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1-32 Spellbound

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

The arrow streaked through the gaps of the densely packed trees and found its mark, the heart of a Serk, a creature with the contour and features of a canine but the skin of the average reptilian creature.

“And that’s the sixth,” proclaimed Lyra as she holstered her bow to her back.

“Amazing…” Erin breathed. She couldn’t believe Lyra hit her mark for six consecutive times. It was a stark contrast from the usual Lyra she was acquainted with, given her antics. “With this kind of skill, I thought you will be more… well-off with this level of skill. Well, you are kinda well-off in certain aspects and with a certain crowd.”

“My aims were true only because you’re here, Erin. I didn’t need to worry about getting flanked from my sides.”

Erin raised an eyebrow. “You have gotten flanked before?”

Lyra nodded reluctantly.

“The monsters around here aren’t exactly quiet with their steps though?”

“I’m not talking about monsters.”

“Ah… I see.”

As Erin moved to the dead Serk to collect its hide, she let out a question she couldn’t stop escaping from her lips. “I wasn’t aware you have such a bad relationship with the other adventurers.”

“It’s nothing grave,” Lyra answered impassively. “At least not to me anyways.”

“Grave or not, what caused it anyway?”

Lyra chuckled mischeviously. “They seemed to blame me for their incompetence at courting women.”

Erin cast a sidelong glance. “You cucked them?”

Lyra stifled a laugh. “Some but most times, they haven’t even made the first move yet. They all began to whine when I started courting the woman they have their eyes on.”

Erin continued skinning the Serk. “Then I guess it won’t be wrong to lay the blame on you.” As a former man, Erin could only sympathize with the fallen brothers.

Lyra raised an eyebrow. “You’re on their side?”

“It’s not about sides. Ugh!” Erin groaned as she tore the hide of the creature. “I’m just giving my opinion as an uninvolved individual.”

Lyra frowned. “Uninvolved… you do realize you are a subject of many men and women’s affection, don’t you?”

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“I am?” She looked up Lyra as she trimmed the last bit of skin of the carcass. While she felt good hearing that she was adored by women but being adored by men simply made her skin crawled.

“You really have no idea how people want to pursue you.” Lyra tried to embrace Erin but was instantly pushed away. “Dear lord! Were you always this strong?”

Erin made no effort in responding. She was just focusing on the task at hand. After finishing skinning the Serk, Erin put the hide into a sack with the rest of the hides. She then wiped her hands of the blood and guts with a dry leaf nearby. “I told you. I have been lenient with you,” she finally answered.

“Less so in bed,” Lyra returned the jibe.

Erin rolled her eyes. “You got your herbs?”

Lyra pat the small pouch hanging by her waist. “All good.”

“Well, let’s give the place another scrub.”

“Why?” Lyra furrowed her brows. “We have been through it twice. We found nothing that we didn’t already know.”

“Hmm… is that truly the case?” Erin mused.

They have already completed their tasks at hand, not just the superficial ones. The results were as hopeful as it could be. There were undeniably traces of Goblins. Their footprints were there but that was the extent of the clues. Erin had even taken the liberty to ask the adventurers they passed by on happenstances but none of them had given any helpful hints. So to say, the investigation was barren in its outcome.

But instead of just leaving it at that, Erin couldn’t but think something was off about the scenes they had combed. She wasn’t doubting The Guild or the one who reported it but rather, the way the footprints were left. It almost felt like someone had left it there intentionally for someone to discover it.

Just then, a dreadful feeling assailed her senses. Her Sixth Sense did not warn her and she knew why. The danger wasn’t aimed at her. She felt it with Sixth Sense but it did not directly notify her. At the next instance, a dart flew through the air. The duo saw the projectile but only Erin was fast enough to react. Without the slightest hesitation, she put herself in between the dart and Lyra. Although she was quick to draw and slashed off the dart, she failed to respond against the second dart.

The dart hit her right in her right shoulder.

The darts were small. It couldn’t even kill a child. However, as Erin removed the dart from her shoulder and held it up for her eyes to observe, her fears weren’t unfounded. It was laced with poison. She quickly glanced at her status.

It was now reading; Poisoned. She even felt a mild numbness throughout her body.

[Poison detected. Toxin Resistance Lv. 1 activated.]

Only level one? Damn it. I still have two skill points left. I should—

Just as Erin was about to allocate all of her remaining skill points into Toxin Resistance, the next message that appeared relieved her worries.

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[Poison neutralized. Status has been reverted.]

That was… easy. But how? It’s only level one?

[Toxin Resistance is the prevailing tier of Poison Resistance. Under normal circumstances, it is acquired after attaining the maximum level of Poison Resistance.]

