The village we arrived at was smaller than I expected. The village gave me the impression that it was a sojourn location for nomads. The sparse grasslands didn’t have many places where crops could feasibly be planted. Their village didn’t have any farmland. Their walls looked as though they were temporarily put together walls. All of the buildings within the village looked as though they were set up as temporary structures. The walls and roofs made from straw and soil resembled tents. Outside of the forest were children, who were cheerfully playing, in simple clothing made from sackcloth. All of them stopped when they saw us. They curiously scanned us then shouted in a weird language before running back inside the village.
Francis took in a deep breath and blew his beard: “It appears they are Anks people.”
I had no idea what sort of people Anks people were. I never heard of them from Queen Sisi or the information I gathered in the North.
“You don’t know them?!” exclaimed Francis, surprised.
Francis’ overwhelming reaction made me begin to suspect if I had forgotten… I confirmed with myself again that I genuinely had no clue who the Anks were… Why is Francis so surprised I don’t know, I pondered.
“Of course I don’t… I’ve never even heard of their race. There are no traces of their existence in the North… Plus, I don’t have any information pertaining to them.” I decided to be honest.
Francis stroked his beard. In a somewhat awkward tone, he explained, “It seems my assumption was wrong, then. I thought you were an Anks. Are you not from the North? Among the population in the North, the Anks would most likely be the only people who could fight against the demons. The Anks are a violent group of humans. They’re nomads who are incredibly skilled in equestrian and combat. I thought that you were an Anks as you were the Demon King’s prisoner of war, and you dared to stand in Veirya’s way. Only an Anks would have that sort of courage.”
I shook my head. I explained, “I’m not an Anks. Truthfully, I’m the same as you. I just happened to be unlucky enough to end up in the demons’ hands.”
Francis nodded then stroked his beard again: “The Anks are a troublesome bunch. They love to fight. I think we best not act rashly. Whatever you do, don’t aggravate them.”
I warned Francis, “I don’t think I would aggravate them. If you ask me, you’re the most dangerous one. You better keep your drinking to a minimum while we’re here. Something bad is likely to happen in your drunken stupor.”
Francis awkwardly laughed: “I know. I know. I know what to do and when. These Anks should be considered Veirya’s people; I just don’t know if Veirya can put that through their skulls.”
I felt the Earth quake before I could reply. I had never felt the Earth quake as if an army of thousands upon tens of thousands shook the Earth before then. My horse vigorously raised its head and fearfully neighed. I quickly tugged the reins to bring it under control.
It was a perfect scene of a large cavalry unit charging across the plains. Sand from both sides of the town gusted up and whooshed toward us. Along with the strong gale came a group of nomads, sweeping our cloaks up. I had to cover my face with my hand. Veirya and Francis, on the other hand remained calm as they watched the riders take formation. There were only thirty of them, yet I felt the pressure of facing an army of thousands.
“You people are?” asked an Anks.
The Anks were all bold. Perhaps they thought their hair would inhibit their combat skills. Every single one of them looked as tough as nails. They wore unadorned clothing made from animal fur and scanned us from atop their horses. They were fully equipped for battle. Their leader carried a large axe on his back.
I glanced over to Veirya; she calmly observed them with her hand on her sword handle. Despite looking nonchalant, Veirya was actually already alert. If the Anks charged at us, Veirya would immediately retaliate.
I took a step forward and answered, “This is the lord of the North, the hero, who killed the Demon King, Lord Veirya. This area that you reside is part of Lord Veirya’s territory.”
The man before me removed his large axe. He spat to the side and indifferently responded, “We don’t know a Veirya. We’ve lived here for generations. We’ve never bowed our heads to anybody! This is our land. There’s no way you can take it. We will live here and die here. Such a weak woman might be ploughed to death by us. She might even able to leave behind a bastard for us.”
