Chapter 60: Lead Crossroads
I looked up at the night sky and saw a white beacon in the distance. I bit my lips unintentionally. It was unexpected. What happened over there? What was that Saint woman doing in the first place?
What should I do? I had no idea which option I should take. All the thoughts in my brain were going to nowhere. They all ended up on the same path. A path without a resolution. Therefore, I couldn’t get a proper answer.
That white beacon. The Saint Matia’s advocacy showed the intention of further advancement. In other words, she ordered her soldiers to proceed into the city.
There was something inherently improbable. Something odd happened there. I could tell that both her external battle and internal conflicts led her to some improbable action.
That woman wasn’t foolish. Of course, that beacon was set because she had plausible reasons to do so. Marching forward with her troops could be a very dangerous action. But, no battlefield was safe. Actually, for her to do such a thing, she probably thought that she had a slight chance of success. The time was on their side, and she knew that if they kept going, they could crush Garoua Maria in the end.
Based on those assumptions, she probably signaled for her troops to move forward.
I gently put a finger on my chin. Frustration and confusion were running in my mind with heat. I breathed deeply so that my brain could cool down.
Even the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave, who were facing the wall attentively for a while, looked up at the sky and saw the white beacon. All of them stared at that strange signal with confusing eyes.
The white beacon appeared in the dark sky so quickly as it vanished straight away as well.
「Lugis bro, I saw a white light in the distance. What was that? 」
I heard Wood’s whispering voice. I didn’t know if I could answer his question.
How far could I talk? How far could I convey the real intentions? Impatience and nervousness entangled on my own tongue. A sound was heard while I tried to push my tongue to move. I finally uttered some words to answer him.
「It’s a signal that tells the advance of the Heraldic soldiers. They don’t have any patience when battling against Garoua Maria. It seems that they can handle everything on their own. There’s no need for you to be called to the frontline. As expected, the Saint woman won’t oblige the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave to engage in the current war.」
The inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave had originally no weapons. Although several people were full of fighting spirit. It would be a suicide call if they were to jump in the middle of the battlefield.
Just because one stood in the same line of battle as another that didn’t mean that they had the same morale. Anxiety and madness could propagate one’s mind. If one of them ran away, then it would be likely that the others would run away as well. The “demons” that always lurked in the battlefields were always aiming for an opportunity to grab a person’s heart.
Therefore, there was no need for them to make any decisions nor determinations here. Only one person had to make a decision. Only me.
I kept my hand on my chin while I wrinkled between my eyebrows.
If the Saint woman decided to advance, then there was a high possibility that something decisive would occur tonight. This approach will determine the future of this battle, be it for the advantage of the city or for the advantage of the Heraldic Order. This shall mark the collapse of the guardsmen of Garoua Maria or the death of the Saint woman.
If that was the case, then I won’t allow myself to “wander” in the dark night any longer. Now I had to make a choice. Yes, a choice that would grant me honors. A choice that had to be successful in the end. To beat all odds. That’s right, even if the grand plan failed, my purpose had to be fulfilled regardless of the impeding outcome.
「…Wood. I’m going to participate in this fuss. I know it’s a little bit late to engage in this battle now, but that was my plan since the very beginning. Being late has its advantages. To see both sides of the coin and to see how they are doing in their respective strategies.」
I spoke while I narrowed my eyes. Be it the truth or not, it didn’t make any difference.
I had to decide everything here before I stepped into the battlefield to see how things were faring for both sides.
In other words, to choose the guardsmen of Garoua Maria or the Heraldic soldiers of the Saint woman.
Per history, originally, both sides antagonized each other to the point of exhaustion. In the end, the Heraldic Order lost and they had to retreat before reappearing again. However, their failure could be repeated once again. Actually, that was the expected outcome.
Nonetheless, that situation wouldn’t be desirable anymore. The place where I thought they would fail was if fact the place where they succeeded with their schemes. They managed to rise as a large-scale rebellion, and even managed to confront Garoua Maria. It was as if one gave its hand to God blindly without knowing if it would be god or the devil to take that hand.
…Ah, I see. Even with those advances, taking the guardsmen side would be the wisest decision to take.
My cool head told me that was the right choice.
In the history, the Heraldic Order certainly tried to strike down Garoua Maria. Yet, they were defeated.
On the other hand, the Heraldic Order had unprecedented success this time with their raids. So, they wouldn’t be defeated that soon. Even if Helot Stanley existed this time around.
However, they could be defeated if they were too hastily. If they attempted a direct assault without doing a proper strategy behind them, the Heraldic Order would definitely lose this war. The Saint woman’s life would be put at risk.
I didn’t know which way would go for her. But, I doubted that Helot Stanley would let this woman roam free.
