Rockwall Lou – V7 Chapter 1

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏

(1)

Closing the city gates is pointless. The opponent can transform the stone walls and pass through them, for he is a wizard.

During the day, the city guards watch from the outer walls. We’ll depart at night. Even on a somewhat maintained road, one cannot continue to travel for a long time at night. We should hide temporarily at some distance from the town of Arche. And when morning comes, set off again.

Ozma, my superior, was right in his prediction.

“Hmph, annoying.”

Tenku, who was gliding in the sky without flapping, spotted a two-horse carriage rushing northward, raising a thick cloud of dust. Intending to report back to his comrades in the city of Arche, he noticed something amiss.

There were countless black shadows in the direction the carriage was heading.

About ten in number.

“Hey, isn’t this bad?”

Perhaps it’s an ability of a magical bird to spot prey from high above. In addition to flying, Tenku possessed the ability to see from afar.

The black shadows were demon beasts called “Summoning Monkeys”. They’re about the size of an average person, intelligent, and move in groups. If one were a scout, they should be avoided by taking a significant detour. They are formidable foes.

Normally, upon spotting a human carriage, they’d immediately surround it. However, for some reason, the Summoning Monkeys were gathered in the middle of the road.

The speed of the carriage decreased and eventually stopped.

The Summoning Monkeys seemed curious about something on the road, wandering around. Suddenly, five individuals, resembling knights in armor, leaped from the carriage’s bed.

The Summoning Monkeys reacted instantly, attacking them.

“What on earth is happening?”

One could shoot them down with arrows, but they’re not opponents to engage in close combat. Despite that, the five knights moved swiftly and powerfully, methodically taking down the Summoning Monkeys one by one. Perhaps they possess strength abilities similar to Paulun.

But the Summoning Monkeys outnumbered them. One of them, surrounding the knights, noticed the carriage and, with apparent excitement, began clapping its hands and charged at it.

Princess Tweney is likely inside that carriage. Maybe I should rescue and capture her.

That was what Tenku thought, but he couldn’t act on it. The ground around the carriage rose, forming a spherical wall resembling the fruit of a Kakkal.

Atop that dome, a young boy sat cross-legged.

“Tsk, is he involved too?”

Just the other day, a young wizard easily brushed off the four of us from the Black Neck Squad. He was probably called “Rockwall” Luo. If it hadn’t been indoors, we wouldn’t have been captured. However, if the boy had wanted to, he could have strangled us.

I can’t make a move in this situation.

If that boy joins the five knights, their combat power would probably exceed the Black Neck Squad. Perhaps, Tenku thought, they should let them subdue the “Blue Demon Beast.”

Ozma, the captain, seems to be aiming for the advancement of wizards, but to Tenku, it didn’t matter.

Moreover, it doesn’t seem like him.

Since the princess was taken by a mysterious organization, the carefree smile disappeared from Ozma’s face. He had the city guards run around town using his executive authority, strictly ordering them to find the princess for him.

Maybe he lost his composure.

Humans who have exposed their vulnerability are unpredictable. He doesn’t want to be caught in the crossfire.

While he was lost in thought, the battle on the ground had ended. The knights who had defeated all the summoning monkeys seemed to be exchanging words of appreciation with each other.

Suddenly, a shiver ran down his spine.

On the crust of earth surrounding the carriage, the boy was looking up at him.

Even though he should be as tiny as a grain from the sky, Tenku instinctively felt danger.

I’ll be knocked out of the sky!

Tenku made a sharp turn and hurriedly returned to the city of Arche.

The meeting held in the city hall was chaotic.

The participants were the executive, the Hero Squad leader, the city guard captain, the wilderness guild leader, and the responsible staff and their superior from the Bureau of Magic.

The two from the Bureau of Magic were arguing.

“The grade evaluation for wizards is jointly conducted by the person in charge and their superior. It’s decided upon organizational approval. In other words, those in responsible positions—”

“Even so, those in responsible positions don’t often interact with wizards. In reality, we should prioritize the judgment of the field workers.”

“That might be true for those who just transferred to a responsible position, but you’ve been here for five years. You should have a lot of experience in evaluating the abilities of wizards.”

“What are you talking about, Knox? I was trying to respect your judgment.”

“You were just in the same room and didn’t really see anything. You only got passionate when deciding on a nickname.”

“Y, You! When there’s a dispute over a previously determined grade, don’t you have a responsibility to urge your superior for a re-evaluation? Like that job cleaning the so-called ‘Appare Castle’.”

“It’s Akkare Castle.”

Ozma flinched at the mention.

“That’s it. At that old castle, the boy in question was supposed to have performed remarkably. You, being the person in charge, should have recognized that without a doubt.”

