Chapter 16:

CHAPTER 11: KURO'S CASTLE DEFENSE

The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 3


***Sekhtem***Bookmark here

“So, Mister Kuro, care to explain this demon weapon with you?”Bookmark here

The head of Sekhtem’s militia, Sir Dane, interrogated the black-haired man brought before him. His identity papers showed his name was Kuro—a human being, and his stated goal was to pass by Sekhtem to Hagena. However, what alarmed the city guards was the matchlock ‘demon weapon’ gun with him.Bookmark here

Err…it’s a weapon for self-defense, Sir.” Kuro explained, “As you can see, I’m a human.”Bookmark here

Hmm…indeed you are, according to our magicians.” Sir Dane agreed but continued with his questions, “But what about your goal? You said that you’re heading to Hagena?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.”Bookmark here

“Then why did you have to pass this place? Don’t you know that there are shorter, and easier paths to that place than coming here?”Bookmark here

Kuro answered honestly, “No sir, I’m new to this place.”Bookmark here

“Where did you come from?”Bookmark here

“Ea—” Kuro was about to say ‘earth’, but then quickly changed it to, “The Holy Palatial Gardens, Sir.”Bookmark here

Ha? The Holy Palatial Gardens?” Sir Dane got even more suspicious, “Isn’t it that only females may live there? Don’t joke with me, boy; answer me honestly, and I might reconsider arresting you.”Bookmark here

Kuro, upon sensing that the knight before him was getting pissed, panicked. He tried to think of more alibis to hide the fact that he from another world, but nothing else came to mind. The poor guy just grabbed the nearest set of words he could think of, “Uh…I, uh, I was a guest!”Bookmark here

“And now you’re telling me you’re Her Holiness’ guest! Haven’t you had enough of lies? I already can see through you! Teresa!”Bookmark here

The female squire who was with them, took a position behind Kuro’s chair, ready to fling her sword to cut his neck at a moment’s notice.Bookmark here

Uhmm…uh, i-it’s true!” desperate to prove himself, Kuro rummaged through his belongings, including the pockets of his coat. And then, he landed his hand on that medallion that Ruro had given to him before his departure, “Here! Look at this! The Beastman Saint gave this to me!”Bookmark here

Sir Dane and the squire took it from Kuro’s hand and examined the worn-out item carefully. And then…Bookmark here

“Teresa! Quick, remove the ropes on Mister Kuro’s hands!” Sir Dane slapped several orders for her, “Tell the boys to fetch us the best quality tea and cookies available! Don’t delay, damn it!Bookmark here

Kuro was clueless about what was happening, even as Sir Dane kowtowed before him, asking for his forgiveness, “My apologies, Mister Kuro, I and my men didn’t know. Please, I implore you to forgive us for the rough treatment.”Bookmark here

Err…uh, I guess it’s fine? You’re just doing your job, anyway. Please stand up, Sir!”Bookmark here

The embarrassed knight did as he was told. He then returned the gun to Kuro.Bookmark here

However, Kuro had a glaring question in his mind. It happened two times already, back in Colveente, and now, here at Sekhtem…Bookmark here

Err…Sir Dane? Just want to ask, you and the librarian back in Colveente’s library did the same thing when you saw the medallion of the Beastman Saint she entrusted to me. I wonder what this medallion could mean…”Bookmark here

“Ha? You don’t know?”Bookmark here

Kuro only shook his head.Bookmark here

“That medallion is Ruro of the Wolf’s badge for asking favors, particularly, demanding their finest tea and cookies from strangers! We couldn’t possibly refuse such a request from someone important as her, or she’ll send calamity upon calamity after us!”Bookmark here

“So, for short…” Kuro was scratching his head, “That item is one that is used for extorting from hapless people?”Bookmark here

The knight nodded.Bookmark here

Great.Bookmark here

Turning his eyes upward to the sky outside the window, Kuro imagined Ruro’s puffed-up face winking at him.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Kuro thought he’d put up a word with his holy pug once he returns to the Holy Palatial Gardens.Bookmark here

----------Bookmark here

When her consciousness came back, Lily was enveloped with darkness.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

She tried to feel her surroundings since her eyes were practically useless in the sheer blackness. But it was then that she noticed her hands were chained to the wall and her feet were tied to a rack.Bookmark here

