First Time in a Battle
"This is your first time going into battle."
Their enemy was 30 strong, but Leguna wasn't nervous. He spoke calmly to Eirinn.
"Don't force yourself. Let me know immediately if you're in trouble."
"Oh... okay," the girl muttered timidly.
She couldn't stay as calm as Leguna; their enemy was heavily armored sword infantry. Even just one made Eirinn shiver. She was a tenth-stratum priestess, but she was absolutely terrified by the prospect of going up against 30 burly men, even with Leguna, Kurdak, and Vera nearby.
"Don't be afraid. You just have to worry about keeping us safe."
"Why are there only four?" the infantry captain complained.
They had been busy moving the loot to their camp when these four popped up out of nowhere. Were they idiots?
While he could tell their abilities were nothing with which to trifle, they couldn't fight thirty people at once. His squard's average stratum level was four, and he had nine strata under his belt. The only way they could lose was if all four had thirteen strata.
"We would prefer not to bloody our hands just yet. If you give up, we'll just take your loot and leave," Leguna yelled. He knew Eirinn didn't want to kill people, or be involved in their killing, so he was willing to give the enemy a chance.
"How arrogant! You're nothing but bandits! Hmph, how can pathetic goons act so arrogantly in front of us?!"
"Captain, don't look down on the enemy. We got word that quite a few high rankers joined Hocke's army. They might be of those," the vice-captain interjected.
"Hmph! We won't know until we fight!"
"Then let's end this quickly. Tell you what, if you leave her alone, we promise not to kill you."
"Did you hit your head? This is war, there are no rules," Kurdak said, knocking the little twat over the head.
"I know. I just felt it had to be said," Leguna answered, drawing Lighteater and slowly fading away.
"Vera, they're mostly heavy infantry. Leave attacking to me and Leguna. Watch over Eirinn instead."
Kurdak drew Lava Blade and got ready.
"Alright, don't worry!"
Vera was usually very fierce, but she didn't question Kurdak's orders during combat.
"Prepare for battle!" the captain yelled.
The crimson lava-like blade made Kurdak look like a mountain troll.
"Attack!" The captain yelled. He couldn't keep his angst at bay when he saw the massive sword and Kurdak's relaxed face.
"Come at me!" Kurdak shouted as he lunged at the income enemies.
A hot fire-aspect impetus burst out of his body. He had gotten used to using it with Leguna's help, and was now even quite good at it.
With the fire raging on the blade, Kurdak changed from a troll into a fire demon. His first swing nearly bisected the four nearest enemies. He would have gone for a complete bisection, but he was holding back for Eirinn's sake.
Eirinn stared pin-eyed at the scene. She new they were bloody and gruesome, but she did not expect this.
"No... stop!" Eirinn started crying.
"Open your eyes!" Vera barked as she fired at several men trying to flank Kurdak, "This is war! You can never close your eyes!"
"But... but you're killing them! This isn't right!"
"Right or wrong doesn't matter right now. There is no right and wrong in war, only life and death. If you want to survive, you have to keep watching!" Vera's arrow shot through the thigh of an approaching soldier, "They got involved for glory and riches, so did we. If you don't kill them, they'll kill you and everyone you love! Even if you don't actively work to hurt others, you have to know the truth, you have to accept it, you have to protect yourself!"
Eirinn fell silent. She had not read many books yet, but she was stubbornly gentle. She refused to accept Vera's reasoning.
Vera knew she couldn't force Eirinn to accept it so quickly, so she focused on the enem instead.
Leguna was fighting the captain and his subordinate. His surprise attack didn't do much good since he could not go straight for the kill. Facing two warriors fresh in the mid order, Leguna thought he wouldn't be that badly pressured. But he had forgotten that they were veterans who had slowly climbed the ranks over several years. Even though their strata weren't high, they were rich with combat experience and subduing them without killing them would prove to be a difficult feat.
Kurdak was being held back by 20 infantrymen. He had just broken through to the high order, so he didn't have perfect control of his strength. Kurdak had swatted two away already.
Vera fired another shot, but it was blocked by her target. Three more were coming up right behind him.
"Tch, you think I can't run?" Vera shrugged and turned around, only to see that four others had snuck around her.
They were now less than four meters away from Eirinn. They actually went after Eirinn behind her back!
"Eirinn, watch out!" Vera cried, drawing her bow. If she didn't kill the four immediately, they would kill Eirinn.
Eirinn heard the arrows whoosh past. The heard four thunks, and her back was immediately warm and wet. She felt her back and her hand came away crimson.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaah!" she cried, turning around in a panic.
The last of the four men stood right there, just out of arm's reach. He didn't seem to care that three of his comrades had just died. His focus was on Eirinn entirely as he raised his sword.
Why are you going to kill me? I didn't hurt anyone! Eirinn screamed in her hed, shutting her eyes.
Several moments passed, but nothing happened. When she finally opened her eyes again, the man was lying dead right in front of her, an arrow sticking out of his face.
"Seriously, you have to be careful," Vera admonished.
"Thank you..." Eirinn murmured.
"Thank me with some healing," Vera said weakly, spitting out blood and collapsing.
Eirinn finally realised three arrows were sticking out of the woman's back. Her back had been turned on the main fight for too long and someone had taken the chance to shoot at her.
"Big Brother!" Eirinn shrieked.
She told herself to be brave and to try harder, but she now knew how useless she was on the battlefield. She was not just useless, she'd actually caused her big sister to get hurt.
The veins in Leguna's eyes immediately burst when he heard Eirinn shriek. He immediately started killing everyone around him. The captain fell to his next strike, and he left the vice-commander shivering senselessly as he dashed for Eirinn.
A few dull thuds later the danger was over.
"Boss! Kill them all! They hurt Sis Vera!"
"What? Damn it!" Kurdak raged and activated the flame enchantment in his sword and cleft the closest enemy in twain.
Everyone was dead soon after. One could only tell they had existed at all by the chunks of flesh and bone strewn across the road.
"I'm sorry... I'm sorry..." Eirinn kept chanting, petrified. She hugged Vera in her hands and constantly cried.
"Why haven't you healed Sis Vera yet?" Leguna yelped.
Eirinn was completely oblivious to what was going on, she just kept swaying back and forth muttering apology after apology over and over again.
"Eirinn!" Leguna reached out to shake her by the shoulders.
"Don't! I'm fine, Ley," Vera murmured weakly.
"Are you okay?" Kurdak asked, stomping on the enemy's corpses as he approached.
"Don't worry, I'm as tough as a horse!" Vera forced a smile.
Kurdak inspected her wounds and sighed with relief.
"Give her first aid for now. We're still in Stok. We shouldn't stay long," Kurdak ordered.
"What about the supplies?" Leguna asked.
They had come to rob the supplies. They had intended to use a few captives to carry the stuff back, but everyone was dead now.
"Take as much as you can and destroy the rest! Let me handle it!" Kurdak said, "Help Vera wrap her wounds and comfort Eirinn. We can't have her in that state all the time. She either gets over this, or she doesn't come along again."
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