Rockwall Lou – V5 Chapter 7

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟕

(7)

The princess, the Hero Squad, and the entourage of the Royal Guards left the city of Soeto and arrived at their next destination, the city of Nia.

Due to a directive from Ignis, the Captain of the Royal Guards, stating, “Considering the princess’s health, there will be no welcome ceremonies or dinner parties,” Ozma’s duties as the leader of the Hero Squad were further reduced.

However, another concern arose.

It was the chambermaid Rayza who approached him.

“The princess is feeling anxious.”

The princess, who had been forced to bear the fate of the kingdom and was being sent to the dangerous “wilderness” without any knowledge. Rayza argued that all available information should be shared with her.

She was assertive and articulate, but she was just a chambermaid. As much as he wanted to dismiss her for reasons of confidentiality, support came from an unexpected quarter.

“Rayza is right.”

It was Ignis, the Captain of the Royal Guards.

“Answer me, Ozma.”

Ozma took out the plan from his pocket and waved it.

“Even if you say that, I am just following this plan left by Master Hou at the risk of his life.”

Unlike before, Ignis didn’t back down.

“To my knowledge, Master Hou was not the type to give up in the face of adversity. He would have faced it with enthusiasm.”

Ozma thought, “He knows well.”

“So, you have doubts about the plan itself?”

“I’m not saying that. As someone involved in the operation, I just want to clarify certain points.”

The journey had just begun. Ozma wanted to avoid any issues with the Royal Guards as much as possible, so he decided to compromise.

“You said ‘all information,’ but what specifically?”

Ignis looked at Rayza, who acknowledged him with a nod. It seemed they had coordinated this in advance, and the maid appeared to be in control.

“Firstly, regarding the appearance of the massive horde of demon beasts from the ‘wilderness’.”

Rayza, adjusting her posture, began to verify the facts one by one. Then, she abruptly asked the core question.

“By defeating the ‘Blue Demon Beast’, can we truly resolve this issue?”

“That’s what we’ve been told.”

There might not be a resolution, but there is a purpose to taking the princess into the “wilderness.” While the objectives differ, the methods remain the same. Therefore, Prime Minister Hou presented the extermination of the “Blue Demon Beast” as the official goal. He believed that revealing the truth could tarnish the royal family’s reputation, potentially leading to civil unrest, overshadowing the journey of trials.

“You’re mobilizing so many people for this. There must be some basis for the plan. However, I feel the explanations about this are lacking.”

“You’re absolutely right. Answer, Ozma.”

Only the goddess and the royal family knew about the “covenant”, namely Ozma, King Ramon, and the blind old woman. Initially, Ignis was supposed to be informed, but since Ozma demoted the Royal Guards to mere escorts, he remained ignorant.

Should they reveal everything and seek cooperation? No, doing so would make the Royal Guards follow them to the “wilderness”. Moreover, they couldn’t predict how this maid would act upon knowing the truth.

To minimize risks, Ozma decided to feign ignorance.

Afterwards, every time they arrived in a new settlement, Rayza would storm into the room. Ozma was deeply irritated. Since she always had Ignis by her side, he couldn’t just send her away.

“The other day, during the debut ceremony, it was announced that the royal daughter possesses the holy power. Can you specify what kind of power it is?”

According to the blind old woman, the princess has a power given by the goddess. However, there’s no one to harness that power. Therefore, they had to be vague when explaining about the princess’s power.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know the details. Rumor has it that it’s a power to repel an evil deity.”

“Who told you that?”

It’s best to use the dead in such situations.

“It was Master Hou. Since it concerns the royal family, he might have asked His Majesty or the Chief of Staff.”

“So, the higher-ups knew about this power the princess has?”

“It seems so.”

“Then why did His Majesty banish the newborn princess from the capital?”

“It wasn’t banishment. It was to protect the Princes━━”

“I was the last maid to serve her before she returned to the capital. In an abandoned castle, she lived a constrained life, all alone. No guards and wearing a conspicuous mask.”

“. . . . . .”

“If they knew she had the power to counter the evil deity, she should’ve been provided with more protection.”

Ozma couldn’t hide his confusion.

The maid’s duty is to care for their master. She must have been offered a substantial reward to accompany them on this perilous journey. Yet, why would she confront him, the notorious captain of the Black Neck Squad? What did she stand to gain?

Lowering his voice slightly, Ozma asked,

“It seems you doubt me, maid. Do you not trust wizards?”

Ignis beside him looked unsurprised, but Rayza shook her head.

“No. I know there are wonderful wizards out there.”

Staring directly at Ozma, Rayza asserted,

“But you are not one of them.”

Ozma has always been careful in his words and actions to avoid unnecessary trouble.

If Ignis, the Captain of the Royal Guards, is present, the city’s magistrate will readily cooperate. Even though he was under the king’s decree, a wizard wouldn’t have been trusted easily.

Just as Ozma planned, they were able to reach the early destination, the town of Calon, without any significant problems. Fortunately, they did not encounter any demon beasts. Given its proximity to the city of Perzen, Calon was under high alert.

The princess and the Hero Squad will head north to the “wilderness.” The Royal Guards plan to return to the capital and resume their main duties of guarding the palace and protecting the king.

Just when Ozma thought he could finally get rid of the trouble, he was faced with an unexpected demand.

“From now on, the Royal Guards will take over the protection of the princess.”

Ignis, leading thirty Royal Guards, surrounded Ozma and the members of the Hero Squad who were in the dining room. Tabashika widened her eyes in surprise, and one of the young Royal Guards looked away awkwardly.

“What’s the matter with you guys? Looking for a fight?”

“Battsu.”

Ozma restrained the rash movement of the young wizard.

The knights of the Royal Guards are all formidable fighters. At this distance, there’s a possibility of a standoff. Even if they defeat the Royal Guards, there are nearly three hundred city guards surrounding the facility.

Ozma questioned Ignis.

“What’s going on? As the Captain of the Royal Guards, are you ignoring the plan approved by His Majesty the King?”

“Not ignoring. I’m making adjustments based on on-site judgment.”

Ignis argued logically.

Demon beasts attack humans indiscriminately. The strategy of charging into the “wilderness” with a small elite group is indeed appropriate.

“However, we, the Royal Guards, are better suited for this. In horse riding and martial arts, we shouldn’t lag behind wizards.”

Above all, when it comes to the sense of duty to protect this country and loyalty to the royal family, no one can match us.

“Among you, is there anyone willing to sacrifice their life for the princess?”

“Of course, there is. Right?”

When Ozma looked back, the members averted their eyes. They don’t have any loyalty to the royal family. Even if it was a lie, they hesitated to say it impulsively.

Ignis snorted.

“I can see through your intentions. You probably want to make a name for yourself with this mission and elevate the status of wizards, right?”

Ozma looked at Ignis in surprise.

“Don’t worry. I’ll give you the credit. However, the role of protecting the princess and hunting the ‘Blue Demon Beast’ will be taken over by us, the Royal Guards. After all, it’s our primary duty to protect the royal family, especially on a dangerous journey like this. I’m sure Master Hou would approve of my decision.”

Deep inside, Ozma was impressed.

Not with Ignis, but probably with a maid who wasn’t present but had prepared this logic and compromise.

“You wizards are better suited for reconnaissance and guerrilla roles, right? Black Neck Squad.”

Coincidentally, that was the role Prime Minister Hou intended to assign to Ozma. At that moment, Ozma decided to eliminate both the Royal Guards and the maid.

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