I expected better

The Elf runs in and shouts to get his attention, Esmeralda hates to admit it, but he doesn’t have the skills to be a tank. No matter how much he screams or insults the Cyclops, it only has eyes for Esmeralda. She already has someone who was the apple of her eye, and that was the only one she wants to eat her. The Cyclops would have to get the hint. 

Esmeralda keeps up her power aura to make her faster, keeping just out of range of the Cyclop’s attacks. Every opportunity, she took an attack, just as she was taught – There is no doubt that if Yasuhiro was here, he would be proud. 

No sooner does the thought pass through her mind, the Cyclops flings rocks at her, blinding her, then follows up with a punch. The force causes her to skip along the rolling hills, but she is okay. She’s been hit harder, but she would prefer not to get hit again. 

Her armor was made of lightweight steel and reinforced with magic to keep her safe, but it wasn’t the strongest. She was a fighter who focused on attacking instead of defense, so all her enchantments and gems in her armor boosted her speed and strength. That was why the tanks were here. Well, that was what they were supposed to do. One was nearly unconscious, and the other was nothing more than a fly to the Cyclops. With the Drow busy nursing the Human back to health, she was on her own for a while. 

“Hunter, you and your pet fly up and aim for his eyes. I’ll try to blind him from here!” Esmeralda commands. The Vampire is more than happy to follow the lead of her idol and the only other woman on this trip. Spreading her beautiful red wings, she and the small owl take flight. 

“Barbarian, use something to slow him down. It’s obvious your taunts aren’t working!” Esmeralda yells, prepping a power shot. The Elf swallows his pride and hits the Cyclops in the back of the knee with a power-infused strike. The strike causes the Cyclops to stumble a bit. Esmeralda is a little more hopeful of the fight. With as much Power as she can put into her bow, she fires the shot and hits The Cyclop’s other knee.

Direct hit. 

It howls in pain and falls face forward, crashing down and breaking a tusk. 

“Hurry, get to the front and aim for the eye!” Esmeralda continues to lead the group, more confident as the battle goes on. The Elf leaps and lands on the Cyclops neck, keeping it from getting back up. The Vampire uses a spell to rain arrows at the Cyclops head, keeping it busy with its hand trying to guard. To Esmeralda’s surprise, The Human is back up and casts a divine strike, landing right on The Cyclop’s head. The force of the attack sends a shock wave out that Esmeralda can feel. 

She smiles and sends another power shot to the eye. 

Esmeralda starts to notice that only her attacks seem to cause the Cyclops to react. The Cyclops flails around and causes a quake, and she sees that the Drow falls down. 

“Get to the Healer! Quick!” Esmeralda warns, but it’s too late. A random flick of the wrist smacks the Drow into a nearby tree, shattering the tree on impact. Esmeralda reaches in her item pouch and whistles to the Vampire. 

“Get this potion to the Healer,” she says, tossing a potion. Swooping to the vial, she grabs it with ease but misses the Paladin’s warning to lookout. When she turns to his voice, She finds the massive hand of the Cyclops swatting her into the plains. Esmeralda lets out a shriek, but she refuses to give up. 

“Paladin, get to the healer. That’s our priority. I’ll hold off the Cyclops.” Esmeralda yells, then draws Taiyo. 

“We need to retreat. This is beyond our level. This is A-class at least.” The Paladin pleads. 

“Have you no honor? Even if this is beyond our class, we can’t leave the Healer and the Ranger to die.” The Elf speaks up.

“They are bounty hunters. We all are. They know the risk, just like we do. We can’t save them if we can’t save ourselves.” 

“Be a coward and run. The Bushido Code will not allow me to run. Death before dishonor.” Esmeralda says, then dashes towards her fallen teammates. Her Power aura keeping her fast, and Barbarian’s roar making her stronger, she is determined to, at the very least, save the downed bounty hunters. 

Esmeralda dashes through the attacks and counters when she gets to the Drow. 

“Heal him! I’ll defend us.” Esmeralda sends a volley of power slashes at the face of the Cyclops. Protecting his neck, the Cyclops is forced to defend and take a step back. Esmeralda can hear and feel the divine magic summoned by the Paladin. 