Lily tried to remember what happened before she lost her senses. After Sir Gray recognized her, Lily was arrested by the guards, led by Roland’s superior. She would’ve come with them peacefully, but Mariya, who was scared out of her wits, panicked and ran. The lord, who was also in shock, ordered her arrest and that of Grandma Margie.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Lily attempted to exonerate her companions to Lord Gray, but he wouldn’t listen. In a fit of rage, she tried to attack him, and the guards quickly subdued her…Bookmark here

…and ended here, in this dark place. Must be the dungeon, Lily surmised.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Lily’s ears were quick to pick sounds of footsteps heading towards her location. A little later, she saw a light coming from a candlestick, as well as voices whispering in the dark.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And then the candles stopped a few distances away from her. It was then that Lily saw she was practically naked.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

“Happy now, you witch?” the voice of Lord Gray echoed in the room, “You do not know how long I dreamed of this to happen!”Bookmark here

“…” Lily, though embarrassed and humiliated, knew that she could do nothing. And so she kept her mouth shut.Bookmark here

“You murdered my family, made me drink their blood while you squeezed their necks you slit!” the liege narrated, “For seasons, I always dreamed of doing the same to you! But Her Holiness then ‘killed’ you, and I lost my opportunity to avenge their deaths!”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Hearing those words made Lily’s heart heavy. Yes, she remembered those things she had done, though not exactly all the names of those people she killed. That’s the reason when she had the chance, she changed her ways by serving Maddie.Bookmark here

So that, even a little, her sins would be washed…Bookmark here

“But now! NOW! Her Holiness has finally granted my wish to kill you! However, I won’t do it immediately. I want to see you suffer; I want to see you cry in desperation! And when you want to die, I won’t grant it easily to you!”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Oh?” the lord then drew nearer to Lily’s face, which he illuminated with his candles, “Playing the silent card, huh? We’ll see about that! It’s a pity that this pretty face of yours would be dirtied and bruised, but first, I’ll show you what suffering means!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

At the Baron’s cue, the guards brought in Mariya and Grandma Margie inside the torture chamber. They were both bounded, with the young girl unconscious, and the old lady crying helplessly.Bookmark here

“Look, oh you Bloody Witch! This is what suffering looks like!” Lord Gray then pressed a candle on Mariya’s skin, which rudely awakened the girl and caused her to scream in pain.Bookmark here

“Stooop!!!” Grandma Margie pleaded desperately, “My granddaughter has nothing to do with this! I’m the one who brought her here! Kill me! Kill me instead!”Bookmark here

“Shut up, old hag!” the noble slapped Grandma Margie, “If the little girl dies, it’s on your head, and that witch over there!”Bookmark here

“No…no! NO!” Lily cried out, panicking, “Don’t touch her! Please, I beg you! Let them go, Sir Gray!”Bookmark here

Haaah…what a pleasant voice.” Lord Gray smirked, “Let out more, witch! Cry some more!” He pushed another candle on Mariya’s skin, and she shrieked desperately for help.Bookmark here

Lily could not keep herself from getting enraged; she tried to pull herself free from the shackles, though her efforts were in vain, “Graaaaayyyy!!! You fool, I should’ve killed you! I should’ve annihilated your entire house! You’re just an insignificant sty! Graaayyy!”Bookmark here

Ah…that scream sounds so beautiful to my ears…please, let it out more!” Sir Gray heated a blade that made it glow red and pressed its flat on Mariya’s face.Bookmark here

“Kyaaa!!!” Mariya cried out in pain and desperation.Bookmark here

“Graaayyyy!!! Let go of Mariya! Damn you, let go of her!” Lily’s eyes were full of tears.Bookmark here

“Stop it, you whore!Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

The furious shout didn’t come from the Baron, but from the old lady. Grandma Margie’s eyes were in tears, but she glared at Lily, enraged, “This wouldn’t happen if Mariya let you alone in Sekhtem! We regret helping you, you Bloody Whore! You should’ve died! I curse you!”Bookmark here

Those words were too much for Lily to take. It’s like her chest was hit repeatedly by maces, and her stomach got punched again and again ’till it became blue. So shocked was she that she grew weak, and fell silent, as tears fell down uncontrollably from her eyes…Bookmark here

Will I do nothing right? Will I ever wash the blood off my hands?Bookmark here

“That’s it…that’s it…” the voice of Baron Gray was once again heard, “Cry in despair, witch! Feel the pain that we had to endure for seasons.”Bookmark here

