Editor: Areth Kyntaul
The sky in the north isn’t really the same. I don’t know if it’s because of the cold weather or not, but even the sky had frozen. The blue sky looked pale-white. The dead tree stood lonely beneath the pale sky. The vast desolate land was empty. A gentle breeze blew over but there wouldn’t even be a billow like the wind wasn’t willing to stay in this lifeless place for long, swiftly leaving this place.
The white winds in the distance seemed to have merged with the pale-white sky. You couldn’t tell which was which. The white mist we breathed out floated into the air, merging with the desolate white world. Perhaps this was a unique characteristic of the environment up north. All living organisms were dead with just the sound of the wind whistling, as well as the sound of our horse’s stepping.
“This road sure is barren.”
Leah fell asleep on my chest again. Though I originally had her sit here to avoid causing the townsfolk to panic, Leah was willing to sit there afterwards. I looked at the weather. I couldn’t quite stand this odd oppressive silence. If you don’t speak here, an individual in this spacious area would break down from loneliness.
Veirya doesn’t qualify as a travelling companion.
“This place once wasn’t open and spacious.” Having heard me speak, Veirya then continued, “Lots of demons.”
I think she meant that there were lots of demons here. That means it was real tough for the people here having to face a mass of demons. Before this place was cleared, humans must’ve suffered due to the demons attacks.
No wonder why the people of that town hate demons so much.
“What exactly does it feel like to fight demons?”
I looked at Veirya with curiosity. I wasn’t sure if Veirya was willing to speak of her battles. What was Veirya’s past like? Her battles with the demons must’ve been intense I imagine. I want to have a chat with Veirya and I’m slightly interested.
Veirya’s answer caused me to freeze up.
“Not hard to kill.”
Yeah, Veirya really isn’t a good travelling-companion. It’s a rare occasion for me to take the initiative to strike up a conversation, but Veirya’s thinking is like tunnel vision. I reckon her responses are too hard to provide a response to…
“Do you have any memorable stories? The trip is fairly boring, so how about a chat?”
I might as well come out with it. Asking Veirya questions straight up like this is probably the only way you’ll get a response from her.
Veirya tilted her head to think and then replied, “None.”
Veirya’s answer was simple and impossible to respond to again. I smiled helplessly and then looked away at a loss for what to do.
‘I sort of want to wake Leah up now…’
Veirya looked at me. She frowned a little then suddenly told me, “That city, was once sieged. Lots of people died on the city walls. The city walls were very slippery. They were covered with brains and blood. Corpses lay all over the ground. You slipped if you stepped on them. The demons smashed the door and killed all the soldiers by the city doors.”
I was caught off guard by her sudden story. Veirya looked at me and asked with puzzlement, “Didn’t you want to chat with me? I… I had a long think. This was all I could think of.”
“What happened after?”
Such a bloody story isn’t suited for Leah, but Veirya suddenly spoke, giving me a sense of flattery as I looked forward for her continuation. It is a warrior’s story after all, so it must be interesting, right?
“After that, I led my small team to charge over there. There was a particularly massive demon who led them. I charged over and killed it.”
Veirya looked ahead again and stopped speaking.
I waited for five seconds then tilted my head and asked, “That’s it?”
“How did you kill that massive demon?”
“I just went up, slashed it once and it died.”
‘It was that simple for you? You killed a demon-leader who brought down a city with a single slash?! What sort of story is that? There were ups and downs to it. Your battle with the demon was lopsided. What are you, One-Slash Girl Veirya?!’
Sounds like One-Slash Girl Veirya’s battle stories are really boring… And she clearly didn’t want to say much, not because she was traumatised, though. If you ask me, I’d say the demons that fought were the ones who were traumatised. She just didn’t want to talk, that’s all.
Although Veirya completely fails at conversations, we still managed to see the white city walls. The city walls looked brand new. However, according to what Veirya said, this city suffered an attack from the demons and almost fell. But another group had it surrounded right now. The group surrounded the exterior of the city but were kept outside by wooden fences. Actually, the wooden fences formed a huge paddock with those people trapped inside as captives.
