Jascias sensed the many [Mercenaries] that were marching towards the manor. His [Path to Safety] had notified him that there is now a definite path of escape. He walked out of the closet and walked within the corridors of the second floor. He saw a dead body; one of the [Mercenaries], a boy around his sons age. He picked up the battered and bloodied helm, as well as the punctured gambeson. Although he was a [Spymaster], a leader of [Spies], he was a [Royal Spy] before that, so he knew the tricks of the trade aside from establishing an information network.

He cast [Repair] and [Mend] on the simple helmet and mend the holes on the gambeson and [Remove Stain] to make the blood disappear, wearing the helmet and pulling down the simple visor. The gambeson that was too tight for him suddenly was the right size. He picked up the axe on the ground, and his posture and demeanor changed, hunched and stout.

[I Became My Disguise]. One of his best Feat had transformed him into that person entirely. He is Gunthos Neouselo, a Half-Dwarf, born from his mother, Dorsel Neouselo. She was a [Prostitute] who died when he came of age. He stole a horse and an axe from the village of Megefoth and never looked back, gaining the [Rider] Role until he joined Hunters Hooves when Captain Ridi Gadihew took pity on him…

It also gave him the memories of the person that he was disguised as. He simply ran outside, as he ran from the fierce battle inside, along with a few [Mercenaries] that retreated. He jogged towards one of the dismounted [Riders] who had secured the area. Of course, he noticed him.

”Gunths! What is the paymasters fat ass is happening inside? ” The older [Mercenary] questioned.

”H-High level combatants… The captain might die. ” He reported. He technically told the truth, but he knew that it may prompt more men to head within the manor so that he has a chance to escape. Although that will give his friends more trouble, he knew that they can handle a few more men, and they were willing to risk their lives for his escape.

”What are your total Levels? ”

The older man held a truth stone in front of him. They were informed that their target might have a disguise-Feat, so they were making sure that no one is getting out of their perimeter.

”Level 8 [Mercenary], Level 7 [Rider]. ” He reported. The truth stone glowed green, deceived by his Feat. Temporarily, it gave him some Feats from who he disguised as.

”Company! Reinforce the boys and girls inside! ” His voice resounded throughout the rest of the [Mercenaries]. Since he was one of the officers, they followed his order, even if some of them hesitated for a bit because they were ordered to secure the area.

Jascias in disguise had used a Feat to send a vague clone of his disguise that ran towards the manor. Jascias ran towards the forest silently. He hunkered behind a thick tree and pulled out a vial from his [Pockets of Holding]. He gulped down a Potion of Room Temperature so that he will be invisible to heat-detection spells. The potion would regulate his body depending on the temperature of the environment. Unfortunately, he didn have something to hide his magical signature or Aura.

”[Bound Spell: Invisibility]. ” Then he disappeared into the forest. It was a Feat with a precast Spell, and one had to be lucky to obtain it, much less a high-tier Spell.

He did not traverse the forest in a straight line, rather he zigzagged from tree to tree to evade the sight-lines of [Scouts]. Many of his Feat allows him to make the most minimal amount of noise possible. He was not a [Assassin] nor an [Infiltrator], which have stealth-Feats better than what he had, but his level was sufficient enough to pass through the forest almost without a trace. Already, he snuck past armed men and women, marching towards the manor. He hid behind trees and bushes so that [Detect Life] and [Detect Magic] Spells would not pick him up and instead sense the mana and life-energy of the plants in front of him.

He pulled out a signal stone and tapped it. A simple magically-transmitted signal that informs his friends in the manor to run and hide.

Unknowingly, he made a mistake. Even the most powerful men and women fall because of one mistake.

[Mages] had made a line outside of the forest. They held strange staves as they sat on chairs: attached to staves of wood are discs of metal with etched rings and lattices that are overlapped by glyphs of [Discern Magic], [Detect Life], [Detect Sound], and other detection Spells. They had been doing that for hours, or what they call bells. These were staffs designed to pick up very subtle magical signatures, sounds, aura, and such that were otherwise blended within the environment, and they are required to remain standing on the ground, the bottom partially buried. Mainly, it detects the very faint signatures that a creature might emit even if dampened by Feat, hidden spells, or dungeons.

