Episode 73 – Unexpected Air Traffic
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.
Unfortunately, that smile didn’t last for long. Because, a second later, a redheaded elibu girl landed in front of him.
To be honest, Dusk Rose noticed someone flying in his direction. However, he wasn’t alarmed by it for he was going towards the exit. It was only natural that people would go to and from the exit.
Although his mission report stated he should be wary of Elaru Wayvin, a potential Shadow, since she was an elibu, Dusk Rose, more or less, ignored air traffic. Elibu couldn’t use augmentation magic. Therefore they couldn’t fly.
Dusk Rose halted his steps. His expression still stayed friendly and dumb looking, albeit without a smile. However, he was vigilant, ready for anything. His mind enveloped Elaru Wayvin, closely monitoring her aura for any changes. Her aura was extremely dense. It was among the densest auras he had ever felt.
Experience told him that she was a person that shouldn’t be underestimated.
If her aura showed any signs of hostility or suspicion, he would act immediately to gain the upper hand.
As soon as the girl landed in front of him, her eyes looked at the unconscious argel slumped on Dusk’s shoulder. “Eh?? Kiel? What’s wrong?! Are you alright??” Surprise and worry could clearly be felt in her melodious voice.
When Kiel Rroda didn’t answer, her eyes moved away from him and settled on Dusk Rose. Dusk put his acting ability on full display and scratched his head sheepishly. “Uh? You two know each other?”
The redhead smiled softly and nodded. “Yeah. We are close friends. And you are?”
Kiel’s right arm was draped over Dusk’s shoulders, held in place by Dusk’s right hand. Momentarily, Dusk let go of Kiel’s hand and offered his hand to Elaru, smiling friendlily. “I am one of the examinees in his group. My name is…”
Although Dusk outwardly looked relaxed, he was closely monitoring the reaction of Elaru Wayvin. Would she figure out that something wasn’t quite right? Would she shake his hand?
Most people would have no chance of noticing the poison. People might be cautious of consuming drinks or inhaling strange smoke, but there was nothing suspicious in a handshake. In all his years of work, not one of his targets ever discovered One-Touch Knock-Out.
The only ones that had a chance of discovering it were those like him, who were well versed in poison.
This handshake was both a preemptive strike and a test. If she refused to shake his hand, that would mean that she was indeed a Shadow that he should be wary of. However, if she took it, the matter would be settled.
At that point, it wouldn’t matter whether she was a Shadow or not, she would succumb to the poison like everyone else.
Time seemed to slow down, Dusk could see her hand moving towards his in slow motion.
He could hear his heartbeat reverberating inside his head.
This moment would decide everything.
She shook it.
She shook it without hesitation.
Only then did Dusk’s time start running normally again.
“Elaru Wayvin.” She introduced herself. “So, what happened?”
Dusk Rose found it especially hard to conceal his glee. Considering the thick layer of poison he coated his hand in a few minutes prior, Dusk concluded that a good amount of it should have still remained on his hand. More than enough to deal with the redheaded beauty.
His mission had an optional objective. If he managed to capture Elaru Wayvin as well, that would bring him extra rewards. Since the time was tight, Dusk Rose intended to complete the main part of the mission first and then look for the redhead later. But since she so conveniently delivered herself right to him, Dusk was ecstatic.
Opposed to what he was actually feeling, Dusk’s face turned worried as he explained. “I don’t know. One second he was alright, and the next he suddenly lost his balance. He is burning up, so I think he caught a cold or something. I am bringing him to the infirmary. The healers should know what to do.”
Elaru Wayvin nodded. “Good thinking.” Then she smirked and pointed towards the direction Dusk just came from. “Unfortunately, you are going the wrong way. The infirmary is that way.”
Dusk’s heart skipped a beat.
Of course she would notice that he wasn’t going towards the infirmary!
Dusk froze only for an instant before his quick mind came up with an appropriate response.
He facepalmed himself and laughed awkwardly. “I’m so stupid! I totally forgot to ask where the infirmary was!”
Even as the words left his mouth, he lamented. No way would anyone believe such a flimsy excuse.
And things were going so well! Now she would become suspicious. Not to mention how troublesome it would be if she made a scene.
However, unlike what Dusk expected, Elaru’s aura showed no hostility or suspicion. In fact, she looked at him half understandingly and half comfortingly. “Don’t beat yourself up about it. I understand. If it were me, I’d hurry to help him too and totally forget that I don’t know my way around Muni.”
Seriously?!? Dusk stared at Elaru Wayvin wide-eyed for several seconds before he snapped back to his senses and put on a goofy smile. “Good thing I ran into you. Mind leading the way?”
“Of course not. Let’s take him to the infirmary together.” Elaru smiled brilliantly, making Dusk dazzled for a second even though he didn’t like girls. That split second of stun was enough for Elaru to step closer to Dusk and grab Kiel’s left arm. “Here. Let me help you out.”
Before Dusk could protest, she cast a sustained Acceleration spell on Kiel Rroda which nullified the effects of gravity, and made Kiel’s body float. Since his Mage Armor dissipated as soon as he turned unconscious, she didn’t have any trouble targeting him with her spells.
