Chapter 59: The Ancient Forest
Under a dull sky symbolizing the severity of the mission to come, the national army led by Prince Finlay and the Moore ducal family knights led by William set out towards the ancient forest.
There is almost no clear map of the sacred ancient forest, and only a dim map and compass recorded in ancient documents are relied upon for the journey.
As we pushed through the undergrowth, it was the third night after we stepped into the ancient forest.
Prince Finlay, who was sitting by the bonfire and looking into the dark depths of the trees, suddenly raised his voice.
William-sama looked at him with a strange expression.
“What’s wrong, Finn?”
When William asked him, Prince Finlay turned towards the bonfire.
“No, I was just surprised to see an animal I’ve never seen before.”
After saying that, he fell silent without any further words. The sound of the bonfire crackling reached the ears.
After a short while, Prince Finlay opened his mouth again.
“Well, since we entered this forest, nothing strange has happened. I mean, it’s good that nothing has happened, but there’s a strange feeling… “
Upon hearing this, William-sama furrowed his brow.
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s strange how quiet this forest, which is supposed to be the cause of the abnormal increase in magical beasts outside, is. It’s like the calm before the storm. Maybe something is going to happen soon.”
“Well… I just hope this mission goes smoothly without any issues…”
Prince Finlay sighs wryly.
William-sama stared at the bonfire as if lost in thought, but eventually stood up.
“Finn, it’s early tomorrow, so let’s go to sleep. Whether something happens or not, it’s best to get plenty of sleep.”
The prince nods to his words.
“Yeah, you’re right. Let’s try to take care of our physical condition as much as possible so we can reach the “core of the magical beast” as soon as possible. Good night, Will.”
“Good night… Leah, I’m going to sleep too. See you tomorrow.”
William-sama and Prince Finlay disappear into the tent.
I watched them and then opened my mouth.
When I called his name, Johnson silently appeared next to me.
“Tomorrow, I want you to be especially careful and tell the knights to put the guard system on alert.”
I blink at his smooth response that was almost too smooth.
“… Aren’t you going to ask the reason?”
If I ask him that, Johnson smiles wryly.
“Everyone in the knights knows Knight Captain Flores’s personality and loyalty to Duke William. We trust your words just because they come from the captain.”
After saying that, Johnson turns on his heel to deliver my words.
After watching his back until it disappeared, I looked up at the black, cloud-covered night sky.
(Tomorrow… at noon on the fourth day after entering the forest, there will be an attack by the anti-royal faction, which only I know about)
The thick, black clouds obscure the moon and no light can be seen.
(But I can’t openly tell everyone about it. There is a fear that I will be suspected of being an insider because of how I know such things. If I am suspected, even my orders will not be followed. All I can do is trust in the trust relationship with the knights I have trained and the results of my own training)
I gritted my teeth while looking at the sky.
(I will not let William-sama die, absolutely not)
I looked up at the sky for a while, but then extinguished the bonfire and left the place.
Fourth day, noon.
I, guarding William’s side in the middle of the marching knights, suddenly pointed my spear at the hostility directed at me.
The hostility swells,
“William-sama, it’s coming.”
As soon as I said that,
“Prince Finlay, prepare yourself!!”
Accompanied by such a shout, a chorus of roars rose up from behind the trees in the forest.
Armies poured out one after another from between the trees and attacked us.
“Don’t move! All units fight back according to the training!”
The knights, who were agitated, released their swords and headed towards the enemy following my words.
Although William was dumbfounded, he returned to his senses and began giving calm instructions as he watched the brave knights fight.
William shouted towards Prince Finlay.
“Finn, their target is you! Leave this to me and go ahead!”
When William said that, Prince Finlay, who was stunned by the appearance of the enemy, twisted his face and shouted in a voice that seemed to scream.
“I can’t… I can’t leave you in the middle of a battle like this!”
Looking directly at the prince, William opened his mouth as if to rebuke him.
“You must live. For the sake of the country, and for Miss Charlotte. You are everyone’s hope, please go!”
And William stood in front of Prince Finlay to protect him.
Prince Finlay didn’t move for a while, but eventually twisted his face and gave orders to the national army.
“National army, advance into the depths of the forest!”
Prince Finlay turned to William.
“Don’t forget the words “let’s live and return together”!”
Shouting, the prince led the national army and ran into the depths of the forest.