“You were the one who thoroughly checked the completion report with wide eyes. And you were thrilled. You thought you could make a favor with the royal court management bureau. Now you can ask for seeds and saplings.”

“You! Stop bringing up irrelevant matters!”

Everyone was watching the fruitless blame game between Knox, the person in charge of the fourth-grade wizard “Rockwall” Luo, and his superior, with a look of disbelief.

“It’s fine now.”

Norancho waved his hand, signaling to stop the conversation.

“That boy named Luo, the wizard, has the ability to control rocks, and his actual skills seem to be of the first grade or higher. What do you think, Lord Ozma? I believe it was the young Luo who repaired the aqueduct in this city.”

“That might be the case.”

In a tone without inflection, Ozma replied.

“However, a ten-year-old child couldn’t possibly be the main perpetrator. Who exactly are those five men in black?”

“Probably the dismantlers known as “Star Guardian”.”

Wizards registered in the official ledger are assigned jobs according to their abilities. Lower-grade wizards often end up working physically demanding jobs in mines or salt fields. But given that the boy is still ten, it seems he was dispatched to a dismantler job opening at “Star Guardian.”

Ozma was familiar with that name.

According to the information Prime Minister Hou gathered from a blind old woman, the Mail Cult used to have three special positions named after stars. “Star Guardian” was one of them.

Norancho nodded in understanding and confirmed with the town’s captain.

“So? Where is the person in charge of the “Star Guardian”? I had instructed to gather all related parties.”

“Yes. We have heard he hasn’t appeared at the workplace for about two or three days, and we are currently searching for him.”

“Guild master of the wilderness.”

“Y, Yes?”

Norancho gave an order to Mipp, the wilderness guild master, who had been looking uneasy since earlier.

“Tell me everything you know about the “Star Guardian”.”

The wilderness guild hunts demon beasts, dissects them, and circulates them as food and materials. They are essentially the bosses for demon beast hunters and dismantlers.

Mipp answered, somewhat flustered.

“Uh, the “Star Guardian” is a longstanding dismantler.”

They have vast experience and proven skills. However, they haven’t been active for about a decade since the members are aging and there hasn’t been a change in staff. But since the addition of the young wizard as a lookout, they’ve been achieving remarkable results.

“The members are all sincere and good people. They wouldn’t possibly kidnap the princess. . . . . .”

“Enough with the defense. Who are the members of the “Star Guardian”?”

The representative is a nearly hundred-year-old old woman, and including the transport team and those in charge of organ allocation, it’s a small organization of about ten members.

Listening to the story, Ozma nodded.

“The men in black who infiltrated to kidnap the princess are likely from the transport team. The features I heard from my subordinates also match.”

With his arms crossed, Norancho grumbled.

“Still, I can’t understand their motive. Why would a mere dismantler kidnap the princess? It doesn’t seem like they’re after a ransom either.”

Ozma was certain about the purpose of the “Star Guardian,” but he never spoke of it.

Deep inside, he harbored feelings of remorse.

He should have taken action as soon as he found out there were survivors of the Mail Cult in the city. He overestimated his subordinates and underestimated his adversaries. He should have been more careful in handling the princess.

He was more aware than anyone else that the current situation was due to a series of minor mistakes accumulating.

“So, what do we do now?”

Ozma glared at the rather nonchalant governor.

“The ‘Holy Maiden’, who is the only hope for saving the nation, was taken away in this city. As a governor, you cannot escape this responsibility.”

“Hmph, that’s if we even survive.”

Norancho wasn’t intimidated.

“After all, it was your job to guard the princess. If you want my cooperation in this city, isn’t there a more constructive solution?”

With a twisted smile, Ozma responded tersely.

“If the boy’s grade assessment had been done correctly, we would have been able to stay on guard.”

“That’s right. The negligence of the Bureau of Magic is the root cause of all this.”

“W, What?!”

Just as Knox and his superior turned pale, Paulun entered the office.

“Captain, we’ve received a message from Tenku.”

Apparently, a two-horse carriage is heading north on the wilderness road. It wasn’t confirmed if the princess was inside, but five knights were aboard. Astonishingly, they managed to defeat about fifty summoned monkeys with just swords.

The “Star Guardian” is a small organization. It’s unlikely they have any combat units. The five knights must be the transport team, probably the men in black. According to his subordinates, they shouldn’t have been a problem, but maybe they unleashed the power of the princess.

“There was also a young wizard with them.”

For Ozma, the princess was precious bait to catch his prey off-guard.

He couldn’t just give up that easily.

“That’s good news, Paulun.”

“Huh?”

Without laughing, Ozma spoke.

“It seems the ‘Star Guardian’ will guide us. We’ll follow them.”

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