Rockwall Lou – V4 Chapter 4

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒

(4)

For three days and nights, Theresa secluded herself in the “inner chamber” offering prayers to the statue of the goddess. She wasn’t the only one. The elderly of the transport team and the older women responsible for body preparation also took turns entering the “inner chamber” and spent a long time there.

As a result, the “Star Guardian” was virtually closed.

On the fourth day, when Theresa finally emerged from the “inner chamber,” she looked as emaciated as a beast just awoken from hibernation. Yet, in her sunken eyes shone a strong determination.

Theresa gave an order to Maasa.

“Bring me some food.”

“Y, Yes, right away!”

Although her voice was hoarse, it was firm.

Afterwards, she had meals brought to her room and focused on regaining her strength. It wasn’t just light meals like porridge. What Theresa demanded was meat skewered and roasted, a soup rich in fatty innards, and bread baked with nutritious nuts – hearty meals that hardworking men would crave.

The one who was most pleased by this change was Maasa, who looked after Theresa. To her, Theresa was akin to a mother. Naturally having a youthful face, she sparkled her eyes like a young girl, which even her daughter Crozet found excessively bubbly.

“Luo-san, thank you so much!”

“Eh?”

Without hesitation, she hugged Luo.

“Aren’t you hungry? Is there anything you’d like? Oh, let’s refill your tea.”

“Maasa, calm down.”

Unusually, she was reprimanded by Gangi.

On a sunny afternoon, after finishing their chores like cleaning and laundry, Crozet and Luo sat in the shade sipping tea. Gangi, who seemed to have just finished cleaning the stables, was dragged over to join their conversation.

“But Gangi-san, Theresa-sama’s voice has returned. Not just that, despite her recent loss of appetite, she even asked for seconds. It seems her body has also filled out a bit. Luo-san accomplished what even renowned doctors couldn’t.”

“I understand, but calm down. Luo is getting overwhelmed.”

After settling into the chair prepared by Crozet and taking a sip of tea to calm her heart, Maasa expressed her gratitude again.

“Luo-san, on behalf of “Star Guardian”, I thank you. I heard from Crozet-san. The materials you used to fix the statue of the Goddess were bought by you at the market.”

It was something sold at a shady stall, touted as an artwork. Crozet thought it was nearly a scam, never imagining it would be used this way.

“So, I want to repay you, Luo-san. Whether it’s money or similar materials.”

Feeling it would be unfair to make him buy a gift with his modest salary, she made the offer. However, Luo promptly declined.

“I don’t need it.”

“Then, is there anything else you desire?”

Luo thought for a moment and then shook his head.

“Is there anything you’d like us to do?”

He shook his head again.

Maasa smiled warmly.

“Well, whenever you come up with something, please let me know. If it’s something I can do, I promise to do anything.”

“Okaa-san, can you really make such a promise?”

“Crozet-san, I’m serious.”

Crozet knew that her usually gentle mother could be very frightening when she was serious. She shuddered whenever she remembered her own mischievous tomboyish childhood days.

 ㅤ

“Even so, I was surprised. I didn’t expect a statue of a Goddess to still exist in this country.”

“It was in the castle you cleaned, wasn’t it, Luo-kun?”

“Yes.”

“A castle abandoned two hundred years ago?”

Gangi seemed to be looking far away.

“If that’s the case, it makes sense it was spared from the conflicts forty years ago.”

In preparation for attacks from demon beasts, it’s common for residences within the kingdom to have high walls. Mansions owned by royals, nobles, and the wealthy can even resemble castles. There are countless such buildings, and the kingdom probably couldn’t manage all of them, including the abandoned ones on the fringes.

“What was the castle like, Luo?”

“Wel. . . . . .”

Crozet was surprised. She hadn’t expected her serious father to ask about something outside of work. Perhaps he’s interested in old castles.

“Hmm. . . . . .”

Luo, who wasn’t good at explaining, made a troubled face, but suddenly got an idea. He jumped off his chair and touched the ground.

“Like this!”

