Chapter 34 – Assassination Attempt
Within the world of Remia, the Icen continent is known for being the largest landmass among the three major continents. The most notable aspect of the Icen Continent is the rumored dragon kingdom said to exist in the southeastern part of the continent. However, few have ever verified the claims leaving the talk of dragons to be mere speculation. In retrospect, the fact that civilizations expand through the north half of the continent, while avoiding the southern half hints at some truth to the claims.
The northeastern part of the continent is controlled by the Erein Kingdom and the Finity Church. The region’s main population comprises of humans with various exchanges with the beastmen tribes outside of the ruling territories. Many of the residents cluster together living in the Capital of Erein or in the Holy Capital of Finity. While many enjoy living in Erein, more people flock to live and admire the towering church, home to a renowned pope specializing in Master Grade <Light Magic>. However, many people are unable to handle the week long travel between the two major capitals.
Partway between the two cities lies an expansive desert. The blistering heat and gritty sand drains away at the travelers’ conditions. Most people traveling by carriage take a full two days to travel across the desert because of the poor conditions. And currently within the desert, a major conflict has arisen.
"Protect the carriage!! Don’t let these bastards get any closer!!!" The Royal Guard Captain yells. Many of his subordinates have fallen under the hail of attacks from an unknown group of assassins. "Fuck! Why is this happening?" He curses silently.
Just twenty minutes ago, they were traveling along when a pair of Gaia Lizards angrily charged at them from the distant sand dunes and started attacking their group. Normally, Gaia Lizards are very docile and will only threaten intruders encroaching on their nest. However, when suddenly angered, they become a force to be reckoned with. Their innate ability to use <Earth Magic> allows them to surround their bodies in a 10 centimeter thick layer of bedrock, while still be able to fire off <Earth Spikes> from beneath their enemies. The only saving grace to engaging a Gaia Lizard is its slow speed and spell casting time. Nevertheless, Gaia Lizard are resilient enough to be classified as a high B rank organism and considered an A rank mission if anyone encounters two or more Gaia Lizards.
The direct attack was highly unnatural considering the nature of the lizards, but the knights had no time to ponder over such thoughts. Even with the unnatural situation, the knights quickly got into formation as the mages arranged themselves in the rear casting protective spells. Eight knights charged directly at the Gaia Lizards. Using their greater mobility, they quickly flanked the lizards and thrust their enchanted spears at their vulnerable sides. Several piercing thrusts formed a small crack into the bedrock layer. The mages in the group make their move as the knights take their distance. Several spells fly as they bombard the cracked rock layer exposing the flesh. The knights reengage the Gaia Lizards stabbing into the exposed flesh before the rock layer reforms. The Lizards cry out in pain trying to take down their attackers. The mages attack again damaging the Gaia Lizards’ exposed flesh even further as the hole in the rock layer is further expanded. Within a few minutes, the repeated attacks finally topple both lizards.
However, before the Royal Guards can relax, four black clad assassins descend on the knights near the Gaia Lizards. The four targeted knights narrowly dodge the attack, but one knight reacts too late and receives a heavy cut into his arm.
"Bastard! Who are you?" Captain Lewis yells. The assassins ignore the Captain and lunge forward. They immediately change their movements as they jump back.
"<Flame Lance>" "<Earth Spire>" "<Ice Lance>" Several spells fly out as spears of fire, earth, and ice pierce through the assassins' previous location. The four knights use the opening to regroup with the other guards. The Royal Guards tensely take up a defensive formation around the two carriages.
“Speak! What are you after?!” Captain Lewis yells glaring at the four assassins. The assassins continue to remain silent as they perform another attack. The guards tighten the grip on their weapons as they engage in battle.
Inside the one of the carriages, the passengers are equally tense. “Father! I’m scared!” Within the carriage, the young princess Liliana clung to her father King Victor with tears in her eyes. The King pats his daughter’s head with a grim expression.
“Princess, it’s okay. The guards will surely protect everyone.” A brown haired maid pats the Princess' head consoling her. She eases the eight year old princess away from the King as he listens to the report from the gray haired butler by his side.
