Love of Mystery and Death: Episode 1

Blue Forest known for its death and mythical creatures. Most dangerous assassin took an assignment which took him to Blue Forest. This assignment changed the lives of many people. Blue Forest changed his life in a manner which he can't understand. What he found in there? What will happen? how enemies became friends? A story with twists and turns and mythical creatures.

  • Wine and dart

  • A campfire burns in middle of the Blue forest, some horses tied to a post, few men eating and drinking around the fire, their faces turn brighter with every crackle in fire. Blue forest is trying its best to remain dark and stop the moonlight with its big trees, but moonlight make the forest a little bright by making its way through the leafs. Moon is shining bright as it’s the night of the full moon, Two eyes looks at moon angrily because moon was making his work difficult, then those eyes make their way to a face near the fire, once again eyes look up and sees the moon with a little anger. That face near the fire is known to be the nicest man in whole lands, his name is “Henry Charles” or “Lord Henry Charles”, lord of the green plains, everyman knows him and happy to meet him as he Is famous for his charming personality. The man stalking him in the shadows is known by many names, ‘The unwanted’, ‘Shadow Death’ or the most famous ‘Red Shadow’. Henry stood up and walked towards his tent, two of his guards followed him and stood beside his tent, Henry went in for a good night sleep. His men still sitting around fire and their laughs echoed in forest time to time. Shadow starts walking around the camp to the back of Henry’s tent. He knows he only got little time because Henry’s men will be getting up after their lord left, now they have to go to their posts to protect the camp from wild animals. He make it to Henry’s tent, he knew he would be sleep as he watched him drink for past two hours, He put his dagger through the tent’s cloth and cuts it making a little hole, His eyes sees Henry on the bed, rhythm of his chest told Red that he is sleeping. He heard clanking of pots and swords meaning that Henry’s men are ready for their duties, He quickly take out his blow darts and load the tube with a dart, dart was attached to a thread and dipped in a lethal poison. He put the tube through the hole and blew in it. Dart went flying in Henry’s arm. Henry did not move due to his drunken night. Shadow heard the guards coming and starts to pull the thread. As soon as he recovers the dart, He ran on his four to keep out of sight and into the woods, vanishing into the darkness of the great Blue Forest. Lord Dake Artis was walking to his castle with his loyal servant Renald. Lord Artis is a well-built man with brown hair and he is in his fifties. Renald was short twenty five years old. They were talking about the death of Lord Henry. Lord Artis’ lands were beside Lord Henry’s lands. Lord Artis: What is the reaction of locals? Renald: They think Red Shadow is behind this. Lord Artis: and why is that? Renald: No snake with the black fry poison is in Blue Forest plus his camp was heavily guarded, no simple assassin can get past the guards. Lord Artis: no guard was killed? Or any guard saw anything? Renald: Nope. Lord Artis: Well send my respects to his locals, I will visit them myself in afternoon. Renald bowed then turn around and walked out towards the fruit farms which belonged to Lord Artis. Lord Artis stood watching him until he walked out. His face indicated that he is in deep thoughts. Then he walked in his castle, he passed his hallways. His ancestor’s pictures were hung on the wall. He was going to his study but when he passed his bathrooms, he heard someone taking bath and singing. He became angry as these were his personal baths and no servant was allowed to use them. He rushed into baths and yelled. Lord Artis: Who the hell thinks they can use my baths….come out, I will skin you alive. Lord Artis noticed that bathroom was dark, only one torch was lit and others were out. A voice came from behind the curtain. “Relaaax, it’s just some water.” Lord Artis recognized the voice and quickly locked the bath door. Lord Artis: Oh it’s you Red, I was wondering who in my servants became brave enough to use my bath. Red: hahaha, I waited for you in your study but going through the forest made me tired, Bath always make me fresh. Lord Artis asked anxiously: So? Red: Yes, it does make me fresh….. Lord Artis face showed a little anger and he said. ” Talking about your assignment “ Red: oh yeah, that is done…..was pretty easy. Lord Artis: Locals are already saying it was you. You used Black fry to kill him. Red starts to wear cloths behind curtain. Red: I had to make a little announcement, I could kill him with any poison but it’s kind of my mark. How would I receive any more assignments if no one knows that a big man like Lord Henry was killed in his own tent. Lord Artis watched him as he came out from behind the curtain, he was wearing his black leather armor with a sword on the side. They both came out of the bathroom and starts to walk towards his study. Lord Artis: Not going to lie…I tried some other paid killers but no one wanted to go after Henry and those who agreed, did not want to go in the Blue forest. They entered the study and both sits on chair face to face. Red: Who else agreed to kill him?? Lord Artis: That young boy “Rio”, I heard his name a lot, locals fear him now. Red: eh, just a new kid……well let’s talk some gold, shall we? Lord Artis smiled and opened his desk; he took out a medium sized sack. Lord Artis: as requested. Red took the sack and looked in while Lord Artis pour some wine in two glasses. Then he think about something and pour it back in the jug. Red stood up, shook his hand and said. Red: you can drink the wine, nothing in it. Lord Artis: Na, cannot risk it, in fact I will open a new barrel … Red smiled and walked towards the back gate, no one can see him with Lord Artis or leaving his castle. Lord left out a big breath of relief, his face showed happiness, he walked to the gate but stopped. He turned around and came to the pad on which he leaves instructions for Renald, he picks up a pen from the ink pot and wrote on the pad “Waste all barrels of wine, and stock new ones, immediately”
