Chapter 56:

The Boys' Battle III

Sword Quest

Cedric trudged across the volcano’s exit, a small tunnel-like cave, until he reached the rocky surface outside. Dropping the unconscious bandit on the stony threshold, he stepped to where dirt covered rock. To his left, the slope continued in a winding hill toward the peak of the volcano, and just down the slope in front of him—

“Cedric, you bastard—you made it!”

The ever-charismatic voice of Quentle greeted him.

“Quentle, how…” Cedric uttered in surprise, “you made it all the way here like that?”

“Don’t act surprised,” he cheered, slapping his own bicep with a smirk. “Haven’t I been telling you I’m much more than some ruffian? Listen here, you missed it, but I just took out the guy who’s supposed to be the Shlank Heir!”

“You… did?” Cedric inquired, eyes wide with interest.

“Oy, stop acting surprised, I said! I threw him over the edge like a true warrior—some might say I ascended to that of a battle god in that moment!”

“You’re not Garik, you know?” Cedric replied with a chuckle, “But still, that really is impressive. Actually, I just beat up a huge cyclops, myself.”

“You—you did what?” Quentle stammered, losing his haughty aura.

“We can talk about all that later though—what’s the situation like now?” Cedric asked, taking up a firm posture.

“Ah, well you can’t see from here, but Mel and the others were trying to hold back the rest of the Red Wolves, though they’re coming this way now. Geraint, Jorge, and Kaolo fell down the canyon as well, but I’m hoping they’re okay.” Quentle’s words trailed into uncertainty at the end as he looked down.

“So, they’ll be coming up here any second now, huh?” Cedric replied, swallowing his worry for his friends.

“Yeah, that’s why we have to get you out of here,” Quentle said with a hurried look, “We can draw them away from here If we go all the way up and jump over to the other side where we can escape into the forest!”

As he spoke, Cedric’s eyes wandered in the direction of the beach, which was now visible just across the cliff and short wooded region. His eyes were drawn by the smoke and flames which seemed to have ravaged the beach. As he looked it over, his heart sunk with realization.

That must be it… their battlefield.

Galgi… Ralin… don’t tell me.

Several large rocks lay between the fires, but nothing else was clear enough to make out, aside from a lone ship approaching the shore—a small transport ship bearing a red flag.

As he watched the ship dock, he noticed two figures moving around the rocks, as if crawling. His heart leapt at the sight; his eyes set alight.

The chances are slim… but even if I have to do this alone…

“Cedric?” Quentle asked with a puzzled look. “What is it? We need to escape so that we can lead these guys somewhere else we can fight, like the ruins!”

“No, Quentle,” Cedric responded firmly, placing a hand on his shoulder. “I have an even better idea, one that might fix everything.”


Quentle was cut off as Cedric grabbed his arm and led him up the remainder of the winding slope. “Listen, Quentle,” Cedric said while running, “we’re going to lead them away from here, but I don’t intend on fighting them anywhere near here. I’ll put the target solely on me and end this stupid game that Mel’s and Selmy’s fathers have set up.”

“Wait, but how the bloody hell are we going to do that?” Quentle asked through quick breaths as the two boys reached the rocky peak.

“There’s no time to explain,” Cedric responded, studying the distance between the peak and the cliff’s edge just meters away. “Quentle, I’m going to jump over there, just like you said.”

“Alright, let’s jump, and then you can tell me, yeah?” Quentle replied, bending over to catch his breath.

“Quentle, have you looked at the state you’re in?” Cedric asked with a serious look. “Those legs can’t handle anymore, and have you even noticed that gash on your head? You need to sit down and treat that before anything else.”

His friend went silent, looking curiously over his bloodied legs before touching the wound on the side of his head. The moment he gazed upon the blood on his hand, he seemed to be stricken by something. The energy he’d boasted earlier disappeared, and he remained silent before offering a defeated smirk.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Exactly,” Cedric responded. “But I need you to help me get across. I screwed up my leg a bit in there, so I’m not sure I can make the jump with just my own power; do you think you can throw me?”

His smirk returning to its usual shape, he puffed up his chest and answered, “Well of course, you’re talking to the guy who just threw the Shlank Heir all the way across the volcano!”

“Great,” Cedric chuckled in response. “Then let’s get to it before you slip on your own blood and fall off the edge.”

“Hmph, I’m a much stronger man than the one who fell for your petty tricks, Wardric,” he answered, taking a wide stance at the edge. Cedric readied himself at the opposite edge, before shooting himself toward Quentle.

His left foot extended for the leap as Quentle grabbed his right arm and twisted his body with a grunt toward the edge in a pulling motion. Just as Cedric jumped off his left foot, Quentle threw his arm and shoulder, propelling the jump.

As he soared across, Cedric gripped the red sword fitting snugly in his utility belt. With just enough distance to reach, he rolled across the edge of the cliff. His momentum sent him rolling into a tree, but the adrenaline running through him allowed him to leap to his feet.

“Aha, what a throw from the battle god of Takanova!” Quentle shouted from the volcano’s peak.

“Seriously,” Cedric laughed, “I’m actually impressed, there’s no way I would have made that without you.”

“Hehe, praise me more later, Wardric! My next orders are to take that sword away from here and be a legendary Heir, while I figure out what to do with our rich idiot of a friend!”

“You got it,” Cedric answered with a confident smile. “Take care of that fool, okay? He might be a brainwashed traitor, but he is still our friend.”

“Right, right,” Quentle responded haughtily as he began to trot back down the slope.

“Listen,” Cedric spoke up after a brief silence, stopping Quentle’s descent. “When we see each other again, it’ll be once the war is over, and we’ve won.”

“Yeah,” Quentle answered, his gaze pointed ahead. “Don’t forget our promise; we all have to make it to the beach to celebrate, right?”

“That’s right,” Cedric replied, chuckling through his nose. “I’ll see you then.”

Cedric didn’t wait for a response, breaking into a run alongside the forested cliff’s edge.

Quentle watched him round the corner where the cliff sloped down, connecting with the mouth of the canyon. Chuckling, he finally looked away and spotted the burning shoreline.

“Is that where he intends…”

“Huh? Why does my head hurt so bad?”

He clutched the sides of his head as it was suddenly assaulted by a painful nausea. “Haha, this isn’t good. Why am I feeling like this now?”

His body began to sway as his legs wavered and his voice cracked.

“Come on, what is this? My job isn’t close to being done yet; I haven’t done… anything for the Teutons… yet…”

His legs buckled, and he rolled down the slope before coming to a stop near the place Cedric had left the bandit—whose body was not where it lay previously.

“Heh, well look at that, my good fortune brought me to this fellow in the end, at least.”