There was nothing fancy about what Halette did. Archery was just about Strength, Dexterity, and training. Some people forgot about Strength, but nobody was going to shoot an arrow accurately or far if they couldn’t even pull back the string on the bow. A little extra growth on Dexterity from being an elf didn’t make up for lack of practice.
There were no arrows split down the middle, just regular old bullseyes- just from impressive distances. Halette had little trouble shooting her bow with no wind to worry about or monsters dodging out of the way. The one elf who was still determined to do well performed admirably, but his lack of practice still became clear. However, after his competition with Halette was over, he stayed behind to continue archery practice.
The final two elves scurried off as soon as Khyrmin let them go. Then Khyrmin brought us back to Guildmistress Salinde.
Guildmistress Salinde smiled slightly after we returned. “I was watching from here. We might have fewer adventurers in training now… but at least they’ll not get themselves killed. Besides, I’d rather have one good trainee than four mediocre ones.” She sighed, looking over our party. “All of you are clearly quite experienced for your age. Don’t get careless from your success… but stay confident as well.” The elven woman turned back to Khyrmin. “About my brother… I know where he resides, but he may not be interested in helping you. He lives in the deep forest, unconcerned about the monsters that inhabit there. You could do with a good local guide-”
“Don’t want one,” Khyrmin waved her hand dismissively.
“-But of course you’ll take the hard way. No matter, I doubt you would find anyone familiar with the particular section of forest anyway. One warning… the Liaxalim will certainly hear of your return. We can’t stop them from following you or provide any protection…”
“Hmph. They can’t do anything to me.”
“No, but those you travel with… aren’t quite so strong.”
Khyrmin looked over at us. “Hmm. They can hold their own in a proper fight but… perhaps some training is in order.”
I watched the arrow as it flew directly towards my eye. It was hard to not flinch as it impacted my helmet. I still blinked, but that was a natural reaction. The blunted arrow didn’t have enough force to penetrate through the small opening in the helmet, but it was disconcerting nonetheless.
“Next, block!” came Khyrmin’s voice.
I raised my shield as Halette shot the next arrow, feeling the heavy impact on my arm. She wasn’t that far away, so the arrows still had a lot of momentum.
Khyrmin had been most worried about our ability to handle arrows and ranged attacks. While my armor could deal with standard longbows from a distance, up close or more powerful ones could still penetrate my armor. Apparently Khyrmin had angered some noble family, the Liaxalim, and they would have some skilled archers. Thus, everyone had to learn to deal with arrows. Our skills were adequate enough for melee- while they might have some duelists who could outclass us, if they got anywhere close to Khyrmin they wouldn’t stand much chance. While she might not be able to fire her own bow quickly enough to kill a dozen enemies, I had no doubt about her ability to stab many people in the throat in an instant. I’d seen a few more people around the guild with mysterious throat scars that avoided Khyrmin.
Alhorn and I were the least in danger in the case of ranged attacks. Our armor was quite good, and we also had shields. Even so, more practice wouldn’t hurt.
Kantrilla was in the worst position. She wore somewhat lighter armor- though she was working on her Strength to have more options- and her barrier spells could only stop one or two good arrows. She was still capable of dodging if she knew the attacks were coming, and her Luck would probably save her- but counting on Luck was the worst option possible. She had less than before, and of course she knew best that Luck always worked when you needed it most- except when you expected it to. She did have some practice with a shield, and she was learning to use that to better deflect arrows. Along the way, she got a bit more practice than any of us really preferred with removing arrows from us and cleaning and healing arrow wounds.
Halette was an archer, and while that didn’t automatically make her able to avoid arrows from others, she was familiar with how archery worked. She still practiced on the side of the one getting shot at, but most of the time she would move to stand behind a tree or something if possible. That was an option for us, as well.
Socks was fast and tough and found it to be great fun dodging arrows and biting them out of the air. Her fur was like armor as well, so even if she just stood still she wouldn’t go down easily. However, that wasn’t fun for Socks or for Kantrilla, so she always kept moving. At the distance Halette could reliably shoot from, she would only get one or two shots before Socks could tackle her to the ground- even if the elven archers were exceptional, there wouldn’t be much more. The only problem would be that they might have magical bows or arrows.
Kasner was probably the safest among us. Being small helped, but more relevantly he knew wind magic. Not that much, but all it took was a little push to throw an arrow off course and it wouldn’t hit its target. As long as he knew an attack was coming, he could deal with it. That was why he had to practice with multiple arrows shot at once, or arrows shot while he wasn’t looking. By the end, he was able to deflect most arrows from sound alone- though that took more mana as he just caused a sudden gust in a general area. Since I technically knew wind magic, I tried deflecting a few arrows with it… but it was never worth it. I’d be better off just moving, even if I had to use Martial Trance for a moment to pick where to dodge.