The Valley of Wassen, a few words popped into mind immediately to describe it. Beautiful, peaceful, quiet. It was all the things that Rion didn't need right now. He had thought that this leave of absence was going to be a good thing. It would give him time to clear his head and get some answers to the questions that had been haunting him for a while now. But all he had discovered were more questions without answer. Not to mention the worst part, all this solitude was worsening his depression.
Recently Rion had hardly slept and barely remembered to eat. During the day, he could focus his mind on whatever task was ahead. Get to the next town, go here to check out this rumor, go there to answer that question. But at night, when he stared up at the endless expanse of the night sky, his thoughts became so much darker. How easy would it be for him to be with Mana again, in wherever the dead lived? But no, he couldn't die yet, not until he uncovered the truth behind what had really happened. He wouldn't allow himself to meet her again until all of his doubts about the organization he had dedicated his life to had disappeared. One way or another.
Rion was currently on foot, having left his horse in the town of Aldercrest, the closest civilization to the Valley of Wassen. Where he was going, the horse couldn't follow. Supposedly there had once been a town inside the valley as well. A town that was openly against all that the Holy Knights stood for. One day, the town had simply ceased to exist. When people from Aldercrest had gone to investigate, they had found a dark, deadened, circle of land where the town and it's farmland had once stood. Even now nothing grew there, and all animals avoided that place, they were afraid of it. If this was really true, Rion should be able to feel the remnants of a Holy Knight's magic there.
On foot, he was still two days out. But the closer they got, the more scared his horse would have gotten, according to the people of Aldercrest. It was better to leave him in the village where he would safe, rather than risk losing him. Horses were expensive to replace, and Rion liked this one.
Suddenly a familiar, frightening, sound filled the space around him. One that caused Rion to immediately stop in his tracks. "Junchas?"
The sound was very clear, somebody, or a group of somebodies, had pissed off a parent Juncha or two. Rion didn't even have to think, he just took off in a run in the direction the sound had come from.
It didn't take him long to come across the group who had pissed off the Junchas. Several of them were fleeing towards him on horseback being chased by a gray female, judging from the lack of horns. But there was one who had apparently fallen and was trying to fend off the other Juncha on his own, the male. Even from this distance away, Rion recognized the person on the ground. How could he not? It was his best friend, Arminel. Rion's blood ran cold at the thought of his best friend being skewered and all thought left his mind.
Rion threw himself forward, activating Wind Walk to close the distance with blinding speed. He unhooked his Arc from his belt, grasping it by the handle. He stopped his Wind Walk and skidded to a halt in the grass, a short distance away from his best friend, at an angle to the Juncha. With practiced ease, Rion swung the whip once around his head to gather force, and flicked it in the direction of the Juncha. Not aiming to wound, but something far more stupid than that. The blade end of the chain wrapped once, twice, three times around the horn of the male Juncha. Bracing himself, Rion grabbed the chain itself with his free hand, dug his feet in, and yanked.
The force of the pull turned the Juncha's head towards Rion and the ground. The deadly creature lost it's footing with the sudden change and stumbled, but didn't end up on the ground like Rion had hoped. "Now, Arminel!"
Rion shouted, hoping his friend wouldn't be too surprised by his appearance. They could talk when they were safe. Right now, they had two Junchas to take down.