Rockwall Lou – V6 Chapter 2

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐

(2)

“Well, that’s about right.”

A massive structure resembling a head made of solid rock had entirely engulfed a carriage. The eyes served as windows, and the mouth was designed in a grid pattern. Two triangular protrusions were attached near the top.

“It’s like a sturdy garage. It’s troublesome if we get attacked in the middle of the night. Hey, kid, stay calm over there.”

Inside the rock-head-encased carriage, the girl nodded in agreement.

“Girls do like cute things, don’t they? I made it with a cat’s face just for you.”

The two triangular protrusions looked like ears.

The other members looked on without saying much as they sat around a nearby campfire.

“Battsu-chan, I thought you’d quit right away, but you’re surprisingly caring, aren’t you?”

Paulun muttered while washing down a chunk of cheese with wine.

Ozma nonchalantly shared the situation.

“He has a younger sister. I thought she would be suitable as the princess’s guard. We don’t really know how to deal with little girls.”

“A sister? I’ve never heard of that. In the royal capital?”

“It’s an old story.”

Probing into a wizard’s past is taboo. Ozma didn’t speak further, and Paulun didn’t ask anymore.

“Surprisingly, that princess was quite unexpected.”

While lighting a fire with dry wood, Tenku says.

“She ain’t afraid of wizards, and she won’t complain about simple meals. She’s strangely calm, or should I say, she’s got her own pace.”

“Indeed, she’s an unusual princess.”

Paulun agreed, but he seemed to have a different impression.

“Children are always running around needlessly, and if they don’t like something, they cry and scream. They’re such bothersome creatures. That child is a bit too quiet, like a delicate flower.”

Battsu, who had returned to everyone, sat down in front of the fire.

“A delicate flower? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means living quietly and discreetly.”

Ozma thought it might not be entirely wrong.

Even though she was hidden, she’s still the king’s daughter. If she had been a high-pride, spoiled princess, Ozma had considered manipulating her mind. But the princess’s nature was a stroke of luck.

This journey was full of unexpected events.

Maybe the winds were changing a bit.

Ozma’s faint hope was dashed.

In a few days, they would reach the “wilderness”, but they were suddenly attacked by a massive demon beast.

The demon beast was a blind giant snake. It lurked underground, sensing vibrations of prey passing above. If it felt threatened, it could make the ground quake.

It targeted the horses pulling the carriage. Three out of the four horses were suddenly swallowed whole by a round mouth filled with sharp teeth. The blind giant snake only had a part of its body above the ground, but it was still ten times the size of a person.

The driver, Battsu, was thrown out, and the carriage overturned.

“Damn it!”

Battsu quickly regained his balance and placed both hands on the ground.

“Capture it, “Rock Clamp”!”

A rainbow-colored glow burst forth, activating the magic. Countless claw-like structures emerged from the ground, trapping the blind giant snake. An enlarged Paulun struck the rampaging demon beast’s head, while Fuuri stabbed it with an iron staff, sending vibrations through it.

“Hmm, it seems it doesn’t work on the parent demon beast.”

He refer to the parent demon beast of the same kind as the demon beast egg he ate. Due to the same special abilities, magic is neutralized.

Here, Ozma moved for the first time.

““Predation””

The poised right arm transformed into countless tentacle-like entities, wrapping around the head of the eyeless serpent. As it made sizzling sounds, its surface started melting. The serpent writhed in agony, but suddenly convulsed violently. Battsu, who was maintaining his magic while touching the ground, groaned in pain.

“Damn, I can’t control it!”

The stone shackles that were restraining the serpent cracked and shattered. Rotating its massive body like coiling, the eyeless serpent disappeared into the ground.

“It’s still here.”

Fuuri, planting an iron staff into the ground, voiced a warning.

At that moment, a strange ringing echoed.

All the birds perched on the surrounding trees took flight simultaneously.

The next instant, the earth undulated. The tremor was so intense that it was impossible to remain standing.

The shaking continued for a while and then gradually subsided.

“. . . . . .Has it left?”

At Fuuri’s words, the wizards finally let down their guard. Realizing something, Battsu rushed to the overturned wagon.

“Hey, kid! Are you alive?”

Fortunately, Tweney only had minor scratches, but the condition of the wagon was dire.

“Ah, the wheel is completely crushed. And even the axle is broken.”

As they tried to lift the wagon, Paulun asked,

“Battsu-chan, can’t you make a wheel?”

“Small ones are impossible. They lack strength.”

Fortunately, one of the surviving horses was unharmed. They attached a spare saddle, with Battsu and previously Tweney riding on it.

The issue was the wagon’s cargo. There was a limit to what they could carry by hand. They collected only dried meat, nuts, and minimal water before departing.

In about two days, food and water became scarce.

For the gluttonous Paulun, it felt like a life-or-death situation, and he turned pale, not speaking a word.

Ozma and the others were forced into a tough decision.

All the members gathered around the map, planning their next moves.

“The horse is tired, and we have the issue of food and water. We can’t afford to take detours anymore.”

Fuuri shook his head at Paulun’s opinion.

“But, according to Tenku, a large demon beast is lurking around the highway.”

“Isn’t it fine? Just blow them all away.”

“You, just shut up for a bit.”

Annoyed with Battsu’s misplaced priorities, Tenku hit him on the head.

“What are you doing!”

Ignoring the bickering duo, Tweney approached the deep in thought Ozma.

“Um, Ozma-sama.”

“Oh, Princess. You can’t sleep?”

Hesitantly, the young girl pointed to a spot on the map, not far from their current location.

“There’s a small village called Mido here.”

“Hmm.”

They had visited several settlements along the way. Some towns and villages had not been attacked by demon beasts, but as they neared the northern “wilderness,” fewer remained. Most likely, all nearby settlements had been wiped out.

Digging through building debris for food would be challenging, and they didn’t have the luxury of time. Moreover, demon beasts might be lurking in the shadows, ready for a surprise attack.

Before explaining in a manner to avoid alarming the girl further, she continued.

“Near this village, there’s a castle. It’s called Akkare Castle, built by ancient royalty. I think it’s not targeted by demon beasts since no one lives there now.”

“The castle walls and gates are sturdy, and there’s a well. I’ve heard there should still be food left in the storeroom.”

“There aren’t any horses, but there was a small carriage that could fit two. It might be usable.”

“Princess, how do you know so much?”

In response to Paulun’s question, the young girl answered.

“I lived there a little while ago.”

“That’s great then.”

While throwing a punch, Battsu said,

“Anyway, it’s just a pathway to the wilderness. It’s the same no matter where you go from!”

“For me, either way is fine.”

Dodging Battsu’s punches gracefully, Tenku spoke. Fuuri, who often disagrees with the young man, nodded silently.

After some thought, Paulun also agreed.

“From here on, there probably won’t be any settlements to stop at. We’ll need the carriage to cross the wilderness, right? I think it’s worth checking out.”

Ozma couldn’t find a reason to object.

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