Survival Strategy


I spun my head around, checking to see if I had left any tracks. I couldn't see them, but I could sense them. The smell of rain and wood hid their scent well, but I could still trace the saltiness of human sweat and the strong smell of blood that wasn't my own. I thought of running faster but I knew it wouldn't help as it was impossible to outrun them in this terrain, I'd just end up injuring myself and slowing down. The hard part was never completing the mission; it was always the running away after doing so, simply because the loyal guards and spies will actually go after you for killing their master and mistresses.

There wasn't anywhere I could hide, only trees around and ahead of me. My only chance of escape was to take cover high up. I flung my gun onto my back as I started to climb the most stable looking tree. Higher and higher, my heart racing, my palms sweating but I had to keep going no matter what. Faint sounds, the tingling sensation of the air on my skin, I couldn't see what was coming but I could hear the rustling of leaves, footsteps getting closer and closer. I licked my lips tasting the saltiness of my own sweat and the metallic taste of my own blood. I heard gunshot in the distance and held my breath, aiming my own gun further outwards, ready to fire. I knew that if I made a sound, it was all over, this mission would be for nothing but my own life. The clicking sound of a gun, I knew it almost too well. Before the enemy could shoot, I pulled the trigger. Gun shot. Then silence.

As I approached the clearing, I knew I was close to safety. Once I escaped the forest terrain, I would be close enough to the village to escape without having anyone else chase me further.

"Rune! There you are! Ryn is looking for you, she said there was something you might want to see." Kevyn ran up to me as he saw me wandering around the village gate.

"Ryn? Where is she?" I asked.

"She's in the village square, I think there's some notice put up there." Kevyn explained as we headed in that direction.

The village square was a gathering spot for the villagers, there was a gigantic LED screen attached to a pole there, since we were all so very poor, many off us gathered there to watch TV. Usually it was news updates from the city about the military and their missions against our enemy country.

"Rune! Look at this, look at this!" Ryn called out the moment she spotted me.

"What is it?" I asked her. Kevyn and I both looked on the notice board that was visible next to the screen.

Ryn and I lost both our parents during the Sacrifice, we had to do all sorts of unimaginable jobs that were all for the sake of feeding us all. Even if we were left as orphans, we were able to manage pretty well with me doing the dirty work and Kevyn watching over Ryn. Kevyn was a year older and had gone to school for longer so he did more common jobs like tutoring and teaching the younger ones in the village, although we weren't blood related, he was like family to both me and Ryn. After we lost our parents, all we had was each other, Kevyn just made it easier for me, I guess.

"Rune, they're hiring people to train in the army! You could go! Go to the city, then maybe, you could find mother!" Ryn said, eagerly.

Sure enough, there it was. A recruitment notice from the military wanting new recruits to join them. Three years ago, when I was thirteen, our father, along with many others from the military were sent on a highly confidential mission and never returned. After that, the Crown Prince also went missing and the King, who was the one who sent out the order, informed the country that the people sent on the mission wouldn't return. My mother, who assumed that father was still alive decided to leave Ryn, who was eight at the time, in my care in order to search for father. She headed off to the city, but three years have passed and neither of them had returned. Kevyn's father was also involved in the mission, his mother had passed away when he was younger and his father assumed that at fifteen he was able to care for himself, so he too embarked on that mission. When we heard that they wouldn't return, I had hope when mother said she'd find my father but when she didn't return. Kevyn presumed they were both dead but nobody knew what really happened.

"Rune, we could go. You and I." Kevyn added.

He was right, ever since I was little, Kevyn and I had received training from our fathers, not knowing why and only to understand now, that it was dangerous for us to be here alone. They had prepared us to survive on our own, we were able to.

"We could, but what about Ryn? You know she can't- she's not like us." I said.

Ryn wasn't fortunate enough to receive training. She couldn't survive out there, but here alone, she wouldn't either.

"I'll stay here. I'll stay with Ryn, you can go and train. Once you're there, I'll depend on you to make sure you find the truth about our parents." Kevyn said, determined to allow me to go to the city.

"Are you sure?" I asked him.

"Rune, I'll be fine, even if you and Kevyn go. I'm old enough now, and I won't be alone, I have Krystal." Ryn replied, smiling at me.

Krystal was Kevyn's younger sister, she was my age but I never really talked to her, she was more of the reserved kind. She was the one who dreamed of going to the city and was likely of starting a business or become a famous superstar. I wouldn't know, but Ryn seemed to get along well with her, although she was rarely home.

"I'm fine with it, but you?" Kevyn turned to me.

"I'm not sure, if we leave...then...what about home?" I asked.

"It'll be fine, if it was to find out the truth, it may be worth it. Possibly." Kevyn replied.

"Okay! You two go already, I'll go find Krystal and tell her! Make sure you leave by tomorrow!" Ryn yelled as she ran off.

I'm adding author's notes at the end of every chapter, my first official one is Chapter 6, but I'm adding them into the earlier chapters too...

I will ask a question in every chapter so please answer! Review by doing so!

Q1: What do you think about Kevyn?