423 Blessings of Air conclusion
Fajii circled the small camp and came in behind the captive who was lying on her side facing the fire. Her rat-nose twitched as she moved within a few inches of the woman's head. She smelled of fear and blood, while the brutish hulk carried the scent of body odor, urine, and something sour that Rat-Fajii couldn't identify.
Shae watched from the far side of the fire, behind the brush. The man was one of the largest men she'd ever seen, his cruel eyes stared directly into the flames, something only an idiot would do.
/Ratpack: Shae: Make contact, we'll distract him if necessary.
/Ratpack: Fajii: Understood.
Fajii moved close enough to nearly touch the woman's blood-matted hair. "Don't be alarmed; I am a friend," Rat-Fajii whispered softly. "If you hear me, move your fingers."
The captive's fingers bent slightly and then straightened.
/Ratpack: Hyai: This would be where Nix would say something like, 'It's a Rat-Rescue!'.
/Ratpack: Shae: He totally would.
/Ratpack: Fajii: Agreed.
"Don't move, I'm going to have to chew through your bonds." Fajii's black fur brushed up against the captive's arm, causing the woman to shudder. "Don't be scared," Rat-Fajii's voice soothed her.
She gnawed once on the wrist bonds; surprisingly, she nearly severed it with one bite. The Emperor Level Nether rat came with very sharp teeth. She sliced through the knee and ankle restraints within a few seconds.
/Ratpack: Fajii: Now what?
/Ratpack: Shae: Her feet and legs will be numb, we'll give her a few minutes, but she's going to have to run while we distract him.
Fajii moved back up to the woman's head. "Don't move yet; let the blood flow back into your limbs.
Jala was introduced briefly a few chapters ago (Ch377) as the son of the Red Lion Clan Leader. He was sent into exile for being incompetent.
Jala stared into the flames, the light danced on his broad flat features. He sat bare-chested, his scarred torso bronzed from countless hours in the sun. The Red Lion exile waited patiently; maybe tomorrow would be the day. He planned to sneak into camp and slay his father while he slept; however, the Fire Lion Clan leader left camp unexpectedly, spoiling his son's plans. While retracing his steps, Jala had run into the serving girl filling water pots. Seeing the woman who constantly refused his advances caused him to deviate from the plan and take her.
Beating her had felt good. After he killed his father and took over leadership, she would become his woman, until he tired of her.
They were on him before he could react. A dozen rats charged out of the darkness and attacked him at once. He crushed two in his hands and rolled to his feet with his blade in hand. Unexpectedly the rats retreated back into the darkness.
"F*CKING RATS!" He chased after them, his sword swinging wildly. A sharp bite on the back of his heel caused him to scream in pain as the second group of rats attacked him from the side. Shouting loudly, he hacked through three creatures and limped after the rest when they retreated into the night.
The last group of rats attacked from the rear. Jala's rage got the better of him as he roared and sliced half of his attackers with one swing. It was then that the other two groups rushed him. Although it took a few minutes, he managed to kill all the rats, his chest heaving under the exertion. "Why would they attack me like..." His voice trailed off as he noticed the missing girl.
Ater Fajii sent in the last of her minions; she scurried toward after the captor who was struggling to run. Rat-Fajii managed to catch her reasonably quickly and assumed control of her escape. "Follow me; we'll head to the river. Can you swim?"
"Y-Yes," the fleeing captive whispered.
Fajii entered the river where the ground was hardest. She swam downstream, staying in the middle, her rat body was surprisingly fast in the water.
/Ratpack: Shae: Stay in the water, we'll follow him and make sure he doesn't pick up the trail.
/Ratpack: Fajii: Okay.
/Ratpack: Hyai: I've picked up more rats.
After another hour, the Ratpack reached their destination. It took two more Rat attacks to spook Jala to the point where he didn't dare leave his fire. By that time, they were approaching their deadline.
/Ratpack: Hyai: Well... we didn't scout the camp, but I can't say I'm not happy about it.
