Chapter 6:

Chapter 6- The Pungent taste of War

The Husband and Hero

The sound of brawls rings throughout every corner of the forest.

Lifting my sword up from my side, I prepare myself for Willowcrus and Richi’s next advancements. The nerves I once had are no longer running through my body; it feels as though every time I enter a battle, my body switches to autopilot.

Gen. Willowcrus: “You brat!”

Drifting back from my thoughts, I notice the heated aura coming from Willowcrus’ direction. She is looking at me as though she wants to rip me in half.

I take a deep swallow and begin to approach her. I know that when the two generals are fighting alongside each other, I’m no match on my own; so, this battle, is only a race against time until reinforcements come.

Gen. Willowcrus: “No matter what tricks you pull, I won’t let you go unscathed!”

Willowcrus plummets her fist in the ground to create a short but effective layer of dirt. For but a split second, I can’t see anything. I feel a deep impact of a fist reach the bottom of my chin.

Jumping back, I grab the edge of my chin; I don’t have to see it to know that it will leave a nasty bruise.

As the dirt settles, I find myself standing across from General Richi. Despite her large stature, Willowcrus is no where to be seen. Ignoring Richi, I begin to dart my eyes at the trees surrounding us in hopes to find her.

Gen. Richi: “I want to know what makes you so special for the Queen to have her eyes on you.”

Puzzled, I looked back over at Richi. Throwing off my whole thought process, my mind centers on him.

Devilynn: “The Queen has her eyes on me?”

Of course, she has her eyes on me, I’m the commander of the enemy forces.

I push the comment out of my mind, and hold back up my sword.

Devilynn: “Then the Queen can watch us win the war. Your people have tarnished Frostala for too long!”

General Richi, who is ultimately considered a quiet and calmer character, looks at me menacingly. His eyes are beaming with a layer of hatred.

Gen. Richi: “How dare you?! Our people have suffered so much because of your royals’ inequality!”

As I open my mouth to further question him, I feel a sharp pain rise through my left shoulder. As my heavy shoulder armor tumbles to the ground, the wound in my arm reopens. Willowcrus now stands firmly close to Richi holding the same small knife she had used to alert her troops, in her hand; the knife is now stained with a small chunk of me.

Gen. Willowcrus: “How ignorant are you that your Royal party can string you along into war without questions? …It is infuriating.” Willowcrus cups the side of her face, then lets out a sigh.

Gen. Willowcrus: “The wolves are leading on the sheep.”

General Richi brings up his sword to his face and then begins to run towards me with no sign or hesitation of having mercy. I grasp the tilt of my sword, but before I can lift it upwards my arm begins to quiver.

Pain. Horrible, horrible pain resides in my left shoulder.

The dark color of red fills my perspective as Richi swings his sword down towards me. In fear, I close my eyes.

The cold texture of blood splatters across my face. I know the feeling of death too well…and this wasn’t it.

I opened my eyes to the sight of Crowriff standing before me. His arm is gashed open and viciously bleeding from the strike of Richi’s sword. Just from the sight of it, you can tell that it must be painful…even so he glances back at me with a heroic smile.

Crowriff: “Looks like I got here just in time commander!”

Devilynn: “Crowriff!”

Trying not to cry, I pull myself together. How can you always look so brave and so heroic, when I’m trembling and questioning myself the moment something goes wrong?

Almost as though he reads my mind, Crowriff speaks out to me.

Crowriff: “When things go wrong, our men will always be there for us; there’s no need to have those nerves knowing that. So Devilynn, put that cowardly face away and show Robal how strong our commander truly is!”

He’s right! I clench my fist and stand back up on my two feet. I am Frosatla’s commander, I am the hero of this story, and I will, and I know I will, be victorious!

As Crowriff pushes Richi back over towards Willowcrus, I put on a brave face and bring myself over to Crowriff’s side.

There are a lot of questions I have about what both of the generals said…but right now, my objective isn’t to ask questions, it’s to protect my people.

Giving a quick squint towards us, Willowcrus brings back out her knife and commands her co-general.

Gen. Willowcrus: “General Richi, I’ll take the larger one. You deal with the commander.”

Gen. Richi: “Right.”

The pain in my arm still remains, but the adrenaline is overpowering it. I know by the time this battle is over, I will suffer tremulously.

