The First Shadow Assassin

Chapter Six: In the Shadow of Betrayal

Host and Author's Note:

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I awaken feeling extremely tired and weak, however, it’s then that I notice we’re out in a field.

“Jam-James?” I call out, my vision blurry in the darkness.

“I’m here, Ethan,” James reassures me. I look over and see him sitting beside the fire, which blinds me temporarily, “You gave us all a fright, passing out like that.”

“Sorry,” I look at the ground, rubbing my eyes. “How long was I out?”

“Two months, Ethan,” Tamer says resulting in a slap across the back of the head from James.

“Please tell me I wasn’t out for two whole months!” I exclaim, panicking a little.

“No, Ethan, you was only out for a day,” James glares at Tamer, who holds his head as he laughs.

“Oh, okay. What happened?” I ask, worried and trying to remember.

“Tamer showed you the bounty,” James looks around quickly to make sure that no one heard him. “Then you passed out. The doctor said it was from exhaustion.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember now… This um, bounty on me, what’s it all about?” I’m both curious and scared to learn more about the people who took my family.

“I think it’s best if I explain the quest system. There are three types of quests. First, you have the level of difficulty: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Colossus, Royal, Legendary, and Divine.”

I open my notebook, which I had in my back pocket. I begin writing down everything tamer tells me about the quest system.

“Okay, next I think would be the, um,” Tamer pauses. “The three categories that the quest fall into are: Hunting, Gathering, and Escort.”

“So… I’m a hunting type quest objective for you all?” I ask in confusion, since I’m being escorted instead of killed.

“Yes, however, it appears Eric and Jame have an Escort quest,” Tamer confirms as James nods. “It’s because of those two that you weren’t killed in the slums where we found you.”

“So if I’m getting this right, you, Archer, and Warrior all want to kill me?” I state shocked and feeling a little sick as Tamer nods, “And James and Eric are protecting me?”

James nods in agreement.

“I want to make things rig…” Tamer is suddenly cut off when Eric flies past us.
As we look back in the direction that Eric came from, I see three arrows flying right towards me. Because of my bad leg, I barely manage to avoid them. It’s then that I notice that James and Tamer are already on their feet, casting spells and firing bolts.

“Ethan, go hide! Quickly!” Eric yells as he clashes into Warrior, and the sound of metal hitting metal rings loudly echoing around the camp.

As I run off towards the nearby woods, barely dodging the arrows that Archer seems content with firing at me from a hidden location. I hold my head in between my legs as I start to mumble a chant I remember from my childhood, but don’t remember where from.

“Shadows protect, Shadows hunt, Bring forth the Wolf of darkness, Arise and Protect me, Keito!”
As I finish the chant, my body starts to glow black as a dark mist flows out of my body originating from the birthmark below my heart. As a large black wolf jumps out from where my heart is, I scream in pain, but calm down when I realize that I’m not in pain. I reach out my hand, which shakes in fear of the battle yet. Suddenly, I feel a cold wetness touch my hand, causing me to open my eyes and I stare right into the wolf’s menacing silver eyes that feel as if they’re piercing right into my soul.

“Greetings, my Prince of Shadows,” a gruff, menacing voice booms inside my head, causing me to panic a little.

“Wh-Wh-Who said that?” I stutter in my panic.

“It was me, my prince,” the voice responds making me look at the wolf confused.

“You? How? What is happening?” I shoot off questions.

“You summoned me, to defend you and your companions,” the wolf states as it growls towards where Warrior is.

“O-O-Okay. Let’s save my friends, then can you answer some questions for me?” I stand.

“At your command, my prince," the wolf responds. "However, your friends are in trouble.”

The wolf runs off towards Tamer, the one in the most immediate danger.

I run after the wolf and I dive forward, launching three Frost Arrows at the arrows that Archer fired from an unknown location. My magic freezes them and they drop to the ground, shattering upon impact.

Dodging a downward slash from Warrior, I draw both my daggers so I can use the skill Dancing Slice to send Warrior on the defensive as I search for an opening in his defence.

An arrow flies past my face, slashing my right eye open. However, before Warrior has the chance to finish me off, Eric resumes the assault on Warrior.

I clutch my eye as I scan my surroundings for Archers location.

“Where the fuck are you, Archer?” I grumble loudly.

