The Demon Wolf (Book 1 of The Devil and the Huntsman)

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Chapter 63: A Night in the Forest

Meanwhile, Erica and Brant successfully made it out alive and lucky enough to not find themselves in the hands of the demons. The last city of Midland is no more, and the battle between the demons against humans is over. The castle was the only thing left standing in the region; the night has won control over every city and every village that existed in Midland. Brant led his mother down a safe path to keep her away from the demonic beasts.

He did not know how long it will take for him to keep his mother in excellent hands, but he understood that he would do everything he can to stay clear from the eyes of the monsters. So much has happened in one night, and so many sacrifices were made to protect what was left of Midland. Erica saw nothing but trees and branches lying down on the grass, and the straight path ensured that she would not be lost. Brant stopped walking for a few seconds to let his mother stop for some breath and to receive some energy. If anything wrong was going to happen to Erica, he would be the one to protect her from danger.

“Mother, the demons will be upon us. There is no time to rest. We must move!” Brant said.

“I know. But where do you suggest we go? We can’t turn back,” Erica said.

“I’ve heard of this town a few miles up ahead. Perhaps they can help us. I think they will find you a place to rest yourself,” he said.

“Brant, your father is still out there. He has not returned to us ever since he went into battle. They must’ve captured him.”

“Nonsense. Those creatures are no match for my father nor Julius. Both of them have fought tirelessly against those wretched beasts. They lifted their swords against them while you and I hid in that horrible place!”

Erica looked at her son with so much surprise after he said that; Loftain has always been his home, but he wanted to escape. Brant wanted to be free from everything having to do with Midland’s last city, and he wanted to see the world for himself. Then, she kneeled and had her left hand on her shoulder, and she felt like she was about to cry. Brant had no idea what he did to make his mother feel upset at what is about to happen to both of them. He slowly walked towards her to calm her down so that the night creatures do not hear her.

“Mother?” Brant asked.

Then Erica answered and said to him, “I’ve given you everything. I’m the reason you’re even alive. I made sure you’re in good as your father looks over his people. I gave you knowledge about everything that your father knows. Am I not enough for you? Have I not been there for you?”

“Mother, please. Don’t yell. Those beasts will hear you,” he said.

“You think I don’t know that?”

“You don’t! This is more than you and father. My father has never harmed you or me. We’re not staying here, mother. You need to get over it. Our home is gone.”

Erica had no idea what to feel anymore because of how much anxiety has grown inside of her, and she acted like it was the end for her. Although they did not get along as much as they wanted to, Brant and his mother owed each other their lives. Brant wrapped his arms around his mother and held her to calm her down, not to be seen or heard. He knew that so long as they lie low and continue hiding in the shadows, they would have a splendid chance of surviving the night. It was all they could do to stay away from the forces of darkness; going back to the city would be pointless and may cause death.

“Mother, let’s go. There’s nothing we can do. We lost,” Brant said. Then, her mother wipes away a few tears from her cheek, and she helps herself up from the ground.

Brant continues leading the way into the night as the demons continue roaming around the burning city. Even he became terrified because the knights were not strong enough to defend the town against the monsters. Harald always told his son to be ready and never mourn for what happened in the past. The day will come when Brant will have to pick a side and fight for his life against the demons. Meanwhile, Julius and Harald found themselves in the middle of the forest, and they were trying to figure out how they will exactly get inside the castle.

“So, it’s true. I’m no longer an earl. It felt like yesterday, ever since they chose me to rule over them,” Harald said.

“It’s all in the past now, Harald. Things have changed. They will continue to change until the end of time,” Julius said.

“Perhaps you’re right. So long as my family and your family are still alive, we should be fine. I know we’ll be facing as many demons as we just had a few hours ago.”

“Let’s not rely too much on that. I know they will make it seem possible to live on. Don’t be afraid, Harald. They will come for you at a different time.”

Harald knew that Julius was always keen on what may happen to those who have a desire to live and not being ready to die. So much was in store for them, and they could not just let it all burn away. They continued walking north to make it towards Midland’s castle; the demons and other unholy beings will expect them. The demon king will be prepared for such an intense duel against the son of King Lancelot and the one the knights used to call him their leader. Julius knew the knights for so long and taught them how to be ready for more powerful enemies.

Because it was midnight, Julius could feel Mephiles’s power revolve around him, and it would be released at a time he will not expect. He held onto his chest and made the beast inside of him, not unleash his power during the journey to the castle. He will have plenty of strength to give to the demon king once he and Harald are at the throne room. He was just as anxious as Harald was about Lucy and Lagertha as he walked in the dark forest. The forest was full of unexpected things awaiting travelers and had a chance of leading them to somewhere mysterious.

“You’re giving me some weird vibes, Julius. Are you feeling cold... on such a hot night?” Harald asked.

“Well, sure... yeah. I’m feeling a bit cold. But it’s not anything I can’t handle,” Julius answered.

“Oh, good. We can’t stop here. Otherwise, we’ll be devoured before we even know it.”

Then Julius and Harald were thinking of nothing else and had much to do before the morning come. They were both holding onto their swords and had so much rage and anger after what has happened. A night such as this will never be forgotten, and it shall be remembered in the hearts of men. Ancient people will tell of the day that the demons won control over all of Midland and drove the humans away. It was at that moment when Julius and Harald reflected on their earlier lives when they first met the women they love.

They both wanted something to remember before letting the past die and moving on in the future.

“Hey, Harald. Don’t you remember what you loved most about Loftain? All the women you’ve known? All the festivals you used to hold?” Julius asked.

Then Harald answered and spoke with him, saying, “Of course. Erica, my wife. She was the most charming and the most beautiful lady I’ve ever met. I’ve asked out many to be with me, but... none of them were like her. She told me she wanted to be with a man who will show her love and give her what she wants. Seeing her dance in front of my eyes gave me more attraction and relief than a thousand bright stars. I reckon Lucy was the same as well.”

“Oh, of course. I’ve always loved Lucy, and she always loved me. There weren’t that many women who came by my side to be with me. But Lucy was far different from most ladies. She was pure, attractive, and a woman who would always be beside her lover. Don’t you remember the day you told me Erica was pregnant?”

“I do. It was the most surprising news I’ve ever received. It gave me twice as much of a surprise when I was told she was giving birth to a boy. Julius, I miss the men we once were long ago.”

“Me too.”

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