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1-28 Cognizance

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

His sword was broken into pieces. His armor was mangled beyond recognition. His arms were crippled to an incorrigible state. His energy was exhausted to complete depletion. He was the best swordsman the world had ever known but no more. In face of his unexpected defeat and on his knees, Argon Raze gazed solemnly at the person who turned his reality upside down.

A sword forged out of Magecraft in one hand and a spear forged out obsidian in the other. The victor of the duel stood over the Sword Saint, casting a vast shadow and an impassive glance down at the renowned sword master.

Argon couldn’t see the face of his adversary as the person was donning a plaster mask adorned with a smile. Contrary to the mask’s expression, Argon knew the person wasn’t smiling at all. In fact, he couldn’t sense any triumphant feeling from his adversary. There was also neither anger or sadness present in the mysterious figure. Argon had always expected the one who would eventually defeat him would jump in enjoy at the eventuality but such expectations were subverted.

“You know, I have forgotten what it’s like to lose,” Argon said as he started right back at those dark holes of eyes. “Perhaps that’s why I lost, wouldn’t you agree?”

The masked victor offered no verbal response. He merely pressed the tip of his spear on Argon’s chest.

Instead of pleading for mercy, Argon smiled meekly at his superior. “What kind of Mage are you? You’re wise with Magecraft but you’re also excellent with arms. How do you even manage that?”

The person canted his head ambiguously in retort.

“So, you refused to answer…” Argon chuckled lightly in a self-deprecating manner. “You even refuse to show me your face but at the very least, may I know the name of my successor?”

“I have no intentions of succeeding you,” he retorted. It was a deep voice that was absent of any compassion or empathy.

“I know I was the one who challenged you but… have we met before? I can sense some strong feelings from you.” Argon questioned. There was no animosity but he could tell there was history between them. He just didn’t know what. “Have I wronged you? I apologize if I had, truly. I know there at least thousands of people out there who wish to have my head or see my downfall.”

“Naive,” he said.

“I don’t believe I’m wrong.”

“All those people you fell, you haven’t wronged them. The strong triumph, the weak perishes. That’s how it always has been. You challenged them all on fair terms. It’s their fault for losing.”

“Was I mistaken, then, in thinking that we had some history? Have I challenged a complete stranger?”

“We don’t have a history but I know you. I have been watching you.”

Argon wasn’t sure how to respond to such a statement. The person did not look like a fan. It would have been understandable if the contrary was the case.

“Then who are you?” Argon asked.

The person kept his silence. His spear stayed firm on the surface of Argon’s chest.

“You intend to kill me?”

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“You’re not ideal but—” The person sighed. “I guess you’ll do.”

“Wh—”

Without waiting for a response from Argon, the person drove the spear through Argon’s chest, reaping the soul and ending the legend of the Sword Saint.


Erin lurched up from the bed like a spring was released from all of the tension. She panted uncontrollably and her eyes were widened to its limits. She glanced rapidly around the room. She scoured every nook, cranny, edges, and corners. Her memories slowly fitted themselves back into place.

This is… the Emerald Inn… My room… Ah, I remember now.

She heaved off a huge sigh as she slowly recalled her current state. Her eyes trailed to her left, where Maria was sleeping soundly in bare with nothing but the sheets to cover her nubile skin. There were marks of love and violence all over her body, which Erin was responsible for.

Oh wow… I went at it hard, didn’t I.

Recalling the fervent and intense session with a woman that was pretty much twice the age of Lyra, Erin began to sink into deep contemplation of her bizarre attitude that took over last night.

What the **** was I doing…

They didn’t make love, Erin recalled. There was no love between them. It was just pure carnal desire that they were projecting on each other. They were like a pair of animals, giving into their raw instincts, devouring the flesh of one another and satiating each others’ desires. It was almost as if Erin had truly become a deviant. She couldn’t even remember the latter half of their session but she knew it had been extremely pleasurable. Although it felt good, the whole copulation felt hollow. It was nothing like when she did it with Lyra. The afterglow left a hole.

