Wound Inflicted by a Combat Mastiff’s
“They’ve unleashed dogs!!” exclaimed Lucia.
Lucia then grabbed me by my collar and ran forward. I staggered behind as I tried to keep up with her. She wore a very tense expression. She turned her head around and shouted, “Can you climb trees?”
Sorry, I could climb trees and drive cars, but, unfortunately, to a man living in the city jungle of the modern day, climbing trees was an unnecessary skill. I didn’t need to climb trees to find my managers or grab strange things, either.
“We’ve got a problem, then. Even children can climb trees, so why are there so few of you humans who can climb them? If you could climb trees and leap from them, we’d be able to escape. Now, though, we’ve got a much more troublesome situation…”
Lucia suddenly halted, and then yanked me aside. I pathetically retreated two steps, only to crash into a tough tree trunk behind me. I lost my balance and cried out as I tripped into the pile of rotten leaves. Finally, I banged my head on the tree branch, thereby almost passing out.
Lucia deftly set up her bow. She fired off an arrow with a crisp “twang”, and the arrow whistled through the air. A few short bodies were sent flying as they attempted to charge over. They didn’t even get a chance to cry out. However, there was a hunting dog that approached. It barked as it leapt toward Lucia. Lucia swiftly sidestepped; she dexterously grabbed it by its ears then used momentum to leap up. While she was in the air, she drew an arrow and ran it through the dog’s neck.
“Lucia, there’s another!!”
Upon landing, another hunting dog from another shrub leapt toward Lucia before she could regain her footing. I quickly got to my feet. Using my hands and feet, I sprang over to Lucia to pull her down to the ground so that she could dodge the attack. But nonetheless, the dog spun around as soon as it landed and bit my foot.
I wasn’t wearing any armour, while my boots couldn’t shield me from its sharp teeth. I was certain that the mastiff’s teeth had been reinforced with steel. It bit into my ankle. I couldn’t help groaning in pain due to the sharp pain. My ankle was virtually bitten off. I couldn’t tell if my ankle was attached or not due to the pain. As a matter of fact, I felt the mastiff had snapped my bone.
“Die!” brayed Lucia.
Lucia got out from underneath me then leapt at the mastiff. Furious, Lucia jumped onto its back and snapped its neck that was still biting onto my leg instead of using her dagger or arrows. She then sliced its top lip off to pull my leg out from its mouth.
The sharp pain in my foot didn’t stop throbbing. It felt as though it was ripping apart all of my nerves. I looked at my foot in terror. I felt that my foot could’ve been amputated. The shock and terror of losing a body part and death wiped my mind blanked. I shakily grabbed my calf and tried to stop the bleeding.
Lucia looked at my leg that bled profusely and exclaimed, “You’ll be fine! You’ll be fine!! You’ll be fine!”
Lucia crouched down to me and scrambled to pull out a paper back. She scattered a green powder onto my foot. Then, she pulled my cloak off me and tightly bound my foot. She took out a pill and shoved it into my mouth. She looked into my eyes and yelled, “Listen. Listen to me, Travor! You’ll be fine! You’ll be fine! Your foot is still attached! Your foot will be fine, but you have to calm down! Calm down! Stay calm! Don’t move! Swallow the pill! Swallow it! Swallow it!!”
My mind was racing to the point that it seemed as though I forgot how to swallow. My tongue seemed as though it was stuck. I desperately wanted to swallow it, but the pill was stuck at my tongue, and I couldn’t swallow it. Lucia then tightly clasped my face and anxiously shouted, “Swallow it, Travor! Swallow it!”
My tongue was stuck; I could only make out stiff words. Lucia dawdled for a moment then reached for her belt. However, she suddenly realised that we never brought water. She came up with an idea. She clasped my face with one hand and kissed me on my lips. Lucia stuck her tongue out without any hesitation. She tried to reach for the pill stuck on my tongue and move it down into my throat. She pulled her face away; then, she sternly looked at me and loudly said, “Swallow it!”