  • News from the mountains

  • Welcome to the beautiful and peaceful Land of Draound. Legend has it that very long ago there was no name for these grassy plains. These grassy plains cover thousands of acres, many valleys and 3 big forests make these grassy plains. From one side this place was cut off by a sea called “Crystal Sea”. And from one side it was covered by small and big mountain ranges with different names, from the third side it had Blue Forest which was very vast and seem to have no end to it. from the fourth side it was connected to the world by land called “Miller Passage”, But as beautiful as it was, it was also a victim for the savages for looting. Stories tell that these savages often come from the other side of the mountains and attack the villages. Stories also mention of all these magical creatures’ savages brought with them like trolls and ogres, they use to eat humans and help savages in looting. Then a twenty one year old boy stood up, a farmer’s son named Draound. Draound was the first voice against these savages and slowly many brave souls started to support him. Then Draound and his army fought against the enemy in a great battle and destroyed them once and for all, army chased them through the plains, up on the mountains until they were out of these lands. It’s also been said that Draound’s first kill was a troll; he cut him in half with one swing of his sword. Draound beat the enemies and people named these lands after him. He was offered a throne, to be the king but he refused and remained a farmer. Land of Draound still has no king and different lords with their own armies own their parts and rule them. Still when travelers go up in mountains they tell the tales that still there are of signs of a great battle. But legends are legends, now no one knows if these are true or just some stories mothers tell their children. Now there are many lords but there are four big lords in this land including Lord Henry and Lord Artis. There are 3 forests and biggest of them is Blue forest which spreads outside of Land of Draound, it goes with the Miller Passage. Blue forest is the most dangerous place in all the lands; it is filled with darkness as sunlight hardly reaches in through the thick forest. It’s been famous for myths and lost adventurers…..some bones were recovered with animal attack signs and others are still waiting to be discovered. Some say that still the troll and ogres are living in there, waiting in the dark, waiting to come out again, waiting to kill and eat. In these lands there is also one more name famous but it’s famous for fear and death. “Red Shadow” the name of fear for locals, everybody knows his name but only some have seen him and fewer of those are alive but not to tell tales. Nobody knows Red’s real name, they only know that he is a paid killer and is the top name of his profession and now rumor has it that Lord Henry was killed by Red Shadow. Red’s fear is on the rise once again. Rio was sitting in the local pub, he was a young boy with a talent for killing, he was new in this work but already making quite a name and also few companions. Rio had a scar on his right cheek which he received in a fight, his hair were brown and had bright eyes. He thought of Red as his biggest rival but Red never paid any attention. Now he sits in pub with his gang talking about Lord Henry. Rio: That job came to me first but I declined. His man looked at him, and he continued to speak. “Only idiots will go in the Blue forest, and Henry was one of them. People don’t go there in broad day and that fool went camping there in night”. Some soldiers on a nearest table heard him; one of them turned to him and said: “Watch your mouth boy, Lord Henry was many things but not a fool”. These were Henry’s soldiers and like all locals loved him because of his niceness. Rio smiled at him and said. Rio: He was indeed many things, but also a fool, what did he thought that just because he is nice to you idiots, you can protect him in the Blue forest? If that’s the case, he is dead for good” Soldier’s face turned red with anger and he stood up with his hand on the sword and said. “You are just some words away from getting your tongue cut in hundreds of pieces” Before Rio could reply a kid ran in and said to the soldier. “Trouble at inn, you are needed there quickly” Soldier looks at Rio and said. “Your luck just saved you boy”, then he goes out followed by his comrades. Rio loses his grip on his knife under the table. He Smiled at his friends and said. Rio: That was a close one. While soldiers were following the child who led them to the nearest inn where a crowd was starting to gather. They made their way to the center of the crowd where two men were lying. One man’s head was crushed and his both legs were cut, or so as it seemed. Second man’s eyes were closed and looked like he was taking his last breaths. He was saying and repeating some words in very low voice. “Mountain…..run”. “Get some water’ someone shouted. But His body took some shakes and then he stopped breathing. Crowd started whispering as soldiers began to investigate the witnesses.
