With a loud thud, Alonso fell on the mud.
He tried to keep his consciousness, but when his head hit against the ground, he fainted.
Even so, he didn’t let go of Tetsuko, his fingers clenched tightly around her handle.
The former Sword of the king tried to pry from his hands, but Alonso’s fingers refused to let go of his weapon.
He might have fainted, but my wielder’s energy is still flowing as if he’s fighting… thought it’s slowing down, the soul in the sword realized.
Nicolas grabbed Alonso’s hand by the wrist and forced the fingers to open.
Tetsuko could do nothing as the former Sword of the King took her from the lord’s hand and placed her metal body in his waist. Then he lifted Alonso’s limp and unconscious body and placed over his shoulder, carrying him like a bag of rice with one arm.
Even without looking, the soul in the sword knew; no one would help her wielder.
No one had even realized what had happened to their commander.
They’re too busy with fighting for their own lives…
The dark brown and smelly smoke became thicker, but the soldiers and the bandits continued fighting, the sounds of metal and screams of pain mixing in the air.
But they have the advantage now…
I can tell they have trouble seeing in this fog too…
Then she realized. The bandits are attacking those who cough!
Even without seeing Nicolas face due to the cloth he used to cover his mouth, she could tell he was smiling.
It was his plan… It wasn’t the forest’s bandits who orchestrated this…
The soul in the blade turned to where the soldiers and the bandits fought, sensing their energies.
I recognize some, but most are different… stronger… more powerful…
She turned back to the former lord.
I can’t be a coincidence that he has the same twisted energy as Lucky Chaos…
It could mean that he has some connection with the lord… and if that’s true, he knew about my wielder’s plan…
Nicolas was almost reaching the hills, getting out of the path and heading to the safety of the forest when a soldier bumped into him.
The young man was fighting a bandit, but he lost his balance when he swung at nothing. But then, even through the thick fog, he realized what was happening. But he didn’t live long to save his commander.
Even with one hand, the former Sword of the King drew Tetsuko with an amazing speed.
Shit, Tetsuko exclaimed, concentrating.
The moment the fingers close around her handle, she made her energy circle inside her. It became wild and almost out of control, but she managed to throw it to the other side, trying to prevent her edge from killing the soldier.
But it made no difference; she couldn’t anything as Nicolas killed the soldier before the young man could make a sound.
It’s so frustrating… I can’t even refuse to be used to kill someone I knew…
But there was something worse. She couldn’t stop herself from devouring a bit of his energy, of his soul as her edge slashed at his throat.
I’m sorry, she apologized as his energy became hers. It made no difference if she knew him, just like the bandits, her blade ended his life.
For the first time, she didn’t savor someone’s energy.
She focused her frustration at her current wielder, knowing it would make no difference.
Without cleaning the blood, Nicolas stared at Tetsuko.
The soul in the sword knew at once. He can sense something inside this blade…
Even so, the former Sword of the King placed Tetsuko in his waist again before climbing one of the countless hills of the Stone Hill Labyrinth.
With some effort, he reached the forest and tossed the unconscious lord on the floor
Nicolas looked at the fog that hid the ongoing battle underneath. He pulled his cloth, put his hands together, leaving an empty space in the middle, brought it closer to his mouth and blew.
The whistled was loud and echoed through the Stone Hill Labyrinth.
By the time the sound died, a hand grabbed the former lord by the shoulder almost right away.
“You can’t send the signal yet! The plan was to get Alonso and then tell everyone to climb to safety!” the man said in a hushed voice. “My people are still down there! Your guys too!”
Nicolas stared at the hand on his shoulder and then to short man.
The threat behind those eyes was so obvious the man pulled his hand back.
Even if she had no body, Tetsuko felt a shiver coursing through her blade, the metal trembling slightly.
That man is stronger than anyone here… Alonso doesn’t even compare to him…
“They aren’t stupid. They know the plan was to leave when they hear the whistle. If they can’t follow that, they’ll die. Even if they’re your precious people,” Nicolas mocked the other in a whisper before turning back to the fog.
The short man bit his lips and turned to the fog as well. Even if he couldn’t see the battle down there, his face was full of worry.
“My people do know the plan, but they could be stuck in a battle and not make in time,” he muttered.
Nicolas glanced at him but ignored.
Under the fog, the sounds of metal clashing against each other continued everywhere, but soon it became scattered.
Then it died completely.
There was only the sound of the soldiers coughing.
Even without seeing, Tetsuko sensed it.
The bandits kept fighting the army, but little by little, they began retreating.
The soldiers didn’t go after them, as they had planned before entering the Labyrinth. Just like before, it could be part of the bandits’ plan to separate them.
As they coughed and tried to close ranks even with low visibility, Tetsuko heard a strange sound.
There’s something coming…
She tried enhancing her senses, but she had no idea what it was.
The soldiers were still trying to regroup but some of them noticed the sound.
The sound grew and then Tetsuko knew what it was.
Water was running through the vales of the Stone Hill Labyrinth.
But it wasn’t a creak formed by rain.
It was a river with full force.
Even from this distance, Tetsuko heard Enrique shouting above the sound of water.
“Run to the hills!”
The soldiers obey, rushing to safety.
But they found none.
The bandits were waiting for them on the hills.
A few soldiers died but most managed to avoid the arrows or the blades after the first ones fell.
But only to be caught by the water.
All those men and women whose name Tetsuko didn’t know but recognized their energy were carried away by the stream.
They’ll probably survive… since it’s not as deep as a real river… and they can climb the hills with any luck…
But the battle…
There was no other way of saying. It was the bandits’ complete victory.
“I think most of your people are safe,” Nikolas said to the short man, who still had the worried look.
“This time luck was on our side…”
“Luck has nothing to do with this… Nobles are too predictable… that’s why I always won… and still win…”
Nicolas’ eyes became wild for a moment as he clutched Tetsuko’s handle
At the same time, his energy became less twisted.
For an instant, it was as if he was a different man, with a strong energy.
Then it became the same twisted energy as Lucky Chaos.
What was that…?
No matter how much she tried, Tetsuko couldn’t sense the same strong energy again, even if she looked deep within the man.
Nicolas drew her again and stared at the sword, looking into the reflection of his own eyes.
Even if she had no eyes, she stared back at those pale and empty eyes.
It’s as if I’m looking at the eyes of someone else…
“Let’s go, my new companion,” Nicolas said after the water began to decrease.
By now, the brown thick fog completely vanished as the fires were put out.
The former Sword of the King put the sword with a soul on his waist and ordered a couple of his man to carry Alonso.
So my wielder’s worse fear became true.
The forest bandits have allied with the swamp bandits…