The Runesmith

Chapter 14 Problem resolving.

The two looked at each other. On one side stood a boy that wasn't even eleven years old, on the other side was a tall man with long chestnut brown hair. He had a bushy beard that didn't look like it was trimmed in months. His eyes were bloodshot as if he didn't get a good night's rest in quite some time.

"Wait, you're the one that the Baron send to keep watch over me,... he didn't order you to kill me, did he?"

The man furrowed his brows at what Roland had said, he straightened out a bit while snorting the throwing knife dancing between his fingers.

"So you knew... It doesn't matter, no one has to know... there are a lot of dangerous beasts in this forest."

Roland kept backing away while the man continued to approach. He was clearly going against his initial orders and wanted to kill him for some unknown reason.

"Are you sane? Do you really want to kill a nobles son? Even if I'm a bastard, I'm still a noble you will hang for this!"

There was a clear rule against killing nobles. If a commoner attempted such things they would be imprisoned and maybe even killed even if the noble was guilty of a crime. The nobles liked to keep to themselves and didn't like it if other people took the law into their own hands.

"Shut it you bastard, do you know how long I've been here... so much time spent just watching some ignorant brat! You were supposed to go crawling back within the week! Why do I have to babysit a little bastard like you, if you're dead I can finally go back! I'll never become a knight if I stay in a shit hole like this!"

Roland's eyes widened as he finally understood what this was all about. The man was hired by his father, he was probably a soldier from the army. He was ordered to keep an eye on Roland, probably to protect him if something happened. The problem was that no one expected the ten-year-old boy to last this long. He had no problems living in this town now, from this man's point of view the short temporary job became a full-time thing.

"That doesn't have anything to do with me, you can just quit, they could just hire someone else!"

Roland looked around while he was trying to find a good route of escape but the man was much faster so that was a big problem.

"Hah? Look at this little shit, you think I can just refuse a direct order from the commander? If I return without a good reason he will just send me right back or kick me out. On the other hand, if there is no reason for me to remain here anymore..."

The man grinned while licking his throwing knife. There was one thing that didn't make sense for Roland in that statement, why was he not afraid of getting made an example of if he let his target die.

"Wait, won't you get punished if I die? Weren't you hired to protect me?"

The man just laughed while moving closer.

"Protect you? Do you really think that man cares for you that much? No, I'm just here to keep them informed about your whereabouts, they never told me to protect you in any way, if you die well... some people would even be glad... but I've already said too much..."

Apparently his dear old dad didn't think he really needed any protection. This guy was only here to keep tabs on him and to exchange information. The big problem here was that this man had some high aspirations, he wanted to become a knight. This wasn't an easy endeavor though, you needed to achieve a lot of military merit for that but instead, he was stuck here not really doing anything worthwhile.

The last sentence that the man muttered echoed in his mind, did someone coax this man to do this. He made it sound like he knew who that person was. Maybe the man didn't go crazy after spending half a year in this small town, maybe there was more to this than meets the eye. It was also strange that the man wasn't afraid of hurting a noble's son, maybe he had someone backing him. Why anyone would want him dead was quite a surprise. He didn't think he had enough worth for someone to go out of his way for something like this.

You have taken 8 damage.

Roland moved his head to the side as the man threw his throwing knife. It grazed his cheek while slicing his flesh apart. The man charged forward, his hand going for his rapier. The pointy weapon's tip shone in orange light as he plunged it forward, luckily for Roland, there were many trees to duck behind.

The moment the tip of the heavy rapier was inserted into the tree, the area around the weapon's tip exploded. Splinters of wood shoot out into all directions while the man continued with his assault. Roland could only duck down and run, hiding behind large trees in hopes of getting away.

Dodging Skill level 2 reached.

'Goddammit, not now!'

One level in dodging wouldn't aid him too much and the sound of the system announcer was just distracting. He was sure that there was no reasoning with this person anymore, his only way out was to escape. He didn't have enough time to chant a spell as the man would use this chance to throw a knife at him or stab him with that enchanted weapon of his. It didn't look good for him at all.

He wasn't even sure where he was going anymore, he was busy with dodging everything. Thanks to his smaller build and nimbleness he was able to survive for now, but it was mostly thanks to the trees covering his escape. That is when the problem arose as he found himself in a clearing with no trees around and only green grass.

He bolted to the side, trying to get back into the forest and away from the wide-open space but before he could, he felt a sharp pain in his leg. He tumbled to the ground while groaning a throwing knife stuck in his calf.