  • Fear

  • Past five days were very strange for people. First Lord Henry died and on the next day two travelers died in a weird manner, afterwards three miners went missing near the mountains. A whole family of eight people vanished near Blue forest and on the next day it happened again with five soldiers. With No Lord in Henry’s place, nobody was to look into this matter. Lord Henry lived alone with no heir. Closest Lord was Lord Artis who put his son in charge of his land and took over lord Henry’s place. In normal circumstances it would not be so easy, other lords would go against Dake but right now immediate attention was required to missing and killings. Right now the group of same soldiers was reporting to Lord Artis in Lord Henry’s castle. Captain of these soldiers was 'Jonald Kane' who was explaining everything to Lord Artis. Jonald: Witnesses saw him running scared with other body on his shoulders. He was running and yelling gibber gabber. After reaching the inn he just fell and spoke some nonsense. Lord Artis: And what was this nonsense? Jonald: Just two words my lord; he spoke them over and over again. Lord Artis: Speak them for me. Jonald: Mountain…run. Jonald’s voice echoed in the throne room. Lord Artis: Pretty clear. Miners went missing near the mountains too… check those mountain for anything…form a search party. Lord Artis’s order turned soldiers faces a little worried. Jonald looked at them and said. Jonald: My lord, that may not be possible, soldiers are scared. Lord Artis laughed and said. “What kind of men are you?” Jonald felt insulted. “My lord, head of that man was not smashed by any weapon” “By a rock?” “No my lord, seemed it was pressurized by something… also limbs were not cut but pulled till they were torn apart” “And that scares you?” “Any man would be scared my lord” “You will take your men on the mountains” “What if they die my lord?” “I don’t care captain” Jonald looked at Lord Artis in surprise and anger; then he said. Jonald: My lord, I cannot lead my man in to the unknown danger. Lord Artis shouted: What a bunch of little girls, I order you to do so. Anger spread on Jonald’s face, he turned to his soldiers and with a little nod, ordered them to go outside. Soldiers start walking towards the door. Then Jonald said to Lord Artis. Jonald: I don’t take orders from you…..my lord. You are not lord of grassy plains by law. Then he turned around and started walking. Lord Artis turned red with anger but he tried to keep himself calm, he said. Lord Artis: I am just trying to look after the innocent people of your beloved Lord Henry, and right now only Grassy Plains is getting affected, I don’t need you but your people need you. Jonald didn’t stop, he keeps on walking and said. “We are keeping the peace in grassy plains already, but if you think I am going to take my man in unknown danger, then think again my lord. Lord Artis watched him leave, He stood up from throne and started walking towards the halls leading to inner parts of castle, he wanted to have a bath. Land of Draound was hearing rumors; all Lords were trying their best to keep their people calm. In grassy plains patrols were set and no one was allowed to go towards the mountains or the Blue Forest. In past week, two miners were found dead, some parts of body missing and at the same time some kids who went missing near Blue forest and nobody were brave enough to go in. Stories went flying to other valleys and people started getting scared. Lord Artis was receiving letters from other lords in which he was asked to control the situation. Lord Artis was uncertain of what to do and what not. His army was in his valley and right now he was kind of a usurper on grassy plains and could not risk calling his army here because any other lord can see this as an opportunity and attack his valley. As for Henry’s army, they were busy with Henry’s people. They were doing a good job so Lord Artis was happy that its one less of headache for him. But this new situation made him worried. Lord Artis walked into the throne room where he had called army commanders. He walks up to the throne, sits on it and look to their faces. In front of him was standing general Salvador and general Riendo. Lord Artis: Where is the captain I summoned for? Salvador: He refuses to come my lord. Lord Artis: He is doing a good job in the streets so I will overlook his foolishness. Riendo: My lord, he is a good kid but he is just…… Lord Artis did not let him finish and said in anger. “Did I ask you to be his mother general?” “No my lord …..forgive me” “Hm…..what is the report from the mountains?” “My lord, Our soldiers refuse to go. They think some unnatural things are at work there, I took two men with me and investigated but found nothing.” “So miners are turning into thin air? That’s what you are saying?” “N..NO my lord, it snowed fresh there so no prints could be spotted” “Anything unusual?” “No my lord, we stayed the night too but nothing happened, I have left them both up and instructed them to report as soon as they notice anything unusual” Lord Dake put his head down and thinks…then he looks to General Salvador. “You command our mounted battalion Salvador, what is the status report of patrols?” “My lord, patrols are ongoing as