Chapter 12:

A Long Night

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!

The guy who told us the news was unconscious. It appeared he ran a lot in a short amount of time. Mother brought him inside the house.

We were about to ask further before we saw people running from the forest. They were all with the Caravan going to the Capital.

Everyone from the village rushed to help. The people arriving all had some minor injuries. Martha asked villagers to bring medicine and decided to use the open ground behind her house as a temporary facility.

Martha started to tend to everyone’s wounds, yet her gaze was looking for someone.

“Has anyone seen Arthur? Where are Arthur and Mary?” Martha was slightly rattled. She was asking every new person who came running.

“Arthur... Arthur stayed behind so we can run back here…” The Caravan leader was the first to answer. Martha fell from the shock. I tried to support her. I was glad Anne was sleeping else she would be extremely scared.

Mother shouted to him, “What exactly attacked you? Hurry up and bring me there.” I knew Arthur was strong. There's no way he can't handle until Mother reaches there.

“It wasn’t bandits…it was-” Before he could finish talking we saw an enormous shadow flying above our heads.

“It followed us!” Someone shouted. Everyone began to screaming and panicking. It was hard to see in the dark of the night, but it was a huge beast. I could see its tail and fins.

“Everyone, get to safety.” Mother shouted but people were frozen with terror.

The beast circled above us and continued diving at us. I went inside to bring my sword. 

I had never felt chills like this before. That thing can eat a house in one bite.

I grabbed the sword and ran toward the exit when I saw a green flash from the outside. I experienced a loud tremor.

Mother! Mother has finally gathered everyone’s attention.

Mother had blocked a direct attack despite the beast being so powerful. Everyone finally calmed down.

They all started to rush inside.

“Mother, I will help too.” My eyes were glued to the beast flying above our heads.

“Look at me Vance,” Mother’s face came between me and the beast.

“You need to help Arthur and Mary. They still haven’t returned yet.” Mother’s eyes were dead serious.

She makes sense but I want to help.

“You will be fine right?” I asked while running into the forest.

“Who do you think I’m?” Mother smiled.

I could feel a huge green aura glowing on my back. It was illuminating even the once-dark forest.

Mother sure is the strongest.

I was in a hurry but I finally realized it was the first time I was outside the village. I was running in a dark forest. Alone.

But strangely enough, I wasn’t scared at all. I just wanted to rush to Arthur and Mary.

I saw some small shadows running from that direction, maybe rabbits?

I could see the faint yellow light more clearly.

Faster, Faster. I have trained so much for this very day. I need to run faster.

I was running on the path, but it was too roundabout. The fire and smoke were on my left. I was running downhill. I could clearly see mountains in the far distance to my left. there it is. The fire was right in that forest. I was descending the mountain.

If I jump from my left I can run straight through the forest and reach.

Can I even make a jump this high? I looked in front of me, the way was still long before I turned left.

I can’t afford to waste time.

Mother bless me! I ran to the edge and Jumped. It was as if I was flying. I tightened my grip on the sword. It would be foolish if I lost it while landing.

I hit the branches. I tried to grab anything I could. Luckily my strength came in help. I managed to grab the very last branch before hitting the ground.

That was way too close to comfort.

It was short way straight from that point.

I saw carriages blown away everywhere. Wheels and bags were scattered on the trees.

The fire was probably caused by that beast.

I looked around to find Arthur. No way you can miss a guy as big as him.

I saw him, stuck under a carriage. He was holding the carriage on his back.

He was keeping the carriage up from the surface with just one hand. His other hand was gravely injured.

“Arthur!” I rushed to him.

“Thank god you are here…” He was bleeding from his head.

“Can you pull out Mary?” He tried his best to smile but blood came from his mouth. Mary?!

I noticed unconscious Mary beneath him.

“That damned bastard threw this on Mary while I was fighting.” It was getting harder for Arthur to keep the carriage from crushing him and Mary.

I had no time to waste. I dragged Mary from under him. Arthur was holding everything with just one hand.

“Run now.” Arthur sighed in relief.

“What do you mean run?” I was checking on Mary, She was breathing.

“The fight and blood will attract monsters. Run away while you can.” Arthur tried pushing the carriage but he was too tired. Who knows how long he has been holding it?

“But I can’t leave you behind.” I dragged Mary to a safe distance.

“You can’t save me, Vance. I am happy you came running. But you can’t do anything else.” Arthur was struggling to keep the carriage on his back.

“And then what? If Mary doesn’t wake up, who to say we won’t get attacked by monsters while running?” I tried lifting the carriage but my body was too small.

“If by some cruel chance, I had to choose between her and myself, would you tell me to leave Mary behind too?” I was furious at my lack of strength. Why am I so weak?

“You should know when to make tough decisions!” Arthur shouted.

“Look..” He pointed at the forest with his busted arm. I saw glowing eyes moving uncannily. They were some kind of animals, multiple animals.

“Vance it is my duty to protect you, and even if you do decide to leave Mary behind she won’t blame you.” Arthur was shaking from frustration.

Who am I kidding? He must be more frustrated than me. He can’t even protect his daughter. His face reminded me of my own.

A man filled with anger and disappointment.

“You two are being too loud.” Mary tried standing up but fell down with a small scream. Her foot was badly injured.

Arthur was shocked and happy. But it was too late for him, he had lost too much strength to even speak. He was barely holding everything.

“Just promise me you will take care of Anne.” Mary took a spear from the ground.

What she even talking about, acting all grown up like.

“What are you waiting for? Start running while I keep their attention to myself.” Mary was limping in pain. She walked near Arthur while shaking. Her eyes were barely holding in her tears. She is scared to death, but putting up a front for me. 

Why people needs to die for me?

What is this? Why do people keep telling me to leave them? Do I look that weak? How many times will I get saved by someone else? My blood was boiling.

Sakura…Forgive me if I end up dying here. I picked up my sword.