Ch 42: Outmatched
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Author Note:

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Thanks to my patrons.

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I hastily prepare myself, taking my weapons out of the inventory and equipping them. 

Luckily, in these weeks I got used to sleeping with my armor on, because I wouldn't have time to equip it at this moment if I didn't have it already equipped. 

As I see them approaching, I feel like I'm a tiny rabbit facing a pair of wolves. 

They appear to be a man and a woman, light-haired and light-eyed, almost as light as the extreme pallor of their skin. 

But their presences are aberrant and intimidating. I am sure they are not people, they are too similar to Debi. But this time there are two of them… 

Every particle of my body asks me to flee, but I know it would be useless.

 If they could find me once they can easily do it again.

Besides, I don't like feeling like this, it reminds me of my encounter with the giant wolves a year ago. 

My mind rebels against the feeling of intimidation and I hastily concentrate on trying to synchronize my mind with Azur's to activate the spiritual fusion, at the same time I feel him do the same. 

It's a strange feeling, but after practicing for so many days we are used to it. 

When Azur's body dissolves into particles and his energy comes into my body, I feel the fear diminish and lose meaning. 

I am the predator, never the prey.

 With that thought, I rush towards the silhouettes and attack with my sword with a downward slash towards the shoulder of one of them. 

But the first of the silhouettes, a pale man with light hair and eyes stops my sword strike with his bare hand.

 He seems to suffer no damage, as he closes his hand around the blade of my weapon.

 Furious, I try to stab him in his abdomen with the dagger, but he stops it in the same way. 

However, the dagger seems to have some effect as I see a trickle of blood escaping from his left hand. 

Desperate as the pale man holds the blades of my weapons in his bare hands, I concentrate on setting both my weapons on fire at the same time. 

Stupefied I see that the fire burns the man's skin, but that it regenerates almost as it burns, disabling the damage of my weapons.

 At my gaze, the man smiles. 

"Easy there, boy. We come in peace" the man says, still smiling, while the woman stands silently aside. Ignoring the fact that her companion has been attacked. 

"As if I would believe that" I say, in the raspy, growling voice I possess during the spiritual fusion. 

"Well, if you have a modicum of brains you'll realize I'm right" he says, in a calm voice "if we wanted to kill you we would have done it with absurd ease by now. Look, there are two of us, and you can't even free your weapons from my grip." 

"How come you are so strong" I ask irritated, trying to free my weapons with all my strength. 

But it's useless. They seem to be being held by an immovable statue. No matter how much effort I make, the man doesn't move a millimeter from his position. 

"It's a question of age. It's normal for you to be confused, since you fought with Debi, our daughter, who was only 96 years old. We are quite a bit older. And with age comes strength... at least for us" says the woman with a soft, tender, and melodious voice that betrays her monstrous nature. 

As she speaks she slowly approaches me with her hands outstretched forward, as if to show me that she is not carrying a weapon. 

As if I don't know that they can create weapons out of nothing! 

Irritated, I launch a flare of fire from my mouth to try to keep the woman away.

 But I am interrupted almost instantly by the man who, forcing me to drop my weapons with a violent shake of his arms, kicks me to the ground face up. 

I try to get up, but he prevents me by placing a knee on my chest and grabbing my jaw with his right hand, while with his left he presses against my shoulder, immobilizing me. 

"Look kid, I'm being quite patient. But, if you keep attacking us, I'll knock you unconscious with a slap and we'll see if you're a little more reasonable when you wake up" says the man looking at me, with cold anger on his face. 

"Easy, Gideon" says the woman, in a relaxed voice despite having some of her hair on fire "he didn't do anything to me. You know he could never hurt me" and, as if to prove it, her silhouette seems to vibrate before my eyes, whereupon the fire goes out and her hair is immaculate. 

Seeing myself so absurdly outmatched, I stop trying to fight and try to relax my body. 

Even though it goes against my nature to let myself be overpowered, it would be stupid to try to fight when it seems my options are nil. 

For some reason, they seem to want to talk to me…

 It is better to wait to gather information and attack when I am more prepared. With this thought, I deactivate the spiritual fusion. 

"My name is Teresa" says the woman when she sees that I stop trying to fight "and as you heard a moment ago, my partner is called Gideon. We are, as we said, Debi's parents. But we have no intention of hurting you. We know what happened to a certain extent and we understand that you had no choice but to kill her."

"aha" I say dryly, at the same time standing up when Gideon allows me to. I stow the weapons in my inventory, it doesn't seem to make much difference whether I'm armed or not. 

"We want you to accompany us to our home because our father wants to meet you" Teresa says in a calm voice. 

"Aha" I say again tersely. Gideon seems to be annoyed by my short answers because he starts to frown more and more. That's fine… 

"Would you be so kind as to join us?" asks Teresa without altering her voice, ignoring her companion's expression. 

"Can I refuse?" I ask quizzically. 

"Not really" she replies, smiling an apologetic smile "but I'd rather you came of your own free will." 

"hmt, okay" I say because I can't think of what else to do at the moment. I'll see if during the trip I find some weakness that I can take advantage of…

"thank you" says the woman with a beaming smile, and she seems to be the picture of kindness personified. But I know what is hidden behind that veil of deceit. 

***

We travel south, but only during the night.

 At first, I thought I might be able to outrun them on Azur. But the beings seem to be able to keep up with him perfectly, and even surpass him in speed. 

Their energies seem to have no end, because they run without their speed changing at any time. Slowing down only from time to time to allow Azur and me to rest from the running, although they do not have the slightest sign of fatigue. 

At dawn, however, I watch in amazement as the beings seek to hide in the shade of a tree. Where they remain seated, motionless as statues with their eyes closed. 

I was not given much explanation before doing this, I was simply told to try to sleep or rest until nightfall. 

I don't know if the sun will be a weakness as such, but they certainly don't seem to like to move during the day… or, could it simply be an act by them to test me? 

I'm going to wait a few more days of observation to decide on what to do. 

Quite happy to have already found a possible advantage during our first few hours, I go to sleep leaving Azur on watch. 

It's not the most pleasant thing to try to sleep while I know I have two monsters like the one that killed Joseph nearby, but I suppose it will be worse if I let sleep sap my strength. 

After all, I'm going to need 100% of my abilities when I try to oppose them. 

Besides, if I am really cursed, maybe not staying alive is not such a bad idea... 

At this thought I feel Azur's anger, reproaching me. But I decide to ignore it and try to fall asleep.

 

 

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