You have taken 31 damage.

"Finally got you, nowhere to run now you little runt."

The man apparently had more of those throwing knives hidden in his robe. Roland looked at his leg and quickly yanked the blade out. The pain was intense but he was pumped so full of adrenaline that he could power through it. He tried standing up and running again but instead, he limped forward. He was now unable to make any reasonable space between himself and his enemy. In a last-ditch effort he decided to pull out his short sword while turning around, he got into his fighting stance and faced his opponent.

"Heh, well at least you have some backbone kid."

The man approached while grinning, his teeth shown off as he approached. Roland wasn't idle, he tried backing off while chanting a mana arrow spell, his own short sword raised in an attempt to block any incoming attacks.

The man was too fast though, he took a regular fencing stance and quickly plunged his sword forward. Before Roland could even react to defend himself with his sword he felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder. The man jumped back after his attack went through, blood leaking from the tip. The spell fizzled out even before the youth could utter more than one word.

You have taken 46 damage.

"You think a tier 1 can win against a tier 2? You never stood a chance brat, we live in different worlds."

Rolland was baffled by the display of speed, he wasn't able to react at all. He had thought that he was strong for a tier 1, never really having troubles against the goblins or the dungeon monsters all that much. Even though he was a mage, he at least thought that he could somewhat defend himself. Apparently, he was wrong in that claim.

There was a big difference between tier 1 and tier 2, mostly due to the fact that a tier 2 class received a multiplier to their stats. The moment they managed to get through the class up a 1.5 times multiplier would be added to all of their stats. They would go through a qualitative change that would increase their power by a big margin compared to the lower tier 1 classes.

"Don't think you can get away with this! Someone will find out the truth!"

The man stopped while pointing his rapier at the boy.

"The truth? You overestimate your worth brat, no one cares about you and those three adventurer girls?...I'll take care of them soon enough, he he. Adventurers get wiped out by monsters all the time."

The man was really chatty, he had spent a lot of time in seclusion and without anyone to talk to. He just had to reveal his big plan like a villain of the week. As always, such behavior proved to be the downfall of most of those types. The moment he ended his sentence and was about to plunge his rapier into the boy's chest, he noticed something.

He jumped back while an arrow whizzed past his eyes. Then, from another angle, a dagger came flying aiming at the spot where the man had dodged the initial arrow. The man bent his body at an awkward angle and managed to stop his momentum and evaded this one as well. He propelled himself backward while turning, his eyes going to the spots that these two attacks came from.

"Who is there!?"

It didn't take long for a small group of girls to appear, it was Roland's adventurer party that had came to his rescue. The first one to appear was the large muscular tank of the group, she charged at the rapier wielding man while holding onto her great hammer, ready to split his head. Slightly behind her was the wolf girl, she was half a step behind her party member one dagger in her hand while the one that she threw was picked up along the way.

"Roland, are you okay?"

Rebecca was the last one to arrive, she ran up to where Roland was limping along, blood was coming from his shoulder and leg wound.

"How did you know I was here? Never mind, be careful that man is a tier 2, probably some kind of fencer class!"

Roland shouted out so that Reyna and Sahildr could hear him. He was worried that they would get themselves killed against someone with superior stats.

"I'll explain later, let's take care of this guy first, can you fight?"

Roland nodded at Rebecca while limping a bit, he grabbed a recovery potion from the side and drank it fully. The rest was poured directly on the wounds. He cringed from the pain, his wounds sizzled slightly and started closing up. The potions were slow working and it would take some time for him to recover. His HP was now slowly going up while the potion did its thing.

"Y-yes, just let me chant my spell."

Rebecca nodded before nocking another arrow into her bow and firing it off at the man. Sahildr was about to get herself stabbed in the neck but luckily the arrow forced the enemy back.

"Damn! What are you three doing here? Why would you be here of all places?"

The man's face contorted in a malicious way as he glared at the two front line fighters that were circling around him. The large woman tried hitting him with the big hammer while swinging wide. Every time he tried countering due to Sahildr over swinging the wolf girl was there to pounce from a blindspot making the man dodge away. With the addition of Rebecca's arrows, the man was now having a difficult time.

"Us three, do we know this guy?"

Sahildr asked while glaring.

"I'll explain it later, just focus on the fight... be careful."

