Before they left, Fael called Lia to talk in private.
"Please, be careful," he said when they were alone. "If you find anything, blow the horn. I'll be there right away."
"You too," she said, clasping his hand in hers, gently caressing it. "Please, be safe."
Fael showed a sad smiled and touched her forehead with his.
"I hope no one finds anything," he whispered to her.
"You're not the only one."
"I had planned to ask you to become one with me with I won the great hunt," he said, trying to hold back his tears.
"What if I won?"
"Then I'd wait for you to ask me," he said, smiling.
Lia chuckled. "Then after this is settled, let's become one."
"It's a promise."
Fael and Lia touched their noses, a sign of love, before joining their respective groups.
Please, let this be nothing, he prayed to his ancestors, clutching the spear that once belonged to his father.
But Fael's pray was for naught.
Near the river that cut the Forest, they found the Raiders.
It's not possible... No one in his group had any reaction as they observed the invaders.
So many... they're planning to invade the Kingdom again, he knew at once, the memories of ten years flooding his head.
His breathing became fast and shallow. He felt a cold numbness coursing through his body. This can't be happening... not again...
"Fael..." one of his friends whispered.
But he showed no reaction. The woman shook the young man.
"Fael," she said in a stronger voice. "What are we gonna do?"
"We... we need... to find out... their numbers..." Fael managed to say in a hoarse voice, not taking his eyes from the Sand-Crawlers.
Without a word, they nodded and went in different directions.
Fael stood where he was, observing the large foreigners marching in a closed formation.
Even if they were strong and deadly in the sand, their numbers shouldn't make much difference in the Forest... But if they burn down everything like last time...
Time passed slowly as he waited for the numbers.
But when his friends returned, he couldn't believe their news they brought.
"It can't be," Fael said in a heavy voice, his shoulders dropping.
"Even if it's not as many as before, we can't fight."
"We'll be wiped out this time."
"Fael, what are we gonna do?"
"Nothing...We'll do nothing," he said, still not taking his eyes from the group.
Even from distance, he recognized the cloth masks they wore. It's the same... even after ten years...
"What? We can't just do nothing! Not when they're invading our lands again," the woman said in a hushed voice.
"Do what? We can't fight them! Even in this Forest, we don't have the numbers!"
"All it takes is for them to cut down or burn the trees and we're lost..."
YOU ARE READING
Tetsuko was a blacksmith. Ever since she could remember, her life revolved around swords. And when she died, she became one. I'll be posting this novel on Royal Road as well