A rune at the back of the disc lit up dimly, indicating that they had detected an unusual magical signature, although faint. It might have been a bird flying through the forest, but the spyglass attuned with the staff that the [Mages] held had seen a [Signal] Spell flying through the forest, and they had seen the origin too. The [Mages] gestured to one of the [Mercenaries] on the post and tell the [Commander] or the [Marquis] that they saw the mana signature of a person casting a [Signal] spell north of their position.

A foreign [Marquis] had emerged from an enchanted tent, guarded by his [Knights]. The old man retained some of his youth because of alchemical tinctures that enable him to do so. His vermillion hair had resisted the inevitable greying of age, as well as made his wrinkles less prominent. Yet his eyes still bear the weight of dozens of experiences and failures, as well as determination and hatred.

They were in the inner part of the camp, where the [Mercenaries] wouldn be allowed in except for their [Commanders]. A tall red-skinned Satyr nevertheless strolled in, holding a javelin as tall as him, while his [Knights] hesitantly stopped him.

”The [Detection Mages] of yours had spotted a moving magical signature. Wanna do something about it? ” The Satyr stroked his beard, glaring at the Human noble.

”We insist that you address him properly as Marquis- ”

”Sod off. Fancy titles ain crap if you don have the bite from your bark. ” He shoved a female [Knight] in full plate, sending her a good five feet away before landing on her back. The other men and women of his bodyguard as well as his retainers were affronted by his rudeness.

”Typical Libertalian rudeness. Are you sure that you detected the target? ” The aged [Marquis] harrumphed. He knew that Libertalians in general don respect the concept of nobility and royalty because of their history, and they only respect actual power and influence. He heard that once, a [Mercenary General] in Libertalia sent a vulgar letter to a [King] that he didn like, in the form of a petty poem because he didn pay him enough in a war.

”Likely. Well, I didn swagger in your prissy encampment to report just that. Where is the other half of our payment? ” He jabbed his javelin lightly on his enchanted doublet, which is good enough to protect against unenchanted blades.

”Commander Atsaney. I assure you that your company will be paid in full after this task. ”

”Im just making sure that you would not double-cross us. If you do, we have you surrounded after all. ” Atsaneys company was also paid to supplement the protection around the encampment, as well as to help in the manhunt. The other hundred-strong Kelidens Elites and Heystead Hammers are combing the forest in search of him, as well as assailing the manor.

”Ill hunt em down, and tie him like a present as you wish. ”

Jascias saw that there are more [Mercenaries] within his vicinity, searching for him. He was still invisible, but he can only use [Bound Spell: Invisibility] only twice a day, and it last for an hour.

It is strange how close they are to his position. He suspected that sending that [Signal] Spell may have been detected by a specialized [Mage] or [Scout]-Class that is high-leveled enough to sense or see it. It would be less of a problem if he didn use up most of his Feat or have access to more magic items like in the past.

He was extremely careful not to brush any plants or bushes, nor step on branches, so he crawled on the ground, hiding behind bushes and boulders. No sudden movements. Still, this is too dangerous. Many patrols were converging towards the rough area of his position. There were overlapping lines of sight that if he stood up or even move a bit, they would detect him if he moved a branch or the leaves of the bushes, and so he stayed stationary. If he stayed longer in one place, it would increase the chances of him being spotted.

So he took a risk and ran for it before they could inevitably spot him, still invisible. Although they didn have [See Invsibility] Spells or similar Feat, they heard the crunch of branches and dried leaves. Immediately, they knew that he was somewhere around them, only invisible. Those who have enspelled wands or [Mages] had cast colored light-[Mist] Spells or detection spells so that they could see his movement. The [Mercenaries] chased the trail of smoke being parted. Jascias had activated his enchanted rings and other magic items on his person. He ran faster now with his Boots of Haste. He traversed the rough terrain with the help of his Belt of Dexterity, swinging from branches and hopping from stone to stone.

