[FANFIC]Book of Heroes - Rise of the Shadow Walker

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Re: [FANFIC]Book of Heroes - Rise of the Shadow Walker

Postby Zero300 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:13 pm

Chapter 17 - Internal Affairs

Once John left the Training Hall, he immediately headed towards Majerio's Shop. He needed to buy the remaining Tier Two equipment before coming back to receive training from Daedalus. As for the Sigils, he remembered that the Squire's Sigil cost exactly three hundred Squire's Valor. As for the number of Valor he has, it was only a little more than a fourth of that total. Because he couldn't join any guilds at the moment, given his lack of reputation and useful connections, John decided to earn his Valor through persistently attending raids that sprung up around the village.

DRDRIIINNGGGG!

The store's bell rang out as John entered the building. He was greeted by the usual, cheery voice of the store's owner. Upon seeing who it was that had entered his shop, Majerio beamed with pride as he reminded John the efficacy of his explosives.

"Haha, okay, okay. Majerio, I know how good your explosives are. I was there to experience it firsthand, remember?" John bantered as he patted Majerio's shoulder.

"That's true, that's true. So, what are you here for today? Hmm, judging from your level, you might qualify for Tier Three equipment."

"Tier Three?" John grimaced and shook his head. "No, I don't have enough money for that luxury. I'm here to buy the rest of the Tier Two items."

"The rest, eh? It seems like you're missing the Tier Two weapons and the cape."

"That's right."

"Alright! Wait a moment, please."

Majerio motioned for John to have a seat before he rushed into his storage room to bring out the three pieces of equipment. While John waited for the shopkeeper to rummage around for the items, the curious young man observed the displays in the store. A glimmer of brightness refracting through a glass panel captured his attention. John stood up from his seat and approached the glass panel. A smidgen of surprise emerged from his eyes as he peered at the source of the glimmer. It was jewelry...row upon row of necklaces and rings. Now, why does an equipment store sell the type of fancy-looking jewelry worn by women? But then again, it did make some sense given that Majerio's little store was the only one in this village. The women here could buy their jewelry from other places, but the cost of importation was nearly double the price - too expensive for an average villager's salary.

As John continued to look at the accessories, Majerio appeared before him with the items. "Here they are, sir. One Tier Two offhand weapon, one Tier Two main weapon, and one Tier Two Acolyte Cape. That'll be a grand total of 3,918 pieces of silver."

When John heard the price of the three items, he could not help but suck in a gulp of cold air. Expensive! Too expensive! This was nearly eighty percent of his accumulated savings since his last expenditure! As John continued to dwell over the money issue, a voice interrupted his thoughts.

"So? Do you still want them or not?"

"Want! Definitely want."

John reached into his bag and pulled out a large sack. He rummaged through the straw sack and pulled out ten small bags. Just when Majerio was about to comment that those ten small bags did not look to have even half the required amount, John stuffed them into his backpack. With a wry grin, the young Shadow Walker pointed at the straw sack, indicating that it was the payment. A rare merchant's glint flashed through Majerio's eyes as he opened up the sack and peered inside. There were thirty-nine small bags, each with exactly 100 pieces of silver. By the small bags, there were also eighteen pieces of silver, thus giving the grand total of 3,918 silver coins...no more, no less.

"Is it the right amount?" John asked as he reached over for his newly bought equipment.

"Yes...just enough."

"Good. Let me borrow your changing booth."

"Sure, right away sir. This way, please."

John followed the small shopkeeper towards a changing booth. Upon arriving at the first booth, the store owner pushed aside the curtains to reveal a small room with nothing but a chair and a long mirror.

"Here it is. Call me when you're done."

"Alright."

As soon as Majerio left, John closed the curtains and checked his purchases. First, he lifted up the offhand weapon. It was a long, curved dagger - a dirk made of polished steel. The damage it could do surpassed that of a Tier One by 50%, dealing a range of 10-13 damage. As for the main weapon, it was a long single-edged sword that could be passed off as a saber as well. This weapon was commonly known as a falchion. As John gazed at the powerful weapon, he could not help but feel a certain familiarity towards it. It seemed like he had used something similar a long time ago. What was it called? M-M-Mahet? Makete? Masite? John scratched his head furiously as he tried to remember, but his blurry mind could not seem to recall. The young Shadow Walker shrugged in dismissal. Maybe it would come back to him some other time. For now, he should continue checking the sword.

As expected! This falchion was indeed worthy of its tier. The status of the sword described it to be a sturdy weapon with a damage range of 35-43 points. Nodding with satisfaction, thoughts of his decreasing wealth soon left his mind. He resheathed the weapon and placed it on the chair next to the dirk. Next, John picked up the blue cloth cape and shook it a couple of times. He watched as the cape gently unfurled itself, displaying its lengthy splendor. John draped the cape over his shoulders and spun around to see.

