Rockwall Lou – V3 Chapter 2

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐

(2)

“Alright, Luo-kun. If you feel carsick, look outside the window at the scenery. Always lock the door of the inn’s room. Oh, and first greet when you’re at work.”

“Dear passenger, it’s time to depart!”

At the south gate of Arche city. In the carriage station where many travel carriages are parked, Crozet was instructing Luo. Besides Crozet, there’s the transport team’s Bekios, Chara, Bon, Totom, and the organ sorters Sumi, Nura, Morin. Quite a large group of eight people.

“Seriously. . . . . .”

Chara, looking exasperated, admonished Crozet.

“How many times have I explained since yesterday? It’s time to depart.”

Totom shakes his head with a resigned feel.

“Really now. Cro is overly worried. Half a month will pass in a blink.”

However, the elder organ sorters were on Crozet’s side. Nura immediately counters.

“You’re always so absent-minded, so time might fly for you. But the perception of time varies for the elderly and children.”

Morin backed her up.

“Exactly. Luo-chan will be working alone in an unfamiliar place. Better safe than sorry.”

Looking at the overstuffed backpack Luo was carrying, Bekios and Bon voiced their concerns.

“But isn’t that packing too much?”

“Indeed, traveling light is best. . . . . .hey, Sumi, what are you handing over?”

“Eat this if you’re hungry,” Sumi said, handing Luo a bag of dried sweet potatoes.

“Dear passenger, everyone is waiting.”

“Luo-kun.”

“What?”

Whether understanding or not, Crozet intently stared at Luo’s somewhat ambiguous face.

Crozet, a worrier, even thought about accompanying him, but her parents opposed. She couldn’t afford to be away for over half a month, and there wasn’t extra money for travel or accommodation.

“When you return from work, come straight to “Star Guardian”. We’ll definitely form a contract this time.”

“Okay. I’ll be going.”

“Take care. Oh, about the medicines in your backpack, the red bottle is for fever, the blue is for stomachaches, and the yellow one is for━━”

“He-,y, pa-,ssen-,ger!”

At last, the coachman got angry.

With a grand send-off, the travel carriage carrying Luo left the city of Arche.

The main roads connecting the capital and major cities were well-maintained, with many people and cargo carriages coming and going. Among them, the most noticeable was the large carriage Luo rode, drawn by four horses and carrying eight passengers. The seats and wheels were cushioned with the hide of a demon beast, ensuring a comfortable ride. However, Luo was uncomfortable in the confined space of the carriage, especially when sharing it with strangers. He quietly sat, looking out at the scenery.

After two nights at an inn, they arrived at the town of Rocca. Similar to Arche, it was surrounded by an outer wall, but on a much smaller scale. Of course, it was larger than Luo’s hometown village, but familiarity made Luo feel it was a small town.

When he got off the carriage, Luo handed over a note written by Crozet to the station attendant at the window.

 ㅤ

“Mido Village? Are you going there alone, young man?”

“Yes, round-trip.”

He informed about his return date and paid an advance. The helpful attendant directed him to a reasonably priced inn.

The next morning, he departed the town of Rocka by a small carriage.

The scenery, once only rocks and shrubs, began to change gradually. More greenery appeared, and a clear stream flowed. The destination seemed to be upstream. The carriage carrying Luo took an overnight stop at an inn before arriving in Mido Village in the afternoon.

The village was a picturesque rural area surrounded by forests, streams, and beautiful fields.

On the outskirts of the village, a large building’s silhouette was visible.

Could that be the castle he was aiming for?

“This village doesn’t offer much, but the views are beautiful. We occasionally get visitors, but it’s rare to see such a young boy traveling alone.”

The one who offered him a room despite saying this was the landlady of the village’s only inn.

Luo introduced himself.

“Oh, a wizard!”

Mido Village is peaceful, with no demon beasts. Thus, no one aspires to be a wizard. Whether out of prejudice or curiosity, the inn’s landlady treated Luo very well. She served him a dinner so generous it was almost too much.

“Is that what wizards do? Use magic to defeat demon beasts?”

She seemed to confuse him with a demon beast hunter. When Luo spoke of his lookout duties, she seemed disappointed.

“So, why did you come to our village?”

“To clean the castle.”

“That haunted castle?”

There’s an old abandoned castle to the east of the village. The landlady explained that it used to be a fort, but a king from several generations ago renovated it into a summer residence.

“I visited once when I was a child, exploring the castle with a childhood friend. That friend is now my husband. He dragged a frightened me into it. What a stubborn guy, making me recall all that!”

She went on to say that it was a deserted, dilapidated castle. The castle gates were firmly shut, and they couldn’t get in.

“So, in this village, we call it the haunted castle. But recently, someone seems to have moved in. Occasionally, goods are brought in. So, you’re cleaning that castle? Wizards really do all sorts of things.”

The next day was overcast. Concerned about rain, Luo set out for the castle on foot.

He walked, following the remnants of a path. Soon, rain began to fall in drips. Pulling up the hood of his coat, Luo quickened his pace.

In the midst of the thick, looming gray sky, the ancient castle stood tall.

It was a very tall castle. The castle walls showed cracks, and dark ivy covered them entirely. The rusty iron gates were tightly shut, as if repelling visitors.

There were no signs of people around. Only the sound of rain echoed eerily.

The castle exuded an atmosphere that was both eerie and majestic, truly fitting the name ‘haunted castle’.

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