The blonde haired princess looks up with tears in her eyes at the maid. “Ireneee, make it stop…”
“It’s okay Princess. It will be over soon.” Irene hugs the princess. She secretly bites her lip as the sound of battle passes through the carriage walls. The explosive sound of detonating spells makes tensions run even higher in the carriage. She gazes at the king and sees the grim look on his face. She inwardly sighs and begins praying for the best.
King Victor had traveled to the Holy Capital of Finity to perform the Identification ceremony for the Second Princess, Princess Liliana. When children reach 8 years of age, they are appraised for their abilities to help guide them towards their future occupation. In truth, the trip was unnecessary and could have been performed in their hometown. The Capital of Erein’s church was more than properly equipped for the ceremony and the celebration for the Princess' 8th birthday could have been performed in tandem.
However, the trip was performed in hopes of a possible cure for the first princess’ illness. The first princess has been severely bedridden and unable to take even a step away from her bed. After five years without a solution, everyone’s hopes of a cure were waning. The Royal Family employed the best healers, but ultimately resulted without any successful result.
The visit to the Holy Capital was the Royal family’s last hope. The Pope was reputed to be the best healer on the continent. He had previously treated the First Princess like many others healers. While his treatment did work, the treatment was merely a temporary relief as the First Princess collapsed again the next day.
Afterwards, the Pope refused to help her again claiming that the Princess’ illness was only a hoax to besmirch his reputation. The King was extremely unwilling to simply let his daughter die, but he had run out of options. Princess Liliana insisted on coming and trying to help her sister in some way. With Liliana’s upcoming 8th birthday and ceremony, they quickly decided to make use of the event to travel to the Holy Capital and attempt to persuade the Pope to treat the First Princess again. As a result, King Victor and Princess Liliana would travel to the Holy Capital, while the Queen chose to stay behind and watch over the First Princess. The coming of age ceremony went by quickly with a Bishop blessing Princess Liliana. However, they were immediately evicted from the Church when the King brought up treating the First Princess. Escorted out of the church, the group could only dejectedly return home.
In the other carriage, an obese man threw a gold goblet at his subordinate. “What’s taking so long?!” This short tempered man was the Prime Minister for the country. He is a proponent of the aristocratic faction and emphasizes obtaining more money for the rich while purging the poor. In contrast, King Victor works to sustain the country and provide support to the poor whenever possible. The Prime Minister insisted on tagging along the trip for personal reasons unknown to the King.
“It will be over soon Sir. Please be patient a bit longer." The aide consoles the Prime Minister.
"It better be! Or I'll have your head!" The Prime Minister yells at the aide. "Waste of money. Those trash can't even do something so simple." He crosses his arms grumbling to himself.
Outside of the carriage, the sound of clashing metals rings as the guards and assassins clash. The four assassins try and slip through the Royals Guards' defensive formation. However, the guards clash with the assassins forcing them with their combined effort. Several basic <Shot> spells attack the assassins, but they miss their target as the assassins dodge. A stalemate forms as the assassins continue to perform hit and run tactics, while the knights aptly defend.
"Captain, shouldn't we attack? There's only four of them." One restless soldier complains. His hand tightly grips on his sword itching to run out and strike down the assassins.
"Idiot!" Captain Lewis yells at his subordinate. "It's obviously a trap! Why would four assassins confidently attack the Royal Carriage, yet still linger around when their attack failed? Their reinforcements are probably coming soon."
"Captain, we should make our move soon." The Vice-Captain replies.
"I know. Oi! Are the preparations done?" Captain Lewis yells to the mages.
“<Barrier>!” The mages finish chanting as the Captain calls out to them forming a large barrier surrounding the two carriages. The large barrier required five of the six mages to cast and maintain the spell forcing the remaining mage to be the sole support for the knights. However, it allowed the twenty-five knights to shift from defending the carriage to attacking the assassins.
Six knights moved forward to engage the four assassins. As they close the distance, the ground suddenly rumbles beneath them. “Dodge!” One of the knights yells jumping out of the way. The six react quickly moving outside the range of the spell as a large 8 meter wide <Earth Spire> pierces up into the sky. As they move, the four assassins attack with throwing knives targeting the knights in the midst of dodging. The knights are forced to deflect the throwing knives further destabilizing their footing. They swing their swords knocking the knives away, but six pairs of human arms burst through the sand appearing beneath their feet.
“Shit! What the hell?!” The knights curse as the arms begin to attack them.
