Chapter 61: His Enemy
Saint Matia felt the taste of blood gradually spreading in her mouth.
Did she cut her lips? Had she a wound in her face that dripped blood into her mouth? Or was it the blood of those who protected her as shields that splashed onto her face? Matia held her breath away as she moved forward while listening to human screams.
The battle in the city of Garoua Maria seemed as if the Heraldic army was engulfed in a hell.
Arrows were falling like heavy rain when they entered the city. It was to be expected. It didn’t matter how many shields they had. There were lots of causalities among the Heraldic soldiers. Even the wounded moved forward regardless of the ambush. It was the first time that the two sides had been together since the end of the Cold War. The street in front of the city was now paved with blood and corpses of the Heraldic people.
The taste of blood was strangely bitter, and Matia spitted her saliva to the ground. The smell was a mixture of blood and organs that kept entering her nostrils. This sight and smell were overwhelming for weak women and children.
Yet, that didn’t overwhelm Matia. No one could tell if her trembling legs were due to fear or due to adrenaline. She was the Saint after all. She was the leader of the Heraldic Order. So, she couldn’t fall to her knees.
The anger of the guardsmen and the Heraldic soldiers overlapped amidst the intense battle that was held inside of the city’s precincts. The sound of spears thrusting into flesh, the metallic sound of swords clashing into shields. Each sound rightfully belonged to a battlefield. They painted the dark sky with the red coloring of blood.
The Heraldic army was not inferior to the guardsmen of Garoua Maria. The force itself was antagonistic. The bows and arrows fell on the soldiers and injured many of them. Even so, the purity of their fanaticism was not to be underestimated since their morale didn’t go away.
In addition, many of the guardsmen were inflicted by spear injuries. The Heraldic soldiers managed to spill the fresh blood of their opponents.
Some time had passed since the hellish collision between the two sides began.
At this point, Matia began to make an assumption in her head. The end of this battle.
In the street in front of the main gate of Garoua Maria arrows descended from the sky, and the guardsmen violently showed their “fangs” to attack. Certainly, both were threats. No doubt about it.
Matia read the war situation from her surroundings. She looked at everything that was happening around her. The degree of anger and the advance of her troops. How was it for both sides? When the result of the ongoing battle came to her brain, she slowly narrowed her eyes.
Her menace against Garoua Maria was the greatest that ever happened in history. Garoua Maria never had this large threat before. She could win this war. At least, nothing would be in vain. Matia’s cheeks, which didn’t show much expression before, were raised for the first time in a long time.
Certainly, the damage of the arrows that fell like thousands of raindrops couldn’t be ignored. However, the momentum had been weakened since they confronted the guardsmen directly inside the city’s walls.
Then, she analyzed the guardsmen and the Heraldic soldiers. She tried to see their battle qualities and their numbers. The number of Heraldic soldiers was thin. She admitted that this was a large disadvantage. Yet, Matia believed that quality of fighting and momentum would never lose against mere numbers.
She firmly believed that if everything continued as it was going, she would surely take the victory flag at the end. Yes, Matia was convinced of this.
That’s right. Until that time came.
「Saint Matia! Part of our front lines has collapsed! The flank units will take charge now! 」
Largud Ann screamed aloud when she spoke with Matia. Still, Matia remained silent. She slowly breathed while staring at the ongoing battle. She wasn’t disturbed nor irritated.
Then, she saw a white blade gleaming in the distance. As she followed the trajectory of that white light, she noticed that blood soared in the darkness.
She could see a blonde-haired person with golden eyes in the distance. Matia understood that the golden eyes, which were still far away, were staring at her. With that alone, the horror that seemed to be inexistent slowly crawled from her head to her toes, to all over her body.
He was coming towards her direction. He moved ahead without stopping.
Even with the numerous soldiers that stood in his way couldn’t even stand a chance. That scene was as if gold ate the mud that crossed paths with it. He swallowed everything around him. Matia felt a strong ominous premonition.
Who was that?
She couldn’t understand. It was impossible. There was no such person in Matia’s calculations. She never thought that a single person could overturn the results of a large war. That he could change it on his own.
Matia felt that her sharpened expression collapsed on the spot. The noise of her surroundings sounded like a distant thing. She slowly gritted her teeth.
And, on this very moment, the Heraldic Saint stood in front of the golden man. In a few moments, her neck would fly in the air.
No doubts. She was about to die by his hands. Matia’s heart accepted it. She understood that this was her fate.
Ah, was this the end? Matia felt bitterness. She also felt rage and disappointment at this predicament. A truly unhappy ending.
It was a painful and tough life. Matia lived with two Saints from an early age. It was expected of her to be a Saint one day. She had to work hard to surpass the expectations laid down upon her. Yet, she lived with ongoing pressure. She knew that her life was only a mere existence used for political means. Even so, she never rebelled nor rejected that path.
“My life, in other words, was a life where I had to be a Saint no matter what”, she thought. This life had a heavy burden, meaning she wouldn’t be recognized only by dressing the clothes of a holy woman. The white blade gradually approached Matia. Soon, very soon. The result remained unchanged even if some of the Heraldic soldiers protected her with mere shields.