A voice, seemingly coming from all around me, taunts, “Just die already.”

As I look around for the source of the taunts, I find myself unable to find the source and let out a massive scream of frustration.

“What the hell? What’s happening?” I hear a voice that I recognize as Archer’s. “Why the hell is it so dark all of a sudden?”

Looking around I realize that the area around me is getting darker as if the shadows are devouring all light. I then think of what Archer has said about it getting dark. It sounds like he is unable to see what’s going on, but I can see perfectly. Suddenly, a notification alert pops up. I read the notificationI read the notification ("SPELL GAINED: Roar of Shadows (Level 1\/10) - This spell is a tier 5 Shadow attribute spell. It allows the caster to absorb all light from the surrounding area impeding the vision of everyone in the area but the caster") as I realize that Archer hasn’t thrown or shrouded his voice like he did last time.

Charging towards Archer I notice that Warrior and Eric are holding a defensive stance scanning around for the enemy.

“JAMES! AT YOUR TWELVE O’CLOCK USE A LIGHTING STRIKE SPELL RANGE FIVE METERS! ERIC! SLASH DOWN IN FIVE SECONDS AFTER HEARING THE LIGHTNING STRIKE, THEN JUMP RIGHT! AND TAMER! USE BINDING SHOT BEHIND YOU AT ELEVEN O’CLOCK RANGE TEN METERS!” I yell, hoping that they’ll listen.

As I run, a lightning strike hits right in front of Warrior, blinding him temporarily, causing him to drop his weapon as Eric slashes down, killing him. I jump up into the trees towards Archer as two arrows zip past me with a magical rope connecting them. They pierce into Archer's shoulders binding him in place.

I jump high into the air above Archer, then dive down. The light seemingly returns to the area just as I use my skill Dancing Slice, killing Archer with shock plastered across his face.

After I land on the ground, I pick up Archer's bow, admiring the craftsmanship and wondering if anyone would mind me taking it considering Archer won’t need it anymore.

“Ethan, you okay up there?” Eric calls up to me, causing me to drop the bow over the edge of the cliff.

“Ye-Yeah!" I yell back down. "I’m okay!”

As I slowly make my way back down the cliff towards everyone, I notice that Eric is holding Archer’s bow, causing me to get a little scared that I’ll be yelled at for looting the dead.

“Ethan,” Eric says my name, and I jump a little. “Was you wanting Archer’s old bow?”

“Wait, aren't you mad that I was going to loot his body?” I ask shocked and confused.

“No, why would we be?” Tamer and Eric exchange a look of confusion between themselves as James walks over.

“Ethan, looting the fallen is how you make money and survive. Plus it’s better if we use the high tier weapons and gear than goblins or other monsters,” James explains.

“Oh, okay,” I say in relief. “Well, I would like to learn how to use a bow, that way, I can fight from a distance, too.”

“I can teach you, if you’re interested?” Tamer suggest.

“Really?” I ask. "You know how to use a bow?"

“Yep, Tamer, Archer, and Assassin classes all have a ranged set of skills to go with the melee skills,” Tamer informs me, and I write the information into my notebook.

“Then please teach me how to wield a bow!” I exclaim happily

Tamer nods to me as James decides now would be the best time to head off to Estella.

Picking up the bow, I climb back up to Archer's body and take the quiver of arrows and other useful loot before making my way back down to the others, who are working out which way to go.

As soon as I reach them, James states that we’re taking the forest route, as it’ll be a little longer, but it’ll give Tamer longer to train me in archery before he heads back to his hometown.

After an exhausting two day trek through goblin-infested forests, we make it out of the forest.

In the distance, I see the enormous pitch black walls of Estella’s outer city, which is home to farms and hunting guilds. Behind those, however, is the inner city, which houses the houses and stores, and beyond those is the guild district and the royal palace, which is home to the royal family and all the guilds where adventurers can train and hone their skills. The guilds also offer housing to any adventurer hired by the crown.

“Ready, everyone?” Eric asks.

“Ready!” We all affirm.

Suddenly, we’re suddenly surrounded by about 20 guards, which order us to drop our weapons and to place our hands up. Looking around I notice Eric, Tamer, and James have done as they said, but the second I go to disarm my daggers I’m struck on the back of the head by a blunt object. As everything goes black, I make out Eric yelling.