Chapter 20 - The Stone Hill Battle

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"Where are the rest of them?" a soldier whispered, his voice echoing through the trees.

Despite his low tone, it was loud enough to reveal the fear behind it.

"Keep your mouth shut!" someone said in a harsh whisper. "Do you want them to find us?"

That voice, too, couldn't hide the owner's fear.

They're too shaky from the last battle, the soul in the sword thought.

The army had killed the first enemies that fled from the smoke. But no one else came from the labyrinth. So Alonso had commanded them to enter the bandits' new hideout, but they had yet to find the enemies.

They're around... I can sense them... but I can't tell if they're close or not... this place is messing with my senses...

The smoke had cleared, but the stench of the plants remained, impregnating everything in the labyrinth.

Even with the cloths covering their noses, no one could breathe without smelling it.

Even I can't stand this...

Despite the general fear throughout the troops, the lord told the soldiers to press on.

You're not letting this chance get away, are you, my wielder? Tetsuko wanted to ask him but couldn't. You want to end this, but you also fear being a victim of Lucky Chaos' touch...

The sound of hundreds of hooves and thousands of feet moving echoed in the dark forest, the sound of water splashing becoming louder.

The trees are so close it's hard to tell it's morning, Tetsuko thought, looking up at the treetops. It's always dark in here...

The army went deep inside the labyrinth carefully, but they had yet to find more enemies. They looked up at the higher trees, but apart from them, there was no sign of life in that strange forest.

They turned here and there, not knowing the real way. Then the column of soldiers stopped advancing; the men and women on the front couldn't make their horses go own.

A murmur ran throughout the soldiers

"What's the matter?" asked the lord. "Why did they stop?"

The word finally got to the center of the column, where the commanders were.

"It's the ground, my lord," a soldier informed. "The water... it's only mud ahead..."

"Mud?"

The lord looked down.

Even through the strange fog that covered the ground, it was possible to see a thin layer of water under the hooves of the horse.

The lord held the reigns tighter.

"The bandits must've flooded the area to make it hard for us to use the horses," the advisor said. "It's best if we go on foot from here."

Alonso stared at the ground for a moment.

"Agree," he said in a low voice.

Even if she was on his waist and not enclosed by his fingers, Tetsuko could feel the change in her wielder's energy.

It was flowing fast and in an intense mixture of colors.

He's not only angry by the situation... he's more anxious, Tetsuko realized, staring him for a long moment.

Hope that doesn't hinder the way he uses me...

As his order passed on to the front of the column, the lord got off his horse.

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