Sensing that their time conversing was over – as well as having to nearly jump back to avoid another slice – Griever grew serious. Rave was using a knife, not a sword, making Griever’s own knife actually useful. But, like all experts, Rave wielded his blade with a dexterous proficiency unseen on the battlefield. Compared to him, Griever was a neophyte with a knife.
But he did have one advantage: Instincts.
Griever ducked under the Wolf’s blade without thinking, and made a slice of his own towards the man’s abdomen. Of course, Rave moved out of the way with the swiftness and elegance of a cat, making it almost seem like the man was playing with Griever. Well, he had the wrong opponent to play with. Griever didn’t fight fair. He never had believed in ‘fairness.’ It was a coward’s way of imposing his own weakness on his opponent.
Rave grunted as Griever’s foot was planted in the man’s abdomen, sending him sprawling.
“Over already?” Griever asked the man, who had rolled to his feet and made sure to keep his distance. For some reason the Wolf was breathing heavily. “That was boring. And here I pegged you for a hotshot assassin or something. Guess I was wrong.”
‘He is wounded.’
“What do you mean?” Griever asked the gear under his breath. He didn’t dare let Rave know he was talking to himself. For one, it was embarrassing to be seen talking to no one like a madman, and for two, the Black Wolves might know about the Gears. It was a slim possibility, but one that would make his enemy wary and reluctant to take chances. And seeing how he had yet to call in his hidden cavalry, he was just thinking Griever got in a lucky shot.
‘Not only is he bruised in several places,’ Bash explained, sounding more interested than anything else, ‘but he has a gut wound from what looks like an arrow and several cuts that haven’t even begun to heal yet.’
Rave had managed to catch his breath and now readied his stance once more. The man looked less menacing with the new information for some reason, like figuring out the night guard had left the back gate of a fortress you were supposed to capture unlocked. It was sort of disappointing, but reassuring as well. Griever was in less danger, but lost his challenge. A challenge he very much wanted as of late. Stress was starting to build up.
“Why do you think he fights alone?” Griever asked the Gear, honestly unsure of what to make of the situation.
‘Well,’ Bash replied, ‘I scanned your subconscious as soon as you identified them as the Black Wolves and started compiling data. From what I have gathered from the talks you heard but did not register and the hints from the one Black Wolf – a man named Sever Dayne – you met, this is a neophyte.’
Griever stepped to the side as Rave attacked, now looking sloppy since Griever knew where to focus, and tripped the man – no, the boy. His voice may have been deep, but his face was too clean shaven for him to be past his second decade.
“So, you’re saying this boy is a trainee? Why is he facing me alone?”
‘Essentially, the Black Wolves make their new recruits track down a total of thirty thousand marks worth of bounties before becoming a full member. They would shadow him and make sure he succeeds. If he fails, they take care of the job and take the cloak from his corpse.’ Bash sighed in what seemed to be disappointment. ‘Usually, they kill the trainee if they still live, too. Such a waste of life, to be perfectly honest.’
Griever grunted in agreement and kicked the boy in his side, sending him a few feet away. “So long as he lives, then, they won’t attack?”
‘I believe so, though this is all conjectured based on the information I’ve gathered.’
A smile split Griever’s mouth. “Good enough for me.”