Over the past couple of years Baya had put a lot of effort into improving his martial prowess, and he had taken this to be an opportunity to show off to Willard how much he had improved. Before he started following Willard, he had been stuck on the 8th level of natural energy, but now he had improved to the very top limits of the 10th level of natural energy. All that was left for him was to find some inspiration to the elements that suited his nature to train in, then he would be able to break into the elemental energy level and start cultivating the element of his choice.
Baya quickly realized that using the movement technique the way he had just done only served to deplete his energy reserves. “How stupid of me,” Baya thought to himself.
“Brothers, although this man is commendable, he is sure to be running out of energy soon. Let’s persevere and kill him. Just imagine what treasures someone like him would be holding.” The man with the large blade said raising the morale of his fellow bandits. Baya had a disgruntled look on his face, as he thought of a possible solution to the problem.
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“What am I doing. All I need to do is take down the head, and the rest of the body will fall.” Baya said as he realized his next course of action. It was pointless for him to expend a lot of energy fighting the foot soldiers. For him to truly come out victorious, he would have to truly damage their morale, if not, he would lose the battle of contrition.
Like a deranged dog, Baya charged towards the bandit with the large blade, who had a smile as he noticed Baya coming towards him. The bandit swung his large blade with all the strength he could muster. His plan was to overwhelm Baya with pure brute strength. He knew he wasn’t as fast or as nimble as Baya, so the obvious choice for him was to overpower him. As the blade came crashing down, a sense of great danger-filled Baya to his bones. He halted his currently straight motion moving to the right as he tried to dodge the attack. Baya could quickly tell that he would not be capable of blocking that attack and as such had to evade.
As Baya managed to evade the attack, the blade crashed down on the floor, destroying the area of impact. With that attack, Baya confirmed that the bandit he was currently facing was at least on the 10th level of natural energy. The bandit brutishly swung his blade to the left, continuing his attack in hopes of quickly killing Baya. Luckily enough for Baya, he had been expecting the continuous attack as he evaded them with everything he had.
Over at the edge of the forest where the young lady was currently standing, a look of surprise could be seen on the faces of the onlookers. The old man that had insisted on running away had a look of disbelief. Never in his wildest dream would he have expected the unassuming young man to be able to battle against the bandits. He turned to look at Willard who still was resting behind the tree. He looks carefully at Willard’s outfit, trying to figure out if he was some powerful young master that could hire such a powerful bodyguard.
“He must have hired him by luck. No wonder he is so carefree as to be sleeping in this situation.” The old man thought to himself. When suddenly an idea came to his mind, which in turn caused him to smile.
The young lady still had a worried expression as she watched Baya battle the bandits. For some strange reason, the more Baya was in danger the more worried she felt. And this wasn’t worrying for her own safety, it was for Baya’s safety. “I don’t even know your name. Please stay alive,” she said softly as she continued to watch.
Baya continued to evade the frenzied attack of the bandit with the large blade. He wasn’t the slightest bit negligent in doing that. Sometimes he used the movement technique and countered some attacks putting some pressure on his opponent. “If I had known I would encounter someone as fast and dangerous as this, I would have brought some lackeys with bows and arrows.” the bandit thought, swinging his blade furiously. “On top of that, the way he counters my attack are just too dangerous.”
“His attacks has constantly been weakening in power.” Baya thought as he noticed the amount of force coming from the bandit’s attack. “It’s now or never,” Baya said as he made up his mind. This time around, Baya charged straight at the bandit to meet his attack face on. As the blade came swinging down, Baya used his dagger to block his attack. A cracking sound was heard as the impact of the attack had broken some bones and dislocated Baya’s shoulder. The bandit with the large sword had a huge smile on his face. “What a fool. He actually tried to defend against my attack.”
Before the bandit could attack again, Baya swung the dagger in his left hand to the center of the bandits right hand that was currently gripping the large sword. A loud agonizing scream could be heard as bandit took a couple of steps backward staring in shock at the dagger that was firmly embedded in his palm. Before he could utter another sound, Baya had used the movement technique to get within an arm’s length of him. Using his left hand, Baya yanked the dagger from his hand and stabbed straight at the bandit’s neck. The entire thing was done in one swift motion, giving no time for any thought whatsoever. A look of regret could be seen in the bandit’s eyes as he uttered one word before he collapsed, “Brother.”
The rest of the bandits stared in shock as the leader of their party had just fallen. Never would they have thought such an outcome was possible. Ever since the majority of them had joined the bandit groups, their leaders had never fallen in battles and especially the man with the large blade. He was the third in command of the entire group. He was also the younger brother of the current leader of the bandit.