“Hurry. I’m running out of Power,” Esmeralda warns, but the Human is already going as fast as he can. Worn with fatigue, Esmeralda can no longer send attacks, and the Cyclops waste no time retaliating. Esmeralda prepares her sword for the onslaught of the Cyclops. The Elf leaps to the hand but is swatted away with little effort. Coming down with an open hand attack, Esmeralda cannot block it all and is crushed under the weight of its palm. 

The Cyclops grits its teeth and pulls its hand back to finish her and the Drow off, but a giant ax flies into the shoulder of the Cyclops, causing blood to spray. The monster shrieks in pain and tries to pull the weapon out, but an Orc leaps to its face and lands a strong punch, knocking The Cyclops over. 

There is only one Orc that Esmeralda knows that wears dragonhide armor, with a ponytail and wild beard. It was Yan Wang Lei, King Yan to those who were unfamiliar with Orcish. He was not a King of anything, more a warlord turned bounty hunter after the Orcish invasion. Someone that Esmeralda was happy to call friend, especially now. 

Yan rips his ax out of the monster’s shoulder and walks over to his neck. The Cyclops tries to pull Yan off, but Yan breaks its finger when it tries. Flailing about does nothing to stop Yan from executing The Cyclops, and after the mighty ax swing, there is one final thud. 

Esmeralda struggles to stand on her feet and looks up just in time to see Yan walking towards her and the crew. 

“I expected better,” his voice carries enough strength to almost make Esmeralda fall over again, but she knew he was right. Yasuhiro had taken her to hunt Cyclops before. She knew what to look out for. But in the end, she still failed. No doubt Yan would tell Yasuhiro about this. 

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now?” Esmeralda looks up with fear. 

“Kill me?” Esmeralda says, moments from tears. His eyes fix onto her. 

“Not you. That waste,” Yan says, pointing his ax behind her. When she turns her head, she sees the Human frozen in fear. “The job posting clearly stated not to go in the cave, and now you know why. You nearly got your team killed with your stupidity. You’re lucky that Esmeralda was here. Without her, you’d be among the spirits, explaining why you caused the lives of three innocent people. But now, you’ll just have to explain to your ancestors why I killed you for endangering my friend.” Yan says, making his way to the Human, dragging his ax. The Human’s eyes are screaming, but he doesn’t move.  

“Yan-sama, you don’t have to do this,” Esmeralda says, standing with all she can muster. “I’m fine.” No sooner than her words leave, she goes back to a knee. 

“Esmeralda meimei, you nearly died protecting c-class warriors because of this moron!” Yan says, waving his ax as he speaks. “The next person’s team he is on may not be so lucky to have an A-class bounty hunter with them.”

“I’m only B-class.” 

“Consider this a field promotion. As an S-rank, I can do that.” He says, then turns back to the Human, who for the life of her she couldn’t understand why he was still standing there. Then she thought about it. Barbarians can use fear powers too. Each step caused Esmeralda’s heart rate to increase. She didn’t really like the Human, but she didn’t want him killed either. Watching Yan tower over him, she closes her eyes, so she doesn’t see him raise his ax. 

“You can’t kill him!” 

“I can,” Yan says coldly. 

“I evoke my right as an A-class to take him on as an apprentice!” Esmeralda screams, then quickly cups her mouth. When she opens one eye to see if she’s too late, she watches the ax crash into the ground next to Yan. 

“What did you say?”

“I, Esmeralda Reyna, take him on as an apprentice,” She says and finds the strength to stand.

“You can’t be serious.”

“If you are concerned that he will be a hazard for someone else, let me teach him. We need good bounty hunters.”

“Yes, ‘good’ bounty hunters, not this trash.”

“He’s one of the only Paladins I’ve ever met. He is valuable.” 

“I’m still not good at the Human tongue. That word valuable can’t mean what I think it means.” 

“He is very valuable,” she says, speaking Orcish. 

“Him, really! Meimei, don’t do this.” He says, joining her in Orcish.

“Yes, Lord Yan. Please, let me do this.”

“Under one condition.” 

“Anything.”

“If he can’t pass Xiao’s expectations of a B-class in three months. You have to kill him.”

“… Lord Yan…”

“Agree, or I kill him now!” The Human is extremely confused now. It’s clear he doesn’t speak Orcish, but he knows to be afraid.

“Yes, Lord Yan,” Esmeralda says, fighting back tears. Partly from pain, but mainly because…

“On your word as a Samurai?”

“Yes, Lord Yan.” She was now bound to this

Rating: 1 out of 5.

4 thoughts on “I expected better

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