Last High Human 10: It Has Begun (End of Arc 1)
Vexia made us ‘change route’. We followed the direction from where the Iron Dragon came from and an hour later, we found a merchant convoy reduced to dust in the plains. But there is more to it than I previously thought.
We then walked towards the remains of the convoy. The cart's damages weren't dealt by fire or by sheer force. Also, even though they were heavily burnt, I can still easily see that the corpses have been in decay for some time now. And among the carnage were a quantity of dead monsters: Mantissars and Goblins.
I also noticed something new to me: the Mantissars touched by the fire had saddles mounted on their backs. Tamed Mantissars and Rider Goblin.
In my time there was a Neo-zoologist studying monster's civilisations and evolutions. He declared that he stumbled upon a Goblin taming another monster. That declaration divided the scientific community in half. He became both a subject of mockeries and admiration.
[Vexia] "Be careful. I only saw a single line of fire, some monsters may have survived and still be roaming around."
As she said so, she was also writing something in a small notebook angrily. The beastman was poking the corpses with his spear while the dryad was waiting at the forest entrance.
I walked beside Lyshia on her right side while Newt walked on her left side, clinging to her arm.
I stopped at the side of a cart pretty much spared by the Iron Dragon attack.
[Rhod] "What are Iron Dragons? Never heard of them before."
She looked at me with boredom.
[Lyshia] "I'm getting used to your ignorance it seems. We don't know much about the Iron Dragons. Nor about the Irons."
[Lyshia] "From what I've heard at HQ from Master Rahl, there are books talking about both the Irons and the Iron Dragons: They appeared to be created from a forgotten art called "Alchemy". They are depicted as animated statues of dragons, imbued with some sort of magic based on the fire element."
[Beastman] "What th- WAH!"
A loud thud came from the other side of the cart we were looking at. I readied myself and started moving around the cart with caution, in case a monster survi- LYSHIA?!
What the- Lyshia was running straight to the source of the noise!
[Rhod] "Lyshia stop, it's dangerous!"
[Lyshia] "Don't worry I got thi- HUArg!"
As I ran after Lyshia, a slashing sound resounded next to her. Next second, Lyshia's right forearm got severed up to the elbow, before flying meters away. Lyshia staggered, took a few steps backwards then fell down on the ground, trying to repress her voice.
A Mantissar's scythe slowly retracted itself from inside the cart.
[Newt] "Ly- Corporal?!"
[Rhod] "Step back Newt!"
[Vexia] "This piece of shit...!"
Vexia appeared from the other side of the carriage. Lyshia was slowly trying to crawl away from it. She was between Vexia and me. Newt was standing right behind me.
[Rhod] "Vexia, did you see the beastman?!"
[Vexia] "Yes! This piece of shit killed him!"
[Rhod] "I will take care of the Mantissar! Take Lyshia away!"
[Rhod "Newt take my back. I don't want any surprising bastards ambushing me!"
[Vexia] "Wait a second!"
I ignored Vexia and took place between Lyshia and the Cart, shield held up.
The monster was lying on a burnt goblin corpses, seemingly trying to protect it, unaware of it being dead. As for the Mantissar itself, it's front legs were broken, and has it's whole right arm missing. It hissed at me then threw it's scythe towards me.
The shield blocked the hit but got badly damaged. As my opponent tried to retract it's scythe, I checked on Vexia, to see if she has started to move. But to my surprise, not only did she moved AND took the corporal away from danger, but was also tending to her wound using expert movements.
[Rhod] "Shut up!"
The monster finally managed to free it's scythe. While preparing for another strike, I closed on him. At less than a meter from it's head I gave it's scythe a bash with my shield, pushing it away, then impaled it's head with my sword. Once I suppressed the Mantissar I jumped back and moved to Newt.
[Rhod] “Anything on your side?"
[Newt] "N- no, nothing."
[Rhod] "What about you, Vexia?"
[Vexia] "She lost consciousness, but I already stabilized her."
[Vexia] "We lost a soldier and got our officer injured. We must change destination. There is a small city not far from here. Everyone on your horse, we're moving."
[Rhod] "Where is the Dryade person?"
[Vexia] “She went to the capital to make a report after the Iron Dragon left."
[Newt] "That explains a lot."
Wait, how'd she go there...?
[Vexia] "I will take the Corporal with me. Rhod can you take care of her horse?"
[Vexia] "And next time wait for my instructions."
[Rhod] " ...Was there an error in my actions?"
[Vexia] "Surprisingly, no. But don't act on your own next time."
[Rhod] "If the situation allows me to wait for instructions, I will".
[Vexia] "I hope so."
She didn't lose her cool and acted right away. Seems like I finally met someone I can count on in battle. I have respect for her.
[Vexia] " ...Male humans, I swear..."
Hun... Nevermind the part where I respect her.
We gave up on inspecting the convoy and got back to the horses. Vexia took the head of our group and led us through the forest.
Is it important to say it? She did not even look back on her fallen comrade before departing.
[Lyshia] "It... Huur...ts..."
[Newt] "Hang in there, Lyshia!"
Yeah, in hang in there miss corporal. Don't go dying on my watch.
On my right, the Dryade suddenly came out of a tree's trunk, riding her wooden wolf.
[Dryade] "What happened? Where... Where is Rulini...?"
To that question, Vexia answered with a cold stare and silence.
[Vexia] "We're going to stop at Madol. The corporal got heavily injured and needs treatment."
The Dryade moved up to Vexia's side and took a look at the unconscious Lyshia.
[Dryade] "I see. Sorry to say this but... She won't survive."