"I'm with you till the end, my lord."
“Don’t say that. It’s not like we are going to die,” Victor whispered as he crawled behind a row of rubbles.
Isaac peeks his head but was instantly pushed down by Victor as a patrol group walked past them. Victor released Isaac and pulled out the dagger that was given to him by Joshua. Peeking through the gap between wood and rock, he saw where the prisoner was being kept. Packed to the brim into three metal cages. It was impossible for Victor to them out without a key.
A watchful guard was caught by Victor’s attention. On his belt, a dangle of keys glittered in the dark. An easy mark since he’s alone. Now all he just needs to find is Kiko. Among the other prisoners, shoulder to shoulder inside the cages. Since there too many of them inside the cage it would be impossible for Victor to find Kiko. Along with the darkness, it would be good to have some actual bright light, but that’s a pleasure Victor cant afford.
“That one with the keys. We need them.”
“The Commander said: we shouldn’t engage, my lord.”
“I’m not. I’m pointing out the options we have.”
“Still, we should heed his warning. We don’t want to reveal ourselves.”
Another guard appeared with a small cut on his right cheek. He walked to the other one, grunting with annoyance. The key bearer turned his gaze at the other man.
“What’s the matter?”
“That little shit cut me.”
“The little girl earlier? She gave you this much trouble?”
“You don’t even know half of it. She took down two of our men by herself. Crazy kid, but she can’t do anything now. Not after I beat the sense out of her.”
Isaac laid his gaze on Victor’s back. There was something off-putting about the man before him. His mood had changed, darker even. He senses anger off him. When Isaac lowered his sight down. He saw Victor gripping the ashy dirt, trembling not out of fear, but something much worse. Rage.
With his hand filled with charred dirt, he mops it across his face down to his neck, his arms, and legs. Showing nothing but his eyes. He crawled forward. Isaac froze behind. This man in front of him was different, but he saw it once. He saw it when he strung that soldier with a rope. At that time, he had no warmness inside him.
In a faint distance, a bell rang furiously. Smoke rose as fire licked the cart filled with supplies. Isaac glanced at the smoke then quickly back at Victor, but the man had disappeared. He peeked out rubbles and saw his king rushed toward the key bearer.
Victor was quick and silent that both of them never saw him coming. When they did notice him, it was too late. A single horizontal slash, a clean gap appeared between his chin and neck. The key bearer held his deep cut, but it wasn’t enough as blood poured out through the gaps of his fingers.
Occupied by his ally's horrified expression, the other guard didn’t see the blade coming toward his face. Like butter, the dagger went through his skull. Such a force behind that thrust, the man dropped to the floor.
With gritted teeth, Victor took his blade and rammed it against the guard. He repeats. Nothing but the sound of a man choking, and a blade repeatedly puncturing the skull. Not even the sound of a crackling fire can be heard.
The prisoners withdrew from the sight until their back was against the metal grid. They held their terrified quiver until Isaac came and pulled Victor away.
“My lord, he had enough.”
Victor shattered the guard skull with a single stomp and let out a sigh of relief.
Isaac picked up the key from the dead enemy then used that key to release the prisoners. After every cage was unlocked, Isaac could hear another faint noise coming from the distance. It sounded like a bunch of men are marching toward them. The prisoners scattered as fast as they could. Isaac turned to Victor, seeing him having no interest in the prisoners at all.
“Lord, they are coming. We should leave.”
“Not until I found her.”
“Found who, lord?”
Turning around the corner, Victor saw two enemies jogging toward them with a pair of rifles. With no hesitation, he left Isaac behind, taking out his sword, and rushed out. The enemy was surprised to see him. They aimed their barrel at him, but as they about to pull the trigger, Victor rolled to the left. The bullets missed him completely.
Out of the dark, Victor pounced on them and slashed one of the men's throats before spinning and stabbing the other men in the belly. He pushed the blade upward, spilling the enemy's guts to the ground.
Isaac was shocked. He knows now that Victor had no single shred of mercy to his enemy. It scared him for a little, but he was glad this man was on his side. Another enemy popped out from the corner, this time he readied his rifle.
The guard shot his rifle, but thanks to Isaac’s warning, Victor manages to get out of the way.
Moved by his instinct, Isaac pulled out his bow and released an arrow at the enemy. The arrow buried itself into the enemy’s shoulder. The soldier was about to scream, but not before Victor stepped in and slashed his throat.
“Good job, Isaac. Let’s go.”
As they make their way closer to the plaza, Victor finally found Kiko. His heart dropped. The sight of her tied to a post while her body is filled with bruises broke him. Beaten almost to death.
How could this be? She was a part of their people, and this was the mercy they showed her? It sickened him. However, it didn't end there, dangled underneath Kiko’s feet was David’s head. His father’s head. The crown was still around his head.
“King David...no, how could they?” Isaac dropped to his knees.
“Hold your mourning for later. We need to get her out of here.”
“As much as I want to. We can't go out there. It’s dangerous. If they know that it was us then that would put our people in danger.”
Ignoring the eerie warning Isaac expressed, Victor casually walked out from the shadow.
The soldiers turned their gazes at him and back at each other. Isaac was about to step out to stop Victor, but his sense of judgment got the better of him. Instead, he took out a quiver and readied his bow while making sure that his cover wasn’t revealed.
The sky roared above them while a strong cold breeze made its way through the city, swaying the ocean echoed from the frozen beach. The heavy clouds blocked the moon and loomed over them like a bad omen.
