Tears of Wars: The Heroes are Born
Three days later…
The Rhino came to King Tertoro’s chambers and said, “It’s been three days! Looks like you can’t find him, King Tertoro. All right, I’ll take over from here!!”
King Tertoro pleaded, “N-Not yet, Rhino. Please give me some more time.”
The Rhino cut him off. “Hey!! I’m sick of your babbling. I’ll make sure to bring him back, but I can’t promise you he’d still be alive by then.” He laughed and walked away from King Tertoro.
The atmosphere was tense. Anxious, the king did not know what to do.
The Torto said, “Rhino, sorry if I’m being too forward. Can I bring the Young Master home in your stead?”
Confused, the Rhino said, “Will you be able to confront him, Torto? You’ll just be yelled at and told to come back here. Stay. Protect this kingdom from other lawbreakers,” he said as he exited the chambers.
“But let me come with you, Rhino. Maybe we’ll come up with a better solution.”
“You talk too much!! That’s not like you. A better solution?! You think my plan isn’t good enough, huh?! You dare defy me, Torto?!” the Rhino snarled as he moved closer to the Torto.
The Torto lowered his head and said, “No, I was just thinking that maybe we can bring the Young Master home without resorting to violence.”
“Torto!! How naive!! I told you to just stay and watch this kingdom!! Got it?! Or do I have to explain to you in a harsher way for you to understand?!” the Rhino said sternly.
The Torto answered slowly, “I understand, Rhino. All right, I hope the Young Master is well.”
The Rhino departed from the kingdom and went in search of Shinra. It was rare for him to leave the kingdom, but if he did, it meant that the problem at hand was serious.
Roman and the others continued to train together wherever they were.
“Hey, Kenue, try throwing your spear. I have to practice dodging ranged attacks,” Roman shouted.
Confused, Terry asked, “Roman, why must he be the one you train with? For ranged attacks, it’s better to train with me or Darma, right?”
“Exactly,” Darma said.
“It’ll be a walk in the park because both of you are weak. Kenue is way stronger,” Roman roasted Darma and Terry.
Without warning, Kenue hurled his spear at Roman’s head, but Roman managed to dodge it.
Roman was fuming. “Damn you, Kenue, you want to kill me, huh?! You bastard!”
Kenue replied innocently, “You wanted me to throw it at you, right? I did exactly what you told me to do.”
“I was talking to Terry. Why do you always attack me when I’m not ready, huh? You really want to kill me, huh? You want a piece of me?! Come at me, bro.”
“Roman, you get angry quickly. A man should be calm and not irritable. You suck,” Terry sneered.
“True that. Be a calm man like me,” Darma said.
“Calm like you? You look rather weak. A man must be strong and brave like me,” Roman smirked.
Once again, Kenue flung his spear at Roman from the side, but Roman ducked out of the way.
Aggravated, Roman shrieked, “Hey!! You bastard, I’ll kick your head. Get your ass back here!”
He chased Kenue, babbling on and on.
“Hey, have you guys been friends since childhood?” Kong asked curiously.
Terry described her encounter with Roman, “Roman and I met about a few months ago. He came to my village. At first, he was quiet and his eyes were full of hatred. I don’t know what happened in the past, but it must’ve been horrible.”
“Kenue is my younger brother,” Darma said.
“What about your friendship with Shinra? How long has it been?” Terry asked curiously.
Kong shared a little about his relationship with Shinra, “We’ve been friends for more than three years. One day, he came to the cave and talked to me. At that time, I was still lamenting over the death of my wife and child. I had locked myself in that cave for a while.”
Terry felt bad. “I’m sorry.”
Kong replied with a smile, “It’s okay, it’s been a long time.”
After chatting, they trained together to get stronger and stronger, since they could encounter monsters while looking for Shinra at any time.
Kong stood up and said to them, “All right, I’ll help you train so we can get stronger!!”
“What? Are you sure you can help me? I can beat you, you know,” Roman boasted.
“Yeah, right. You obviously attacked him from behind. If it weren’t for Darma and me, you would’ve become ground meat by now, you know,” Terry said.
“Argh. Fine, let’s train together. I’ll definitely get even stronger!!”
The five trained together. Kong told them some of the weaknesses of monsters, as told by Shinra. Shinra often chatted with Kong. Now they knew some of the monsters’ weaknesses. But still, even if they managed to take advantage of them, it required enormous strength and speed.
The monsters’ weaknesses:
The Croco’s weakness is their lack of intelligence, so they can be tricked easily.
The Wolfie’s weakness is their sense of smell. A strong scent will make it hard for them to attack, because they rely on 90% of their sense of smell. Their eyes cannot see clearly.