Huh… I see. Come to think of it, I was exposed to various kinds of poison in my past life due to all the opponents who used backhanded tactics.

“Erin! Are you alright?” Lyra gazed worriedly at Erin.

“I-I’m fine. Be careful. Whoever did this, that shite’s still around.”

“You sure know some harsh words for a Fae.”

“Lyra!”

“Okay okay!” Lyra drew her bow and aimed it towards the direction where the darts came from. “You can’t smell them or hear them?”

“I can’t,” Erin admitted. “Whoever they are, they hid themself well.” Erin kept kneeling on the ground, in attempts to fool their ambusher that their poison worked. Lyra was quick to pick up her act, which greatly surprised Erin. She was more competent that Erin gave her credit for.

No matter how hard Erin strained her ears and nose, there was nothing to pick up. Their ambusher had completely concealed themself.

Just like the Dire Wolf.

Erin had a premonition, one that she didn’t think it wasn’t plausible.

“Erin, I can’t see them either. What do we do?”

“We wait,” she told Lyra, calmly. “Whoever they are, I wish to know more about them.”

“And waiting around like sitting ducks is a good idea?”

“Just stay your eyes on what’s in front of you. Let me handle the flanks and blindspots.”

Lyra nodded and focused her gaze and aim to the front.

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Recalling the few spells she had managed to acquire, Erin cast Life Sense. A pulse radiated outwards with Erin as the epicentre. It bounced back after traveling a few distances.

I see. Life Sense is some kind of a… sonar, I believe it was called?

The thickets and bushes rustled, alerting Lyra but not Erin who had sensed them out with Life Sense priorly. Even though they might hide the scent and noise, they could not hide the fact they were still a physical being that interacted with the world. They were bound to cause disturbance in the air and the path they trode.

After a short moment of apprehension, a figure completely unexpected to Erin made himself known from the dense vegetation.

“You?” Erin blurted out. Her gaze fell on the chipped sword in his hand.

“You know him?” Lyra questioned without steering her aim away.

“A bandit I encountered on the day we met. Last I saw him, he wasn’t in a favorable situation.”

“So, he survived.”

Erin glanced at the appraisal result. The information shown piqued her curiosity and raised some confusion but she did not let it surface. “I don’t think he survived.”

“Are you sure?” Lyra asked dubiously while keeping her eye on the slowly limping bandit with a lifeless empty gaze.

“Relatively speaking.”

If Erin went with her own judgement, she would deem the bandit as alive but just in a terribly sickly state. The overall stats of the bandit was average but the status; Spellbound and Health: Dire made her reevaluate her own judgement.

[Spellbound – The state of being influenced or controlled by certain spells.]

Well, that was… succinct.

“You…. We met…. Finally…” The bandit talked but Erin knew better. It was not the voice of the bandit himself.

“He remembers you.” Lyra pulled the string. “Shall I?”

“No,” Erin said. With Appraisal, she was able to quickly discover the device that made the spellbound possible. “I have something I want to ask.”

“You… do not… deserve to… question me… Vixen…”

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“Watch your mouth, cutthroat,” Lyra warned as she pulled the string further.

“Your threats… are… meaningless…” The bandit said and brandished his sword.

“Who are you?” Erin skipped right to the point.

“”I shall not… be questioned…”

“Well, he’s not planning on answering your questions. Shall I?”

“Hmm…” Erin mused. “Do it. Go for the head.”

“Alright. I don’t know your plan but I trust you,” Lyra said and released her strained hold on the string. The arrow was launched without a stray in its path.

However, even though the arrow went right in between the bandit’s ears, the person did not fall but merely staggered.

Lyra quickly nocked another arrow. “Um… Erin? It still walking.”

“Damn it.” Erin cursed. “Shoot his left chest.”

Before Lyra could nock another arrow, lightning crackled across the bandit’s whole body and he sped straight at Lyra.

Lightning?! Just like that mutt! But there’s no lightning-based magic listed on his appraisal result!

“Son of a—” Lyra couldn’t even finish her expletive. She switched to her hidden dagger just in time to block a fatal strike but the tip of the chipped sword gauge shallowly on her shoulder. She was no match for the bandit’s strength, Lyra realized.

“Move!” Erin shouted.

Lyra twisted her body and flung herself away from the deadlock. Erin lunged at that precise moment. The bandit fired lightning bolts at Erin but she swiftly cut them all down with Mystic Blade. She then switched to Arcane Edge and struck.

The bandit held up his sword to guard but the newly-forged broadsword shattered through the chipped blade with ease, carving its way into the bandit’s chest, albeit a few inches away from her intended aim.

