Defeat (Part 2)Mature

'Guards will assume the guilty to be still within the area,' Zane noted as he sneaked to the wooden door of the Healer's building. Well, it was really just two floors. Hardly a building. Maybe those guards would overlook it? It was doubtful, but at least Zane wasn't dealing with those damn Earthguard. 

Sure enough, as filthy luck would have it, the guards were asking people just outside the building. Two of them were looking at the masked corpse. They didn't touch it, of course. That would possibly destroy evidence. Zane didn't know how, exactly, but he did know some Void users could use something called a Plane to identify the Mystics used in an area. The man had a sword with blood on it, so Zane knew he wouldn't be seen as innocent, but... 

Zane walked out the door and walked up to the closest guard. 

The guard - an average man no taller than Zane himself - turned and walked to meet him. "Sorry, sir, but I am going to have to ask you to step..." The man's voice trailed off as he saw the bloody fabric covering Zane's arm. Immediately he stepped back and created a flame in his hand. "Sir, I'm going to need to ask you some questions."

Zane just shrugged. The best thing to do was give these idiots the truth. "Those masked men stabbed my fr- er... companion, so I took the fi- er... woman and ran." Zane pointed at the dead man in the mask. "I killed him and three others that you will find in the alleyway towards the west gate. They killed the citizens." 

The man didn't seem convinced, so Zane was forced to retail his damn claim to innocence in front of another guard, who was obviously a Mind Mystic. Well, a weak one. He could tell if Zane was lying or not.

"You're story checks out," the second guard said. He was shorter than Zane, but muscled like a Mover. "Do you know why they were after you?" 

Zane thought about lying, but even these idiots might prove useful. "They are taking people with strong Mystics. I'm looking for my brother, who was kidnapped and the stu- er, woman that was injured was helping me." 

The guards seemed genuinely concerned at this. 

"There have been disappearances, Joss," the muscled guard said to the first one. Joss just nodded like he knew everything and walked off. "Sorry, but I'm going to have to charge you for damage to property." He pulled out a notepad and wrote off a fine, then handed it to Zane. Damn guards and their so-called 'Justice.' Fine the man that killed the ones who were killing their citizens. Idiots.

But, Zane took it and walked back to the Healer's building. He had enough money from those bandits to pay for the damages. Fourty gold orbs wasn't much in comparison. Being attacked hadn't been a total waste, at least. Zane looked at his clothing, now ripped in places and singed from the day before as well. His desert jacket was ruined. 

Well, that was just great. First the damn woman gets stabbed, then his jacket gets ruined even more! At least those bandits from the day before only singed it. The masked idiots left burn marks and cuts all over the large thing. Damn luck. Arch, show up already! Zane wanted to go back to training in the Desert Home. 


Zane turned to see that damn assistant boy walking out of the building. "News?" Any more words and Zane knew he would curse the fool. 

The boy nodded. "She's been stabilized and will be able to heal naturally."

"Just heal her the rest of the way up, idiot," Zane snapped. He needed to move on before more of those masked men came. He had only killed the first three with surprise. His Alcheic Mystic was something few knew about. Well, until now. The fact that they had a Mind Specialist meant they were prepared to face Zane and Thorn specifically. Sands, was everything going to go wrong?

Of course it would.

"Sorry, sir," the boy said nervously, "But people not used to the Plasma Mystic have bad reactions to healing too much. Bringing them back from critical alone will leave them weak for several days. Any more and the lady might suffer for longer..."

Zane just grunted. Figures that would be an issue. Unscarred Creator forbid he actually get good news. "Fine," Zane said sharply, then walked past the boy and into the building. Before entering, he took one last look at the masked man. The maskes they wore were very simplistic. Just white with two holes for eyes. It looked stupid, so why did Zane worry about those masks?

Thorn was laying on the table, her shirt still pushed up and revealing her scarred torso. Zane felt a pang of regret for wishing her to get hurt by those bandits. It was obvious she was used to pain. Instead, he now wished they had just outsmarted her. That would be better. After all, you had to make a woman feel stupid to get to her, not hurt her. 

"She's going to be asleep through the night, but should be awake tomorrow," the Healer said without turning toward Zane. "You are lucky she survived at all." He turned and regarded Zane with a withered face. "Her Mind Mystic is powerful. She forced her body to slow it's blood flow somehow. I've... never seen that."

Forced her body to slow it's blood flow? Zane had never heard of that before. Then again, the damn woman was a Specialist, so she was already more powerful than any other Mind user. Except, of course, other Specialists and the Sovereign of Mind. Still... Sands, that would be good to have!

The End

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