The Mark

Gregory followed her trail to the deep forest. It seemed like she's not going to another town anymore. She's heading straight to nowhere. The knight marched forth to find her and find the answers her seek from her. If she's truly a pyromancer, he hoped she would cooperate.

Pyromancers were known to be aggressive people. When someone frustrates them, they burn them. That incident later turned into a children song, warning the young to avoid pyromancers. Gregory can remember that was the reason their race were eradicated by the 9 kingdoms.

"Where are you going?" The knight wondered the girl's motives. Is she really running away or just lost?

But then a scream was heard. It was Cybele's.

The knight ran towards her screams until he reached to her location. He found her restrained by another knight but this man wore the Ivory armor. It looked like they were made from bones from other enchanted creatures. The White Knight called the fellow knight. "Greetings, Ivan."

"Excuse me?" The Ivory Knight responded as he pushed the red woman against the tree. "Do I know you?"

"It's me. Gregory from Rivertown." The White Knight approached him.

The Ivory Knight took another look at him and brushed it off. "No. I don't know you."

Gregory was little puzzled. He cannot believe Ivan forgot about him. "Don't remember your old friend?" No response from the knight. He continued to tied the red woman. "What are you doing with her?"

"There's a bounty on her head. Just claiming my prize."

Cybele turned to Gregory and mouthed the words "Help me."

But she does have a bounty, the Ivory Knight needs to have a contract. "Do you have a bounty hunter contract?"

The Ivory Knight turned to him, confused. "Bounty Hunter contract?"

Gregory noticed something strange. "Yeah, a contract for... bounty hunting."

"Yeah. I have." The knight answered instantly. "I have one in my pocket."

"Do you know the knight's code?" He asked.

"What code?" That answer just gave Gregory a new big fact.

The White Knight slowly formed a sword from his hand. "Who are you and what did you do to Ivan?"

The Ivory Knight got a little annoyed by Gregory. He threw the woman aside and confront him. "What's your problem, sir knight? Why don't you bugged someone else?"

Gregory noticed the imposter has no knowledge of who he is. He's not from any of these kingdoms. "How did you get the Ivory armor?"

The knight turned to him with a glare. "You think I stole this?"

Gregory knew he would never give him the answer. He must take him down by force. No one is authorized to have that armor. The White Knight attacked the imposter with his great longsword. But the Ivory Knight blocked it with it's tusk-made shield. He boasted about his mastery on the ivory armor. "You fool! I can form anything with this. Everything made of strong hard ivory!"

Gregory retorted, "Sure. But there's a disadvantage."

"What is it?"

"Strengthening a material like your shield here will also weaken a part of your armor."

The imposter has no clue what he meant but Gregory gave him a demonstration. The White Knight raised his foot and formed a blade on his heal. He stomped his blade-heel into his enemy's foot. The Ivory sabaton breaks quickly like a corpse's fragile bone and blade pierced through the foe's foot, causing to lose his balance and focus. His shield was merged back to his armor, leaving an opening.

Quickly and precise, Gregory grabbed the imposter's neck and plunged a dagger through it.

Blood spilled from the Ivory armor and the imposter is no more. Cybele screamed as she witnessed a murder, cried for help. The White Knight wiped out the blood on his fur coat and approached the restrained damsel. "Cybele..."

She kept on screaming for help.

"Stop it."

She screamed.

Gregory immediately removed the restraints on her. She went silent and a little confused. The knight sat down and took his time to breathe. She stood up and starts to run. "Cybele, please..."

She paused and looked back at him.

"I just need to talk." He said. "That's all."

"There's nothing to talk about."

"What are you exactly?" He waited for her answer but she remained silent. "I need to know so I can find a way to help you."

"It doesn't matter. You cannot help me."

"Okay. Just tell me and I won't follow you."

Cybele looked at him in the eye, hoping it's a promise.

Gregory added, "I won't help you. I won't try to bother you anymore. You have my word. Just tell me."

The red woman responded by showing him a mark on her neck. The knight saw the mark with the insignia of a lizard. She then said, "I don't know what I am but I know that I'm not a witch."

The knight knew what she is. "Yeah. You're clearly not a witch." She's not a pyromancer as well. Gregory cannot decide if he should tell her or just leave it be. But then he asked her kindly. "Do you happen to know the name Ignatius?"

She answered, "No."

"I see." He did not tell her about the true meaning of the mark. "You can go now." He told the red woman and so she left, running to nowhere. But Gregory did not keep his word. He manage to slip a piece of his armor inside her ragged red dress.

Once she's gone, Gregory pulled out a small gem from his pocket underneath his armor. He whispered to it and it glowed. "Uh, hello? Nathaniel? This is your great grandpa. Do you happen to know an Ignatius?" No response. So he leave it as a voice message. "If you receive this, kindly answer quickly." Now that he has two problems in the table.

She's problem number 2.

Problem number 1 is the imposter getting the Ivory armor.

He wondered how he got it and what happened to his friend Ivan. Gregory reached down inside the ivory chest plate and pulled out a small bone from the imposter. Once it's out, the Ivory armor slowly crumbled and turned to ash, revealing the imposter's bloody corpse. He wore a clothes of a farmer with his brown shirt and pants. The knight also noticed he's barefoot and covered with mud plus the stab wound Gregory inflicted.

Gregory thought, Did Ivan reached his 100-year contract? He cannot remember when he claimed the Ivory Armor. Knowing he cannot find anymore answers from a corpse, he leave it as a mystery. He will solved it later.

For now, he kept the Ivory bone and followed the red woman.

=X=