Seeing that he broke her already, Sir Gray then signaled his men to leave the prisoners in the torture chamber. He had the candlestick intentionally left so that Lily could see what happened to Mariya.Bookmark here

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With their supplies and other cargo secured and replenished, the Traveler read intelligence reports his agents had gathered. He particularly mentioned that he’d like to hear from the ‘Iron Princess’, whom he had his men searched for.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Skimming through the reports brought his attention to the report from the village of Hagena. A girl with the same description as he had specified was teaching in a swordsmanship school there, and that the local lord had already had the school closed as well as the founder arrested.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

The Traveler dropped the mug of coffee he was drinking, much to the surprise of Benoit.Bookmark here

“Hey, boss, what happened?”Bookmark here

“We got a lead to the Iron Princess’ location.”Bookmark here

Oh? Where?”Bookmark here

“At a village called Hagena.” the Traveler replied, as he fixed his clothes and bag, “Benoit, can you hand over to me that bag of coins over there?”Bookmark here

“Here!” Benoit obeyed, but then asked, “What are you planning to do?”Bookmark here

“This is an extremely rare opportunity!” the Traveler chuckled, “We could capture the Iron Princess with little resistance. I’ll just buy her from the lord of that place!”Bookmark here

Oh, right!”Bookmark here

“Though, prepare the men. You might never know when we’ll need them. And please tell Her Holiness of what I intend to do.”Bookmark here

Benoit nodded and immediately set off to muster the Imperial soldiers disguised as merchants and slave-traders.Bookmark here

The Imperial slave-traders are now moving!”Bookmark here

Kuro and Sir Dane were both alerted by the young squire named Teresa, who suddenly burst into the interrogation room where Kuro was staying. He hadn’t finished his tea and cookies just yet, but the men immediately leaped into action.Bookmark here

After learning that Kuro was closely affiliated to the Holy Palatial Gardens, Sir Dane asked for his help in trying to end the illicit forced slave-trade in his country, which was tacitly supported by the King of Calabria himself. Of course, Kuro agreed to it, seeing that doing something would be in line with his values—at which he was strongly against slavery, both legal or illegal.Bookmark here

However, he consented on one condition. That was to have the Sekhtem militia send some men to help him find Lily in Hagena, a condition that Sir Dane accepted as well, once Kuro provided her description.Bookmark here

“Where are they heading?”Bookmark here

“Our scouts have reported that they’re making their way towards the north.”Bookmark here

“The north?” Sir Dane asked a confirmatory question and then looked at Kuro.Bookmark here

“Hagena!” Kuro blurted it out, “They might’ve learned that Lily’s a princess, and she could be in danger!”Bookmark here

Ah yes! If I remember, your girl fought one of them before, when they tried to capture her. They must’ve found out her location and were heading there to continue where they left off!”Bookmark here

“Well, disgraced nobles are valuable.” Sir Dane added, “While it’s true that they’re pretty much useless in manual labor, it’s of a different matter with the ‘private’ needs of the master.”Bookmark here

Oh…Bookmark here

The two men exchanged suspicious stares, and both decided to take action. Sir Dane, in particular, ordered Teresa, “Muster the cavalry. We ride to Hagena as soon as possible. You can ride gryphons, Mister Kuro?”Bookmark here

Err…gryphon?” Hearing a fantasy word like that made Kuro interested, yet fearful at the same time. He knew what a gryphon was, but certainly not how to ride it. So, not wishing to delay the preparations, he answered, “I’ll try to, I guess?”Bookmark here

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If possible, Lily would’ve wanted to wake up from the reality before her. Mariya’s severely injured by Lord Gray’s men; all her fingers broken to make her, the Bloody Witch, suffer. However, Lily by this time had become used to the cruel scene, and thus, rarely react to it anymore.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Grandma Margie was watching her granddaughter’s agony in silence. Never did she once look at Lily’s direction after hurling expletives on her the first time Mariya was tortured.Bookmark here

Lily perfectly understood the old lady’s sentiments. Not only did she cause them agony and grief once, but she also did it twice! And Lily would also have accepted Lord Gray’s actions; if he did not include Grandma and Mariya in her punishment.Bookmark here

