Chapter 30 - The mark

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The march was slow and steady.

"At this rate, we'll be there tomorrow," said Rui, the captain of the soldiers.

"Yes... but we should have met with them by now," Alonso replied, more to himself than to the man who had saved him.

You were the one who didn't want to go through the forest. Guess you still have some traumas, Tetsuko though, rattling slightly on the sheath that was too big each time the horse took a step. But who am I to complain? We'll have a fight soon... I can't wait to cross blades with someone.

The Lord had left the castle with a small troop of seven hundred soldiers. With the two thousand under Faela's command, they had more than enough to crush the Demon Worshipers and the bandits.

If they had gone through the forest, the fastest route to Vidal's castle, they would have already joined with Faela. But instead, Alonso had sent word to the court informing he would follow the road along the river.

"I'd rather avoid a forest for a long time," Alonso answered Rui's unspoken question.

The newly promoted captain said nothing, only acknowledging his commander's words.

Was that your only intentions, my wielder? So no one would question your orders? Why didn't you bring your advisor?

The Lord had told his retainer to stay and take care of the castle while he dealt with the Worshipers.

Despite his protests, Enrique obeyed.

It does make sense. You can't leave your castle unattended for so long again. But after everything, can you really afford to leave someone who's that loyal to you? And you even made that soldier who helped you escape a captain, Tetsuko thought, glancing at the man. He's barely a man... and from what I can tell, he doesn't have a talent with a weapon...

Tetsuko didn't waste much time thinking about that. As long as she was used, she was satisfied. I wonder what the taste of a Demon Worshiper... is their energy any different? Alonso said they weren't normal... it means they should taste different.

The soul in the sword couldn't wait. She had been wishing for a new energy. Lucky Chaos had been the only one she had in a long time, and she couldn't even make it her own.

As the sun began to set, Alonso ordered the soldiers to stop.

"We'll set camp here and leave before the sun is up," he said, dismounting his horse.

Despite some faces saying they would rather keep marching for a little longer, they obeyed.

"Who's there?" someone shouted.

The moment the soldier screamed, everyone stopped setting the camp and turned towards the voice.

"Please, don't kill us!" someone shouted from the trees. "We're just peasants!"

A man came walked out from the forest with his hands raised.

The soldiers raised their weapons but only watched when two women and a young man, followed by three children joined the man.

"Peasants?" Alonso asked. "Who are you?"

"W-we're from a v-village south of here," the man explained despite the fear. When he realized the soldiers wouldn't kill him or the other, he lowered his hand slowly. "We were expelled from our homes... the few who escaped had to..."

He couldn't hold the tears. Nor the others.

Alonso glanced from one face to the other.

"Rest now. You can tell me everything later."

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