Rockwall Lou – V6 Chapter 1

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏

(1)

Tweney secretly departed the town of Caron with the Hero Squad. Instead of a luxurious royal carriage, she boarded a regular four-horse carriage, which was familiar to her as she had been traveling around since she was a child. However, Tweney was the only passenger.

“Hey, kid. We’re setting off.”

The small coach window opened, and a grumpy-looking Battsu spoke out. It seems he was referring to herself with the term “kid.”

“Thank you, Battsu-sama.”

Seeing Tweney automatically offering her gratitude, Battsu looked puzzled.

“Hold tight, we’re going fast!”

It was a speed Tweney had never experienced before, and the ride was rough. Inside the carriage, filled haphazardly with food and barrels of wine, Tweney had no choice but to endure it, suppressing her screams.

“Break time.”

Staggering, Tweney exited the carriage.

Under a massive tree with wide branches, the Hero Squad, including Ozma, were resting in various positions.

It seemed like two members were missing.

Indeed, Tenku, the male wizard, and Tabashika, the female wizard, were not there.

“Damn it! Those amateurs betrayed us.”

Battsu kicked a fallen log by the roadside. Then, he took out something like a letter from his pocket, tore it to pieces, and threw it on the ground.

“Battsu.”

Ozma reprimanded him in a relaxed tone.

“If you knew about those two, you should have reported it to me, your superior. If so, we wouldn’t have forced such a plan.”

“Tch.”

“But then, about Tabashika-chan. . . . . .”

The one who spoke with deep emotion was Paulun, a man with flashy makeup. Though male, he spoke in a way closer to a female.

“Well, I can’t say I don’t understand.”

Battsu glared at Paulun.

“She betrayed her comrades, didn’t she?”

“That’s right, that.”

“Huh?”

“Us wizards are outcasts in society. We hang out together because we have nowhere else to go.”

“So, what about it?”

“If she knew there was a decent place elsewhere and got carried away with joy. The barrier of social status became an exciting factor for her. I thought she was a cold person, but she turned out to be quite romantic.”

“Huh? She abandoned her mission and eloped with a man. How is that decent?”

“You’ll understand when you’re older, Battsu-chan. Right, Fuuri?”

“Don’t ask me.”

Fuuri sat on the ground, cross-legged, not moving an inch.

Apparently, Tabashika, one of their members and a female wizard, seemed to have eloped with her lover.

From a story perspective, Tweney knew this.

Forbidden love doesn’t bear fruit. Both lovers and those around them end up unhappy.

“Well, there’s no use lamenting those who left.”

Watching his subordinates interact, Ozma commented.

“After all, they did fulfill their last duty. We’ll think about Tabashika’s situation after this journey ends. Knowing the various challenges, the two decided to travel together. Although we can’t support them, I hope they stay well.”

Paulun sighed deeply.

“The captain is too forgiving.”

“Is that so?”

They heard the sound of wings flapping from the sky. Descending at a rapid speed and landing on the ground was a strange man named Tenku, with the wings of a bird of prey on both arms and talons on both legs. Tweney wasn’t surprised because she had seen him at his debut ceremony.

“Thanks for your hard work,” said Ozma, offering words of appreciation.

“So, what about over there?”

Tenku glanced briefly at Tweney.

“It went well. The Thunder Needle Bee is an aggressive demon beast. Plus, it’s currently agitated and will chase intruders relentlessly. Survival seems unlikely.”

“With that, we can now focus on our journey.”

The Hero Squad gathered around the map Ozma spread out, and the discussion began.

During this time, Tweney was left alone, but she didn’t mind. She had always lived as such a presence.

To recover the energy and stamina exhausted inside the carriage, she sat on the ground, gazing at the surrounding scenery.

Tweney loved the plants, small animals, and the nature that nurtured them. She used to gaze at the neglected courtyard in Akkare Castle, but in the capital, she was confined to a windowless room.

Thus, even though the journey was dangerous, she felt good just feeling the breeze and listening to the rustling of the leaves.

“Hey, kid. Break’s over. We’re setting off.”

To the ever-grumpy voice of Battsu, Tweney responded with a smile.

“Yes, thank you.”

For some reason, Battsu’s face turned sour.

⠀⠀◇

They took frequent breaks, moving gradually to the north. It wasn’t out of concern for Tweney’s health but to carefully determine the direction of travel.

From the sky, Tenku would check the position of the demon beasts, and based on the map, Ozma would determine the route. They would proceed a bit, and then Tenku would return for the next route discussion.

However, there were limited roads passable by the carriage. Some battles were inevitable.

“Hey, kiddo. There’s a Tusked Wolf up ahead. You familiar with it?”

The coach window opened, and Battsu inquired.

Tweney had seen it in a demon beast encyclopedia. Despite the severe shaking and motion sickness, she replied.

