Remembrances of a Certain Soldier, Edward Jin

How did things become like this? How did things develop into this hopeless situation?

I am standing here, on a stone bridge, while an army stands before me. Judging by their size, I would say that the enemies are at least 200 strong. Apart from my lieutenant who I sent to escort the princess and was now up ahead, I am the only left from the royal guards.

The current queen of Renaissia sent me, Darius, the captain of the royal guards, to escort the princess back to the royal Capital. This was because the queen’s health was starting to fail and she wanted to pronounce the princess as the heir to the throne as soon as possible. At first, things progressed smoothly. I departed with 50 of my best guards and left for the academy where the princess was currently schooling. As we through a forest, we were ambushed. My guards, taken by surprise, immediately let their training kick in and moved to protect the princess at all cost. We put up a good fight but were simply far too outnumbered to hold our positions.

I ordered a retreat and we changed our route to the castle nearest to our location. We set off. The ambush has left me with less than half of my original guards being able to fight and I seriously doubt we can handle another attack like that despite our abilities. We headed towards the castle as fast as we could but the enemies were still catching up to us. My men stopped and went back the way they came to stall the enemy. Before they left, they told the princess that they’ll catch up after they stop the enemy advance to reassure her, but I know differently. These men won’t be coming back anytime soon.

My men all left one by one until only my lieutenant was left. Still, we didn’t stop moving. Eventually, we made it to a stone bridge that crosses a river that runs under the cliff where the castle lies. Unfortunately, this was also the point where the enemy caught up. I sent my lieutenant ahead despite his protests because I would be able to buy the most time for the princess.

This is the present situation. I am standing on this bridge, separating the princess and my lieutenant from the enemies before me. The 200 foes stand at the foot of the bridge staring at me. I stare back at them, not losing in intensity. The air ripples with tension as we continue to stand off against each other. At this moment, a rider rides up to the front rank.

“Oh, if it isn’t Darius”
“It’s you!”
“I have a name, you know.”
“Traitor, you dare go against the country and target the princess?!”
“Why yes, I do. Won’t you let me pass?”
“… Over my dead body.”
“Over my dead body! I will not allow you, or your men step any further than this point when I’m still breathing!”
“Well that’s a shame. Men, kill him and bring me his head.”
“You bastard.”

Damn. I should have realised that it was Tybalt behind this. That noble has always been suspicious. From what I have dug up, he is conspiring with the enemy nation of Annhil to accomplish a mutual goal of theirs. My suspicions have just been confirmed. If it wasn’t for the king, I would have already put him to the sword long before this day. If, by the will of God, I live today, I will make sure that Tybalt pays.

The tension in the air finally reached a climax as I assumed a stance with my sword and shield. The soldiers in front of me, no doubt borrowed from Annhil, made a bloodthirsty cry and charged towards me. The battle has begun.

In all the battles and wars I’ve been in, I have never been this hopelessly outnumbered. In addition to that, I have to stall the enemy before me until sunset, which is still some time away. The sun has yet to touch the horizon but the time it will take to reach there feels like an eternity for me. To think that I have to hold on for an entire hour against 200 opponents is impossible, despite my terrain advantage. The bridge I am standing on only allows 3 men to be at the front at any one time.

I fight, I fight, I fight. I fight for my life. I fight for the safety of my princess, who has yet to reach Château des Chevaliers. I fight, as casualties start to pile up against each other. I continue to fight, even as I am accumulating wounds, even as I am starting to tire.

I have cut down many people already. I have already slain enough that corpses lay by my feet and a small pile is forming by my side. This is a great help as I can hinder the movement of my enemies and slow down their advance. I can not keep this up forever, as I continue to accumulate wounds and fatigue. Unfortunately, the enemies just keep coming. When I cut down one, two would take his place as I continue to slowly get pushed back.

I have been forced back to the apex of the stone arch bridge. I can not continue on for much longer. My breathing is ragged, my armour weighs heavily on my shoulders. I have many cuts and scratches all over my body. I can barely lift my sword. Still, I can’t afford to stop. I continue to swing my sword.

I head felt a huge impact as a soldier hit me with the pommel of his sword. My vision sways as I barely remain standing. I fall onto one knee. I can not stall the enemy any longer. I peer at the sun. The sun has only just started to set. Ah, this must be it, I guess. I’m sorry, princess. I have failed. Please forgive my incompetence.

At this moment, my lieutenant slew the enemy about to deal the killing blow before me. If my lieutenant has come back, then the princess must have reached the castle’s men and had them escort her back. Below me, the ground vibrates as knights deployed from the castle arrive. They slaughter the remnants of the soldiers on the bridge and give chase to Tybalt, who ran as soon as the Knights came. He will soon be caught and be put to death for treason. How well this has turned out. The heir to the throne is safe, and the traitor will soon be put to death. I collapse to the ground.

“William, please protect the princess in me stead. I pass my duty on to you.”
“Captain! Captai…tain …ap…”

Hm? Is someone calling for me? My hearing is starting fade. I can not seeing anything either. Everything is pitch black. It’s dark, so dark but I don’t feel uncomfortable. I feel strangely warm, though wet. That’s probably my blood, isn’t it? I am tired, so tired. I can finally take a rest. Ah, now feels like a good time to sleep.

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