The first time I met him was at a small village in the
outskirts of Suju.
I heard about a man who is purchasing ancient documents at ridiculously high price regardless of it's value, so I started asking around for his whereabouts since I desperately needed the money. I met him within a few days. At that time, I didn’t have the any valuable documents nor the ability to determine the price of one, so I decided to steal a few documents that looked valuable from the library I recently began working at.
When asked his name, he just simply said ‘Durandal.’
He had a very unusual name and his appearance was that of an old person dressed in ragged clothing. There were many other things that made him looked strange but since the Great Metastasis, wierd or strange things have become more frequent. Besides the price of the book is more important to me.
“How about this? I think I can give you about this much for the 5 red books together.” He said "However, these blue books, you should put them back where you found them.”
Looks like a good start. These blue books were kept in a safe and I stole the key from my colleague while he was asleep . It was definitely worth it.
“No, no Sir. It took me 15 days to get here" I replied "There’s a reason why I’ve come all this way. Please take a look at it again.”
I exaggerated a little bit but I cannot take the books back any way. My heart was pounding from the curiosity of how much I could get from him.
“... These are extremely valuable. It would cost a tenfold of the price of the other books. I am not sure where you got these, but don't blame me for what happens afterwards,” he said.
I was elated to hear that and took the money right away . I was not concerned about the grim warning he gave me, I thought I finally caught a break. Well that break was definitely more than I bargained for.
“I... cannot run... anymore... father..”
My daughter and I was being chased by the pursuers hired by the empire.
I think it’s been a week since we hid in the forest and kept on running without looking back. It’s been so long since we had any decent food or rest.
I remembered the warning the buyer said to me but it’s too late now. Again, we heard the sounds of horses hoofs nearing.
The Imperial Knights seems to be very uncomfortable moving around the forest. The problem was the two men in masks they hired.
I've heard rumors about them, they are famous bounty hunters that have never once failed to complete their job. They either increase the people in custody or the dead in the morgue. People call them the Hounds.
By the time it was dawn, they have caught up to us. We were surrounded and had no chance of escape.
“The documents?”, demanded by one of the Hounds.
Maybe because of the mask but his voice filled the entire forest.
“I really needed money for my daughter. Please... don’t kill us..” I begged, my voice breaking in fear.
I thought of trying to talk my way out of it, but they drew out their knives and walked up to my daughter. I should have rushed in front of her to get between them but my feet wouldn't move, I was struck with fear. The eyes of my daughter was filled with terror as the Hounds prepared to kill her. I wanted to scream but couldn't, all I could do was cry in despair.
Just as everything was about to end. The man I sold the documents to, suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I thought I was hallucinating until I heard him say;
“This is why I warned you...”
Instantly he attacked the Knights that were surrounding us, swiftly taking them out. They never knew what hit them. The Hounds on the otherhand reacted quickly and countered. They threw their knives at Durandal and charged at him. I took this opportunity to gather whatever strenghth or courage that I have left and grabbed my daughter to safety.
I quickly turned around to see what was happening to the fight that was taking place.
The Hounds were pushing Durandal back with their thrown knives and combination attacks but suddenly Durandal swung his lance creating a very powerful wind pressure that deflected all the attacks coming towards him. In an instant, the tables were turned and Durandal stood victorious in the end.
“The Empire will not stop until they get what they want, I suggest you disappear and forget about your former lives" said Durandal.
I nodded in agreement without saying a word. He handed us a note with instructions on where to go and who to meet. He strictly advised us to follow the instructions, if we wanted to survive and assured us that if we get there, we will be with friends who are against the Empire.
I never saw Durandal after that but I swore, if I ever meet him again, I will repay him for saving our lives and giving us a future that is safe from the Empire.
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