Arc 7 Chapter 112: The chase

The reinforcements led by Brutus had run all the way to Swormp in order to try and capture the werewolves so they could interrogate them.

Now they were out of breath and sweating like crazy. The heat and humidity in the swamplands was no joke.

“Where are the rest of you men captain Jehon?” asked Brutus looking at the remaining 10 soldiers standing in front of him.

“They’re…dead or heavily wounded sir!” said Jehon with a stiff salute.

“You mean to tell me that you couldn’t hold off a pack of mangy mutts and lost over half of your men? This will not look good for you in the report to the king and will most likely impact your chances of promotion.”

“Honored guest…My…My city guard what about my city guard!” asked the distraught mayor of the city.

“What does your city guard have to do with me or my men?” asked Brutus.

“Forty of them helped your men to stall the werewolves. Now they are either dead or crippled! My cities defenses have been cut in half!”

“What do you want me to do about it? It was your choice to send them out to fight with the werewolves. If they weren’t strong enough they shouldn’t have been sent out in the first place.”

“But…But..”

Brutus ignored the stuttering mayor and turned back to Jehon.

“Jehon, you and your men will join the rest of the soldiers in tracking down the werewolves you just fought. We’ll take a short break to catch our breath before we enter the swamp forest.”

***

Akira along with the other members in the large pack continued to run through the swampy land and trees trying to put as much distance between them and the enemy.

They were having trouble keeping up the speed due to the small children’s slow speed if they were not carried and the babies needing to be constantly taken care of.

Akira and Klyn had both offered to help carry one or two of the children to let the exhausted parents to have a chance to rest a little while they ran. They were still forced to continue to run but they were at least able to rest their arms for a few hours.

So now Akira was running while carrying two crying children like sacks of potatoes one over each of his shoulders.

Carrying the kids was nothing much for Akira as they weighed little, but the constant crying next to his ears was starting to get annoying and soured his mood.

Ermergerd stopped the group for what seemed to be the hundredth time after he saw several of the family members were ready to collapse.

Ermergerd and his subordinate officers gathered around him to listen to his plans on how to get out of this troublesome situation they were in.

“We can’t keep up like this. If we don’t do something they’re going to catch up to us within a day or two!” said Ermergerd loud enough for everyone in the pack to hear.

“Then what should we do?” asked Ardolf, Ermergerd’s second in command.

“We’ll have to split up. I’ll take the majority of the warriors and try to distract them. Akira and the Nyantail girl will go with you while Klyn will come with me just in case we have to fight.”

“You’re putting me in a tight spot. I’ll only have a few people to protect the families we were sent to escort back to the city. What if the enemy doesn’t take the bait you set for them and instead follows us?” asked Ardolf.

“Stop asking needless questions. If you can’t do it I’ll appoint someone else to lead the group.”

Ardolf kept his mouth shut and did not say anything else. He was a veteran of the last two great wars and was getting ready to retire in a few years, loyalty and honor demanded that he follow the orders of the pack leader.

The large group of werewolves was split in two with Akira, Mileena and four other warriors joining Ardolf to escort the families back to the city.

“I’ll see you guys back at the city,” said Klyn as he waved to Akira and Mileena before the two groups went their own separate ways.

“Alright, anyone that has the strength will need to carry a child so that we can keep moving without stopping. Nyantail girl what was your name again?” asked Ardolf.

“Mileena.”

“Mileena, we will need you to scout ahead and make sure the path is clear.”

‘Oh no!’ Thought Akira. ‘We’re doomed!’

***

Akira and the four other warriors each carried one or two children so that their pace was not slowed down.

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They were making good speed on their escape. It helped that they were taking fewer breaks.

Mileena had been able to do the job of a scout somewhat good enough there were a few close calls but they managed to get by without a major incident so far.

The moon was hiding so they only had to light coming from the stars to help them see where they were going this amount of light was still enough for the group to see far enough ahead to keep moving.

Mileena had been given a whistle that let out a high pitched sound that only the werewolves could hear, she was to use it if danger lurked ahead.

Everyone including Akira had one of the whistles to help communicate during the night and day when they had to be quiet.

They were currently stopped waiting for Mileena to return as they rested for a short time in a small open area hidden by thick prickly bushes.

“I don’t know what it is but I heard a lot of movement up ahead we need to be careful as we go forward,” said Mileena as soon as she returned to the group.

“Is there no other way around it?” asked Ardolf.

“Not unless we backtrack which would bring us closer to the enemy that might be chasing us.”

“Then there is no choice. After we eat and regain some of our strength we’ll face whatever it is.”

When everyone had eaten and the needs of the children and babies had been taken care of they continued to push forward.

This time the parents were left with the task of carrying their children so that the warriors of the small makeshift pack could be ready to fight anything that lurked in front of them and defend the families.

They came to a halt near a narrow boggy path in the swamp. They could hear continuous loud splashes in surrounding swamp water but were unable to see what it was that was making the noise.

“I’ll go first since I can hold off whatever is out there,” said Akira readying his sword and shield.

He slowly stepped forward onto the slim and squishy path and waited for an attack. Nothing. He took several more steps forward pausing after each one to listen to the surrounding splashes in the water.

When he reached the middle of the boggy path a large lizarsaurus head popped out of the water on his left and snapped its large jaws at his legs. [Lvl 41 lizarsaurus]

Akira slammed his shield down on top of its head pinning it to the ground where it struggled to free itself and bite Akira. He didn’t let it get a chance to escape by using the skill [Shield Bash] to knock the dazed lizarsaurus back into the water.

The four other warriors joined Akira in clearing the path and keeping the lizarsaurus at bay creating an opening for Ardolf to quickly lead the families to the opposite side of the boggy path.

