The battleships unleash a barrage of cannonballs onto the land. The ground shook as the cannonballs dropped onto the battle, piercing through devastated buildings and tossing debris everywhere. Enemies and allies alike were hit by the attack. Screams of pain and fear trembled the battlements, and yet the fighting continues.
Joshua and Isaac joined in his charge from above the roof with his small group. Slowly as it could, the massive weapon left the dock. With no time left and limited opportunities, Victor turned to his allies and shouted, “Launch me!”
The fastest amongst them reached the end of the dock and dropped to their knees with their back opened to Victor and a few men. Victor stepped onto his back and leaped across the air. Luckily, he managed to grab the netting beside the ship and slammed himself against the ship’s body. A large number of his men didn't make it as they fell into the frozen sea below, but Joshua and Isaac a couple of men managed to make it.
“Climb,” said Victor.
They made it on the ship’s deck. A couple of enemy men saw them. One quickly sounded the alarm while another aimed his weapon. It was too far and Victor and his men were crowded next to each other, they had no room to dodge. A soldier's bravery saved him as he stood in front of him and took the shot into his gut.
Wide eyes with anger, Victor charged and slammed his shoulder against the enemy until the enemy’s back met the wall behind him. Victor broke the enemy’s neck with a single twist.
His other allies joined in the fight as the other enemies appeared from all corners of the deck.
As they made it to the top deck of the ship, losing a few men along the way, he broke into a room that was heavily guarded by the enemy. He couldn’t believe it when he saw a dark-skinned man that was familiar to him tied to a pole with a bruised face. It wasn't Yemen, but someone he once met when he was young.
“W-Who? I know..you.”
“Block the door,” Victor ordered his men.
“Who is this, my king?” asked Joshua.
“He is a scholar. What happened to you?”
“My research...I…I tried to voice out. I never wanted my knowledge to be used like this.”
Victor leaned in and untied the man.
“You need to get out of here before we sink this weapon into the ocean.”
Gustave grabbed Victor by the collar and pulled him closer. That rush action almost caused Victor’s men to strike down the threat, but Victor stopped them with a raised hand.
“It won't be enough. You need to erase this weapon no matter what or the fate our species will be at risk.” Gustave was brimmed with deep regret and underlying fear not of death but for the dark future, his creation might birth.
“Tell me how.”
“This weapon used a small part of the tree as it’s ammo.”
“Your country's mythical tree. Every part of the tree contained massive raw energy in them, always in a loop, keeping itself stable like a living thing.”
“So what needs to be done?”
“Y-You need at least one of them. One is enough. It’s stored near the weapon. In a container I design myself then you need to activate by making it unstable. Using only a small surge of lighting.”
“None of us can do that.”
“You’re right. You are right...you need to bring me there.”
“No way, not in your condition.”
“You have too. I’m the only one who can do it.”
“I know…damn it! Let’s get moving. This man is our priority now. He holds the key to winning the war.”
The soldiers nodded and readied themselves near the door. Isaac quickly helped Gustav to stand and kept him by his side for safety purposes. His soldiers grabbed a large piece of plate and held it together. With a quick breath, Victor nodded at his soldier to open the door. They charged forward, the enemy was waiting for them on the other side as expected.
The plate chest stopped most of the bullet, but some managed to pierce through by sheer luck and firepower. As a couple of his men fell victim, the others had to leave them behind, no matter how painful it was leaving their comrades behind.
Escaping the horde of enemies, Victor and his men climbed the stairs toward the upper level of the weapon. After reaching their desired location, a man was waiting for them with a woman tied to one of the pipes of the weapon. The dark-skinned man donned golden armor and was holding one of the containers containing a part of the tree.
“It's a fancy meeting you here, King Victor,” said the Sultan with a devilish smirk.
“Haruhi!” Victor cast his deadly glare at the man as he saw his ally strapped to the weapon.
“Ah, Gustav, I can't believe you sided with the enemy.”
“I’m not a part of anyone's alliance. All I want is to erase my own creation.”
“You mean this wonderful creation?” He exhibits the source of his power for all to see before storing it inside his jacket.
The enemy had pinned Victor and his men between the Sultan and his forces, their option of escape had diminished. As the enemy prepared their weapons, the Sultan stopped them with a raised hand. Victor’s focus was confused by the sudden halt of their attack, but as they were glaring at each other, the Sultan had another plan for the King of Frozehaven himself.
“Please Victor, come forward.”
“Why would I do that?”
“If you don’t then I will fire this weapon at the city.”
“And kill your own men? You wouldn't.”
