”Hey baldy! ”

I raised my voice.

The bandit leader noticed me, and furrowed his brow upon seeing my grin. Alicia was also startled after she heard me.

”Athan, what are- ”

Cutting her mid-sentence, I gestured my hands to stop her.

”Don worry, ” I reassured. ”I promise that Ill take you back home safely. ”

Alicia opened her mouth to speak but, no words came out. As she instead nodded to my words in reply.

”Huhu, you want me to beat you brat? ”

The bandit leader expression became serious.

”Boss, I think we should teach this kid about the importance of having a good manner. ”

Hearing his remark, I laughed.

”Hahaha. Good manners?… How can you teach me that if you guys can even teach yourselves its meaning? Also, isn that a bit ironic coming from a bandit? ”

Sneering, I shrugged my shoulders.

Gritting his teeth in anger, the bandit walked towards my direction to open the cage from where Im inside.

”Ill show you! ”

The bandit roared in anger.

One of them took the bait. Nice…

Next, after the cage was open, I immediately dashed forward the bandit as I slightly raised my foot, readying myself for a kick.

Without waiting to his reaction, I bend over and aimed my foot towards every guys weakness… he balls.

-Plap!

Upon hitting, the bandit fell on ground. Alicia… no, everyone who saw this looked at the poor guy with sympathy. Except, of course, their leader.

”Hahaha! ”

The bandit leader continuously laughed at the poor man, but after about a minute, he stopped as his gaze turned towards me.

”So, just because you have beaten one of my men, do you think that you could escape? ”

”Hmm, sorry but I don need to. My only mission is to let my fiancée escape. ”

Hearing my answer, the bandit leader started laughing again.

”Hahaha. How heroic can you be. How about this? I promise to let that girl go. But, only if join me… Its also a good proposal if you ask me. ”

Smiling, immediately replied.

”Sorry, but Ill have to pass that proposition on another time. Now, lets get to the point already. Aren you guys supposed to beat me up? ”

After I finished speaking, the other bandits readied and raised their weapons up towards me.

Sigh… This really has become troublesome.

Lightly glancing back at Alicia, who also got out from the cage, I whispered.

”Ill distract them and so, you go run far away from here. ”

”But how about- ”

Before she could finish her mid-sentence, she was interrupted by one of the bandit that came rushing towards us with a sword.

”Haa! ”

The bandit slowly raised his sword preparing to attack from above. Slashing downward, Alicia was only an inch away to where the bandit had slashed.

…that was close.

Alicia wouldve had been hit if I didn immediately pulled her closer to me when the bandit started running.

After recovering from his stance, the bandit continuously slashed diagonally which I could easily dodge thanks to my current little body.

Though, if the bandit speed was slightly higher, dodging his slashes would have been difficult because Im still not used to this petite body. Also, if I where to get hit even a little, it may cost me an injury thatll make it more harder for me to dodge his attack.

Gritting my teeth, I patiently waited for the right time to attack.

”Haa! ”

Slashing his sword downward, I dodge it by moving to the side as I took advantage of his momentum to get near him.

After the sword hit the ground, the bandit tried to raised it up once again but the sword was stuck on the ground, making it hard for him to move.

When I noticed this scene, my lips started to curl up as I immediately dashed towards the confused looking bandit.

Just like what I did last time, I also hit his balls. But, the only difference was that I headbutted it instead of kicking. Honestly, it felt disgusting after my head came into touch with his ”thing ”.

Well, its not like I have any other choices except for it, because my punch was too weak to even call it as a punch.

”Whos next? ”

Whistling, the bandit leader looked around, as he ordered his men to attack me all at once.

The other bandits nodded, as they started running towards my direction with a sword that was clearly pointed at me.

Slashing and stabbing me one by one, I dodge all of them by moving to the sides, tilting my body to where the safest ground.

Dammit, I won last any longer. If she awakened late, I might actually die sooner.

Glancing at Alicia, I saw that her expression turned distorted after seeing my current figure that was starting to get a couple of scratches.

Now, it probably won take long…

Unaware of Athans thoughts, Alicia stared at him with a worried look in her eyes.

Why?… Why aren you escaping?… Why are you saving me instead of saving yourself?

Then, Alicia started to recall her fathers last words.

