Chapter 41 Coercing Surrender with a Dragon Head?
Puyol was a normal middle-aged woman. She had three sons and four daughters. Her eldest son was part of the military and her eldest daughter married away from her. Although means were tight right now, with no meat to be seen for the three meals each day, she still felt satisfied with her life.
“Yes, right now in a chaotic world like this it’s only in a place like Toss City with a castellan like McQueen that we people have a peaceful life to live. But recently things have been tense. Those assholes from the Tank City have just been defeated and now Sir McQueen is already entering the magical cave to save my eldest son. What a good man. If I were a few years younger, I would chase after him wildly. He’s dependable and hardworking.”
She thought this to herself, holding her spear close. Suddenly, her mother in law shoved her. “Look at that on the horizon, a big dark thing. Is it the enemy?”
“What, the enemy’s here?” Puyol was scared out of her wits. Looking out, there was a dark line on the horizon indeed. “Oh no, they’re right at the gates!”
As Puyol shouted, the old men, women, and children ran into a frenzy, “The enemy’s here, the enemy’s here!”
Toss City, which had been quiet as a still pond, was bubbling up now, voices ringing out and smoke rising up. Everyone grabbed their weapons: spears, daggers, hammers, hoes.
“Don’t get messy, everyone to their own groups and stand in position. Shield-holders go to the front, archers to the back. Knives and axes to the front.” A thin but stern voice rang through the whole wall and issued into everyone’s ears.
The person speaking was a twelve or thirteen year old little kid, wearing fitted body armor, holding a sword that was longer than himself. He had a noble face and yellow hair with thin lips that pressed into a serious look, large eyes that held a hint of darkness. Overall he looked a little like Bruce, except with the opposite kind of aura. Bruce was calm and honest, while this little boy was sullen and proud.
“It’s McGrady, hurry and get in line. It’s not a joke if he catches you.” Puyol narrowed her eyes to look at him before turning away quickly, saying this quietly to her mother in law.
“Mm hm. You be careful too.” The older woman said. The two of them stood clear, gazing nervously at the encroaching enemy.
His expression dark, McGrady arranged his area well, standing on the wall and gazing out. Toss City right now couldn’t fend off any kind of enemies. Since McQueen led the hundred mature elite away, the city’s combat ability had basically gone to nothing. Even a young child like McGrady was forced to stand for himself.
“Death is the worst thing to happen. If my grandfather and the castellan are willing to die, why shouldn’t I be willing?” McGrady tightened his hand around the hilt of his sword. A week ago he was a low level warrior, now he was mid-level.
Defending the wall for a week had shocked him. His nerves were constantly tense at any sign of movement nearby. Every day it was patrolling, training, one after another. McGrady was just a kid. In the past he looked up to his grandfather with complete admiration, hoping he could guard the wall as well, defeating enemies badly and earning applause from the common folk.
But when the day really came for him to stand at the wall, instructing a group of people, he finally understood how much pressure it was. The feeling of constant caution robbed this little boy of the smile on his face, turning his expression sullen. No longer did he play games or laugh. Instead he waited like a leopard hunting its prey, constantly prepared to pounce.
It was exactly under that kind of environment and pressure that he progressed to a mid-level swordsman within a few days.
“Bring it on. I don’t care how many people you have, a hundred thousand or a million. You’ll take Toss City over my cold, dead body. In the Macdonald family there are only men who die standing, not cowards who beg on their knees!”
The black line got closer and closer. They could already see the enemies’ armor, black with some gray and a golden pheasant feather on top of the helmet.
“Hm? This armor looks a lot like Toss City’s.” Puyol murmured to several other women near her.
“Yes, black and gray base colors with a golden pheasant feather on the helmet, looks a lot like ours,” another woman chimed in.
Puyol’s mother in law stretched her neck out in anger. “How dare they mimic our armor and attack us! These guys have crossed the line.”
“Indeed. I’ve seen shameless people but have never experienced anything so shameless. We’ll have to teach them a lesson. You can eat the wrong foods, but never wear the wrong clothes!” Another elder woman said.
Puyol nodded solemnly. “If you put the wrong clothes then the kids all get mixed up, and you won’t be able to tell apart who their parents are! You can’t harm children like that, they’re still bad at telling people apart.”
“You’re so wise, Puyol. Let me tell you, you need to handle your men well. Every man always wears his clothes inappropriately. If you don’t manage him, he’ll bring back a pile of tattered clothing.”
“Did you hear that Schuya’s man was beaten to death for wearing someone else’s clothes. Why else would she look so pissed all the time, like people owe her money or something.”
“Really? Wasn’t her husband Matthias, who died in the city defense battle seven years ago?”
“Of course that’s not true. She and her father-in-law are lying to the kid, they don’t want him to be affected. Sometimes she won’t even look at him, he looks so much like Matthias.”
“That explains it. I wondered why he lived with his grandpa and not his mom. I thought there was something deeper there.”
“Well, who knows. An old man without company, you know…”
We have to admit here that the older ladies were straying far from topic while the enemies came closer. McGrady’s hand tightened even more around the sword.
“McGrady, what is that?” A kid in his teens pointed at the thing the enemies were lifting. It was huge and dark, with several dozen people carrying it.
Looking closer, McGrady made out eyes, mouth, horns, teeth. It was a huge head. What in the world could have such a large head? Suddenly he felt an itch in his throat, forcing him to swallow. “That’s…that’s a huge dragon’s head!”
“What, a dragon’s head?” The other kids didn’t have his good vision so they couldn’t see it, but were already sufficiently freaked out. The more they looked at it, the more it looked like the head of a dragon!
“It is the head of a dragon, I’ve seen drawings in my books at home,” A little ten-year-old boy chimed in.
There was an uproar on the wall. A few of those with good eyesight could see the thing clearly. So huge and horrifying, it was nothing other than a dragon’s head.
“Why are they carrying a dragon head to us then? To scare us?” Puyol asked, her voice quivering. This was a massive dragon that could eat the whole city in a single bite. Although it was just a head, who knew if it could still come back to life and swallow everyone.
“I…”McGrady suddenly didn’t know how to describe his emotions. Was the enemy demanding their surrender? If they could slaughter a dragon, they could certainly slaughter a city!
“No matter what, McGrady will never surrender!”