planned, both horses and men are on duty day and night. Blue forest cannot be accessed from grassy plains. Nothing unusual has been reported” Lord Artis sighs and says. Lord Artis: We have a situation on our hands gentlemen, what do you think? Who is behind this? Salvador: Bandits? Lord Artis: They don’t and cannot tear people’s body parts off. I think a wild animal is on the mountain. Riendo: But my lord, what about the blue forest? Salvador: No one want to go in there, can you Riendo? Riendo: I can if my lord commands. Lord Artis: Someone needs to do it, get ready. Lord Artis put his head down again….both generals look at him. Lord Artis cracked his fingers and look at them both and says: Lord Artis: Well generals both of you can go, you are doing good job, keep me informed if we make any progress. Both generals bowed and went out of the throne room while Lord Artis took sips of wine. He filled up his glass again and looked at wine, his face show that he remembered something ... after a while he starts again to take sips.
  • Assignment

  • Lord Artis was walking to his bedroom, he was very tired because he took a tour of the valley to inspect the condition of patrols till noon and rest of the day he had to sit in throne room to solve problems of people like miners were stopped to go to mountains so now they were out of jobs and now throne has to pay them. He walked in his bedroom and sat on the bed. He removed his shoes, then his socks, and then he removed his shirt. A voice echoed in the room. “I would leave the pants on if I were you”. Lord Artis: Don’t worry, I knew you were here, noticed that all torches were out. Red came out from a dark corner of the room, he had his sword on the side and his black armor on. “Why did you call me?” “I need help” “I do not help people” “I know, I know, I will pay” “Task?” “Have to investigate something” “I don’t investigate things” “You have to, only this time” “I kill only, ask someone else” “No one would do it” “And Why? If I may know” Lord Artis looked at him for a while. “No one would go in the Blue Forest” Red laughed, his voice filled the room. “Why would I go in there? Do you not know, ogres live there” Lord Artis smiled a little at his joke. “You know strange events going on” “Everybody knows” “Have to solve this matter” “Then do it, why need me?” “No one want to go in there except for a general but I do not think he will come out alive and I need him here because he obeys me and believe me I am not in the position to lose obedient people right now, I know you can go because you killed Henry there and came out alive too” “I never went in Blue Forest before that, I only went in because that fool Henry went in and I follow my target even in hell” “That’s why you have to help me” “I don’t investigate, when you need a dead man then you can call me” “I gave you a job to kill Henry so I can take over his lands, we were the most powerful lords in whole land of Draound, now I am the only one, thanks to you but if I don’t solve this matter everyone will go against me, lords and locals will overthrow me” “Ask someone else” Lord Artis crackled his fingers. “No one will do it, even Rio was afraid to go in the forest, do this job and I will give you a valley in the grassy plains, also no one from the law will touch you, you will not get a chance like this” Red muscles got tense and he thought for a second “I think I can make an exception” Lord Artis sighed in relief and smiled. “When will you go, I will pull back patrols from there”? “No need, I have been stealing there food for two days, they won’t stop me” Red walked up to the door and opened it but Lord Artis’s voice stopped his feet. Lord Artis: Do you know Jonald, a young captain. Red tried to remember and said. Red: yeah, good lad, he is been controlling the valley pretty good. Once he almost made me lose my target. Lord Artis: Kill him. After all this mess is over. A bloody smile danced on Red’s face. “With pleasure” As Red walked out, Lord Artis shouted. Lord Artis: You forgot to tell me the price. Red’s voice echoed in the dark hallway like cold wind “This one is on the House” Lord Artis felt a chill in his body. The night was silent, Jonald and his man were on patrol, Jonald was working very hard nowadays because he was born in grassy plains, this was his home and he loved his home. These killings were affecting grassy plains and it was very sad for him. Jonald was very popular among locals. He helped everybody in need. Tonight he was patrolling near the Blue Forest. Many times he thought of going in the forest to see what was happening but could not go. Suddenly jonald’s party saw some soldiers running toward them, Jonald quickly ran towards them. When they reach each other Jonald asked them. Jonald: What happened? Soldier: We saw someone, threw a Knife at us and ran in this direction. Jonald: No one came here, search the area and get back to your post. Soldier looked confused but they obeyed the order and went back. Jonald became very confused, all of a sudden he felt like someone is watching him. He looked towards the forest but there was nothing but darkness and animal’s voices. He shook his head and started walking but little did he know that two bloody eyes were watching him from the forest.
