Freya saw Brund subconsciously turned back, but his entire body seemed to be suddenly pushed from behind as his chest thrust forward, and a blood-stained silver spike pierced through from under his chest armor. Brund grunted, with his eyes opened wide, as if he had gotten a heavy blow; he opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something to her, but as soon as he opened his mouth, blood foam caused by his pierced lung immediately gushed out from the corner of his mouth.
"No-!" Although it is not the first time witnessing death on the battlefield, this time was different; this time she was the commander, which meant that everyone's lives were in her hands. The trust Brund and the others had in such a mediocre commander like her was exchanged for a cold-blooded death.
All because of her decision.
It was wrong.
She saw the silver monster converge behind Brund like mercury, first the torso, then the head, and in the blink of an eye it had taken shape. The silver face without features, a crescent-shaped mouth like a silent mockery- it seemed to be mocking her and a commander's tactlessness and weakness. She warned him, but her warning came too late, but just by a little.
The pale, calm face of the dead Lyse, the burning village among the Yulsong mountains, and Brund, who was now staring at her with a blood-stained face and wide eyes, all seemed to flash before her eyes at once.
"Monster--!" Freya felt as if the blood in her body had frozen, she subconsciously and stiffly drew her longsword and her duties as a commander had long been thrown to the back of her mind. She was like a warrior who felt her blood boil and rushed through her body, she wanted to put her life on the line to avenge her companion so as to make up for her shame.
But it was at this time that a roar was heard, overpowering her voice instead.
"Monster!" She heard Alea - the same rugged fellow who had always seemed to have a problem with Brund - make this sound as if he were snarling, with bloodshot eyes, and almost without thinking, he elbowed the giant wolf lunging at him and knocked it away, then turned back and slashed his sword at the silvery monster, snarling, "You damned beast!"
Such a scene seemed to freeze and slow down in her eyes, making her come back to her senses. Everyone could lose their minds out of anger, but she as a commander did not have the right to do so.
Day after day, she thought of her days studying in the Royal Cavalry Academy and the person that opened the door to another world for her; she came from the countryside of Bucce, an awkward girl who came as a recommended student to a place she had never heard of before and had never dared to think about, with nothing but fear and anxiety in her heart. And while everyone around her soared in their achievements, she had to memorize the knowledge that seemed common to the others. Just because everyone else was so brilliant, she had to follow suit and work twice as hard as the others, but even so, she was still the Cinderella who carried the princess' long dress.
[Note: Cinderella who carried the princess' long dress= Someone who lives in other's shadow; someone with insignificant status.]
But she did not choose to give up, or rather, did not dare to give up -
''The nobles will eventually give up the Bucce people, because the weak have no choice to make decisions.''
''Freya, you have to go to this place if you want to change the fate of the group.''
It was like a lightning bolt in the dark night, and like a voice that was heard only by her, telling her something.
"Freya, you can not make your efforts go to waste, you have persevered all the days and nights in the academy, you have accomplished all the things that you did not dare to think about before.
You've worked twice as hard as anyone else, isn't that what you're trying to prove right now? You can do it, you are no worse than anyone else. One day, the Bucce people will be able to dominate their own destiny and take back the lost land.
This murmur turned into an assertive command, "Alea, I order you to come back!"
Brund, whose mouth was full of blood, looked at her in surprise. He opened his mouth, but it closed right away as he did not have the strength to make a single sound.
Alea's longsword had chopped at the monster's right arm.
The sword slashed the monster's mercury-like arm like a hot knife cutting through butter, but it was ineffective. As soon as the blade cut through, the wound recovered.
The silver monster turned back, expression unchanged - or no expression at all, with only its big mouth cracked open, it let out a hollow sneer. It then waved its left hand and swept a stream of silver metal-like long whip towards the side of the knight's neck.
But a black blade suddenly sliced between the two.
"Dang - " The long, narrow blade of the sword turned around, causing the metal stream to crash completely on top of the spine of the sword, scattering into countless water droplet-like silver particles.
Maynild drew her sword back swiftly and cleanly before she looked back at Freya with some surprise. The girl from Bucce who had her cheeks flushed red and her facial expression marked with remorse and regret, was left with nothing but determination that could be seen through her eyes.
She had seen such a look before, in another dream; and only occasionally when this clumsy little girl was struggling to learn to keep up with the crowd.
"Hurry ...... re-retreat ......"
Brund finally managed to force out a sound this moment.
"I'll never leave you, you stupid bastard, Brund!" Alea replied with a burst of anger.
"Protect the commander ......" Brund's mouth opened and closed as if he was trying to say the words.
Freya felt like crying when she looked at the young knight who could barely speak, but she understood that she could not lose her composure at all. "There must be a silver lining in a desperate situation" - this was a famous saying from "Introduction to the War of the Waldenses".
