Chapter 18 - The threat

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The pain was still there. Even so, Alonso downed his recently fixed armor.

Enrique looked at him through the corner of his eyes. The advisor wanted to tell his lord to rest, but he knew he couldn't. Not when there was work to be done.

"Here's what they found in the forest, my Lord," the advisor handed Alonso a piece of folded parchment.

The noble reached his hand out to take it, wincing with the action. He grunted, but ignored his pain and read the parchment. The pain his face gave room to a dark expression as he went down the list.

"All this...?" Alonso asked, the disbelief plain on his face.

"Yes... that's everything we could find throughout their lair," the man said with a grievous voice.

Alonso turned back to the paper in his hand.

"This is..." he couldn't finish the sentence.

From her uncomfortable sheath on his waist, Tetsuko could see what was written on the paper. To her surprise, she understood the strange letter. Thanks to Fael's memories, I can read this strange word's writings.

As she read, Tetsuko could see the reason behind her wielder's shock right away.

The list contained too many items that didn't seem likely for a group of bandits to have.

Crossbows, armors, weapons and arrows were one thing.

If they didn't have that, they wouldn't be considered a threat, even with their large numbers.

But it wasn't all bandits' groups that had detailed maps of the land and nearest castles.

And that wasn't all.

The biggest problem were the last items on the list.

The soldiers had found siege weapons in their forest.

The bandits were planning to invade a castle, Tetsuko understood the situation. They were planning to use the chaos in the kingdom and take a castle...

The great number of food the bandits had stashed in the forest only reinforced that idea.

And that was not the end of the lord's shook.

"How did they get this...?" Alonso said, picking up another piece of paper from his desk.

The parchment was crumbled and hastily written. But the content had the potential to destroy the kingdom.

Detail notes about the armies' movements on the area and the enemies they're fighting...

Even if the soul in the sword didn't recognize the names, she saw her wielder's name on the paper. The bandits knew he'd attack... but they didn't know when...

And if the bandits got ahold of something like this, it can only mean one thing, Tetsuko knew.

She also knew her wielder would reach the same conclusion.

"Treason," Alonso muttered what was in his sword's mind.

"Yes... There's someone betraying the kingdom to the bandits," Enrique said.

"They even had the orders of our departure... how did they have this...?"

A heavy silence filled the tent.

The lord reread the paper over and over.

"M-my lord, do... do you think the bandits could have someone inside the army? It doesn't necessarily mean—"

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