Chapter 170 The Gift of Revenge (Part 1)
The sun slowly sank fell behind the mountains, allowing the night to descend over the Western Territory.
Not far from the road, the emissary group had discovered a piece of open land where they had decided to set up their tents.
Not a very long time later, a bonfire was burning in the center of their camp finally allowing the warriors to take off their armor and stretch out their tired bodies. Sitting leisurely around the fire, they waited for the porridge to start to boil.
Carrying a pot of hot water, Alicia stepped into one of the tents, "Priestess, I brought some hot water with me, please use this to wash your face."
"Thank you." Mira smiled and nodded in thanks, then dipped her towel into the water. "Tomorrow we will finally reach Border Town, we can then put an end to this exhausting journey."
"The journey was nothing when compared to a fight against a demonic beast," Alicia replied. "Contrary to what I had expected it was your horsemanship that made me have a whole new level of respect for you. I had never thought that a Priestess would be so well accustomed to traveling."
"Haha, that's only normal. After all, I wasn't born as a Priestess. Before my life in the Church I was a peddler, so riding quickly is a common thing for me." Mira answered while she wiped her face clean from the day’s dust and sweat. When she was done, she handed the pot back to the warrioress, "Here, you should also wash your face. Maybe it will help you feel better?”
"What?" Alicia became startled by the Priestess’ unexpected words.
"This is still about the matter of the God’s Punishment Army, ah," the Priestess shook her head while still smiling, "your mood is clearly visible on your face and is still clearly affected by Abrams' words.”
"..." Even though she took the pot, she didn't give her an answer.
"We, ah, during your lifetime you will encounter many difficulties and challenges, if you aren't able to get past these thresholds, not only the church, but the whole world suffer as a result. In order to hold back those terrible enemies, sometimes sacrifice is also necessary." Mira began to lecture, "It’s a difficult choice, but never forget the church’s motto."
"Choose the lesser of two evils" Alicia whispered.
Above all, joining the God's Punishment Army was entirely voluntary, and when Abrams's brother had decided to become a member of the God's Punishment Army, he was well informed about what this would mean for him. Being prepared to sacrifice oneself for the Church, this was one of the most noble of ideals, and for this sacrifice, his name would be forever engraved on the monument of glory, being spread together with the glory of the Church.
"Thank you for your guidance," Alicia said as she raised her right hand up to her heart "I feel much better now."
What the Priestess had said was right, in order to spread its glory, they devoted all of their energy to God. Regardless of the outcome, the members of the God's Punishment Army were at least following in their own beliefs. Coming to this conclusion, Alicia felt how a weight had been lifted from her chest.
"We should go out and get something to eat, until now they should have had enough time to get it done," Mira laughingly said. "Really, we have eaten so much porridge lately, that our tongues can’t even taste the its flavor anymore.”
"Fortunately, today will be the last day," Alicia couldn't stop herself from starting to laugh, "Tomorrow we should be able to enjoy the Lord's personal hospitality and also receive a sumptuous meal."
After eating their tasteless dinner, the presiding judge elected to be tonight's night watch, and the lucky warriors who weren't elected immediately entered their tents, trying to get an early sleep. Alicia was no exception to this, together with the Priestess she also returned to their tent, putting out the lamp then covering themselves with their blankets.
She didn't know for how long she had been sleeping, but within a dizzy moment, she suddenly heard a slightly muffled sound, it was as if a big object had been thrown onto the ground. Not much later the sound could be heard again.
This time, she had heard something clashing against an armor, it wasn't obvious, but by no means was it just an illusion she might be having.
She abruptly opened her eyes wide.
Standing up, Alicia quickly grabbed her two-handed sword which laid beside her, slowly going to the side of the tent, preparing to sit in a corner and wait-and-see, but at this exact moment the roar of the presiding judge could be heard, "We're under attack!" With this roar, which instantly broke the quiet of the night, the camp immediately started to boil.
Then the sound of another loud clash could be heard!
And with it, the loud voice of the presiding judge also came to an abrupt end.
No longer hesitating, Alicia rolled out of the tent, seeing how the presiding judge's sword was split in half, no... it wasn't only his sword, even the Judge himself had been split in half, sending all of his blood into the sky. Within the shine of the campfire, Alicia could see his body powerlessly fall to his knees, slowly splitting into two and falling to the foot of a woman.
