They had been training for a week, and already Lee Sin had shown clear improvement. He was strong, fast and knew how to use all of his senses to make up for his lack of sight. Vlad knew that there wasn’t more he could get out of this without the two of them truly fighting to the death. During this time, the two had gotten to know each other quite well and were becoming extremely close friends. After they finished their training for the day, they sat down to talk.
“I think you’ve learned as much as you will from sparring with me. At this point you’ll need different opponents.” Lee Sin smiled and said, “Thank you. It no longer feels as though I am disadvantaged. While I’m not quite the same as I was before, I certainly grew stronger in other ways.” Vlad was glad to hear it and said, “So what now? I need to save Riven, but I really don’t want to assault the compound and kill everyone.”
The two men sat there and considered their options for some time, unable to find a good choice. Finally Lee Sin said, “I really don’t know what else we can do. Perhaps you could try to find somewhere-“ He stopped mid sentence. “Wha-“ Vlad started, but Lee Sin raised a hand and cut him off. He leaned in and whispered to Vlad, “I hear voices. I don’t believe it’s safe here anymore.” Vlad nodded, trusting Lee implicitly and tugged on his arm.
Lee followed, so he must’ve gotten the hint, and Vlad headed west. The voices had come from the east, the direction of the prison, and from what Lee had told him, the western central coast of Ionia was largely uninhabited. As they hurried along, Lee kept his hand up, trying to keep things quiet. Finally, he stopped and whispered, “I don’t hear them anymore.” Just as Vlad was about to speak, a voice called out from behind. “Stop where you are.”
Vlad turned around and was relieved to see Irelia standing there. “Irelia! I’m glad it’s you. We were afraid that you were after us because of the prison break.” He laughed, feeling better and glad to see the woman again. She, however, stood there looking slightly unsure of herself. “Vladimir, I’ve come to take you in.” She looked very awkward, and Vlad was unsure what to say. He looked over towards Lee and was surprised to see he wasn’t there.
Facing Irelia again he said, “Are you sure this is how you want it to be? You know I didn’t do anything.” He sincerely hoped she would reconsider. He liked Irelia and he didn’t want to hurt her. She hesitated, “I have orders from the Duchess, and I must follow them.” Vlad was disappointed but said, “That is… unfortunate. I can’t let you take me.” Before he had even finished speaking, he attempted to hurl a blood bolt in Irelia’s direction, but found he could not sense the blood around him. He panicked, and tried his best not to let it show.
Irelia looked to him and said, “Well, of course I came with backup. That’s what we call being silenced. Soraka focuses all her energy on taking away your abilities to manipulate magic.” Vlad was stunned. He had been in control of blood for so long that he hadn’t remembered what it felt like not to be. He felt naked and vulnerable. Irelia readied her blades, preparing to engage, when they heard a loud scream from thirty yards back.
A horned woman appeared around the side of a tree, who Vlad knew from tales to be the Starchild. Carrying her by the scruff of her neck, Lee Sin followed and said, “I caught something.” Vladimir could feel the blood around him in the air again and was relieved. “As you can see, Irelia, I had help as well. Thanks Lee.” He smiled a cocky smile at her. “Now, if you would; listen to my story, then you can try to take me in if you’d like.”
He told Irelia the entire story, beginning from the time he was recruited by Talon in the Crimson Elite, up until meeting Irelia in the restaurant. She listened attentively but it was Soraka who spoke up first. “Your friend Riven is being held in the Placidium with the Duchess. I tried to go in to tend to her, but was not allowed. They’re essentially trying to blackmail you into complying with them.” Vlad looked angry and said, “She hasn’t done anything, and neither have I.”
Soraka said gravely, “That doesn’t matter to the Duchess right now. She’s been acting oddly ever since the Noxian invasion ended. Talon came to the capital that day to formalize the ceasefire.” This news worried Vladimir, as he knew what an excellent politician and assassin Talon was. He ignored it for now however and said, “Well, what now? You’re not really going to arrest us again, are you?” Irelia looked thoughtful before saying, “I know I should, but it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t understand why Karma is putting you on such a high priority with the Zaunite invasion underway.”
