We were out of the North’s jurisdictive region and would soon be within the imperial capital’s jurisdictive region, which was significantly different to the desolate North. Once we were within the imperial capital’s jurisdictive region, there would be small patrol teams in charge of guarding the imperial capital, so they could signal for reinforcements. The patrols would definitely escort us to the imperial capital if we told them what was going on. Hence, were safe once we got there.
At the same time, however, it meant that the assassins would have to strike soon. Assassinating me in the North and assassinating me in the imperial capital would be two totally different difficulties. Moreover, I doubted professional assassins would make the mistake. Nobody would choose to take action when they were in the riskiest situation if there was a safer alternative.
We gradually reduced the carriage’s speed. Anna took the right, and Angelina took the left. Veirya prepared a small shield and picked up a small axe… I didn’t even know they prepared weapons when we left. Angelina revealed her wicked side and chose a rusty weapon.
Leah rode at the rear with Veirya’s cape on. Leah’s swordplay was only passable, with the main reason being that Veirya and Angelina didn’t teach her everything. Nevertheless, she could subdue foes with sheer volume, so, unless they were adepts, she would have a strong chance, not that I planned to have Leah take part.
Upon spotting an overturned horse carriage in our path, Angelina commented, “That’s too simple for a strategy, isn’t it? People still use this tactic? I don’t want to continue playing along with them. See those people pretending to move things to move the carriage? They’re all assassins, and they’ll flee when we attack them without a doubt. If we chase them, we’ll be forced to leave the carriage since it won’t be able to squeeze past either side of their overturned carriage. If we don’t chase them, they’ll harass us until we run out of patience.”
“Let’s chase them, then. It is our goal.”
With her eyes on the people pretending to move things, Anna drew equipped her axe and gently coughed. “What shall we do, kill them all or save a few to interrogate?”
“Leave one. Kill the rest,” answered Angelina.
Leah rode up alongside the two. I went prone in the carriage… I knew I looked ridiculous and weak. I was aware that I destroyed the expectations people had of me. They probably felt I should’ve sat up as you’d see in the military. If I did that, however, I might’ve ended up with an arrow through my body. I wasn’t a commander. I was just the charge they allocated to protect.
Veirya concentrated on the sounds around. The horse hooves gradually vanished, which meant that Angelina’s team must’ve gone in pursuit of the assassins, though I didn’t know what happened on their end. The eerie silence that pervaded didn’t tell me if those outside actually followed the plan we assumed they had. If Angelina’s guess was wrong and Angelina fell for their ploy, we were in trouble. I didn’t understand the point of the plan, so I just took Angelina’s word for it.
I silently waited for something to happen. Veirya’s calmness made it seem as though we were in great danger, thereby giving me an urge to pull her back. When I started to wonder if we were safe, a long sword thrust its way inside and past the top of my head. If I was sitting, I’d look cool, but having a blade through your neck would hurt, I bet.
Veirya evaded the thrust. The assailant pulled his sword back and yanked the door open. Knowing he would yank open the door, Veirya pulled him in by his clothes and axed his head in half, splattering his blood in my face. Veirya quickly picked his corpse up to use as a shield against the incoming arrow. She then threw the corpse aside and charged out.
There’s a popular warning to not anger a female beast with a child because they’d even dare to take on a pack of wolves by themselves. Veirya wasn’t some pushover of a sheep. She was the embodiment of a fierce tiger and leopard. If you threatened Veirya’s child and I… I was going to say, “Good luck,” but you’re not on my team if you’re threatening us. I didn’t plan to enjoy the show or help.
Veirya didn’t need help. I’d only make matters worse by “helping”, so I just stayed in my lane and let Veirya do her thing. It was a mere warm-up for her. Although they were professional assassins, professional doesn’t mean best. If they were so tough, where were they when the Demon King was rampaging?
I heard one last scream before the last corpse dropped to the ground. Veirya’s face and arms were stained with blood. There were dangling heads and chests with holes in them behind the axe she discarded. Did I mention there were strewn organs on the ground and corpses? My guess was they were our assassins.
“Don’t move. I’m not sure. It’s safe yet.” Veirya didn’t give me a hug. Instead, she pressed my head to the floor again. She shut the door instead of getting back in to guard it.
Upon hearing horse hooves split the silence, Angelina opened the door and, with a preening visage, captive dragged along the ground, relayed, “I think we’re done. They knew how to fight, but they picked the wrong opponent. I know you have questions for them, so I brought one back. Before we clear their obstacle on the road, you can ask this fellow who wants you dead.”
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