While John looked at his reflection, he couldn't help but absentmindedly mutter, "Looks good...kinda like a superhero. But I still can't see the use of it in battle."

After swirling around a couple of more times, John took off the cape and wrapped it up before placing it back in his knapsack. Then, he grabbed his new weapons and headed out the booth. He called out to Majerio, notifying the storekeeper that he was done, and walked towards the counter.

"Satisfied with your purchase?" Majerio smiled as he cleaned some display items.

"It's alright."

"Anything else you need?"

"Yes, I would like to sell my Tier One weapons."

"Okay, hand them over and I'll check their quality."

"Check...their quality? What do you mean by that?"

"Haha, you've used those weapons for quite a long time. They're bound to lose some of their durability and quality. After I finish checking how much damage you've done to the weapons, then I'll calculate a fair price."

"Oh."

"What? Did you expect me to buy them back at their original price?"

"Ah, no...."

Majerio laughed once again before turning his focus on the weapons. After a quick once-over followed by a few light knocks and taps, the storekeeper concluded his inspection. "Some damage to the blades. Nicks and cracks along the edges. Severe rusting at both the handle and blade. Overall, that'll be 34 pieces of silver for the sword and 17 silver for the dagger."

"What? C-Couldn't you give me a little more?"

"A little more? You should understand just by looking at your weapons. Look at those cracks - they're almost split to the core. I could probably break them in half if I applied a bit of force."

John wanted to refute some more but after looking at his old weapons and hearing Majerio's reasonable words, he could not help but sigh in agreement. John grabbed the small bag of 51 silver coins and pocketed it.

"Anything else?" Majerio questioned again.

"No, that'll be all."

"Okay, then. Have a nice day."

"Thanks. You too."

..........

"W-What brings you here, good sirs?" A middle-aged man with thick burly arms asked as he bowed towards the group of patrol guards standing before him.

The leader of the guards, a man of tall stature with a scar across his right eye, grunted with displeasure and growled, "We received word of a suspicious individual loitering around your premises. Is there such a thing?"

"Suspicious person? N-No! You must be mistaken!"

"No? I must be mistaken? How dare you act so arrogant! Men! Search!" As soon as the leader of the guards roared out his command, the four guards under him barged into the forge and began ransacking the place.

"Wait! Good sirs, there must be a misunderstanding. Please!" The smithy grabbed a hold of the leader's arm and begged incessantly.

The leader humphed and flung his arm out, easily sending the large man flying. He pulled out his sword and slashed at the struggling smithy. "Men! Search! Don't leave anything behind!"

..........

John was heading towards the Training Hall after he had bought the rest of the Tier Two equipment. He was testing out his Basic Falchion, swinging it around and trying to get a good feel of the weapon. Suddenly, his sharp nose picked up a vague scent of rust. No...it was not rust...it was blood! Now, usually, this could just be from a recently killed livestock or hunted prey. But with the battles that had taken place these past few weeks, he could not be too sure of such things. Not to mention, the smell was coming from the northeast whereas the hunting usually took place in the south. John rushed towards the smell, hoping that his gut feeling was wrong. As he neared, the smell grew stronger. In addition, sounds of clanging metal could be heard as well.

"Not good! This path leads to the forge. Something must be wrong!" John's eyes narrowed as he recalled about the latest issue with bandits.

The young Shadow Walker picked up his pace and charged through the muddy road. Upon arriving at the Smithy's Forge, he could not help but gasp in horror. There, on the ground in a dark staining pool of red, laid a motionless middle-aged man. It was the smithy! John rushed to the smithy's side and checked for his breath.

"Good, he's still breathing." The young man muttered as he checked the smithy's pulse as well. "His pulse is weak. He won't last long."

The Shadow Walker reached into his bag and pulled out a small bottle of healing. He tried to feed it to the unconscious man, but the blood-red liquid would not flow down the smithy's throat. John racked his brains around for a solution and suddenly thought of something. If people could heal just by drinking a healing potion...then, shouldn't they also be able to heal by pouring the potion directly on their wounds? With that thought in mind, John decided to test fate and tried his luck. He gently dribbled a few drops of the healing potion onto the smithy's gaping laceration and waited for any signs of change.

And signs there were. Almost immediately, the effects were apparent. The laceration closed up quickly, leaving only a faint scar. Any other bruises on the smithy's body cleared up as well. Seconds later, the middle-aged man woke up.

John helped the smithy stand up. "Are you okay?"

"Ah...it's you again. Young warrior, please help me! The baron's patrol guards are ransacking my place!" The smithy pleaded after shaking away his haziness.

"Patrol guards?"

