprise, Willard had easily evaded his slash by side-stepping to the right. Willard used the little opening from that evasion to immediately close the distance between him and the man that was attacking. Before Willard could get into a position where he could directly attack back with his fist, the attacker continued the slashing movement to attack Willard’s head directly. Although there was a slight pause in the attacker’s movement, the whole thing looked like one fluid attack. With that, one could tell that the man attacking obviously had an above average level of training. His blade movements were clean and precise. If it had been almost anyone else in that particular situation, they would have most likely died by now.

While the battle had started, Willard never stopped monitoring his surroundings. He especially kept an eye out for Kota. If Kota were to join the fray, then things will most likely get out of hand for him. Right now, he was still lucky the group hadn’t considered him a real threat and thus hadn’t gone all out to kill him. Suddenly, an idea sprung into Willard’s head. Willard utilized the martial movement technique for the first time during this encounter and directly appeared right in front of his attacker. Everyone including Kota had looks of disbelief as they saw what just happened. It was as if Willard had suddenly vanished into the earth and immediately reappeared right in front of the man with the blade. Now that Willard had increased his earth elemental energy foundation to that of a level 2, his martial movement technique had become  faster and more precise. From this alone, one could tell that Willards movement technique was related to the mysteries of the earth.

The man with the blade suddenly caught himself from his earlier stupor and proceeded to attack Willard again. This time around, Willard was in close proximity to the man with the blade. Willard caught the man’s arms as he was trying to swing his blade at him. Willard proceeded to dismantle the blade from the man’s hands while holding the man hostage. Willard held the blade in his right hand while holding the man by the neck with his left arm.

“If you don’t want this man..” Willard was saying when he got a glimpse of one the remaining two about to release an arrow gunning for his head. Willard seeing that immediately moved his hostage to the direction of the arrow. Less than a second later, an arrow pierced through the man’s head. Willard was shocked at the accuracy and ferociousness of these men. He then realized he had misjudged them yet again. These men were assassins on a mission. They did not have any level of kinship with each other. They were just partners temporarily working together. The men did not even bat an eyelid as their former companion collapsed on the floor dead with an arrow to the head.

Now that someone amongst them had died, the men had a change of behavior. The youth in front of them possessed a martial technique, which was very alluring to them. It also signified he was a dangerous person and that he might have powerful backers supporting him. They would have wanted to capture him and force him to give them the martial technique, but at this moment, they were in a bind for time. The carriage was drawing closer and in about two minutes the carriage will get in position to see them. Their original plan was to hide along the road and attack the carriage by surprise, but now everything seems to on wait until they kill the youth in front of them.


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