Vlad’s surprise must have been evident on his face, because Irelia immediately said, “Oh, you haven’t heard about it yet? Singed and a new general named Viktor have been leading Zaunite forces in an invasion of the southern and northern parts of Ionia. Karma isn’t taking it seriously because we defeated Viktor in the north and she’s assuming that’s all taken care of.” Vlad looked worried before Lee Sin said, “Does this seem too convenient to anyone else?”
Everyone looked over at him and he laughed saying, “I can feel your stares, even without seeing them. But it seems strange that Noxus would have a complete lifestyle change from what we’ve always known. Why would the perennial invaders back off only for their closest allies to begin their own assault.” Soraka asked, “What are you suggesting?” Lee Sin shook his head and said, “Honestly, I don’t even know. I feel like there’s something going behind the scenes that we’re unaware of.”
The four of them stood there, enmity forgotten, contemplating events in Ionia. Finally, Vladimir looked around and said, “Well, I’d like to help Ionia. During my brief time here, I’ve grown to enjoy it. First and foremost though, I want to save Riven.” A curious look crossed over Irelia’s face, but before Vlad could ask what it meant, Soraka cleared her throat and asked, “Do you really want to go back to the capital? Karma will not listen in her current state.”
Vladimir stood there, thinking through his options before suddenly bursting into laughter. “I’ve got it!” He walked right up to Irelia, their faces less than a foot away. Suddenly, he kneeled at her feet, bowing his head and held out his hands before saying, “Irelia, I submit myself to your martial prowess. You may take me prisoner now.” She stood there looking stunned for a moment before he raised his head and looked at her. He winked and she laughed, a look of understanding crossing her face.
“So, you want to submit to me eh?” She gave a wry smile before continuing. “Well, if we want to do something this suicidal, we’ll need a good plan.” Vladimir laughed and the four set about arranging their infiltration of the Placidium.
Sorry guys, I just now realized I didn't post the next installment on here yesterday xD. I said this on my blog, but my release schedule is going to be a bit off for the next few days. I'm moving, so even though there will still be a new one out every day, they'll be at strange times, so please bear with me . And Ancient Pire, perhaps... perhaps.
His blade cleaved yet another robotic skull, and he was still amazed to see human brains inside. He looked around the burning city and saw another group of cyborgs slaughtering his men. He concentrated hard and time appeared to slow around him. He sprinted at full speed at the enemies and dashed to each one, slicing them through the middle. Dropping back into real time, his men gazed in awe. To them it had looked like he teleported to each opponent. He said powerfully, “We must hold out until the citizens have had time to evacuate.” The soldiers all nodded their agreement and took off back into the fray.
Just yesterday, he had received a message from the capital rewarding him for repelling the invasion. The messenger brought back news that the Zaunite army had invaded the southern shores as well, but his one-time pupil Wukong had managed to hold them back. He had been injured in the fight, but had recovered and was now fine, resting in the Placidium.
Because of this, he had been told Zaun had withdrawn, and Ionia had successfully repelled another invasion. Earlier today, they had been in the middle of a celebration in Malthrir when another Zaunite biochemical weapon landed in the crowd. Many died before they could get their masks on, but they’d managed to evacuate a good amount of the civilians. Master Yi, wearing his formal Ionian garb, had led his soldiers headlong into battle.
Going in, they had expected a similar fight to the one before, but found something even more horrifying. The invading army consisted of soldiers augmented with robotic weaponry and limbs. Initially, it had been a slaughter, but Master Yi had managed to retreat into the city. Once there, the Ionians engaged in guerrilla warfare, ambushing and splitting the Zaunite army. It had worked well for a time, but the cyborgs outnumbered the Ionians by a considerable amount. At this point, Master Yi estimated he only had one hundred soldiers left to contend against thousands.
Focusing again on the matter at hand, Master Yi ducked into an alleyway. A group of ten cyborgs appeared in the town square he had just been in. Fire was all around and the town was burning to the ground in front of him. Filled with rage, The Wuju Bladesman roared with fury and dove into the middle of the group. Slicing left and right, he managed to take two down immediately, before allowing his hatred to take over.
