Chapter 40 - Passive
Every fiber in my body shakes, watching the lycan's eyes twinkled as they stared at me.
I stepped back. It was the same second the lycan tilted its head to the side, both eyes are watchful at my movement. It's as if the lycan's actually amuse to see my presence in the battlefield—armorless, breakable, and frightened.
My knees shook as the lycan bended itself, all ready to launch at my direction.
My location is so exposed, that if the lycan decided to tell its friends about me, five of its kind could immediately change course and charge to me in a blink.
At some point I held my breath, a desparate attempt to conceal myself from the surrounding, thinking that maybe, just maybe, the same rule that help me survived at the coliseum earlier, applies to all scary creatures in this land.
But I immediatly figured out that holding my breath does nothing, when the grin on the lycan's face went wider, revealing the bloodied canines.
My hopes that their kind came here for a good reason vanished, as the lycan turned it's body completely towards me, all ready to cross the short distance between us.
But if I have to see the silver lining in this situation, it's that, it gave Eric a fair chance to fight one on one with the other lycan. At least, I managed to offer him a little help to get even, because the other one that's attacking him earlier is now focused on me.
Eric might be overpowered in size and height, but at least he's not outnumbered. That's enough for me. He can fight that lycan off. He's not dying tonight, he promised.
The night breeze blew, shaking my already trembling existence. My heart, beating infinitesimal.
I stepped back again, a twig broke. I saw the lycan's ears moved at that sound.
Close combat will going to be the end of you. I already know that, but until now, I didn't truly understood what Eric meant.
Focus. I told myself. This is no time to panic.
I aimed again, regardless if the lycan's launching itself to my direction.
Regardless if there's a greater chance that it'll catch my arrow again especially now that I'm no longer hidden.
Regardless if its claws will land on me faster than my arrow could travel, I aimed again.
What's the harm in trying? You'll be dead anyway so you might as well die as a fighter, right?
It's as if Eric's next to me, whispering his words again, reminding me to be brave even when it's hopeless. So I stood straight, still optimistic that I stood a chance, even though every part of me knows I don't.
I composed myself, releasing my arrow to the lycan that's lunging at my direction.
But before the lycan could take another step, it stopped. Like, someone had called its attention. It's eyes were wide open. Expression was in a state of shock as it stares at the thin air between us.
I glanced behind me to see if something there was responsible, but found none. I glanced to the princess' direction as well, but she's still helping the soldiers from afar. She even seems clueless at my present plight.
I glanced back at the lycan again. For a moment I was a bit paranoid that maybe, once I look back, it's already inches from my face, but thankfully it's not. The lycan's still immobile at its post.
I wonder why it stop charging at me, but I'm thankful it did. I'm not going to question that. I'm just sorry that my arrow still landed on its leg now that it no longer offers threat.
I'd like to believe I'm not being merciless. I released my arrow before the lycan stops moving. It wasn't like I still shot him even though he stops coming at me. Had I known it would stop midway, I wouldn't have drawn my arrow.
The following second, its face twitched in pain. I mouthed the word sorry. I didn't want to hurt anyone, I just acted on instincts. It's a life and death situation I got here.
Blood came rushing from its mouth—a lot of it— that I panic.
Why is there so much blood? How could the lycan bleed so much? Did I hit an important nerve? I'm not suppose to!
I glanced left and right to see if someone witnessed my unforgivable act. I started wringing my hands as I caught its eyes, turning from bright blood red to pitch-black.
Ddd-did I kill it?
No! Please no! I can't.
"Mortal!" I jumped upon hearing the velvet voice.
I was hesitant to turn to their direction, terrified to confirm what she'd probably seen. Because, in the back of my mind, I wanted no witness to my crime. Maybe then, I can walk away with it, uncondemned, even though I know for sure that my conscience will hunt me forever.
"Bring thyself back to safety!" She called again.
Her tone. There's no judgement in her voice, it gave me hope that she hadn't seen what I did. And that somehow, I can carry the guilt without anyone knowing that I'd sinned.
I finally glanced at her. The princess' not even looking at me. Does that mean, she didn't saw what I did?
"Retreat to the boulders!" She instructed. Then I remember my current state.
I glanced back to the lycan, in time to see it collapsed to the ground. The sound of its massive body colliding to the rocks, shook me.
And right there I saw Eric, behind it. He walked closer to the lycan, panting. He leaned down and pulled out the sword that's burried deep in the lycan's body.
So I didn't kill it?