The Torto’s weakness is their soft abdomen.
The Sharkin’s weakness is blood. They have an acute sense of smell that allows them to detect blood from far away. It could be used to trap them instead because they love blood.
The Rhino’s weakness is currently unknown.
Shinra had never fought a Rhino either, so for the time being, their weakness was still unknown.
After training together on the riverbank, the next day they resumed their search to find Shinra and the villagers.
“It seems that your abdominal injury is still not fully healed yet. You still need a lot of rest. Take it easy,” the village head said.
“Yes, it seems that this wound is quite severe. This is all because of my carelessness,” Shinra said, hanging his head.
“We are all grateful that you went out of your way to warn us that the monsters were coming,” the village head said with a smile.
The monster had already found Kong’s whereabouts. Damn. Shinra was concerned about Darma, Terry, Roman, and Kenue. Still no word from them. I hope they’re all right.
Meanwhile, by the river…
“Hey, we went down this river, but we didn’t find anything. There are no traces of humans around here,” Roman said as he looked around.
Kong hesitated, then he said to Darma, “Are you sure, Darma? Do you think this is the right direction? Could they have moved by the river?”
“In general, humans live close to water sources because it’ll be easier to do many things: cook, bathe, drink, and so on,” Darma explained.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Terry said.
“I’m hungry,” Kenue said, holding his stomach.
“I’m hungry, too...” Roman said in a weak voice.
“Since it’s getting late, it looks like we’ll spend the night here. Let’s go find some food, fruit, or wild animals,” Terry said.
They then divided the tasks. “I’ll prepare the water and the fire,” Darma said, looking for dry tree branches for campfire.
“I’ll help you,” Terry offered to help.
Kong assisted with their preparations. “I’ll make a shelter from twigs, leaves, and tree trunks.”
Roman grumbled, “Am I the one looking for food? Do I have to go with the remainder?”
He stole a quick glance at Kenue and facepalmed. Kenue looked up at him innocently.
Then, Roman went looking for food with Kenue. “Oh, never mind. Let’s go, Kenue. Let’s hunt wild animals. Yaha!”
While they rested, the Rhino kept walking and getting closer to them. He followed his sense of smell because monsters have a keen one.
After leaving the kingdom, the Rhino went along the river, searching for Shinra’s scent because the Wolfie had not had the time to tell him the whereabouts of the villagers and Shinra. He traced the scents of several humans. It was the scent of Roman and the others. He was suspicious and wondered why there were several human scents and one monster’s scent by the riverbank.
In the Sacred Hawk Kingdom, after the Rhino left...
The Torto was really worried about Shinra. He urged King Tertoro to give him an order. “King Tertoro, please give me an order to fetch the Young Master. I will bring him home safely, even if my life is at stake. Please, I do not want anything bad to happen to him,” he said in a trembling voice.
King Tertoro granted his request. “All right, Torto, I command you to bring him home. I know it’s selfish to say. Please save him. I know the Rhino’s out there. It’s unlikely that he’ll survive. However, I want him to live to lead and heal this kingdom because I believe he can definitely run this kingdom better than me.”
The Torto was happy. He smiled and said, “Understood, King Tertoro, I will go save the Young Master.”
He rushed off to find Shinra. He wanted to find Shinra first before the Rhino did.
Roman and the others had been walking down the river for three days. They saw a small village that Shinra and the villagers had also visited the day before.
Roman saw several houses from afar. “Hey, there’s a village. Let’s go there,” he said, excited.
Darma also saw the village. “Whoa, it’s a village, but there doesn’t seem to be a single soul there.”
“Are you sure? How come? The distance is about 200 meters,” Roman said, perplexed.
“Let’s go there. Maybe there’s something we can find,” Terry said as she walked slowly toward the village.
They investigated the village. It looked fine. The buildings were intact. There was no sign of a fight there. However, they found something interesting.
Kong whiffed something. “I smell Shinra, though faintly.”
Terry found a uniform in one of the rooms. “Look, a uniform worn by the royal army. Does this belong to Shinra?”
Kong replied confidently, “It’s Shinra’s.”
“Are you sure, Kong?” Darma asked, doubtful.
Kong recognized the uniform by its smell. “Yeah, I can smell it.”
Roman was getting pumped. “Woohoo... We’re getting closer. Let’s go right now.”
Suddenly, Kong sniffed a monster’s scent. “Wait!! I also smelled a monster, though faintly. It’s a Torto!!!”
Roman was bewildered. “What? What level is that??”
Terry answered, “Level 3. What’s a Torto doing here, huh? Could it be that he was sent to kill Shinra? But where are the villagers?” Terry started to panic.
