Last High Human 9: Trust Me, He Will.
Vexia was the last one to get on a horse. She checked the thing attached to her saddle, carefully verifying all knots and straps.
With her, our group now amounted to six people: Vexia, Newt, Lyshia, a Beastman with bad manners, a quiet girl with leaf-like hairs, and me.
Everyone rode a horse except for the quiet girl, who rode a wolf visibly made of wood, the fur seemingly composed of a tree's bark.
In the stable, I learned a few things. Few, but important.
The attempted abduction of the King happened on Bruhl, 5th 4362, Era of the Kings. That event, even though important, was totally unknown to these people.
Pretending that I lost track of time while fleeing from the Crimson Daggers, I asked the date.
Today: Pluie, 22th 1960, Era of the Unification.
I don't need to explain to you what that means.
I had hopes of coming back home. Of meeting the king again. Of giving Deunan a proper funeral. But it's too late. ...I need to live on...
[Vexia] "Corporal Lyshia, right?"
[Lyshia] "Correct. What about you?"
[Vexia] "Private Vexia Greythorn."
[Lyshia] "I see. Do you need something?"
[Vexia] "Major Ayuha was too busy to bother with the matter. But I am curious. I never heard about a male human getting dispatched at a checkpoint gate. How do you explain this?"
[Lyshia] "You're questioning the wrong person, private."
Lyshia answered coldly. I took a look at the rest of our group, to see the reactions.
Newt was a bit further in front of us, observing the environment. We were moving on a road of dirt, at the edge of the plains and a forest of gigantic trees. The others distanced a bit from us, and were in the back.
[Vexia] "I think I am, Corporal. To be sure, I went through the official archives myself. No male humans registered."
Lyshia was getting pale. As for Vexia, she looked way too calm and sure of herself. And wait... Can a private even get through official archives?
[Rhod] "Priva-... Can I call you Vexia?"
[Rhod] "How did you managed to get through official archives?"
[Vexia] "I got permission from the Major of course."
She frowned. And definitely spoke with a deeper voice. I exchanged a look with Lyshia and discreetly shook my head.
[Lyshia] "Then you don't mind if I make a report to the major, asking why she authorised you to do so?"
Vexia frowned again.
[Vexia] " Don't bother..."
She looked at me, openly scrutinizing my face, then moved backwards, joining her comrades.
[Lyshia] "Did you find something?"
Lyshia seem to be relieved.
[Rhod] "Not really. It's just curious how she talks to a superior. Also she seemed too sure of herself when talking about my presence."
[Lyshia] "Same here. Also, she really would have needed to check on the archives. I wasn't sure how to react. I'm not known for being smart. You may have saved me there."
[Rhod] "Nevermind that, how could she have accessed the archives?"
Lyshia kept quiet for a moment. Only the voice of Newt singing a song, the light wind, and the sound of the horses walking could be heard. I took another look at the scenery, while waiting.
The road made a sharp turn and dived into the forest. The sunlight pierced shyly through the dense foliage, giving the place an oneiric feeling.
[Lyshia] "The Major would never have authorised her to consult it. So she either have illegally consulted it, or used another kind of means that I am unaware of."
Newt slowed down and joined us.
[Newt] "Hey, where is the Dryade girl?"
Lyshia turned back. So did I.
Vexia was talking with the Beastman, which was visibly being scolded. The leaf girl was nowhere to be seen.
[Lyshia] "I think she went to scout the surroundings."
[Newt] "Aww... I didn't see her leave! Dryades are impressive..."
You were in the front Newt, no wonder you didn't see her leave...
[Lyshia] " I need to speak with Rhod about something, can you go up for a moment? We're just behind you."
[Newt] "Aww... huuuh, okay..."
Newt turned his gaze to the ground, visibly saddened, before moving up. Lyshia and I kept progressing side by side in silence for a moment.
[Rhod] "How long are you going to wait, before actually saying it?"
[Lyshia] "...Don't play dumb. You know very well."
I'd appreciate it if she did not point out obvious facts.
[Lyshia] "Something is wrong. Crimson Daggers in a base. Monsters inside the safe zone. A checkpoint with only two guards and a private able to access archives. And now one of our escort vanished in the forest, even though that's against their orders."
[Rhod]: "And they aren't even trying to protect us. In fact, they are leaving us completely open."
[Lyshia] "Any idea what's going on...?"
[Rhod] " No. But let's keep our eyes open. Who knows what may happen."
[Lyshia] " I must say that I am impressed. Not only did you fight well and seem experienced, you're also able to see through deception and react accordingly in no time."
[Rhod] "Don't mind it."
Any marked soldier could do that.
[Lyshia] " No Rhod. I do mind it."
Newt joined us. He seemed a bit stressed as he listened.
[Lyshia] "I am older than you. I've been to knight school. I've seen the best swordsmen, and you definitely are in their league. Where'd you learn to fight like that?"
[Rhod] " I don't really know what to answer. I just trained like anyone else and that's it."
[Lyshia] " Anyone else?"
She looked at me with dubious eyes. And as she was opening her mouth to say something...
[Vexia] " Irons inbound! All hands take cover!"
At this mention, everyone suddenly moved under the cover of the tree's foliage. It took me a few seconds to react but did the same.
A dozen seconds later, a tremendous sound came from the sky as a huge monster flew above us. I can hardly see it from under the trees. I ran energy into my eyes, enhancing my vision. I'm not too good with sensorial enhancing, but that thing was close enough for the enhancement to do the job.
That thing was completely static. It looked like some sort of Wyvern without legs, but neither it's tail, body or head were moving. Not even it's wings, which were spitting fire from a large bone situated on the middle of the wings. Its forehead was covered with some sort of crystal.
The Wyvern glided in a straight line above the forest, not far from us, before disappearing from my sight. Another thunderous sound came from it before slowly fading.
[Lyshia] "From your reaction, this is your first time seeing an Iron Dragon, right?"
Yeah. She's spot on. What in the world was that thing...?
I could feel it.
That thing had no soul.
Bruhl and Pluie are month's names.