The rest of the bandit stared in horror and stood in place. They wanted to all run away, but the thought of their bandit leader made certain they stood in place. Baya was shocked that the rest of the bandits had not already taken to their heels. Cold sweat dropped from his face as he slowly walked backward. One brave bandit walked towards the corpse of the leader with the large blade and carried him over towards their group.
Baya was shocked as he noticed the bandits leave after they got the corpse. That action slightly surprised him, but he thought nothing of it. He walked back towards the camp and found a tree to rest on. He was currently in a lot of pain, but he knew all of it was of his own choosing. Even though, he still felt a little joy as he stared at the young lady who was at a loss for words.
Before the young lady could even get out of her shock, the old man rushed over to Baya’s side. “Noble sir. Thank you for your help.” the old man said with a slight bow. “Without you here, I am afraid these evil men would have killed all of us including my lady over there.” He said gesturing towards the young lady.
“For that alone, noble sir, our Lord will definitely handsomely reward.” The old man said nodding his head approvingly before he continued. “We are humble escorts of the young mistress of the Bastich household, taking her back to Oriente city. We could never have imagined we would be viciously attacked by those hooligans.”
“Sir can I ask what your noble name is?” the old man asked. Baya stared at the old man, thinking to himself. Although the old man had gone around in a backdoor way, he could instantly tell what the old man was trying to do. As a matter of fact, everyone including Willard knew what the old man was thinking. Baya turned to look at the young mistress of the Bastich household. She walked towards him and gave a slight bow. “Thank you for saving our lives.” She said with an honest expression. “My name is Lydia Bastich, and I would offer you a reward, but unfortunately I do not have anything valuable on me.”
Baya had a good impression of Lydia and decided to break his silence. “I am called Baya.” He responded before going back to tend to his injuries. The old man had a look of disdain on his face. Not only did Baya, whom he had flattered earlier, ignore him, he barely even responded to the young mistress. “If not of our current predicament, why would I reduce myself to even interacting with someone like you. Not to speak of Miss Lydia,” the old man thought as he hid every sign of contempt he felt. “Once we manage to get back to Oriente city, I would show you your place.”
When he was in Oriente city, the old man was in charge of running the main affairs of the Bastich household. While he held that post, he had interacted with numerous elemental energy martial artist, of which some had even tried to curry favor with him. And yet here he was practically on his knees begging someone who wasn’t even on that level. He knew Baya was not at the elemental energy level because of his previous fight. Not a scrap of elemental energy was used during that battle. But as it stood to him, Baya was definitely the strongest person around them.
The rest of the people all bowed and thanked Baya before finding a nearby place to rest for the rest of the night.
Over at some remote corner of the forest, a piercing scream could be heard. Nesting birds in the area were scared away, furiously flapping their wings as they left their nest. “How can this be? Darkar!” A bulky short man screamed as he grabbed the corpse that laid on the floor. Tears flowed from his eyes as he held the corpse. How could he have ever imagined that his beloved younger brother would die on that outing? Ever since they were young, the man had always been with his younger brother. Even after their parents had died when they were very young, they still had each other. But now, his beloved brother had died.
“I swear on my life to get vengeance for this!” The bulky short man said as he grabbed on to the lifeless palm of his younger brother. The entire bandit camp was quiet as no one dared to make a sound as their leader mourned the death of his younger brother.
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Later the next morning, everyone woke up early and started preparing to leave. The morning was a little foggy, but it was navigable. The old man had decided to stay with Baya and Willard since they were currently still heading north. Willard prepared his mount and got on it. He gestured to Baya suggesting they start heading out. Baya did the same and got on his mount with little struggle. The old man stared viciously at Willard almost as if he was about to just dive in and bite the life out of him. The old man could ignore the fact that Baya gotten on the mount, since he was already injured and was the strongest one amongst them, but he couldn’t stand Willard’s attitude.
He had read about and seen paintings of all the influential people in the southern continent, and he had never seen any image of this young man. To make matters worse, he also hadn’t seen any emblem belonging to any family whatsoever. Even medium sized families had emblems and prided themselves with it, but not even a scrap of nobility could be seen on Williard. His outfit was nothing special, his attitude was even worse. The old man was certain Willard was some random character that hired Baya with luck.
The old man was about to lose his temper and yell at Willard when the Lydia grabbed his hand and stared at him. “My lady, how can I endure such insult?” the man asked looking just as angry as before. “They saved our lives. Do not offend them.” She said turning to look at Baya.
As they prepared to head out, a loud sound came crashing at their surrounding. “Wait! Where do you think you are about to run off to?” The angry voice said as the surrounding fog gave way to a view of numerous bandits surrounding them. The old man stared in terror and had immediately started regretting staying with Baya. “How can this be?” the old man said. “We are finished!” he continued as he dropped to his knees.
“You killed my beloved younger brother and think you can escape?” the angry voice said again as a short bulky man walked towards them.