Rockwall Lou – V7 Chapter 2

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐

(2)

The knights of the “Star Guardian”, having repelled the “demon beast”, carefully wiped off the beast’s splattered blood before boarding their carriage.

The power bestowed upon them through the Star Princess was truly remarkable. It granted them extraordinary strength, agility, and stamina. Their morale was also high.

The seniors were overwhelmed with exhilaration and wanted to shout out in joy, but given the presence of the Star Princess, to whom they had dedicated their swords, they maintained their reverence and calmness inside the carriage.

“I’m back.”

Meanwhile, Luo had an air of casualness about him.

As expected, he took a seat next to Tweney, held her hand, and gazed into her eyes.

“I’m sorry for always making you feel lonely.”

Luo’s assigned duty was to protect Tweney, Mii and Pii the hippohorses, and the carriage. Although protected by a visual barrier, the scent of the “Blood of the Goddess” attracted the demon beasts. The noise of the carriage wheels and the dust clouds couldn’t be suppressed. If they had to battle the demon beasts, the knights would engage in combat, while Luo would ensure the safety of the carriage.

“But, I promise to always protect you. I don’t want to see you cry, except for tears of joy.”

Luo faithfully enacted the reassuring role similar to that of a father comforting a worried mother. Although his lines seemed awkward and rehearsed, they were sincere.

“Thank you, Luo. I’m grateful.”

Tweney declined to accompany Luo in order to fulfill her own mission. However, one of her traits is her good nature in giving up. She felt indebted to Luo for all the help he had provided and wanted to return the favor.

“That, Luo.”

“What?”

“Is there anything you want me to do?”

“A story!”

Luo responded immediately.

“A story?”

“Yes. The one you told me at Akkare Castle.”

In the old castle where the two met, Tweney recited a passage from the “Hero’s Tale” to Luo, but she felt that his reaction might have been a bit lukewarm.

“I want to hear Peppoko’s voice.”

“Mine?”

“Yes, it’s beautiful.”

“A, Alright then.”

Luo did something even more unexpected. He rested his head on Tweney’s lap and rolled over, lying down.

Tweney, who had little experience interacting with others, was surprised. But she thought that maybe she was just naive, and for ordinary people, this might be a normal act. Besides, it felt like she was being relied upon in some way, and it made her heart tickle.

“Well, let me tell you a story.”

Of course, the carriage wasn’t just occupied by the two of them. It felt awkward, like watching a young couple’s intimate moment up close, but the seniors whispered among themselves.

“Hey, at this rate, won’t Luo turn into a ladies’ man?”

“But the Star Princess doesn’t seem entirely uninterested.”

“This isn’t good. Luo is a member of the transport team. He’s meant to be a future knight. Such soft behavior isn’t befitting.”

“Come on, it’s just what kids do. There’s no need to make a big deal out of it.”

“But still.”

Recalling the story from her memories, Tweney narrated the “heroic tale”. Luo listened intently with his eyes closed. Before long, the seniors too were engrossed in the nostalgic tale.

“And so, peace returned to the village, and the “hero” Maltheus embarked on a new journey, wishing for the villagers’ happiness. All’s well that ends well. . . . . . Luo?”

Luo was soundly asleep.

The first thing that appeared upon entering the “wilderness” was a gray forest covered with leafless trees called “Black Forest.” The branches and trunks of the trees were twisted in intricate patterns, giving off a creepy vibe.

The carriage stopped, and the coachman Gangi reported in a hushed voice.

“A burnable caterpillar is blocking the road.”

Ahead in the direction of travel, something resembling a mound can be seen.

“Oh, this is a rare big one.”

“At least ten times the size of a person.”

“If only it wasn’t at this moment.”

“Such a pity.”

The elderly whispered amongst themselves.

Tweney recognized it from the demon beast encyclopedia. The burnable caterpillar is a demon beast version of a caterpillar. When its flesh is dried, it becomes firewood that emits a strong and long flame, hence its name. In lands where trees don’t grow well, it’s a precious resource.

“What should we do, Gangi?”

In response to Bekios’s question, Gangi, who had been intently observing the burnable caterpillar, answered.

“There are no crossroads here, and we can’t make a detour. Given its size. . . . . .”

“Exactly. If we provoke it, it might crush the carriage.”

“It will take time, but we have to go through the forest.”

At that moment, Gangi suddenly turned to look at Luo.

“Star Princess, I apologize, but could you wake Luo?”

With sleep in his eyes, Luo used magic to create a path through the ground, allowing the carriage to pass underneath the burnable caterpillar without difficulty.

Even during breaks, Luo’s magic came in handy.

On a long journey, the most crucial thing is drinking water. Tweney knew this from experience. They always had to conserve water, and washing their face, hair, or body was out of the question. Despite this, Luo would quickly dig a well with his magic, complete with a spiral staircase that went to the bottom, eliminating the need to draw water. According to Luo, it’s the same as an elevator tower.

Furthermore, Luo would create a safe underground residence at night. There were air holes, so it wasn’t stuffy, and they could even cook using fire. Each had their own room, and although the beds were supposed to be made of compacted soil, they were warm and soft.

The seniors were more flabbergasted than impressed.

“Amazing. Luo’s magic is something else.”

“Heh, with this, there’s no need for night watch.”

“Indeed. Let’s rejuvenate and prepare for tomorrow’s journey.”

“Oh, what a relief.”

The underground house was bustling while the seniors were awake, but once everyone went to sleep, it became eerily silent.

Being alone is scary, thought Tweney.

With every step, the end felt closer. It was a palpable realization.

Overwhelmed, Tweney left the room.

“Luo, I’m a bit scared. Can I sleep with you?”

“Sure.”

Even though Luo did his best to comfort the frightened Tweney, he eventually fell asleep. Just hearing Luo’s regular breathing was comforting for Tweney. Even if sleep was elusive, she could still rest her mind and body.

After an indeterminate amount of time, a muffled sob could be heard.

“Luo?”

“Mom.”

Shivering, Luo was crying.

“Please don’t die, Mom.”

Not knowing what else to do, Tweney embraced Luo, patting his back gently as if comforting a baby.

“It’s okay. I’m here with you.”

After a while, Luo’s trembling stopped.

Despite possessing immense magical power, there’s a very fragile part in Luo. Tweney noticed this.

It’s not just about being protected. I want to do everything I can for Luo.

As she thought about that, Luo stirred in her arms.

“Peppoko? Is it morning already?”

“No, it’s still night.”

Even when this journey ends, I hope we can return safely to the city of Arche.

“Luo.”

“What?”

“By the covenant with the Goddess Mail, in the name of Twenetie, I bestow power upon you.”

She prayed with all her heart, but there was no sign of the goddess’s power being manifested.

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