But there was no food in the paddock. There were only damaged tents. The guards on top of the city walls watched them vigilantly. They had their bows loaded and could shoot down at the people below at any moment. While there was smoke twirling up into the sky, no pot was on the fire. The group lined up waiting to enter were in the two aisles between the two “paddocks”. The group were lying down like zombies behind the wooden fence as they watched the group entering the city with anticipation.
Thought they were looking forward to it, I think it would be more accurate to say that they were in despair. Their faces all looked excessively gaunt like their skin was glued onto their bones. Their eyeballs had virtually disappeared. There was no light in them. Their clothing was torn and tattered. I wonder if they could even keep warm with those clothes. They’ve only got a small amount of firewood when the north is a freezing place, not to mention their fire might be become ashes.
Leah looked at the people on both sides with confusion and then asked me, “Papa, what are these people doing…?”
I softly answered, “They’re refugees.”
“In other words, people with nothing to eat, nowhere to stay and no money. They’re forced to roam around either because their homes were destroyed or they have no food.”
Leah looked left and right. She then asked with confusion, “Why? Hasn’t the fighting ended already?”
“For humanity, having a foreign enemy to combat is a good thing. Once they don’t have to deal with any more foreign enemies, humans themselves will be very scary.”
“Like how my brothers and sisters wanted to kill me?”
“Similar. Yeah, killing one another basically.”
I nodded and then checked both sides. One of the kids among them was roughly the same age as Leah. She only had half of her clothing left. The other half was no longer there. To fight the cold, all she could do was wrap several bits of torn cloth around her. Her face was dirty and covered in frostbite. However, her eyes still had some life in them. Her hands were covered in scars which made them look like an old lady’s hands. She gently grabbed a wooden plank and slotted herself inside. She looked at Leah with envy. Leah noticed her gaze and therefore looked back at her with surprise.
Leah turned around to ask me, “Papa… she… do we have food?”
“We can’t share with her, Leah. We can’t.”
I gently twisted Leah’s head back and covered her eyes, but I couldn’t explain the reason for it in time. Veirya who was next to me took out a strip of dried meat and handed it to her through the wooden fence. The crowd rushed over, crushing her tiny body underneath them. A crowd that looked like it took lots of effort to move exploded with combat power. They were willing to beat a child to death for a strip of meat.
“Break up!! Break up!!”
The guards shouted loudly because the chaos that ensued frightened the group of people lined up. The soldiers in full gear rushed into the fence with their spears and forcefully beat the people up to get them to break apart. After the group broke apart, the young girl’s body lay there quietly on the ground. Her lifeless eyes looked up toward the barren sky. Her limbs were all twisted and bent in weird ways as though her tiny body had been squashed flat like a single sheet of paper.
Basically, she went from 3D to 2D.
She didn’t bleed much, but.. She had left this world.
The guards picked her corpse up like they were picking up a dead chicken and then tossed it into a ditch far away.
Veirya looked over in the direction of the ditch blankly. I covered Leah’s eyes so that she wouldn’t see the young girl’s corpse. However, Leah shook with fear. She gripped my chest tightly and sobbed. I looked at Veirya. Veirya’s expression didn’t change at all, but she asked, “Why?”
“I told you already not to give it to her. Giving her food was the same as killing her. That group of people will do anything to live, so of course they’ll fight over that one and only piece of dry meat. They have abandoned their human nature.”
I sighed before looking at Veirya and elaborating, “You could even say that you killed her with your own hands. Giving wealth to a person who can’t protect themself is the same as harming them. You caused her death.”
Veirya didn’t say anything. She just lowered her head a little and didn’t express anything further. Veirya didn’t care that she killed someone. Perhaps she was puzzled as to how she could kill someone without a blade. She was trying to help someone, so why did they still die?
“You can’t save everyone here nor can you save any single person here. You can’t save them. Only Queen Sisi can deal with this. We shouldn’t be involving ourselves with it. We’re not the lord of this place. Don’t try to save them. We should leave as soon as possible once we’ve purchased our food. Do not bring trouble onto us that has nothing to do with us. Veirya, refugees are an intense flame. If you don’t deal with it appropriately, we’ll get burnt to death.”