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This was a long dream.
A dream that Lorgar knew she was in.
The moment the Four-winged Eagle landed on her, the pain of the broken bones in her legs coursed through her veins. Her legs were, in her view, as crushed as the wheat under the millstone, in which she had seen her clansmen process food purchased from the north in spite of her lack of knowledge of how to grow wheat.
There was no way for her to stand up again for the rest of her life, not to mention fight.
But now she was standing.
Thus, it had to be a dream.
For only in a dream, what was made could be unmade.
Taking a deep breath, Lorgar looked into the space before her, where a sand road started from her feet and stretched as far as she could see. She stepped forward and, from time to time, she would encounter an opponent, one of those that she had defeated before, walking towards her with neither a hint of laughter nor mockery. One by one, they passed by her and disappeared into the endless sand behind her.
A sandworm was the first to come.
It was her achievement in her first hunt when she was 12 years old.
The sandworm would be most vulnerable when it was moving in the sand and leaving a clear tail, but once it was skulking in silence, it would be hard for the hunter to spot it. However, that could not baffle the civilians of Sand Nation, who might be more deceitful than any other creature in the desert. Lorgar attempted to disguise herself as a common bush and wait for the sandworm to come. By the time it was close enough, she shoved her spike into the sand as well as the sandworm beneath it.
Her excellent hunting performance had exceeded her siblings and even in the big clans of the Iron Sand City, was unmistakable. As a consequence of that hunt, she fell in love with the happy feeling of confronting and fighting.
The sandworm coming now did not take the cover of sand but raised its head as it traveled slowly in the sand like a snake. For a moment, Lorgar thought it would spit venom at her that would deform her face, but nothing happened. It went by quietly.
A Scorpion and a Desert Wolf came next... her second and third opponent.
The Scorpion passed by, but the Desert Wolf stopped, who, after a moment of hesitation, walked up to her, wagging its tail. It snuffed her calloused bare feet before turning around and walking by her side.
Lorgar recalled the brutal challenge between her and the wolf. Constrained by the fact that much more effort was required for a Mojin woman to be a qualified duelist, she had to seek for the next prey right after the hunt of many sandworms and scorpions. She aimed at the wolf pack.
But the wolves moving in packs were more fearful than she had thought. A sandstorm had struck them and untied the hunting team. By the time it subsided, numerous wolves emerged on the horizon.
The Sand Nation people hemmed in by wolves had fought valiantly, but they were outnumbered. One by one, they fell under the sharp claws and fangs coming from all around. Lorgar had thought she was doomed. At the last moment, a sharp pain took her and then she awakened to be a Divine Lady.
She became the giant King of Wolfheart.
Standing on the sand that was soaked in blood, she looked down at the wolves, whoever met her eyes huddled down, as if they were greeting their dominating God.
The road after her awakening turned much broader.
As strong performers of her age, clan fighters, and battle-tested warriors... approached her one after another and disappeared. Lorgar's heart tensed.
Perhaps the dream would come to an end when the last opponent passed by her.
There was not much time left for her.
She wanted to slow down... but it did not help.
Soon the earth darkened as if something large was passing over her head. Lorgar looked up and saw the Four-winged Eagle.
The last moment was coming.
At the same time, with a shaking roar, the Desert Wolf broadened its muscles and jumped at that sky-dominating beast.
The two beasts collided hard, sending blood and feathers all around. They fought their best as if wanting to finish the duel on the Burning Stage that had not played out yet.
Lorgar held her breath and gazed at her last battle. Her body would precisely record every feeling during the fight, which was exactly the reason why she could improve much more rapidly than ordinary people. If she got the chance to fight the beast again, it was certain that she could persevere longer and even snap its head before Ashes lent a hand.
What a pity that the opportunity was beyond her grasp.
As the battle was reaching fever pitch, Lorgar wanted to join and fight alongside the giant wolf, but her body was stiff and she even lost the feeling in her feet.
She realized it was time to wake up.
The fear grasped her heart and she began trembling all over.
She did not want to be confined to a bed, disabled.
She wanted to stand up!
To continue to fight!
However, she felt increasingly confined. The feeling had crept from her legs to her neck and she could not even manage to move her throat now.
Suddenly, the Desert Wolf howled agonizingly from the pain of its torn abdomen ripped open by the eagle. Its intestines poured out as it faltered to Lorgar. The wolf only managed to move a few steps before its last strength evaporated and it fell in Lorgar's direction. Even at the last moment of its life, it attempted to block the rest of the strikes from the enemy for her.
The strikes on its back were like the beats on her heart.
Lorgar abruptly opened her eyes and sat up.
The sand road and the beasts were suddenly all gone. Beside her came the cry of her maid, "Princess... you, you woke up!"
"Yes..." She was in a trance for a while. "I woke up."
"Which means the time I can stand is... Wait!" Lorgar was bewildered. She could clearly see the maid approaching her bedside in panic and feel the touch of the towel on her skin when the maid wiped her sweat. In her sight, the roof of the old tent, the knife hanging on the wall, and the burning brazier were all incredibly vivid.
But how could she capture such a clear vision with only one eye?
Subconsciously, she touched her left eye... To her surprise, it was intact.
No, not just the eyes, both of her arms were good and her entire body was painless, even her feet!
Throwing back the covers, she scrambled out of bed and stood with both her feet on the ground firmly.
"What?" She looked at the maid who had been shocked by her behavior.
"The new Divine Lady brought by the northerners healed you," the maid stuttered, trying to explain. "She didn't even use any medicine. With a slight touch of her hands, your wound healed over."
"There's a witch called Nana in Neverwinter of Graycastle, who can heal anybody, even someone who's breathing his last or whose limbs are entirely broken."
So what Ashes had said was not to comfort her, but was real. There indeed was a witch who possessed such a miraculous power.
"Where are they now?" Lorgar quickly slipped on a coat and asked, "I have to thank her."
"What?" She frowned. "What about Ashes?"
"She's not in the Iron Sand City either. Two days ago, the Osha clan took the first batch of Sand Nation people to the Southern Territory."
"Is she..." the Wolf Girl slowed down. "How long have I been out?"
Timidly, the maid held up three fingers and then added three.
"Six days. What a long dream." She sighed. "Is there anything else that happened in the Iron Sand City during that period?"
"Yes, the Wildwave clan annexed the severely buffeted Black River clan and challenged us..." The girl looked a little depressed. "Lord Chief didn't, didn't take the challenge, but gave up directly. The rank of Wildflame has dropped to third... We couldn't keep the Stone Castle any longer."
"Really?" Lorgar raised her eyebrows. "I need to see my father."
"Ah... Wait My Princess, you forgot your hood and cloak!" The maid followed Lorgar to the doorway with some clothes. "Many people have come to the castle recently, some coming for negotiation, some for..." Her voice lowered as she spoke.
"Driving us out, right?" Lorgar reached out her hand to touch her pointed ear and then smiled at the maid. "Keep them, for I no longer need them."
Her father had told her to conceal her unique unhuman-like features before she succeeded the chief, for even a Divine Lady would be excluded and mistrusted for an abnormal look. But she had understood what she really wanted after finishing the long sand road in her dream.
Half woman and half beast? A Monster?
That did not prevent her from continuing her fight, did it?
Lorgar waved her hand, giving no more words, she then walked directly towards the top floor of the Stone Castle.