For his part, the Lord Gray had made sure that his two extra prisoners were well-fed, and the injuries that could be healed fixed, for he wanted to keep them alive for as long as possible so that he could torture Lily again and again.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Mariya, though conscious, was inconsolable. She remained silent; her eyes downcast. The only sign that she’s alive was her body breathing.Bookmark here

“M-Mariya…G-Grandma…I-I’m sorry…” Lily would whisper from time to time, though she knew they would never hear it. Deep within her, only the terrible memories remain…Bookmark here

Of how her parents tried to have her killed by sending her on military expeditions and ensuring that she fights at the front…Bookmark here

Of how the soldiers she murdered glared and hurled curses at her before they died under her blade…Bookmark here

Of how her brother died trying to protect her from a poisoned needle…Bookmark here

Of how the people she killed cried in despair and agony as she slit their throat amidst her blood lust…Bookmark here

Of how she hurt Maddie, who was trying to prevent her murderous rampage, in what was dubbed as the ‘Last Battle of the Bloody Witch’…Bookmark here

Of the painful words she said to Kuro when she was angry at him and Maddie because of jealousy…Bookmark here

Lily wanted to apologize to everyone; and if she could only take her life to repay those people she had hurt, she would gladly do so…Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Her senses came rushing back when she heard the clack and creak of the wooden torture door opening. And, just as she expected, Lord Gray appeared along with his guards.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

However, this time, there was an extra character coming into the scene.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

“Why hello there, Iron Princess!” it was the man who fought her back in Sekhtem! “I hope you remember me, for I have good plans for you, rather than let you rot here. You may refer to me as the Traveler, for I’m always on foot to observe things.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

At that point, Lily had resigned from her fate. She removed any hope that Maddie would move to rescue her; besides, it’s her sin, anyway. Why should she ask for the Saint’s help when there’s no hope of redemption anymore? And Kuro? What could he do? He’s powerless to intervene in this matter.Bookmark here

But she has just one request…Bookmark here

“M-Ma…Mariya…”Bookmark here

Hmm? What are you saying?” the Traveler drew near his ear to her mouth.Bookmark here

“F-Free…M-Mariya…please?” she tried to convey her thoughts to him, even though she’s way too weak to speak louder than a whisper.Bookmark here

Oi, Lord Gray, the Iron Princess wants the two others free!” the Traveler told the liege, “What do you say about it?”Bookmark here

“What? Is it true? The Bloody Witch—who murdered mercilessly—is pleading for someone’s life as if she’s human?” Lord Gray laughed obnoxiously, “I think I must be out of my mind!”Bookmark here

“Sorry about that, Your Highness.” the Traveler explained, “But the prisoners would also be bought into slavery.”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Great indignation filled Lily’s heart as she watched them walked away. However, as angry as she was, her body was weakened and injured to do anything…Bookmark here

“Well then, Your Highness!” the Traveler gave her a mocking bow, “Please enjoy your time left here in North Chersea, for later, you’ll be setting sail for the Empire as a slave! In the meantime, I’ll discuss your price with Lord Gray! See you!”Bookmark here

And with that, they were locked-in once again, uncertain of the bleak future that awaited them…Bookmark here

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**Kuro**Bookmark here

We’ve been fortunate to come across this young guard named Roland.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

You see, when our gryphons landed in the village called Hagena (the travel was relatively fast since we’re flying), he was there, frantically running towards a house, yelling for some Anton who lived there. A big guy came out, and he blurted out that his grandma, big sister, and a certain ‘Miss Lily’ needed help as soon as possible.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Upon hearing that, I quickly approached them and asked about this ‘Miss Lily’. Roland told our group that they were being kept and tortured inside the lord’s castle on the cliff and that they were about to be sold to some Imperial slave-traders.Bookmark here

“Who’s the lord?” Sir Dane asked.Bookmark here

“Baron Sir Nathan Willis Gray is our liege here, Sire,” Roland informed him.Bookmark here

Oh! That airhead?” Sir Dane replied, “I didn’t know that he’s that kind of sadistic fellow!”Bookmark here

“Sire, I think he’s angry with Miss Lily.” the guard explained, “He keeps on calling her ‘Bloody Witch’ or something…”Bookmark here

“What?” the militia captain and I chorused.Bookmark here

“Sir Kuro, we should try to talk with him.”Bookmark here

“Yes, I agree.”Bookmark here

“Sires, we don’t have that much time.” Roland was urging us to hurry, “The reason I ran from there all the way here is that, I think—please don’t say this to him—our lord had lost his sense of reason.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

