The cannon was loaded but there was no clear target to fire at so it hadn't been aimed at anything in particular. The enemy hasn't betrayed their position since they stopped firing arrows at Susan and his men. There were a few knife-ears in the village not that long ago but after Susan's men were either evacuated or killed it seemed like they retreated back to the forest.
"Annie, take three warriors with you and scout the west side of the forest where the arrows came from. Make sure you stick close and bring some thick shields to protect yourselves from their arrows." Annie wasn't popular among his subordinates but she was tough and knew how to adapt to changes in the middle of battle. Her loyalty was questionable so it's not like the loss of someone like her would be devastating.
After Annie's departure, Susan continued to command his men. "Those of you on cannon duty, listen up. In a couple of minutes there should be some signs of a fight within the forest. We'll fire the cannon at the enemy when they reveal their position so get ready and aim the cannon to the west."
Sacrificing a few subordinates to locate the enemies was worth it. This type of enemy could easily be defeated in a straightforward battle which is why they had to rely on ambushes. Once he knew where they were he could blast them away and then use his men to sweep the area for survivors.
The forest was quiet but Annie knew that the enemy could be anywhere. There were lots of monsters that would try to ambush people that entered their territory so Annie had gotten used to it. Before joining Susan's group she was part of a band of mercenaries and they'd often headed into the lairs of exotic creatures. Annie hated the violence back when she was a mercenary but needed the money to help take care of her little sister.
The band of mercenaries she was in was owned by a rich merchant. Annie just needed to do a good job and she'd get paid; the merchant even helped Annie by giving her little sister a job as an apprentice maid. At the time Annie thought it was a good idea but after completing a nearly impossible mission her sister was nowhere to be found.
Her sister had been violated and then murdered by the merchant. When reporting the crime to the guards they tried to arrest her. The mercenaries she had gone through hard times with all abandoned her. In the end the death of her sister was blamed on her and she was forced to live while on the run. Annie felt that her only reason for living was gone thanks to her stupidity and she felt like giving up. It was only when she met the boss that she found new hope in living; she would get stronger and take revenge. Revenge against those that harmed her sister, revenge against those that denied her sister justice, and revenge against those that turned their back on her.
Now, Annie had something new to look forward to. Although their appearance was quite different, Grenda gave off a similar feeling as her late sister did. Her awkward smile, adorable voice, and cute face were stuck in Annie's thoughts and it caused Annie to unconsciously smile.
After following some marks on the ground, Annie had finally spotted the enemy. Annie signalled to the others to stop moving while she silently moved ahead. This seemed to be where the bulk of the enemies were as Annie could see nearly a hundred pairs of pointy ears. Although Annie wasn't prejudiced against them like the others in the group, she did have to admit that their ears really were shaped like a knife.
"It's not nice to come over uninvited like this." Annie tried to turn around but felt something cold on her neck. "Don't touch your weapon or turn around. Just answer my questions and I'll let you live. If you understand and agree then nod your head."
Annie gave a small nod. For now it would be best to follow this woman's command and to answer her questions. It wouldn't be too late to kill her later on.
"The group you're in, is the leader named Susan?" Annie nodded. "Good, they really did get the right target. Next question. Why did your group kill my people?" So their attack this time is for revenge. It seemed strange to be on the receiving side of it for once.
"I'm not sure what you're talking about. How are you certain that it was our people that killed them? There are lots of groups that would pretend to be outlaws just for a chance to kill your kind." The blade pressed closer against Annie's neck but no blood was drawn. It seemed like the blade was dulled which wasn't a surprise for a group that didn't even make their own metal weapons. The metal weapons that they did have were not being maintained properly.
After realizing that the enemy was bluffing and that her life wasn't in the enemy's grasp, Annie felt relieved. Gripping the blade, Annie turned around and bashed the enemy in the face with her shield to create some distance before pulling out her own blade. Her hand had a shallow cut on it but she could still wield a short sword without a problem.
"You bitch! My nose! I think you broke my nose!" The yelling of Annie's enemy gathered the attention of the other enemies in the area. This caused a chain reaction and now dozens of people were yelling and drawing their weapons.
"This is too many opponents, even for me." Sliding her shield from her fist to her wrist, Annie reached for a pouch she had tied to her belt. "If you get any closer then I'll blow us all up!" The pouch contained some light grenades in it which would give off a bright light while making a lot of noise to confuse the enemy. It wouldn't kill anybody but they'd probably think they were dead for long enough to allow her to escape.
"Even if we all die we can't allow someone like you to live. Anybody that harms the princess gets death!" Ah, of course the enemy had to be full of fanatics. They didn't even seem to care that if Annie was telling the truth then their precious princess would be caught up in the explosion.
With the large ruckus being made, the three men that had been waiting for Annie finally made an appearance. The three of them felt like turning around after seeing how many enemies there were but it was too late. Nearly one hundred pairs of eyes turned towards them as if in sync. "More of her friends! Get them!" It didn't take long for the men to be surrounded and become overpowered by the enemies. At this rate they'd die so Annie had to act now.
Getting ready to pull out the light grenades, Annie noticed something coming their way. "You've got to be kidding me." Backing up to get to cover, Annie bumped into the poiny-eared princess; knocking them both to the ground. The flying object landed on the other side of the fighting men, just out of Annie's sight.
Just as planned, fighting could be heard in the distance; Annie must be engaging the enemy right now. "Fire on their position." The cannon crew activated the magic formula on the back of the cannon and covered their ears while ducking to either side of it, ensuring that they weren't directly in front of or behind the cannon.
The muzzle of the cannon's barrel flashed with a blinding yellow and white light as a tremendous explosion sound came from inside the cannon. The cannon ball that could be seen flying for a short while, smashing through the trees as it went, glowed with a red pattern on its surface. Susan had only been able to use the cannon a couple of times in the past but he always loved this part; the cannon ball landed in the forest and shortly after it made contact with the ground it created a raging explosion which blasted that part of the woods to smithereens. The blast was so powerful that they could feel a vibration beneath their feet seconds after the blast had ended.
"Alright, men, grab your weapons! It's time to finish this!" Susan didn't wait before grabbing a thick club and heavy shield to go meet the enemy. Knowing Annie, Susan knew that she'd probably want to kill him right now if she survived. Susan hoped that they all died in the blast to save him the trouble. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far