With a screech and two bewildered looks, Willowcrus and Richi make their way over to us. In any TV show, it would an incredible sight to see, but in-person it is frightening.

Willowcrus reaches out a fist at Crowriff and shoves them to the right. Now, having Crowriff here, it feels like a fair fight.

Richi clashes his sword against mine and then continuously swings it my way. I continue to block his attack, but fail to throw back any of my own at him.

Gen. Richi: “Do you know what your Princess is even up to?”

Devilynn: “She is standing beside our troops fighting for what’s right!”

Angrily, I manage to finally aim an attack at Richi. Although it is but a scratch, it is the first scratch I’ve manage to dealt at him.

Gen. Richi: “For what’s right?! Don’t make me laugh! How can abandoning the less fortunate be right?”

Stumbling back  by his remark, I find myself giving off a dazed look. Taking advantage of my mishap, he manages to bring his sword down on my right forearm.

Crowriff: “AH!”

I try to glance over at Crowriff, but am unable to as Richi brings himself closer towards me. I have to just hope that it isn’t major.

Gen. Richi: “Have you ever heard the Kingdom’s objective? Bringing harmony without sickness, What exactly do you think that means for those with sickness?”

Suddenly I remember my wife’s words from my dream.

“You have to make a choice in where you have to choose what is morally wrong for the people you cherish or choose what is morally good for people you don’t know.”

Clenching my fist, I shake off those thoughts and approach Richi’s sword. I have lived beside Fern and the others for the last 18 years-I believe in our Kingdom's mission.

Just as I approach Richi’s sword, three men in Robal attire rush over to both Richi and Willowcrus.

Knight A: “Generals, they have detonated pellets of smoke! We can’t see their troops locations as we are fighting!”

Gen. Willowcrus: “Pellets of smoke?”

Smoke bombs. To the people of this world, it is a foreign concept. Using the knowledge I had from my past life, they were easy to make.

General Richi throws a heavy punch at my chest that sends me a couple of feet away from him.

Gen. Richi: “They are more technically advance than us. We need to regroup with the Queen and Prince immediately.”

Pointing his sword outwards, in front of his troops, he gives out a command.

Gen. Richi: “Retract the other men and retreat! That is an immediate order!”

All Knights: “Heard!”

The Knights begin to rush through the forest as General Richi begins to create a distance between us. He bites down hard on his lip and calls out to Willowcrus.

Gen. Richi: “Willowcrus, it’s dangerous here. Let’s leave now.”

Gen. Willowcrus: “Aw, but I was just starting to have fun! It’s not every day I get someone so charming to fight.”

With a laugh, Willowcrus jumps backwards towards Richi. There is a clear look of disappointment on her face, that soon turns to a slight smirk.

Gen. Willowcrus: “I know we’ll be seeing you soon regardless…Sir Crowriff”

With the last remark, the two of them carry themselves off of the battle sight. Holding my sword tightly in my hand, I dart my eyes around the forest until I am sure that they are gone.

Placing my sword back into my side sheath, I glance over at Crowriff crouching on the ground. Blood is dripping down from somewhere on his body onto the cold forestry ground. I run over and crouch beside him.

Devilynn: “Crowriff, what’s wrong? What happened?”

Crowriff brushes my question of and continues to hide his injury.

Crowriff: “Don’t worry about me, go after the generals. I’m survived through worst…ha..ha..”

Devilynn: “I’m not going to leave you. Your health is more important right now!”

I grab his right shoulder and force him to show me the rest of his body. It doesn’t take long to find where the blood is coming from. His left-hand has completely been chopped off.

Shivers run down my spine at the sight. Pulling myself together, I take out a handkerchief and tightly wrap it around the wounded area.

He could die. He could die from this. In a world without medical advancements, he’s going to die.

Although my head is filled with voided thoughts, I continue to put my brave face on.

Devilynn: “Crowriff, we’re going to get help! Hang in there and-“

Crowriff’s heavy body falls on top of me. I try to shake him off, but he is not moving.

Devilynn: “Crowriff, wake up! Wake up, damn it!”

No response.

Bringing myself together, I listen closely to his chest.

Please, please, Please!

Ba-dump, Ba-dump.

It’s faint but it’s a pulse. I swallow up my cowardliness once again, and lift Crowriff’s enormously tall body with the remaining strength I have left.

It’s the first true taste of war. A bitter, pungent taste, that shakes me to my core.