Episode 72 – One-Touch Knock-Out

Previously:

While waiting to take his mana exam, Kiel feels sick and ends up falling unconscious. An unknown person is helping him towards the infirmary. The last thing Kiel does before falling unconscious is to call out to Elaru.

Venric Rroda put up a mission in the Shadow Lodge, requesting a Shadow to infiltrate Muni, capture Kiel Rroda and prevent him from taking the exam. Dusk Rose is forced to take the mission as he is one of the rare people capable of entering Muni – he is one of the examinees. Dusk Rose waited for Kiel in front of the classroom where Kiel was supposed to take his exam, however, Kiel arrived suddenly, in the nick of time and Dusk Rose had no time to act against him before they were ushered into the classroom.

Episode 72 – One-Touch Knock-Out

When the examiners finally asked who wanted to take the exam first, Dusk Rose noticed Kiel Rroda taking a step forward, and his heart skipped a beat.

I knew it! He intends to go first!!

Time seemed to slow down as Dusk Rose stealthily kicked the guy standing in front of him, making him stumble forwards a few steps.

The guy looked around himself in a daze, searching for the person who pushed him forward. Dusk Rose had already moved away from his previous position and looked as innocent as possible.

When the guy couldn’t find the culprit, he decided to go with the flow and take the exam. Only then did Dusk let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.

As soon as the examinees were ushered out of the room, Dusk Rose made his move.

He approached Kiel Rroda waiting for an opportunity to join the conversation on how that unfortunate sod was horrible for going first. If Dusk wasn’t concentrating fully on the job, he would have found it amusing.

No. Scratch that. He still found it amusing.

Even more so when he finally joined the conversation. Just like all of the fawning people around Kiel Rroda, Dusk spoke honeyed praises: “You’re a good guy. You don’t get agitated because of such small matters. I wish I could be more like you.”

Kiel Rroda turned towards him and smiled a radiant smile. Dusk’s heart couldn’t help but skip a beat. Goodness, gracious!

Dusk couldn’t help but lament that he was basically tasked with ensuring Kiel Rroda wouldn’t pass the entrance exams. Such a pity. This beautiful person was someone Dusk Rose would rather date than plot against. Alas, the fates were cruel, and now, he would never get the chance.

Dusk sighed internally, before clearing his thoughts and focusing on the task. Without giving Kiel Rroda the chance to respond to his flattering, Dusk offered him his hand. “I don’t think I’ve introduced myself before. I am…”

Dusk Rose gave a random, made up name, to go along with his current random, made up face.

Dusk closely watched Kiel Rroda who showed slight hesitation in taking his hand. Dusk’s heart skipped a beat, his hand in the air seemed to hang there for eternity. Will he take it? Did he figure it out?

Only a few seconds later did Kiel Rroda accept the handshake and nodded his head at Dusk.

Dusk Rose resisted letting out a breath of relief. However, a gleeful smile still bloomed on his face. He stepped back from his target, as to not rise any further suspicion.

From a few steps away, he watched Kiel Rroda in satisfaction.

One-third of his work was already done.

Mirth hid behind Dusk’s currently brown eyes as he counted the seconds.

  1. 2. 3. 5. 8.

Kiel Rroda’s white face was getting whiter by the minute.

  1. 15. 20.

Crystalline beads of sweat were starting to form on Kiel’s forehead.

  1. 25. 27.

Dusk could tell that the sounds were starting to hurt Kiel Rroda’s ears, for sometimes, when someone spoke loudly, he would slightly wince.

  1. 33. 35.

Kiel’s long black eyelashes started fluttering. Dusk felt his face heat up. For the love of… how can you still manage to look seductive in this situation?!

Finally, Kiel Rroda closed his eyes and rubbed his templates.

The people around him were talking about the exams. As soon as the topic changed to the practical exam, the smitten girls couldn’t help but ask what scenario Kiel Rroda had picked.

Everyone quieted down and perked up their ears to listen to his response.

The sudden silence seemed to alarm his target, for he opened his eyes to look at the people around him. His mind seemed to be still working somewhat, for he immediately realized that someone must have asked him something and the crowd was waiting for his answer.

Kiel Rroda smiled apologetically with a smile so beautiful anyone would instantly forgive all of his sins. “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch that. I feel… a bit under the weather today.”

His response was more than enough to spark another round of conversations. Everyone wanted to share their displeasure about the horrid weather.

Clever response. Dusk thought. He is diverting attention from himself onto a topic everyone has a strong opinion on.

When Kiel Rroda leaned against the railing, Dusk edged closer to him worried that he would accidentally fall off. That would cause a scene and make keeping a low profile more difficult.

Any second now. Dusk’s eyes narrowed. “Mate, are you alright? You are looking a bit pale.” He asked loudly, just at the right time, for almost immediately after that, Kiel Rroda’s balance slipped.

Dusk made a show out of catching him and holding him up. He was heavier than he looked. A testament that Kiel’s slim body was densely covered with muscles underneath his elegant black clothes.

Dusk put on a worried expression and touched Kiel Rroda’s forehead. “Oh no! You are burning up!”

Gasps followed as the girls started panicking and wondering whether he had a cold and what they should do about it.

Like an alpha male he was, Dusk Rose puffed up his chest and told everyone not to worry. “I think it is best if I take him to the infirmary. The healers will instantly figure out what is wrong and how to help him. You guys, tell the examiners that we went to the infirmary.”

Several girls offered to tag along, but as soon as Dusk reminded them that it might take a while and cause them to miss the exams, the volunteers evaporated into smoke.