The Zaunites attempted to fire their weapons at him, but every time a movement was made, Master Yi’s blade was already whirling into place, severing limbs and heads as though they were a child’s toy. When he regained his composure, the entire group lay scattered in pieces on the ground. The Wuju Bladesman’s greatest gift had been the knowledge that Wukong lived. During the Noxian invasion, he had been forced to stay in the background, unable to fight in order to preserve his martial art. Now that another master lived, his life was his to give, and he could fight with reckless abandon.
He heard a scream off in the distance and hurried over, wishing to protect any he could from harm. He arrived on a street that was ringed with fire and saw a man huddling on the ground and the robotic leader Viktor standing over him. An Ionian soldier lay on the ground nearby, bleeding profusely from a severed arm. Master Yi yelled out, “Viktor. Let us settle this like men.” A harsh, metallic voice responded, “Oh, I am much more than a man now Yi. My revolution has begun, and your pathetic town is the first to see its glorious effects.”
Master Yi bristled inside and said, “If you’re so superior, prove it to me. It shouldn’t be a problem fighting a single Bladesman such as myself.” Viktor paused, and his robotic eyes bored into Master Yi’s goggles. He obviously knew he was being baited, but said, “Very well. Let us fight then.” He ordered his minions to back away and leave them be. They formed a ring around the two and Yi said, “He gets to go, or no deal.” Viktor waved his hand and the man scampered up. Yi looked at him and said, “You must tell someone, the Arrow of Retribution is our best hope.”
The man nodded and then ran away, obviously pleased to get away. Master Yi turned back towards Viktor and said, “It doesn’t matter how many robotic parts you have. You shall lose for one reason, and one reason only.” Viktor laughed, a cold mirthless laugh and said, “Why is that?” Yi smirked and paused a moment, allowing tension to build. “Your skills are inferior.”
With that, Master Yi concentrated and time seemed to slow down again. He dove forward and struck Viktor three times. The first two strikes seemed to bounce off of him, but the last one struck his left arm, which was still human and severed it. He bellowed in pain and time seemed to speed up back to normal. Yi smiled and kept moving, making himself a difficult target to hit. Viktor repeatedly fired lasers at him from the mechanical arm on his back, but the Wuju Bladesman dodged them effortlessly, laughing at him.
Viktor appeared to grow more and more outraged, firing with increasing speed, but even worse accuracy. One of his lasers struck a subordinate, and the man fell to ground dead. Ignoring this, Viktor suddenly threw out a hidden disk. It struck Master Yi squarely in the chest, causing him to fall to one knee. It ricocheted directly back to Viktor and when he went to catch it, Master Yi saw his opportunity. Lunging forward, he swung with all his might, preparing to behead the Machine Herald, but hit a barrier.
The invisible barrier almost knocked the sword out of Master Yi’s hands, but seemed to shatter upon the contact. He prepared to dive forward again when Viktor threw an odd contraption on the ground next to him. A small field appeared on top of it and Yi felt as though his movements were being slowed while he was in it. Counteracting this, Yi concentrated on all of his Wuju training and the inertia of the machine suddenly stopped affecting him.
He was about to swing in for the killing blow on Viktor when he felt a searing pain in his stomach. He looked down, and a clean hole, the size of a small coin, was apparently in the center of his torso. He hit the ground hard and looked back at a cyborg, laughing at his injury. He struggled to his feet and prepared himself for the outcome he knew was inevitable. He face the cyborg leader and laughed, blood flying out as he did so.
Viktor’s mechanical arm raised and a beam of light came out, crossing from the Wuju Bladesman’s right shoulder to his left hip. For one small moment, the pain was excruciating, and the next, Master Yi found himself thinking of an Ionian meadow. The mountains around it were majestic, and the trees had pinkish red leaves due to the autumn of the year.
The Ionian warrior smiled and died with the smell of the Ionian countryside fresh in his memory.
As they arrived at the capital, she knew something about the mood was wrong. The usually peaceful city was frantic and everyone seemed wary of the people around them. She turned and looked at her two “captives”. They were cuffed and she moved to take them off. Vlad stopped her and said, “Hey! What about our plan?” Irelia cast an eye on her surroundings and said, “While I’m sure the two of you can take care of yourselves, I’d rather have you free and ready to go. I think our plan is moot given the new circumstances.”