A few more questions and Roland’s explanation, and we finally determined that the local lord won’t be reasoned with. He’s far too deranged upon learning of Lily’s identity as the ‘Bloody Witch’. The man must’ve been damaged beyond salvation after what he had seen and suffered from her ‘Bloodbath’ skill.Bookmark here

Sir Dane and I knew we had to hurry if we hoped to save the prisoners. However, the veteran knight felt his forces were not adequate to attack the castle and besiege it. After all, Roland revealed to us that there were about 33 members of the local militia present inside, reinforced by two companies of Imperial soldiers of 40 people each.Bookmark here

That’s about 113 potential enemies…Bookmark here

And so, noting of the great disparity (we only have 45 people, including me), he divided our forces into two groups to raid the castle with Roland and me, while he and the others wait in the immediate vicinity to extricate us.Bookmark here

That is the plan, formulated so quickly because of the situation.Bookmark here

Our group, composed of 24 individuals, further subdivided ourselves into two smaller subgroups. The larger with 21 members would try to create a diversion, for us (me, Roland, and another member of the Gryphon Cavalry) to sneak in the dungeons and free our targets.Bookmark here

I quickly did a check on my matchlock gun to see if it’s properly loaded, and the match was lit.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Here’s to hoping that everything would be good. Alright, I’ll just do my best.Bookmark here

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***Meanwhile, in the woods to the southern face of the Hagena Castle***Bookmark here

Sir Dane watched through his spyglass the movement of Kuro’s company while they were preparing to breach and assault the fortress. The larger group of Sekhtem’s Gryphon Cavalry Corps had made their presence known by casually approaching the lord’s guards stationed at the gate and did some little chit chat.Bookmark here

Sekhtem’s militia would also serve as the King of Calabria’s core of the army during war-time, or if the monarch was on the move, and so it’s normal that their presence was seen anywhere in the country. Fortunately, because of this arrangement, the guards of Sir Gray would be less suspicious of the movement of Kuro’s infiltrating group on the other side.Bookmark here

“Ready the gryphons in case we need to rush in.” Sir Dane ordered the men with him before going back to his spyglass.Bookmark here

This time, Kuro’s group had successfully entered the castle’s wall by magically causing a hole in one tower’s base. The ‘diversion’ group was also making progress, keeping most of the guards occupied with their small talk.Bookmark here

“Come on…” Sir Dane could hear the beat of his heart as he prayed that the ‘infiltration’ group would come out soon.Bookmark here

“…” The other men who were also with him were thinking of the same. They already had drawn their swords.Bookmark here

And then, an unusual thing happened. The guards suddenly let in the ‘diversion’ group into the courtyard of the castle. By then, Sir Dane’s spyglass had failed him because of the high castle walls.Bookmark here

A few moments later, a loud explosion tore through the silence of Hagena.Bookmark here

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Lily was roused from her sleep when she felt the shackles from her hands being removed. And then, when it completely fell off, she just closed her eyes and let herself fall, for she was now too feeble to stand. Besides, she knew that it’s already time to go to slavery at the Empire. The Traveler must’ve ironed out the terms of the deal with Lord Gray, selling her to him.Bookmark here

What’s the purpose of seeing herself being pulled away to become a slave?Bookmark here

Fucking brutes! I swear they would never escape punishment for what they had done to you!”Bookmark here

“!!!” Lily then heard that certain familiar voice she never heard for so long since leaving the Holy Palatial Gardens. Those powerful arms that held her, and the smell of clothing she missed…Bookmark here

Is she dreaming? Is this what they call ‘dying moments’?Bookmark here

Lily kept her eyes closed, for this was way too good of a dream. She feared that if she opens up, this person holding her right now would be gone, and she’s back to that dreary torture chamber.Bookmark here

“Hey, Lily? I know you’re awake, you can open your eyes now, please!”Bookmark here

“…” Slowly, she did what the voice asked her. And what she saw first was Kuro’s face, all bloodied and bruised. However, he was smiling, and tears were falling from his eyes. Confirming that she’s awake, he embraced her in his arms, though gently, so as not to worsen her injuries.Bookmark here