“Oh, I would...I would, Victor, and along the way, the heat from the weapon would sear this woman’s back. She will scream and scream, now you don't want that, do you?”
Victor took a step forward, Joshua stopped him by the shoulder, “My King?”
“Keep them safe and when the time comes, get everyone out of here,” whispered Victor to Joshua as he walked closer to the Sultan.
“Draw your sword,” said the Sultan as he drew his crescent blade.
“One on one? You know I don't plan on holding back?” said Victor as he unsheathed his sword from the scabbard.
“Please, you are welcome to give it all.”
With a strong dash, Victor quickened his distance between himself and the Sultan. His sword is sharp to the very grain of the blade, one technique is all he needs to win this fight. As he grew closer, Victor was mistaken all along as he saw the smirk on his enemy’s face.
The Sultan easily predicted the move and dodged to the left, but Victor had a contingency plan. He was about to cause damage to the weapon, but he cut through the first pipe, he was struck by a lightning course inward from his blade. Pain shocked the nervous system causing his legs to give up and his strength left.
“I’ve been watching you, Victor from the day you were onboard the pirate ship to the day you washed up on the shore of Yakawa’s beaches. I have known everything about you from your skill to your ability to disturb my plan at Minisu City.”
Steam rose from his body while his finger was slightly lacerated.
“I know that amount of pain wasn't enough to stop you. Stand up.”
Victor gritted his teeth and stood despite the coursing pain, Isaac and Joshua were about to stop in, but he stopped them from interfering.
“We are the same, Victor.”
“I am nothing like you.” Victor steps forward with a downward slash.
The Sultan replied with an upward block and a kick to his enemy chest. Victor stumbled back before gaining his stance back.
“Denied all you want, but the things we do in the name of love bind us.”
Victor cast his gaze at the unconscious woman and back to the Sultan. An arrogant smirk splayed across his face as he toyed with his enemy. Victor’s goal needed to defeat the leader first or he wouldn't be able to save Haruhi. On the far side of the ship, a stash of gunpowder exploded out of nowhere, it wasn't enough to cause major damage but was enough to start a fire.
The crowd of enemies started robbing a bit of their focus away from their enemy. An opportunity arose for Joshua and he took it. A battle erupted again and the enemy was taken by surprise. Victor charged forward, toward the Sultan and putting Haruhi aside. However, the Sultan wasn't one to be distracted so easily.
“Don't let him kick that lever, Victor!” shouted Gustav, but it was too late as the Sultan kicked the lever down.
The deck trembled causing everyone to stop what they were doing including Victor, he glanced around him for support as the tremble grew stronger. A loud click came from inside their weapon as the gears turned and the inside energized. The temperature rose above anything they had ever felt. Even from where Victor stood, he could feel the heat rising in the air.
One unfortunate soul screamed her lungs out as her back was slowly being seared by the weapon’s body. Victor gritted his teeth and stumbled forward through the shaken deck. The Sultan was laughing and laughing as he heard the symphony of pain coming from the woman.
“Save her, Victor! Save her!” taunted the Sultan with glee in his heart.
“She got nothing to do with this!” shouted Victor.
Every time Victor tried to save Haruhi, the Sultan blocked his way with his sword. Their swords clashed again, their skilled evenly matched, but as time consumed, Victor began to feel desperate. Her scream was unbearable, her pain was laid out before her, she screamed Victor’s name. Time was running out.
The request from Yemen was tossed away as Victor tightened his grip around the handle. He knew that a direct attack would be easily avoided, but a change to the battlefield could shift the balance to his side. Even if it didn't, he’s going to make sure this ship is going down with him.
With all his desperation and anger, his right arm glowed a bright hue as he lifted the sword in the air. He finally saw it for the first time and it had caught him off guard. A plan so simple proved to be his undoing. The blade of his enemy cut through his armor. The sword left a large deep wound from his shoulder to his thigh.
“You’re done. I won.”
Even though the pain was unbearable, Victor still went through with his plan. The sword shattered the deck beneath him, but it was all for naught. Underneath the wooden deck, several beams acted out as a support for the ship. His strength only managed to dent it slightly before bouncing his sword back.
“You fool.” The Sultan mocked with glee.
Victor had enough, he charged toward the Sultan, swinging his sword like a raging beast. Every soft swing was blocked while the one proved to be dangerous avoided. Time and time again he felt nothing but useless. No matter how much he wanted to save everyone, he couldn't because that is the fact of life. One man simply can't save the world.
“Please…Please!!!” Victor begged with teary eyes.
Dropping to his knees, he begged the Sultan, “Please let her go. You won.”
“No.” was the Sultan's answer.
