Chapter-12

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~Nuola~

His hand was on the hilt of the sword, ready to draw it from its sheath. He looked at the outline of the human figure pick itself up unsteadily, long hair flying wildly. His grip on the hilt tightened in caution while his eyes were trained on the moments of the intruder.
Great. I probably landed in a wrong place.
He withdrew his hand from the sword, noticing the slender outline of the body. The woman squinted and rubbed her eyes repeatedly while he could only notice the movements in the dark. He could hear her huff when she understood it was a lost cause.
I'm supposed to fight like this? They could probably be standing right in front of me with a gun and I wouldn't be able to see it.
He watched the woman silently, intrigued by her thoughts. She hesitantly walked forward in the darkness. She had no other option but to use hands and legs to see if there was anything in front of her. So she walked slowly, her hands out stretched making sure she didn़'t run into anything.
Anyone who dared to venture into Nuola so far were usually those who no longer cared for their lives. They were usually ones with purpose much more important than their lives and fear of dying was the last thing on their minds.
But he could sense the obvious fear in her thoughts and his curiosity was piqued. He followed her wondering what a woman like her was doing in his homeland.
She rubbed her eyes again and strained but she still couldn't see a thing. It was pitch black.
I wonder if they will ever find me in this darkness.
Her thoughts made him wonder if she knew anything about his homeland or his kind. He wondered if she knew that she was going to be killed.
After walking for some time, her hands started to ache so let her hands fall to her sides, hoping she was lucky enough not to fall into a pit or something. Unaware of the tree right in front of her, she walked forward and almost ran into it before she heard a noise. She stopped, her instincts making her draw the dagger from its sheath.
He watched her movements and noticed the outline of the dagger in her hand in amusement. Her fear made him wonder if she knew how to use the weapon. Despite of the darkness, he could observe very movement clearly. It's what they are known for. The darkness was always their advantage. It always made them stay a step ahead of the outsiders. He watched her body move slowly and touch the tree. She immediately retreated in fear, her heart beating fast.
He watched in amusement when she moved aside and her heart slowed down a little. Her fear made him think if she was just another outsider wasting time to know the secrets that lie in Nuola. The thought made him shake his head in annoyance and his hand drew the sword with a grace only he could manage.
I'm not going to keep walking till I die and it's obviously impossible for anyone to notice the crown.
"Hello? Anyone's there?", she called in a low voice and he frowned while walking towards her leisurely.
Please, god. Someone hear me.
"Protector? Woltar?", she called again and this time, his grip on the sword tightened, a fierce calmness coming over him. As a protector he did not like hearing his master's name being called so carelessly.
Why is no one hearing me? I'm supposed to be surrounded by assassins, damn it!
"Hello! Can anyone hear me?", she shouted, tired of playing hide and seek.
God, please let someone hear me.
He noticed some movements right beside her and knowing that they were not his people, he increased his pace. All of a sudden, the movements increased and soon he noticed five figures close to the woman, with their swords withdrawn. Their thoughts were resounding in his ears, revealing their intentions. His eyes hardened and his focus shifted like a predator ready to hunt.
"Hello? Is anyone there?", the woman shouted again and he scowled at her foolishness.
The figures creeped closer to her while she held her dagger defensively without any knowledge of the threat she was exposed to.
She was vexed with the silence and scared of the darkness. She put her dagger back in its sheath, her anger and fear making her eyes water slightly. She blinked back her tears and right then she heard a clash. A clash of swords. Her heart began to beat wildly in its cage and her dagger was once again free from its sheath.
The sounds of the clashes were so close to her that she could hear the heavy breathing of the people, whoever they were. There were thuds, clangs of metals and a dagger flew towards her which barely missed her. She froze in fear, her brain screaming "danger" when her eyes finally managed to notice the movements of figures in front of her.
She strained her eyes and noticed that there was only person fighting against all. His movements were so fast that no matter how much she strained her eyes, she could barely catch his figure for a second. His long sword however, seemed to everywhere. But it was only for that second because her eyes were so strained that she gave up and closed her eyes tightly in fear.
Every time she heard a clang, her heart threatened to leap out of her chest in fear. Unable to stop herself, she opened her eyes once again and strained her sense of vision. Unlike what she noticed before, she could only see two figures, their swords moving so fast that she could only hear them clash against each other.
Her eyes were so strained that they started to water and she gave up. But the clangs of the metal were coming closer and closer to her, making her hear beat faster and faster. Before she could run the other way, a sword pierced the skin on her upper arm and she cried in pain.
Her cry was followed by a low masculine gasp and the sound of a sword being sheathed.
"Are you okay, milady?" she heard a deep voice coming close to her and she backed away a little in fear. The cut was bleeding but she didn't dare make a sound.
He's going to kill me. I'm going to die. I'm going to die-
"I won't hurt you milady", his voice sounded closer than it was previously and she wondered where he was.
"I'm right in front of you milady", he answered her thoughts.
"Who are you?", she asked terrified.
"I'm a protector of Nuola", he answered calmly. She wished she could see his face to know if he was telling the truth. But the rational part of her mind was telling her that he wouldn't be able to fight and stand alive if he wasn't a protector.
"Then why didn't you try to kill me?", she asked anyway.
"Because I know you are the Queen of Ossvona, milady", he answered
"And the others?"
"They were here to kill you", he answered and she frowned, her wounded arm making it difficult to process anything.
They came all the way here to kill me?
Great. The things people do to kill me.
"You are hurt milady. You have to leave as soon as you can", he said, her sarcastic thoughts amusing him and she nodded to herself gritting her teeth to stop herself from crying.
