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16 Part IV

 "Something is definitely wrong...Ryu isn't back yet" Artemis was worried about where her Olth had gone. Her hands hung loosely over her knees as she gazed at the fire thinking where Ryu had wandered off too.

"How about we talk about the possible scenarios? One, It fled in light of the fact that it had acknowledged how futile it is. Two, it got eaten, three...it needs some time alone after your unusual disposition today" Orion changed into his fox form and laid on the ground after stretching.

"My unusual attitude?" Artemis wondered how she'd offended Ryu.

"You won't admit it. You also know Ryu isn't important. Your behavior to it makes it clear."

Artemis didn't respond. No matter what, she wouldn't let Orion kill the creature.

The Fox man's nose flared and in a second, he switched back to his beastman body, grabbed Artemis then ran at full speed.

He put his hand over her mouth as he tried to conceal his magic but it was difficult because of the amount he was using to boost his speed. Regardless of his endeavors, he felt like whatever was coming after them was quicker.

His furry ears perked to the dull sound of knives piercing the trees around. The darkness hid whatever was tailing them, but Orion could feel the approaching presence of a strong Aura and could smell the scent of a familiar parasite.

He had limited time to think. He didn't expect the Sol government to look for him so soon. He could take the attacker on, but that would be a bad idea. Killing the hired assassin would only prove he is alive and currently living on earth. He couldn't afford to let them find out about Artemis. She'd likely get killed, and Melissa's sacrifice would be in the vane.

Branches constantly hindered him at every turn, fallen leaves and twigs crunched under his feet and the attacker's. He immediately climbed a tree and hopped the distance he was unable to run.

He assumed the unidentified individual was below until the masked assassin appeared in front of him, equipped with two sharp swords in his hands.

Orion was unfortunately unarmed, all he could do was dodge his attacks without letting Artemis go.

The attacker slashed the heavy swords at Orion with an expert-like sleight. The latter flipped his body in reverse avoiding the assault and arriving on his feet effortlessly. Artemis had been battling the desire to pee the whole time.

She knew Orion would explain to her later on, but what she had no idea about was why Orion wasn't wasn't retaliating like he should.

Orion could see the moon glistening river from a distance, and he triple boosted his speed to get to it on time. Before he plunge into the river, he ensured he muted the splash caused by the impact so it wouldn't pull in the attacker.

Orion concealed his aura as they both sunk. That way, he wouldn't be traced.

He started to wonder why the cold water suddenly felt warm. Something clearly wasn't right, however he didn't have the slightest idea of what made him to feel that way.

Artemis chose not to tell him what she'd done. She'd reveal she peed once they get out.

The two remained submerged throughout the night, and they swam out when the strong aura had faded at dawn.

Their garments were drenched. Orion needed to set up a disguise as quickly as time permits. There was no telling how far the attackers had gone or what else they'd planned. He tore a piece of his hanbok, squeezed it then used it to create a dress his size. He also made a tunic and hose Artemis could wear to pretend as a boy for the meantime.

"Go over there and change" Artemis did as he said and walked over to the rock he'd pointed at. She went back to meet Orion and was shocked by his choice of disguise.

"Don't stare at me too much!" He commanded as Artemis eyes were fixed on him with amazement. He actually looked pretty in his female form. The bodice looked flawless over the dress he'd made. He rolled his eyes as he covered his white hair that he'd tried his best to plait with a Garland.

"Are you going to explain to me what's going on?"

"Evidently, I was followed. I'm certain that Merchant had something to do with it."

"That doesn't explain what's going on! Why did we have to sleep in the river? I know our bodies have adapted to the marine but, I just want to know why you didn't fight back. I'm sure you could've taken whoever they were on! You're strong!"

"Keep your voice down" he hushed the shouting child "He wasn't the only one. If you listened closely, you would've heard the sound of knives hitting trees..."

"I did" She wanted to yell to prove she had a good sense of hearing, but she recalled the sticky situation they were both in.

He showed her an arrow that was shot at his right leg. "There isn't just one of them. I could estimate four from different directions, that's if the knife thrower was different from the swordsman which could be possible."

"That doesn't answer my question!"