Is this how casual flings feel like?

Just to make sure, Erin appraised Maria for any abnormal status ailment but Slumber was the only thing written on the status tab.

Erin looked out the window, at the sky which was brightening but the radiance was still meagre.

It’s not even dawn…

When the breeze from the ajar window hit, Erin was reminded that she was equally naked as well. Her own body was free of marks, she observed. Maria was assertive in her invitations but when it came to bed, she was submissive. She was aggressive but she never went beyond her pleads. She put herself completely at her partner’s mercy. The vague memories of Maria giving into all sorts of requests Erin had of her perversions were slowly surfacing. Daring and adventurous, these two words came into Erin’s mind at the recollection.

Good gods… what is becoming of me?

Knowing that wallowing in her regrets wouldn’t make things better, Erin decided to start her day off earlier than she was used to. She put on her dress simply and gave some light grooming to her hair and tails. Leaving Maria in the room, Erin went downstairs and asked for some warm water from a little girl behind the counter which Erin presumed to be the receptionist. Perhaps seeing through the reason Erin asked for warm water, the girl trotted into the back with a deep blush. There were other guests at the lobby and all of them were giving the same look to Erin.

After a while, the little girl returned with a small basin of warm water. Erin thanked the girl and her gratitude made the girl blushed even more. Deciding to just ignore the little maiden who was slowly falling in love with her, Erin climbed the stairs back up her floor slowly with the basin in her hands. Erin didn’t need to look to know that the male troupe of the guests were staring intensely at her swaying hips and tails as she climbed the steps.

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She cursed those men in her heart.

Once she was back in her room, she began wiping her body with a towel soaked in warm water after stripping herself bare. There was a well at the back of the inn but the sun had barely risen— the water in the well was practically freezing around such time.

With the warm water, Erin carefully washed her tails which were soaked in sweat and drenched in womanly fluids. There were even traces of her own saliva. She couldn’t remember what she did with her own tail but the saliva traces told her enough. She could feel herself throbbing at the memory surfacing every time the faint venereal whiff trickled into her nose.

Eventually, Erin finished her grooming and cleaning herself up after a fierce fight between her restraint and her lust within her mind and body. She was not looking forward to becoming aroused so early in the morning. After finishing putting on her garbs and armor, she left the room with quiet steps but as a gesture of good faith, she gave a dimple on Maria’s cheek and left a silver on the bedside table for her.

This should clear things up between us.


It was the wee hours of morning. Only a matter of course, The Guild was filled with adventurers queueing up in columns before the counters. It was the first time Erin had visited The Guild at this hour. There were many unfamiliar faces but their expressions told Erin that they were all in the know of her. Naturally, her presence drew all the eyes to her. With her current number of tails, the usual whispers of her became louder and more frequent. She could even hear some of the adventurers were beginning to think of ways to solicit her into their party. There were some remarks regarding her hips, rear, and chest but she ignored them and blacklisted all of those in her head. The short walk from the entrance to the counter felt like a parade with all the attention on her.

“G-good morning, Miss Erin!” came the nervous greeting from a boy who trotted up to her. Needless to say, it was Cal. He was standing in a straightened posture and his eyes were practically glued to Erin.

“Good morning to you too, Cal.” Erin glimpsed around the boy. “Where’s Selene?” she asked when she noticed the absence of his partner.

“Oh, S-Selene?” he stammered. “I sent her on an e-errand— I mean, she went to buy the necessary tools for our excursion.”

Please don’t tell me you sent her away just so you could talk to me freely? Crafty fellow.

Erin stopped herself from shaking her head in exasperation towards Cal.

“Here, Miss Erin.” Cal extended his arms with a sheathed dagger in his hands.

