“My queen!” Sven anxiously called out.
He thought the queen was in a state of delirium, unable to judge properly because of fear. Right now, the queen’s horse was galloping at full speed, he’s worried he wouldn’t be able to narrow their distance.
A shriek sounded again. The sound source felt as if it was much closer and at first glance, a human voice was faintly mixed. There seemed to be a battle with a Lark not far away.
While Eugene slowed down slightly to gauge the exact direction, Sven caught up and stuck to Eugene side by side.
“My queen! The direction…”
Eugene, whose eyes met Sven, shook her head tersely in response.
Sven equated the queen’s actions to trepidation. He had concluded that her terror drove into a frenzy and she’d lost all sense of direction. By the time he reached her, he had gone through various scenarios of placating the terrified royalty. Simultaneously he was thinking of ways to stop the horse, even if it meant he had to jump before it. However, when the clear eyes determinedly expressed their intention, he was embarrassed.
As soon as she turned the corner, Eugene pulled the reins of the horse with all her might. She stood up completely and breathed out. There was no telling whether it was because of fear or the excitement of the first horseback ride.
Far away in the distance ahead, a Lark could be seen. The soldiers surrounding it were firing arrows. Considering it wasn’t long after the flare, it was still a very quick response nevertheless.
It’s a rat. So gross!
It was a giant brown rat. The arrows fired by the soldiers bounced off the air without touching the Lark’s body. Being attacked from all directions, the monster couldn’t decide where to strike and only screeched. As soon as it turned its head in the direction of an arrow, another arrow would fly in from the opposite direction. The synchronized efforts of adept soldiers were certainly keeping it busy.
Right now, since the soldiers were handling the situation well, Eugene had no intention of joining the fray. If the soldiers could drag on until the king arrived, it would be a great feat. But considering the formidable opponent they were facing, it seemed like these soldiers wouldn’t last long.
Eugene’s eyes discerned a protective shield around the Lark’s body, a hazy violet energy flowed from it. This was the most powerful Lark to ever appear this season. If where the king was now, had a Lark similar to this rat, it would take the king a while to get rid of it.
How do I lure it? She mulled.
In the novel, Flora had carried seeds sealed with special treatment. When she sprouted the seeds, Larks responded. But right now, Eugene had no seeds. She didn’t know where to get them from either.
We have no choice but to approach.
“Yes, my queen”
Sven couldn’t understand what the queen had come this far for. But looking at the scenario he had a hunch. If she orders me to get rid of the Lark, I’ll just disobey it. I cannot leave her side, my only mission is to safely escort her to the palace!
“I will lure the Lark, you will lead me to the town square.”
“… Huh?” Sven almost shouted back.
“I hear we are to lure the Lark, as much as possible, towards the town square?”
Whenever a red flare appeared in the skies, the first thing the soldiers did was to locate the Lark and as much as possible steer it towards the town square. They had to maintain their positions until the king and the warriors arrived.
The town square was open on all sides making it advantageous to besiege the Lark from all sides at the same time. There was no need to concern over a building collapsing should the monster run amuck. Moreover, buried along the edges of the square were oil barrels that could double as weapons. This was a contingency measure.
“Yes, it is so… my queen… but why do you ask?”
“I don’t have time to explain in detail. I don’t know the way to the square….”
The Lark bellowed at the soldier bothering it with his annoying attacks. At first it faltered when the oiled arrow hit it, but once it learned the arrow was barely threatening its protective shield, he regained its aggressiveness. Lowering its stance, with a swift and powerful motion, it swept its huge tail on the ground sending several soldiers flying.
Shocked, the soldiers could not get up quickly. The monster’s red eyes, fixated on a one convulsing soldier. Having determined its prey, it rushed onwards.
“No!” Eugene shrieked unconsciously.
Right then, the Lark that brandished its teeth, trying to bite the soldier’s neck… hesitated. It turned exactly to where the screech had originated from…
Larks weren’t sensitive creatures. Their fundamental instinct was to attack the human nearest to it. So, once they had zeroed in on their prey, they would attack unbridled. That said, a distant scream held no meaning and invoked no response in them. This was how it was usually…
But now, the red eyes were on Eugene and Sven.
After a brief moment of stupefaction, Eugene recovered her senses. After all, she had not expected such a response to her scream. She was still mulling over the possibility of luring the beast when she was thrown an opportunity.
“To the square!” Eugene yelled at Sven and kicked the horse in the ribs.
A seasoned knight, Sven was quick to respond. It would be too late if he moved after checking whether the Lark was following them. So right after Eugene’s departure, he ran almost simultaneously.
Red eyes flashed, the lark bent its back heavily and hollered. With that, the giant rat chased Eugene at a terrifying speed, gradually narrowing the distance between the pair of sprinting horses.
Sven clenched his teeth and urged his horse onwards. His body was wreathed with goosebumps; he didn’t need to look back to see what was chasing him… he could sense the deathly aura the beast emanated.
He couldn’t understand why the Lark was chasing him and the queen over the other soldiers around it. The typical characteristic of this monster was simple: attack the nearest human being.
However, he had overlooked the fact that there were always variables in the world. Believing that soldiers could be a bait and gain time, he felt pathetic.