6 Bandits on the Road

The trio stood in place, bodies tense as a group of roughly 30 bandits came riding down the road on horseback. Two wagons and a carriage were being towed by the bandits, the outside of which had half-dried blood and several gouges from combat. Most likely, they had just raided a caravan on the way, with these being their spoils. From the looks of the bandits, they were at most mildly injured, so they were either very good raiders or the guards were very bad...

The bandits were laughing raucously, likely about their recent conquest when one of them spotted the three travelers. "Oi, boss! Look there!"

Following his subordinate's gesture, the bandit leader, a grizzled man with a goatee that was partially marred by a scar stretching from beneath his right eye to his chin, saw the trio and immediately smirked, "Ho-ho, looks like we've got another catch here, boys! A pair of peasants and a bird... the kid's pretty cute, he might sell at a good price, but the man and bird aren't needed." He pointed at a random pair of men and ordered them to catch the boy but kill the other two.

Etienne and Storm watched the two men speed up towards them, their sabers already drawn for battle, and the human sharply inhaled, "Those two are both Fighters, around Level 3. I don't think our village has anyone that can fight them head-on... Seran, are you sure?"

Seran didn't answer his chief. Instead, he muttered, "[Manifest Weapon]." The boy held up his arms as if to block an attack, the inside of his left wrist touching the back of his right, with the back of his hands facing towards the bandits. Starting from his closed fists, electricity began to spark and jump. The elemental lightning began to quickly take the form of two katars, each blade less than 1ft(30cm) long. After the uniquely-shaped daggers took shape, he dropped his arms to his sides. He then took a step forward, "[Flash Step.]"

Witnesses only saw a boy create two odd weapons with the power of lightning before suddenly disappearing. Even his traveling companions had lost sight of him. However, their shock didn't last too long, as he soon reappeared on the road behind the charging duo, his electric-blue daggers crackling. Behind him, as he straightened his post-charge stance, the two bandits continued charging for a short distance before red lines appeared on their necks. Seran stared with a cold expression at the bandit boss as a pair of heads separated from their bodies.

Etienne's jaw had dropped in astonishment, as had Storm's beak. They looked at each other, then back at Seran... then rubbed their eyes. They both had only one thought, "Am I seeing things?"

The bandit boss, on the other hand, recovered his shock quickly as his face turned red with anger. "This brat dared to kill my men! I've changed my mind. Boys, kill all 3 of them!" Ten more bandits surged forward, weapons at the ready, as their boss drew his sword to direct them.

The boy continued to stare down his adversaries as he threw his katars at the first two bandits. Upon spearing the men, both weapons suddenly exploded, killing their targets. The residual lightning jumped to strike the next bandits, electrocuting them but not managing to kill them. Seran then held up two large orbs of lightning energy before throwing them up. "Stormbirds!"

The two orbs glowed before seeming to unfold into the shape of two large birds reminiscent of kestrels. With cries like an eagle, the two birds dived downward to slam head-on into the bandits. Large discharges of lightning lit up the area, with four more men joining the dead. The birds did not explode, though they were weakened significantly as they deftly flew past the remaining four charging bandits and toward the boss.

The boy punched the ground as he shouted his next ability, "Thunder Barricade!" From the ground in front of him, two barriers designed like 'cheval de frise' erupted. As they were too close to slow down, the four horsemen collided with the electric blockades, causing all four horses and four riders to die by both electrocution and skewering. As the barricades dissolved and the eight bodies fell to the ground, Seran held up an outstretched hand towards the remaining 18 bandits, "Water Dragon!" His other hand threw up a lightning ball twice as big as the previous ones, "Stormbirds!"

A massive outpour of water emitted from the boy's palm, rocketing forward before expanding from the end. A large dragon head took form from the water, with the rest of its body soon following after it. With a great roar, it charged towards the bandits, with two newly formed lightning birds chasing its advance.

Two men hastily moved to defend their boss from the first two stormbirds. At the cost of most of their energy and one arm each, they managed to protect him from the first attack. Then, they and four others charged to defend against the water dragon. The great beast roared before bursting into a large tidal wave that surged over the six defenders, pushing them back to crash into their comrades just as it slammed into them. By now, the ground around the caravans was covered in water, with no man still standing except for the boss, who had managed to jump above the tidal wave ahead of time.

