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 Tracking the Deserters! ( Quest Line ) ( Completed! )

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Matt Eria

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Level : 1
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PostSubject: Tracking the Deserters! ( Quest Line ) ( Completed! )   Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:21 am

With the two men safely aboard the ship, Matt felt... good. Yes, he'd made a hefty sum, but that wasn't the only thing to be happy about. Two guys who would have eventually died - or been captured - were now safe, making their way to Spira. It was good work he'd done, which was why he was so glad to make his way back to that kind old woman's house.

He heard the stomping of feet behind him, running after. He paid it no real mind - that is, until there was a hand on his shoulder, spinning him around, violently.

"You. You're the one in the mask. The one that helped the traitors." Matt felt his jaw set. How, by the Fayth, had they figured that out? Well, that wasn't entirely true - he was a man with a mask. That didn't mean anything in the long run - they couldn't prove a thing. Then again... how did they know to look for someone with a mask? Why didn't you take it off when you finished the job? That, too, was a good question. There were at least ten guards here, all in uniform. So right now? The best plan he had was to lie as gracefully as he could.

He shook his head gently. "Sorry. I--"

"Save it. I saw you talking with them. Now you're going to tell us where they are, or we're going to have you locked up."

Crossing his arms gently in front of him, he tilted his head at the man - the one from the cave. He'd lugged him in the back of the head with a bottle - but apparently, he hadn't knocked him out like he'd hoped. Now he was actually regretting not torching that guy's boat. That's what he got for being kind.

"Not interested. I got them out of the cave, I don't know where they are now. So, you gonna throw me away for giving two guys a ride?" The motion was so fast, he hadn't even been able to track it with his eyes. The blue-haired man ( the one with the sizeable welt on the back of his head, no doubt ) had an extremely sharp rapier aimed directly at one of the eye holes in his mask. White light reflected off the blade - which was when he realized there several images of the weapon around him, all aimed at vital points.

Were they magical images? Or maybe illusions?

Well. This... might be why they sent one guy.

"Try again. Think hard this time, or I might slip." Inwardly, he had to focus. He wasn't a magic user right now - his memories were all of the sword. That would have to do. He wasn't as fast as the other guy, that was for sure - but that didn't usually matter. His body knew the motions as well as if he'd done them his whole life.

Which was why, when he finally smirked underneath the image of the neutral mime, he called his sword.

It was a motion that was fast Energy surrounded him in a Protect spell, and he was in the process of backflipping away from the man and his retinue. He'd brought his sword to life, the blade deflecting two of the pointed swords out of his path, while the others fired where he'd been standing. One cut cleanly through his jacket - indicating that no, these were definitely not illusions.

He heard the clicks of weapons being drawn, but the blue-haired man lifted his hand.

"No, no. The coward fancies himself a swordsman. Let's just test his mettle, shall we? Make sure he doesn't leave, but other than that, he's mine."

"I haven't belonged to someone in a long time. Are you going to buy me dinner first, or--" He was cut off by the blurringly-fast movement, barely able to get his blade up in time to parry the first thrust. Even as the first one was knocked aside, he caught the barest hint of motion, before he felt the first sting of that needle-tip catching him in the shoulder.

How on Gaia was this guy moving so fast? Thankfully, the blade passed through the barrier, which meant it had massively slowed it, - he wasn't able to stab as deep as he'd like. Still, that wasn't a comforting thought. This guy had moved fast enough to swing - stab - twice, while he'd barely had time to get one from being a direct hit.

He shuffled backwards, as sparks drove off the edge of his Variable Blade - the black metal only accentuated by the bright bits of light. He was trying, desperately, to analyze the technique of the swordsman across from him - to have a better idea as to what his next move would be. But the only way to get a good idea was to see how he responded to something in kind. Blue light flickered along the edge of his own blade, and he dove forward, going just under the leading tip of the rapier's fine point. His body tucked into a roll, so that he made it behind him.

Slashing outwards, he went for the man's hamstring - but felt no resistance. He felt nothing at all. His swipe had gone wide - mostly because the man was now up in the air, looking down at him with just a hint of contempt. He saw the man thrust - but knew he was too far to make it have any real effect.

Or at least, that's what he thought. His leg burned, fiercely, as he felt a blade cut through it - an image of the sword was protruding out from the ground where the knight... was he a knight? Had been standing. Damage done, it faded. Gritting his teeth, he brought his hand down to his leg, and pressed it into the red wound... though he had no time to nurse his wound. Without Junctioning to his curative magic, he was essentially with nothing but the basics.

