The last battle.. [Orochi plot start.]
During the march forward, it seemed the pairs of two had been separated slightly, for the waves of grey men that pushed their way into their formation were relentless. With a heavy heart, Diaochan heard the noise of Hanbei’s bladed compass skitter to the ground, and truly she was trying her best to fight off the men that surrounded her. If she could break through this crowd, then she could help Hanbei. He needed to survive this, he.. he was just a kid for god’s sake.. Twirling, Diaochan’s whip cut into grey flesh as easily as it had back home when battling.
Yet when one fell, twelve were more than happy to take its place. “Guys!” Diaochan shouted over the dying soldiers, over the weapons clashing and screaming into one another. “We will exhaust ourselves much too soon if we stay here and fight!” She slid forward on her knees, the whip above her head spinning and cutting into troops- which had brought her closer to Hanbei and Motonari. “My friends, please don’t give up just yet.” She chanced the moment to smile at Hanbei- though the gesture did not meet her eyes. “We must fight for our future.” Was this a future even worth fighting for..?
Of course, that mindset did her no good!
“I believe the best course of action is to dance our way in a straight line through their flanks, and make a brave rush for the first ballista. We will be exhausted by the time we even get to the first one if we keep this up.” Although she was no strategist, she figured it was a good idea. They needed to come up with a plan and quickly. “Lord Sun Ce, please lead the way! Your prowess on the battlefield is exactly what we need to drive our forces further.”
With another loud war cry, Sun Ce smashed one tonfa into the ground, his eyes narrowing as the sheer power emitted a shockwave that scattered a bit of the demon soldiers. As he watched them topple and lay there, he turned toward Diaochan and the other remaining troops and pointed ahead at the ballista. The path was clear for them and it would be swarming with troops once again unless they got to that siege weapon.
“Let’s go! Now!” he commanded, nodding once and then running straight toward the ballista, even as he heard the Hydra’s earth shattering roar cut through the air and then the yell of hundreds of demon soldiers as they began to advance upon their remaining forces.
Ce couldn’t die here, not yet. The Hydra had to pay for ripping everything he and his sworn friend Zhou Yu worked so hard to build. It needed to pay for taking his family away, either by killing them or forcing them to flee and separate and be subjected to the other dangers that had lurked this world. His father would not want to meet him in the afterlife, it was much too soon.
His body clamored for some kind of rest; they needed to escape and really regroup, they simply had to or else they would die here. There must have been some kind of escape route nearby in case the siege weapons didn’t work on Hydra. Too focused on the battle, he hadn’t surveyed but too much of the area; Zhou Yu would have been the one doing that, or at least Quan would have. Even Zhou Tai of all people would have been mindful of this, but even his newfound officer was forced to go into hiding somewhere…or maybe he was killed…
“Hanbei, Motonari,” he began as they ran down the newly cleared pathway, “I hope you guys have a plan B…”
“We will exhaust ourselves much too soon if we stay here and fight!” Hanbei faintly heard Diaochan’s voice in the distance.
Slowly regaining his balance with the help of Motonari, Hanbei managed to stand up on his feet. With his strength slowly building up, he also managed to open his eyes.
He looked around for his bladed compass. Without his weapon, Hanbei and Motonari would not get passed the soldiers easily.
One glance. Hanbei saw Diaochan resisting against the soldiers as she made her escape. A second glance. He saw Sun Ce beginning to retreat. Hanbei looked just a bit more longer, before noticing his blade shine in the distance, and he began to run towards it.
“Whoa! Out of my way!” he said, pushing a nearby orochi soldier, falling head first towards the ground and revealing Hanbei’s weapon. Snatching the weapon off the ground, he swung the compass around him, killing the enemies surrounding him.
“Motonari! We’ve got to get out of here!”
To be honest? Motonari couldn’t have agreed more. They were outnumbered greatly; they wouldn’t survive, and he knew it. So what was the next plan? Retreat, naturally. They couldn’t live through this—especially not now with Kiyomori’s appearance and the ballistas doing little to no damage on the hydra heads. Maybe if they had more firepower… More strength, more people on their side. Of course, he was now dwelling on ‘what ifs’, but really… If they had all just co-operated to begin with, their sad excuse for a militia would have been able to overcome their most recent tragedy… But then again, wasn’t the threat always present? Just ignored for their own conveniences… Ah, how familiar that tune sounded. It was just like previous battles fought throughout history. Every opposing force eventually crushed and put down… This should have been foreseen. They never stood a chance from the very beginning. Fate made it so.
The moment Hanbei made a run for it, Motonari followed suit. With whatever strength he had left, he sprinted from his position and followed behind his younger ally. He didn’t take the time to aim and shoot with his automatic, multi-arrow mounted bow, but instead ducked beneath swinging weapons with laboured breaths. He was panting—no, heaving. He needed to get out of there, they all did.
“R – Retreat!” He called as best he could. While his voice was already meek to begin with, his heart hammering within his throat made his attempt at warning even more difficult. He, nonetheless, managed to catch up to Hanbei, and thereafter Sun Ce and Diao Chan despite the muscles in his legs and his lungs burning, head pounding and body heavy. They needed to make their exit back the way they came—to the north west. At least if they were able to make it back to camp, they’d be able to catch their breath and think up another plan of battle… Or wait out their inevitable deaths.
“…Quickly! Retreat!” He steadied his voice, at least, though it was weaker as he attempted to pick up the pace and further warn his remaining comrades. What from there? Would they be caught in the Hydra’s crossfire and Kiyomori’s attacks? Or could they escape and mend their physical and emotional wounds once more? How much more could they actually take of this? Motonari’s outlook was grim; if taken from history, there was little they could do to actually make a comeback. He wasn’t about to lie down and die, but they couldn’t fight it alone either…
There had to be another option…
Maybe this was a dream? Maybe it wasn’t real…
It couldn’t have been.