Each pair of arms is equipped with a dagger that attempts to stab at the knights above them. Two of the experienced knights use their body weight to fall stabbing down into the bodies hidden in the sand. A dagger flies out from the knight’s side deflecting one of the assassin’s daggers. The other three knights are not as lucky as the dagger stabs into an opening in their steel boots. Several other knights rush out to assist their comrades.
Captain Lewis’ expression turns grim at how well prepared the assassins are. The layers of traps show how much preparation these assassins have spent on this attack. As the situation worsened, the tension among the knights continued to rise. Many of them anxious to rush out and eliminate the assassins that hurt their comrades, but they had to maintain their duty to protect the carriages. Then disaster struck…
An ear piercing explosion suddenly sounds as the carriages burst outwards despite the barrier in place. Shards of wood fly in every directions crashing into the barrier meant to protect the area. All of the royal knights freeze in place blankly staring at the destruction. The five mages within the barrier are directly knocked out as flying debris crashes into them. Immediately after, the barrier destabilizes from the loss of the key mages supporting the spell. Within a few moments, the barrier fades without the necessary magical power flowing into the barrier. Several bodies are thrown out from the center of the explosion. As the bodies crash into the ground, time flows again for the knights as they’re snapped out from their stupor.
“YOUR HIGHNESS!!!” The Royal Guard Captain screams running up to the wreckage. The King and Princess push themselves up off the ground. Blood is splattered all over their clothing, but they are relatively unharmed from the explosion. The butler Sebastian and the maid Irene do not fare as well when they protected the King and Princess in that moment. Both of them are unconscious from the aftermath of the explosion as blood pooling beneath them. Multiple splinters of wood pierce into Sebastian's back digging deeper into his body. Irene's arm had cleanly separated from her body with the force of the explosion.
Princess Liliana crawls over to Irene and starts shaking her. "Irene, Irene! Wake up! Please wake up!" Tears well up as the Princess presses Irene's severed arm against her shoulder praying it will reconnect. "S-SOMEONE!!! HELPPP!!! *Hic* *Hic* Wahhh!!!" She wails unable to hold back the tears.
The assassins make their move at this key moment as a sand dune explodes. Fifteen more assassins rush out from the remains of the sand dunes. The other eight assassins perform a pincer attack forcing the knights to split their forces. The Royal Guards feel the grips of death looming over them with the sudden group of reinforcements. Five mages have been knocked unconscious, while two knights have serious injuries around their ankle leaving only 18 Royal Guards left to fight the assassins.
Captain Lewis quickly gave out orders sending six knights to engage the group of eight assassins while nine of them engage the fifteen assassins. Two knights and the only conscious mage would stay in the rear to provide support. He hoped that the mage could quickly eliminate the eight assassins, so that they could devote their forces to repelling the threat. However, his plan quickly fell apart in a way he truly did not expect.
Five knights fell back gathering around the remains of the Prime Minister’s carriage. Three of them stayed on guard, while two of them dug the fat Prime Minister out of the rubble. They quickly discovered the aide with a plank of wood pierced through his heart. Tossing his body aside, they resume unearthing the Prime Minister.
“You five!!! What are you doing?!” Captain Lewis yells. Veins on his forehead throb seeing the five abandoning them in this situation. Only two knights were left to face the eight assassins. With the overwhelming difference in numbers, the assassins quickly surrounded the two knights and made use of their openings to cut them down.
“We’re protecting the boss. The Royal Family is your responsibility.” One of the knights responds helping the Prime Minister up.
“You Bastards!!!” Captain Lewis yells. Other knights also sling out curses as the fifteen assassins descend on them. The Captain rushes to defend the Royal Family, but three assassins block his way. “GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!” Magic fills his body as he performs a strong diagonal cut. Overflowing with power, he cuts through two of the assassins in one move. Blood explodes out as their upper body separates from their lower half. The third assassin dodges the attack as it slows down passing through the two bodies. Captain Lewis charges forward to cut down the remaining obstacle, but three more assassins join to block his path.
As the situation degrades, the eight assassins descend upon the rear. They evade the two knights and the mage making a beeline for the unconscious mages. They easily slit the throats of three of the mages before the knights are able to arrive and defend the two other unconscious mages.
Several assassins descend on the King and Princess stabbing towards their defenseless bodies.