Vlad looked concerned, but Lee Sin nodded immediately. Irelia undid his first, but when she went back to get Vlad’s, he still looked hesitant. On his other side, Soraka said, “I know you only wish for your friend to be ok, but I promise you, things haven’t been right lately. I agree with Irelia that you’re probably better off not throwing yourself at their mercy.” Vlad consented and Irelia took off his cuffs.
He laughed, somewhat nervously but said, “So, time for a new plan, or are we just going to play it by ear at this point?” Irelia said, “We will simply go in and speak the truth. If anyone tries to stop us, we get them out of our way without killing them. Is that clear?” Vlad’s smile turned wolfish and he said, “I don’t know where you’d get the idea that I would ever do something like that.” Irelia felt the blood rush to her face when he looked at her like that, but quickly regained her composure, “Let’s just say I heard the details of your prison break.”
The four of them laughed, and were obviously nervous. Despite this, they continued on, keeping a close eye on everyone as they passed by. Although everyone was talking, they used hushed voices and it made for an eerie effect in the once warm and welcoming city. They reached the base of the mountain and Irelia looked up at the Placidium. It appeared that even the normally vibrant colorful gems of the architecture had given in to the gloom settled around the place.
As they went up the steps, two guards outside stepped in the way. “Captain, we can’t let you pass without those two restrained.” Irelia gave them a withering stare and said, “If you’re not out of my way momentarily, I’m going to show you how I got the name Will of the Blades.” On cue, her magical weapons floated off their perch on her shoulders and began to whirl around her. The guards looked nervous but stood their ground. “I’m sorry Captain, but I have strict orders from the Duchess herse-“ Before he could finish his words Irelia had knocked them both out with the flat side of her blades.
She turned and saw Vlad looked impressed. “This way please,” she gestured forward and Soraka took the lead. They went through the tunnel quickly, but met no opposition from anyone. They quickly made their way to Karma’s chambers and were surprised to see no guards. Irelia pushed the door open and saw that the room was black. Alarmed, she began to back away, but it was too late. A large contingent of guards appeared and trapped them where they were.
Karma glided gracefully out of the door and said, “Well done Irelia, Soraka. Thank you for bringing the traitors here to me.” Lee Sin’s face remained impassive, but Vlad shot her an angry look that made her feel awful. Thinking quickly, Irelia made a snap decision and said, “It was very easy, Duchess. They seemed to think we were gullible enough to believe their innocence and would bring them here to help. I had hoped you would be ready for it, and you’ve proved me right. Guards, take them away and make sure they are held under tight surveillance.
Irelia tried to catch Vlad’s eye and give him a look, but he seemed to be avoiding her gaze at all costs. Frustrated, she turned back to Karma and smiled. “Well, I’ve done what you asked. What are your plans for them now?” Karma returned her smile, but as she did, it made Irelia shiver. “I have the perfect plan for them. Soraka?” The Starchild turned to her and respectfully waited for instructions.
“Please go get the Noxian’s friend. You’ll find her down the hall. I believe it’s time to wake her up.” Irelia knew this should’ve been good news, but for some reason the bottom of her stomach seemed to drop out. “What shall we do with the prisoner, Duchess?” She turned and a sinister look fell across her face. “The man clearly cares more about this woman than anyone else.” Irelia felt a stab of hatred but kept it stifled. “So I say we use that. We can use her and her pain to compel him to tell us whatever we need.”
She made sure she let nothing show on her face, but at that moment, she knew Karma had fallen irredeemably. She would have to kill this once wise-ruler turned dictator.
Ahloso, I think it's going to be even more a tease. The story moves forward, and a big event happens, but it leaves you hanging on actual answers xD. I'm so mean.
As they were being led down to the dungeons, Vlad saw Lee Sin look at him. The Blind Monk nodded almost imperceptibly and in that instant, Vlad knew their plan. At once, Vlad unleashed a torrent of blood upon the two guards holding him, burning them wherever his blood touched. Looking over, Vlad watched Lee Sin smash the ground and send out a small shockwave, putting his two guards off balance. Immediately after, Lee Sin threw an orb of energy, striking one and quickly kicked the other hard into the wall.
