Chapter 3 - His name was Fael

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Fael barely managed to keep standing. Each breath hurt him.

Tetsuko could feel his pain as he tightened his grip on the handle.

Around him were the corpses of the man he had killed. No one could say he still had something to do.

Even so, he refused to back down; he refused to bend his knees.

Not as long as his enemy was still breathing.

Stabbing the sword in the earth, he used the sword as support, never taking his eyes off the warrior.

Incredible, the soul inside the sword thought, staring the dead. Even though the boy's given up his defense... to be able to kill three enemies like this and still stand...

"I'll... make... you pay... for all... this..." Fael managed to whisper.

Despite barely having any strength left, he gripped the handle of Tetsuko harder and stared a shadow walking in his direction.

The shadow only grew with each step. Only when a cloud blocked the pale sun, Tetsuko realized it was a woman.

She's much stronger than the others, the blacksmith realized.

"I'm impressed a no-name forest dweller managed to kill my men," she said in a low voice. "It's an insult to them, but my orders are to ask for the traitor to surrender before resort to taking your life.

"Surrender and then what? Even if I was allowed to live, how could I?" Fael found strength as he screamed. "How could I live in a world without Lia?"

The warrior sighed.

"Believe it or not, I do not ravish the idea of killing fellow countrymen, however traitorous your people might be."

"Again, with the... countrymen..." Despite his pain, Fael showed a dark smile. "Your people never helped us. And now send soldiers to kill us... and you say you don't like the idea of killing countrymen?"

"We had to do this because you betrayed our king," the woman said in a cold voice, but Tetsuko saw her tightening her fists.

"Betray your king?"

"You allowed enemies to enter our territory."

Fael took a deep breath and ignored all the pain in his body.

"Your enemies! Not ours! We asked for help, for reinforcements. But the army didn't even listen to us. So why should've we give our lives for your king?"

The woman closed her eyes and bit her lips.

"It's true... There's been a lot of problems lately... Other fights prevented us from offering any help at the time... But if you had fought for your king, none of—"

"Not our king! He was never our king!"

The energy inside him was a turmoil. His pain and rage mixed in that stream

So that's how he can still stand, Tetsuko realized.

Grievous and sorrow crossed the woman's face.

"Guess you'll never surrender," she said, drawing her long two-handed sword.

"For my friends who died, I could never."

Fael pulled Tetsuko out of the ground and raised towards his enemy.

Surrender, boy, the sword wanted to say. She's much stronger than those men. You'll die for nothing.

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