Eric's wielding his sword to another lycan before I could dwell on it further. He wasted no time, and continue helping other soldiers near him.
He didn't even stop to know why was the lycan facing the opposite direction from him, nor why it stop attacking him in the first place. He just saved me, and he's not even aware of it.
It's safe to assume that Eric has't seen me yet, and I'd like to keep it that way.
There's a broken Muijr tree laying on the ground, several steps from where I stood. It's braches and leaves remained intact, and with my dark clothes and the natural darkness of the surrounding, the broken tree can offer me a perfect hiding spot, and at the same time, closer to the battlefield to keep an eye to everyone.
I immediately ran to it, and hid myself between the thick branches and leaves.
If all that Eric need is a chance to breathe, and make his fight slightly less outnumbered, I can do it. I can give that to him, especially now that I'm strategically hidden. That's what I'm going to do then, distract his attackers to even the fight.
I positioned myself and keep a watchful eye on Eric, at the same time I can also see anyone that'll come close to the princess. Honestly, I feel safe in my hidding spot. I'm absolutely concealed at the moment. The only thing that I need to watch out for is when someone decided to throw a trunk or anything heavy at my direction. Other than that, I should be fine.
Staring at the battlefield, I search for my other friends. It should be easy because their gems are well lit and the colors are distinct. The only problem is that, the movement, and the reflection of the moonlight to the blades and metals, made it hard.
But right there, I saw what I was searching.
"Jermond." His purple gem glistened.
He's fighting just few meters from his brother.
He's being attack by three lycans at ones. Now, I don't like to think that the elves are still outnumbered especially after I witnessed a lot of them walking out of the palace earlier, but I don't understand how three lycans manage to attack a soldier at once. Don't they have enough match in the field that they can afford to team up?
I pulled my arrow towards the other lycan, offering Jermond help—the only way I can.
As the night progress, I can feel that my weapon is slowly being one with me.
Like earlier, I aimed for the leg. My arrow successfully reached the other lycan, but it didn't react in the way I had imagined. I thought it would bend in pain, giving Jermond one less lycan to worry about. But it didn't, it just stared at my arrow in his feet, like it didn't cause even the slightest pain.
The lycan's hands still on Jermond. But for what it's worth, I did manage to distract the lycan. It search where the arrow came from. I didn't have the time to worry whether I would be found, because Jermond's axe was quick to whip its way to the distracted lycan.
It growls in pain that shook my knees, but I didn't have time to ponder on that fear either, for merriment washed over me in the next second.
Eric finally saw his brother and immediately ran to aid him. He attack the other lycan, just as Jermond finished the other one. The brothers fought as bravely as the other. Neither is showing fear.
To my surprise, Jermond leaned down to the lycan I shot in the leg. Unlike his brother, he noticed why the lycan stop attacking him, and I couldn't tell if that's for the better or not.
He drew out my arrow, examined it a little, then glance towards my direction, searching.
I found myself standing utterly still as Jermond scanned my direction. But when Eric succeeded making the other lycan sleep, Jermond turned his attention to his brother completely.
I can't hear what he's saying to Eric, but his lips were moving fast. I can only assume that he's scolding Eric for being in the battlefield when everyone agreed not to let him fight. Eric's explaining his side with a lot of hand gesture going on.
So, apparently they haven't seen each other until now. I assumed, he hasn't been seen by the others as well. Then, he has a lot of explaining to do.
I watched where they would go, thinking Jermond would bring him straight to the others, but they immediately went back to their battle mode. They started fighting again, helping soldiers around them.
At some point I think I heard Dave's voice in the middle of the chaos, but since there's a lot of banging and slashing sound in the air, I think I was just imagining it.
I can't be sure how long it has been through the night, there's just no way of telling.
And while this is no time to space out, I can't help but to take it all in, that I am indeed, finding myself in the battlefield —not exactly in the battlefield, but— it's surreal, because back on Earth, the World War II has ended in 1945, way past before I was born. And even though there're local war in several parts of the world, I would've never imagined myself being in any of those. So it's unreal to actually see myself in one—let alone drawing weapon when I'm not professionally trained for it.
But, on the other hand, it made me thinking, what if this is really my calling? What if this is what I'd been born to do? Because, even though my safety lies on Earth, and even though I'd only been in here for several hours, it is here in Utovaj that I could actually feel I'm alive. That even though danger lies in every corner of this magical world, it is here in Utovaj, where I feel like I exist.