Philes panted. He stood at the entrance of the cave and anxiously shouted, “Your Majesty, if we have to continue defending, we might not be able to keep it up!! It is as if there is no end to them. They keep coming one group after another as we kill them! Your Majesty, if we do not leave now, we will not have the energy to leave!”
With the girl in my arms, I asked in a shocked voice, “Why are there so many?! Could it be that they’re not a small pursuit team?”
“I am not sure. In any case, they keep coming wave after wave. We have no idea where they come from while the snowfall is too heavy, and they are exploiting our disadvantage!”
The guide from outside then ran in and hastily reported, “Your Majesty, we must leave quickly! It looks as though a snowstorm is coming. If we do not leave now, we will be trapped here!”
Karana looked at me. I clenched my teeth. I pulled the young girl into my arms then wrapped the both of us up tightly with the overcoat. I then used a rope to affix her firmly to my chest. Then, I stood up and said, “Let’s quickly return now, then. With waves of anthropoids coming the way they’re coming, I’m starting to think that this isn’t a simple hunt. I’m worried that Socina is in danger. If it’s this hard to detect them coming and going, they might be hiding in the vicinity of Socina.”
Karana nodded. She didn’t say anything, but I could see her anxiety in her purple eyes. I know how much she loves Socina, so naturally, she desperately wanted to return when her Socina City is under threat. I want to wait a bit longer, but it doesn’t look as if that’ll be possible.
When the guards outside heard that we were retreating, they let out sighs of relief. Although my men didn’t suffer any casualties, they were out of energy, and therefore couldn’t continue fighting. We quickly mounted our horses. I saw the corpses piled up on the narrow mountain path.
‘Are they the anthropoids?’
They’re pretty similar to what I imagined. They’re furry and wrapped in simple clothing. Their heads resemble the heads of wolves. However, they didn’t stand out when compared to humans. They had firm flesh and thick skin. If my guards’ swords weren’t high-quality swords made by elves and they weren’t trained by Nier, we really may have suffered heavy casualties.
I rode at the forefront, racing back to Socina as fast as I could. The fierce wind whistled. The snowflakes that hit me felt as if they were bullets. They hurt when they smacked me in the face. The wind was blowing so strong it was, virtually, impossible to breathe. I narrowed my eyes. Despite having enhanced senses – thanks to my elven genetics – I still couldn’t see anything in the heavy snow.
‘It appears that a snowstorm really is coming.’
“Your Majesty, watch out!!!!!”
As I was galloping along the path, Philes suddenly yelled out loudly. I instinctively tugged on my horse reins. In the next instant, a dark silhouette came down from overhead while roaring. A huge axe swung down in front of me, brutally smashing my horse’s heads to mush.
My horse didn’t even get to neigh before its head was demolished. Its blood sprayed forth, heating up a section of the snow. I made an emergency dismount and rolled to the side, almost rolling off the mountain. Philes caught my cloak from behind and pulled me back, while Shusia roared and charged forward.
She engaged the big and dark silhouette.
The axe blew the turbid air away with its swing. As the axe was swung, the snow blew away with the wind, allowing me to finally see the face of the large anthropoid. He wasn’t wielding a quality axe. It was a plain stone axe, but it matched the uncouth swings and lethal power of its wielder.
I finally understood where they came from.
‘They’re jumping down from above!’
‘For humans, that would be the equivalent of jumping across cliffs, but it’s the same as taking a stroll to the anthropoids!’
He roared as he swung his axe. Shusia dexterously jumped out of the way then hopped onto his axe. Her cloak loudly fluttered in the wind before she stabbed him through his chest. Shusia forced the sword in deep, and then forcibly pulled it out. He cried out in pain, and then crashed into a side of the mountain.
“Did you finish him?”
Shusia gasped for air. She then slashed at his throat, causing blood to spray as if he was spitting lava. Philes then pulled me back. He looked at the anthropoid, and then in a somewhat surprised tone said, “Let us go… Your Majesty… Ah… why… why is the Earth quaking…?”
I noticed that it was dark overhead. I thought more of them had jumped down. I, therefore, instinctively drew my gun. We’re in the middle of the path right now, so we could be attacked from the front and back. If we get trapped in a pincer attack, we’ll have no choice but to kill our way out of here. With every man who can wield a sword, we’ve got an extra combatant.
“Your Majesty… we may not be able to escape…”
Karana looked at me with her pale face. The ground below our feet began to quake, and the sound of an avalanche came from overhead. Karana’s expression looked particularly grim. She looked at me and softly said, “Perhaps the anthropoid’s axe… caused a snow avalanche…”
I wasn’t surprised; I just didn’t have an opportunity to finish uttering my response before our entire team got caught in the fierce avalanche. My vision instantaneously became zero. My ears were, practically, filled with snow, with just the crashing and quaking, rumbling in my ears. The snow swept us away to somewhere. I couldn’t do anything. In fact, breathing, itself, was very difficult.
I instinctively hugged the girl in front of me tightly, doing my best to cover her with my body to protect her.
Then my brain was just smashed with chaos and the world spun…
I had no idea what happened after that…
I wasn’t sure if I could survive the avalanche.
I seemed to catch sight of a red pair of eyes looking at me. I could seemingly feel a warm sensation from my chest that enveloped my entire body… spreading to my every nerve…
“Don’t die… don’t die… You saved my life… so… I won’t let you die!”
‘I’ve never heard this voice before…’
‘It’s right next to my ear…’
‘I think somebody is hugging me…’
‘I can feel a warm sensation from my waist to my chest…’
‘I feel as if there’s something smooth, well-kept and furry teasing my skin…’
‘A pair of hands…’
A pair of small and warm hands held mine…
‘Is she speaking to me…?’
I struggled to open my eyes. All I saw was a field of white and a pair of red eyes. The pair of eyes was different to Mommy Vyvyan’s. The pupils weren’t round, but an odd crescent moon shape. Those eyes were trained on me right now. Below those eyes, was a red pair of lips gently moving. Two sharp fangs were vaguely visible…
“Kind Man… don’t die… don’t die because of me… don’t… We’ve only met for the first time… Please… don’t let someone die for my sake again… I will definitely save you… Come back to me! Come back to me! Come back to me!”
“Can’t you see that I’ve opened my eyes?! Who saves people by slapping them across the face the way you do?!!!!”