Chapter 30 – Disobedience to the King (2)
“Now, keep up your spirits, and let’s eat.”
The knight assigned to food duty began to evenly cut the chunks of cheese and distribute the simple meal of cheese, cold meat and bread. They ate the stale brown bread washed down with the wine handed out by Riftan. Soon they all drifted off to sleep.
Maybe it was from sheer exhaustion, but Max was too restless to sleep. Tomorrow they would move to a new home. What kind of place would Anatol be? She thought about her fate, and her thoughts wandered in unexpected directions. She was so frightened a few days ago, but now she felt a glimmer of hope somewhere in the corner of her heart.
Maybe you can start a new life in this new place. But she forced herself to suppress any expectations. She was terrified of being disappointed again.
Not only had she survived the crisis of divorce, but she had also escaped her father’s abuse. Her husband, who seemed like a terrible person at first, now didn’t seem to be so cold. No, he is a kind person and she saw small but amazing changes happening every day. She knew that the goddess of luck didn’t smile often.
Max pulled the blanket up to her neck and vowed to keep her mind open no matter what happened.
They reached the foothills the next day by midday. As they entered the valley, Max noticed a small watchtower hidden behind trees. Four guards were sent out hurriedly to greet them. With the guards’ guidance, they were able to enter the and sit down to eat.
After eating their first hot meal in weeks of hot stew and baked potatoes, they got on their horses to continue the journey. Max got out of the wagon and rode with Riftan, since they had to travel as fast as possible before sunset. She had never been on a horse before because she had always been too nervous. As she held her saddle tightly with a stooped posture, Riftan held her firmly with one arm and leaned her against his chest.
“We’re taking a shortcut, so it’ll be a rough ride. Lean against me so you can be a little more comfortable.” The other knights stayed in a close group with Riftan as they rode over the unfamiliar, unforgiving road.
“Leader! There are five werewolves ahead!
As the leading knight shouted, the knights all pulled out their swords in unison. Out of fear, Max grabbed the horse’s mane. Riftan shouted and wanted to head towards the battlefield but knew he was encumbered with Max and decided to stay put.
“Don’t let them come this way!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll stand our ground!”
A knight named Hebaron ran forward wildly with a piercing shout. At the same time, the ferocious beasts’ cries rang out, Max shivered and held her breath, burying her face in Riftan’s chest.
“It’ll all be over soon, just close your eyes.”
She closed her eyes and covered her ears like a child as instructed. However, she couldn’t stop the sound of the sword pounding violently or the cry of the angry beast from piercing her eardrum.
“Leader! Above us!”
After hearing someone else’s cry, she unconsciously lifted her head and gave a shrill scream. A black monster on the branches ran towards them like lightning. But before the creature could reach them, it was sliced in two in thin air. She looked down at the black monster lying on the floor, unable to understand what had happened.
Riftan spit blood from his mouth and it splashed on the hem of his robe.
“Gabel, don’t you know how to count? There weren’t five, but six werewolves.”
The knight retorted, “Black werewolves have stealth powers and can hide easily.”
Riftan clicked his tongue, spurring the horse to move forward and saw monsters with human bodies and wolf heads tangled around the tree roots like snakes. The knights wiped the blood off their swords and got on their horses once again.
Max was amazed by how tough they were. A few years ago, she read about Werewolves in a book. They were clearly described as having bones as hard as iron, and skin as strong and hard as barbed armor, making it impossible to penetrate. How had Riftan killed such a beast so easily?.
“There’s sure to be more of these beasts around here, so let’s hurry.” Ruth looked around at the other knights, and they all nodded in unison.
The horses ran fast as possible and Max grit her teeth to avoid biting her tongue. She overlooked the mountain road covered with rocks and trees as they passed the peaks
Riftan is definitely stalling, Maxi…