''That monster is coming for itself--''
''It wanted to kill us.''
''But with the Pale Sons, it is not enough.''
''It must not be messed up, Freya.''
The silver monster drew back its blood-stained right hand from behind Brund's back and glanced at Alea who was lunging at itself like a mad dog, but it did not care about this insignificant human and proceed to turn its gaze to Freya, if it even had eyes at all.
Alea's second sword slash came as expected, and at the same moment Brund was released by the monster, he fell weakly to his knees as if drained of strength.
All this happened in just a flash of lightning.
"Senior Maynild, please go and cooperate with Alea!" Freya suddenly whispered.
Maynild paused slightly; she did not turn around, but asked, "Do you know what you're doing, Freya?"
"We still have a chance to save Brund."
"You're sure of that?"
The female knight gave a slight nod, "You are the commander, I trust you." With that, she drew her longsword and stood with Alea with each on one side to face the silver monster.
Freya opened her mouth, standing in the cold wind, fingertips a little pale. She never understood why Brendel and Maynild senior believed in her so much. The academy had so many other people with more potential, why did they choose me? Is this the real-life story of the ugly duckling? Or is it because they saw their past in me?
These were not reliable, it might be possible for Brendel, but not for senior Maynild; she once inquired about the other party's past, her background was so good to the point that one could not be jealous. If there were a million stars shining in the sky, Maynild must had been the brightest one.
Even if Freya was confident, she would not think she had anything in common with such a person, and the same for Brendel. Besides Maynild, could one find someone better than him?
It was hard for her to believe.
Freya did not understand a lot of things, and sometimes always felt that the world was too complicated for her, but the good thing was, she understood one thing.
For her, there was only one Bucce.
She came back to her senses after just a momentary trance; she did not have much time left, she must immediately come up with a decision. She raised her head, as if she had gathered all the courage in her body to raise her voice calmly, and gave this order.
"Senior Maynild, Alea, you stop that monster," then she took out the trombone from her waist - the command trombone of the Kirrlutzians, the witness of the glory of the Folded Sword Squad. Brund and Little Pero gave this trombone to her for safekeeping, a heavy trust in itself, and without hesitation, Freya gathered inhaled deeply and blew hard.
The long sound of the horn resounded through the valley, trembling but distant as if it contained a rambling whisper from the ancient times; when the horn rang through the mountains, not only the wolves in the valley but also the knights who were fighting alone, heard it.
As if subconsciously, they tilted their heads to listen.
"Knights of the Folded Sword Squad, don't fight alone, lean towards me and rendezvous at the bottom of the valley, we have a chance to win if we are united in our will."
A voice echoed between the valley.
The young girl's voice was calmer and steadier than what she imagined. Before this, she could not believe that she could remain calm in such a situation.
The young men of the Folded Sword Squad looked back while defending themselves from the enemy and saw the silver flag that had been torn and tattered between the rushing wolves.
As long as the flag was still there, the Folded Sword would still fight through their way.
The knights let out a roar in unison.
"Retreat? Don't even think about it, don't presume to command in front of me, who do you think you are?" only Alea continued yelling, "Brund, hold on, I'll get you back in a minute!"
Freya was as if she did not hear what he said, she stared at the monster while Alea attacked the silver monster like a madman; Maynild was assisting him, the female knight often did not attack, but only stalled the attack of the silver monster, exactly like what Freya had ordered- covering Alea to save Brund.
The monster seemed to sense the movement on the battlefield; it raised its head, and although its face had no hint of expression, the young girl from Bucce actually sensed the anxiety within it for the first time ever.
"You're not going to get me, monster, you've lost your chance."
She stared at the other party and said word by word.
After saying that, she held up the makeshift 'battle flag' with one hand while turning around and retreating towards the bottom of the valley. Among the several people present, only Maynild, who had been watching the movement behind her, and Brund, who was kneeling on the ground, noticed her move.
There was a flash of light in the female knight's eyes, but Brund reacted before she did.
"Stop it!" The young knight on his knees seemed to tremble for a moment, and suddenly let out a hoarse roar, "Alea, or I'll cut you off!"
Maynild subconsciously tried to turn around, but she had only just turned around when a mercury-like curtain had completely divided her from Alea on the other side.
"Don't try to run, the trick from a thousand years ago won't work anymore!"
A cold voice crossed over her and instantly lunged in Freya's direction.
"Don't do anything foolish, Freya, do you know what are you carrying?!" The female knight's heart drop, she suddenly understood Freya's real intention, but what she did not expect was that the child had learned to lie to her.
The next moment, the mercury-like curtain had knocked her and Alea out of the way.