237 Soldier X’s Thoughts
Captain Schlay’s voice rang out.
Today we were leaving Duke Anderson’s territory for the center of the hurricane: Duke Armenia’s territory.
Everyone scheduled to depart was gathered at the arena.
It was time to go to the battlefield.
The whole scene was filled with an incredibly tense atmosphere, raising goosebumps on our skin.
“Have you heard? Captain Schlay won’t be the one leading us this time.”
My companion’s words made me tilt my head, trying to hear them better.
“Really? Who would it be then…The marquis himself?!”
“Impossible. Even if they’re related to Duke Armenia’s family, it’s impossible that he lead the army himself….”
“You, over there! Shut up!”
Captain Schlay’s shout was enough to shut us up.
A woman appeared on the stage of the arena.
That! That was! I was shocked to see her.
I couldn’t forget. No, not even if I wanted to, I couldn’t forget about her.
She appeared at Duke Anderson’s home regularly when we were training.
She was my age and a woman to boot, but all of the elders stared at her with their eyes open wide.
If that were all, she’d be nothing than an unpleasant existence. But she was truly strong enough to stand before us like this.
“Captain Schlay, who is that? I’m losing my confidence…”
The first time I saw how strong she was, I was mocked by Captain Schlay.
“Of course you are. She’s a talent who’s recognized by General Gazelle himself. I’m not telling you to mimic her, but it wouldn’t hurt to learn from her.”
After he told me that, I trained with her a few more times.
In the beginning, I was really quite embarrassed and unhappy.
I kept losing to her again and again.
Although I understand why the elders like her, I couldn’t accept that I wasn’t on her level.
But she used too many of us to wipe the floor for us to reject her.
I was so untalented…
Of course I thought things like that quite a bit.
But every time that happened, I’d remember the captain’s words. To observe her, and practice those same moves like I wanted to steal them for myself.
In this time, I gradually began to feel like the shame I felt was more of a source of shame than anything else.
The more I watched her the more I realized she trained so hard that even a male soldier would’ve cried at the sheer intensity of hard work.
“Honestly, she’s practicing even less than she used to when she was younger. Anyone would have goosebumps watching her train the way she used to.”
Captain Schlay said that about her later on.
Tucking the thought away, I started training like she did.
“Your center of gravity is off when you swing your sword. Pay more attention there.”
The more I trained, the more she would guide me when we sparred.
When I followed her instructions, it became easier to swing my sword.
Finally, I became one of the people proactively participating in her simulated battles.
If I kept at it, I’d become stronger…I thought to myself.
Just like General Gazelle. I don’t know when I started having that thought about her.
Because of that, she was someone I couldn’t forget about. But why was she here?
The others must have that question too. The moment she appeared, the scene became clamorous.
But after a moment of clamour, it returned quickly to silence.
Not because she said anything special.
She just stood there quietly.
Her intimidating posture, her aura, was enough to consume everyone present.
“I’m Merry, in charge of directing you. Nice to meet you, and hello to those I’ve already met.”
In this arena where the atmosphere felt suffocatingly tense, her gentle voice was almost jarring.
But in the next moment…
“Our destination right now is Duke Armenia’s territory. They are currently being attacked by two unidentified armies. Their police are the only force fighting back. Just from numbers alone, even with our team they’ll still be fighting a losing battle.”
Her voice hardened, her tone heavy.
“But if you and I step up together to resist and fight hard, I’m sure we’ll be able to deal them a devastating blow.”
She exchanged a look with every single one of the guards present.
“I’m not speaking blindly, or overconfidence in your abilities. I believe that what I’m saying is nothing short of the truth.”
Her face suddenly bloomed into a warm smile.
Yet I felt a disturbing chill set into my bones, my heart shuddering.
“Brave soldiers who have sharpened your fangs under Gazelle Anderson’s hands…no need to fear. I will open the road for you. Show me how you fight. Abandon your fear and follow me. Breathe even when you’re drowning in blood and pursue survival even in the darkest of days.”
She said this casually, yet everyone present could feel the magic contained within her words.
Behind her, there was a battlefield we’d never seen before.
I wasn’t the only one who saw this illusion.
“We cannot fall. If we fall and Duke Armenia’s territory falls, the next will be Duke Anderson’s territory. Everything that matters to you will be embroiled in the chaos of war.”
The instinct of anything insignificant…is fighting for survival. And that’s why she was filled with passion.
Not just me, everyone was infected by her fighting spirit.
“Come…let us defeat them, conquer them. Teach them how idiotic an idea it is to invade our nation. Let them carve fear and the names of Duke Anderson’s territory into their bones, side by side.”
I raised my sword without hesitation, and so did everyone else.
She had grasped our hearts in her hand.
Looking out at this scene, she grinned. But it was only for a moment.
With lighting speed, she issued commands and led us onto horseback, racing toward Duke Armenia’s territory.
Her excellent skills as a rider made the horse fly across the plains, so even highly trained soldiers like us could barely manage to keep up.
She really was just like General Gazelle.
Those were the thoughts going through my mind when I gazed at her silhouette.