Dusk swallowed down the complaints and instead inspected Elaru Wayvin. It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to let her ‘carry’ him. Holding Kiel up impaired his movement. This way, Dusk would be faster to react to any changes in circumstances.
As he inspected Elaru, he noticed fine beads of sweat gathering on her forehead. And although it was hard to see because of her tanned skin, her cheeks were slightly red.
The signs of poisoning are appearing just in time.
“Thanks. I was getting tired.” Dusk let go of Kiel’s body and stretched his ‘sore’ shoulder. She’d be out cold in less than a minute and then he would bring both of them out of Muni.
Elaru Wayvin didn’t seem to be on her guard at all. She pulled Kiel by his arm and walked several steps in front of Dusk, turning her back on him as if she wasn’t at all worried about any potential attack.
It was a strange behavior for a Shadow. Shadows were usually very vigilant people. Turning their backs towards their enemies was asking to be killed.
Could it be that she isn’t a Shadow after all? Or is it that I did too good of a job in acting like an idiot, so she doesn’t see me as a potential threat?
Elaru’s steps were getting more unsteady by the second.
She wobbled left and right, bringing Kiel along with her.
Soon it started looking as if she wasn’t leading him by the arm but leaning on him.
Dusk hurried his steps and caught up to her to stand side by side. That way, he could inspect her facial expression.
Elaru’s eyes were slowly getting misty, and her breathing was becoming more and more labored.
“Is the cold contagious?” She murmured.
Dusk Rose shrugged. “I think it is. I hope I don’t catch it.”
Elaru sighed softly and rubbed her temples with a pained expression. As she was rubbing her temples, she seemed to notice something strange and sniffed her right hand.
Did she figure it out? Dusk’s heart skipped a beat. The only drawback of One-Touch Knock-Out was that it had a specific flowery scent.
No. Not likely.
To mask the scent, Dusk Rose mixed it with several nonpoisonous flowers, creating his own hand cream that had a different scent. Even people who were familiar with One-Touch Knock-Out wouldn’t be able to recognize it by scent. They would just think that his hands smelled of soap.
No matter. It is already too late.
Elaru Wayvin looked at Dusk with glazed eyes and murmured. “Such a pleasant scent. What hand cream are you using?”
Dusk almost stumbled in his step. If he wasn’t closely monitoring both her actions and her aura, which didn’t show any discrepancy, Dusk would have thought her to be teasing him.
She is either extremely gullible or a better actor than me!
And that said something, considering that Dusk Rose was a great actor. The only downside to his acting was that he was a rather emotional person. Since mana was in direct contact with his mind, his emotions passed onto it and showed in his aura. He had been trained in aura control, but he wasn’t very good at it. The basis of aura control lied in controlling one’s emotions. For one couldn’t directly control the emotions carried by mana.
Most people wouldn’t notice the subtle changes in his aura before he got his emotions under control, but there were plenty very perceptive people who were quite sensitive to auras. That’s why he was an assassin and not a spy. Assassins didn’t need to engage in social interactions. They went in, killed their target and went out.
There was little need for flawless aura control.
Dusk Rose chuckled awkwardly and replied. “Uh… it is a family recipe.”
Elaru Wayvin smiled slightly and started saying “What family…” but before she could finish she stumbled in her step and fell forwards.
Right on time. Dusk Rose reacted instantly and reached out to catch her. He pulled her into his chest and held her body in place by her waist.
Her head dropped down lifelessly onto his shoulder.
If an outsider were looking at this scene, he would think that the two of them were intimately embracing.
If it had been any other male in Dusk Rose’s place, he would have greatly enjoyed the sensation of soft flesh pressing against his chest. Especially because the redhead in his embrace was a peerless beauty.
Yet Dusk Rose didn’t enjoy it at all.
If he had to embrace someone, he’d rather embrace Kiel Rroda.
Alas, he couldn’t do that. If someone saw them, the tomorrow’s gossip column would peg Kiel Rroda as gay. And the low-key part of his mission would be an utter failure.
Although the redhead had fainted, her grip on Kiel’s arm didn’t lessen at all. Dusk Rose looked towards Kiel Rroda’s body which was unstably floating.
Spells wouldn’t break when the mage fainted, and thus Elaru’s sustained Acceleration was still active. However, since she was unconscious, she was no longer exercising control over it.
Dusk reached out to grab Kiel, intending to bring the two out of Muni asap. Being forced to embrace a girl left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Before Dusk’s hand reached Kiel, he felt a hot breath tickling his ear and his hand suddenly froze midair.
Dusk felt cold chills traveling down his spine. Not the good kind.
What caused the chills wasn’t the hot breath.
It was the husky whisper that followed.
“Etezza family recipe, right?”
Dusk’s head snapped back to look at his shoulder, where the head of Elaru Wayvin was supposed to be lying.
Simultaneously, his hand attempted to push her away from him.
The redheaded vixen wasn’t using his shoulder as a pillow like she was supposed to be doing.
She stared at him with a coy smirk, without any trace of a blush, sweat or any form of sickness.