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Chapter 104: Running Away

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

The memory of how Leland managed to produce so much information from the mana beast parts was stuck in Kagriss’s head as she walked with Camilla and Leland through the tunnel toward where the templar was waiting.

When they were almost to the door, Kagriss decided that it was now or never. Once they went through that door, Camilla might decide to leave right away. Kagriss had no idea when they might come back, so she reached out and grabbed Leland’s sleeve.

The man suddenly swung his arm, throwing her off, and she detected that blazing fast spell construction again.

This time, it was not to unlock anything but to fire a blast of magic at her. It was an orb of light, wreathed in fire.

Although Kagriss didn’t recognize the unfamiliar mana mixed in with the holy magic, she could make a guess. Fire mana? Two affinities?

She immediately leaned back, letting the magic fired with pinpoint accuracy at her head fly over her and explode somewhere further down the tunnel.

She almost lost her balance, but she managed to salvage the situation by leaning back further and flip backwards, seamlessly returning to a standing position. Bewildered and confused about why Leland would suddenly attack her, Kagriss began to construct magic of her own, only to jump back as the old man ran at her with astonishing speed completely at odds with his hobbling from earlier. One of his fists was wreathed in flame and the other glowed with golden light.

As Kagriss let out a small, quick spell to feel the old man out, a blurring shadow dashed in between them. The shadow caught the fist of the man with one hand and crushed the dark arrow that Kagriss and sent out with the other.

“Stop!”

The shout echoed down the hallway, the loudness of the whole thing stopping Leland in his tracks and freezing Kagriss’s next spell construction. She looked at the shadow—Camilla, who was glaring at them both.

The hand that had touched the holy light was burnt, while the dark arrow had pierced her other hand before Camilla destroyed it. Blood dripped onto the floor and Kagriss felt as if it had been her heart that was pierced. She had hurt Camilla!

“By the Gods, what just happened?”

Camilla stared at Kagriss, her eyes demanding an explanation.

Kagriss shrank back under Camilla’s glare. “I don’t know…Leland suddenly attacked me.” It wasn’t even her fault…she was just defending herself, so why was Camilla angry at her?

Leland pulled back his fist, rubbing it with the other. The fire was extinguished. “She grabbed me out of nowhere and I got startled. You don’t live to my age without being cautious,” he said, dusting himself off, not a hint of apology in his voice.

Anger rose up in Kagriss’s stomach. How dare he attack her over something like this, and instead of saying sorry, act like it wasn’t her fault. She waited for Camilla to back her up and yell at Leland, but instead, Camilla looked back at her.

“Kagriss, you should apologize.”

Kagriss could not believe her ears. “Huh?” She searched Camilla for signs of humor, or anything to indicate that she was joking, but nothing appeared. “I have to apologize? But I was just…”

“Kagriss, remember what I told you. Also, it’s never polite in human society to grab someone. It’s rude, and frankly aggressive.”

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“No way…” Kagriss shook her head. Normally, she would obey Camilla no matter what, but this time she didn’t want to. Why did Leland get a pass for attacking her when all she did was pull on his sleeve?

So Leland was afraid to die, but nothing was unafraid of death. She wouldn’t try to kill someone just for grabbing her. “No!”

“Kagriss…” There was a hint of impatience in Camilla’s voice now. Kagriss felt that it was getting harder to breathe.

Why was that? It was so painful, it hurt. She shook her head again and ran around Camilla and Leland, ignoring Camilla’s voice.

Kagriss, Kagriss… every time Camilla said her name, she remembered how Camilla stared at her, that impatience in her voice.

As she reached the door, she realized that if she didn’t apologize to Leland, she’ll have ruined her chances of ever having him tell her his secrets…

Then she gritted her teeth. Who cares about him? Someone like that…she never wants to see someone like that again, let alone learn anything from him. She could just figure everything out herself, like she always had!

Something tickled the corners of her eyes and when she rubbed at it, the back of her hands were wet. She sniffled, and there appeared a lump in her throat preventing her from swallowing. It wasn’t just her throat either; there was a stone in her chest slowly making its way down to her stomach, pushing aside everything in its journey downwards.

Biting her lips to shut in an unbidden whimper, Kagriss tried to push open the door, only to find it magically locked. Summoning all the mana she could bring to bear, a surprisingly large amount, she used it to smash at the locking spell like a hammer.

With an almost audible crack, the spell structure of the magical lock broke and the door finally opened. The templar girl sprang up at her appearance,

“Are you done?” Lucienne asked, then stopped when she saw her face. “What happened?”

Kagriss ignored her as she stomped out from behind the desk, not even looking at her. She rubbed her eyes and went up the stairs.

“Hey wait! You can’t go up there alone, you have to wait for that zombie girl!” the templar called from behind. “I have to keep an eye on the both of you! Wait!”

There was nothing to wait for.

After a while, Kagriss reached the top of the staircase and there was the hidden entrance, not so hidden from behind. As she reached for the handle to pull the thing open, she paused and listened carefully to the sounds of what went on down from where she came.

