Chapter 23:

The Ambush

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


“Why are you sitting in silence?” I asked Mother while taking a big bite out of the roasted potato.

“I’m just thinking. The more you tell me about Sakura, the more I want to find her sooner.” Mother was deep in thoughts.

“Should I tell you more?” I had finished eating my potato. Mother was taking smaller bites.

I'm glad she likes Sakura.

“You have to. But not right now.” Mother stood up and looked around.

“Stay here and keep an eye on the caravan. I think we are not alone.” Mother was used to bandits and ambushes.

What, are there enemies nearby?

“We are near the border. Maybe it’s the army?” I looked for my sword. It was sitting near the wood stump. I grabbed it slowly and came close to her.

“Could be, but I feel something amiss. Wake up the caravan leader. I’m going to take a look.”

Mother walked in the direction of the jungle.

I ran back to the carriage of Anne and Mary. I only woke up Mary.

“I think something is around us. Stay sharp and stay inside. These carriages are sturdy.” She was sleepy but she noticed the seriousness in my tone. She didn’t ask further and unsheathed her sword.

“I’ll stay here. You take care, brother.” She was worried.

“I’ll” I went out to wake up the caravan leader. He woke up and understood the situation quickly. 

Everyone decided to stay quiet while we gradually woke up the remaining sleeping people. They had weapons so the caravan people armed themselves.

“I’ll go after Mother. Stay vigilant and stay close to the caravan.” I instructed them.

I’m not worried about Mother but I can’t just stay back.

I walked in the direction Mother had gone to. I wanted to shout her name but that could alert whoever was around us.

I saw Mother sitting down near a bush.

“What is it?” I sat down too.

“Look,” She pointed at some lights, “Bandits.”

I saw a few tents at some distance. It was a big open area.

“You sure they are bandits?” Those tents were way too nice for bandits.

“Only one way to find out.” Mother got up and walked towards the tent nearest to us.

I followed her. We weren’t too far from the caravan. I saw two people with weapons standing guard near the tent.

“Who goes there?” One of them was startled by seeing us. He looked young.

“That depends on who are you.” Mother had no fear. They were wearing some weird uniform.

“Stop right there.” That person rang the bell near him. Everyone started waking up.

“Intruder alert. Intruder alert.” People started getting out of their tents, they were armed. I noticed they all had the same uniform and chain-mail armor.

“Are you perhaps not the bandits?” Mother was thinking.

“What? You are the bandits.” The soldiers had surrounded us with their spears pointed at us.

“What happened?” I saw a white-haired boy rubbing his eyes as he was getting out of the tent.

“Please stay inside.” One of the soldiers requested him.

“It is fine. Bring my bow, will you?” He was wearing a very elegant clock. His white hairs were unusual. He looked around the same age as me, but he had a certain aura about him. I felt it familiar. His blue eyes were glued to us.

Mother wasn’t showing any hostility.

“They seem like some aristocrats or noble?” Mother said via telepathy. I think Mother had a hunch even before revealing ourselves.

Well, we should at least explain to them that we aren’t bad guys.

“There seems to be some misunderstanding,” I sheathed my sword on my belt. I was unarmed.

“Stop right there!” The soldiers became anxious.

“Who are you?” The white hair kid asked with a bow on his hands.

It was a wooden bow with blue markings. He was setting an arrow on it.

“I’ll ask one last time,” He aimed the bow at me, “Who are you and what are you doing here.”

“Shouldn’t you introduce yourself first?” I wanted to de-escalate the situation.

“I’m Royce, Now your turn.” His arrow started to glow with magic. I have to answer quickly.

“We can just beat everyone.” Mother’s voice in my head was scary.

Well, that escalated quickly. Mother is ready to flatten them any second.

“I’m Vance Alison, this is my Mother Elie Alison. We are just travelers. We came to check because we thought you were bandits.” I raised my hands and walked a bit close to their spears.

“What? No, you are the bandits.” The soldier near Royce shouted.

“No No, we thought you were,” This is getting nowhere.

*BOOM*

I felt a loud blast near my face. I ducked from the impact. It wasn’t too big but it was sudden.

What happened? Mother’s magic had protected me from the flash. I looked at Royce, He had fired his arrow.

Did he try to attack me?

I looked around. The soldiers were startled too.

Mother was getting more furious.

“It looks like I missed.” A rough voice echoed from a different direction than Royce was standing. We all turned in that direction.

The person who said that was huge, even bigger than Arthur. His crude smile was showing his yellow teeth. His body was covered in scars. He was wearing a weird cloak and had a big rusted hammer. His beard was breaded.

“I was hoping to attack while you both were bickering, guess that white head is faster than he looks,” He let out a weird laugh.

So that guy tried to attack me, but Royce shot an arrow and stopped it in the mid-air?

“Precisely.” Mother turned towards that guy.

More people popped from behind him. Everyone had scars and bandages. They were giving off a strong stench of blood. They all had weapons in their hands. They were way more than all of the soldiers combined.

“None of you are bandits,” He pointed at me and Royce.

“It is me, I’m the bandit. The Bandit King Zarkk” He started laughing very menacingly. 

This guy has some screws loose. He wasn’t even bothered with anything. He started scratching his butt. I looked away. Eww, go home man.

Royce glanced at me. His eyes were saying let’s work together. I nodded.

“Protect Vance and his mother.” He shouted while aiming another arrow at the bandit king.

The soldiers who were aiming at us a while ago surrounded us with their backs, protecting us.

“Nothing is changed, we had information that some royal prince was traveling this way.” He finally looked at us.

“I just have to slaughter everyone here too.”

“What do you mean here too?” I was trying not to think anything bad.

“Oh? I saw some caravan on our way here. So I told my men to attack that too.” He was feeling proud.

Mary and Anne!

“Mother.” I turned to Mother.

“I’ll be back.” Mother ran towards our caravan.

“Boss, that girl is running away.” One of the archers from the bandits pointed his bow at Mother.

He was shot down in an instant by Royce, “Your opponent is me.”

Zarkk thought for a while and said, “Let’s just kill them first, we can chase that girl later.”

All bandits came rushing with their weapons. It was a brutal battle. The soldiers were protecting me. I was trying to think of a way to save them.

I saw Zarkk going towards Royce while grabbing and throwing the soldiers who were protecting him. Royce was creating a spell but Zarkk threw a soldier on him.

It was obvious he was their target from the start.

Think! Protect everyone. I have to handle the situation here until Mother returns.

I created a wall of plants to shield soldiers who were protecting and Royce. Our shield worked well.

Zarkk bashed his hammer on the vines around Royce, smashing it into pieces.

This guy is bad news.

“Go help sir Royce. We can handle it here.” The soldier who spotted us first told me.

“I’ll leave them to you.”

I ran towards Zarkk and Royce. Zarkk had already cleared the guards around Royce.