Chapter 134: Trike (2)

The desperation in Trike’s voice couldn’t be hidden as he asked that question.

Bianca sounded smug as she answered him.

“The secret is Dryad right there.”

“This piece of wood, Miss Bianca?”

“When they reach yer state, all the Elves make their bows out of this.”

“Do you mean that if we make a bow out of this, I can exude Aura from a bow?”

Bianca nodded at Trike’s question.

“Most likely.”

“What do you mean most likely? It either works or doesn’t… guh!”

Smack!

Bianca hit Trike with her wand again. She clicked her tongue. 

“Elves are able to talk to trees from birth. So even when they are using a Dryad, they’re continuously talking to it. ‘I’ll give yah my life force, so cooperate with me.’ That’s how they coax the Dryads.”

“Then do you mean that people who don’t have that ability can’t use it, Miss Bianca?”

“No. A Dryad will suck the life force out of anything, it doesn’t care whether it’s human or animal. But, unlike with Elves, Dryads don’t cooperate. It’ll most likely see ya as prey and try to suck down to yer bone marrows.”

She spoke of such viscousness calmly. 

“Then, won’t I just die?”

“Then, I guess yer gonna have to fight it so ya don’t die?”

“How, Miss Bianca?”

She gave him a look like she thought he was pathetic.

“Didn’t ya say ya had energy inside yer body?”

“That’s what they said, Miss Bianca.”

“Dryads like the energy of an Expert or a Master better than a regular person’s life force. So before sucking on yer life force, it’ll go after that energy first. You…”

Trike finally understood.

“Are you saying I should fight the Dryad with that energy?”

“That’s right. Mm… how should I say it. Ya know that Milton recently got a new horse, right?”

“Miss Bianca, You mean that huge black horse, Leonard”

“Yah. Milton had a hard time taming that horse at first. Ya just gotta think it’s the same thing. It’s a living thing, ya just gotta make it listen to ya.”

“…Miss Bianca.”

Wat? Ya still got something to ask?”

“I was debating whether to say this for a while now, but I have to say this.”

Wat is it? Stap mulling it over and just spit it out.”

“Your dialect is too strong. I couldn’t understand a lot of what you said. Could say it again from the beginning in standard… guh!”

SMACK!

Trike was extremely talented in asking for a beating. Anyway, since Trike held the Dryad wood that Bianca had given him, this was a valuable opportunity for him. It’s not like there was any other path for him; there was no reason for him to reject her offer. Trike immediately had the Dryad wood made into a bow and started training.

And…

“Huff… huff… huff…”

The first day of training knocked him flat on his back. Once the Dryad started sucking his energy, it sucked him dry extremely quickly. Until now, Trike hadn’t really felt the energy in his body and had been using it unconsciously when improving his physical abilities. However, it seemed like Trike had a tremendous amount of energy since the Dryad eagerly drank it. 

Trike quickly dropped the Dryad bow, but even after that couple of seconds, he was gasping for air. 

‘This… this will let me use my Aura? My Lord and Jerome are always using up their energy like this?’

Strictly speaking, it was a bit different. The others were expending their energy voluntarily while Trike’s energy was being sucked out of him. Trike only collapsed because it was the first time he felt that helpless and powerless. Seeing him like that, Bianca spoke up from the side. 

Wat ya doing? Ya giving up after trying it once?”

“Ugh… this… is this really usable?”

“The Elves apparently use it.”

“Lunatics…”

Trike retched. This was the first time in his life he had ever felt energy being sucked out of him. Trike had experienced all sorts of travesties as he fought on the battlefields, but at that moment, he felt an unfamiliar feeling of dread. 

‘Do I have to touch that again?’

Bianca sighed when she saw him hesitate. 

“It can’t be helped. If ya can control that well, then…”

Bianca paused for a bit, then she broke into a big smile. 

“I’ll go on a date with ya.”

At that moment, Trike’s astonishment was visible to the eye.

Cough

“…A man should continue what he started to the very end.”

“Of course. Isn’t that the will of a man?”

“That’s right. A man should never give up.”

“Yeup. Fighting, aight?”

“Yes!”

Trike’s fighting spirit that had curled up in fear started burning brightly again. He grabbed the bow again and fought against it bitterly. A man turns different as long as rewards are dangled in front of them.

Milton had been watching over Trike from the very beginning. He turned towards Bianca.

“You sure know how to handle people, Miss Bianca.”

“Huh? Ya were watching?”

“Yes. So, does it seem possible?”

Was it possible for Trike’s ability to develop a step further or not? Milton was very interested in the answer. 

“We’ll see. I think it’s half and half.”

“Is that so?”

“Either way, there's no precedent, ain’t there? There’s not a lot of humans who reached that level with a bow and it’s even rarer for humans to have a bow made out of Dryad wood. We’ll only find out after trying different things.”

Milton nodded while he thought to himself.

‘She’s being really cooperative. I wonder why.’

At this point, she wasn’t just cooperating, she was playing a leading role in all this. All of a sudden, Milton realized something.

“Miss Bianca.”

Wat?”

“Didn’t you say before that it was absolutely taboo to experiment with humans?”

Bianca turned sulky. 

