「Found them! 」
There were multiple people running through the hill covered with trees. Ahead of them are him and the young girl wearing a white cloak.
The two that were pursued occasionally looked back all the while threading the terrible topography.
There are more than ten men chasing after them. While holding non-lethal weapons in their hand, they were pursuing the two to catch them.
「My, legs……, they can’t……」
「Run even if you can’t! 」
He yelled at the young girl who was letting out a pathetic noise.
Thanks to the distraction and chaos from the fire he set, both the girl and himself managed to escape from the building without getting caught.
However, despite getting out of the building successfully, their actions were immediately discovered, and not even half a day has passed before the two were discovered by the pursuers.
How much time has it been since they were on the run. Leaving aside people that had received special training, both himself and the girl’s stamina is already nearing the limits.
It’s natural that fatigue will affect one’s legs. The girl slipped.
She reflexively tried to grab a branch from a nearby tree but, her hand barely missed and swiped the air. There was nothing to hold up the girl from falling.
If she were to fall now, she can’t avoid the fate of getting caught by the men pursuing them. Did she realize that, at that moment, the girl’s face turned dark.
However, her hand that only grabbed thin air suddenly gained support.
He grabbed the girl by the wrist tightly. With his other arm holding onto a branch nearby, he managed to pull up the girl somehow.
「Don’t stop! Move your legs! 」
Ignoring the girl’s confusion, he shouted. Even while breathing raggedly, thanks to him pulling the girl by her hand strongly, she managed to get back on her feet.
There’s not much room in his eyes. It’s not a situation for them to be saying unnecessary things.
Suddenly, there was someone jumping out in front of them blocking their way.
Did he circle from somewhere, there was one person wearing a white cloak blocking their path. Although he wasn’t armed, he’s still someone with a better physique than the two.
Leaving aside landing a surprise attack, they can’t possibly be his opponent from the front. He glimpsed at the people chasing after them.
There’s still enough distance. However, if they were to stand around any longer, the pursuers will catch up.
If that happens, they will be at a disadvantage facing many of them. He couldn’t possibly face all of them on his own.
It was only a short moment when he verified their backs. However, the man at the front jumped at him seeing the chance.
「Stay still! 」
「Who would! 」
Not able to dodge, he was pinned down by the man. The man held him by the head with one hand, and pushed down on him with his body weight.
Because of the difference in stature, his hand couldn’t reach the man’s face even if he struggled. While it happened, the pursuers only caught up more.
There was not much time left. Managing to find a fist-sized rock outside his vision, he threw it with his all towards the man’s face.
The man seemed to notice his actions, despite it being from a close range, it was dodged. However, thanks to that, the man’s body weight was shifted a little, and he was able to get back some more freedom in movement.
This, while screaming so, his fist drove into the man’s groin.
With a pathetic yelp, the man completely passed out. Using the chance, he quickly got out of the man’s restraint, and kicked a nearby rock hitting him.
The man was struck by the momentum and slipped.
「Let’s go! 」
He once again pulled the girl by the hand and started running. He would occasionally kick and twist off branches or boulders that looked movable to buy some time.
Probably thanks to their desperate effort in escaping, by the time the sun set, they finally managed to shake off the pursuers.
The hill in the night is dangerous. On top of that, the fatigue they accumulated cannot be ignored.
Discovering a small cave that is covered in shrubs, they finally got a chance to rest. Without a warm bed, nor any light.
A cave that only shielded them from the cold hill winds. In any case, it was much better than being outside.
A distance formed between the two that sat within the cave. It can’t be helped, considering they barely knew each other despite moving together for the whole day.
To not be discovered by their pursuers, they didn’t light any fire in the cave and only relied on their own body warmth.
Although it was cold, it’s lucky that the weather isn’t snowing. The young girl broke the silence between the two tired person.
Showing some hesitation, the girl still asked nonetheless.
「……Why, …… why did you save me then? 」
「What are you saying? 」
「Just now, you helped me when I slipped right? Even though you said you would leave me ……」
It was what he said when he brought the girl out of the building.
『Sorry but I don’t have the room to be a saint helping you now. I won’t hesitate to dump you if you are being slow. 』
However, despite saying so, in reality, it was him that offered a hand to the girl at the most critical moment.
Needless to say, it’s more likely he could escape if he abandoned the girl there who is only being baggage. In that situation, the pursuers would no doubt focus on catching the girl.
If he took the chance, he could’ve probably outrun the pursuers long ago already.
「……I just kind of did it. There’s no reason. 」
With a displeased face, he answered. He himself didn’t know why he did such a thing.
In the end, the result was they were both alright but, the time he used to save the girl might’ve been time wasted and the reason for them to get caught.
In that sense, he didn’t understand why he did it either.
「Don’t expect me to help you the next time. 」
「Unn, …… I understand. 」
It wasn’t a camaraderie between the two. They are only pedestrians that coincidentally have the same destination.
Naturally, there’s no reason to help out each other’s fatigue, nor there was any purpose in speaking to brighten the mood. Only an awkward silence remained after the two communicated the bare minimum.
「……But still, thank you for saving me. 」
The girl’s thanks was very soft but, despite so, he heard it properly as the cave was very quiet. Did he feel uncomfortable from those words, he wordlessly stood up and walked outside the cave.
The girl sounded anxious.
「I will be back. 」
Although he didn’t know why he said that, he left the cave quickly. After sighing from a little distance from the cave, he shut his eyes while standing.
The chilly wind rustled the leaves. Sounds that probably originated from nocturnal birds were heard.
A quiet night. While his eyes were still shut, he heard soft footsteps reaching his ears.
While muttering, he carefully approached the source of the sound. Moving between tree shadows covered by the sound of leaves rustling, he caught sight of the person that seemed like a pursuer.
「One, huh. 」
The pursuer was strolling without any signs of nervosity. It didn’t seem like he knew where him and the girl was at.
However, the problem was with his direction. If he continued to advance, he would undoubtedly arrive at the cave where the girl is at now.
「It’s bad. 」
He climbed onto a tree that had more leaves and hid there. Eventually, the pursuer could be seen clearly.
「The guy from before……」
It was the man that ambushed them from the front and somehow managed to shake free from a while back. The man was walking closer to the three where he was hiding in.
「Tch, why do I have to search in this darkness. I mean, I did get careless and let them escape……, but if that’s the case, what about those that can’t even catch up. 」
Shit, while the man cursed, he was able to grasp the situation. It seems like the man was blamed for their escape, and was punished to search in the night.
「As if I would even climb this stupid slope. I guess I will just loiter around and return whenever. 」
While saying so, the man was about to pass directly under him. However, he didn’t intend for the man to continue walking.
His decision was made in an instant. He took out a small knife from his pocket, and held it in a reverse grip.
Just as the moment the man passed below him, he jumped from the tree without making a sound. With the speed of his descent, the sharp blade easily stuck into his nape.
The man yelped in pain. And then, a ringing sound of metal breaking. The thin knife could not withstand the impact and snapped.
「Gahk……, y-ou……! 」
The man turned around and saw him. Despite the attack with all of his body weight, the lacking integrity of the knife could not deal a fatal hit.
Though, with a knife sticking into his back, the man could not move easily. He took out another knife from his pocket, and slashed at the man’s neck. It was undoubtedly a fatal wound.
The man’s neck spouted out fresh blood. Being showered in it from the front, he judged that there was no more danger before he took a step back.
The man glared at him with a painful expression but, with his neck bleeding from the front and the back, he could not be saved. Eventually, he fell flat on the ground, and stopped moving.