Chapter 16 – Subterfuge

After calling Sixxy off, I told Cindy that I’ll be back and went off after the mysterious lord.
Following Marcus Vilen, I entered the large town hall, placed in the middle of the Vilen Town.
These 3m high walls that surrounded the town hall, and 10m high “keep”, as I like to call it, never cease to amaze me.
Two stone watch towers with metallic roofs adjacent to this structure made it seem like a stronghold of its own.
All I could see was stone, and a few small windows.
This lord’s residence is really war-oriented… what could be so dangerous in this backwater town?

Normally, I would think that it’s cramped inside, but after my experience in the Mage Guild, I’m almost 100% sure, that whatever is going on in this town, is decided in the underground.

Whatever, no point wondering about something I have no knowledge of.

Walking through a 4m high double door, made out of what seemed like iron, I entered the supposed reception hall.
Moving straight past it to the right, I was led through a dimly lit corridor to the chambers in the far back.
I immediately sensed presence of at least 13 other people in the room.
When Marcus opened the door, I saw that there was only Ivir, no other presence whatsoever.
Stopping dead right in my tracks, I didn’t dare to move even an inch.

Icicle: *Sixxy, how many can you sense?*

Sixxy: *Hmm, hard to say, they’re pretty good. Around 20 I think.*

‘So there’s at least 8 I can’t even sense… great.’

Marcus Vilen: Why are you stopping? It’s right over there.

He was pointing towards the table, that stood in the back of the room.
Aside from the rich chandeliers made out of some kind of a white crystal I couldn’t recognize, many paintings adorned the walls, while carved statues decorated the floor, but that’s not all there was to this place.
There were swords and shields hanging on both sides of this spacious chamber, as if to emphasize the warrior heritage.
Rows of pillars supporting the ceiling were placed on the sides, making it look like a pathway to the large table.
I could see Ivir sitting at the far back, next to what I suspected was the lord’s seat.
What is she doing here?
She was present at the Mage Guild as well… weird.

The most disturbing thing was the presence of the 20 people, from which I could only sense 12. They were most likely assassins.

‘To think he would try to lure me into a trap. Shameless bastard.’

Icicle: Could you tell your people to vacate the room?

He replied with a straight face… this guy is definitely cut out for this role.
Lying straight to my face, tsk tsk.

Marcus Vilen: What are you talking about? It’s only me and my daughter, Ivir, here.

‘So she’s the daughter of the lord… this explains her conceited, condescending attitude.’

Icicle: You’ll either tell them to leave, or I’ll make them leave. Your call.

Marcus Vilen: *sigh* You have to understand, you didn’t hand over your weapons. They are here as precaution.

Icicle: It’s not that I didn’t give you my weapon, I simply can’t remove it. It’s unequippable. As for your measures, precaution that’s stealthed? Hmph. Make them come into view or I’m leaving.

Marcus Vilen: *sigh* Fine, show yourselves.

8 figures came into view, they were all rogues or assassins, I don’t have enough knowledge to tell.

Icicle: *Nyu, help me out here.*

Nyuva: *Why would I do that, you cheeky human?*

Let’s see… I should buy her something nice to eat, she has been in that dungeon for who knows how long.
Everybody loves sweets, let’s try bribing her a little.

Icicle *I’ll buy you lots of delicious things if you help me out.*

Nyuva: *Hmph, bribing me. You’re a really cheeky human. Fine, what is it that you need my help with?*

‘It actually worked…’

Icicle: *How many people are in this room? Especially stealthed.*

Nyuva: *You can’t even sense them? *sigh* There are 12 more, hidden in various corners of this chamber.*

For a while, I felt funny. This feeling made me realize where the previously hidden assassins were located.
I don’t know how Nyu did that, but she’s awesome.

Icicle: *Thank you, I’ll make sure to reward you appropriately.*

Nyuva: *You better do, human.*

Icicle: Are you sure it’s all of them?

Marcus Vilen: Yeah, there’s no one else.

Icicle: I see.Then you won’t mind if I kill everyone else present in this room, except your daughter and this eight people over there, right?

Marcus Vilen’s POV

I’m the lord of the Vilen Town. Recently, my daughter came to me, saying that some adventurer named Icicle humiliated her in front of everyone in the Mage Guild.
I heard all about it from her students as well, but there was nothing I could do.
She accepted the duel, underestimated this guy and he took advantage of it.
I could detain him without stating a reason, but messing with Mage Guild, especially Cindy’s Mage Guild is no joke.

I may be the lord, but I value my life. This girl is crazy. If I ever feared someone, it would be my mother and Cindy.
I decided to stay out of this, told my daughter there’s nothing I can do, at least for now.
Feeling really bitter about that, after all seeing my only daughter suffering like that made me ache as well, I was racking my brains in search for an answer.
Helplessness in the face of this situation only infuriated me further.
I vowed to take revenge on this Icicle guy, but I have to be careful and wait for the right moment…

I was perusing through my documents, when one of the guards hailed me.
He said that my daughter came to visit me.
I wasn’t really thrilled, I was busy after all, but I decided to make some time for her.

