24 A Survivor
The sword stopped at the heavy command.
Every pair of eyes shifted to the man in charge. He was the one who made the sudden order to stop the sword.
"General...?" The soldier questioned. He was confused at the order. Did his leader not want the girl dead?
The leader stepped closer to the child. His keen eyes narrowed on her. There was something off about the girl, but he couldn't place an exact finger on what it was.
He grabbed the child's chin and harshly turned her face left and right. He then pulled out the hairpins from her hair and examined the quality of it. It was silver.
The nursemaid noticed his realization and her eyes grew wide. "Master Yulong always had Yuxi wear silver...He said gold is too gaudy for a child." The nursemaid immediately lied.
The man in charge hummed in reply. "Bring the child in front of Zhao Yulong. I want to see if he recognizes the child." The leader said.
The nursemaid inwardly cursed. This man truly deserves his outstanding title. He was smart enough to question the authenticity of the child.
Dark humor and a desire for blood twirled in the General's eyes. He smirked and with a cruel voice, he said, "I want that bastard to witness the death of his only child and heir with his own eyes."
The nursemaid felt her heart drop all the way to her stomach. Her face paled at his statement.
The General was quick to pick up her reaction. "You're not lying to us, are you?" He taunted. His voice was lace with doubt.
"Why would the child of a noble family hide in the maidservant quarters?" He asked her.
The nursemaid swallowed. She breathed in and out to steady her rapid heartbeat. Now was not the time to panic.
"Because Master Zhao knew the soldiers always checked the main house in search of the family. He thought this place would be the best hiding spot, because no one would ever suspect the daughter of an outstanding family to be hiding in a place as lowly as the maidservants' living corridors." The nursemaid lied.
The General stared at the girl for the longest time. Perhaps it was the rain that was beginning to muddle his vision, but he saw no hesitation or deceit in the nursemaid's eyes.
- - - - - - - - - - -
The soldiers had dragged the girl from the maidservants' living quarters to the open field behind the Zhao Manor. It was an enormous space, that was once filled with lively and luscious green grass. It was the idea place for archery.
Now, the grass was dead and burnt from the fire. Spilled guts and blood tainted the grass, leaving it to be a sea of red. Lingering in the air was the heavy scent of death and iron.
Chained on an enormous wooden post was a man whose clothes were stripped, leaving his chest and legs bare. The man's head was hanged low, his breathing ragged, and his muscular body had obvious signs of torture and intense whippings. A few feet away from the man was a table filled with different torture devices.
Even when he was beaten and severely damaged, his eyes were still fierce. They resembled a lion ready to pounce at any minute.
Zhao Yulong was a General. He had witnessed the brutal torture of the prisoners of war and had actually experienced it once. There was a time when he sacrificed himself to the enemy in order to allow his troop men to run.
To him, the brutal whippings was nothing compared to the weeks he had spent locked away in the enemy's camp.
"Bring the child to the bastard." The General commanded.
Instantly, the soldiers threw the girl in front of Zhao Yulong. She was crying and sobbing, her face scrunching in pain. There was a few bald spots on her scalp, from the soldiers roughly dragging her by her hair.
Zhao Yulong was quick to catch onto the plan. He lifted his head and stared at the nursemaid who nodded. Her head movement was so tiny, none of the men saw it.
"Y-Yuxi?" Yulong breathed out, in hopes of convincing he men.
"Ah, so this is your daughter." The leader of the soldiers stepped forward. His eyes were shinning with glee at the horrible state of the legendary General.
"You piece of sh*t! Unhand my daughter!" Yulong roared in anger. His voice was so loud and commanding, it had actually scared a few of the enemy soldiers.
"And if I don't?" The leader chuckled at the man's pathetic state.
"I'll cut off all of your fingers and torture you before your wife and children." Yulong hissed. His voice was calm and lethal.
The leader laughed loudly. The man was in such a horrible condition, yet, he dared to make threats?!
"How funny, this was the same thing I promised you." The leader tilted his head, a sinister smirk on his face. It satisfied him to see the man all beaten and bloodied.
The man motioned to his soldier. The soldier immediately understood the message and lifted his sword. Two men held the child's struggling body down and the other raised his gleaming sword.
Yulong bit his bottom lips. He was going to witness the murder of a child. Even if he was a heartless monster on the battlefield, his heart wasn't made of stone. To witness the beheading of an innocent girl would be heart wrenching.
Suddenly, hundreds of arrows began to rain down from the sky. The thundering sound of hooves could be heard from a distance. One by one, archers rimmed the rooftops of the Zhao Manor. And one by one, the enemy soldiers began to drop dead.
The first one shot was the soldier with the sword in hand. The next two were the ones that held the child down.
"God damned it!" The leader of the troop screamed in fury.
"Sir! The Chem army have arrived! It's time to fall back!" A soldier shouted to his leader who immediately relayed his message.
"Fall back! Now!" The leader commanded. Immediately, the enemy soldiers began running. Many of them were terrified of the Chen army. Not only was it lead by the famed Commander Moyao, but one of the Chen soldiers was enough to take down five men.
The enemy soldiers may have strength in numbers, but their skills and techniques weren't as terrifying as the Chen army.
The leader knew he had no choice, but to fall back. This was a losing battle.
"Sir, what do we do about that Yulong?" One of the soldiers asked his leader.
The leader grabbed a dagger from his boot, grabbed the closet bow he could find and then aimed the dagger like it was an arrow.
"No!" The nursemaid cried out, as her legs sprinted to the man.
But it was too late. The leader had already released the strings of the bow and the dagger speed through the air.
The dagger pierced straight through Yulong's heart. It went through his body and connected to the wooden post.
"Sir, we have to go-" The soldier doesn't finish his sentence when an arrow pierced right through his neck. It was an instant kill.
The leader saw another arrow flying in his direction and grabbed the closet sword to clash it down. Running past the hundreds of arrows that flied towards him, he was able to make his escape unscathed.