“Snap out of it!” shouted Joshua from behind him.
“You are not the only person who wanted to save everyone. Look around you! You have your own people. All you need to do is ask for help.” With gritted teeth, Joshua kicked the enemy in front of him and glanced intensely at Victor.
“Please save her!” screamed Victor, for the first time in his life, he let out a cry for help. Victor thought that no one would reply, but he was wrong all along.
A single well placed around, perfectly aimed caused Haruhi to be released. Victor rushed toward the falling woman. The Sultan saw his chance to take his enemy down while his enemy foolishly turned his back to him.
“Isaac, now!” shouted the Commander.
However, how foolish he was to think he was battling only one man, Joshua swooped in and blocked the Sultan’s attack. The Sultan was surprised by a sudden change in his opponent. A smirk accompanied Joshua’s face as he kept the Sultan busy.
Victor caught Haruhi just barely, but his momentum was too strong as he slammed his shoulder against the metal cannon. Victor stumbled back before dropping to his butt. Haruhi's body was brimmed with black and blue. The fresh burn on her back was sopping wet against Victor’s arms. She was barely conscious, barely had any strength left in her.
“I knew...you had to save your best girl,” said Haruhi with a smile.
“Please forgive me.”
There was no answer, at first it was the worst that surfaced inside his mind, but at a closer look, Haruhi only fainted. She was exhausted and who could have blamed her for all that had happened. Victor kept Haruhi closed as tight as he could in his arms. Such a relief to have her in his arms.
“My king, it’s time to leave.” Isaac helped Victor rise with Haruhi rested in his arms.
“What about the weapon?”
On that note, Joshua kicked the Sultan in his chest causing him to stumble back against the railing. The Sultan finally noticed a man-sized rat sneaking his way to the operating board. Gustav turned the valve with all his strength just at the right moment. He fell to the floor as his strength gave out, but not without a sigh of relief.
The air around the cannon felt electric at first then came a massive shock wave that shook the ship. A beam of hot light poured out from the barrel. The sea parted as if the light was cutting the sea itself, but it only evaporated the water. Both army, enemy, or allies ducked down to cover as the beam barely missed them and hit the tree itself.
A true moment of absolute awe as the tree ingested the beam of energy. Its leaves glowed a bright golden light before a few of them shed down to the ground. Momentarily lighting up a certain spot underneath the tree where the leaves landed.
The Sultan turned back to his enemy and within his hand was one of the ammo for the cannon. He searched inside his jacket, but to no avail, it had gone missing. It wasn't a mistake that the enemy before him held the source of all his power. However, as they spent more time there, the fewer opportunities for Victor and his allies to escape as his men had already surrounded their targets and outnumbered them greatly.
“You have no way to go!” laughed the Sultan in high glee.
“I will not stop until all of you suffer for what you have done--urgh...”
For perhaps a split second, everyone’s gaze was on the Sultan. The battle stopped abruptly as they pooled their attention on the Sultan.
The man stumbled back until the waist was against the stone-cold railing. An arrow had found itself inside his neck. A surge of blood gushed out, drowning inside his armor. He tried to stop the building, but another arrow through his shoulder between the gap of his plates. With gritted teeth, he raised his gaze at the source of these arrows.
Even the Sultan himself was shocked by the truth. Yes, the truth: Yemen with a bow in his hand perched upon the railing lacrosse of him with reddened eyes.
“I know...that’s why I had to do it.”
The Sultan roared as he charged toward Victor with his weapon bare, but Joshua was ready for him, and yet, Yemen was already one step ahead. Arrow after arrow, every one of them planted inside the man until he dropped to his knees. No one did anything, not even his soldiers. They watched silently.
“Enough, Yusof. You’re done.”
“My blood is in your hand. You know that right?” the Sultan dropped to the floor, laying there without any single movement.
Victor cleared his throat, “Yemen?”
“What about the war?” Joshua turned his question to Yemen.
Yemen dropped to one knee beside his twin’s corpse and took his crown for himself. He stood up then turned to the soldiers. “By the power, I gifted myself, by the blood that connected me to the last king. I ordered all of you to abandon everything and go back home.”
“A retreat, my sultan?”
One by one, the soldiers left the deck and made their way to the boats. A few of them reached the signal fire and lit it up for everyone to see. The battle stopped abruptly, the enemy soon found themselves running away to their ships. Truly a sad loss, but sadness won't be able to overwhelm the relief they felt when they saw the signal.
They had won. Somehow. They had won. They still couldn't believe it no matter how much they processed the victory in their mind. However, their hearts believed in victory. The city cheered as they watched the enemy retreat from their land.
The war is finally over.