Perhaps Camilla was coming after her.

But reality was cruel. Kagriss didn’t hear anything but the echoing voice of Lucienne, who remained downstairs. She didn’t hear Camilla. Slowly, the liquid that had stopped began to flow from her eyes again, faster than before, forcing her to wipe them away.

The streams were unending, and the pain in her chest didn’t go away. Her chest spasmed, forcing a little choking sound from her mouth.

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Camilla wasn’t coming.

Kagriss pulled open the door and ducked out. She didn’t see a way to close the hidden entrance, so she just left it open. A moment later, the hidden entrance slid shut on its own, but for once she didn’t care about how the thing worked. Instead, she tried to use her memories to retrace the steps that Camilla had taken them through to get here.

There were many moments where they went on and off the streets, ducking into alleys, making the journey through this maze-like district complicated, but she thought she could find her way back to the Cradle Gem.

Walking with her head down as she wiped away her tears, slowly trying to stop her sniffling and hiccuping, she made her way through the slums. Although she sensed many sets of eyes fixing on her, she ignored them all.

The locations she walked through were familiar to her, matching her memories, but it was so strange to be traveling alone. She couldn’t feel Camilla’s familiar presence. Over the past few weeks, she had gotten used to having Camilla with her at all times. Now that Camilla was gone, she felt cold and vulnerable without those locks of golden hair bouncing about the edges of her vision and sense.

“Camilla…” she sobbed. She missed Camilla already.

Maybe she should go back…but she had already come this far and she didn’t want to face Leland again. So she decided to keep going. She’ll wait for Camilla at the inn, if Camilla still wanted her, she’ll come get her.

As she walked, she slowly became aware that her surroundings were becoming quieter. Although the slums had always been a quiet place, it was rarely this quiet the last time she came through here. Looking around, she found that she couldn’t find anyone. However, her lifesense told her a different story.

Just a short distance ahead, there were several dozen living people, hidden in buildings or around corners. She thought she felt a few pairs of eyes on her, though it could just be her imagination.

The sound of her slippers on the stone ground was loud, and as she got to the center of the hidden people, they suddenly made their move, spilling out and surrounding her.

They looked at her eyes with narrowed eyes and wild, triumphant grins. Many of them held knives. Kagriss stopped, as she had remembered Camilla doing.

There was a similar scene from her book. When a group of bandits stopped the young lord, trying to get him to give up his valuable cargo, the knight led troops to the rescue.

So these people were trying to rob her?

“I don’t have any money…” she said. “But if I did, I wouldn’t give them to you.” Her money was precious.

Suddenly, there was laughter coming from behind the group of bandits. The crowd parted and someone stepped out. Kagriss recognized him—he was the leader of the bandits from the last time she was surrounded. But then, there was Camilla and Lucienne with her, and now, she was alone.

Kagriss had no idea what she should do. Kill all the bandits? Fly away?

In the novel, the knight killed all the bandits he could, but Camilla had specifically told her to not harm anyone.

As she struggled to come up with a plan, the leader stopped laughing at last. Kagriss diverted part of her attention to see what he had to say. “I don’t want your money.”

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“So can I go?”

“Of course not!” the leader of the bandits shouted. “This time, you don’t have anyone to protect you, eh? We’re going to capture you and exchange you for ransom.”

“Ransom…what’s that?” Kagriss asked as she heard a new word to add to her vocabulary. However, no one answered her question. Instead, some of the bandits including the leader began to laugh.

“What’s a ransom, she says! Don’t worry, girlie, you’ll know by the end of this! And if you don’t, then we can have some fun, right, brothers?”

The bandits’ laughter grew louder and there were even some cheers mixed in. Kagriss sensed that the way they looked at her changed as well. Their gazes had become more intense, hotter.

Her skin tingled. Her whole body tingled as she instinctively covered herself.

“What are you…”

Before she could finish, the bandit leader raised his hands. “Same as before! If you don’t resist, we won’t hurt you. If you do…well then, brothers, you know what to do!”

The bandits cheered and rushed forward, the encirclement shrinking in an instant. Kagriss’s heart jumped and her decisions were made in an instant. Between fighting and flying away, the tingling on her skin tipped her toward the former.

Even if Camilla told her to not kill anyone, it wasn’t like Camilla was here to stop her.

The bandits closed in on her, but compared to the undead monsters and Leland, their movements were slow. Just as the fastest almost touched her, Kagriss finished the first of a chain of many spells. Black water spread from the ground where she stood, covering the ground below the ground in creeping goo.

Gasps of fear came from the bandits and they began to draw away or jump at her to stop her from doing whatever they were doing, but even if Kagriss just stood there and let them hit her, they couldn’t be able to do anything to her.

Feeling the information that the field of darkness brought to her, she closed her eyes and began to cast her next spells…the spells that would mean the deaths of everyone present.

However, as the water creeped further out, she sensed the presence of something different from the other bandits. A source of holy magic, rapid footsteps.

“Un— Kagriss, stop!”


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