Instantly, the curious audience raised a clamor but they had the tact to keep it as quiet as possible. Erin could pick up some bloodlust among the gallery aiming at the boy.

Oh… this poor boy.

It was obvious they were jealous but Erin wasn’t planning to interfere if the boy was dragged into a back alley. He reaped what he sowed, after all.

“Please take it, Miss Erin.” His eyes gleamed. “You lost your sword and you don’t have a weapon now, right? So, take this as our thanks.”

But I led the Rot-rats to you guys though?

“A sword would have been better but a dagger is all I can afford, for now.”

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Erin gave a cramped smile. “Cal, I appreciate your intentions but I’m afraid I can’t accept this.”

“W-why—?”

“First off, the Rot-rats was my fault. Second, I’m afraid I can’t respond to your feelings.”

“F-f-feelings!? W-what are you t-t-talking about!?” Seemingly caught in a surprise, Cal struggled to form any coherent words.

The gallery began to snicker but they shut their mouths when Erin threw a glare at them. Her stiffened tails made her glare all the more imposing. However, a few of the female adventurers became entranced at her daunting aura.

Erin didn’t want to break the boy’s heart but she believed it was better to make things clear instead of dragging out an uncertainty or misunderstanding, a lesson she learned well from last night.

“I’m saying this for your own good, Cal. Before staring into the distance, maybe you should try looking around you. You may be able to find someone who suits you.”

Cal was stunned at the harsh truth thrust into him. “A-are y-you saying I don’t deserve you?” he asked with a shattered expression.

“It’s not about deserving. It’s about finding the right person.” Of course, Erin wouldn’t know this. She was just spouting lines she kept hearing from her old friends and acquaintances.

“I-I understand…” His extended arms drooped to his sides. “S-sorry for bothering you,” he said and slowly retreated back into a corner with his hands clenched tightly on the dagger.

Some harsh criticisms and reprimands came from the gallery but Erin paid them no heed and walked to the counter. After queuing for about a few minutes, it was her turn at the reception.

“Good morning, Miss Erin,” greeted the adept clerk, Sam with her usual obligatory smile. “You’re in good shape, better than I have ever seen you in.”

“Indeed, it is a good morning. I had an amazing night, after all.” Erin twisted her neck slightly, producing an audible crack of a noise for all to hear. It evoked a sigh of captivation from the female troupes but a flinch from the men. Although, there were a few men who blushed at the unseemly act from a female Fae. Erin ignored those too.

“I’m sure you have,” Sam nodded with a teasing gaze. “Miss Lyra is very dedicated. It almost made me believe that she seeks to perfect the arts of the bedchamber.”

Erin smiled wryly. “I beg your pardon but I wasn’t with Lyra.”

Sam’s smile almost fell but being a professional, she held on. “I see. Apologies for being presumptuous.”

“It’s okay.”

Sam gave a prying glance. “I don’t mean to be intrusive but is everything alright between you and Miss Lyra?”

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“Curious, are we?” Erin returned her question with a dubious tone.

“Just doing my job of looking after the adventurers.” Although Sam tried to hide it, it was obvious she was very much taken aback by Erin’s unusual demeanor. She gazed inquisitively at Erin. She was curious at what could possibly cause such a change in just one night.

“We’re not a couple, Sam. We’re just friends, albeit a little too intimate, at times.”

“I understand the nature of your relationship with Miss Lyra. It’s just that— the first time I saw you, you were very… dependent on her. Moreover, you looked lost.”

“I looked lost?”

“We get all kinds of adventurers here. There are quite a few who came here, looking like they have lost everything in the world. They came here seeking a new purpose. You looked like those few.”

“Well, I guess I was reliant on her,” Erin mused. “And I was uncertain about a lot of things. But last night— I found some answers, not to all my questions but enough for me to understand what I should do.”

“I see.” Sam had a doubting glance.

“Is something wrong?”

“It’s nothing. You just carry a different aura today. If I have to put in words, you seem more… on guard.”