The man dove forward again, and once more, Matt was forced into the defensive position. The blades met a few times - though it didn't seem to matter. For every swipe he deflected, he took two in its place. For every thrust he parried, another burrowed into him.

His mind was working quickly - trying to come up with some sort of... something. Glancing sidelong at a building, he saw... well... it was a potted plant. That was the best he could see. Darting in that direction, he hurled his sword up at it - on the side edge to knock it off. He continued forward, passing underneath the now-falling object.

He heard a satisfying clatter of pot breaking - and knew this was his one chance to do something about this. He Junctioned, shuffling his memories away, changing sword to staff. No matter where the sword was, when he changed, the weapon appeared in his hand - which was probably why the rapier-wielding man looked so surprised.

"What is this? You use trickery in a duel?"

He looked at him, eyes wild, though it was impossible to tell with his mask in place. A mask that was cracked in several places, thanks to a few near-missed sword strikes.

"Sorry I don't have any magical rapiers to even up the score." He couldn't fight like this, of course, but that wasn't the point. The point was to give him something to even the playing field a bit. He lifted the staff, and tapped it back down on the ground, white light flickering out around him. The golden clock-image that encircled him began rotating faster, as his body grew faster.

For good measure, he also gave himself a little nudge - Cure used to heal some of the damage.

When the rapier-wielding man thrust again, he could at least see it coming. He parried it again, but this time he spun his body along with it, getting behind him. It would be advantageous, if the other guy wasn't so much quicker. Apparently expecting an attack like the last one, the guard launched himself into the air again - which was precisely what he wanted.

With a huff, the staff dissolved, leaving him weaponless. As the man came back down, the thrusts were a little more telegraphed - he was able to sidestep two of the magic-rapiers, and was only grazed by the third. By the time the other man landed, he had his Variable Blade in his hand again.

"So. Care to try this again, now that you're not all blurry with speed?"

The blue-haired man tilted his head.

"Sir..." He didn't let his eyes drift over to the man in the other soldier's retinue.

"Don't worry. I'll bring him in now. I just wanted to see if he could have fought me head-on. Turns out, this scoundrel is nothing without his tricks."

Matt was about to take offense to that - and voice that opinion, too. Unfortunately, the blue-haired man was gone. Matt realized, too late, that he'd oversimplified. The other guy wasn't gone, he just hadn't seen him move behind him. He heard the sound of a foot, behind him, and then there was nothing. He didn't get to see the several driving cuts that had taken him out of the fight. Nothing to analyze. He just... passed out.

__

He was leaning forward, body held aloft by chains on his wrists alone. There were lacerations all along his form, and his mask had been discarded. A woman was tending to him - not the reception he expected, but he rather preferred it to the torture he'd anticipated.

"Let me go." He murmured.

"Sorry, child, I can't. I can only assure you won't die from these wounds. I've been asked to discern the location of the deserters. Can you help me with that?"  Matt slumped, shaking his head.

"No, not really. They're probably halfway around the country by now." Her fingers traced delicately along an injury, trailing some incredibly itchy cream along it.

"Ah. That is unfortunate. The weapon designs they stole... they'll probably be able to make a small fortune, no matter where they went. Midgar is the most likely candidate. Galbadia, possibly. We've heard rumors of Bevelle in Spira trying to militarize, but that's the least likely..."

But his eyes darkened.

"Weapon designs?" He asked, softly. "They... made it seem like they just wanted to leave and weren't allowed to."

She looked up at him, as though he was a sad, sorry, misguided little boy. "Child," She said, as wrinkled fingers continued to smear gunk that had better be fixing him, or this was some ridiculously abstract torture that he did not like. "You'll learn two things when you've lived as long as I have: People lie. It's in their nature. There is no man, woman, or child free from that sin." From the tiniest thing, all the way to their death... people would be liars.

"And that no matter what the reason presented, money will ultimately determine one's decision. Why do you think they wanted to escape? Vector doesn't hold its soldier prisoner." She let out a small clucking noise, and patted at his bloody face.

"Now. Tell us where they are so we can retrieve what they stole."

Bevelle. They could sell to Bevelle. Hand them more weapons. More technology with which to do to others what had been done to him. Closing his eyes, he forced out a breath, as he came to a decision.

"No. Let me bring them here. I told them if they lied to me again I would do exactly that." What had he been thinking? Good? There had been a reason to be running from guards. He just didn't think it through. The gleam of money had been far too bright - much like she said.

She looked up at him, and considered.