Lily’s eyes welled up with tears. She also wanted to hold him, but her strength failed her.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Their tearful reunion was suddenly interrupted when a loud explosion and subsequent trembling was heard and felt throughout the torture room. Kuro looked behind him, which puzzled Lily…Bookmark here

Behind him, she saw Roland, who was carrying Mariya, “Sir Kuro, I don’t think we should stay in here for too long. Lord Gray might’ve returned with more of his guards and have us trapped in here!”Bookmark here

“Alright, Lily!” Kuro wrapped her naked body in his coat that he always wore with him, “It’s time to move out now, forgive me for seeing you like this!”Bookmark here

Lily could only sigh with relief as she confirmed she was not dreaming anymore. She didn’t even care if the man she loved see her pathetic self right now. What’s important was that she would see Maddie and Kuro once again…Bookmark here

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**Kuro**Bookmark here

The explosion must’ve put everyone inside the castle on high alert. We didn’t have an idea who or what caused it; it’s our cue to get the fuck out of here.Bookmark here

It’s a good thing that our group had already reached Lily and her companions before that. Now our only worry was to get back to the way we came from as soon as possible.Bookmark here

And of course, not to get too exhausted carrying these girls to safety…Bookmark here

“So, you’re that Kuro, huh?” Roland asked me, as we ran back to the breach we made on the castle walls, “You’re Lily’s lover?”Bookmark here

“Ha? What are you talking about?” I was bewildered by his question.Bookmark here

“Hey, no talking, you two!” the cavalry member told us, “Focus on escaping first before relaxing!”Bookmark here

Well, that put us both in silent mode. What the soldier said was indeed true and the right thing to do in this situation.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

But well, I’d certainly like to ask this Roland guy later what he meant by that…Bookmark here

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The escape plan almost proceeded way too smoothly, thanks to the efforts of the guard, Roland. He led us through the winding corridors and hallways of that dark place, narrowly—but successfully—evading the guards.Bookmark here

While running, we’re finally on the last level before we’re outside when, right in the middle of the hallway, we saw some ‘diversion’ group members rushing back.Bookmark here

“Hey! What’s the rush? I thought you guys were creating a diversion?”Bookmark here

“Change of plans!” the leader of the other group said, “Someone among them knew of our intent, thus, blowing our cover. The Imperials and the other guards are way too many; we’re practically surrounded and should find another way of escape.”Bookmark here

Well, of course, this is bound to happen, especially when you attack a castle crawling with enemies. At the end of the hall, we could see armed men running after the ‘diversion’ group.Bookmark here

“They’re also coming from the other side!”Bookmark here

On our backs appeared the members of the local militia—Roland’s former comrades. They were rushing to meet us halfway, and with such circumstances, I could tell we’re in deep shit.Bookmark here

“Up here!” I cried out, noticing a set of stairs that led to an upper room with a thick, plain wooden door. As we have no time to find out if that place was guarded, Roland led the way for us and checked the room himself.Bookmark here

“It’s all clear!” he declared.Bookmark here

I quickly went up as soon as the guard opened the door—which was, luckily, not locked.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the leader of our group followed us. He was with the old lady, and he was quite encumbered because of that adult’s body size, so he had difficulty climbing the staircase. He nearly tumbled down, in which he was saved at the last minute by his comrades who supported and pushed him back.Bookmark here

“Protect the grandma!” someone from the diversion group shouted. This was because the enemy was upon us on both sides. We’re going to get butchered…Bookmark here

Unless we continue to move up.Bookmark here

The diversion group positioned themselves and their shields in a shield-wall formation. They were only armed with swords, for they left their lances with their gryphons outside. The enemy, however, had archers that began aiming their arrows at us.Bookmark here

“FIRE!”Bookmark here

They never let us breathe; they immediately let loose their deadly projectiles that hit a few of our companions, breaking the shield-wall.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

However, the rear-guard action was successful. Our group reached the relative safety of the upper floor of the castle.Bookmark here

“Sir Kuro, signal for Sir Dane to come to our rescue.” the soldier tasked me, as we heard the sounds of battle raging down the lower floor. The diversion group was delaying the enemy from reaching us, even if they had to use their bodies to defend our positions.Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“Close the doors then!”Bookmark here

“What? Your companions are still fighting below us!”Bookmark here

“We can’t do anything about them anymore. Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain!” the soldier replied as he put down the grandma and pulled some heavy furnishing to block the door, “Hurry!”Bookmark here

“Ayt!” I slammed the big wooden door shut. Hey, that wasn’t an easy feat; I was carrying Lily, and I had to make sure her injured body was out of the way when I closed it.Bookmark here

The soldier and Roland quickly threw the furniture and piled it up to ensure the attackers would have a hard time opening the doors.Bookmark here

Then, we tried to make sense of our location. With the lower floors denied to our escape, the only way out was to move up. However, upon looking around, we found out that we’re in some bedroom.Bookmark here

Oh, this must be Lord Gray’s master’s bedroom.” I heard Roland say.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Realizing that, our group sat down to catch our breaths and take a brief respite. The battle was just heating up…Bookmark here

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Inspecting the room revealed to us that this castle had no rooftop or any of the sort. The last escape route would be by the windows, which were covered by curtains, and was way up high from the ground.Bookmark here

We hid our griffons in the forest behind the castle, at the foot of the gentle slopes of the cliff where the castle stood. We expected to return by the way we entered. We just didn’t foresee this situation, for we have no planning or any of the sort.Bookmark here

I took a peek at the window outside, trying to find out where Sir Dane’s forces were positioned. Based on what I saw, the village of Hagena was visible to the west, so Sir Dane’s group must wait for a few distances to the east of the houses.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I wonder if they will see our signal amidst that light fog…Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Oh right! I can use my gun to get their attention and then signal for help!Bookmark here

“Sir Kuro? What do you intend to do with the demon’s weapon?” the soldier asked me as he anxiously watched.Bookmark here

“I’m going to call for help. Cover your ears!” I brought out my hand and fired a shot.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

The sound of the gunshot echoed for miles down the cliff and, hopefully, to the village below. After that, I desperately waved my arms at anyone who might see us.Bookmark here

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A few moments of tense waiting ensued. However, Sir Dane and his squad saw my signal and rushed with his gryphons flying to our position.Bookmark here

“What’s happening, Sir Kuro?” he asked. The windows were too small to land a gryphon, but it was wide enough for one person to enter, which he did while entrusting his flying steed to a fellow soldier.Bookmark here

“Most of our group got trapped fighting on the rear. And yeah, we’re bust.”Bookmark here

“Great.”Bookmark here

“So, uh, how about we evacuate the injured?”Bookmark here

Oh, right!” Sir Dane signaled for another soldier to come in and carry the young girl first, then the old lady, and after that, Lily, “Take great care of the young lady; she’s with Sir Kuro’s.”Bookmark here

“Wait, what?”Bookmark here

“You saying something, Sir Kuro?”Bookmark here

“Nevermind.” I asked the militia captain, “Got any ideas to escape this?”Bookmark here

“Well…we’ll hold the fort for now.”Bookmark here

“Seems like a good plan.” I sarcastically quipped. So according to Sir Dane, we’re about to remain inside for as long as the victims hadn’t been removed in the bedroom, so another group of cavalry soldiers reinforced us.Bookmark here

Fortunately, the young girl was small enough to fit in the window and into the waiting gryphon. Evacuating her took only five minutes, I guess? By that time, the sounds of the battle beneath us ceased completely, showing that our rear guards were annihilated.Bookmark here

“Hurry up!” Sir Dane urged his men, “We don’t want them to come knocking on this door while retreating!”Bookmark here

It was in the turn of the old lady that problems appeared. Since she was an adult, fitting her in that window took some precious time. Her body size was problematic for the rescuers, and the sense of urgency was getting bigger the longer that we delay.Bookmark here

“Damn it!” Sir Dane cursed under his breath, “Try the other prisoner! She’s younger and smaller, so she might fit! Hurry up!”Bookmark here

And so the soldiers did as their commander ordered. However, Lily’s big chest and hip size also presented the same problem to us.Bookmark here

“Curses! Why is it that these women are so well-endowed!?” Sir Dane blurted out.Bookmark here

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry upon hearing that. We could still extricate them, but it would surely take time to get the right ‘angle’ to fit their bodies through the small window and pull it off.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

“Enemy at the door!” someone shouted when the barricaded door was rammed by the enemy trying to get in. The rest of Sir Dane’s force reinforcing us took defensive positions, with the Sekhtem militia captain himself standing with us.Bookmark here

Yep, I think we had no other choice but to fight.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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