"""NOOOOOOO!!!""" The Captain and several other knights scream desperately struggling to break free and protect them. Seeing the situation and the descending blade, the King silently closes his eyes letting out a resigned sigh.
"NOOO!!! SOMEONE HELP!!!" Princess Liliana screams throwing herself over Irene's body. She continues to try and protect Irene for even a second long. She screams in her heart for someone to save them. Closing her eyes, pitch black darkness fills her vision.
The grunting sounds of men are suddenly heard at this moment. The King and Princess meekly opens their eyes, but only see an encompassing darkness. Not only them, but pitch black darkness fills the vision of every single person in the area. The darkness blots out the sun preventing light from penetrating into the area.
“What’s happening?!” Captain Lewis yells.
As if in response to his cry, the darkness recedes returning the area to normal. Both knights and assassins breathe a sigh of relief as their vision returns to normal. Then, they notice the oddity of the situation. Some of the assassins were clutching their chest and all of the assassins were noticeably separated from the knights. The knights were all gathered around the wrecked carriage, but the assassins were knocked a good 30 meters away from them.
Both groups looked around sensing a dissonance in the area, something not previously participating in the battle. They didn’t have to look long as they see a mass of darkness hanging in the area. A large black pillar had emerged from the sand at some unknown time as if supporting the black mass of energy.
“What is that?” Someone muttered.
They quickly got their answer as the black mass disappeared. A collectively gasp is heard as everyone clenches their throat at the sight of the figure before them. A completely black figure sits on all fours staring down at them with glowing red eyes. Black horns extend out from the figure’s head pointing forward extending past the face. The nose cannot be seen, but the mouth extends outwards resembling a snout. The pitch black color makes it difficult to see its limbs, but it seems to sit calmly on the pillar with all four limbs. Large black wings spread from behind the figure’s back extending out over two meters in each direction.
The thought of a demon instantly appears in their minds, but the notion is quickly discarded. Demons are said to have dark brownish type skin. The being before them is completely pitch black as if from the darkness itself. Wisps of blackish mist float out from its body making them worry if it’s some type of miasma.
A sense of dread fills the body of everyone present. The knights were previously fearing the failure in their duty when the King and Princess were about to be cut down. However, the thing before them exudes a strong pressure as if guaranteeing that every single one of them will be completely eviscerated. The shining red gaze filled with malice only serves to cement the thought in their mind. No one moves, afraid of trying the attention of the being before them.
“Just what is this noise?” The being opens its mouth and speaks. It speaks normally, but its voice seems to explode out ringing in the ears of everyone present.
Both the knights and assassins tremble hearing the tinge of annoyance in its voice. The same thought runs through their minds. ‘It’s over! We’re going to die!’
It's late and it's short. I can't really defend myself. Half of this week, I was pretty much drained because of my pollen allergy. I was sneezing through Monday-Wednesday, including when I slept. It pretty much killed the rest of my energy for the week since I didn't sleep well. Other than that, it's just my motivational block with editing/rewriting.
I'll try and get out the next chapter by this coming weekend because I only finished about half of the original planned chapter. I expanded this part by quite a bit, but haven't touched the other half yet. I wanted to expand the current setting the bit away from Senna, but you can see signs of my impatience to quickly get to the part when Senna appears. >_> *sigh*
Part of my procrastination was also because I picked up reading The New Journey of an Old Soul. Since it's a complete story and has various yuri parings, I am currently enjoying reading it. :P I just started, so I haven't made much progress yet.
Lastly, I thought I'd try and ask if anyone would like to be an editor for this story. I can't really provide anything other than a peek at my terribly unedited writing and a possibility of releasing things fast. Editing is really the major bottleneck that slows releases down. The majority of my writing is done during the travel time to work. On the weekends, I edit and fix what I wrote, add details and correct weird typos.
I rarely work with others on projects, so no idea how it will go. I'm imagining I'll give access on Google Docs or something. Make comments about stuff you find. 'Explain this.' 'Typo here.' 'The hell you talking about here?' Stuff like that. I'll do a quick edit and addition to stuff I forgot. Editor double checks the new stuff before posting.
Thought this how I imagine. Again, I haven't worked with others much on projects, so I'm open to figuring out how to make it work.
If you're interested, shoot me a message on Line Messenger. ID: Kirindas