In a matter of three seconds, all four guards were incapacitated and the two stopped briefly. Vlad asked, “Well, what now? Did Irelia really betray us?” Lee Sin looked over disdainfully and said, “Come now, is your attraction really making you that blind?” Vlad’s face was shocked and he said, “What are you talking about?” Lee threw him a hard look and said, “We don’t have time to discuss it now, but she was devastated. We need to meet up with those two before they get themselves killed trying to help us.”
The two raced back up the hallway where they had been taken, but Vlad cut them off when they reached the door. The two paused and Vlad peered around the corner. The room was empty, but the lights were still on inside. He whispered, “Let’s go.” Lee Sin followed him and the two quickly crossed the room. Seeing another hallway on the far side, the two decided to follow it. As they went, they heard voices coming from a room on the side.
The Duchess’ voice rang loudly down the hall. “Do it Soraka. You either wake her up, or I kill her.” Vladimir heard a slightly muffled response, and then silence for ten seconds. The two escapees inched closer to the door, trying to hear more. Suddenly, a groan rang out followed by a voice saying, “Where am I?” Vlad was momentarily stunned to hear that voice again, but held his silence. Karma’s voice came through clearly.
“Ah, the Noxian is awake. Fine work Soraka. You and Irelia may now leave.” Vlad held his breath, and there was the sound of a small scuffle before he heard. “Ah, there we go. I was wondering when your true, traitorous colors would come out.” Karma sounded confident and in control, a signal Vlad took to be a bad omen. He tapped Lee Sin on the shoulder and the Blind Monk nodded. They moved and appeared in the doorway, Vlad witnessed a strange scene.
Karma, ten guards, Irelia, Soraka and Riven were all packed into a very small room. Karma was standing against a wall to the left, unarmed, while two guards aimed pikes at Riven’s throat, and four each pressed pikes to Irelia’s and Soraka’s. Everyone in the room turned and looked at the two newcomers, and there was a moment where everyone stood stock still, unsure what to do.
In an instant, Vlad fired blood at everyone he could hit, unable to get to the guards in the back by Riven. All eight guards on Irelia and Soraka recoiled for a moment, and that was all the time the Will of the Blades needed. Her flying knives quickly sliced up the guards around them until only the two by Riven were left. She was sitting up, against the wall, looking scared, but determined. Lee Sin ran over to Karma and restrained her, while Vlad calmly walked up to the two guards.
“Leave now, and you live.” Vlad’s voice was soft, but his tone left no doubt that he would follow through on his threat. The two guards quickly ran away and Riven slumped down, obviously relieved. Vlad quickly hugged her and said, “I’m so glad you’re back.” Riven didn’t say anything, but simply looked confused. Turning back towards the room, Vlad saw Irelia address Karma.
“Would you like to tell me what’s going on? You were a wise and caring ruler! Suddenly you’re ignoring an invasion so you can torture an innocent person solely because she’s a Noxian? What happened?” Karma laughed haughtily and said, “This invasion is a joke, we’re winning it. You yourself went and won the northern campaign.” Irelia’s face looked angry and without moving a muscle, her blades sprang to life and pressed again Karma’s throat. The haughty look disappeared at once and terror replaced it.
“Tell me why. What happened after the Noxian invasion?” Karma looked as though she was debating whether or not to answer when Irelia’s blades pressed harder into her flesh, drawing a small line of blood. Suddenly Karma’s face appeared triumphant and she said, “It matters not what you do to me. My love will win it all in the end.” A manic glee appeared in her eyes, and Karma lunged forward, slicing her neck on the blades.
She began choking, but Vlad just sat back and laughed. Everyone turned to look at him, wondering if he’d gone crazy, but he merely put his hand out. The flow of blood stopped and Vlad calmly said, “Soraka, if you would?” The Starchild smiled at him and before their eyes, the wound closed. Karma looked distressed and Vlad kneeled down, meeting her eyes. “Now, Duchess,” contempt dripped from his voice as he said the word Duchess.
“Why don’t you and I get into some specifics?” Karma looked frightened, unsure of what to do, before a defeated look crossed her face. After taking a moment to regain her composure, she told them the whole story, starting with the Noxian retreat.
You guys can hate me some more. 14 gives answers... but still ends nice and cliffhanger-y xD
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