Disgruntled Soldier (Not What She Expected IX)
They’ve been traveling for days now. Somehow Xev was able to secure one of the rare available military vehicles. But even that wasn’t enough to find his sister. According to the man, by the time that the fuel ran dry, they’d covered less than half the distance needed to reach her. Unless the man were mad and just making up coordinates on the fly, Kestyn couldn’t think of a logical explanation for why a girl, who wasn’t even supreme tier, was doing so deep in the forest.
Even the supreme tier swordsmen and archers, stationed around the forest, weren’t dumb enough to explore that far inside. And to think that a girl would elope into the depths, with no one but her apparent boyfriend? He shook his head at the thought. Either she was incredibly stupid or had a death wish. The girl and the boy she brought with her were probably dead by now.
If it was anyone other than Xev that asked, he doubted that the commanders would even have agreed to send a unit. A military vehicle would’ve been out of question. Xev was too valuable a member to the country. Not only was he one of the youngest supreme tiers, but his contribution counts were enough to show that he far surpassed the others in passion and possibly skill. But that was Xev before the accident. Traveling with him over the past few days, Kestyn couldn’t help but question whether the injuries had somehow left permanent damage to the man’s brain.
Since returning, it seemed that nothing was on the man’s mind other than finding his sister. Traveling with him only emphasized that fact. Xev had a past reputation for taking good care of his troops. Many a soldier that have fought alongside him have only praised him. Most members of his old unit were insanely loyal. The past few days were nothing like that. The man seemed to forget about the basic necessities in life. He’d plow forward even when the men obviously needed rest. He’d continue, even though it was long past meal time. Most of the men on the team were those that once worked with him, respecting him too much to utter a word.
But he was an outsider. Though he’s met Xev and befriended the man in the past, he didn’t share that same loyalty and respect that his followers had. It seemed that he was the only one that wasn’t blind to the man’s increasingly apparent madness. At this rate, he probably wouldn’t even get to make the contribution that he was hoping to, before he dying. They were going at too harsh a pace for him to have enough energy to fend off anything, should anything attack them, even with his years of training. And even if they weren’t attacked, he doubted that their supplies would be enough to last them a round trip, considering how far they were going.
The man was still insistently plowing forward before him, despite stomach growls and slowing of pace behind him. It looked like the man was going to continue without stopping for lunch again. That was the last straw.
“General!” Kestyn shouted, in spite of knowing full well that his tone was hardly fitting of a subordinate. “We’ve been walking for hours. The men are tired! When can we eat?”
Xev turned to look at the men, seemingly just noticing their conditions. He looked down at his watch. It was an hour past the scheduled lunch time. “Ah yes. I didn’t notice.” He said. “We can stop here.”
A few men flashed Kestyn grateful smiles, as they settled on whatever logs they could find, and began pulling out the food.
Rather than joining the men, Xev stood at the outer parameter, looking off into the distance as if he were still itching to move forward. He’d had it with the man. It was about time for someone to slap some sense into him.
“General, we need to talk.” He said, walking up to the man.
“Sure.” Xev answered. “About what?”
“I think we should stop this mission! You and I know full well what it means to be so deep in the forest. Moreover, your sister has been in there for such a long time.” He reasoned.
“So then, we should hasten our pace.” Xev answered, indifferent to his pleas.
“This is a suicide mission!” Kestyn retorted. “We should all go back! She and her boyfriend are probably dead already, for all we know!”
“All I know is that my sister is possibly in great danger, and if we go there, we may have a chance of bringing her back.” Xev answered, his face darkening, clearly holding in some anger. “If you’re too coward to follow, feel free to go back. We don’t need any weaklings to drag us down on this trip.”
He inhaled sharply, resisting the urge to punch the man square in the face. Someone needed to wake him up, but he couldn’t risk losing the chance to join other fighting units. Striking a superior was one of the easiest ways to get blacklisted around here, especially since a single defiant soldier was enough to jeopardize the safety and survivability of a unit. And it was his word against Xev’s, assuming they would successfully make it back. There was no reason for the superiors to favor him over one of the most successful and respected generals at camp.
He clenched his fist and stormed off. If he had known that Xev was so unreasonable, he’d never have asked to join the unit. But it was too late to regret it now. Either he stick with the group and hope that the mission succeeded, or go back and risk his entire military career. He gritted his teeth. The man better be still as good as they say, or no one could blame him for sticking a knife in the man’s back when time is right.