“I’m sorry, my Lord. I’m sorry, my believers. I’m sorry, mother and father. Matia couldn’t become an honorable Saint. This is the biggest regret of my heart.” Matia prayed from within.
Yes, if it was a life worth of being just a Saint, then she believed that she had to be a Saint until the very end. That resolution was reflected on her eyes. She accepted her death. She was an unmistakable martyr.
Matia held her hands together as she continued to pray to the heavens.
「Here you are, the Saint of the Heraldic Order. Or am I mistaken? 」
The golden voice was unexpectedly mild. Perhaps, even the soft voice of this man, that could be her murderer, may be a trap.
Matia stopped praying and nodded positively without saying any words.
At that moment, the golden man moved forward and the white blade transformed into the death reaper’s scythe that crawled on the neck of the Saint woman.
「Nope, this isn’t the time to face the Saint woman. At least, not yet. And hey, you woman. You should stop praying because this isn’t your end.」
In this moment an iconic voice reached Matia’s ears. At the same time, the metallic sound resonated around her.
Matia slowly raised her head. She thought that she was going to be executed. Yet, her execution never happened. In front of her eyes, were two white blades crossed with one another as they shined through the darkness of the night.
「Let’s not give up until our very end. At least, let’s do our best to inflict some damage on these meddling beings.」
The shadowy figure that reflected by the moonlight held a double knife. This man wore green clothes. He was just a collaborator. He was a person who’d never risk his own life to protect an arrogant and selfish woman like Matia. Yet, it happened. Matia blinked her eyes unintentionally.
Matia saw the appearance of the man named Lugis, an adventurer as he claimed to be.
The reason I came back after overcoming such humiliations. At first, I was undecided and confused.
However, that was the answer. I won’t let anybody trample on me anymore. I used to think that my life was unfair, and so, I killed those people several times on my head. I didn’t do any action to prevent me from being looked down or trampled on. Therefore, I had to make a decision now. Not only in my mind but also with my body. Wasn’t this the time to bring some action?
Would my actions be acceptable?
Caria would laugh at me if she saw me acting foolishly now. I felt that shadows were giggling at me from every corner. Anybody would call me a fool naturally.
Yes, it was acceptable. I was fine with it. Right choice or not, this was my decision. If this was my decision, then the right choice for me was to take the hand of the Heraldic Order’s leader, Saint Matia.
I saw Saint Matia in the distance. In front of her, stood Helot Stanley. I see. The “flag color” was clear to me. No doubt about it. That confrontation was rather obvious.
Yet, I wanted to step in and reach my enemy with a powerful force.
「I really didn’t think you’d come here, Lugis. 」
Although Helot didn’t strike the Saint woman in time, his expression showed great resolution. Rather, it looked as if he were impatient for my return. I felt a very bad feeling coming from the edge of my head.
「I agree. I never thought I’d be standing here and now. Did you wait for me?」
I replied to him in a lighter tone while rotating the knives I held on both hands. It seemed that he got familiar with my style of fighting. If this was the case, then this fight could get ugly soon enough.
The chaos of the battlefield had been calm for a while. The guardsmen stopped when they spotted Helot’s presence. And the Heraldic soldiers halted their movements when they saw that a white blade was going to fell on their Saint.
This area was a distorted large space. The battlefield, which was supposed to be a location of continuous movement, was now quiet.
「No, I didn’t wait for you. But, I just want to ask you something. 」
Helot spoke one word at the time, while holding his double-edged sword. The air from my lungs felt strangely cold.
「I had many worries and suspicions about you. But, I’ll ask just one question given the current circumstances. Lugis are you my enemy or are you on my side?」
I heard such a strange question.
In a battlefield, there was no one who question whether one was an ally or an enemy. Not in a space of life and death. Certainly, they would not be asking that question to somebody in front of him. It was a battlefield, the scene of immediate attacks.
However, let’s answer him. An answer with clear intentions. My words went up from the esophagus and went down for several times.
「…We’re enemies. That’s an unmistakable fact. You’re on that side while I’m on this side. Is there anything more obvious than that?」
I tried to respond to his question with a rational mind.
Of course, the hatred that burnt the viscera from my body still lingered on. The humiliation and even the resentfulness I felt towards his brilliant talent were never forgotten. If I “opened the lid” just for a little bit, my oppressed feelings could crawl out at any moment. There was no mistake about it. Yet, today, somehow, yes, those emotions were quiet.
I held both knives in my hands and took a step forward with my feet on the muddy ground. In spite of that strange quietness in my chest, I felt a burning element somewhere in my heart. It was such a strange feeling. The back of the body was hot as if my chest was about to “explode”.
「…Is that so? That’s a shame. I really think that’s really a shame. 」
The white blade gleamed in the darkness. Weird, a strange quietness covered the entire battlefield. Helot took a deep breath and then spoke the following words.
「Okay then. Let’s finish this talk in battle. 」
Both of us were ready. I didn’t need say any more words. Not anymore.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!