  • The Forest

  • Two shadows were moving fast in the darkness of the Blue Forest, they both were running. These two were soldiers sent by Jonald. After Lord Artis ordered General Riendo not to go in Blue Forest to investigate, Jonald wanted to go in there himself but his men asked him to stay as he was needed in the valley. These two soldiers volunteered to go in on a very strict command from Jonald that they will come back before nightfall. But these unlucky souls lost their way in the thickness of the forest and now were running scared. They tried their best to find the way but couldn’t and now it was night and moonlight were unable to reach in the forest. Suddenly they started hearing growling behind them, seemed like a wild animal got their scent. They started running fast and trying to find their way through trees, all of a sudden they stumbled upon an open area with no trees. Moonlight was making the view clear and they could see the Blue bushes covering the ground. These bushes covered all the ground in this forest that is why it was called Blue Forest. They both heard the growling again and one of them shouted “Come on, in the middle, we have a better chance” Both ran in the middle of that open area and took their swords out. Swords made a loud sound and they heard the growling again, both stood back to back with swords in their hands. Suddenly one said “Over there” From that direction, a beast came into the moonlight. Its skin was pale and its size was of a horse, it had sharp teeth and face looked like a wolf, it was taking slow steps towards them, growling goes louder with every step and his fangs started to shine in moonlight. It took a stop and started running towards them. Both soldiers got ready to fight. Beast came close and jumped on them. They both slides to their sides, beast went past them from the middle and quickly turn around. Both soldiers got forward to attack, one of them swung his sword which hit the beast on its back. His swing was with full strength but swords could only cut through beast’s skin and two inches further. Beast growls painfully and jumped over them taking his sword from his hand stuck in its hard flesh. Second soldier turned. Beast reached him quickly to attack. He swung his sword but before he could hit the beast, beast chewed his face. Blood started gushing which turned the beast more aggressive. Beast started chewing his face. Other soldier saw this in horror and reached for his sword which fell to the ground during beast’s attack. First soldier fell to the ground. Beast started biting his neck to finish him off. Other soldier looked at them; he was never been this much scared in his whole life. He thought of attacking but he saw what happened to his first attack, he could not finish this beast alone. He saw that beast was busy with the body; Soldier saw this as an opportunity and started running towards the trees. Beast did not pay any attention as it tasted human flesh for the first time. As soon as he entered the trees, a shadow grabbed him by the arm and started running to the left side. Soldier followed him mindlessly. Soldier’s ear were listening to sounds of birds, he opened his eyes and saw blue sky, golden sunlight was touching his face, he felt so relaxed, he kept listening to the chirping of birds and feeling the warmth of sun on his face but suddenly he remembered last night. He quickly sits up and looked around. He saw trees around him. He was on a wooden platform on a tree. Different stuff was all around him, some baskets of different fruits, pots and other daily use stuff, most of which was made of wood. His sword and dagger were lying in a corner. He started remembering last night. After the shadow grabbed him, they both ran for some time, they went through a stream and then climbed this tree. He was so scared that he did everything the shadow did without saying anything. After that shadow left, leaving him alone here. Soldier did not remember when he slept. He only remember that he was wearing his dagger and sword, now they are lying in the corner meaning that whoever that shadow returned after. Soldier stood up and grabbed his sword. He took a look on the forest which seemed so beautiful, he could see colorful birds on trees, and then he looked down and saw blue ground. He said to himself. “Damn these blue Bushes, damn everything which is blue”. He started climbing down the tree, small holes were made into the tree to climb, he reached ground and looked up, It was almost thirty feet climb. He heard stream sound and he took out his sword and started walking. Animal