Akira took up the rear guard position and blocked any attacks that came his way as he slowly retreated.

Before he could reach the end of the path where the other warriors were waiting with their weapons still ready for a fight a large [Lvl 45 Bull Lizarsaurus] crawled out of the water and onto the path and snapped its jaws at the nearby smaller lizarsaurus forcing them to slink away in fear.

The large Lizarsaurus now had a clear path towards Akira and tensed up its muscled to charge at Akira who was standing several yards away from it.

Instead of letting it slam into him Akira chose to meet it head-on by using the skill [Shield Slam].

BAM! The two crashed together stopping each other’s charge. Akira who had the strength advantage was able to knock the large Lizarsaurus onto its belly where it lay dizzy from the crash.

Akira made sure to give it a quick [Shield Bash] to the head before escaping to the warriors at the edge of the path.

“That was amazing! The strength you would need to stop a charging bull lizarsaurus is no joke. The way you fight reminds me of your father when I fought with him in the second great war,” said Ardolf as he slapped Akira on the back.

They continued to stumble along in the dim starlight as the adrenaline from the fight disappeared and exhaustion sunk deep into their bodies. They were unable to stop for long enough to get a good rest and were not even able to sleep.

As their pace began to slow down due to exhaustion a distant cry of pain came from behind them and echoed through the swamp.

The sound of a distant battle could be heard as whoever it was fought with the lizarsaurus guarding the small path.

“Pick up the pace! They’re right behind us!” ordered Ardolf.

The sounds of battle only lasted for a few short minutes before the natural sounds of the night swamp could only be heard.

They didn’t know if the enemy had been able to get past the ambush or if they were wiped out, which led to the families panicking.

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Everyone was tired beyond anything they had ever experienced before in their lives but they somehow managed to muster up enough strength to go into a quick jog and continue forward.

***

The sun was rising above the trees and they were still half jogging half walking trying to say ahead of the enemy that may or may not be behind them.

During the night they had a setback when two of the older children, a brother and a sister the first 7 and the other 8, started to awaken due to the frightening chase and events that continued to happen all through the night.

The group could not stop and let them rest and recover, they had to keep moving if they wanted to escape the enemy.

So Akira had been the one to carrying both of them as they cried in pain and fear not knowing what was going on. Akira had a hard time keeping a hold of them as their bodies went under the massive changes of an awakening.

Mileena who had been scouting ahead of them hurried back and held up a hand to stop them.

“What is it?” asked Ardolf quietly.

“I heard voices ahead of us, I didn’t see who it was but there is a fairly large group,” said Mileena as she panted and drank some water.

“Alright, you stay here with the group. Akira you’re in charge while I go and see who it is. It shouldn’t take me to long, this nose of mine still works great,” said Ardolf.

Ardolf ran ahead and disappeared before Akira could say anything.

Now that they had stopped the families collapsed to the ground and started to doze off. In their exhaustion, they had become numb to the danger that was behind them and gave up caring about it. All they wanted to do was sleep.

The four warriors along with Akira were just as exhausted as everyone else but they had to stay alert and watch the surrounding area behind them looking for an enemy that might jump out and attack them.

Akira gave a few ‘Sweet sue’ herbs to the children that had awakened. Their bodies were still aching from the painful awakening that was made even worse by being carried in an awkward way.

The herbs had a nice sweet minty flavor and helped numb any type of pain one might have other than losing an arm, leg, or head. Well if you lost a head you wouldn’t feel any pain either.

They two kids ate the leaves quietly and their pained faces calmed down and they were able to fall asleep as the numbing effect overtook their pain.

Akira joined the warriors in their sleepy watch for any enemy movement.

A short time later Ardolf returned with a smile on his face.

“Were in luck boys! We finally got something to go our way this time. The group ahead of us is one of the other escort groups heading back to the city! They agreed to wait for us so that we can join them for the trip back. Hurry wake everyone up,” said Ardolf.

Akira and Mileena went around shaking the adults and sometimes slapping their faces to wake them up.

It took several minutes before everyone was up on their feet and the sleeping children were once again being carried by anyone that still had the strength which was, of course, Akira and the four warriors.

Once they met up with the other wolf pack they were allowed to rest and were given some hot food.

The wolf pack they stumbled upon just happened to be the one that Varbu and Chack had joined.

“Ardolf, I had Nerad, our shaman scout the area you guys came from and he found no one following you. But he did find traces of a fight with blood and broken weapons left on the ground. Looks like whoever was chasing you was either scared off or was eaten by the local monsters,” said Luef the commander of the wolf pack.

“Ha~….that’s a weight off my shoulders. Last night was a long one I thought it would never end,” said Ardolf with a sigh.

“What happened to your group and where is Ermergerd? It thought he was the one commanding your group.”

“We split up. He was supposed to stall the enemy while we escorted the people back to the city.”

“He what? That doesn’t sound like something he would normally do. The grand elder won’t be happy when he hears this,” said Luef looking over at Akira who was talking to Varbu and Chack.

“I know, even though he was given the task to make sure that Akira stayed alive he ignored the orders and sent him with me where things could have gone bad. Luckily he is not a weakling and doesn’t need anyone protecting him. For me, he proved his loyalty to the clan as well as his honor and skill in fighting last night.”

“Really? Someone of the younger generation impressed a grumpy old man like you?”

“Hey, I may be getting old but I still have a few more years of fighting in me before I join the others in the reserves. Let’s not waste our good luck and hurry back to the city.”

“Yes let’s do that. I want to hear all of what happened that caused such a mess in the first place.”

“You’ll be able to hear It when we get back to the city and report to the grand elder,” said Ardolf.

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