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Are you only required to kill the specific guards that were harassing the citizen? Oftentimes another guard (or several guards) will patrol along and join the fight when they see it happening.

Once you've killed the harassing guards is it safe to run away and hide somewhere to let the patrolling guards leave the scene? Can you then go back and save the citizen?

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Yes, it is required to kill all the guards at the scene, to save a citizen. After clearing off you need to speak with the saved citizen for accepting his/her help in the form of vigilantes or scholars as a confirmation of completing the task. That's why you cannot flee from the scene and expect the task to be completed.

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Also, sometimes additional guards appear. Not certain what the criteria are, but one time I found my self having killed ten guards but there were only three or four from the start. – Sandokan Jun 16 '13 at 23:04

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