/Ratpack: Fajii: Nix will open up the breach before he heads to the Gladis Hub, we only have a few minutes.
/Ratpack: Shae: Not enough to continue, we'll come back another day.
"You may go back to your camp. The man who was holding you captive is no longer chasing you." Fajii studied the girl while she spoke, she was young, perhaps only 15 or 16.
"I-I don't want to go back. I'm only a slave."
Shae moved closer, her red rat eyes showing interest. "This isn't your Clan?"
The girl shook her head slowly. "I was taken in a raid three years ago. I'm part of the Desert Fox Clan."
/Ratpack: Fajii: What should we do?
/Ratpack: Hyai: Take her back. She might be a good source of intel.
/Ratpack: Shae: I'm not against it, but only if she's willing.
/Ratpack: Fajii: Same.
The thin white-haired mage knelt on one knee, her pale eyes showing surprise when Nix placed a hand on her forehead.
Fey has received the Blessings of Air.
Nix nodded happily and helped the Fire Mage to her feet. He offered the Air Element to Pon, but the old man turned it down. He did point out that Fey was probably the next strongest Fire Mage after him and would benefit two-fold since she was also a flier.
"Thank you, Nix." Unexpectedly the skinny mage hugged him tightly. "I will definitely make a difference when we challenge her."
Nix patted her head; he didn't have to ask who "her" was. "Keep working hard."
Fey's pretty face was smiling as she examined her new abilities. "Shae didn't want it?"
"Irridescent Salamanders can only hold the Fire Element. I'm not sure why."
"Are you heading to the Gladis Hub now?"
"Yes. Want to come?" Nix's hud buzzed at suddenly, notifying him that it was time to bring the Rat-Scouts back.
[Create Breach: Mid-Everspire Lowlands: Ionvova]
/Inferno: Shae: Home safe and sound. Want our report now?
/Inferno: Nix: No. I'm already late because I stopped in Nescari to see Morti.
/Inferno: Shae: How is he?
/Inferno: Nix: Bigger. Fey and I are heading to the Gladis Hub. Back in a few hours.
/Inferno: Shae: Okay, be careful.
Hyai covered a yawn and sat next to Shae at the Kitchen Island. They were enjoying a cold mug of Semmi's Golden Draft while they discussed the excursion. Fajii was helping their guest clean up in the downstairs bathroom.
The girl's name was Kia, and she had been a slave in the Red Lion Clan since she was captured in a raid. Above anything else, she wanted to escape that place but never dared to try because those who attempted such things were made examples of.
"She was pretty shocked." Hyai couldn't help but smile. Kia's dark eyes looked like saucer's when the rats collapsed onto the floor, and the three women sat up in bed.
Shae returned her smile. "She's tough. I'm going to bring her back to her Clan."
/Inferno: Fajii: Come in here.
/Inferno: Shae: Everything okay?
Hyai and Shae walked through the closet that led to the downstairs bathroom. The girl was submerged up to her chin in hot water and suds. The bruising on her face was already fading thanks to the alchemist's tendings.
Fajii was kneeling on the floor next to the tub, a smile on her face. "Could you show them your right foot?"
Kia nodded and extended a suds-covered brown foot from the water. Fajii reached over and gently brushed the suds away.
"That's very pretty." Shae's brown eyes showed her interest. "Where did you get such a thing?"
Kia pulled her foot back shyly; the rat-women were very nice. For the first time in three years, she wasn't scared. "It's a tradition among the women of my Clan."
Shae offered her a kind smile. "I see. Very pretty."
Fajii nodded in agreement. "It's very nice. She was taken in a raid with eleven others.
/Inferno: Hyai: So the women of the Desert Fox Clan have Scorpion tattoos on their ankle?
/Inferno: Shae: Get all the information you can and then let her rest.
/Inferno: Hyai: We going to stage a Rat-Escape?
/Inferno: Shae: Let's see what the Rat-King says.