"Child, Fighting isn't always the best solution to problems. All I could think of was run not because I was scared but because there was no other choice. I could take them all on. I have enough magic level to heal at a fast rate. I devoted most of my life to training. I'm sure they knew they didn't stand a chance. That's why I came to a conclusion that they're just decoys."

Artemis tilted her head as she raised a brow "Decoy?"

"Yes. Their deaths would serve as some kind of signal to prove that I am currently on earth."

"You're a wanted criminal?"

"No, they just want to find Melissa. I could detect their aura at the campsite because it felt like they were an inch close to us. But mine radiates despite the distance. I admit I was at fault for not concealing my magic. I didn't think that they'll find us so soon..."

It seemed like Orion was blaming himself too much for the attack. Artemis was moved by watching his manly breakdown.

"Orion, It's not your fault. Don't be too hard on yourself" he looked up to her as his lips wrinkled. It looked as if he was holding back a burst of laughter.

"Do you think I'm apologizing to you? Artemis you should know me by now. I'm actually apologizing  to my excellent self."

Artemis squeezed her lips into a slender line having nothing else to state about the matter.

"Do you think they're the ones that took Ryu?" Orion anticipated that to be the first question she'd ask.

"Yes. In fact, I could smell an Olth" Artemis face beamed with a wide smile.

"But it's dead" Her heart skirted a beat at the words he said so briskly as if it didn't make a difference that her Olth had died.

"You're lying right!?" Artemis didn't want to believe him.

"I am" he admitted. Orion thought about the disadvantage of letting her get emotional over the most unimportant Olth ever to exist

"If you want to get yourself slaughtered you can go search for it. But if you can use your only brain cell to think about the scenario that would  follow, you can come along with me." Artemis had already started walking away to search for the Olth.

He pinched the bridge of his nose then walked after her. He found the human to be very annoying and stubborn.

He swiftly hit her head careful enough to not cause severe damage but just to knock her out for the meantime.

He proceeded towards a different direction with Artemis out cold in his arms. He hoped that he wouldn't run into anyone of his attackers because his aura would be sensed. He was using a little percent of his magic to frame himself as a woman. If they'd by chance get close to him, they'd detect a magical presence.

A white horse galloped towards him, and he tried his best to avoid eye contact, but the man riding the horse still brought it to a stop.

"Hello there," he greeted with a pleasant smile.

Orion tensed. He had arrows strapped to his back. Whether his arrows were or were not the same with the attacker, he took into consideration that there were two others that he didn't come across.

The man sitting astride on the horse before them might just be a normal hunter, but he didn't want to jump into a careless conclusion. Anything could happen. Maybe he walked straight into a trap and the man was a supposed bait.

"H~hello" He had to change the tone of his voice without magic, and he did a bad job at it.

The man assumed to be a hunter wondered why the pitch of the woman sounded so unusual "Are you okay young lady?"

His taut voice made him sound so manly notwithstanding his efforts to make it sound feminine.

It was his first time acting like a lady and to him, he was accomplishing something worth being praised.

"Of course" He tried to laugh cutely but it only made the man wonder if he was mentally unstable.

"I'm just on my way back to the village."

"Why did you have to come this far?"

Orion was irritated by the number of questions that were none of his concern. "Well, my little brother adores nature. He wanders around until he gets lost. Please excuse my voice, I have a sore throat from shouting his name all day."

"Oh dear. You might as well get back to the village on time. Outlaws live around here. Good luck" before he could give his horse a verbal command, another question sprung up in his mind. He was a curious kind. He blurted questions without reconsidering.

"Can I at least get your precise location. You wandering in the woods wasn't the only thing that caught my attention. You're really pretty."

All this while Orion had been controlling his anger. He wasn't going to blame the hunter for falling in love with him. He was actually a very beautiful being, and people worshiping his appeal was what he liked the most.

"I'm married" He had to come up with some sort of excuse. Without looking back, he left the man who had no other choice but to proceed to his destination.

Orion had never been so embarrassed. He was glad he knocked Artemis out. She would've mocked him forever.

The hunter said something about bandits in the woods. He stopped walking to think properly. Was it really beastmen that were sent or bandits that had an undefined race?