The male examinees didn’t even try pretending that they were worried. They were obviously reveling in Kiel Rroda’s misfortune. No one even considered lending a hand.

It was hard to like a person who was better than them in every way. They might suck up to him, but internally, they would like nothing more than see him go down.

No one, male or female, would risk missing their exams for Kiel’s sake.

People were shallow creatures that always seek their own benefit.

Dusk Rose had never been more glad for this fact.

For this exact fact allowed him to take possession of Kiel Rroda’s slumped, semi-conscious self, without any resistance.

Dusk Rose pulled his target up and carried him down the stairs into the main hall of the Blue Quarters. As he patiently helped Kiel Rroda out of the building, many curiously glanced their way.

Dusk constantly sprouted words of encouragement and comfort towards the beautiful argel propped on his shoulder. However, his words were actually aimed at the passersby, to explain what was going on. That he was just taking him to the infirmary. That nothing big or interesting was in progress. It was so that they would lose interest and pay them no attention.

When Dusk finally passed through the door, entering the courtyard, he let out a soft breath of relief.

Unlike the main hall, the courtyard was desolate, almost completely empty of people. Because of the stormy weather most people preferred spending their time indoors, where they wouldn’t need to worry about the potential rain.

Dusk spread his mind all over the surroundings and looked left and right. The few people that were walking around paid him no attention.

Excellent!

Everything was going according to plan.

Back when he received the mission, Dusk Rose spent some time thinking of the optimal way to complete it.

Based on his own abilities, he could just use brute force and knock his target out easily. And then he could just turn invisible, conceal his tracks as best as he could, and quickly leave Muni.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t do that.

Firstly, the requirements of his mission stated that he needed to be “low-key”. An outright kidnapping of a noble would be a hot topic for gossip. The incident would surely appear in the tomorrow’s newspapers.

Therefore, since Kiel was surrounded by other examinees, he couldn’t just knock him out in front of them. But since another requirement of his mission was to stop Kiel Rroda from taking the exam, that meant that he needed to act now. Before Kiel Rroda could take the exam. He couldn’t wait for Kiel to go someplace without people around.

Consequently, Dusk Rose was forced to come up with a way to kidnap his target without anyone realizing that he was, in fact, kidnaping him.

If the mission had been taken by any other Shadow, this might have been difficult. But for him, whose Shadow nickname – Dusk Rose – was a rare rose species whose thorns contained a deadly poison, it was a minor task.

Dusk Rose, just like the plant of the same name, was poisonous. Or rather, he was a master in using poison.

True, most of his poisons were aimed at… killing people… not knocking them out. But that didn’t mean that he couldn’t do it.

In fact, the very first poison Dusk Rose learned to make, and the very first one he was forced to develop an immunity to, was a rare brew developed by the Etezza family that caused the victim to feel sick and muddle-headed, eventually making them lose consciousness.

Dusk Rose nicknamed it One-Touch Knock-Out, for it was used in a rather peculiar way. It was one of the rare poisons capable of seeping through the skin into the bloodstream.

Thus, Dusk Rose spread it over his palm. One handshake was all it took for his poison to reach its target.

One-Touch Knock-Out.

And the best thing about it was that poisons which could be applied through skin contact were rare so most people wouldn’t be wary of skin contact. Especially if it is skin on skin contact.

Several minutes passed in silence as Dusk Rose walked slowly towards the exit of Muni. He never stopped or showed signs of getting tired.

He did wish that he had the ability to Accelerate. That would make his speed much faster. Alas, he was an elibu and couldn’t use augmentation magic. All he could do was speed-walk. Cause running would attract too much unwanted attention.

Dusk could have turned the both of them invisible, then wrap his mind around them to conceal their aura. Although he couldn’t control Kiel’s mana, he could create a cocoon large enough so that everyone would only be able to sense a slight mana trail Kiel Rroda was leaving behind him.

The reason why he chose to play the role of a dumb examinee helping his peer, was because he was in Muni.

Muni was a mystical place which had a mysterious creature acting as its guardian. No one knew what kind of creature it was or what it could do. However, facts spoke for themselves: no one had ever managed to steal any Muni property, enter without authorization or mortally wound any of its residents.

Muni was one of the safest places in all of Halnea.

Dusk Rose didn’t know whether the protection of the guardian extended towards the examinees as well, but he would rather not risk it. If he could avoid drawing attention from the guardian, he would do so.

He figured that if he acted like a goody two shoes instead of a suspicious Shadow carrying an unconscious person, chances would be in his favor.

Therefore, after considering all his options, Dusk Rose concluded that it would be for the best if no one figured out that something fishy was going on. And thus, this flawless plan was born.

Now the only person Dusk Rose needed to be wary of was that other Shadow working for Kiel Rroda. Hopefully, he wouldn’t run into them.

Finally, after several minutes of speed walking, the main gate of Muni entered Dusk Rose’s line of sight.

Finally.

All he had to do was pass the gates, and Rroda men would be waiting for him on the other side, to pick up his… luggage.

He was now close enough to make a mad dash through the gate even if something went awry. This mission was as good as completed.

Still, Dusk Rose didn’t relax his vigilance in the slightest. The only thing he did relax, was his face, which bloomed with a satisfied smile.

Coming up in the next episode:

He offered his hand to Elaru and smiled friendlily. “I am one of the examinees in his group. My name is…”

Dusk Rose found it especially hard to conceal his glee when the redhead obediently shook his hand.

Seriously?!? Dusk stared at Elaru Wayvin wide-eyed for several seconds before he snapped back to his senses and put on a goofy smile.

Her eyes were getting misty and she was breathing hard. “Is cold contagious?” She murmured.

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