The man had already discarded his plate armor, knowing that it would only slow him down. He ran swiftly through the darkening forest, clutching a young boy to his chest.
“B-Biran, B-Biran,” An anxious and terrified voice called out. The boy’s face was filled with terror, whimpering between the calls. “You’re bleeding, Biran!” The boy finally cried out.
“Hush, my Prince. *Ha…. Ha….*” The man replied, breathing heavily.
“But you’re bleeding! Please don’t die, Biran!” The young boy pleaded, his whimpering turning into sobs.
“I’ll be fine. *Ha…* I am not dying here, and neither are you.” The man calmly replied between breaths, reassuring the frightened boy who had witnessed a gruesome slaughter.
Against his words, the man’s body was wracked with pain. He could feel his lifeblood slowly leaking out from the various cuts and stab wounds he had incurred earlier. As much as he wished to rest and dress his wounds, such luxuries could not be afforded.
Every step he took reimbursed him with a sharp pain, but the man pressed on.
Twenty knights and three mages were the Imperial guards for the young Prince, but now it was likely just him.
A large force of cutthroats had impeded their path on their return to the Imperial capital and attacked them. Within the bandit’s ranks was an unknown mage that decimated their forces. Their three mages could do nothing but try and suppress the destruction of the single enemy mage.
Seeing that they would all perish, the other knights ushered him and the boy into the woods.
He had gritted his teeth as he took the prince and ran for their lives, leaving better men to sacrifice their lives to buy time for them to flee.
He did not know how long he has been running.
There was no stopping to think about it in fear of the enemies on their trail. The forest grew ever darker the further they went, and his surroundings were beginning to blur into a pitch black canvas.
“GYUA-!” The man cried out in pain before quickly silencing himself.
Stumbling over a tree root, he twisted his body to the side so as not to land on the young boy he was carrying. Unfortunately, he landed on something that was protruding out of the ground, causing intense pain in his right arm.
“Oohwww!” The young boy uttered, sobbing and pushing himself off the ground.
“Guh- Forgive me, my Prince.” The man quickly apologized and move to pick up the boy once again, but he could not. Sharp pain ran through his right arm where he had fallen with the boy. Whatever was protruding out of the ground had severely injured his arm.
He turned around and lowered his body, squatting. “Quick, get on.” He told the young boy, guiding the boy to his back in the dark.
With a lame arm, he held onto the young Prince with his good left arm and used his own body to plow through the thick undergrowth, making their way deeper into what he hopes to be their salvation.