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Jason ruthlessly squashed his inhibitions and teleported behind Mr. Ben. He whipped his long arm forward and drove the stone spike into the man’s back where Henry showed him to aim earlier, angling it up to reach the heart. Mr. Ben stiffened as the guards all stared, blinking in total shock.
Jason reached into Ben’s clothes where he saw the man put his bronze knife and retrieved it. Then he calmly drew it across Ben’s throat. His cut was so deep he almost hit the man’s spine and a fine spray of arterial blood splattered the across the fire mage guards. Then Jason savagely pulled the stone spike out of Ben’s back and teleported again.
Every movement Jason made was methodical, his magic giving him inhuman precision. He’d already killed Mr. Ben and the first fire mage guard by the time the rest of the criminals processed they were under attack.
The second fire mage guard managed to get his hand in front of his throat, but he couldn’t block the stone spike Jason slammed into his back. Luckily for the mage, Jason’s aim was off and the guard snarled as he tried to twist and counter attack. In slow motion, Jason saw the man try aiming his palm at Jason’s face. He chopped the hand away just in time; the man released a fireball that partially hit one of the spear wielding guards before setting the wall on fire underneath a small, lighted candle sconce.
Jason absentmindedly remembered the man’s name was Nead as he savagely, fluidly stabbed him twice more in the back with the stone spike and the bronze knife. There were two more guards alive, but one was on fire. He remembered this building was rather large, so with the noise and the fire they could expect company soon. He glanced into the cell and saw Henry had completed his transformation; it was time to get out of his friend’s way.
He teleported into Uluula and Bezzi-ibbi’s cell, turned around to see them, and was shocked right through his killer’s calm. Uluula was beautiful in an ethereal, alien way. Jason thought she looked like she was in her early 20’s. Her high cheekbones and upward slanting eyes with no epicanthic folds made her subtly, undeniably inhuman. Her pointed ears peeked out of shoulder length white hair. Her eyes were currently worried and her full lips pursed in uncertainty, but even that didn’t detract from her beauty.
Uluula’s clothes were very different from anything else Jason had seen worn on Ludus so far. She was wearing what looked like a jumpsuit made out of synthetic materials. Jason thought it kind of looked like a sci-fi body suit. Maybe it was a sci fi body suit. Either way it fit her short, petite body very well.
Jason shook his head, I don’t have time for this. He switched his perception of time back to normal; staring at Uluula in slow motion had not been helping him stay focused. He glanced at the Mo’hali boy and got his second surprise. The kid was squatting down, smiling, his large, feline ears perked forward and his sharp front teeth visible. Jason judged Bezzi-ibbi to be about 9 years old. He didn’t look scared at all, his eyes shined in the dim room and Jason could barely see spots on the outside of his face. He was dressed in what looked like a formal suit, but was now torn and dirty almost beyond recognition.
Uluula gasped when she noticed the blood-splattered Jason appear out of nowhere. Bezzi-ibbi on the other hand clapped his hands in glee and hissed in excitement.
Jason gruffly said, “Ulula, Bezzi-ibbi, get ready to leave.” His speech was punctuated by a crash and a scream from the hallway outside. Jason winced and resisted the urge to check on how Henry was doing. Part of the plan was that Henry would hold the hallway while Jason assessed the situation in the cell. “Are you restrained in any way?”
“No,” Uluula shook her head, “I can only use a bit of wind magic and I’m not sure about Bezzi-ibbi, he doesn’t talk much. We were apparently not too difficult to control.” Her eyes tightened in frustration, “Give me a bow, or a xxxxx, or better yet a xxxxx and I’d show these…” her voice trailed off and she looked away. Jason swallowed and tried not to stare. He didn’t understand all the words she was using, presumably they were in a different language but the accent and the attitude… how… hot.
He shook his head again to clear it and stammered, “Okay Bezzi, Lula, the door is going to come down at any moment. Stand clear of it, please. We are breaking out of here.”
