July 1, 2022

The World of Yelic, Chapter One

Genth surveyed the dark, rocky valley through his rifle scope. Seated on the hilltop, he scanned the ground below for his prey. Accompanying him was the gang’s best look out, Kalvin. The big man was on one knee, diligently scanning the area below for prey. He wore a simple cap, as did Genth. According to the boss, they were supposed to stay inconspicuous. Whatever that meant.

“But anyways, there I was,” Kalvin continued. “Surrounded by eight, no twelve men.”

Genth lowered his rifle to look up at the man.

“Really?”

“Yes, really! They were baring knives, swords, crossbows, all the sorts of nasty things you can-” He stopped. “Oh, wait. Target showing at ten-thirty.”

Lifting his rifle without missing a beat, Genth sighted his quarry. They were fast little critters, darting between bouts of cover. He wasn’t even sure if they knew they were being hunted, or if their invulnerability was coincidence. Intentional or not, it was giving Genth a real headache.

But going down there and asking “Hey, buddy. Will you stop and stand still so I can blast open your skull?” wasn’t an option. So he dropped the next unlucky varmint that walked into his sights.

That oughta stop em for a bit.

“Ya get him?” Kalvin asked.

“I haven’t seen any since I fired the shot.”

“Hm. I don’t see any movement down there.” The big guy fell silent, and Genth gave the area another sweep through his scope. They had either fallen in behind cover, or run away. Them running away and leaving them alone was too good to be true. Kalvin echoed the sentiment by reluctantly pulling out his telescope.

“But you were saying,” Genth prompted.

“What?”

“You said twelve guys. What happened?”

“OH, right!” A huge smile stretched out over Kalvin’s face. “So those louts are’ll angry because I told them to stop harassing the ladies at the bar. Fine women they were, too.” Genth was riveted. The boss had rolled his eyes when Kalvin said he would tell Genth a few stories. For the life of him, Genth couldn’t figure out why.

“So I swing on the first guy. Some bald guy in a fur coat. Face red from all the beer he’s drunk. I barely even touch the guy, and he’s knocked clean out!”

“What!”

“The others see this, and of course,” Kalvin paused. His face dead panned. “Mark at twelve o’clock. Darn. How did they move so quick without us seeing?” The forest was usually their ally, but not this night. Genth lifted his rifle and fired. He needed only a fraction of a second to aim. The boss had called him one of the best shots he had ever seen. “You got one. They’ve turned away from the boss. That’ll give him a few more minutes.”

Genth didn’t take his eyes, or his scope, off the field below. They had managed to cover an alarming amount of distance in a short amount of time. Kalvin lowered his telescope, and squinted. As if squinting would help him see what he couldn’t with a telescope.

“We’ve done what we can. Let the boss know.” Kalvin nodded to Genth, and the youth stuck his rifle straight in the air. He let off a golden round, which lit up the sky above. The signal that they were out of time. Genth then stood, slinging his rifle over his shoulder and charging down the hill behind a bumbling Kalvin. They began their circuitous route back towards the rendezvous point.

“And at this point,” Kalvin said. He had that triumphant grin on his face again, despite the branches that kept raking his features. “The others start learning what’s good for ’em. But one particularly brash fellow steps up to me, shaking a broken bottle in my face.”

“What did you do?” Genth asked between gasps.

“I swung on him too! Knocked him flat on his behind! Scared the others so much that they all ran away!” He chuckled, the sound getting lost in the wind, and the endless crackling of branches and leaves.

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