“This isn’t an experiment. I just felt bad for him so I’m giving him a hand.”

“So what’s that note next to you?”

- Dryad wood and human archer experiment

Bianca dry coughed when she was caught.

Cough

“…This has an academic purpose…”

‘That’s what I thought.’

Milton had been wondering why she had been abnormally cooperative. Just like she said, this was an unusual case. So unusual that it was natural that a Magician would get greedy to find an answer to the problem. 

‘Well, I guess it’s a good thing if Trike can get better…’

“Are you really going to go on a date with him if he succeeds?”

“Huh? Well… there’s nothing bad, right? It’s been decades since I went on a date. He’s adorable, so why not.”

“I see. In that case… huh?”

‘Decades?’

Milton stared at Bianca. She looked like a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties. Her hourglass figure could be seen even when she wore a loose fitting robe; she was a very sexy and charming woman. But…

“Um, Miss Bianca?”

Wat now? If yer gonna bother me, go away!”

“It’s nothing but um… exactly how old are you?”

“I am in the prime of my life at 25 years old.”

“But just now…”

“Ya gonna shut up or ya wanna be beat?”

“Never mind.”

Sometimes, there are things in life that you just shouldn’t find out. Milton hoped Trike never found out about this. 

***

Let’s go back to the present.

Holding the bow made out of Dryad wood, Trike watched Siegfried charging towards him. The bow in Trike’s hand continued to suck energy from him and that energy was turned into a clear Aura around the arrow. 

“What’s that…”

Siegfried halted his horse as soon as he felt uneasy. But…

“Too late.”

With those two words, Trike let the arrow fly.

Phew!

Rather than an arrow, it sounded more like something thicker than that and flew straight with more of a streak of light than a sound. Normally, an arrow’s trajectory was a gentle curve, but this time, the arrow flew in a straight line. From the target’s point of view, it only seemed like a dot was getting closer. 

‘Got you.’

Just before the arrow reached Siegfried, Trike was sure. There was no way Siegfried could avoid it this time.

***

‘Danger!’

Siegfried moved instinctively the moment he detected danger. He swung his sword around with all his strength. 

“Huah!”

Clang!

The sound of impact rang throughout. For a second, Siegfried thought he broke his wrist because of the impact. It felt like he had struck a large boulder with his sword.

“Ugh…”

In the end, he couldn’t completely push back the attack and fell off his horse from the shock of impact. 

“Secretary Siegfried?!”

“Dismount! Protect Secretary Siegfried!”

The Ghosts who had been following him quickly turned to protect him. Siegfried had always been languid and unhurried during the war, but now, he was on the ground covered in dirt. This was the first time it ever happened to Siegfried and all his men were flustered. 

***

It might have been the first time for Siegfried, but Trike gritted his teeth at his achievement. 

“He stopped that?”

That was impossible.

Aura Arrow. 

He could only use this attack a limited number of times in a day, but it was a very destructive attack. It was an attack destructive enough that it could be used as a siege weapon; it was even better than a heavy ballista. They had experimented to determine it’s destructive strength and how many times he could use it, as a result, they had found out that only Jerome could stop this attack head-on. In other words…

“Can’t be, that bastard…?”

Trike felt uneasy. He hadn’t received this information, but it was certain. Siegfried wasn’t a simple strategist, he was a strong man who had reached the level of a Master. 

Siegfried stood up and shouted to the Ghosts protecting him. 

“Capture him! Don’t let him escape!”

The Ghosts reacted a bit late due to their shock from Siegfried shouting at them urgently. He was very different from his usual self. 

“Yes. Yes, sir!”

“Understood, sir.”

The Ghosts spurred their horses forward to chase after Trike. 

At that moment, Trike was seriously conflicted.

‘What should I do? Should I try again? Or…’

There was still time for him to shoot another arrow. But as long as the opponent was a Master, he didn’t have the confidence to kill his opponent with the next arrow. Not to mention, he wouldn’t be able to escape if he was caught by the Ghosts who were currently charging towards him. 

“I guess there’s no other choice.”

Having quickly calculated his possibilities, Trike quickly mounted his horse. And then…

“Hiya!”

Without looking backwards, he retreated. There was no reason for him to risk his life here when he wasn’t sure he could kill Siegfried with the next arrow. He felt it would be more advantageous for him to take back the new information he had learned. 

“Get him! Don’t let him escape!”

Trike could hear Siegfried bellowing from the back. But…

‘Nope, there’s no way.’

“Hiya!”

Trike kicked his horse in the side. Destroying the ground with each step, his horse quickly sped off. 

“Guh… he’s fast.”

“Shit… he’s gonna escape.”

The Ghosts who had been pursuing him were in a predicament. 

They were running their horses as fast as possible, but the enemy’s horse was so fast that they couldn’t catch up to him. 

The Destroy breed was faster than the Silfid that the Kobrook Republic was so proud of. 

Once the Destroy breed began to run, it was impossible for regular horses to catch up to them.

“Damn it…”

Siegfried bit his lower lip as he watched Trike getting further away from them.

“They found out.”

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Palico & Yojj's Thoughts

Bianca + Trike kills me each time. I love those two.