However, they still ceaselessly chased him. His [Dangersense] blared within his head. Something pierced and shattered the trunks of trees and he dodged. When the dust had settled, he saw a javelin, etched with runes.

Before he realized what the runes in the javelin are, he was frozen in place, or rather, he was confined in a small area akin to an invisible box. The magic items on his person stopped working, even his Feat. He is under an advanced Hex by the looks of it, but that requires a piece of himself to work; blood or a strand of hair. The [Mercenaries] had caught up to him. They secured a perimeter around him and sent someone away. After minutes, an entourage of [Knights] with blue, green, and orange surcoats had appeared before Jascias. They parted to make way for the [Marquis].

His dim yellow eyes stared at Jascias, holding a strand of Jascias hair and he tossed it away.

”This was a pain to procure, Royal Spymaster. ” The [Marquis] addressed Jascias former position with disdain.

”I see that you had trouble finding me, Duke Dusitoz Gaviolos. You can find a strand of hair, but you cant find a way to regain your dignity. ” Jascias mocked him by using his former rank before he got demoted.

”You disgraced me! I shouldve had the throne, you sea scum. Now tell us where the notebook is! ”

”You disgraced yourself. There would be no evil to be found if you did not do anything wrong after all. ” Jascias retorted.

”Waves drown you! Damn your wife too! Someday that boy-king and his throne will be mine. ” The former [Duke] gritted his teeth. ”Tell me where is that black book, before I will destroy your friends and your home with a Tier 5 Spell. ” His knuckled whitened.

”I haven been to the Princ-no, his Majestys coronation. Did you enjoy yourself there? ” He twisted a verbal knife into his already heated feelings. Of course, he had been in the dungeons at that time before he was released and demoted.

Dusitoz punched him in the cheek, making him kneel. Jascias faced him with his tongue out. On his tongue was a white thin pill. Instantly, the [Marquis] knew what kind of pill it is. He reached out, but it was too late.

”May the royal ship of Torregorn sail forevermore. ” He bit the pill that was made for people of his occupation; a fast-acting, painless poison designed to kill within a second or two upon bitten. The venom within the pill had immediately numbed his senses and spread throughout his veins.

Jascias body limped, and the hex had dissipated. He lay face-down on the damp grass.

”Decrees damn it. Didn the report say that he had two sons, right? ” The [Marquis] turned to one of his closest [Knights]. ”That means one of them has no- ”

A blade caressed his neck. The Commander of Atasaneys Prowlers had landed behind him and held him hostage with a sword. The [Knight]s blades are pointed towards him, while the [Mercenaries] surrounded the two dozen [Knights]. The atmosphere is tense, partly because of the Aura of the [Knights] aside from the [Commander] taking their client hostage. They were a dozen [Knights] against around forty or more [Mercenaries].

”Before you are thinking of another job, should you pay the other half of our salary first? ” Atasaney threatened.

”Ah, wretches! ” He cursed. ”Fine! Can you wait? ”

”Profit does not wait, and you shouldve paid it in full beforehand. You trying to rip us off, huh? ” He retorted.

The [Marquis] uttered a Feat and his small sack of gold coins appeared beside his foot. Atasaney lowered his blade and slung the sack of coins on his shoulder.

”Our jobs done! Drinks are on me lads! ” He announced.

The [Mercenaries] whooped and cheered. They started to walk after their [Commander], who is leaving the [Marquis] and their entourage behind.

”Wait- ”

Dusitoz was left speechless as they simply left after finishing the job, leaving no time for a renegotiation or offer for another job. Even with his persuasion-Feat, there is no way that they could convince them for another job, and he cant afford to lose even one of his [Knights]. Soon, they packed up their bags and chests, along with the rest of their supplies, leaving their camp behind with less men in charge of protecting the camp than before.

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