Roland shouted out from the back, Rebecca next to him as she was a bit apprehensive about leaving him alone.

"Even if it's three, a tier 1 is still a tier 1!"

The man raised his rapier up while standing straight, Sahildr and Reyna moved in, the larger one moving from the front while the smaller attempted a backstab. Suddenly the man's feet started glowing in a green light before any of the two could deliver a blow his whole body blurred.

"Gale step!"

The two hit nothing but air while the man used some kind of movement skill. His movements became hard to read and his speed increased tremendously. He appeared behind the wolf girl that had tried stabbing him in the back, form his point of view someone like her was the first one that needed to go.


He plunged his saber forward, aiming directly at her heart, the tip of his thrusting sword's tip glowed in an orange light while on a collision course with the girl's chest. Reyna could only slightly turn around in an attempt to parry with her dagger, but she was far to slow to react in time. Before the attack could fully go through though, a semi-transparent bubble of mana appeared around the wolf girl's body and it took the brunt of the attack.

"Mana Shield!"

Roland shouted out while trying not to mess up his magic chant. He poured more mana than usual into this shield to make it extra hard to penetrate. Even with that, it wasn't able to fully negate the fencer's attack. His thrusting sword bent slightly but then nonetheless managed to pierce through the magic shield. Thankfully this was enough time for Reyna to react, she parried the thrust making it move slightly sideways while she herself jumped to the other side. In the end, she still ended up with a bloodied grazing wound to her shoulder.

Sahildr was quick to aid her comrade in arms and tried to use her hammer on the fast enemy. Unfortunately, her slow swings were proving to be ineffective against someone much faster than herself. Luckily she wasn't alone in her struggle, even though injured Reyna threw her dagger forward, the man dodged like last time but had to activate his skill yet again just to get out of there.

"Blasted wenches!"

Even though the fencer hadn't received a hit yet, he was looking pale. Physical classes used stamina along with mana to activate their class skills, this meant that if they weren't careful they would tire easily. Tier 2 physical classes were able to use some powerful active skills but the cost to their stamina was high. This was also why the fencer was slowly getting tired, losing his speed that was his biggest advantage in this fight.

"Mana arrow!"

A shining blue arrow of mana flew directly towards the man's face and as he was dodging it a regular arrow approached him from another angle. He activated his skill once more while dodging this double ranged assault but only to be greeted by a shoulder tackle from the side by the large muscular lady tank of the group.

"Not so fast anymore, huh? You are pretty weak for a Tier 2, probably just went through your advancement!"

Sahildr snorted at the enemy who had misused his skills. Normally a seasoned tier 2 warrior should be able to defeat tier 1 classes. The problem was that the three young women were already well into their second-tier 1 classes. They were also used to fighting with each other in a group so they knew how to cover each other's weaknesses.

With the addition of a mage that could spam his spells for quite some time, he had met his match. The man had used up most of his mana while using his enchanted weapon, combined with no more stamina and he was on the defensive.

"Mana Arrow!" "Mana Bolt!"

Roland had mana to spare so he continued to cast his attack spells at this enemy, Rebecca that was next to him kept shooting till all of her arrows were gone. The two girls on the front line continued fighting while making sure not to let the dangerous close-range fighter approach their party members.

The tide of the battle had turned, one of Roland's mana arrows finally managed to lodge itself into the man's thigh taking away his biggest strength, which was his agility. He started cursing at the party of three girls and the boy. He was apprehensive about this loss and unwilling to accept it. In the moment of weakness, he finally fell, to the large hammer that descended on his head.

The strike combined with the impact rune caused the man's head to explode into many tiny chunks. The party could finally sigh out in relief as they had managed to bring down this tier 2 fencer. They had suffered some injuries here and there but besides Roland's the wounds weren't that bad.

You have gained 479 experience

"Finally the bastard is dead, I need a drink!"

The large lady proclaimed while having trouble holding her large weapon. She along with Reyna had used up all of their stamina in this fight but it was worth it in the end. Rebecca was sure to help patch up her party members, the low-grade healing potions weren't all that great so some required bandaging.

"Hey Roland, what was that all about. That guy seemed to know us?"

Rebecca asked while they all gathered over by the man's dead body. Reyna was looking at it with a vacant expression and poking it with her foot but she soon turned to face the boy probably also curious about the man's real identity. Roland just gave out a sigh while limping some, he sat down on the grass before speaking out.

"I think I should probably tell you the truth... the thing is..."

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