"Yea. There were five of them. One guy had a scar on his face and seemed to be the leader of the group. There were three other guards...oh, and also an archer. They were talking about seeing someone suspicious near my forge and insisted on searching the place."

"Patrol guards...are you sure they're the guards of the baron, Lord Vander?" John asked in wonder. How was that possible? Patrol guards usually traveled in groups of ten not five. Not to mention, none of them would carry a bow. Only gate guards had bowmen in their ranks. Something was clearly not right.

"Y-Yes...is something wrong?"

"I don't know. I'll have to check. You stay here, while I take a look inside. Don't...under any circumstances, do not come in! You hear?"

"I-I understand."

Once he heard the smithy's affirmation, John barged into the forge with a mighty kick. As soon as he entered, he came face to face with a man. The man had spun around in surprise upon hearing the noise. The two stared at each other for a few seconds, unknowing on what to do. John saw that the clothes the man wore were indeed that of the patrol guards. However, upon closer inspection, he was able to detect a few discrepancies. The armor had slash marks and there were even fresh blood splatters near the openings. In addition, the uniform was clearly a size smaller than the man. Not to mention, John could clearly see the status bar hovering over the man's head. The young Shadow Walker took the initiative and attacked first. He unsheathed his falchion and lunged forward with a powerful Piercing Strike. The sudden attack caught the Level 5 Bandit off guard, but because he could be considered a veteran in fights, the bandit tumbled back and avoided the fatal blow.

The bandit scrambled to his feet and clutched his side in expressed agony. John's Piercing Strike, though missed the fatality, had penetrated through the bandit and drew blood. The bandit grunted and threw down a smoke bomb. With literally a puff of smoke, the Level 5 Bandit disappeared from sight. And a good thing it was for John when he landed that first strike. Though the bandit had disappeared from sight, he was unable to disappear from smell nor was he able to vanish his dripping blood from view. With a sniff and a quick glance around the room, John was able to identify the location of the vanished bandit.

Unleashing a fierce vertical slash, the young Shadow Walker dismembered one of the bandit's arms. The bandit roared with pain, causing enough commotion to draw in another bandit. John rushed in for the kill with a swipe from his dirk. However, right at the moment of contact, a stinging pain erupted from his chest that caused his hand to falter and eventually miss the beheading. Even so, the young man was able to slit the bastard's throat. As the bandit bled out, John thrust in his falchion and ended the bandit's misery.

John had only enough time to take the bandit's money pouch before another bandit walked in to find out what all the ruckus was about. This man clearly matched the smithy's description of the leader - scar across his right eye with a sword in his hand.

"Ho...a Level 5 Bandit Swordsman." John spoke his mind.

As soon as he heard the Shadow Walker's words, the bandit raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Oh? To actually see my level. You must be an adventurer. And not a rookie at that. Too bad you're wounded. Come! I've just gotten a new sword and I haven't had the chance to test it out yet."

"What a coincidence! I got a new sword too!"

"Hmph! You want to test it out on me? IN...YOUR...DREAMS!"

The Bandit Swordsman roared and unleashed a horizontal sweep at John's neck. Instead of backing away, the young Shadow Walker risked it all and dove forward. With a solid Piercing Strike, John glanced the incoming sword off path and pierced his sword into the bandit's stomach. The bandit grunted in agony. He grabbed onto the falchion, preventing John from pulling out, and forcefully swung his sword down. However, the young Shadow Walker quickly let go of his weapon and rolled out of danger's way.

Because the bandit did not expect his attack to miss, the momentum of the swing stumbled him off balance. As he fell back, John rushed in with a stab that could make any assassin blush with embarrassment. Before the Bandit Swordsman could react, the young adventurer leaped back and sent a stunning kick at the bandit. While the bandit saw stars and dancing kittens, John pulled out his sword and stabbed it into the bandit's heart, ending his life instantly. Soon after the kill, John edged towards the entrance of the forging room - one hand on his sword and the other pocketing the money bag he swiped from the dead bandit.

He approached near the doorway and, using the reflection of his sword, surveyed the inside of the room. There were two bandits, but no sight of the bowman anywhere. It seemed like the bowman must have walked out through the backdoor to act as a lookout or something. He had to finish this battle quickly before the bowman could be notified. John withdrew his sword and crept past the entrance.

CRRAAASSSHH!! CLANK! CLANK! CLAAAANNNNKKK!

Fuck! That was the word John could not help but scream deep in his heart. Right at the critical moment, his shit luck had to come barreling away in the form of a waste bucket. The loud commotion immediately notified the two bandits in the room. Without a second thought, they quickly vanished with a puff of smoke. John raised his sword up in high alert as he glanced around the room for any signs of the two enemies.

