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100% Eye of the Eclipse / Chapter 77: Regret

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Chapter 77: Regret

As much as he wished it was otherwise, Loki's head was as blank as a fresh carpet of snow. Gripping his daggers until his hands ached, he couldn't even hear anything around him thanks to his heart pumping blood through his system so forcefully.

*Crunch* As dry leaves gave way underfoot, the first step taken by the opposite party sobered him up completely. Without pausing his steps, the figure reached back to pull a machete like blade from his waist with a single flowing movement.

Seeing the weapon which was similar to that which Rob would often use, the image of Loki's previous training partner subconsciously overlapped with the person in front of him. With a dull thump, Loki's bag hit the ground at the same time he charged forward to match his assailant's momentum.

A handful of steps later, two featureless figures collided silently within the dense trees. Without even a rustle of their clothes to disturb the surroundings, the figures constantly advanced a and retreated as though they were dancing with each other.

Despite their close proximity and the flurried blows being sent his way, Loki's head remained blank as he avoided the attacks without returning any of his own. Just like in practice, he slipped and twisted within range, yet always too close of far away for movement to be comfortable.

Many a time, The assailant expected Loki to jump backwards to avoid a wide swing yet, contrary to expectations, he would pull in closed while utilizing the space to virtually press up against their body. It was like battling a snake that had already firmly locked the victim down.

Under the improvised cloth mask, the little skin that was left revealed was glistening despite the low lighting. Sweat plastered the entirety of their body as the attacks grew wilder under their frustration and regret.

'As soon as I stop attacking, I'm dead', was the only thing going through their mind as all initiative left their side. From the beginning of the confrontation, it hadn't even been two minutes but weakness spread through their body as their hopelessness overwhelmed him.

Growing more sluggish by the moment, the figure flinched. Blinking hard to remove the sweat which had entered their eyes. Before even having time to reopen them, the figure froze. Coldness gripped their entire body as they felt the hard body of a tree collide with the back while what felt like a block of ice was pushed into their chest.

Afraid to even breathe deeply, ten seconds passed in silence before the person was able to muster up the courage to face the nightmare which was just beyond their eyelids.

The first thing they noticed, were the pair of heterochromatic eyes staring straight at him. Only a split second later, the figure noticed the source of the coldness in their chest.

Loki breathed stably and calmly as he possibly could as the dagger in his hand buried itself nearly a centimetre deep in this persons chest. At this point, he was just as afraid of any unexpected slips as the opposing party. During these ten seconds, the only reason his hands remained as still as they had, was due to him being paralysed by the idea of taking a life.

His gruelling daily training sessions with his brothers had supported him thus far, but they were now obsolete. To push forward or to retreat, either way, this stalemate couldn't last much longer before his current advantage would begin to fail in holding it's ground.

The clear blue eyes of his attacker returned his stare with pupils dilated in fear when Loki felt that the expression was familiar. It was the look that Bolt had given Loki and Rykar while he had been struggling in the net and on the verge of death.

With this spark of inspiration, Loki increased the driving force on the blade enough to prompt the assailant to press himself further against the tree in desperation. It was only then that he released the dagger from his left hand, allowing it to bury itself in the ground just enough to keep it standing upright.

A black inky mist began to manifest itself with the two figures at the centre. While rotating faster and faster, it began to look like a dark cloud before suddenly contracting and pouring itself into Loki's outstretched left hand. When all of the mist was gone, the figure was only able to stare at the black book with baited breath.

The Book Of Greed peeled itself open with only a thought from Loki, revealing a blank grey page which rapidly began to transform. With red patterns continually surfacing on the page, it didn't take long before a portrait and lines of, what could only be text, took their positions despite never ceasing to shift intermittently as though alive.

As though a psychic message, the figure pressed up against the tree could understand the meaning of the lines of text without having to recognize any of the characters.

*In exchange for your life right now, you will be recognized as a part of the family*

*You will follow the orders of anyone recognized as our family.*

*You will do nothing to deceive or mislead members of the family.*

*You will not do anything that you think will harm anyone recognized as our family*

*You will not reveal any information, directly or indirectly, about our family to anyone outside of the family without my consent.*

*If a member of the family is in danger, you will, to the best of your ability, help them.*

*You will not reveal anything about this contract or its contents to anyone without my consent.*

Within the short few seconds that the runes began to surface on the page, Loki listed out seven concise conditions while relying on the meagre things that they had taken note of while experimenting. Hoping for the best, he tried to be as 'to the point' as possible while praying there weren't any glaringly obvious loopholes which could be taken advantage of.

Compared to the contract which had been uniformly signed by Rob and Chance, it was like the difference between being a business partner and a slave worker.

'I'll do its' screaming agreement in their head, the person pressed against the tree was just about to break their months long silence to half heartedly agree to what was being asked but a change in the page choked back their words.

It didn't take much reading between the lines to realise the extent in which this persons freedom would be restricted, yet barely any time had passed before the blood red words began to lose their radiance and solidify on the page like dried blood.

Loki was surprised by how quickly the terms had been agreed to. Without even a haggle over the request, the figure mentally agreed without even realizing that this method was feasible.

As the contract took hold, for the first time, Loki felt an inexplicable force urging him to remove the blade. Without resisting, he swiftly pulled the second blade from the ground before once again running through the woods without looking back.

Behind him, the person remained against the tree for a moment before sliding to the ground with their hands clasped over the wound. Trembling while reaching for their backpack, they dressed the shallow gash as quickly as they could before stumbling away in the opposite direction.

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