Ivir: Dad, this Icicle guy I told you about, he’s a criminal! And he’s walking around the town like it’s nothing!

Hearing this, I decided to intervene. This was the chance I was waiting for!
Asking the guards about his whereabouts, I learned that he’s currently in the Mage Guild.
I could apprehend him for killing people whether he’s from the Mage Guild or not, Cindy could do nothing to stop me now.

Walking towards the Mage Guild, I spotted a huge crowd gathered in front of the building.
Making my way through them, I saw what was happening inside.

Icicle was holding Piero, captain of the weakest division of the Warrior Guild. Seeing that the entire warrior squad was turned to stone, whether they were weak or not, he couldn’t have done it by himself.

Glaring daggers at Cindy, I asked her about this situation, but she denied everything.

‘Yeah right, like there’s someone else who can petrify people.’

I had to contain my anger, but when she said that there’s another being capable of doing that, present in the very reception hall I was standing in, I noticed the 3m Naga that was previously obscured by the warriors, that were turned to stone.

‘Where the hell did that thing come from? Why is it present inside my town?’

Realizing Cindy’s words, I felt my face distort into shock, which I made sure to hide quickly.

Icicle: Sixxy, showtime’s over, turn them back.

‘Hmph, This kid has too many aces up his sleeve.’

*sigh* He’s even a noble. And his rank seems to be higher than mine. Impossible!
I was appointed by the four kingdoms to rule over this place, even if he was crown prince from one of these kingdoms, there’s no way his dignity would be that much higher!
There has to be a catch to him. Even kings and emperors I’ve met didn’t have that kind of air around them.
Air of royalty isn’t something you can imitate though.
Just how did he do that?!

Calming myself down, I told him to follow me, while rebuking Piero on my way off.
I signaled few of my guards to let the assassins know that I’m coming.
This youngster is unpredictable, better be safe than sorry.

I led him to my chambers, where the death trap was laid for him.
Crossing the threshold I had a vicious grin on my face.
I didn’t hear this adventurer’s footsteps, so I turned around to see him stay still.

Gesturing him to come over to the table, located in the far back of the room, I glanced at Ivir, she seemed anxious.

‘Don’t you worry, my beloved daughter, your father will avenge you.’

Icicle: Could you tell your people to vacate the room?

What? How does he know that?!
Pretending that I don’t know anything, I tried reassuring him, but to no avail.

‘This sly bastard!’

Giving in, I decided to show 8 out of 20 assassins that I have prepared for this grand occasion.
This will do it, now he will definitely enter!

Icicle: I see.Then you won’t mind if I kill everyone else present in this room, except your daughter and these eight people over there, right?

He’s bluffing. There’s no way he can actually detect them. They are assassins of the highest level!

Marcus Vilen: Sure, go ahead.

How wrong I was…

Icicle: [Realm of frost].

Every corner of the room has frozen. Particles of snow and ice shards were moving through the entire area, as if a gust of wind propelled them.
Every stealthed assassin was frozen solid in a matter of 15 seconds.

Seeing them all fall down either from the ceiling, or from behind the pillars, I felt my heart quiver.
The eight assasins that showed themselves earlier raised their daggers, some even threw daggers and flasks with green and violet liquid at Icicle.
All to no avail. There was a strange barrier around him, bottles shattered and daggers bounced off, as if hitting a wall.

This evoked blizzard, that until now was quite mild, picked up the pace, becoming really harsh.
The group of 8 that raised their weapons was completely frozen, or rather enclosed in ice.
If they were alive or not, I had no idea.

I saw Ivir was shaking uncontrollably, as if remembering the events of the past.
I tried moving my hand to the hilt of the sword, but what happened next immediately prevented me from acting.

Icicle: Try moving your hand to the hilt of your sword and I’ll behead you.

Hearing him emphasize “behead”, I knew he wasn’t joking this time.
He was already a criminal, why would he stop now, just because some lord tried to kill him.
Who would think that such a youngster was actually capable of casting such a spell…

Icicle: Well then, now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk about this situation. I could disclose it to the public, and you would probably lose your status, someone else would be appointed as the lord of this place and then it’s the end of your story. However, I’m not so merciless. I’m actually quite pleasantly surprised, that you tried to take measures against me. It means that you valued me as an opponent, or should I say… adversary.

This kid is smarter than I thought. I hope he doesn’t demand too much.
I felt my voice trembling when I spoke up.

Marcus Vilen: S-So you’re n-not going to d-demand anything?

Icicle: I didn’t say that. I can guess what pushed you into such a reckless act, but every action has its consequences. I don’t want your riches or whatever you have to offer. All I want is supplies of various kind, like fruits, vegetables and cooked meat, including condiments and all sorts of dressings for 1000 days. Apart from that, the largest inventory bag you can manage to get me. All of that for tomorrow morning.