“My name is Ulu—“
“Just be ready,” Jason coughed. He was 27 years old and in the middle of a fight. He had literally just killed people. How was this woman distracting him so much? He deliberately settled into the ruthless frame of mind he had earlier and teleported back to the hallway.
Henry was standing over a total of five corpses, his HEMA gambeson and sweats covered in gore and his arm blades slowly dripping blood. Jason wondered if he currently looked as horrible as his friend and figured he probably did. “They’re not restrained. We just need to get the door open.”
“Roger,” Henry stepped up to the door and sliced right through the thick wood in a demonstration of incredible power. He made one more cut then kicked the whole door down. Jason figured it would have been easier to just find the key on one of the corpses but shrugged. Whatever. Style choices.
Bezzi-ibbi squealed in joy and scampered out of the cell, examining Henry’s blades closely. Henry tried to shoo him away, but the boy either didn’t understand or didn’t care. He stuck to Henry’s side like glue in open-mouthed delight. Uluula paled and swallowed as she walked out and saw the carnage, but didn’t shy away. The woman had backbone. Jason coughed again and looked away, “Please don’t speak unless you have to. We will have to find the exit soon and Henry is listening to let us know if reinforcements are coming.” Uluula nodded.
Jason quickly stooped down and rifled through the clothing of the dead men on the floor. He took all the small, metal items or anything else that looked like it had value and stashed them in a sack made from torn clothing. He passed this to Henry who tied it to an equally rough looking sling fashioned from a dead man’s leather armor. Looting had been Henry’s idea and as long as they were quick, Jason didn’t see any reason to object. If they lived through this they would still need to eat, after all.
He had to admit it felt satisfying to get back their stolen money pouch too.
Jason replaced his stone spike with a bronze dagger, this one almost long enough to be called a short sword. He handed a dagger to Uluula and one to Henry along with both spears. Bezzi-ibi reached for a spear but Henry slapped his hand away and growled. The kid seemed to get the point, albeit with some sulking.
Henry suddenly held up a hand, “More are coming from this direction,” he pointed down the hallway.
“Okay, it’s time to move anyway, the fire is spreading. Let’s go this way,” Jason began moving down the hallway in the opposite direction of the approaching reinforcements. They needed to find an exit or an outside wall. Then maybe Henry could do his smashing thing again.
They traveled quickly, but suddenly Henry shouted, “There’s more…” The warning was too late. Four people had been lying in wait down a side hallway and attacked.
With blinding speed, Henry threw one of the short bronze spears clear through the first guard. Jason didn’t hesitate, he teleported next to another guard and whipped one arm forward with a knife, causing the man to block with his spear, startled, creating an opening. Jason slammed his other knife into the man’s lightly protected side. He teleported again as soon as he pulled his blade out, absentmindedly thinking about how all this short range teleporting used up surprisingly little magic.
The last two guards didn’t have much of a chance either. Jason appeared above one and ruthlessly stabbed both knives into the guard’s neck as he came crashing down. As soon as he pulled his knives free, he teleported to the side of the last one. The guard reacted quickly, but not quickly enough. As the guard swung a knife through the space Jason had been, he’d had already teleported to the man’s other side and stabbed him several times. Jason breathed heavily and bared his teeth. He’d kill them, he’d kill them all!
He eventually noticed nobody else was making any noise at all. He glanced up to see Henry staring at him with a strange expression. “Are you okay, buddy?” his friend asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Jason reined in his bloodlust with an effort of will and breathed deeply to calm himself. That’s when he noticed that two of the guards had been women. One was dead by his hand. He was a woman killer now too. Well, he made his choice. There was no use crying about it now.
He saw the little Mo’hali boy begin to happily rummage through the dead guards’ belongings, and Henry pulled him back. “No, we don’t have time for that anymore. Let’s get moving.” Bezzi-ibbi growled at him but hopped back to his side and was soon smiling again.
The building was huge. It seemed to be a warehouse that got converted into some sort of criminal hideout. They quickly realized they were in the middle of the building and Jason was glad that Henry hadn’t started (noisily) tearing down walls. The group hurried down another hallway when Henry warned them another group of guards was coming. This time there was a group coming from both directions. They had nowhere to go.