Darma thought for a moment as he calmed Terry down. “Don’t worry, I’m sure the villagers are fine because there’s no trace of a fight. There’s something odd about the sequence of events here. Shinra’s uniform is neatly folded. There’s no way a monster would do such a reckless thing, leaving evidence behind. And is it possible for Shinra to take off his clothes first before fighting?” he said, puzzled.
“You’re right. Something seems odd,” Terry said.
Kong found another oddity. “Shinra’s and the Torto’s scents were not heading toward the kingdom. Could the Torto take him somewhere?”
Roman could not wait to meet Shinra. He said, “I don’t know either. How about we immediately follow Shinra’s scent and ask him.”
Two days ago...
The Torto ran through a shortcut. He was convinced that Shinra had gone to that place, the place Shinra’s sensei had told him before. There was a sanctuary behind a waterfall. It housed a cave large enough to shelter at least 100 people.
I know you must go there, Young Master.
Shinra and the villagers found an abandoned village. They spent the night there.
Shinra talked a lot with the villagers. Suddenly, he recalled something. “Ah, yes, I remember. I’ll take you all to a safe place behind a waterfall. There’s a cave big enough to shelter all of us. I’ve never been there, but that’s what my sensei said. We’ll be safe, because it’s hidden behind a waterfall. Because the place is damp, monsters won’t be able to smell it. There’s also a river there.”
The villagers were happy and wanted to hurry to that place. “Whoa, let’s go,” they said.
The village head agreed. “All right, it is much better than wandering from place to place,” he said with a smile.
But the next morning the Torto appeared in the village.
“Please forgive us. Don’t kill us!!” the villagers said, frightened.
The village head came out and saw what happened. “What happened? Please do not hurt them. I will take full responsibility. Just take me!” he begged.
The Torto asked them, “Where’s Young Master Shinra? I smell him here.”
Shinra came out of his room and said, “What do you want? Do you want to kill me too, like the Wolfie? It’s okay, I can fight even if my wound hasn’t healed yet. I’m ready to fight you now!!”
“No, Young Master, I just wanted to help you. The Rhino is hunting you. I followed him to the place you told me about before,” the Torto replied, bowing.
About 15 years ago, when Shinra was a child…
“Torto, my sensei said that there’s a safe place to hide from the monster, behind a waterfall. There’s a huge cave. If I went there, you should come with me because you’re a good monster,” little Shinra said.
“When I was heading to that place, I sniffed the Young Master’s scent. So I just followed you and here I am. I reckon the Rhino trailed the scent of several humans passing through the river. I also detected their scents around the river,” the Torto said.
“No!! Could it be Roman and the others?!” Shinra said frantically.
Shinra did not know that Kong was also coming with the four of them.
Anxious, Shinra said, “We have to find them before the Rhino catches up to them!!”
“But Young Master, we had better take the villagers to that place first. Then we come back to fetch them. If we leave the villagers and something happens to them, your friends will be furious with us, young master.” For a split second, the Torto felt someone was following him. I feel like I’m being followed, but who is it? The Sharkins?! Ah, now I have to focus!! I won’t tell them so they don’t panic.”
Shinra agreed and said to the Torto, “All right, let’s take the villagers to that place, then we’ll fetch them.”
In his haste to leave, Shinra forgot the uniform he took off.
Two days after Shinra had left the abandoned village, Roman and the others arrived. Then, they spent the night there and continued their journey the next morning. They followed Shinra’s scent. However, sometime after leaving the village, Kong stopped, confused.
“Hey, what’s wrong, Kong? Where should we go?”
“I don’t know. The scent’s gone,” Kong said, dumbfounded.
“What?? How come??” Roman asked. He was disappointed.
Darma explained to them, “The ground is wet. It might’ve rained earlier.”
Roman grumbled, “Damn. Even though we can meet Shinra and the villagers soon. But I wonder what the Torto did to Shinra. Hmm…”
“What do we do? Should we just go ahead?” Terry asked, confused.
Darma mulled it over for a moment and said, “Did they go to the other side of the river? Is it possible?”
“Are you serious? No way. Why bother going across the river, huh? Was it because they knew that the Rhino was after them? So they went across this river?” Roman asked, puzzled.
“Right, it’s possible that the Torto told Shinra to cross the river so that their scent wouldn’t be discovered. Luckily it was raining. They could’ve used the opportunity to cross the river to mislead the Rhino,” Terry explained.
“All right, let’s go across the river,” Kenue said.
“I don’t know, but it’s possible,” Kong said, feeling strange.
Roman said enthusiastically, “Okay, let’s go across the river. Yoohoo...”
They moved even further away from Shinra. They went toward the border barrier instead. But behind them, the Rhino was getting closer!