Chapter 3- Dilemma
Su Ming looked at the child strangely as she rapidly pointed at the bushes and branches. She also made slashing motions with her hands to make her point.
“I think I understand what you’re saying but-”
“••••trust••••••need••••” The young girl firmly said.
Su Ming stared at the child’s expression and saw how resolute she was. He nodded his head. He began to cut the bushes and the branches while the little girl began to walk around. As he was swinging his sword he finally realized what the child wanted to do. She wanted to create an impression that they were taking this path. This area had a thicker fauna than the previous area. By cutting the branches and plants, it made an illusion that they wanted to travel easily without accidentally hitting their head or the thorny bushes scratching their skin or tearing their clothes.
He couldn’t help but praise this child who looked only 12 or 13 years old. In his panic, all he did was run and didn’t think on how to outwit his pursuers. It didn’t matter that she was dressed or talked strangely. Once this was over he would be sure to thank this child.
They could hear the crushing of grass and the rustling of leaves as the group drew near. Su Ming was about to run to the opposite direction of his handiwork when the child grabbed his sleeve. He looked at her, surprised, but she just pointed to a large tree. It was large enough to hide an adult with its thick trunk and exposed roots. The man felt blood drain from his face as he realized what she wanted him to do.
The girl then dove under the cover of bushes and leaves which hid her small body while the man stood rooted on the spot. He wanted to run to another direction but he could not leave the child here. And now, it was already too late. His pursuers were already very near. He had no choice but to hide behind the large tree.
“All that’s left now is to believe in luck!” He heard the child murmur but he could not understand what she said due to some unfamiliar words.
“Where did that bastard go?”
“There! Over there!”
“We have to hurry before the others captures him first!”
They are here. He could hear the newly arrived people pause for a split second then ran to another direction, most likely in the direction where he cut the branches and grass. This continued for a few seconds. The whole time Su Ming gripped the hilt of his sword very tightly. He didn’t know what came over him, trusting a child with his life but it was too late to escape now. All he could do was hope they wouldn’t noticed him hiding just a few feet away.
“F*ck! The rewards going to be snatch away!!
“Faster! We can still outrun them!”
The sound of steps that came began to diminish with only one or two people passing. The man held his breath and did not let it go. He did not expect that little trick would actually work.
“Where are the others? They ran too fast!”
“They must have caught him by now. Do we still have to run?”
Su Ming felt his heart dropped. He could hear a number of people stop. “What was that?”
“What? Just some small animal. What are we waiting for? Let’s go! Our brothers are already far ahead.”
“That soldier is really a fool!” Another one said while laughing. “We may not be expert trackers but even a child can follow such an obvious trail. He really is just a soldier who relies on his sword!”
“Do not underestimate him. He is still someone with an important position in the military.” Su Ming could distinguish three voices. He then heard one of them come closer to his hiding place. “Look brothers! The bushes here, the stems have been broken.”
“What do you mean?”
“He must have cut the branches as a distraction but actually escape in another direction. The stems must have broken when he passed them.”
Su Ming felt his whole body turn cold. It was over. He didn’t notice the bushes but he must have accidently walk over it earlier. It would be over if they called for their companions.
“Look what we have here.” Su Ming heard rustling sounds of leaves then a cry. “How did a girl get here? Ooohhh… She’s a pretty one.”
“She’s wearing strange clothes, must be from another country. Did she get separated from her group?”
“We should look for that soldier first. Tie that girl if you want her. We can have fun with her later before we sell her.”
“Keep struggling! I like it when their feisty! Ah! She kicked me!”
Su Ming was in a dilemma. Thanks to the girl being caught and distracting the men, he could take this chance to run away. But he was the reason the child was caught. If he did not bring her with him, she wouldn’t have to experience a faith worse than being attacked by animals or dying due to cold and hunger. He originally was worried why a young girl was alone here in the woods and wanted to help her.
“••••••.No!••••••touch••••••stop••••••••” Cried the young girl.
Su Ming stopped thinking.
“Let that child go!” He shouted as he dashed out from behind the tree. The three of men were surprised at his sudden appearance and reacted too late. He swung his sword to the man nearest him before the man could draw his sword.
“Urgh!” The man grunted as his back was slashed and drop to the ground. The other two immediately let the girl go and drew their swords.
It was two to one. Su Ming concentrated hard as he swung his sword again at the person closest to him while avoiding the other one with a twist of his body. He vaguely saw the child crawl away from the fight.
Both of the men kept attacking him. It might look that he was a disadvantage but Su Ming was sure he could defeat these two. While he may be alone he was a professional soldier and a captain of a five hundred men. His sword skills were more than enough to take care of these men. The only reason he was running in the first place was because there were just too many of them. One versus a dozen men, more or less, was just too much.
He parried a sword and kicked the person. He then turned to his side to face the other attacker. The attacker raised his sword sideways and swung hard, aiming for Su Ming’s shoulder. Su Ming immediately ducked then tackled his opponent to the ground.
They both landed in the ground with an “Ooof!”. Su Ming didn’t waste time and immediately sat upright and used the sword to stab the man under him. The man dropped the sword to his side as his body trembled slightly. He stabbed him a second time when he heard a sudden noise, A loud sharp sound and a strange sound coming from a man. Sh*t! I forgot about the other one!
When he turned to look, it was just in time to see the remaining attacker collapse to the ground. The little girl was behind the man with an outstretch arm. In her hands was a polished black block of wood. The child immediately crouched down to the ground and thrust the block of wood in the man’s back and Su MIng heard the strange sharp sound again.