The boss landed heavily on the carriage roof, just in time to watch the two stormbirds cry and dive-bomb into the ground. Upon collision with the wet ground, powerful lightning coursed through the water and electrocuted every being on the ground, frying them with electricity.

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Seran then manifested a lightning bow, which he drew back and aimed at the bandit boss. The latter had decided to take the boy seriously back when his first two stormbirds killed four of his men, let alone now that he was the only one left. He dropped to the ground and charged towards the boy, who stood his ground with his bow drawn.

Everything seemed to come to slow down as the distance between the combatants rapidly closed. Seran's pupils shrank as he released his bowstring, launching a bolt of lightning at the bandit leader. His intended target, to his credit, moved his saber in front of his chest, taking the strike directly. After holding his stance and being forcibly slid backward a good 6m (10.685ft), the boss managed to deflect the remaining power off to the side. While he heavily panted, body covered in sweat, he looked up just in time to see another bolt of lightning blasting towards him. The boy, the village chief, and the bird watched together as the bandit boss attempted to rise and block the incoming attack, but only managed to get halfway into a defensive stance before the bolt struck him in the sternum and carved a hole through his body.

The boy formed two more Water Dragons to charge onward and wash away the blood and gristle on the road, and two new stormbirds collected the bodies of the bandits, or what was left of them, into a pile on the side of the road. When those tasks were done, the four magic creations burst apart, with the water dropping harmlessly to the ground while the lightning quickly dissipated. He then turned back towards his companions.

Two statues of complete shock stood where his companions were. Neither of them was blinking, moving, or even breathing. With jaws seemingly strained from being open so far, the human village chief and the magical crow seemed to have been petrified... until Seran threw a ball of water above them. The ball ruptured and dumped a good amount of water over the pair, who began sputtering and coughing.

Storm cawed irritably, rapidly shaking his feathers in an attempt to dry himself. As he readied himself to screech at the boy, his feathers suddenly puffed up, making him look more like an angry ball of fluff. "You brat, now I'm all wet! Come here, let me scratch you some!"

As Seran was trying not to laugh at the less-than-threatening bird, Etienne took another minute to calm himself down. When he had recovered some sense of mental strength, he said, "Seran... what was that..?"

"That was part of my secret... but that's not important right now. I'll still be telling you when we get back. What is important is that you believe me now, right?"

The two older males looked at each other before sighing, the bird grunting a little, "If we didn't believe you by now, we'd have to be stupid..."

Seran nodded lightly, "So... will you form a contract with me..?"

The crow fidgeted a little before quietly mumbling, "Fine, I guess it won't hurt..."

The boy calmly intoned, "[Contract]." Once again, Seran and Storm's eyes glowed purple briefly before a notification popped up in both beings' visions. "The contract has been formed."

The bird fluffed up a bit more at the strange thing in his vision, "What's this unholy magic!? I can't get rid of it! Ah, I'm seeing things! Get it away!"

Seran rolled his eyes, "Storm, calm down. It's part of my unique contract. Now, hang on, I'm going to do something for you." He then pulled up the 'Contracted Beast' submenu and clicked on Storm's name.


Name: Storm

Species: Ash Crow

Level: 11

Grade: Rare

Bloodline(s): Golden Crow (10%)


"There we go... just a minute, almost done..."

[You can do three things right now. You can purify his bloodline, teach him a skill, or give him a beast item.] William had mostly been silent for this, though he knew that Seran was keeping himself visibly strong. Internally, the system personality knew the boy was very close to throwing up. After all, it was his first time killing.

"Purify Storm's bloodline," Seran stated.

[You got it.]

The bird continued to be very worried until he began to feel the heat... a lot of heat... followed by mild pain. "Why is it so hot and itchy..?"

"Storm, land on the road. You're going to experience a lot of heat and pain for a minute, but you'll be okay."


Seran gave him a serious expression, "Unless you want to rip off the chief's arm, do it!"

The crow blanched before dropping to the ground with a slight glide. Sure enough, he began to feel exactly what Seran had said he would. Squawking and screeching with pain as he rolled on the ground. Etienne and Seran were forced to watch for a good five minutes before the bird began to glow brightly before a pillar of flame erupted upward. At the top of the tall flame, a large pair of wings spread as a flaming crow took form. When it spread its wings, it cried powerfully before the flame, and itself, dispersed. The two looked at the ground, where Storm had been.

In the black crow's place was now a brilliantly golden crow that was visibly confused.

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