Victor’s face blackened by charcoal dirt, an intense bloodlust emitted from his glare, flattened lips remained, not a single word spoken. The tip of his sword dragged behind him until he stopped. The sense of fear can be seen on the soldiers, from a trembling grip over their weapons to the jittering panic of their movement. To these soldiers, the man before them seems otherworldly.
“W-Who are you?”
Six men, fully armed, but Victor still had the advantage. With a jerk of his sword, Victor charged in. The closest one to him suffered first as an upward slash ran up his body. On Victor’s right side, the man was about to aim his weapon, but Victor ran toward the men on his left because he knew that Isaac got his back. It was true when an arrow pierced through the men's chest and another arrow pierced his head, taking him down quickly.
Another swung, his sword tore the soldier's arms off. He wailed his squirting chopped hand at the empty air above him. Like a fountain in the garden, the area was rained with blood. Victor was about to be impaled by a bayonet when an arrow pierced through the soldier's knee. A glance behind him, Victor noticed that the arrow didn’t come from Isaac. Whether the arrow came from Isaac or not, Victor doesn't care as long it was aimed toward his enemy.
Victor grabbed the kneeled soldier by the hair, revealing his throat to the open air, and with a single cut from his blade, the enemy fell: face-first against the ground. He then rushed toward another enemy, puncturing the man's stomach with his blade. Sooner or later, the panic grew among the soldiers, they began gripping their rifles as they ran away to save themselves from a seemingly unstoppable force.
“Demon!” shouted in fear from one of the men that disappeared into the darkness.
Victor walked up to the pole, cutting the rope that held Kiko. Her body fell into his arms. A sudden surprise when he felt the heat coming off her skin. One possible conclusion was she had a cold, a terrible one, and she needed help.
Joshua popped from behind a pile of rubble with a bow in his hands. A frown smeared on his face, but as he walked to Victor, he let out a sigh.
“I recommended as little engagement as possible. I wish you would abide by it, my lord.”
“She needs my help.”
“Then we need to get her out as soon as possible. Isaac? Lead the way.”
“Yes, Commander.” Isaac popped out from behind his cover and salute them.
Joshua stared at the downed enemies. Quickly he readied his bow and glanced around him. Isaac noticed the alarm in his commanding officer's gaze and kneeled with the bow ready. Victor quickly put his back behind Joshua and scanned the whole area.
“Damn it, I didn't realize it sooner, but there are too many arrows here. Be careful, my lord.”
“If you are not our enemy then show yourself!” shouted Victor at the empty air.
However, nobody responded, instead a march of boots encircled them like a stone in a river. They were too late, somehow the enemies had regrouped and reformed a border around them. Joshua let out another annoyed sigh while Isaac put himself between covers. Surrounded by rows of enemy soldiers, they had no way out, or, at least none that won't cost their life.
“The Infamous Exiled Prince of Frozehaven!” A dark-skinned man in golden armor appeared above them on top of a high pile of collapsed buildings.
“And here I thought you were dead as the rest of your people, but to tell you the truth, I'm glad that you survive. Now, I have the pleasure to finish you myself.”
“How could this be?” mumbled Victor as his eyes widened.
“Yemen?” This man looked exactly like his friend, almost uncanny to the point that he questioned his own pair of eyes.
A carriage drawn by horses parted through the line, causing mass chaos.
"Climb on!" shouted Kenn as he held the reins and navigated the carriage toward them.
With Kiko in his arms, Victor jumped on the back along with Joshua. Isaac vaulted from his cover and ran toward us as the carriage drifted into a u-turn. Isaac barely managed to get in, he felt his foot slipped under him and as he was about to fall, Joshua grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back.
“Thank you, Commander.”
“We can't afford to lose you now.”
A hail of bullets rained down on them while a volley of fires shook the air. Metal balls pierced through the wooden sides, sending a blast of splinter everywhere. Victor lay on top of Kiko while keeping his weight off her. A move to keep Kiko from danger by being her physical shield. Joshua and Isaac kept their head down and fired a couple of arrows back as much as they could.
Speeding down the rough path, a man jumped from a collapsed building and dived through the fabric roof with a bow in his hands. A rugged-looking man as dark as chocolate and accompanied with a brown messy beard landed on his two feet.
Alerted by the presence of an enemy, Joshua almost slashed the man’s throat but was stopped by Victor’s sword.
“Bloody hell, that one way to greet someone.”
Suddenly, the hail of bullets stopped. Yemen stepped away from the blade and went to the back of the carriage. He flipped the curtains open and met with the gaze of his uncanny clone. The soldiers froze in their stance as they watched the carriage heading toward the border of the city. The Sultan showed his back and disappeared from everyone's sight.
Joshua turned his worried gaze at Victor. “He’s not the enemy, trust me.”
“I will always trust you, my lord.” He sheathed his sword and relaxed his shoulders.
“Yemen, who was that?”
“It’s better we stopped at our camp. I need a good bloody drink to wash down my throat.”
Kenn brought his chin down, tightened his grip, and led the horses toward the camp. Yemen stepped away from the edge and sat up against the wooden wall. Victor wrapped his arms around Kiko to keep her warm, but Joshua knew it wasn’t enough. The Commander took off his cape and lay it on top of the freezing child. Joshua coughed heavily as he took a seat right next to Victor. Isaac looked on at the devastated city as it shrunk down to the distance.
A tear ran down Isaac’s cheek. Their birth city ravaged in a matter of seconds, without warning. Ten thousand men, women, and children were buried dead under those collapsed buildings while a thousand more incinerated by the blast. It was truly a horrifying and sorrowful view for the people of Frozehaven or at least for those who were lucky enough to survive.