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Sunday, September 12, 2010
18.104.22.168. Lumien Fire - Part 2
Three hours later, the Arcadian Army marches in the woods, along the river that runs from the heights of Vaudevale Hills to Lumien Forest and the sea.
The Loreans have known about Chris’ maneuver, so the Arcadians must keep on moving as fast as they can. All their faces look tense, except Emperor Sage the Fifth who hides his emotions behind his helmet. Yet, his attitude shows calmness and tenacity, giving a boost of morale for his troops to move on.
Step by step they take, and the trees look denser and the river gets narrower into a creek. Now Chris begins to feel familiar about this place. The creek in Lumien Forest, where he hunted with Robert for the first time. The place where he fought a troll three times more powerful than him and won. The place that holds a fond memory for him and... wait. That traitor. That Heir of Vordac who killed his brother and made his father gone mad. Now it’s his most desperate wish to meet up with Robert here and crush that traitor into pulp.
Soon, a voice echoes from afar, answering that wish.
‘I’ve been expecting you here, Chris... No, Emperor Sage of Arcadia.’
Chris snaps out from his thoughts at once, and shouts, ‘Oh, you’re here, Robert? YOU TRAITOR! Get out and show yourself!’
‘Very well, I don’t have anything to hide, though.’
The white-haired Knight shows up from behind the trees, riding his faithful steed Paeldagrin. With the Dragon Saber Grimlock in hand, his shining elf-made armor and Mythril Greaves Eil’thanath sparkling under the sun, Robert Chandler looks absolutely impressive. He talks on.
‘Wish I’m glad to see you here, Your Majesty, in the place where we hunted together for the first time, in a different situation. Unfortunately, I see you come and meet me with your helmet on. And you came by force, waging war upon Lore and putting soldiers’ lives at stake just to capture me!
Are you out of your mind, Emperor? You left your Empire open with Vordac’s Heir on the loose?’
‘No, I’m not, because YOU are Vordac’s Heir! It’s useless denying it, Robert. I know what you did to my brother!’
‘... And your father too, I head. But you see, I didn’t do it. I was framed. Someone stole my sword in Melchior Safehouse and used it to kill Alexis. I was lured into his room, and I found him already dead...’
‘Save your words for the trial!’ Chris snaps.
‘Well, I intended to surrender myself to save the troops from senseless bloodshed. However, seeing you and the manner of your coming, I doubt I can get a fair trial. So, I can only rely in Rael’charon again to clear my name. Our King said that he would bring me to Arcadia to face trial after we get enough evidence, but no, you were impatient. You didn’t believe him, even accusing him conspiring to kill the Crown Prince and create chaos in Arcadia, making it easy to conquer. Think! His daughter is in your protection! And worse, you made that an excuse to wage war against Lore! Now tell me! Isn’t that a conduct more fitting for Vordac’s Heir!?’
That sets the Emperor to boiling point.
‘HOW DARE YOU JUDGE ME!? Men, KILL HIM!’
‘Don’t involve your men in this! Humph, guess I must use ‘it’ after all. Catch me if you can!’
Robert turns around and darts away with Paeldagrin as the Arcadians loom quickly closer. Chris soars up with Acavela the griffin, monitoring Robert’s movements from above like an eagle watching its prey.
Father Andreas shouts, ‘Your Majesty! Don’t chase him! He’s luring you into a trap!’ But Chris doesn’t hear him. He also tries to stop the soldiers, but with no avail.
Soon, the forest is full of men, scaring all the monsters away. The soldiers move on in full pursuit, but they lose sight of Robert. Realizing the situation, Chris dives down and shouts,
‘Follow me! I saw him!’
Adler rides in front and follows the Emperor. He soon sees Robert’s back in a distance. Looks like he’s slowing down. Is Paeldagrin tired? It’s quite old for a horse. Or maybe...?
Before anyone can suggest anything, Robert stops abruptly in an open area near the creek. Adler and the soldiers are surprised. Is that another challenge? Or worse...? All hell breaks loose when suddenly, a group of archers comes from behind Robert. The next moment, Robert lifts his sword high and waves it forward, shouting, ‘FIRE!’
A rain of fire arrows pours from the sky. The Arcadians realize it at once, but it’s too late. This is obviously a trap with no exit. Fire spreads quickly throughout the forest area. The trapped troops are in chaos. Panicked, they fight their way out. Many are trampled or burnt to death. Most of them go out from the fire successfully, but strange, no enemy troop intercepts them. Well, it doesn’t matter. They just use any opportunity they can get to survive this fiery mess. Scattering to all directions.
Surveying from above, realizing the situation, Chris is in dismay.
No... That traitor ruined my army! Humph. He said he wanted to avoid senseless bloodshed, but he annihilated my troops anyway! Traitorous hypocrite! That’s it, you’re dead meat, Rob!
Chris dives swiftly to the spot where Robert stood, but finds no one there. Robert and his troops are withdrawing.
Damn that Robert. He still plays kind and merciful. He just wants to demoralize my troops with minimum casualty, but I’m telling you, I won’t pull my troops back! I won’t lick the spit I’ve spat, and the next time I see you, I’ll kill you for sure!