金金金Noel and the others were admitted into the newly formed flying column, and they began their march towards the old abandoned fort with the fox-eyed Ned as their commanding officer. His mouth in a smile, he cheerfully advanced. The young ones who were following him had to fight the weight of their weapons and armour which they had yet to grow accustomed to carrying. Even keeping up with Ned was a struggle for them. Their destination was at the heart of the forest, and there was a constant need to watch their footing due to the uneven terrain as they made their way through the trees with their vision obscured by the foliage. All of their strength went into continuing the march.
金金金After taking a deep breath, Mirut wiped his sweat. Although he was used to rushing through the mountains every day, his feet were beginning to hurt. He too was new to the heavy equipment, but Noel on the other hand, was lazily matching the commander’s pace whilst yawning and stretching in a relaxed manner.
“… Oi, you. What’s up with your energy even though you’re a woman? Isn’t this all kinds of strange?” Mirut asked between breaths.
金金金His ragged voice sounded like he wanted to stop and rest.
“This much isn’t an issue. I don’t think you guys exercise enough…”
“No, you are definitely the weird one here. Just look around and see.”
金金金The few who had maintained their composure were Ned, five soldiers, and Noel. The rest all had the faces of dead men, and appeared likely to collapse at any moment; their fatigue was unmistakable.
“The simple folk are the ones worn out here. Captain Ned, and the few surrounding him, seem like they’re used to it already. It’s like they are military.”
金金金Although the statement elicited many nods, it didn’t account for Noel. She wasn’t soldierly from any angle at all; she was just a girl who casually defied common sense.
“That may be so, but it doesn’t give you guys any excuses.”
“Uh, well, in my case it’s because I’m special I guess. When Mr. Sun is shining, I’m always full of energy,” Noel flashed her teeth as she smiled.
金金金It wasn’t an unexpected answer at that point, and Mirut sighed while shaking his head.
“Ah, I see now. I get tired whenever you speak.”
“It must be hard for you.”
“It’s your fault!”
“Oh, by the way, do you know where Fraser and Kraft are? I haven’t seen them in a while.”
“Yeah, that? They’re with the main force advancing on Rockbell. It sounded like they’d be in the first waves. That idiot Fraser just dragged Kraft along with him to the front.”
金金金Kraft had been opposed to fighting, but was swept along by Fraser’s hot blooded enthusiasm. He had basically become Fraser’s henchman, and it seemed he had yet to rebel. Apparently he had heard good things about the upcoming campaign from Geb, and now that he was on the side that pillaged, his ambitions had flared to the point that Kraft had even begun to imitate him. They made the vanguard their goal. Mirut had tried to keep them in check, but Fraser heard none of it. The rest of the Zoim fellows had gravitated towards the flying column.
“I see. I guess it just can’t be helped.”
“What can’t be helped?”
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
“What is it? I’m just more curious now,” although he glared at her, Noel had already been distracted by something else.
“Ah, could it be? Is it that mossy, overgrown building there? It gives me that kind of feeling you know,” Noel pointed in the direction she was looking.
金金金In a small clearing was a moss covered stone fort. The massive walls which retained their dignity despite their age were crumbling on all sides. It felt they could be breached in the blink of an eye.
金金金Exactly what they were going to do with the place, Mirut and the others had not yet discerned.
“You wait here. We’ll survey the situation. I want absolute silence, okay?”
金金金Ned spoke in a voice that could kill, and five men lay down to approach the fort. Wary of their surroundings, their eyes surveyed the area. They swept through the ruins and the surrounding clearing thoroughly.
“Exactly what‘s happening right now? Somehow, something amazing must be hidden here.”
“In this rundown, crumbled place?”
“As I said, there has to be something we came here to find.”
“I guess so.”
“I wouldn’t hide here though. After all, it seems like the kind of place that’s easily found, but not fled from,” Noel explained herself while absentmindedly approaching a tree.
金金金It was in an inconspicuous location, and appeared to be able to comfortably conceal them, but the inspection of its interior was taking longer than anticipated.
“Then where would you hide?”
“Hmm, I guess I’d maybe hide in a hole or something.”
“What, are we ants or moles now? They don’t even hide for long.”
“There are all kinds of different holes you know. I just don’t want to hide in any more graves.”
金金金Her own words called up unpleasant images, and for an instant, she found herself in a familiar downpour. Although someone had responded to her, Noel’s eyes were closed, and she no longer had the will to continue the conversation. Hearing that, Mirut stopped, and stooped down to recover some stamina. The others too, finished up their conversations and averted their eyes. While they remained that way, Ned’s group finally returned.
“Alright, everyone listen up. As we face off against the Rockbell district, I might as well reveal the true reason that we came to this filthy place,” after a dramatic pause Ned’s face sprouted a grin before he continued, “We only have one aim: to capture Grohl’s wife and child when they attempt to flee from Rockbell. If we succeed in this mission, the chances of achieving victory will increase dramatically. We’ll be holding his family hostage after all.”
“B-but, will we really find them here? All I can see are ruins,” one young man timidly enquired, and Ned nodded with confidence.
“Even I was slightly worried before we got here, but what of it? After meticulous searching, we’ve found traces that this place has recently been used.”
“Oi, what kind of answer did you want? Now is the critical moment; our hands can grasp the target. The rewards will be great, and you’ll feel a lightness in your chests if we succeed. As there will be resistance, if you don’t fight hard, you’ll die quickly.”
“Don’t be scared, lighten up. You have to psyche yourself up before a fight.”
Ned slapped the boy on the back, and then, after looking over the others, coldly explained, “We are to capture the woman and child without killing them; however, should they resist, incapacitating them forcefully isn’t a problem. We kill the rest of their party. Now is not the time to hesitate due to fear.”
“S-so we are expected to kill?”
“Kill or be killed. Either way, I don’t care. Just know I won’t retrieve your corpse.”
金金金As Ned made himself clear, the youths stiffly nodded.
“Scour this fort with a fine toothed comb! Leave no stone unturned. Search the basements, and the rooftops. Be sure to call out if you find anything. I’ll be waiting near the entrance in case they try to escape… oi, are you even listening? Hey, the miss over there, I’m referring to you.”
“Yup, I’m listening. I’ll search really hard you know.”
金金金Noel, at least try respond appropriately for once, or so Mirut thought, but Ned didn’t seem to mind.
“One of us today will be the one to capture targets. I’ll make a full report, so expect rewards. Speak up if you understand!”
金金金Ned had called out in a loud voice to intimidate any hiding inside the fort. The others too, spoke up loudly.
“Then here we go! Take the fort, and capture Grohl’s wife and child! FLUSH THEM OUT!!”
金金金Ned drew his sword, and advanced on the fort. Shortly thereafter, Mirut and the rest began a charge as well. Noel too, readied her weapon, but she cautiously advanced in the rear of the formation. Unconsciously glancing at the sky, she noticed that although clouds were present, the sun was in good health. Having confirmed this, Noel hastened her pace.
金金金In the rotted fort —Sebtem fort— the trapped young knight Cynthia Edrich was greatly troubled. Cynthia’s mission was to escort the Viceroy Grohl’s wife and son, Sarah and Elgar, while they visited Rockbell. The timing had proven poor as during the visit, an uprising took root in the north of the province. The rebel army was gaining considerable strength, and eventually would aim to take the capital city of Madress. En route, the rebels would be forced to pass through Rockbell. For Cynthia, that news meant it was time to immediately return her charges to the capital, but Count Barel had rejected her proposal.
金金金Although his will to protect his daughter was strong, what overpowered it was the fear that he would fail at his task. Barel himself would never admit to such a thing, but Cynthia was sure she had figured him out. The compromise she proposed was that, rather than remaining in the district that was sure to become a battlefield, they would instead take refuge in the old Sebtem fort. With that as the plan, Barel had reluctantly agreed, and so, before fleeing to the capital, the arrangements had been made to hide. It had only been done because Cynthia had so strongly pushed for it. They were supposed to lay low and meet up with the regular army when they came to drive out the rebels.
金金金There were no problems before now. I never thought the rebels would have someone who knew of this spot!
金金金It had been struck from the maps; however, there were many locals who knew of the old Sebtem fort. There should have been no way the rebels who advanced from the north could know of it.
金金金Already, men with red cloths wrapped around their right arms had broken down the gates and were entering the fort. Cynthia’s guard was only 20 strong whereas the approaching rebels numbered about one hundred. Normally, they wouldn’t lose to such rabble, but they were disadvantaged by the necessity of protecting a woman and child. It would be difficult to keep the two out of harm’s way. They bore the name of Wardka so if they were to be captured, the rebel’s morale would regrettably skyrocket.
金金金They are probably after Lady Sarah and Master Elgar, but their timing is too good… Unless they have spies on the inside.
金金金Many ideas spiraled through her mind, but there wasn’t enough time to calmly consider them. She decided to quietly escape through the hidden tunnel in the storehouse rather than to fight, and so that she could ensure the wife and son escaped, she would stay behind as a distraction. Old rags had been posted on the wall nearest the door to the storehouse which, although primitive, could serve to disguise the entrance. It probably wouldn’t deceive anyone for long, but it had the possibility of buying some time due to the darkness of the storeroom’s interior.
“Knight Cynthia, as I feared, the door has rusted and cannot be opened!”
“We’ll use the war hammer! Quickly, or they’ll catch up!”
“Wrap it in the cloth so the sound is dampened! Hurry!”
金金金Cynthia angrily reprimanded the soldiers. Pressed against eachother, Sarah and Elgar’s faces became blue. She wanted to tell them that they would be fine, but couldn’t bring herself to utter such irresponsible words.
金金金The soldiers readied the cloths, and swung the hammer. A dull thud reverberated through the storeroom. They scowled at the sound that was much louder than anticipated, but were unable to do anything about it. All they could do was pray that no enemies were coming to investigate. They held their breath and gripped their weapons. A foul stench assailed their noses. They attempted to check for pursuers through a rounded hole in the door through which they had entered, but as it was so dark the situation could not be accurately assessed. The room beyond the door was largely similar to the one they were in, but there should have been light filtering in from the upper stories. They had recently been able to comfortably peek out so the current situation was supposed to be an impossibility.
“… What? Who cut out the lights?”
“Would this help?”
金金金With a torch lit, and held up to the peephole they once more surveyed the other room.
金金金Cynthia let out a small cry as she leapt away from what she thought was the door. They had gravely mistaken the reason behind the sudden darkness. It was a human eye. From the time they had entered, Cynthia had been directly in front of the door, so its owner couldn’t have properly spotted the others. It was but a small spot on the door that had remained uncovered by the cloth they had hung. The two enemies had been face to face, only separated by a thin door. It was an encounter that sent shivers down Cynthia’s spine. If she hadn’t been on guard, she would have undoubtedly screamed. Though her goosebumps told her to flee, she knew her situation.
“Knight Cynthia, whatever has happened?”
“T-there, there’s somebody out there!”
“Ah ha ha, I~ found you.”
金金金From the room beyond, a young woman’s voice could be heard, and was followed up by the sound of repeated strikes to the door. Those inside knew they had undoubtedly been found. Although the door was wooden, it’s construction was solid, and it probably wouldn’t break easily; however, the situation was proceeding unfavourably. The blows were gradually becoming heavier with time, so that the impacts began to shake the very air.
金金金What should I do? At this rate, they’ll call for help. I’m going to have to sally forth.
As Cynthia made her choice, she turned to the nervous soldiers and issued her orders, “This enemy is mine! The rest of you escape with Lady Sarah and the prince! Whatever happens when I head out there, do not open the door!”
“I will go too!”
“Unacceptable, do not forget our duty! Listen up, I’m going to shut that door! Do not worry about me, just hurry and escape!”
金金金Grasping her sword, she forced open the heavy door. The person before her eyes backed away after making a surprised noise. With the time that bought her, Cynthia slammed the door shut, and confirmed the sound of it locking behind her. Her subordinates had followed their orders. Cautiously, she observed her opponent. She could only see a young woman. Her blood red hair was surprisingly lustrous.
金金金So young. She’s probably only in her mid teens, but I can’t overlook a traitor who joined the rebellion!
金金金She’d hesitated at the thought of killing a child, but quickly resolved herself to her task.
“Are you the only one here?”
“Yup. I’m the only one who’s found you.”
“I see. How did you know?”
“Well, on that wall there, a cloth was blocking the gaps. If you look hard enough, it’s pretty obvious that something is hidden there you know.”
金金金Cynthia quickly glanced over her shoulder to check. Certainly, there was a cloth blocking the gaps in a door that looked fortified; however, it would be difficult to spot at a distance with the current light levels. The girl before her must have been quite perceptive to notice. That her gift may have brought about her own death was a tragedy Cynthia could hardly express.
“Are you with the rebel army?”
“Yup, basically. Also, it isn’t just a swarm of locusts, it’s called the Red Circle Army. At least it has a good name, eh?”
金金金The red haired girl nodded while carelessly smiling. She was armed with a long bident, she wore a leather cuirass, and a red cloth was wrapped around her arm. There was no doubt of her affiliation once she had stated the rebel army’s name. Cynthia reaffirmed herself once more.
金金金Sadly, she must die. I can’t afford to overlook anyone right now.
金金金To create a false sense of security she decided to ask her name. It would probably be her final conversation.
“My name is Cynthia. May I hear yours?”
“Sure, I guess. They call me Noel…”
金金金As she unguardedly spoke, Cynthia launched a swipe at Noel’s throat. She aimed for the throat of the girl who had not yet prepared for a fight. It was hardly the honourable behavior of the knightly caste, but for the moment Grohl’s wife and son were the priority. Furthermore her opponent was a traitor; there was no need for honour. Putting power into her left leg, with both hands she brought down a diagonal swing from the right with all of her force. She felt her blade flex as a shrill metallic clank could be heard in the room.
“Suddenly attacking isn’t very fair.”
“Y-you caught the blade!?”
金金金The two prongs of Noel’s bident had magnificently trapped her opponent’s sword. The shock of the impact numbed Cynthia’s hands. Noel’s face went from carefree to vicious in an instant. Her bloodlust was palpable. Cynthia had never experienced this before in any of her previous battles.
金金金T-this one isn’t a regular insurgent!?
金金金So she wouldn’t lose her cool, she endured.
“It feels like I won’t get my hands on the treasure in there unless I defeat you I guess. So, I’ll fight with full force okay?”
“Silence, vile traitor! Receive this sword as judgement!”
金金金Instead of a proper reply, she again slashed at her opponent. She was confidant her physique was superior, and so she planned on victory by overpowering the other. The rebel had a bident which gave her an advantage in reach. With that in mind, Cynthia decided to abandon defence, and quickly dispatch her foe from up close.
“Woah, pretty speedy, aren’t you.”
金金金She warded off the swipe at her chest with the shaft of her bident. Utilising her momentum, Noel attempted to strike Cynthia with the butt of her bident, but she avoided the blow by jumping back. To think her swordsmanship would lose to a spearman, Cynthia’s blood rushed to her head.
“You, insolent little…”
“Hey, you’re breathing pretty heavily over there, are you sure you’re okay? Should we take a break?”
“Don’t make fun of me!”
“I wasn’t though.”
金金金Noel had been on the defensive and had yet to seriously attack. With tip and haft she’d batted aside blows, and her footwork had lightly maintained an advantageous range. Cynthia had been easily evaded; over time her strikes became erratic, and her movements dulled.
金金金It seemed the easy target was an illusion. Noel would leave intentional openings, and dodge skillfully when they were lashed out at. After a feint, she quickly thrust with her eyes locked on Noel’s lower abdomen. Regrettably, the blade only grazed her right side, and in a counter attack, Noel landed a kick squarely on Cynthia’s stomach. The blow carried considerably more force than what had been initially received.
金金金It was as though the hit had pierced through her entirely, and her voice was probably let out due to the pain. Her armour had done nothing to help, and gastric juices had been forced out of her stomach and out her mouth. Her knees trembled in pain, and her posture was broken by a strike from the butt of Noel’s bident. While trying to get up, Cynthia found the tip of the bident thrust before her face. The two prongs halted just before gouging out her eyes. Cynthia’s movements stopped, and she gasped in surprise. With only a slight move, her life could have been ended.
“Move and you die. I probably shouldn’t kill a woman, but I will. So, please obediently drop your sword okay?”
“I, I refuse! I cannot sully the honour of Coimbra’s knights at the hands of an insurgent!”
金金金There wasn’t much she could do, but she wouldn’t comply. A knight could never dishonour herself at the words of a mere rebel. At her spirited refusal, Noel made a difficult expression.
“No matter what?”
“Of course! Just do it already! I sacrifice myself for Coimbra!”
“Ha~h, what a pain. Since it’s bothersome, I might not kill you after all. If no one finds you, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Noel winked and inclined her head.
金金金Pausing for a moment, she made her decision and, with a sharp gaze, put power into her arms.
“Didn’t I tell you not to move? Lie still if you don’t want your limbs broken. I’m only going to leave you half dead.”
“For the moment, that sword is bothersome, so drop it okay? I’d hate to accidentally skewer you after all.”
金金金Cynthia wondered if she was about to twirl the bident, but instead found her sword struck from her hand. It was so fast that she had not even been able to react. As one final act of defiance, she unsheathed the dirk from behind her, but her right hand was swiftly knocked aside.
“H-how shameful it is! To be undone by a rebel, nay by a young woman!” Cynthia admitted defeat after fighting as hard as she could.
“These kinds of days do happen. It’d be nice if you win your next fight…”
“You fucking bastard! Don’t make fun of me!
金金金From where she had risen to in her anger, Cynthia could see a young man had descended from the upper floors.
“Oi… I heard some intense shouts from here, what’s happening. Wait, what did you do!?”
“Mirut! Good timing. Can you help me with this? I found this woman named Cynthia though…”
“Wha- seriously!? No way, did you capture her after a fight?”
金金金Mirut cautiously approached.
“I already won, see. Now come and help me.”
“You brought a longish rope right?”
“Ah, but it’s not on hand right now. Should I grab the guy who took it?”
“Okay, just tie her hands behind her with the red cloth. It’s better than nothing.”
“Unhand me traitor! Keep your filthy hands off of me!”
金金金Cynthia began to resist, but his sword quickly jabbed at her, and she realised it was futile. Mirut tied her arms behind her back. All she could do was pray that those inside had escaped to safety.
“We’re done then eh?”
“By the way, did you really defeat this knight woman? She is a knight right?”
“…. What’s up with that? If she surrendered to you, are knights surprisingly not that big of a deal?” Saying that, the young Mirut rudely looked down at Cynthia.
金金金He didn’t want to say that an amateur like Noel had defeated her, and so he gazed at her amazedly. Cynthia’s face flushed red in anger and embarrassment.
“She was pretty good, so you’d probably have died Mirut; in two halves with one blow. Or maybe your throat would have been cleanly slit, I don’t know.”
“S-shut up… Just because I’ve never really used a sword doesn’t mean…”
金金金Stuttering, Mirut’s voice began, but suddenly, he felt goosebumps running down his spine.
“Stop that! More importantly, there’s a kid in here somewhere right? Wait, was the woman’s name Sarah? I can’t recall…”
“Something looks hidden behind this door. It’ll be pretty hard to break down, so let’s just call Captain Ned over.”
“Right, I’ll get him. You stay and watch the knight woman.”
“Keep this a secret from the others or it’s no good. We found her after all. If more people gather, the reward will diminish you know.”
“Then, we’re working together. That’s right, I’ll share with everyone from Zoim so it’ll be all good. Monopolies are bad right?”
“What kind words,” scoffed Mirut with a wry smile as he ascended the staircase, leaving Noel and Cynthia behind.
“Be that as it may, this place is pretty dingy. It reeks of mould, and I can’t even see the sun’s rays down here,” Noel tucked her bident under her arm and plopped down next to Cynthia.
“… Um…” Noel raised her voice, unable to stomach the silence.
金金金Cynthia had her eyes closed, and was permeated with stillness.
“Hey Cynthia, as a knight, you’re pretty strong, eh? Like when you almost ran me through, that was pretty dangerous.”
“Hey, hey, is it okay if I ask you something?”
“Ehe, I guess it’s no good after all. I guess there’s no helping it then.”
金金金Noel laughed remorsefully, and leaned against the wall.
“This way, Captain Ned.”
金金金After a while, Mirut had finally returned, and he dragged with him, three men. The fox-eyed Ned was scratching his black hair as though it was a bother.
“Yo, miss. It seems you defeated this knight woman, eh? That’s quite the achievement.”
“It seems her name is Cynthia. She came from in there,” as she explained, Noel pointed to the door which had the ragged cloths hung behind it.
金金金Ned nodded to his two subordinates and gestured them to destroy the door.
“All right, we don’t need to be subtle, just break it down. There’s probably nobody in there anymore, but maintain caution.”
金金金The subordinates took out a steel hammer they had prepared and began to batter the door. Hearing the conversation, Cynthia’s face twisted into a scowl.
金金金How could they know that no one’s inside?
“Actually, I’ve been quiet about this up until now, but this fort has a hidden escape tunnel. Knowing that, I sent you guys in here to flush the rats out. My men are already posted at the tunnel’s exit you know. The appearance of total troop commitment to the search was simply an illusion.”
金金金Ned had taken a few aside after giving the order to charge, and snuck them around to the tunnel’s exit. Only around half of the flying wing had actually been searching the fort. Obviously, they hadn’t informed Noel of this either.
“How did you bastards learn of the tunnel!?”
“He, how do you think? Isn’t it mysterious? Well, I guess you could call it a revelation from the Sun God.”
金金金Ned sneered at her. Cynthia, seeing his expression, finally realised how they had known. She herself had seen the man before. His hair had changed from brown to black, but there was no mistaking his identity.
“Wait, so we don’t get a reward?”
“The viceroy’s wife and son are my gift to the men. The true victor here is obviously this Ned. Well, I’ll be sure to treat you all to a meal some time.”
“Unfair,” Noel’s words were sharp.
“That’s right, adults are unfair. He he, now that you’ve seen the world’s true colours you’ve gotten sulky, eh?” He patted Noel’s head as he made fun of her.
金金金The sound of splintering wood cracked through the air. The door connecting the two spaces was finally beginning to falter.
“Captain Ned, as expected, there’s no one inside!”
“We’ve located the entrance to the tunnel. They must’ve escaped through here!”
“Good work men. No need to chase them. They may have prepared an ambush after all. Now, shall we dispose of this woman and meet up with the rest? They may be having some trouble.”
金金金After yawning some, he placed his hand his sword.
“You bastard! You’re the Nedicas who served in the Coimbra guard! With those fox-eyes, and lowborn grin, even with a different hair colour, it is as clear as day!”
“And who are you exactly?” Ned spouted angrily, but Cynthia continued without pause.
“Three years ago, my party was sent to hunt you for escaping with military funds! You ended up fleeing for Bahar!”
金金金In a few steps he had run to the adjacent Bahar with his ill gotten gains. As there were political barriers to entering Bahar, they had to request permission from Great General Wilm. They had requested entrance; however, they were denied. There was even a rumor that Nedicas had joined the Baharan military. With the cold relations between the two provinces such a thing was not improbable.
“Oh, whatever this is, I don’t understand. You seem to have mistaken me for someone else.”
“Silence! Embezzling funds from a position of authority is inexcusable! Why are you even in the rebellion you git!? You wouldn’t follow a man acting as the voice of the plebeians!!”
金金金With a profoundly disingenuous sigh, Ned had covered his eyes with his hand. For Noel, and Mirut who were watching it all, they didn’t understand.
“Captain, what do we do?”
“What do you mean ‘what do we do’?”
“Well, she’s been talking too much…?”
“We were going to kill her anyway, so don’t worry about it. Not that it would hurt to shut her up a bit early.”
金金金At the subordinate-like man’s words, Cynthia raised her eyes. His accent felt familiar somehow. She realised he had a Bahar accent, his words were pronounced at a different cadence than those of a native to Coimbra.
“You bastards have Bahar accents… Wait, why are Baharans fighting in Coimbra’s rebellion!?”
金金金Even as she spoke, the pieces began to fit together in her head.
“Er, no, I’m not a Baharan. You’re totally mistaken, right Captain?”
“This idiot. He’s shaking so much it practically confirms her story.”
金金金Seeing the man, Ned disappointedly shook his head. The situation was taking an unfortunate turn, and Cynthia’s eyes widened in astonishment.
“Oi oi, can you seriously stop it with that. I have no guilt on my conscience, so why do you want these forced conscripts over here to get involved?”
金金金Although he threatened her with a sword, her words continued to gush forth.
“Is the rebellion backed by the Bahar military? Were the initial agitants to stir up the people Baharans!?”
“Ah~, you had to say it.”
“D-do you cowards know no shame!?”
金金金Cynthia bared her teeth as she shouted. Her magnificent blond hair seemed to stand on end in pure hatred.
“Shut up, stupid woman!”
金金金Kicked in the face, she fell to the floor, dispersing the dust which had accumulated on the stone. Blood ran down her face, but she paid it no mind. She already knew the truth, and to the bitter end she would fight; in death she would not die.
金金金The information needed to be conveyed to Viceroy Grohl. It was no mere rebellion, but a grand conspiracy.
“Do you realise that your careless words have added two more corpses to the pile? You really are beyond help.”
金金金At Ned’s signal, two of his subordinates drew their swords and approached Mirut and Noel causing the former to turn blue.
“Eh, w-why? Aren’t we on the same side?”
“I’m sorry Noel, and… was it Mirut? This fool said too much, so we have no choice but to kill you. Curse the ones who cursed you.”
“Why!? I don’t even understand what this is all about, and I definitely won’t speak of it!”
“We just can’t have people noticing. Rumors will spread and grow with time. You wouldn’t even need proof to start people doubting the cause, all that would matter is whether or not they’d believe you. You understand that the Red Circle Army is a mishmash of all kinds of people, and we can’t risk it collapsing right?”
“So you kill us. Adults really are unfair, eh?” Noel expressionlessly retorted; unlike Mirut, she did not speak for fear of death.
“Pretty much. I don’t like that this is how your reward turned out. I will make proper graves for you two, so try to forgive me.”
“I’m not making you a grave. I’ll torment, and torment, and torment you, until you finally die in eight separate pieces. You made me kill two innocent children, so expect a punishment.”
金金金Ned spat, and gave the order. Naked blades glistened in the darkness. A red rain of blood splashed. A smell quickly filled the air, and the stone floor grew puddles of a rusty red.
“I almost fell asleep during your speech you know.”
“Hey, are you okay Mirut? Your eyes are spinning…”
“A-am I safe?”
“You’re safe as far as safeness is concerned, but these guys lost their necks. Look, see?”
金金金Confirming the horrific scene, Mirut released a strange voice and fell backwards.
“That was an interesting sound. Hey, where did that even come from?” Noel comfortably enquired.
金金金As Cynthia had just regained consciousness, she couldn’t immediately understand the situation. Noel had brandished her weapon as the men drew their swords, and decapitated them in a single stroke. There were only two in the room who had yet to bleed.
“This isn’t a situation to laugh at jokes…”
“I guess so. It’ll be hard, but I guess it can’t be helped.”
“Who could have known there would be such a monster here? Don’t even think about coming over. Don’t come close. This is the worst!”
“I’m not a monster, I’m Noel. Isn’t it a good name?”
“I hate it. You’re a monster we never anticipated; suddenly, and without warning, there is a beast that strikes out at helpless sheep. I don’t know what created you, but this must be fate’s game. These rules are seriously the worst.”
金金金Ned thrust his left hand before him, closing in on Noel surprisingly fast. He was probably throwing something in a desperate attack. Waiting for Ned’s inevitable charge was a merciless attack. She threw her bident. Cutting through the air, it pierced his armour, torso, and spine.
金金金Groaning, and with his entrails scattered, Ned was pinned to the wall. His lower half tore off. At seeing his own wretched state, his fox-eyes held great despair. For better or worse, he hadn’t been killed instantly. Noel started to hum cheerfully as she walked away. Her path was straight over her defeated opponents’ viscera. The sound of splashing and bouncing haunted the ears of Mirut and Cynthia.
“I-it ne-never came. M-my achievements, even though… I could finally… grasp…” Ned slurred in a weakening voice.
金金金Such a thing was not supposed to happen. He could have never anticipated seeking asylum and fame in Bahar could lead to this.
“You won’t find happiness just by being on the winning side, eh?”
“I… used my… head, but… it didn’t work… out, eh?”
“Does this mean Geb’s ‘always win’ is out too?”
“W-who knows. A-at least… try… your best… lest, you… end up like….”
金金金Ned died without ever finishing. He’d lost the last of his strength before the final line. Such was the final moment of the man who harboured ambitions of fame obtained by betraying Coimbra for Bahar. Noel removed her spear from the wall, as Ned had already completely fallen to the floor. Seeing the bifurcated man, Cynthia instinctively averted her gaze.
金金金Is this a nightmare?
金金金Although she had been spared, in her present state she could hardly be said to be comfortably alive. She could not escape the feeling that she would be the next to die. Such cold chills could be felt along her spine; she felt the need to speak up, but somehow, the words couldn’t form. Her mouth was completely dry. Her heart rate had increased. Her body was unconsciously shivering. Noel had become a spawning ground of nightmares, bathed in crimson blood.
金金金Removing a notebook from her breast pocket, she scratched out an entry with a diagonal line.
Haha, re-editing these is easy. Good job me-from-the-past!
Guess what? He didn’t help with this re-edit! Wow, you win!
9 thoughts on “Chapter 4: To Kill a Lying Fox”
Thanks 4 the chapter!
She’s one scary girl.
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Cynthia could’ve turned Noel to her cause if she spoke the magic words.
“Are you looking for happiness?”
i bet if she had a boyfriend and he cheated on her then he would be either dead or living a nightmare.