Chapter 27

“You don’t have to word it like that. But, please, show me.” I spoke in earnest.

“Well, my arm isn’t going to be doing much better than you. However, I will tell you what you need to do.”

I knew the basics with a bow; it wasn’t something I was interested in using then… But now, learning from someone as skilled as her might be handy. In the back of her home was a room dedicated to target practice. Arrows and various tools lined the walls. Holding the bow in her hand, she showed confidence despite her wounds.

“It must hurt a lot moving around,” I speak softly.

“It isn’t pleasant, but I’ve spent enough time as a hunter and party member that something like this won’t bother me for too long.”

“I didn’t know you were a part of the guild.”

“I’m retired. I knew Nana well before becoming an adventurer, but when I needed a place to be, she helped me get a job with the guild.”

“Why did you retire? It seemed like you might be one hell of a ranger if you kept at it.”

A sad look came across Julia’s face, and she took a deep breath.

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“I was thirty-one when I joined the Rouge Pack. We weren’t big in size or reputation, but we did honest work and hunting. Of the five of us, I certainly was stronger than most. I could keep myself and my companions alive for many years with this bow. However, we flew too close to the sun, and our wings were certainly burned away. I was lucky; only my wings were burned.”

“What happened?”

“We took on a big hunting quest against a tribe of hostile demon wanderers. There was a bounty on them that was quite massive. They only numbered in the tens. So, we had a good chance of wiping them out and making them back richer than we could believe. I could track them into the mountains and find where they were camped. It seemed like they had picked a fight with some local wildlife and were resting. The time to take them out was simple. Have our mage cast a spell to trap them while I rained arrows upon them. Any stragglers that reached us, our vanguard would be enough to take on one or two that would reach us.” Her voice begins to tremble.

“Go on.”

“So Chel… She cast her spell through her staff and caused a rockslide, which did more than trap them; it nearly wiped them out. We didn’t know that there was a f****** dragon sleeping in the mountains. The moment it heard the spell and the rockslide, it quickly rushed us without us realizing what was happening. One by one, the dragon devoured Chel, burned Higal away, crushed Liuo, and ripped my sister… Galia, apart in front of me.” Tears trail down her cheeks. Her teeth clenched, and a bit of blood dripped past her lips.


“That bastard toyed with me! He didn’t want to kill me; he wanted to destroy me! He mocked my sorrow, pain, anguish, guilt, regret, everything!”

Only allowed on

“I am sorry-“

“He laughed! And laughed! His laughter drowned my cries as I did nothing to avenge them. I got my bow out, and with a burning anger hotter than the hells, I fired a single arrow. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, but I took his eye, I took something away from him. It didn’t match what he took from me, yet it was a start. It’s been nearly twenty years since I last saw him. Still living in those God-forsaken mountains, waiting for another fool to make enough noise to call him to massacre once again.”

“And that’s why you retired…”

“I was filled with so much hate and anger, Caleb. It nearly consumed me. I spent days without sleep; my health only worsened as time went on the years after that encounter. Wandering the lands, waiting for death to free me from my anguish. Until Nana found me.”

“And she saved you?”

“She did more than that; she gave me my life back. I still have nightmares of that day, but I am content in helping adventurers like the Phantom Blades take the right quests so they don’t make the same mistake as I did. My time moving around the world with my party taught me many valuable things, and I use that knowledge to help everyone who enters those doors at the guild. It is the purpose Nana instilled in me, and I will not forget that.”

“Well, I am glad you are still here, Juila.”

“Thank you, Caleb.”

“But if I can ask… What was the name of that Dragon?”

“The name…” She begins to ponder and think to herself. Holding tight to her arm in frustration before letting go with a sigh.

“I only learned it after what happened; the villagers of a nearby town spoke about him occasionally. A knight, an old one, said his name. Slyr, the Crippling Dread. He’s been around for ages, nearly two thousand years. And it seems I am the only living person who has maimed him and can tell the tale.”

“I don’t know if that is an honor or a curse.”

“Yeah… Knowing that a scared little girl who watched her friends and family get slaughtered was the only one to do something to such a creature is certainly something.”

“It was this bow, wasn’t it.”

“Why do you think I treasure it so.”

“Yet, you are willing to give me it, aren’t you?”

“Honestly, I want to move on with my life; why not give it to someone who deserves it? Besides, it was able to take out one of the fiercest dragons’ eyes known to man. I would say that is worth something.”

“What is the name of the bow then?” I look directly at her hands; she looks as well. A slight grin creeps across her face.

“Vindicta, the name of the weapon I was able to exact some sort of revenge against that bastard.”

“Vindicta, fitting, isn’t it.”

“Very much so. Now enough of my sob story, let’s crack this open for you.”

Spending the last few hours I could with Julia, she helped me learn more about the fundamentals of a bow. With some focus and using what she taught me, I pull the arrow back as best as I can, releasing it with a subtle breath and hitting the target. The feeling of using a bow was much different than I expected, but I still had much to learn.

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