Author: Demon Lord D (D魔王)
Chapter 8: The Bet
The crowd jostled, but no one came forward.
Finally, a small rogue separated from the crowd to come forward.
He glared into Iron Gauntlet’s eyes, placing a coin in his right hand.
“Little Fil,” Iron Gauntlet narrowed his eyes at him, “I hear you joined the ‘Thorns’? So your wings become hardy eh.”
“I didn’t have the courage to refuse you in the past,” the rogue called Fil replied, “but someone will do it someday.”
His small body was shaking, even though he was scared, but he still held Iron Gauntlet’s gaze.
“‘Someone will’ is it,” Iron Gauntlet laughed, saying in a pitying tone, “Bbut other than you, who else is there? -–The friendship between weaklings sure ius touching.”
The knight groped inside his coin pouch, there were two coins left inside, so he stood up walking towards Iron Gauntlet.
“The silent Iron Bucket Cain,” Iron Gauntlet looked at the warrior in heavy armor in interest, “What is it, as a warrior, are you going to vote in glory for the archer’s loss?”
“Two coins,” the knight replied, “I bet the elf will win.”
He emptied the coin bag onto the table, ignoring Iron Gauntlet’s expression, returning to his place by the door and sat down.
“Damn that armor is too cool, I’m gonna fall in love with him,” the one who spoke was the younger of the pair of mercenary siblings, he stood up, ignoring his brother’s attempts to stop him, coming forward to place the coin down on the table, then he looked at the elf smiling, “my lunch money today depends on you, don’t let me down, my elven friend.”
This energetic atmosphere set the precedence, many could no longer resist, all coming forward to place bets.
Most of the archers, and of all the younger mercenaries mostly chose to stand on the elf’s side, and those who were more cautious or those who didn’t want to insult the Eagle Troops, chose Iron Gauntlet. There were also those who chose to observe, but not many could resist the chance to join in the fun.
“One hundred and three to thirty five.” Iron Gauntlet announced, “Anymore bets?”
The elf who was watching from the side the whole time, placed a gold coin among the small pile.
“I bet I will win,” he smiled, saying, “that’s all I have left after paying the rent, too bad, I missed a chance to earn some coin.”
When he said it, those who supported the elf cheered, and those who bet he would lose revealed expressions of slight uncertainty. A few more came forward, betting on the elf’s side.
Iron Gauntlet glared at the elf, as if to kill him with his gaze alone. But the elf ignored it once again, going towards an archer nearby, asking very politely if he could borrow his weapon and glove.
On the inside of the outer wall of the Mercenary’s Home hung targets for archery practice, the distance from the outer wall to the entrance of the main building was almost fifty yards. The gallery separated to two sides, and of those who have heard of the commotion and came to join the fun, many ran up to the second floor, hoping to find a good position to watch the performance. – Of course, no one stood near the position of the target, since within fifty yards, the strength of the arrow is still very strong.
The elf came out holding a wooden bow, placing the quiver on the ground, he looked at Old Man Jake.
The old mercenary sat down, placing the hourglass timer on the table.
“Ye c’n start, whenever ye’r ready.”
The elf nodded, taking out the first arrow and placing it on the string, pulling the bow.
The crowd let out a sound of disappointment, the archers looked at each other, their expressions were troubled. And seeing this scene, Iron Gauntlet suddenly started laughing.
The knight in the iron armor sighed lightly.
Weak. Too weak.
Normally a hundred pounds is needed for the bow to be fully drawn, and the elf only drew it halfway, that means there’s only about fifty to sixty pounds of pull strength, the level a young woman can reach after training.
“God,” Iron Gauntlet was almost in tears from laughter, “if I knew you were a girl in disguise, I would have treated you gentler, little girl.”
The elf ignored these taunts, releasing.
Old Man Jake turned the hourglass, at the same time, the arrow flew towards the target.