It looked like this woman who was holding a strange sword in her hands, was the attacker. She had shrouded her body in a black robe and her face had also been covered by a hood. Within the shadows of her hood, the only thing Alicia could make out were her two sparkling golden eyes.
Two other Judges rushed forward in an attempt to stop this woman, but in front of her terrifying weapon any thought of resistance was considered futile. The enemy was not only able to easily behead one warrior, she even split his sword into two as well. She could first hear the loud sound of two swords clashing, and then sparks and debris began to scatter everywhere, soon followed with the sound of a sword cutting into the flesh and it then crushing bones. Hearing this cacophony of nightmare like sounds, her blood almost solidified.
"Witch!" Someone exclaimed.
The enemy was only one person... alone on her own, she dared to attack the camp of the Army of Judges, with the exception of the power of a fallen one, no one else would have been able to do this!
"Take the Priestess and flee" Alicia suddenly heard a steady voice coming from behind her.
Turning around she saw that the speaker was actually Abrams.
"You actually want me to flee and leave my companions behind?" Alicia couldn't believe what she had just heard.
"Or else the death of the others will have been meaningless, it seems you simply don't understand this!" Abrams growled, "The other side isn't affected by our God's Stone of Retaliation, and that is only the case if they are an extraordinary. So, I will try to stop her, while it is your task to bring the Priestess back in the direction of Longsong Stronghold! Remember to always use the road, so that in case you met a caravan you can immediately call for help!" Then grasping his sword he rushed towards the enemy.
An extraordinary, sucking in a mouthful of cold air, according to legends, only the members of the God's Punishment Army are strong enough to fight against them. Everyone who encounters an extraordinary witch has to immediately seek help from the local church. Alicia knew that Abram was right, staying here would only turn their sacrifices into a vain act.
Seeing that they had already lost five members, the remaining Judges changed their strategy. They used the tents and the terrain to start a catching game, trying to win as much time as the possibly could. But Alicia knew that the strength and speed of the witch were much better than that of her companions, so it was only a matter of time before they all died.
Biting the bullet, she rushed into the tent, immediately grasping the Priestess who was still trying to get into her shoes and began to pull her in the direction of the horses.
"What happened?" Mira asked in confusion.
"The camp was attacked by an extraordinary! I must bring you away!" She shouted back, "Please hurry!"
However, with no possibility of seeing the road clearly enough during the night, it became quite a difficult task. If they ran too fast, they could easily trip into a roadside bump, injuring their legs in the process, but if they were too slow, it would be way too easy for the witch to catch up with them.
Alicia decided to let the horses run down the road, while the Priestess and herself would enter into the woods, which grew along the road. Making it quite hard for the enemy to find them without the help of fire.
Leaving the sound of the colliding weapons behind her, she pulled the Priestess by hand, only relying on the dim moonlight to identify the surrounding environment. Always moving away from the road, and further in the direction of the center of the woods. Increasing the possibility for them to meet with wild animals like vipers, but this would still be better than confronting the witch directly.
When the two stumbled across the foot of the Impassable Mountain Range, Alicia finally felt a little relieved, it seemed the witch had given up on her pursuit. With the exception of some bird cries, the surroundings were now completely silent.
"What are we going to do now?" Mira asked.
Even knowing what could happen it seemed that she wasn't very scared. Seeing how calm the priestess was, Alicia's heart was full of admiration, "Priestess, we should look for a place to rest, and stay there to rest for the night. At dawn, we will then return back to Longsong Stronghold and seek support from there."
"Shouldn't we go into the direction of Border Town? From here, we will at most need a day and a night to reach the stronghold."
"No," said Alicia, shaking her head. "Meeting an extraordinary here is too coincidental. I suspect that the Lord has already associated himself with the witches, and with this, it is too dangerous for us to go to the town."
"What you say makes sense" But then the Priestess' eyes became large and she looked straight behind Alicia.
Seeing her reaction, Alicia’s heart sank. And indeed, when she turned around, she saw the witch dressed in her black robe slowly stepping out of the dark shadows, her eyes were sparkling like stars, and an owl was hovering over her shoulders.
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