“It’s a demon beast resembling a wolf. Its upper fangs are as sharp as a sword, killing its prey in one bite.”

“You’re quite knowledgeable. Ever seen one?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Then I’ll show you. The real deal!”

The carriage sped up.

From outside, someone screamed. Tweney checked from the window. The horses of Ozma, Paulun, and Fuuri were overtaken one by one by the carriage Tweney was in. Surprisingly, Tenku stood behind Fuuri, pointing and shouting at them.

“Battsu, you fool! Why are you letting the one we’re guarding lead the way!”

The carriage accelerated even more and abruptly stopped at an angle, allowing a view of what lay ahead from the window.

Waiting on the road ahead were three giant wolves.

Their eyes were faintly red and glowing.

“It’s a demon beast,” Tweney thought.

Demon beasts are different from regular animals. They are larger, have unmistakably glowing red eyes, and possess unique abilities.

While animals attack humans due to hunger or to protect territory and family, demon beasts attack humans without reason. That’s their nature, as stated at the beginning of the demon beast encyclopedia.

Battsu jumped down from the driver’s seat of the carriage.

“Watch out, kid. I’ve obtained power. Now, I don’t have to worry about anything!”

The size of the demon beast is said to be equivalent to the length of an adult male. By estimation, it’s about two to three times the size of a person, Tweney thought. Although it might be on the smaller side among demon beasts, it was as large as a horse and resembled a giant wolf. Sharp fangs protruded from its upper jaw.

As if to provoke his opponent, Battsu casually waved one hand.

“Come on, you mutt.”

The three Direwolves growled in caution, but as they slightly lowered their stance, they charged all at once. They were like the wind racing across the ground. They could close the distance in just a moment.

Lifting one foot, Battsu stomped hard on the ground.

“Pierce, “Earth Needle”!”

Lines of rainbow light raced across the ground. The next instant, countless spike-like formations sprouted from the surface. The sharp, crystal-like spikes pierced the bellies of the three wolves from various angles. Coughing up blood, the Direwolves let out shrill cries.

“Hahaha! How’s that? Painful, isn’t it? You won’t die immediately. Suffer plenty before you move on to the afterlife!”

Inside the carriage, Tweney was trembling.

She had always thought of magic as a wonderful thing that could inspire people. However, its origin was from the demon beasts. Its true nature, that of destructive power, was glaringly displayed before her.

For Tweney, the journey was just like relocating. Riding in a travel carriage with a maid, heading to new towns and villages. Minor troubles were a given, but she had never felt life-threatening danger.

But this trip was different.

As they moved northward, it was as if countless hardships awaited them.

At times they were attacked by demon beasts, and sometimes they were stranded for other reasons.

In the heavy downpour, they were on a winding cliffside road in the mountains. The ground was muddy, and huge rocks, presumably from landslides, blocked their path.

“Wasn’t there a better road?”

Annoyed by Battsu’s complaint, Tenku retorted.

“Don’t ask for the impossible. Other paths are swarming with demon beasts.”

Fuuri approached the rocks blocking the road. Pressing what seemed to be an iron staff against the rock’s surface, he focused his energy.

“Blast”

Along with a ringing sound, the rock vibrated. The next moment, the massive rock crumbled with a loud noise.

“Impressive. But the carriage can’t pass through this.”

Ozma surveyed the surroundings. Half of the road had collapsed. On one side was a cliff. If a wheel got caught, it would certainly tumble down.

“Paulun, it’s your turn.”

“Oh, no. My clothes will get dirty.”

Following Ozma’s instruction, Paulun also employed his magical power. Channeling strength throughout his body, he shouted in a deep voice.

“Rrraaahh, “Vajra Strength”!”

His skin turned a bronze-red color, and his body began to swell. His clothes, which looked like wrapped cloth, became loose, and the large ring he wore around his neck turned into a collar.

Tenku can transform his arms into wings, but it seems that Paulun can enlarge his entire body. This might explain the adjustable size of his clothes and collar.

With horns and tusks, the transformed Paulun effortlessly lifted the carriage Tweney was riding and easily crossed a crumbling cliff path.

During their journey, they stopped by what seemed to be a village that had been attacked by a demon beast. It was a small village located off the main road, and all its walls, fences, and buildings were destroyed. There were no signs of people. Everywhere, large claw marks and footprints told the story of the intense destruction.

The scene was shocking.

Tweney finally realized that the “disaster” threatening this country was real.

“There’s no one here. Did the villagers escape, or perhaps. . . . . .”

Ozma didn’t finish the sentence and instructed to search for food and water.

According to the report by Tenku, who was a scout, as they moved north, the number of large demon beasts increased. The theory was that relatively smaller, faster demon beasts went ahead, and the larger ones followed, moving south.

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