“Bullseye.” The few people with good vision called out, a few of the more curious moved a few steps closer to the target.
The elf continued to release the second arrow without stopping, then the third, the fourth.
Without a doubt they all hit the target.
The crowd was silent, more people carefully moved towards to target, some exclaimed in admiration and shock.
He didn’t just hit the target, every arrow was accurately placed within the red circle in the center.
“So you are a man,” at the sixth arrow, Iron Gauntlet finally couldn’t hold back, “but shooting too fast isn’t good, a man needs endurance.”(1)
This time no one could be bothered with him, everyone was staring in the elf’s direction. That irritated Iron Gauntlet immensely, so he signaled the members of the Eagle Troop, then continued to shout insults. Profanities continued to pour from his mouth non-stop, a few of the younger more impressionable mercenaries were blushing hotly from listening.
The elf’s movements started to become unsteady, one arrow landed away from the red center, some people thought he was influenced by the provocations, angrily shouting at Iron Gauntlet to shut up. But a few noticed what the true abnormality was, the knight was one of them.
Occasionally there would be some unnatural spots of light lingering on the wall.
At the moment most of the crowd was already stationed close to the targets, and the members of the Eagle Troop was scattered amongst the crowd, using small white metal plates in their hands to reflect the sunlight, every time the elf aimed, they would aim at his eyes.
But Old Man Jake who was acting as judge was concentrated on the hourglass, and had not noticed this at all.
The knight frowned, thinking about whether or not he should speak up. But he had already stood out too much today, if he revealed himself even more, it would surely cause unnecessary complications.
Luckily at this moment, the elf stopped.
“Let that be a practice run,” he said “is that alright?”
“Yah,” Old Man Jake looked at him in confusion, “Even though you haven’t missed a shot. But why?”
“I wanted to confirm something,” the elf said, “If something other than the practice target was to be hit, that would still be considered a ‘miss’?”
“Course.” Old Man Jake looked baffled.
“Then,” the elf smiled, “please help me announce this, if those gentleman over there continues to use those metal plates to interfere with my sight, I will grant their wish and lose a gold coin. But, they might lose something more important because of this, an eye for example or their lives.”
“Ye heard ‘im,” Old Man Jake immediately realized, frowning he shouted, “Whoever decides ta play more tricks, c’n pack up an’ leave ‘Mercenary’s Home’ t’day!”
“Thank you very much.” The elf nodded, and started to draw the bow once again.
The knight let out a breath in relief, moving to lean on the wall, watching the elf’s movements.
Honestly, he looks exhausted. Pale and weak, uneven breathing, every time he drew the bow seemed to require all his strength, occasionally he would bite his lips unconsciously, as if being in pain. Only his eyes, were focused to the front from the very start, as if burning with a green flame, proud and blazing.
That was the only word the knight could think of to describe it.
But not like sunlight, bright enough to illuminate all things, but a fire to burn away everything, a shooting star blazing trail of light in people’s eyes.
The knight suddenly had a strange thought.
–The elf did not belong here, it seemed as if he did not belong even to this world.
The thirteenth arrow mark has been reached, the sand in the hourglass continued to trickle down.
In the crowd someone started counting in a small voice, then the sound slowly became louder.
Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen…
It had already reached the limit for speed shooting, still not a single arrow left the center of the target.
What was more terrifying was that, the elf didn’t not spend a lot of time aiming, rather most of his concentration was used on drawing the bow.
Although his body had already reached the limit, almost unable to stand, but he still stubbornly continued to repeat the movements.
“Time’s up!” Old Man Jake announced, just when the crowd shouted ‘twenty’.
- I’m fairly certain that’s supposed to be some sort of vulgar remark…. *pauses* …. Oh… I get it now…nvm *facepalm*
Damn Ellen! YOU ARE AWESOME!!! That was so coooooollll XD
And Cain’s description of Ellen as a shooting star was so pretty… I’m not really sure I did it justice with the translation.
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