We were basically foot soldiers now. Our horses were wobbling and struggling to move forward when faced with the sandstorm they had never encountered before. Even though they were battle steeds, their instincts encouraged them to flee. We abandoned our steeds after defeating the enemy team ahead and walked on foot to meet up with tribe inside. It was just as I initially thought. Other than us, our other two teams didn’t make it to the destination.
I don’t know what those two teams encountered. Before my eyes was nothing but sand. The sandstorm was now darker than night time. All I could see was waves of sand. It was as if we were surrounded by metres of pale yellow sand. We couldn’t see each other’s faces despite being tied together and holding hands.
The elder of the tribe said something in a hasty voice. However, Tarak isn’t here, so I couldn’t understand a word. Lorana expressed that she was willing, but unable to help. She could only understand the fundamental language of the desert. These tribesmen spoke a language she had never heard before. I had no clue what he was saying nor did I have any interest in listening to him any further. I focused on locating our camp from memory.
‘We must return to our camp.’
Our camp is one of the places nearby where we can take shelter from the storm. I think the two teams will return to the camp when they enter and find nobody. Maybe they’ve already gone back. It’s fine either way. I just want to see them at our camp. In my opinion, I don’t think there’s any way the enemy can harm them. If my soldiers die in the desert, they must’ve died to the sandstorm, not in the hands of those punching bags.
I have faith in my men. They’re formidable fighters. Natural disasters, however, aren’t something that they can win against. Of course, I believe that they can definitely win against this sandstorm, or at least, return to the camp.
I have no spare time to be worrying about them right now, though, because I need to lead this group of weak elderly back to our camp. Right now I’m facing a monstrous fire and sand I can’t even see. It was as if God ripped the area apart with his hands, ripping these man-made toys apart and then tossing them around everywhere.
I finally understood why there were only tiny areas left in these ruins. Humanity’s man-made toys just appear insignificant in this sort of sandstorm. These human ruins were destroyed by the wind. The only area still standing was the one that was on the lee side. But looking at it now, the area still standing can’t provide shelter from the wind.
“Your Majesty! Be careful!!”
Someone grabbed me around my waist and tossed me onto the ground. Before I realised it, I felt something burnt in front of my forehead. A burning piece of timber zipped straight past my face. It immediately burnt my hood and even my hair. I spat out a mouthful of sand. Lorana stood up from behind me and looked at the flying objects in front of us. In a concerned voice she loudly shouted, “Your Majesty, we have no idea where we should be heading toward. We’ve lost our direction!”
I rubbed my hair in front of me and then shouted back, “Yes, but we must continue forth. We need to get out, no matter where we go! We must get out! Are we going to just die here after coming all the way here?! We must get out!!”
As soon as I finished, a group of foot soldiers rushed out from my side. They wore the standard attire in the desert with thick cloth covering their mouths and a rectangle-shaped hat. They rushed toward me with curved sabres. As I previously said, if you can see your enemy in a sandstorm, then that must mean they’re right in front of you. I desperately stepped back. My loyal guard behind me loyally charged forward to intercept the enemies. But I still felt a chill in my bones when the violent soldier swung his sword at me.
I looked down and saw that my shirt had been completely cut open, leaving just my undershirt underneath. If I didn’t have the Earth Dragon Undershirt, my chest would probably resemble my shirt right now. My guards fought the enemies in the storm. Everyone was staggering around. As a matter of fact, the fight looked a little comical. Not much blood sprayed into the air when wounds were cut open, as they were instantly filled with sand.
It took more effort than usual to kill the enemies before us. However, before we could catch our breath, another group rushed over from our right hand side. The tribesmen behind me hopelessly cried out one after another. My guards rushed over to intercept the enemies again. Lorana didn’t hold back at all. There were no survivors wherever she passed.
“Tch. I feel a little rusty after not using my skills in so long.” The group of enemies were slain by us, too. My guards seemed to have lost all their fighting strength and struggled to even stand straight in the wind. Blood was dripping from Lorana’s abdomen, but it shouldn’t be a severe wound. Lorana used a length of cloth to wrap the wound, as a means of stopping the bleeding. She then clenched her teeth and said, “Don’t stay here any longer, Your Majesty. We have no strength left to fight.”
“All right. Let’s head in one direction. Let’s head that way. I remember that this is the place I saw from the dune. We’ll be able to return to our camp if we follow this route.”
I looked at the pillar in front of me. This pillar was the tallest pillar I saw from above back then. If we go in this direction, we’ll be able to return to our camp. Judging from the position of the pillar, we should be about several hundred metres away from our camp above. However, these few hundred metres were as hard as climbing to heaven from my perspective.
That dune is on the lee side. We’ll be safe behind it. We just need to reach that side.
“Your Majesty!! Another group of people are coming at us from behind! I think we will soon come into contact! I think the sounds we made attracted their attention! It’s a group of cavalry!”
“What are we going to do, Your Majesty? We’re on foot now and we have the tribesmen behind us. If we don’t abandon them, there’s no way we’ll get away.”
“How can I abandon them? If I abandon them then everything I’ve done up until now will be for nothing! It wasn’t easy to get to this stage. I can’t abandon them! Guards!!”
After I shouted, my guards behind me came up to stand around me and looked at me. Despite being in the middle of a sandstorm, their eyes were full of determination as before. Despite us being surrounded, in peril, out of ammunition and out of provisions, they didn’t show fear.
“I’ll have to ask you guys to hold them back. Once we get out, you can orderly retreat.”
I looked at my soldiers with my teeth clenched tightly as I gave the order I was most reluctant to give. Telling them to stay behind in this situation is the same as killing them. No ammunition, no provisions and no horses. That’s the highway to death.
But that’s the only way we can get out. The only way we can leave safely is if we have people stall them.
My guards didn’t question me, though. There was no change in their gaze. They drew their long swords. Though they were staggering, they rushed toward the cavalry unit with nothing but determination.
The cavalry in pursuit must be a unit familiar with the desert, since they could still charge at us on their horses in the desert. They must be elites.
My foot soldiers aren’t locals. They don’t have guns. All they’ve got are their long swords and worn out bodies. However, they rushed toward the cavalry unit without any hesitation.
I must leave.
“Let’s hurry and get out of here.”
I looked at Lorana next to me. I choked. I didn’t want to look back. I didn’t want to look back. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to take another step away.
‘Sorry, my warriors.’
‘I will never forget you.’