Henry and Jason both faced opposite directions, Uluula and Bezzi-ibbi between them. They didn’t have to wait long before the guards ran into view. Jason absentmindedly noticed most of them were female. He saw one of the leading guards from his side of the hallway raise her hand. Jason was about to attack when his entire group was bowled over by a powerful gust of wind. “Mage,” he snarled.
As he was getting back to his feet, he saw the guards start thundering towards them again and seriously wondered what the odds of surviving were. There were at least six guards on his side of the hallway including one mage. Jason still had no idea how to get out of the building or how many more guards would show up. Things were looking grim.
Suddenly, a huge explosion from the direction Jason’s group originally came from knocked everyone off their feet, this time including the guards. It felt like a huge hand was shaking the building. Another explosion went off after that, then another. Smoke shot down the hallway and Jason couldn’t see anything. He blindly reached out and caught someone’s hand, pulling them with him as he moved towards a doorway he saw earlier. He managed to get the door open, more explosions and screams echoing in the hallway behind him.
On his hands and knees, coughing, he saw trap door in the floor. A cellar! He opened the hatch and tumbled down the angled ladder, pulling the other person with him and landing in a heap. The smoke from the building above followed. Jason couldn’t stop coughing, he couldn’t see where the hatch was anymore. He had to get away from the smoke but he had to cut it off too. He groped up the ladder and managed to close the trap door, but the room was still full of smoke. He knew that they were still in great danger, even if the smoke didn’t kill them falling debris could.
He got low and walked forward slowly, blinking his stinging eyes and coughing as he tried to breathe. His plan was to walk until he found a wall and then get as low as possible. It wasn’t a good plan, but it was the best he could come up with at the moment. He knew he could teleport himself away, but he wouldn’t do that unless he absolutely had to. He wasn’t a hero like Henry, but even the new, murderous version of himself wouldn’t leave someone behind. He knew he wasn’t a good man, but he’d never stoop that low.
He kept walking, towing the other person with him and realized he wasn’t finding a wall. What’s more, they weren’t walking on hard packed earth anymore. The smoke was dissipating and it was starting to smell.
He realized he was in a sewer.
He glanced behind him and saw he was holding Uluula’s hand, her face covered in snot and tears and her hair in wild disarray. How the hell could she be so sexy even now? It just wasn’t fair. Jason needed a clear head and every time he looked at this girl his brain went stupid. He turned around and doggedly looked straight ahead again, pulling the coughing Uluula with him.
Jason kept walking, looking for a way out of the sewer. It seemed to take ages until he found a ladder leading up. He ascended the ladder and pushed off the access cover, finding himself in an alley. He reached down and helped Uluula up and walked to the nearest door. He didn’t know where he was and he smelled horrible, but he was so tired he didn’t care. The first door was locked so he stumbled on into a deep entryway in front of a second doorway. In the covered area in front of the door, there was a little pot, some bedding, and a few other things leading Jason to believe someone had been living here.
He shrugged, whoever lived here could get over it. He sat down in the shade and Uluula sat with him. He leaned back against the wall behind him and before long, he passed out with Uluula asleep on his shoulder, both of them snoring loudly.
Daymin liked his life. He had no rules, nobody to please, and he enjoyed where he lived. He liked his solitude. Where he slept was pretty safe too despite being outside and nobody usually bothered him. So he was shocked when he saw the two filthy people sleeping against the wall on top of his bed. How dare they! Then he caught a whiff of them and felt even more indignant. He was homeless, but he took pride in himself. These people were just nasty.
Daymin ambled off to find a city guard. He’d teach these folks to trespass in an honest man’s house, he would! Plus, it looked like the stinky people were covered in blood, and ol’ Daymin wanted nothing to do with that. No, not at all! Daymin whistled as he wandered around looking for a guard. Like most other problems in his life, this one would be over soon and he’d have his solitude back.