Wizard! Chapter 522
Tiburcio liked shields. They were good for deflecting attacks instead of just letting them hit his armor… and especially good for preventing arrows from causing much damage. Another nice thing about them was if you had the right kind of straps you didn’t even have to hold onto them. That was nice for when your hand couldn’t grip any more.
He was also glad he picked up some sort of polearm-sword thing as he snuck through town. It wasn’t a spear, it wasn’t a sword, and that made it a mystery. It wasn’t really meant for use from tigerback, but then again Tiburcio was pretty sure there weren’t any weapons meant for use from tigerback.
His thighs gripped the sides of the tiger’s neck. The two of them had an agreement. The tiger had tried to kill Tiburcio and failed, and thus he was now helping him out. It didn’t matter whether the tiger wanted to help, because everyone who came to attack Tiburcio also attacked the tiger he was on. The tiger hadn’t liked being pelted with arrows, even if they were ultimately just an annoyance.
Tiburcio took slow and steady breaths. That was the only way he could keep going. He looked at the bodies piled in front of him in the pass. They were actually starting to make it difficult for people to approach. They had to step around the bodies or worry about uneven footing. The blood wasn’t helping with that either. Tiburcio was glad these people weren’t fond of wearing heavy armor. Sure, they used ki to block attacks… but that meant all he had to do was attack in an unexpected way and most of their defenses were useless. Either that, or it was so spread out as to not matter.
Tiburcio was disappointed. He was going to die. Most of the blood wasn’t his, but enough of it was. Little wounds here or there… and most of the enemy soldiers were still alive. There were even a few that were very strong. Maybe he could kill them, if they came forward, but then he wouldn’t stand a chance against the rest of them.
At least they were mostly taking a break from attacking now. Not that it helped Tiburcio much. They had campfires, but he couldn’t sleep. If he went somewhere to rest, they could just go through the pass. If he tried to rest where he was… even without the tiger issue, he wouldn’t be able to rest. They kept constant watch, and would occasionally shoot an arrow at him. If he didn’t respond at all, it could be dangerous. They were probably running low on arrows after how many they had shot at first… but one arrow every few minutes could last them until morning. Then they would be fully rested, and he would be even more exhausted.
Tiburcio wished he were better at magic. Then he could patch up his wounds or something. He’d tried that, but besides moving around small bits of mana he couldn’t really tell any difference. Most of his blood had stopped flowing out of the wounds he had, but he thought that was mostly it drying up. Maybe he was just running out of blood. He thought he should probably drink water, but his waterskin was empty. Uncooked rice wasn’t particularly appetizing, and he wasn’t sure if it was worth the effort to chew it. It was crunchy and dry… and he didn’t have any water to wet his throat. He should have hunted for something. Even raw deer would have been better.
Below him, the tiger’s stomach growled… but at least the tiger had a solution. There was plenty of food for it around. Tiburcio watched as it tore apart and ate a soldier’s guts. It didn’t look very appetizing. He would have to be much hungrier before he tried eating a human.
Tiburcio carefully pet the tiger’s neck, trying to avoid poking it with the weird polearm he’d picked up. “You’re going to outlast me, aren’t you?” The tiger didn’t respond. After all, it didn’t speak the gevai language. It probably didn’t speak the language of Liaoyang, either, but Tiburcio couldn’t be sure. There were lots of legends with talking animals. Just because he hadn’t met any didn’t mean they didn’t exist. He’d even met elves and dwarves, and those were basically mythical creatures. “Listen… if I die first you can eat me, but you have to promise to not let anyone through the pass, okay?” The tiger’s head moved down… not in acknowledgement of any sort, but just to take another bite of human.
Tiburcio watched as the moon went through the sky, while occasionally deflecting an arrow… if it wasn’t just going to hit his breastplate. In fact, lifting his shield arm was too much work in general, so he mostly just turned his head occasionally to keep himself awake. The tip of his polearm rested on the ground, but he was ready to lift it if someone came closer. He wished he had a bow, but none of those who came close enough to kill had one. There were so many arrows around, so he could have made some use of a bow, even a weak human bow. If he could raise his left arm, anyway. That might be hard.
Soon enough, the moon was behind Tiburcio. The pass wasn’t directly east-west facing, but it was mostly that way. Then the moon went behind the pass, and the sun just started appearing.
Staring toward the sun wasn’t the most pleasant way to start a morning, especially after a night with no sleep. It also came with renewed attacks by soldiers, and Tiburcio was glad his helmet’s visor blocked most of the glare.
The first soldier to come in saw all the bodies in the way and thought he would leap over them to attack. That even put him out of the reach of the tiger below, unless he reared back. Tiburcio thought it was stupid though. All he had to do was tilt back his weapon, propping its butt on the tiger… and the man impaled himself. The rest of the group that followed behind stuck together, poking at him and the tiger with spears… but the tiger was having none of it. It roared, almost knocked them over- and Tiburcio almost fell off on his own- and swiped a paw across a handful of soldiers, battering them into each other and into the wall of the pass.
Tiburcio waited for the next wave, but they weren’t immediately behind… and he thought he could hear the sound of fighting outside the pass. He leaned forward to prod the tiger into moving toward the next turn in the pass so he could see what was going on, and was surprised to see a company of gevai slaughtering the remaining majority of the human soldiers. Then he slumped forward in unconsciousness.