[Alicia, not all humans are bad… some were forced into circumstances like this. Don plant hatred and revenge within your heart. Itll only comeback once again to destroy you.]

He raised his hands, caressing and wiping Alicias tears.

[Why?…]

[Not every bad things that you see is the truth, some people are manipulated by others, forced to do dirty work in exchange for their freedom. So, its up to you on how will you handle this kind of case in the future. But always remember that your happiness is worth risking for others. But sometimes, it depends on the circumstances for whatever choices you choose.]

Clearly, Alicias father already know that one of his past companion will betray him in exchange for someones life.

But… even though he knew, he never showed any signs of anger or baring hatred towards him. This made his killer feel more guilty.

[…Im sorry.]

The cloaked man bitted his lower lips until a bit of blood came out.

Alicias father smiled faintly, and didn answered back, as his vision started turning dark. He slowly closed his eyes and the hands he used to wipe Alicias tears finally fell…

…and then, he died silently in Alicias arm…

***

-Slash!

Sidestepping, I knelt and jumped forward to avoid the incoming attack that was aimed at my chest, arm and neck as I twisted my body mid-air to throw a roundhouse kick.

Raising his arm and positioning it to the left, the bandit used it to shield his face.

Even though the bandit got hit, he doesn seemed to show any signs of pain on his arm.

Gritting my teeth tightly, I immediately took a step back, retrieving my foot from his arm.

Dammit. This body really is useless when it comes to fighting.

Even though I have experience fighting gangs alone on my past life, that doesn mean that this body can keep up with my fighting styles. Im still not used to this child body.

While I was carefully dodging every single sword attack the bandits keep giving me, I turned my gaze to look at Alicia. Next, I noticed that some of the bandits was heading towards her.

”Alicia! ”

I tried calling out, but it was too late. The bandits was only five-meter away from her when I started running to where she was at.

If she was caught now, this would make our situation more dire… Just run quickly, you stupid body.

Gritting my teeth tightly, I forcefully run to her even though I was starting to have to get some scratches due to the arrows that was getting shot towards me.

Just run!

Closing my eyes, I prayed hardly that I could be fast enough to help Alicia.

Without realizing it, a small black particles started appearing under my foot. But then, after opening my eyes, I was already on her back.

”Eh?! ”

Turning my head to my back, I noticed that there was a medium-size crater on the ground from where I came from that became apparent after the dust disappeared.

…what the **!

The bandit leader also looked at me with slight surprised expression that could be seen up-close in his face.

Shaking my head, I focused my attention back to Alicia.

Without waiting for her reaction, I immediately pulled her close and picked her up on to my shoulder to run away quickly.

I don know why but, my body felt more lighter than usual.

Alicia also looked at me with surprised expression when I easily picked her up without breaking a sweat.

….

…..

”Hmm? ”

After running for sometime, I noticed that we were both surrounded.

Turning my head to the side, I gently placed Alicia to the ground.

Looking at me with worried eyes, Alicia grabbed my arms tightly, and wouldn let go when I tried to move..

This is troublesome…

”Oy brat! If you don choose now, I might end up selling both you and the little girl. ”

The bandit leader said with a slight interest that could be seen on his face.

”Sorry, but I already said no. ”

I turned my head, and answered.

”…you really are stubborn aren you. ”

Sighing, the bandit looked at both of us with pity before turning his head to leave.

”I hope that we meet again, boy… ”

Which I immediately replied.

”No worries, Ill meet u back at the academy. ”

”You- ”

Cutting his mid-sentence, the bandits started running towards our direction.

The bandits was only five-meter away from us when they suddenly stopped after they all felt that the surroundings became cold.

Looking around, I finally noticed why…

Alicia, who was grabbing my arms tightly, started to glow and emit blue light.

”Finally… its time. ”

I muttered before turning my head to face their leader.

”I guess well meet again in a couple of years. ”

The bandit leader was looking at both of us in confusion when he noticed that the temperature of the surroundings was slightly down than usual.

”This is an awakening… ”

Ignoring his comment, I returned my attention back towards Alicia.

The light she was emitting turned into an aura that quickly became a blue mist that covered everyones lower half.

This continued for about a minute until finally, she opened her eyes. The cold mist suddenly became ice, freezing the lower half of everyone except for me and Alicia.

[Glacial Epoch]

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