If we were in past, I would feel that the kiss was one incredible one. In that moment, nonetheless, I could only feel Lucia’s deep desire to help.
I swallowed the pill in my mouth, which then led to me feeling dizzy. The pain from my foot drastically decreased. It only felt somewhat numb. Lucia let out a breath of relief; she quietly said, “Can you stand up from now? I’ll help you. We’re not far from the exit now. Judging from the density of the trees, we’re five minutes away at most. In just five minutes, we’ll be out of the forest. Let’s hurry.”
“Shit, I can’t…”
It took a lot out of Lucia for her to lift me. My legs were immobilised due to the fear and pain. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t support myself, while I was too heavy for small Lucia. Lucia weakly advanced while advancing.
Suddenly, the flames and the sound of horse hooves approached from behind. The sounds were accompanied by humans shouting loudly and mastiffs barking. They were right on our tails. The mastiffs could guide the humans to us. With me bleeding at that rate, it was impossible for us to escape the forest.
“It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. I’ll get you out. You saved my life, so I’ll definitely save yours! We elves never owe anyone! I’ll definitely get you out of here!!!’
Lucia supported my weight with all of her might and forged forward with determination. Unfortunately, I could tell what our ending would be with the rate of the flames approaching. If we continued at that pace, they’d catch up to us in less than a minute. The mastiffs might’ve ripped us apart.
The tenser the situation becomes, the calmer one becomes. I don’t know if that applies for others, but I was calm. I grabbed the small bag at my waist to ensure that the flavouring was there. The small bag that could be exchanged for money that I had been after the entire time was safe and sound. I’d rather lose a leg than lose the bag.
I removed the bag and loudly said to Lucia, “Lucia, Lucia, listen to me!! You’ll never escape if you bring me along. Take this bag and get out of right away. Just hand it to Achilles. Afterwards, I hope that you can give Veirya and Leah the share that they deserve. If possible, I hope you can help them, and allow them to continue on with life…”
Lucia thundered, “What nonsense is that?! You’re my companion! How can I ditch you here after you saved my life?! They’re just a bunch of humans. I can kill every single one of them! We have to leave together!! I won’t let you die! Trust me!”
Then, Lucia grabbed my arm tighter and struggled toward the town.
“This is not the time to be playing hero, Lucia!! Isn’t this money important for you elves?! Then, take this bag and go!!”
“You’re also very important to me!! I promised Veirya that I’d bring you back safe and sound!! I won’t go back on my word!”
“I never said that I’d return safe and sound! I’m a businessman! Money is everything to me!! Lucia, listen to me and hurry back! Take this flavouring and go!! Victory isn’t about how much you lose, but how much you earned!”
I ostensibly recovered my last ounce of energy with my shouting. I pushed Lucia away. She shrieked as she stumbled a few steps. I strapped the bag of flavouring to her belt then fell on the ground. I faced her fuzzy silhouette and belted, “Lucia! You made me a promise! Take the flavouring back, and give Veirya the money! Teach her how to leave and protect Leah!!”
“I… I… You… Hang in there! I’ll come back to rescue you!! I promise! Hang on this! Make sure you survive! I’ll come back for you!!”
Lucia hurled something shiny over. We were already close to the end of the forest. The flames in the town were faintly visible from here. The sky was no longer covered by leaves. The moonlight shined onto the shiny object. I reached out and took it. It was the emblem Veirya and Lucia both had. It was a memorial for the adventurers that slew the Demon King. It was the exact same as Veirya’s.
I helplessly smiled. I tightly clenched the emblem. I didn’t know what Lucia was suggesting by leaving it with me. She couldn’t possibly make it back in time. It’d take her, at least, half an hour to go and come back. By that time, she wouldn’t even be able to find all the pieces of my corpse.
‘Is this my final mission? To die holding the same thing as Veirya is a weird, yet pitiful feeling. I feel as though I’ve been treated quite well… I’ve died once before, so I don’t mind dying a second time.’