Even with the deaths they suffered, the soldiers still had the numbers. Not only that, they also had weapons that could hurt and kill a worshiper.
And yet that didn’t stop them from backing away as the woman walked into the light cast by the flames, the swords and naginatas trembling so much it the sound or metal rattling filled the area.
Alonso… she’s strong, Tetsuko projected her thoughts to her wielder. Just that was enough to pain her. I won’t… be able… to help you… for a while…
Though her wielder couldn’t show any reaction due to the shock, the soul in the sword could sense his energy stirring.
The Grand priest stopped and knelt near a dead worshiper. She closed the woman’s eyes and cleared the hair from her face. “You’re at peace now,” she whispered, kissing her dead companion on the forehead.
The soldiers only watched, too afraid to do anything. When the Grand priest stood, they backed away a little more, cramming themselves in one of the corridors leading to the four-way path.
“I must applaud whoever thought of trapping us down here. It was an interesting strategy. And that gas was troublesome. The newer believers were too affected by it, but their faith saved them from the pain.”
She flashed a fain it smile as she looked at the soldiers. There was nothing scary about it. It was a simple smile from a beautiful woman.
And yet it sent a shiver down the lord’s spine. Tetsuko could feel her whole body shaking as her wielder’s hand quivered.
“Faith in evil gods,” Alonso whispered, clutching the handle harder to make his hand strop trembling.
The woman’s pretty face winced a little.
Don’t… anger her… Alonso… stall… until… I recover…
Tetsuko flowed her energy slowly inside her, focusing on the burned place. Though she had no idea if it would work, she had to expel the energy the worshiper had used on her.
How can… a metal body… be in this… much pain…?
“Words of an ignorant,” the Grand priest said in a calm voice. “Calling the True Gods evil is proof how much indoctrinated you have been. If you only knew the truth, my lord. The truth shall set you free.”
Alonso snorted. Despite the fear, the trembling had stopped.
“I know enough. I’ve seen how you turn people. I’ve seen what your ‘gods’ do. How can you call that free? It’s nothing but evil!”
The Grand priest closed her eyes for a moment, closing her delicate fist. Then she took a deep breath and relaxed her hand.
“That’s is true. Some of the True Gods are more… forceful than the others. However, sometimes bad things must be done for the greater good. Your king knows that.” Despite whispering, her hate as she spoke the last words was clear.
“What does he has to do with any of this?”
Good… Alonso… stall her…
The Grand priest chuckled, her laugh echoing. “See? If you only knew the truth, you would be free, my lord. But you know nothing. About anything. If there’s someone evil in this world, is your king.”
This time it was Alonso who scowled. “You know nothing about King Tora! Even if he’s dislikes the traditions and prefer the seclusion, he’s a great king! He’s been working had to make this kingdom good for everyone. If not for you and the savage invaders, things wouldn’t be like this!”
“Yes, always blaming someone else instead of looking at the real cause. The mark of ignorance.” The woman chuckled again, almost like an adult hearing a child saying something funny and wrong. “Tell me, my lord. Did you know your kingdom was once inhabited by those you named Sand-Dwellers?”
Alonso remained quiet for a moment, staring at the Grand priest with a puzzled expression.
“We’ve been in these lands for over thousands of years. There are no records of them ever living here.”
“Yes, there shouldn’t exist. Your king erased them all when he took these lands. The survivors were forced to flee to the desert and their descendants became those you call Sand-Dwellers.”
Alonso snorted. “I shouldn’t listen to you. Lies is the way of those who worship the evil gods. What you say makes no sense. If it was true, how could King Tora have erased all the records? The king would have to be as old as the kingdom itself.”
“And he is, my lord.” Despite her low voice, it echoed as if she had screamed.
“That makes no sense… even for a lie, it’s a poor one.”
The grand priest flashed a satisfied smile. “I see you have some doubts. That’s the first step to embrace the Truth, my lord.”
“I’d never join your worshipers!” Alonso shouted, raising Tetsuko at her.
Wait… not yet…
“That’s too bad,” the Grand priest said, lowering her head. She truly seemed disappointed. “Making people realized the Truth is one of our goals.”
“Is the other to spread fear and death wherever you go?”
“As I said, sometimes bad things must be done in the name of the greater good. If you only knew the—”
“I don’t want to know.”
“So you prefer to stay in the ignorance. Some say ignorance is a bliss, but only for the fool. Ignorance is worse than you can imagine… It’s this world’s true evil.” The Grand priest closed her eyes and sighed. When she opened them again, they were cold. The aura around her had changed. “However, if you insist on stopping us, there’s nothing we can do.”
She’s gonna attack, Tetsuko projected her thoughts to her wielder.
The worshiper picked up one of the naginata left by a dead soldier.
The soldiers, who had been quiet so far, backed away a little more. Even if there was a good distance between them, they were too wary.
In the blink of the eye, they were within her reach. As the Grand priest swung the naginata, she sliced three soldiers as if nothing. When someone blocked her weapon, she struck the butt of the naginata with the palm, which pushed the man against the wall and he died with the impact.
No matter what they did, as she moved, she killed more soldiers. Even hitting her at the same time, the weapons didn’t harm her. Then she was close to the lord.
Alonso raised his sword and blocked the naginata. Though he saved his life, the impact was so strong he flew in the corridor and rolled on the rocky ground.
By the time he stood up, Tetsuko was still feeling her body reverberating with the shock. Too strong… The only way… Alonso can survive this… is with me…
In the distance, the lord watched as the torch lights moved and tried to get away. Soon all the fire died and he couldn’t see anything.
All there was were the sounds so flesh being sliced and the screams.
Then everything became quiet.
The next moment, the sounds of steps echoed.
Then the Grand priest stopped under the little natural light coming from the trap in the surface of the mountain. With her body covered with blood, it was a sight from hell itself.