‘Is this really all he wants…?’

Marcus Vilen: T-That’s doable. I’ll have it p-prepared for tomorrow morning.

I saw him move in some kind of a triple dash, straight to Ivir.
He closed the distance in a matter of a second or two.
I was really afraid when he did that.
Looking her straight in the eyes, I heard what he uttered.

Icicle: You pathetic little girl. When someone as powerful as you wants to kill someone, he does it himself. Don’t ask your father to do the work for you. Can’t defeat me now? So what? Train until you can. If you can’t even do that, then just kill yourself, it will make it easier for all of us.

Huh? Is he trying to educate Ivir? That won’t work, she’s too pridefu…
I wish I could retract that. Her eyes started blazing, as if with fire.
I didn’t know she had it in her. That kind of a resolve isn’t something you can just casually acquire.
It’s taking shape when you choose the goal of your life, or if you’ve been humiliated so much, that your very core wants you to cleanse that shame, no matter the cost.
I don’t know which one of these it was, maybe a bit of both, but my daughter seemed to change.

I saw Icicle walk towards the exit, he stopped right before entering the dimly lit corridor.

Icicle: One more thing. Don’t use your assassins so recklessly. I guess they cost you a lot, because I couldn’t even sense some of them.

Marcus Vilen: Huh? Then how did you pinpoint their location so easily?!

Icicle: You’re not exactly in a position to ask questions now, are you?

Marcus Vilen: …

Icicle: Well then, I’m off. Make sure to prepare what I asked.

Marcus Vilen: Wait, I need to know one more thing.

Icicle: *sigh* What is it?

Marcus Vilen: What’s your rank?

Icicle: You’re asking about the title?

Marcus Vilen: Yes.

Icicle: It’s Ice Lord.

I was completely stunned. Seeing this youngster walking off into the corridor, I felt gratitude.
He was able to correct the ways of my daughter, now she’ll work hard to achieve what she wants.
It was something I was never able to do.
And this rank… I didn’t see or hear any kind of a sign that would indicate a lie. If he really is an Ice Lord, then no wonder he had that kind of aura.
All the assassins that were frozen up till now, were freed, regaining consciousness almost immediately.

Someone who’s even more influential than the emperor, huh…

Icicle’s POV

Leaving the town hall, I headed to the Mage Guild, after all I was interrupted during the talk with Cindy.
Moving through the crowd of people gathered in front of the town hall was difficult, fortunately they didn’t recognize me after I put my robe on.

Entering the Mage Guild, I saw many people gathered in front of Cindy’s desk.

Icicle: Are we having a party?

Cindy: Icicle, you came back. I was thinking of assembling a rescue team to get you out of the lord’s chambers, and you just waltz in here as if nothing happened!

‘Oww, that’s so sweet.’

Icicle: Thank you for caring. Well, to be honest, I had a little bout with lord’s men, but nothing serious happened. Anyways, about our talk earlier, what do I need to do to get that bag?

Cindy: You’re so… stubborn. *sigh* Sorry for calling you everyone, it seems that this little rascal made it out alive by himself.

I saw all kinds of mages answer in unison.

“Not a problem, guildmaster.”

Cindy: Back to the topic. The requirement for the bag you wanted, that is one of the hardest things to get our hands on, is that you are able to beat all of the teachers, but seeing you handle the warriors and that you’re alive, and kicking, after encoutering Marcus’s men, I assume you’re strong enough.

Icicle: Can you get it for tomorrow?

Cindy: I have one available right now, take it.

Icicle: Thank you, this will really come in handy.

Cindy: Are you leaving?

Icicle: Yeah, I want to see Vilenne first, do you know where she is?

Cindy: She took her new students to the mountains.

Icicle: …

Cindy: Don’t worry, she’s not as strict as she were with you.

Icicle: That’s… reassuring.

Cindy: Come on, don’t make such a sour face.

Icicle: Thanks for everything, guildmaster. I’ll make sure to visit you sometimes.

Her hand was ruffling my hair, as she said…

Cindy: Of course you will, otherwise I’ll hunt you down and bring you here myself.

Icicle: …

After saying my goodbyes, I was on my way to find Vilenne…

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 16 – Subterfuge

  1. wow he actually let those assassins live.. sigh what an idiot.. once someone tries to take your life and you can get nothing from then in return you kill them.. they are also killers so theyll kill others.. and they might even try again.. why take the risk.. what a retard

    Like

    • They are all clearly professionals, so are unlikely to go hunt him for ‘humiliating’ him. Instead they will spread word that he not only defeated them, he did it with ease and without a scratch.

      They may even be grateful that he took it easy on them, and be willing to work with him in future.

      If he had wiped them out any chance of good relations with them OR the duke would have ended immediately, for no real gain.

      Liked by 2 people

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