Suddenly, he heard a few faint squishes. He glanced down, and noticed footprints made with the spilled waste. There! The young adventurer thrust out his falchion, dealing his favorite signature move - Piercing Strike. Blood squirted out from his victim and sprayed all over him. Because the attack landed, it disrupted the bandit's stealth and the vanishing effects disappeared. The wounded bandit brought up his weapon and swiped upwards. However, the loss of strength due to blood loss caused the bandit's attack to fall short. John took this chance to quickly finish the enemy off with a slash-kick combo.

Without waiting to check whether or not the bandit was dead, John spun around to face the other bandit. Due to the blood spray, the second bandit's stealth was also interrupted. This bandit, though Level 4, was decisive. Just as John was turning around, the bandit had already made the decision to land the first hit. However, what he didn't expect was that the young Shadow Walker had already expected the first attack and had prepared for it beforehand.

John swung his dirk up and parried the incoming blade with enough force to knock it out of the bandit's hand. The shocked bandit, now unarmed, could only watch as the young adventurer unleashed another Piercing Strike. The bandit hopped back just at the moment of impact and hollered at the top of his lungs.

"Harold! Get in here! Help me out! There's an en-!"

Before the bandit could finish calling for reinforcements, John had reached over and slit the bandit's throat. As blood gushed out from the open wound, John stared into the dying man's eyes and grunted, "Too late."

The bandit's eyes rolled up as his life flashed before his eyes. He was a sculptor from a nearby village...and a rather well-known one at that. Life was satisfactory until he lost his job due to a slight mishap with a nobleman. He tried to regain his peaceful life by working as a farmer, but the taxes...the goddamn taxes! The taxes set by the baron had bankrupted him, causing him to lose everything. With nothing left, he decided to join the bandits. The bandit life treated him well. Money, booze, women...all for him to take. Recently, he had just captured a lovely young lass. Her voluptuous body mesmerized him the whole night. He could not wait to return and enjoy her some more. But then...the events flashing by stopped. Or rather, there were no more events to be shown...as if that was the end.

Realizing this, the bandit remarked. "Ah...it's the end."

John stared at the dead bandit and shook his head with a sigh. A life...hard to make, yet easy to destroy. What a pity...what a pity! The young adventurer knelt down beside the bandit and searched for some loot. Upon finding the money bag, his eyes glistened with excitement.

Suddenly, an arrow sped into the bag, pinning it into the ground some distance away. John looked up, startled, and saw the Bandit Bowman reload. Before, John gave the bandit time to aim at him, he dove behind the furnace. The Bandit Bowman aimed a shot at the furnace, warning John not to emerge from his spot. He edged closer to the side of the furnace. Once he approached the corner, he quickly sidestepped behind the furnace with his bow aimed for a kill.

But no one was there. John had disappeared! No! Rather, the young Shadow Walker had moved around the furnace at the same time the bandit sidestepped behind it. As the Bandit Bowman panicked, John dashed behind the bandit and ran his sword through. The bandit struggled helplessly for a minute or two before he stopped flailing about. The young adventurer kicked the body off his sword and proceeded to loot the other bandits.

As he searched through his kills, he heard a slight shuffling sound. John turned around and saw the Bandit Bowman. He wasn't dead yet! He still had enough strength to fire an arrow. The arrow sliced through the air, surprising John who was unable to dodge in time. The arrow punched into John, wounding him. Luckily, the hit had missed his vitals. John grabbed onto the arrow and pulled it out without a grunt. He ran towards the dying bandit and slammed the blackened arrow into the bandit's heart, killing him instantly.

John stood up with a sigh. With the last of the bandits killed, he could relax now. There were no worries for surprise attacks. A wave of dizziness washed over him and he leaned on the anvil for a while to catch his breath. The dizziness must have been a result of fatigue. Some rest would patch him up in no time. After regaining his senses, he quickly looted the corpses before heading out to talk with the smithy.

"How was it? Did you take care of the situation? I heard some crashes. Did the guards back off?" The smithy bombarded John with questions as he rushed towards the young adventurer with a worried look.

"Guards? Those were bandits in disguise. I've taken care of it. You may need to notify the real guards of the situation and to clear away the bodies." John replied as he patted the smithy's shoulder. "Don't worry. If the guards ask, just tell them it was I, John, who did it. They can find me through Daedalus."

"Bandits!? How did they get past the patrol guards?"

"Didn't you see their disguise? It's obvious they ki-"

Before John could finish his sentence, another wave of dizziness crashed into him, sending him spiraling into a world of black. The smithy caught the collapsing young man. A look of alarm fell on his face as he tried to shake the Shadow Walker awake. All John could hear was the faint, incomprehensible sounds of the smithy as he drifted into the darkness.
Zero300
 
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