Chapter 32 - Faela

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The march was even slower than the day before.

No one slept in the camp. Even with lookouts, everyone was too afraid anymore worshiper could still be lurking around.

Even Alonso had trouble resting. For the first time in a long while, he slept with his sword by his side. Any sound stirred him, his hand going for Tetsuko's handle.

The moment the sun appeared on the horizon, the soldiers raised the camp and marched as fast as they could. But even if no one talked, the scars of the fight still remained over their heads.

They burned their dead companions along with the worshipers. The injured ones who didn't die rode on the wagons. The restless sleep hadn't helped them; they had gotten worse.

Tetsuko checked, but she didn't sense that faint strange energy emanating from the demon mark in them. It's not the cause of their fever... but it must be connected... somehow...

Everyone has lost morale. And that was against only seven worshipers... I know they hesitated to kill children, but still... they're gonna face many more in the battle ahead. If they can't shake the fear from last night, they're doomed.

Only those three seem to still have any will to fight, the soul in the sword thought, looking at the only soldiers who had managed to harm the Worshipers.

A woman with short brown hair and a hard expression, a bold man with dark skin, and a tall man with one pale eye.

Apart from Alonso, they're the strongest here...

I wouldn't mind if any of them used me... but my wielder is Alonso... for now...

The march wasn't only slow; it was tense. Everyone was so cautious any sound made most almost draw their weapons, even if it turned out to be only a small animal.

"My lord." Rui rode by his commander and called him quietly.

"What is it?"

The captain gulped, his face even paler. "A-are you sure we should still be going? After yesterday, we... I don't know if we have the numbers..."

"Yes, Rui. We cannot go back. Seven people caused that much trouble. Imagine what a hundred of them could do?"

"A-a-a hundred?!"

"Probably over a thousand. If a whole city and a bandit group joined them..." Despite his neutral voice, Tetsuko could feel the energy stirring inside him. Both his and Dale's.

He knows three thousand soldiers might not be enough. The number is on the limit... if they get even a little careless, my wielder will suffer another defeat. And maybe this time it'll cost more than just his honor...

"If they're as strong as those, we can't fight them, milord..." The fear was such Rui was losing his composure.

"They're probably stronger. Even so, we have to fight them," Alonso said without looking at his recently promoted captain. After a while, he turned to the boy. "Do you have family? Someone you care?"

The captain gulped with the sudden question. "My mom died when I was young. My father raised me as best as he could. He worked at a bar, cooking. But he died a couple years ago..."

Alonso kept quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry, son."

"Thank you, my lord. He was... a quiet man. Even when working, he barely talked. But he was a good father. And everyone in the bar helped me after... but that life wasn't that life..."

"So you took the sword."

"Yes..."

"Now think about those people at the bar. Imagine those Worshipers running around the kingdom. It took several soldiers just to kill one. Just one can cause a lot of damage. And if they increased their numbers..." Alonso shook his head as he imagined. "We need to deal with them right now... they'll come back... they always do... and we'll deal with them, no matter how many times we need..."

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