The place he touched shone in rainbow colors, and the ground began to rise.

Gangi, Maasa, and Crozet, a family of three, witnessed another miracle after the Goddess statue.

What was reconstructed was a miniature of Akkare castle, about the height of Luo, with walls, gates, buildings within the premises, courtyards, and cobblestone paths meticulously recreated.

⠀⠀⠀⠀◇

“Heading to the ‘wilderness’ with full force, outperforming competitors, and bringing back significant achievements. Such bold actions of the transport team are something young guards admire. Even though he’s young, Luo is still a boy. He has a passionate adventurous spirit in his heart. True, the ‘wilderness’ is a dangerous place, as Sumi and others say. But by overcoming these dangers, growth is achieved. Don’t worry. All of us in the transport team will risk our lives to protect Luo. Right, everyone?”

“Definitely!”

“So, we hereby declare Luo to be a member of the transport team.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

As she tore into a juicy grilled steak, Theresa declared.

“Luo is under my direct command.”

Inside the “Star Guardian” gathering place, during a dinner-cum-meeting.

Bekios, who was making a speech in a lively manner, looked as if he had been slapped in the face.

“D, Director.”

The final argument meant nothing. In the “Star Guardian”, Theresa’s decision is absolute.

After draining her sweetened milk, Theresa smirked.

“That kid has an enormous magical power. A grade-four wizard? Nonsense. His power is at least grade-one or even higher.”

Those who witnessed the miracle firsthand were not surprised.

“From what I’ve seen, he also seems to be a spirit person.”

Besides wizards, there are those with powers similar to magic. Clerics, bestowed with the power of goddesses through faith, and those loved by spirits existing in nature, are among them. Spirit people are one such group.

Spirit people aren’t seen as dangerous as wizards because their powers are weaker and not harmful to others. Also, spirits have a preference for those with pure hearts.

 ㅤ

“I felt that way too.”

Maasa agreed.

“Considering the environment where Luo-san grew up and the nature of Luo-san himself, it’s not strange at all that he houses a spirit. However, spirits despise demons. It’s impossible for them to coexist with the power of a demon beast.”

“What’s in front of you is the only truth. First, clear your mind and look straight ahead. Use knowledge afterward.”

Theresa reached for the greasy pork intestine and took a bite. Seeing the overflowing oil, the elderly members of the transport team clutched their stomachs, making faces as if they swallowed something bitter.

“Indeed, spirits despise demons, but if they run away just because they don’t like their companion, they can’t protect their host. That might be the reasoning.”

There might be other conditions as well, Theresa added.

“In any case, the power of that child’s magic is extraordinary. Surrounding him with Star Guardians, he will be of use eventually.”

Crozet felt rebellious about being talked about like a piece on a board game. As if to vent her frustration, she too reached for the intestine and bit into it.

Watching this, Theresa smirked.

That’s how it should be. Children won’t get attached to adults who treat them with ulterior motives.

“But you see, that child is a double-edged sword.”

Luo does not hesitate to use magic. He probably acts thinking it will please others, but that way, he might endanger himself and those around him.

Therefore, he must be taught.

The ways of the world.

The laws of this universe.

“The lookout’s job will be until noon.”

We’ll have lunch together at the assembly hall, then study, declared Theresa.

Maasa will be the instructor, and Theresa will supervise.

“There seems to be a lot to teach. Let’s start with basic education.”

The old women in charge of dividing the work were pleased with this decision. The excellent lookout Luo would spot signals even before the sun got high. After that, he could help with chores like cleaning and laundry, and they could have lunch together.

On the other hand, the senior members of the transport team were disappointed because they would completely miss Luo. They would have no choice but to forcibly give Luo provisions while he’s on lookout duty. As they whispered about future strategies, Theresa warned them.

“Just so you know, don’t spoil the child. Spoiling leads to an unreliable adult.”

“What?!”

“Our only pleasure.”

“That’s too much.”

“That’s right, that’s right.”

“Quiet down!”

Theresa silenced the protesting seniors with a stern reprimand.

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