Chapter 67: Vol1 Ch67: The sword-wielding girl.
During this era, the overall population wasn't that high, so most areas appeared quite sparse, even though this was called a village, most of the houses were a bit of a distance from one another.
This army itself didn't have a lot of people either, but to make sure that they didn't bother the villagers, Nala ordered them not to enter the village but rather set up camp on an unpopulated area at the south of the village instead.
Nala was sitting not too far away from her campfire, still wearing her full suit of heavy armor. Occasionally, she would look up at the other side of the village as she kept feeling an ominous sensation in her mind.
"Has the night guard shifts been arranged?" Nala asked Rhys who came to report.
"It's been done" Rhys answered with a troubled expression, he told her frankly without any reserve: "But I don't think they're going to spend much or any regard at all to the night watch"
"The troops' morale is still too low" Rhys sat down and sighed: "They don't see any hope, they don't believe that we can win, so everything they're doing is without motivation"
"I understand" Nala nodded.
During the past 7 years, Interkam had been scared to death, any semblance of morale they had before had been thoroughly broken by the consecutive losses. The only reason they were still willing to go on the battlefield in the first place was that they had no other choice.
Deserters were treated badly no matter where they went, if a deserter was ever caught, they would be demoted to the lowest rank of slaves, which most people here would rather die rather than become one.
"Such an army isn't going to do anything on the frontlines other than throwing their lives away" Nala turned around to look at the soldiers. She could feel their sense of loss, they weren't afraid of death, but this lack of fear wasn't out of pride or bravery, rather they simply had no goals. Sometimes, when looking at these troops, she felt like she was watching a group of walking corpses.
Only when a person understood their faith and wasn't hesitant to throw away their lives for the sake of that faith would their lack of thanatophobia become admirable. This state of living as if they were already dead would only cause one to feel sorrowful and sigh.
"I have to do something, something to make these people feel alive again" Nala turned back to look at the dancing flames, but her mind was empty. She was only a young village girl, how would she know anything about rousing the morale of her troops?
She grew up and spent her childhood in Reystromia, where most people refused to even acknowledge her most of the time, so she rarely interacted with other people in a meaningful way. When she came to Interkam, in order not to reveal herself to Seth the First's hidden forces, she and her mother worked and lived on a farm almost all-year-round. Rivers had only taught her how to fight because he didn't know how to raise the morale of other people either.
"Sure enough, commanding soldiers in war is still the most difficult thing to do" Nala puffed up her cheeks as she muttered that. Right now, all she wanted to do was let herself go and enjoy a full meal, but military supplies weren't plentiful and the weight that had suddenly been placed on her shoulders was causing her to feel dejected as well.
Nala didn't understand much about nation and country, but Interkam was Isabella's home. When she was still young, whenever their lives were tough, Isabella would tell Nala about her stories back when she was still in Interkam.
it was with this thought in mind that Nala agreed to Luen's request.
Rhys sat on the other side of the campfire and looked at Nala. She was only a 17-year-old girl without any military training, she shouldn't have to shoulder any of this, but when she was the only one who could take up this position, she had indeed come forward. Despite how troubled she clearly was, she didn't have a single thought of running away.
Rhys silently had such a thought:
Loud cries and screams of fear broke Nala out from her dejection.
"The screams are coming from the village, something must've happened!" Nala immediately stood up with a solemn look on her face. Sure enough, that brief ominous feeling she felt when they arrived at the village wasn't an illusion, something bad was really happening here.
"One team come with me to check the situation! the others remain at your stations and wait for orders!" Nala loudly ordered and drew her knight's sword. The pure white blade of the sword reflected the dancing flames of the campfire, making it seem like the weapon itself was clad in such flames, at the same time, the armored young girl wielding that flaming sword was also reflected in everyone's eyes and roused an inexplicable feeling in their hearts.
"Roger!" several people instinctively stood up as Nala ordered.
But Nala didn't bother to wait for them, she quickly untied the rope that kept her white horse, jumped on it and quickly rode the horse towards the village.
As he looked at the young girl riding her horse away, Rhys didn't decide to follow, but rather remained at the camp to maintain order. When this abrupt situation broke out, he finally noticed that this army wasn't only low on morale, but its management was also quite chaotic.
The private troops that the aristocrats brought all heard his orders, but their first reactions were to protect their Lords and completely ignored Rhys' orders, at the same time, every group had their own leaders giving out orders. Furthermore, one of the noblemen immediately panicked as soon as he noticed the commotion and shouted that Colomier had been breached, that the soldiers of Royas had already arrived and wanted to take his men back. This caused the camp's situation to go into complete chaos.
It was still fine when Nala was here as they technically had a commander, but when Nala left, none of the noblemen wanted to obey the others' orders, if there really was an ambush, this entire army would be eliminated without fail.
Having no other choice, Rhys could only order his own private troops to go help Nala, then he drew his sword, took out a white glove and threw it onto the panicking nobleman's face and shouted: "Viscount Magerdine, I think you have humiliated the honor of nobles more than enough by this point!"
Rhys stabbed his sword on the ground right in front of himself and declared with resolve: "If you still insist on backing out, then I challenge you to a duel of honor between nobles"
"I will cut down your head smeared in tears and snot without hesitation, you will carry your shame with you to the afterlife and face your ancestors of the Magerdine family!" Rhys then pulled his sword back up and raised his voice: "Now tell me, what is your decision!?"
Rhys' behaviour drew the attention of everyone here, Viscount Magerdine glanced at the white glove on the ground but didn't show any signs of picking it up.
Taking this chance, Rhys gave his orders: "All troops gather with your own squads and keep your positions. Maintain order and keep up your guard, wait until the orders are given from the front, then move into the village… or retreat in an orderly manner"
At the same time, Nala rode her horse into the village while wielding her knight's sword to look for the source of the scream. Dragon's blood granted her the ability to see clearly even in the darkness, so she quickly noticed a man dressed in rags currently lying straight on top of a dead man's body, continuously biting and chewing on something.
Apparently having realized Nala's presence, the man turned towards her to reveal a pitch black, dried up face with a large chunk of flesh already rotten away, an extremely nauseating appearance.
"This rhythm…" Nala scowled, the man was giving off the rhythm of plants or worms with little to no sensation of a soul, it was a true walking corpse.