His brash and crude remark ticked me off. Veirya was the woman I liked; there was no way I wouldn’t be livid if she was insulted. Nevertheless, Veirya maintained a grip on her emotions. Francis extended a hand: “Out of respect for your god, this woman is, indeed, your lord. I know that you neither believe us nor are you willing to accept her, so how about this: we’ll have a fight in the name of your god. If this woman can defeat all or your warriors, you must acknowledge her as your lord. What do you think?”
Francis glanced at Veirya. Veirya subtly nodded. The man opposite us raised an eyebrow. He then looked to Veirya and burst out in laughter: “You’re sending a woman to her death? I have a request, as well, then. If we win, the older woman and younger will become our slaves, how about it?”
Veirya cut me off. She helped Leah down then dismounted. I wanted to dismount, but I couldn’t get my left foot out. The more I panicked, the more I failed. The group of Anks burst into mocking laughter when they saw me with one foot stuck. I wanted to howl because of the shame and anxiety I felt. I wanted to protect Veirya, but I was stuck on the horse.
“I’m so darn useless. People just insulted Veirya in my face, yet I can’t even get off my horse,” I silently cursed.
As I struggled to get my left foot out, Veirya came up to me from behind and helped me down. She didn’t say anything to me. She, instead, drew her sword from its scabbard then tossed her scabbard aside. She walked up to the group. I went to say something; however, Francis stopped me. He stated, “Don’t distract a soldier. You need to believe in Veirya; she’s never failed before.”
“Uhm…” I responded.
Francis was right. Veirya had never lost before. She could behead the Demon King, so she, obviously, could behead the man in front of her.
The man laughed hysterically and dismounted. The man was about two metres tall. His robust physique resembled a large bear. Veirya looked as small and harmless as a kitten before him. He raised his large axe up and laughed: “Missy, if you can’t continue, then make sure to yell out. Otherwise, I might split your skull open.”
Veirya didn’t reply. Instead, she raised her long sword; she trained her eyes on the man and grounded her feet.
“Veirya has never lost before,” stated Francis, nonchalantly.
I, however, was stunned as I watched Veirya fight. Veirya was so fast that I only saw her afterimage. She was right in his face before he could run. He forcefully raised his axe to try and knocked Veirya back, but her white silhouette only lasted for a second in the spot he aimed. The next second, his blood spurt from his thigh; Veirya immediately followed up with a kick to his chin. As he instinctively swung his large axe, she ducked down and then thrust her sword forward, aiming for his exposed neck.
“Veirya!!!!!” I shouted for Veirya to halt.
Veirya abruptly stopped in her tracks, but the sharp tip of her blade was already flickering in front of his neck. Veirya’s cape was still fluttering owing to her blistering speed. The man’s leg appeared to have been crippled with her last slash. He was forced to his knee on the ground. Veirya stood before him and emotionlessly demanded, “I. Am your lord. Kneel. Before me.”
Veirya’s intense murderous aura exploded from her. The men on their horses all fearfully took a step back. Veirya was no longer a soldier; it had been a long time since she drew her sword. Nevertheless, when she unleashed her murderous aura, there was no one who wouldn’t tremble in fear. Even I almost retreated a step. But nonetheless, I was able to overcome my fear and stand my ground. Veirya would probably have been upset to see me afraid.
“You can accept her now, right?” I sarcastically questioned.
I mustered up courage to walk forward. The man glanced over to me. Humiliated, his face was up in flames. He suddenly roared. All of a sudden, he stood up and staggered over; he took a swing at me. Behind me, Leah screamed, while Francis rushed over. I couldn’t move my left foot, so all I could do was blankly watch the axe swing up. However, I didn’t feel any pain.
A piece of clothing gently grazed my face. I opened my eyes to have blood splattered on my face. The axe weakly dropped to the ground en route to my head. His head dropped.Had he not stopped, I most probably would’ve been crushed.
Veirya plunged her sword into his throat and then took it out by horizontally swinging it out, thereby cutting half of his neck off, resulting in one shoulder tilting down. Veirya turned around from behind him. She calmly asked me, “Are. You all right?”
MYSD Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/wjzmysd