“As I should be, Sam. The world is a harsh place. Things can be taken from you at moments you least expected. Or do you disagree with me?”

“My opinion is not a factor. As long as you’re well, I wouldn’t pursue the subject.”

`“Well then, can we move on to the quest? I’m kinda holding up the line here.”

“Of course, right away.” Though Sam couldn’t gauge the reason for the change, she did notice the hints of melancholy secreting in the Fox-kin’s expression. Without prying further, she handed Erin her next quest. On paper, it was a request for the hides of the Serks at a specific location but of course, that was just a front.

“This place?” Erin muttered as she skimmed through the paper. “That’s quite close to the town’s borders, is it not?”

“It is close,” Sam affirmed. “Which is why we would appreciate it if you could make this your utmost priority.”

“I’ll do my best,” Erin assured her.

Well, besides collecting my order at the smithy, I have nothing else for the day. I should be able to make haste.

“And one more thing. Just last night, we received various unconfirmed reports of some strange individual lurking around in the forest. Many adventurers claimed to have called out to this person but they kept running away.”

“You sound skeptical. You don’t think it’s true?”

“Better to be skeptical than gullible, Miss Erin. There were many cases where adventurers made things up for various reasons. If it’s nothing serious, we do not take action against it.”

“So that’s how it is…”

With her swift hands, Sam took out a blank paper from below the desk and proceeded to scribble a few words on the parchment at a speed that thrilled Erin every time she witnessed it. From her distance, Erin could make out the word “copy” written on the paper. Sam then placed the quest paper atop of the blank paper and stamped the quest paper with a seal that Erin did not recognize. After a short second, the seal glowed and the words on the quest paper were transcribed unto the parchment below. After writing a few more lines on the copy, Sam handed Erin the paper.

“Quest confirmed. The objective is six hides of Serks. Time limit is dusk by today. I wish you good fortune, Miss Erin, and as always, do be careful out there.” Sam bade with an obligatory smile.

“I will,” Erin assured with a brief tone before turning around to make her way out of The Guild. However, her relatively good mood was quickly overturned at the appearance of a man with golden hair that practically oozed out the word “libertine”.

“Why hello. Good morning to you, milady,” greeted the man with a slight bow and a reached-out hand.

Erin stared blankly at the man and his extended arm.

She didn’t know who the man was but going by his shining metal armor, it was obvious he was an adventurer. From what Erin could pick up from the peanut gallery, the man’s name was Freed. He was truly a libertine. Not a day went by that he didn’t attempt to court a lady. However, he had little success in this town since news and whispers traveled fast in such a small place.

Is he another “Kane”?

“Am I not even worthy for a return greeting?” the man named Freed asked.

“Good morning,” Erin retorted dryly. “Now, please excuse me. I’m in a hurry.”

Freed moved into her path. “Please wait. A minute is all I ask of your time.” In addition to his passionate tone, there was even a trace of sincerity on his face. There was nothing but confidence painted on his expression.

“I have made it clear, Mister. I am busy. Please move.”

Freed laughed under his breath. “Are you running away because you know you wouldn’t be able to handle me?” he asked smugly.

Erin returned a smug in kind. “Yes, that’s exactly why. Now that we are on the same page. Please move.”

Faerie-kin was a proud race, everyone knew that and Freed was no exception. Although they were patient, most Tyro Faes had little tolerance towards criticism of their inability, no matter the subject. Perhaps thinking he could reel Erin in with such a crafty taunt, Freed said those words. Which was why his face fell at the unexpected acceptance and rejection in tandem.

As Erin tried to move past him, his hand was about to grab on to the Fox-kin’s shoulder but a cold voice drifted into his ears.

“Touch her and you’ll lose all your fingers.”

Freed instantly turned to the source of the voice and found a female adventurer who stood at his height with magnificent thews for her biceps.

“L-Lyra…” he stuttered.


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