"I have come to meet the Woltar. Since he hasn't met me after my coronation, I had to come here", she answered in a strained voice. She couldn't see how deep the cut was but she could feel the liquid seeping out of it.
"Master is not here milady. You need to leave" , he answered truthfully, the pain radiating from her making him concerned.
"But I've come all the way here. I can wait till he returns", she said, not at all liking the thought of her journey going in vain. Her stubbornness intrigued him but he knew that she wouldn't make it alive if she didn't leave soon.
"I assure you, he's not going to return anytime soon", he informed and she frowned, aware of the liquid soaking slowly soaking her sleeve.
"But-", she was cut short.
"The longer you stay here, the quicker your life force weakens milady. Considering the wound, you don't have much time", his tone made her believe that he was serious. She knew she wouldn't be able to bear the pain much longer.
"But I have no idea how to go back", she said helplessly, her wounded arm already clouding her thoughts in pain. The darkness wasn't helping either.
"I can lead you", he offered and she was in a dilemma if she should at least wait for a while or leave. For some reason, he couldn't stop himself from hearing her thoughts. He convinced himself that it was only out of curiosity.
"Milady?"
"Alright", she decided she couldn't risk the chance and for all she knew, she could be attacked again. She knew she wouldn't able stand a minute against them.
"Follow me", he instructed and begun walking. Diya stood perplexed, not knowing in which direction he was walking.
"I can't see you", she said loudly, moving her eyes aimlessly and he stopped. He came back to her and even though he could only see the outline of her body in the dark, he could feel the panic radiating from her.
"May I?", he asked for her permission and waited but her confused thoughts made him give up and hold her hold without waiting for her permission. The contact made her heart skip a beat in fear but she soon relaxed knowing he didn't mean any harm. She walked along with him blindly in the never ending darkness.
"Is this place always this dark?", she asked, hoping to divert her mind from the pain.  For the first time, a strange emotion which felt suspiciously close to guilt settled in him making him uneasy.
"Yes milady", came his answer. He wanted to help her any way he could and if it meant answering her questions then he didn't mind at all.
"Why?", her mind went over various possible reasons but much of her attention was still on her wounded arm.
I won't die, right?
"I don't know milady. It's always been like this", he answered, his concern for her increasing with time.
"Then how do you know where we are going?", she asked puzzled.
"I just do", he answered shrugging like he couldn't explain it.
"Are you really immortal?"
"Yes, milady. As long as I'm in Nuola, no weapon or spell can kill me", he answered, not hesitating to hear her thoughts anymore.
"How old are you?", her question puzzled him because he didn't know how age was measured on their land.
"I've seen the Nuola seven times milady", he answered unsure.
"Nuola? What do you mean you saw Nuola seven times?", she frowned but of course he couldn't see her face.
"This place is named after a-a light", he paused to explain it properly.
"It's called Nuola milady. It rarely appears. And the time here is usually measured by the number of times it appears", he answered.
She was comprehending his answer while her foot hit something making her shriek in pain. His grip on her hand involuntarily tightened while she cursed under her breath.
God, why the fuck am I being targeted today?
Stupid rocks hitting wounded people without mercy.
"Are you alright, milady?", while her thoughts amused him, he was concerned too.
"Yeah. I'm fine. So, 7 times is a long time?", she asked, the pain no longer bearable.
"Not for a protector. In fact, I'm the youngest", he answered loosening his grip not wanting to cause anymore pain than she was suffering.
"So this Nuola is like a moon?", she asked, her arm making it difficult to concentrate on the conversation.
"What's a moon?", he frowned.
"It's a white, bright shape which appears in the sky... I mean, up" the pain became excruciating and she fell silent, gritting her teeth.
"Milady?", his forehead creased in worry but he knew he wouldn't be able to help her much.
He was still worried about her when he heard rogue thoughts. He immediately inspected the surroundings but he couldn't find anyone. He could only hear them vaguely but clear enough to know that they didn't mean any good to the Queen.
"You have to leave milady. Quick", he tightened his grip on her hand again. Though he knew he can easily take them in a fight, he didn't want to risk fighting while the Queen was wounded. Not when she's already running out of time. He could already sense her life force weakening.
"Quick", he hurried, making her walk fast. He didn't let his guard down even for a second and the rogue thoughts were becoming clearer by the minute. Though he wanted to feel their blood on his sword, Queen's safety was his first priority.
"Faster", he hurried, knowing they were getting close to them.
"What is this?", her other hand, wounded one, caught hold of his hand in fear.
"This is the only way out milady. Go on. Leave", he said removing her hand from his gently but she didn't let go, shaking her head in fear. She looked at the abyss in front of her. It was so dark that even in the dark, one could make out that there's no ground further. Her heart leaped in fear and she backed away a little.
No one would know if I died here, she thought in horror.
"But that's suicide", her grip on his hand tightened and her thoughts were resounding in his ears. But the rogues were much closer to them and he didn't want to put the Queen in danger.
"No, milady. There's a portal in the midway. It will take you to your destination. Please hurry", he said. He sensed her fear but he also knew that she didn't have much time.
"But what if the portal doesn't open and I crash my head on the ground?", she cried in fear though she could understand that something was wrong from his tone.
"Milady", his tone was one of defeat which made feel ashamed for not being brave enough. Her thoughts were enough for him to make his decision.
"Forgive me, milady", he removed her hand from his and backed away from her and the abyss. She panicked and turned towards his footsteps, her back towards the abyss.
"Don't leave me here", she cried trying to reach him with her hands but little did she know that leaving her was the last thing he would ever do.
He ran towards her with conviction, doing something no protector has ever done for a Queen who just wasn't brave enough.
He was ready to fall for her.
And before she could comprehend anything, she was captive in his arms and together, they fell into the abyss.

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