To be honest, my own future was uncertain if I were to really side with the guardsmen. My relationship with them was not that great. I even broke the jaw of their Vice Commander Lizard. If I were to side with them, I’d had to borrow Caria’s hand, because she held some power given her prestige and background. On the other hand, I could hold onto the Saint woman’s heart alone.
Even if I lived in a deprived area, I still had my citizenship and held a position in the local Guild.
If I took the hand of the Saint woman, who held the Heraldic Order to threaten Garoua Maria, I’d have some honors and won’t have to worry about the friction with the guardsmen. Yet, I’d lose my privileges and stable life in the city-state. I didn’t know which prospects were the best.
I took a deep breath. I let the smell of the chewing tobacco run through my nose. I felt some fear and hesitation that crawled through the depths of my body. For some reason, I didn’t feel like running into the battlefield straight away. My legs were stuck to the ground as if I were expecting something to give me an answer. Was I hesitating because my assumptions and expectations were not met?
Ah, speaking of which, I thought that the action of the Saint woman was somewhat suspicious. I had a feeling that things didn’t go as expected up there.
No, actually, that was natural. History was always written with the palms of strong men and geniuses. It was no surprise that an ordinary person like me had wrong assumptions and expectations in the end. But, what was important was the future. Which hand should I take regardless of my expectations?
I held my cigarettes that had been bitten for several times, and I exhaled the smoke slowly.
In any case, just by looking at the situation, all pointed to the fact that the Heraldic soldiers were going to fall into the hands of both the guardsmen and Helot. That was the most probable scenario. I didn’t know if I could accept it or not.
All I knew was that this unfortunate town full of poor inhabitants would be attacked after the city guards defeat the Heraldic army. That was worrisome. The other problem was how to get Filaret out of the battlefield.
Yes, of course. This was indeed what I had to choose. There were no other options to take other than this method. Well, wasn’t it obvious? Was there any other choice other than this one?
…Why? Because, why was I trying so desperately to be wrapped in smoke in order to give me clearance?
I saw that Wood looked at me with strange eyes because I remained silent for a long while.
However, if I thought deeply about it, my hard work in the Poor People’s cave would’ve become useless if the Heraldic Order lost this war. It would have no use. Now, this wasn’t the right time to waste my efforts, nor was the time to think about unnecessary things. All I had to do was try to avoid any more loses.
That’s correct. The guardsmen had to die immediately. So, that the inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave could survive. So, that Filaret could survive as well.
…I gritted my back teeth and a distorted sound came out of my mouth.
I had to remember. I returned to this era. But for what purpose? What for?
Something happened in a blink of an eye. Yes, no more than a second. A cold object covered my heart. I didn’t think that my heart was functioning in my chest anymore. It seemed as if it swelled itself and disturbed the blood flow. My pupil became wide open.
Certainly, I had to hold the Saint woman’s hand so that Helot didn’t gain any credits by winning this war. So that he didn’t receive any slight achievement. Yes, with nothing. He was a messenger of justice. That’s why he’d have many credits to his name. Many people would glorify him and the work in the guild would expand because of his fame.
What could my choice entail for tomorrow? My mind was full of confusion without knowing what to do and my eyes looked around to reflect the many faces that stood before me.
The inhabitants of the Poor People’s cave weren’t sure if they would be alive tomorrow. All of them, including Wood and his sister Sereal.
It would be rather normal if they were trampled on and tossed aside. They were used to this treatment. However, going to the battlefield was a different story. They would certainly die.
If the war didn’t happen, their lives would’ve been the same. A life that remained unchanged. The days with them being mocked and trampled would continue forever.
Besides, my biggest purpose should’ve been just Ariene. Every possible action that I took so far was for the sake of holding her hand once again. Yes, to hold the hand of the person I loved the most. That was enough for me. Wasn’t it?
Before long, I realized that I was dripping with sweat. I heard an unfamiliar voice. It was Sereal, Wood’s little sister. I listened to her voice, which was strange to me, because I’ve never heard her talk before.
「If you…want to go…to the city…right now…you might not make it in time. But…we know a good alternative…for you…」
My figure was clearly reflected in her small eyes.
I felt a strange sensation. I wondered why it felt as if a creepy insect was crawling around my whole body. It was as if something cold and alive ran through my spine.
「There is only one way. You’ll have to go on a boat that fits for only one person… 」
「…And you can go through the waterway of the city’s sewers. 」
Wood and the Elder helped Sereal because she struggled to speak, and finished her sentence.
I listened carefully to what they had to say. Before long, their words made the mud that filled in my heart to leak out.
Yes, I see. To use all of my strength to change things. My heart was no longer confused. It seemed that I misinterpreted my assumptions. I finally decided what to do.
Yes, that’s right. Why did I come back for? For what reason, did I return to this era to overcome that humiliation?
ohh things are heating up!
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