Most of the Royal Rangers would be able to match a normal barbarian in combat potential, but the barbarians weren’t stupid. The elites of the elites were the ones sent here as an advance party, so the barbarians we were facing were that of the highest caliber.
The commander ordered the rangers in the front to ready their shields. The barbarians went quick and fast, the shielders were able to hold the line but within the confines of the interior of the castle, their mobility was limited. The Barbarians paid this no heed though, they went every which way imaginable. Their lack of elemental magic only went to strengthen the physical enhancement magic they did have. They jumped and hopped and sprinted over and under and around each of the shielders.
All of a sudden it turned into a melee battle of every man for themself. This was when I, at last, got the order to evacuate the royal family. One of the trusted servants of the family relayed the order to me from inside the chambers and I quickly barged in with a company of shadow rangers. The king was disheveled, looking much older than he was. The queen, a lady with a sad look on her face, was barely dressed. The princess and the princes had their separate quarters and most of the princes themselves were out of the capital. The only prince that was inside the castle was the crown prince, and he was long moved to a safer location. That only left the King and Queen, as well as their daughter, the princess.
The princess had her separate chambers and another squad of rangers was sent to protect her, our job was to protect his majesty. The fact that the barbarians got inside the castle was a bad sign already, they might of set bombs or done something. I suppose this is what it means to have your fortress overrun.
Not caring what his majesty thought, I swung him up and onto my shoulder and moved out of the room. The other shadow rangers took care of the queen and their servant and we moved out of the room and down a corridor.
The fight was still happening in the chamber outside of the royal quarters, the rangers were barely managing to keep the barbarians at bay. I passed by the princess’s rooms. Damn, it seems like she’s gone already, not that I was hoping to catch a glimpse of her anyway. It ended, and for a good reason, now all I had to do was my job, being a ranger.
We reached a section of the castle where there was a secret passageway. To tell the truth, it was kind of stupid that the passageway was so far away from the king’s chambers, but supposedly this was so that the passageway could not be used inversely and lead to an enemy coming in from it instead of the king trying to escape.
The king was grunting and puffing but not really saying anything. The queen just had a dull look on her face. I opened the passageway and we quickly went through it. We were halfway through and to the outside of the castle when there was a large boom. Bombs, I thought.
Bombs of the naval men were one of the most feared weapons for sailors crossing the red bay. They were made of thick-shelled fruit that holes in them. The fruit was only cultivated in the Kingdom of Navalmen making the Navalmen have a complete monopoly over the bomb production. Basically, the fruit would be hollowed out and filled with a ground powder made from the fruit’s seeds. The powder was destructive and would create an explosion when ignited (think gunpowder). The explosion would tear through the fruit by reacting with the inside of it, amplifying the explosion. The fruit came in many sizes, some were as large as cannonballs and were sent into enemy ships to explode on board. Others were as small as apples and filled with metal scraps to tear through enemies (think grenades). The one fired inside of the castle seemed to be a large one designed to destroy lasting structures.
The top of the corridor started to shake as the stones grew loose from the shockwaves. I gasped and immediately moved my body to shelter the king. The ceiling collapsed and stones hit my back.
When I came to, I saw that the king was gone. My ears were ringing as I wiped the dust from my eyes. Light shone through the large hole in the top of the passageway and I could hear the muffled voices of my comrades. One tapped my shoulder for responsiveness. “Hey, ranger. If you can hear me, you did a good job, protecting the King! We need to take him and the queen out of this place. I’m sorry but you served the nation well. If you’re still alive you can regroup with us at the vacation palace in the mountains later. I’m sorry we’re leaving you like this, you're a brave man.” He said.
Brave? Huh, I’m nothing more than a coward that drowned himself in his work to save himself the pain of heartbreak, some good that did him.
The footsteps of the retreating rangers faded into the background. Gathering my magical strength I cast my last resort spell. It was healing magic, a type of magic only existing for the priests of the various priestdoms in the world. Someone like me shouldn’t have such magic, but then again, someone like me shouldn’t exist. A son of an immigrant family from the native lands, a country notorious for their lack of emigration. An immigrant's descendant with green eyes. A son from a nun of the priestdoms. My mother was a nun once, and they were not allowed to marry or sire children. After falling in love with my father she ran from her home in the northern priestdom. The fact that she was a nun was a closely guarded secret of my family, but through her, I was able to acquire healing magic. I never showed anyone this but it was one of the reasons why I was able to climb the ranks of being a ranger, healing magic can make you train longer and help you get stronger.
I had to wait until the other rangers were gone to cast it. Strengthening myself, I stood up from the crushing weight of the blocks of stone above me. I dusted myself off and headed into the interior of the palace. The dome in the main part of the castle completely collapsed. Maids and civil servants alike were running around in a confused frenzy. I stared at the scene in complete awe. How had this great country turned into this, if it wasn’t the Navalmen then it would be something? It was so amazing how terrible this place had become. I started to cry. That’s when I heard a voice.
I looked at the person who called my voice. It was the princess.
“Amentia….” I said.
“Garen, it really is you!” Amentia said, tearing up. Her eyes were amazing, beautiful green and so mesmerizing. What was she doing here?
“What are you doing here?” I asked, voicing my thoughts.
She laughed, “Doesn’t matter, I am perfectly able to take care of myself. What are you doing here?”
“Uh,” I said, attempting to dust myself off a bit more. “I guess I was helping the evacuation and ended up here.”
“Well, look I need you to do something.” She said, “This is just gonna lead to the death of this country.”
“I suppose,” I said.
“Look, lots of things have happened between us but I know I can trust you with this.” She continued. “Don’t die, but I need you to find her, the ranger. Adalay.”
I widened my eyes, “Why, she was banished.”
“I know, but it's the only way to get him out of his state. If he’s out then the whole country can get back on its feet. It's the only way.” She said,
“The only way,” I echoed.
“Find her, she’s in the mountains. Go, I need you to do this. Please, save us and this country from ruin!” She said, crying.
“O-okay, I’ll do it. For you.” I said.
“Good now get out of here!”
I nodded and quickly ran off, not stopping to look back64Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡrdVlfEPHWN