Already there’s been a start to the fighting between us survivors and the pigmen. It’s not going well for either side. But we have so far tried to keep them back at the choke points like narrow halls that we know better than they do, stairs, etc.
“That darn green blood is making the floor slick,” Akira frowned. He recovered his step just in time after sliding on the filthy slime. Then he had to try to wipe off the gore and that wasn’t working very well either. There was a lot of gore near the barricade now too, mostly from the other ‘team’. I’d nearly slipped on it a few times too, and even the pigmen….orcs…whatever also slipped since a lot of the filthy slime was draining in their direction.
Also…the pigmen…err…orcs won’t die in just one hit. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 solid crippling blows to make them go down!
We’d been fighting for awhile, with both of us keeping the front line. Our shield maidens also with us were doing pretty well, Yumi helping protecting me and Yuriko protecting Akira. That was funny in a way because Yuriko towered over Akira, who was really short. Sometimes she even bashed pigmen with the desk, because of her strength. But afterwards she’d inevitably be breathing hard from the exertion.
“So heavy…” she’d often say.
“It just matters if we survive,” I said.
“How do you do that?” Yumi looked mystified, seeing her strength.
But my arm was tired as hell from the weight of the axe after several hours. We were sweating, and breathing hard, and dirty. It felt like a bath would be the best thing to ever happen to us.
“So how many do you think we’ve killed so far?” Yuta asked from off to my right. His eyes narrowed at the pocket of darkness in the back of the stairwell where the enemy was huddled together angrily looking back at us. It was a small area that limited how many of them could get up here on the other side of the barricade. They weren’t afraid of us though; their blood lust seemed to overcome that but they also didn’t want to be cut down either. So right now they are studying how to look for weak spots to gut us.
Yuta had used his “pig sticker” to gouge a few and was getting into it, despite having his face swollen up. I admired his tenacity. Kenji and he worked together covering each other, and throughout the whole third floor the buddy system had taken effect, as people saw the way you could not only cover each other, but also distract opponents while the other person did a disabling hit.
In order of our formation Akira and Yuriko were to my left with their people, then Yumi and I next with my people, then Kenji and Yuta to the right of us had been changed off and appointed to a team with some new people I didn’t know replacing them in mine. Then finally Yamamoto Sensei and the judo kids had their team to the right of them. The judo kids were bold but made a lot of noise. But they hadn’t always seen the need for shielding, because of their pride.
We were lucky the barricade let us pick them off so easy, but if it weren’t there we would probably be losing. The pigmen probably fought with each other just to survive everyday and they were exposed to a war like environment. They were usually a few inches taller than us, and much heavier.
This worried me since I didn’t think all our skirmishes would be behind the fences we’d put up.
“We’ve killed about eighty four so far. But they keep pulling back the bodies on their side of the barricade so that the gap won’t get choked up,” said a girl on the side as she took tallies them off boredly. She was hunkered under a desk though and had red rings under her eyes from crying a few hours ago. I think her name was Emi something, but I didn’t know her since she was a year older than me in my sister’s grade.
“How long will they keep trying to come at us?! They just keep getting killed,” Yumi wondered scratching her head. She was sweating a bit and her skirt was starting to get dirty. I noticed Yumi kept looking back to check on Rina, like I was. It made me feel better knowing someone else was looking out for her, since I had my attention in many places at once.
“Well from their perspective you are a steak dinner Yumi. If you are hungry for steak but it just requires some elbow grease will you try or give up when it costs no money,” I admitted shrugging.
“Ugh, that doesn’t help any,” she growled.
Rina could see us but was about a good sixty paces behind us, next to the door going to the roof. Sometimes Asakura Sensei would be by her or roaming to and from us with war support details being worked out.
“Not sure. We just have to hold them off for the night. Once it’s morning we will be able to know more about where we are. That will open up other options, I’m sure,” I said.
“You know carrying and moving this thing gets heavy. My arms are getting super tired. My arm is going to be sore for a week,” Yumi said sadly. Her face was cracked with a feeling of how hellish she felt.
“Just as long as we have an arm that can be sore I’ll be happy,” I counter jabbed verbally.
“Ah that’s true huh?” she nodded.
“We’ll ask the school district to order smaller desks next time,” Yuriko chirped.
“Sorry, I’ll ask the pigmen to let us have a break,” I replied dryly. “No promises on that.”
“Not funny, either of you,” she retorted, rolling her eyes.
“You are doing pretty good though,” I encouraged.
“Yeah, does that count the blisters all over my hands?” she said showing me some really red blisters in her palms. At least they hadn’t popped though, and they weren’t too bad yet. I hated blisters. I’d feel sorry for her if we weren’t fighting pigfokkers to the death though. Seeing her blisters worried me though, eventually they’d get so raw she wouldn’t be able to fight, if things kept up.
Now that I was considering it, some of the others had bad blisters too. You could tell by the way they’d shake their hands or try to relieve pressure from holding weapons and desk parts.
Yamamoto Sensei kept smashing stuff with a hand axe he’d taken from the pigmen. He was fighting near the front by us, but had forgotten his shield assistant. The kid had tripped and face palmed himself on the hard floor. Yamamoto Sensei was forced to retreat to grab his shield buddy. He barely evaded a few arrows as the pigmen tried to capitalize on the chance to get free shots.
He cried out as they wounded him a bit, but it’s not deadly this time. He somehow recovered and managed to keep them back.
“Oh, they are smarter than I thought,” Asakura Sensei said from nearby, noticing what just happened. “They were watching for an opportunity like that.”
“That doesn’t make me feel any better,” Yumi muttered anxiously.
“How many wounded do we have now?” I asked looking around. I couldn’t help but notice some of the original people around the barricade seemed to be missing or to have pulled back. With so much fighting I hadn’t been able to watch who and what had happened. But the missing people were starting to show.
“Twenty three of ours wounded, are up on the roof. I have no idea how many were carried off from the first and second floors though when they first broke in. But we’ve run out of first aid supplies in addition to that,” Asakura Sensei replied from near me. She’d been going back and forth to check on things.
“No first aid supplies could be really bad,” I said frowning.
“Yeah, and some people have broken bones. I’m not sure how we’ll get the bones to be set right first and stabilize them,” Asakura Sensei replied, biting her lip.
“Damn,” Yumi sighed.
“We’re going to need some kind of water supplies too. We haven’t even begun to address survival questions after this,” Akira said, wiping sweat from his forehead.
“Instead of making progress, I think our problems are just getting bigger,” Yuta exclaimed.
“Hopefully we can buy some time and take care of that later,” I said. But I knew what he was talking about. But the barrier took our full concentration.
“We still have to find a way to get the arrows out too. That’s not going to be pretty,” she called out.
“If we’re really in a different world, no first aid supplies will be a disaster,” Akira grunted.
“The arrows the pigmen are using can’t be very clean. Who knows what those filthy thing’s dens looks like,” Yumi shuddered.
“You think they are poisoned?” Yuriko asked, looking her in the eye.
She shrugged, “no idea. We wouldn’t know right away either way. But it wouldn’t be impossible to imagine, either on purpose or just accidentally from the filth of their nests.”
“Hm, you are smart,” Akira nodded.
She didn’t respond and we kept hacking at sneaky pigmen that were now trying to pull away parts of the barricade on their end. Fortunately how fast it was thrown together made it so messily entangled that they couldn’t do that very well. A leg of one desk would pull at four others, and whatever was connected to those.
“Wait? Are you calling them pigmen?” Akira wondered aloud, as we tried to chop at one of them trying to climb over. By now they were more cautious and didn’t just climb over all the time. They tried to wait it out and go when we looked less alert. They were also trying to wear us down for somehow coming at us later. Otherwise they’d send their full strength up the stairs, and they weren’t doing that anymore.
“Pigmen? It sort of fits,” Kenji said, looking at them watching us.
Their beady black eyes gave me shivers, at the way they looked at us. I could see they were smart as they were trying to watch for something to happen.
“But are they pigmen, or…I don’t know…are they orcs? I do think they look kind of piggish but they are kind of like what orcs would look like,” Yuta said, spitting on the ground. He was starting to be a little killer. I hadn’t expected Yuta to be so, given his nerdy nature but somehow he’d been inflamed with vengeance and a desire to survive.
“I think orcs fits better,” Kenji admitted shrugging.
“So they’re orcs…yeah orcs would be ugly little bastards wouldn’t they?” Akira said tiredly.
We both went after the same pigman killing him instantly with smashing attacks from opposite sides of him. The thing squealed as it died and flopped over the barrier.
“Why do they stink so badly?” Yuriko wondered aloud.
“Anything that’s related to pigs stinks, I think,” Kenji said shrugging.
“They are orcs, not pigs!” Akira corrected.
But people just told him to screw himself.
“Well…orcs are filth, or pigmen whatever you want to call them. They are filth, and their dens are filthy too I’m sure. One can only imagine the horror of those being dragged in there,” Yumi said.
“Because they are dead maybe?” Akira guessed.
“But they stink before they die, and even more after they die. Getting their remains out of here is going to be awful. Their terrible greasy clothes suggest a hunting and predatory lifestyle. I doubt they are capable of industry of any kind,” Yuriko grunted. The desk shield she was using was now peppered with scars and marks from all the arrows that had struck it. Yumi’s was starting to look similar.
“Wearing a loincloth, must suck badly,” Kenji cringed thinking aloud.
“Uh oh, I don’t like what they are doing,” I moaned, finally seeing it.
“Ah shit!” Akira said, seeing what I was looking at.
“What? What’s going on?” Yumi asked tiredly.
“Every time one of them has been going over the top, it wasn’t their main attack, it was to hide another trying to break the desks into pieces underneath and rip up the barricade,” I said voicing my dread. If it hadn’t been so dark, I would have spotted it sooner. The noise from underneath had been masked by the noise of their brethren going over the top to attack us.
Fortunately the damage wasn’t too bad, but they had pulled away two or three desks from the very back where the least amount of light concealed them in perfect cover.
“Crap. The more they pull away the easier it will be to do that,” Akira admitted. He looked pretty upset, but there wasn’t much we could do about it.
“We need a range weapon to stop that kind of crap,” Yumi said.
“Good idea,” Asakura Sensei said.
“Yamamoto Sensei!” we both called out.
“What?” he responded from far off to our right. It’s amazing how big this hall and observatory area were, but it meant more area to protect and that was a disadvantage.
“We need you to rig up something we can use as a range weapon to flush out the pigmen…orcs… or whatever they are, in the back trying to take apart the barricade on their side. We thought it was secure before, but it’s not. They are doing everything they can to bring it down,” Asakura Sensei said quickly.
Suddenly Baldy Sensei grinned, “Actually I might have something for that, but I can only do it once or twice. So you might want to get them all together. Buy me about five minutes OK?” With that being said, he retreated to one of the rooms in the back near the door to the roof.
“Wonder what he’s doing?” Akira mumbled.
But while he was gone we had our work cut out. Two other teams were necessary to compensate for the shop teacher, because his presence was so formidable. Also because they weren’t as used to fighting they were clumsy at first. One of them tripped and almost got shot by arrows in the first minute.
“Give us the axe, it’s our turn to use it,” one of the taller kids whined.
“Not a chance,” I replied. “It’s mine.”
They didn’t like that. I didn’t like the look they gave me afterwards. I should have had my guard up after that. Too many people were looking at me with envy.
Then suddenly there was a bunch of glass breaking through the glass windows behind us. They’d been broken up before and full of holes, but this was an entirely different level of mischief. The smaller shallow holes were now punctured by huge freshly cut lodge pole pine logs that were laying against the windows.
“Oh shit! They’re going to try to climb up!” Yuta swore in frustration.
Before any of us could react, several more logs punctured through next to it, with each bordering each other and forming a network of timber that led all the way up to the third floor from ground level. They kept stacking them one by one in order parallel to each other, smashing more glass out of the way.
“Can they do that?” Yumi wondered, puzzled.
“Kenji, Yuta, I need you to check the window, but keep your shields up or you’ll get shot at.”
“These damn orcs,” Yuriko swore.
“Let’s just call them pigfockers and be done with the orc, pigmen debate,” Akira grinned mischievously.
For cover fire, in addition to more logs appearing one after another filling the whole wall of windows, there was a heavy flurry of cover fire arrows being shot up from below. Instantly a few kids were hit, both from the barrage coming through, and because the holes in the window sills were now massively huge.
One kid was killed outright when an arrow lodged into his eye socket. He suddenly was having seizures, until we finally saw the arrow and then he fell on his back with his head making a sick sound as it hit the ground. Another really small kid was gasping as the arrow hit him in the arm as he screamed. Then a girl was struck in the shoulder and had to crawl away slowly in terrible pain because we couldn’t reach her without exposing ourselves to the open fire area of the windows.
The three wounded kids passed their weapons to some kids who hadn’t had a chance to fight yet. But I doubted they would be the first to have to leave. We were fortunate there were still people left who were fresh, but we still had the disadvantage of not enough weapons for everyone.
The most terrible death was a really pretty girl named Sayako shortly after that. She’d been the dance queen last year for our class, but she was hit square in the chest over the heart and was instantly killed. She didn’t even have a weapon. What was sad about her death was she was one of the people in our school who were genuinely nice to everyone, all the time.
I turned hearing Kenji’s voice as he called to us while looking over the window area from a nearby brick column.
“Guys, we need some help here. They are climbing up already. They’d cut the branches off the pines, but left just enough of the stumps to use for ladder steps. They’re moving pretty quickly with an orc on each set of two pines together. They must have started cutting the logs from the forest area near here as soon as they knew we’d put up a barricade.”
“So that means they’ve cut off our escape route to the forest too,” Asakura Sensei said, frowning. “Or at least they have scouts in the forest watching that area.”
“Damn,” Yumi swore in frustration.
“Then are we surrounded and cut off both?” someone else said.
“I don’t want to die!” someone panicked.
“Shut up! We’re not going to die! We’re going to fight and hurt them!” Akira yelled hotly to make sure everyone heard him.
He motioned for teams to come over and protect the windows, but people were uneasy knowing that people had already died fending off that window sill. It also didn’t help that by turning towards the window sill, they couldn’t see the stairs behind them since the angles of sight conflicted with each other.
Even as we scrambled to get people over to that window it was already getting bad with near hits with arrows. One fellow was burned by an arrow that zipped by his cheek, leaving a red burn. If he’d been over two more inches it would’ve gone through his eye.
“Hey have you noticed these aren’t just thugs? They have thought out tactics and have been trying to counter every move we do?” Akira said.
“Yeah, they aren’t as stupid as we thought, but what are you getting at?” I asked.
“Basically whoever is leading these pigfockers is pretty smart. They have a tactician and war leader hiding out somewhere,” he responded.
“Why do you think that?” I asked.
“Look at them. They are too organized and working with unity. That’s the first clue,” he said.
I frowned. I didn’t like that idea, but he was right.
“There’s something else I’ve been wondering about too,” Akira started to say.
“What? Spit it out,” I said.
“Do you think we haven’t gotten shot by arrows because other people just look like easier targets?” he asked me seriously.
“Huh? But Yumi and Yuriko both have blocked a few arrows,” I said frowning.
“Yeah, but maybe we are being overconfident and not realizing it’s just been that we didn’t get shot because other people were acting stupider and were better kills, and quick to do in,” he argued.
“Saying it like that…” I sighed. I suddenly felt really small. He could be right. The way the two judo kids were shot up so fast, looked like they were trying to make their arrows count.
I whistled loudly, “Guys! We need to push those logs out of the window! Fast! We need everyone we can to group up and push it.”