voices were echoing in the forest. He saw someone sitting at the stream. He started walking fast. He reached the stranger who was filling his canteen. He stood behind him and said. Soldier: Who are you? Stranger slowly stood up…..Soldier pointed his sword towards him. Stranger started drinking his water. Soldiers shouted again. “I said who are you, answer me or I will have your head” Stranger spoke for the first time. “What is your name soldier?” It was a voice of a women, soldier did not heard any sweeter voice then this voice in his whole life. Soldier said again. “I asked you, who are you?” Woman sat again and started filling her canteen. Her sweet voice answered soldier. “I rescued you last night, don’t be afraid….What is your name?” Soldier thought for a moment then replied. “Max”. “Max, max……what a beautiful name. Very fitting for a soldier” Woman stood up and turned around. Max felt like he was seeing a dream. In front of max stood an Elf. Max only heard myths about Blue Forest and ogres but never heard of an elf, she was wearing deer skin cloths and wore little dagger on the side, Max was getting scared again, he was going out of breath and his sword started shaking. He sat on the ground and held his head with his both hands. Elf looked at him and said. “Relax, breath and don’t be scared” Max asked her in shaky voice. “What are you?’ Elf smiled at him, she came near him and picked up his sword. “I am an Elf, and by looking at you I can say that you have never seen one, also you are still under effect of last night”. Max looked at her, she gave him his sword and helped him up. They both started walking towards the tree. Max looked at her and said. “Thank you for saving me”. She smiles and said. “Don’t thank me yet, you are not safe until you get out this forest, last night I saw you both running blindly and saw that beast behind you, Sorry about your friend”. They started climbing the tree. Max followed her to the platform. “Who are you?” max asked. She looked at him and throws an apple at him. “Its best that you don’t know, Eat up, you have to leave” Max didn’t want to upset her as she was a mythical creature. He ate some apples while she explained him the way out, it was a day walking. Max understood that last day they were going in the opposite direction of the grassy plains, they were too deep in the forest. After that max wore his sword and dagger, he thanked her again and climbed down the tree. He walked to the stream and looked behind to her, she waved to him and he crossed the stream then went out of her sight. She sat back and looked up to the sky. It was a nice morning, she laid back, closed her eyes. She fell asleep. After some time, she felt something touching her arm; she opened her eyes and saw Max poking her with a stick. “What are you doing here” she asked angrily. “I lost the way a little after I entered the trees across the stream.” She slapped away the stick. “It’s not safe for you here” she stood up and started wearing her sword. After that she looked to Max and said “I can take you to the forest’s end, but no one must see me”. Max nodded and they started climbing down the tree. Then they crossed the stream and started walking. Max could have never even imagined that Blue Forest was so beautiful. Elf instructed max to not to make any noise and always lay low. They walked and walked, at noon they took some rest and then started walking again. They encountered some Wild animals like gorillas and forest Dogs but they stayed low and managed to keep out of sight. Max tried to talk to her several times but she did not replied so max started focusing on the way. After all day walk at dusk they were some miles away from the Forest’s end. Darkness was filling the forest quickly, they both looked shadows to each other. Elf was saying to Max Elf: you cannot tell anyone about me. Max: Relax, no one will ever know about you. But how will you go back? Elf: I live here, I can travel in darkness. I have spent my whole life here. Elf stopped and drank some water from her canteen. She turned around and gave it to Max. Max raised his hand to take the canteen, before his hand could reach her hand , a sword came out of his chest, covered with his blood. Elf looks at him in shock, Max looks down to sword with pain and shock on his face, coughed some blood out and someone draws out the sword from his back. Elf saw another shadow standing behind falling Max’s body and she quickly reached for her sword but before she could draw her sword, a powerful punch knocked her out.
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