"In your condition?" She shook her head. "It's better to--"

The staff materialized in his still-bound hand. A few cure spells later, and the wounds on his body were all but gone. "Let me get them."

Tapping her chin, she finally relented. "We will follow you behind by ten minutes. If you do not bring them by then, we will consider you as part of their alliance and treat you as we will treat them. Understand?"

While he didn't like it... he nodded his head gently.

________

His broken mask was returned to him, as was his practically demolished coat. He'd have to get a new one made - and the mask? The mask would have to be replaced. Maybe he'd go with a smiling mime this time?

No. Definitely not.

He approached the airship docks, and as predicted, the Airship had not left yet. The same loader from before ( though significantly more exhausted-looking at this point ) saw him, and just rolled his eyes - retreating onboard to go get the captain again. This time, as the captain emerged, he looked... nonplussed at his arrival. He spoke evenly, looking directly at him through the broken mask.

"I'm rescinding our contract. Please send Wedge and Johnnie back out. I will make sure you are still compensated." That, more than anything else, seemed to mollify the grizzled-looking pirate, as Matt knew it would. After all - just like him, the man wanted his money, the cost being mostly insignificant.

But not this time.

Matt waited almost five minutes for Wedge and a far-more-sober Johnnie. "What the hell do you want? We paid you what was owed - did you--

The masked Sphere Hunter just started walking towards them.

"I warned you. I told you that if there were any more lies, that I'd turn you in myself. I know all about the weapon blueprints you stole. I know why you wanted to get out of Vector so badly. And I know that sending you to Spira means you'll be giving those plans to Bevelle. I won't have that."

Wedge looked stunned, more than anything else, Johnnie looked between the two of them.

"Look, man. It's business." Matt's hand went to the side, and he summoned up his sword.

"It always is."

No more words. Wedge, still looking stunned, got a rough shove from Johnnie, who was already pulling out a sword from who-knows-where. Wedge pulled out a smaller gun - but even a small gun was lethal in the right hands. He'd been briefed about how dangerous the two were. Though he didn't care, at this point. He darted forward, using the flat of the Variable Blade to deflect single rounds as they were fired from their gunner.

Right now, the swordsman was the concern - but he was a little drunk, which meant he should be easier to fight.

Smirking - half of his mouth visible due to the condition of the mask. He didn't let that hold him back - he just moved, roughly, his body rolling to the side. The blue-glow along his sword flashed brighter for just a moment, and it was drawn, sharply, across the back of Johnnie's Achilles heel. It was lower than he normally aimed, but that was fine. He wanted to make sure Johnnie couldn't run.

Putting Johnnie between himself and Wedge, he listened for the familiar sound of---

A clip being emptied.

Shoving Johnnie to the side, he darted at  Wedge, the blade catching the gun in the barrel, and bending it sharply in one place. The kinked weapon would be useless, now - but that didn't mean Wedge was. Gritting his teeth, he lifted both hands up, and the telltale signs of fire magic rotated into the sky.

Damn.

He barely had time to get out of the way - he smelled burned hair, and knew he hadn't avoided the attack completely. Wedge was clearly determined to keep him at a distance, while Johnnie tried to right himself - and couldn't, with the weight falling on that severed heel.

Fire soared at him again, and Matt did a stupid thing. He ran right through it. The flames ate at his coat and singed his face - but it wasn't napalm. It didn't stick. Once he was close enough, he jammed his sword down - straight through Wedge's foot, and into the ground below. Reversing his momentum, he leaped into the air, and brought his knee up in to the other man's chin.

Wedge's head snapped back, but his body was anchored in place by the Variable Blade.

"If you'd have told me the truth? Maybe I would have sent you somewhere other than Spira. Maybe I'd have let you go." He said, to an unconscious Wedge.

The blue-haired man arrived, true to the old woman's word - ten minutes after he arrived. The fight took less than five.

"So you're a coward... but not a fool." The man said, and he bit his tongue to keep from snapping back at him. "We'll take them from here. Come back to Vector if you ever want to test your skills against me again. But... not until you have a few more than you do right now." His laugh was obnoxious, and Matt hated him for it.

"Maybe one day."

"Yes yes. In the mean time - you still helped us, and so the reward still stands. How do you like that? Two pay days for the same two men." He tilted his head. "Now go."

Sighing, Matt turned himself back towards the awe-struck captain, his sword vanishing from Wedge's foot.

"Still have room for one on that boat? I'd like to get home now."

( WC - 3049
Thread EXP - 304.9
Quest EXP - 1000
Quest Gil - 500 )

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