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As per usual, assassination jobs were mostly waiting around, and then everything was finished in an instant: my target had been dealt with, and so I hurriedly walked away, into a rarely used pathway between a big communal house, and a large earth mount which supported a whole village on top of itself.
On my way, I cleaned my dagger and stored it away. I much preferred bravely fighting with my spear in my hands, face to face with my opponents, but I had already seen what happened with those that disobeyed the boss before.
“S***… I wish his father was still around”, I complained, taking a break to roll up a cigarette, and look at the stars.
I inhaled the smoke, and released once again. When the fumes vanished, however, they revealed a bloody figure right before me; his clothes were drenched in red, but his eyes were wide open and staring right at me.
“Wah!”, I fall on my but, terrified. “I- I- I killed you!”, I babbled, pulling myself away from the man, no, from the creature.
Magical, divine, or spiritual, there wasn’t a single thing in that world that could come back to life!
“…You tried”, the bloody coyote boy said, clenching tight his fingers around the tattoo on his left arm. He held it in such a way as if the drawing was hurting him, as if he wanted to tear it off his own body. “Who are you?”, he asked, an insane look on his face as he approached me one step at a time.
I quickly got back up, but while all of my instincts told me to run away, to escape and never come back, I knew very well that, if not that being, Arapaima would catch me. And he’d make it last. And so, I pulled out my chert knife again, and ran towards Coyote:
I was stopped in my tracks by a sudden slap, however, from a hand that moved with incredible speed, and the power from the hit send me flying to the side, hitting the earth mound. Still disoriented, not understanding very well what had just happened, I tried to get back up, but my legs were shaking, the world spinning. Blood dripped from my nose and mouth, and I felt my face swelling up, and pulsating intensely.
“Look, you better tell me what I want already…”, Coyote said, already right before me once again, panting intensely. “Or I might really end up killing you”, he gritted his teeth, and held so much on his left arm, that this last one was already turning red, veins swollen as the blood flow was cut.
The boy wasn’t naive as the boss thought… He was insane.
Once the thug told me he’d been sent by Arapaima to kill me, I could finally understand what the green-haired girl meant with her warning.
“Ike is in danger!”
I didn’t waste any more time, but started to look for the swordsman; without bothering with discretion, and ignoring the complaints from people that were trying to sleep, I used the shield and explosion combo to jump around until I found the reference point Ike told me when we last saw one another: a very tall and brightly colored sculpted wooden post with many animals.
I landed before the post, and started to run in any direction, hoping that I’d find the awkward swordsman before it was too late.
I frowned. For some reason, differently from when I faced Sumixam, my mind couldn’t stop but go to those link tattoos. The power was calling, and I longed to comply. Would that strong desire to break the links become even stronger after each one I destroyed? I feared what would happen once I caught up with Ike, and found him dead…
“Kuh!”, I heard a gasp coming from behind some trees nearby.
I didn’t hesitate in jumping in.
There, I found Ike, thankfully alive, but curled up in a fetal position, covered in bruises and with his clothes torn apart. His aggressor looked somehow divided while holding the stone knife that should be used to end the awkward swordsman’s life, but once I entered the scene, he immediately put on a frown, and jumped on me.
Creating a barrier between the two of us, I stopped his knife, and with a straight punch to his face, I brought the aggressor down. Stepping onto the man’s chest and creating a barrier over it, pressing him against the ground, I contained him, and asked Ike:
“Are you ok?”
The swordsman got back up, lips bleeding, eyes purple and swollen… And her woman’s breasts were half exposed, the tight cloth that hid them cut by the aggressor’s knife. Likely the only reason why she still was alive, the origin of the assassin’s hesitation in giving the final blow before. She simply nodded, silently.
Frowning, I turned to the man pinned in between the shield and the ground:
The aggressor first snarled at me, but finally noticing my blood-drenched clothes, and probably misinterpreting its meaning, he told, turning pale:
“I- In the Wind Cave!”
“What? Why would he be there? Don’t lie to me!”
“I m not lying, I swear! T- The guy who was supposed to kill you saw you talking with one of The School’s dogs! After getting this report, the boss decided to dispose of them, and went to the cave to do so!”
The green-haired girl, the mohican guy, and their underlings were in danger. They warned me, tried to help, and were in danger.
I had to help them.
After kicking the pinned aggressor in the jaw, knocking him out, I told the awkward swordsman:
“Ike, go somewhere safe.”
“B- But what about you?!”
“I’m going after Arapaima”, I said, digging my fingernails into the pulsating chain tattoo.
There was enough power difference between me and those goons that I could quickly defeat them, but what about the tall man? The last thing I thought of when I saw him was “weak”. Could I defeat that man without appealing to the power contained inside the tattoos…?
There was no time for hesitation, however. With a million thoughts plaguing my mind, I hurried towards the Wind Cave.