A week had passed and the Hockian army congregated at the border in the south. They had driven back a few waves of undead, but that didn't make the situation any less grim. Everyone knew it was only the start.
On the other hand, Leguna's assassination party traveled south without stopping. While the two magi in the party were among the most powerful people on the continent, they didn't use the transference spell to quicken their travels just to be safe. They had to conserve their energy, after all, and didn't have a way to tell where Nidhogg was either. Even if he was really likely to be in the millennium capital, they could run into Nidhogg just as they arrived and two magi without mana were nothing but burdens. They also had to ensure that their arrival was secretive. It would be all too easy for them to be detected if they appeared through a portal in the midst of a sea of corpses. If they were noticed, it would all be for nought.
While the state of the continent as a whole was rather pessimistic, they understood that they had to be patient, even as tens of thousands of people were losing their lives on a daily basis.
During the night, they set up camp to rest. They traveled during the day and camped hidden with the aid of the magi's darkness spell. Every night, Myr would tell them some information about Nidhogg. The more they understood their adversary, the higher the chance they stood to succeed.
"That's all I know about him," Myr concluded. It was the last day of his lectures. He stressed one more time, "You must remember that I had been describing Nidhogg from two decades ago. Nobody knows how he can change over that span of time, so don't take my word as final. Make your own judgments when you face him."
"But there's still no way for us to locate him," Leguna said, leaning against a beastskin, "It's going to be even more troublesome moving forward."
"An assassin that can't even locate his target? I can't think of an even more unprepared mission plan. Are you really willing to throw everything away for Miss Annelotte?" an alluring voice suddenly asked.
Annelotte's Glacial Domain covered the nearby area immediately, but to her surprise, she felt no oddity in the surrounding temperature apart from the rest there with her.
The others also reacted rapidly. Lisana drew Gale and Swiftshadow whereas Godslay, Heartslay, and Soulslay hid themselves. Myr, on the other hand, didn't make any large movements, but he narrowed his eyes. The others around him could feel the mana particles move around him and glow blue.
The only one who didn't move was Leguna. After the initial realization, he wore an expression of frustration. He recognized that voice.
"Why are you here? Come out. Let me warn you to not make any meaningless movements. You might be killed on the spot by the others."
One smiled as she slowly walked out of the shadows with both hands raised to show she didn't mean harm.
"Long time no see, Leguna," she greeted warmly like a long-time friend.
"Answer me." He sat up and raised his voice. While he trusted One for some unknown reason, it didn't extend to the others. At the very least, he could feel the temperature around him fall slightly when the tempting assassin appeared.
"How heartless… I've been waiting here for you, you know…" she said with a troubled look.
"Stop! Shut up first." If he didn't stop her from saying anything more, things would turn really awkward for everyone involved.
"Hmph!" She gave him a contemptuous glare.
While he didn't know what the three assassin brothers were thinking, he could tell that Annelotte, Lisana and Myr were giving him weird looks. He cleared his throat awkwardly and said, "Umm… Let me explain. I hope you guys won't be too surprised when you hear who she is. She… she's the top Stokian assassin, One…"
Dull, lightless blades poked out of the shadows. The brothers ignored Leguna's forewarning and attacked One immediately.
She seemed completely oblivious to the attacks and merely yawned lazily. The moment the blades pierced into her body, she turned into an illusion. After that, a few metallic clangs could be heard from the shadows and a few cuts in the tent appeared behind Leguna.
The four figures reappeared. Myr turned to them and saw that the three brothers had all the muscles in their bodies tensed, as if they were facing a grave foe. One held a nearly translucent dagger in her hand and seemed completely relaxed. In the clash just now, the top assassin triplets Hocke spared no expense in cultivating held the lower hand.
Lisana was the fifth to join the fight. She raised both her swords with the intent of sealing off One's space, but her body merely blurred. It was as if she could phase through LIsana's swords and reappear behind her.
"Don't tell me…" Leguna's eyes narrowed at that move.
Lisana was completely oblivious to One on her left. All she felt was killing intent coming from her right and she unconsciously turned to that direction to defend. One smiled and blew lightly on the back of her neck. She felt body numb. By the time she wanted to turn around, the metallic, icy feeling on her neck made her stop. She knew she had been bound.
Even with the second prince's fiancee taken hostage, the three assassin brothers didn't stop. They surrounded One and sent their daggers thrusting towards her from different directions.
"Stop!" Leguna yelled.
The three assassins completely ignored it. Their daggers were only centimeters away from her.
Hearing him cry out that anxiously, One smiled. She mouthed a single syllable and flashed golden like the sun. It was a divine miracle from Pyro.
The three brothers were blinded by the flash and grunted as they stopped their attacks. Apart from the three, the rest were a little disturbed but weren't completely blinded. Leguna rushed in and took Lisana back from One before ordering the three brothers to stop.
"Enough! Godslay, Heartslay, Soulslay, if you're not going to heed my orders, you can f*ck back off!" he yelled.
"I… I'm sorry…" Lisana apologized. She knew that she had been far too reckless, but she hated One with a passion as Alissanda told her she had almost killed him.
The three brothers' expressions were hidden behind their masks, but they still kneeled on one knee to show their submission.
"Hehe!" One chuckled like a girl giddy over the man that stood up for her. She had wanted to grab his arm, but gave up on that notion when he shot her a warning and threatening glare.
Annelotte watched the whole thing unfold and narrowed her eyes at the gazes they shot each other at the end. The temperature around them went down a few more degrees.
"Now, tell me what you're here for! Don't mess around with me!" he snapped.
"What else?" She clicked her tongue. "I'm here to stop you from killing Nidhogg."Previous Chapter Next Chapter