“Shite!” Erin yelled out. She was about to reel her sword back in but the bandit, who was somehow still moving, grabbed on to her sword and prevented Erin from pulling it out.

“Fool…!” The bandit uttered in a hollow voice and swung the broken sword.

Erin let go of the broadsword and drew her saber. The bandit couldn’t even see it coming as she cleanly took his left arm. The bandit gave off neither a scream nor a cry but Erin didn’t pause to relish the wails that never came. She tore her broadsword right off the bandit’s body, taking away the other arm in the painful-looking process. The armless bandit lunged desperately with its rotten teeth bared but Erin dodged low and let the bandit crash fruitlessly into the soil.

When Erin recompose her posture, she found Lyra staring with widen-eyes.

“What?” she asked.

“Nothing,” Lyra answered. “That was just… amazing.”

Erin grinned. “Thanks.” It definitely felt good to be praised by a beauty, Erin thought.

The bandit struggled to get back up but without arms and barely any meat to the bones, it was an exercise in futility. It gave up struggling and pointed his gaze at the two. Lightning crackled around his mouth as he charged up for another wave of lightning bolts.

Erin was already in her stance, ready to repel the lightning attacks but from her back, Lyra released two arrows into the bandit’s face. More precisely, the mouth and the area between the eyes.

But the mangled bandit didn’t cease its attempts at retaliating. Lightning brewed wilder as it flailed about in its helpless position as the thunder charred its surroundings.

Lyra fired another arrow but the lightning instantly disintegrated the projectile and the lightning field was only expanding further and further.

“Should we run?” Lyra asked.

“No,” Erin was quick to respond. “No half measures,” she admonished, not at Lyra but herself. She could have ended the bandit’s life then, and perhaps avoiding this scenario entirely. But she didn’t and this was the result. It was merely a whim of fortune that the repercussions weren’t too grave.

The lightning was a double-edged sword. The surge of power the bandit had was also the one thing reeling him close to death’s door. The seared skin and flesh were the proofs.

“You…! You…! You dare defy me…!?” Even in this state, its sinister voice was still clear to the ears.

“I don’t even know who you are,” Erin replied.

The voice laughed as the body it possessed began to disintegrate from the lightning it was shrouded in. “In time… you will… you all will…!”

“Get behind me!” Erin shouted. Ironically, Erin had moved herself to shield Lyra before the words even registered in her mind.

The lightning field expanded briskly at the bandit’s death throes. Erin wielded both of her swords and infused them with Mystic Blade. In addition, she covered herself with Arcane Armor. She dashed towards the expanding lightning field as she sliced and diced her way through the shrills of thunder.

She braved through the incessant lightning attacks without minding the wounds she was accumulating. The Arcane Armor wasn’t able to negate all of the damages but it did prevent any dire injuries.

Just as the bandit’s body was about to disintegrate into cinders along with the rod, Erin came into reach at the last second. She swung her swords in a cross, carving the bandit into three parts, cutting off the channeling of the lightning spell.

[Experience gained +10% – Level Progression: 87%] [Finesse: 14 increased to 15]

And the lightning cries disappeared.

Although the body had long being turned into cinders, the rod fell through the crumbling charred corpse. Erin caught it in mid-air. She brought it close to her eyes to inspect the peculiar little object.

[Magic Relay – A tool made specifically to receive magic of a similar wavelength. This relay belongs to the individual named: #%@&]

She could read the description but it failed to reveal the owner of this rod that was a Magic Relay. Although there was a mild setback, her suspicions were at least confirmed. Someone was controlling the Dire Wolf and it was done so with the assistance of such an object.

“What’s that?” Lyra asked as she approached slowly, unsure of the situation which escalated and deescalated at a pace she couldn’t even believe having witnessed it with her own eyes.

“A clue,” Erin answered.

Erinthea – Faerie-kin: Three-Tailed Fox-kin

Level: 10 | Status: Moderate Exhaustion

Might: 19 | Arcane: 15 | Finesse: 15

Magic Arts – Spirit Magic Lv. 6 | Arcane Edge Lv. 2 | Arcane Armor Lv. 5

Combat Arts – Sword Art Lv. 6 | Fleet Foot Lv. 5 | Brawler Lv. 4

Innate Skills – Appraisal Lv. Ex | Night Vision Lv. Ex | Sixth Sense Lv. Ex | Toxin Resistance Lv. 1 | Lust Deviant Lv. Ex

Unique Talent – Mystic Blade Lv. Ex

Level Progression: 82%

Remaining Skill Points: 2

Remaining Ability Points: 2


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