Rockwall Lou – V7 Chapter 6

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟔

(6)

It is said that the beginning dates back three or four thousand years. In an era when the gods of the heavens and the people of the earth shared a somewhat closer bond, a sudden jolt, accompanied by thunder, opened a large hole in the earth. Due to the miasma that gushed out, animals transformed into ferocious demon beasts and went on a rampage.

Distressed, the king of humans approached the brink of this gaping hole and wished upon the vast starry sky for salvation. This place was believed to be the closest to the celestial palace where the gods resided.

To the sincere wish of the king, a goddess responded.

The king, who was granted salvation, was concerned about the distant future and decided to establish an altar at this place.

It was the “Altar of Endings.”

Subsequently, a temple that covered the altar was constructed by the enterprise of a king from several generations later. This hexagonal-shaped temple is said to be protected by a barrier that blinds the demon beasts, much like the city of Arche.

Although there were no signs of being ravaged by monsters, the ancient temple seemed to be on the verge of decay. Cracks appeared on the large pillars, the intricate carvings faded, and parts of the dome ceiling were crumbling.

In the center of the temple, right under a streak of light, there was a hexagonal pedestal.

Upon it, a colossal beast lay.

Vibrant blue fur, milky white horns spiraling, and a majestic lion’s body covered with wings resembling those of a bird of prey. While its size was about five times that of a human, if it spread its wings, it would probably surpass ten times a human.

It was a creature known as the Blue Demon Beast or the Horned Lion.

As if overwhelmed by its majestic presence, visitors cautiously approached.

They consisted of five knights and two children.

The winged lion beast, with a hint of displeasure, raised its head.

[You’re late. Even later than your predecessor. Is the human king becoming increasingly foolish?]

The words were not spoken aloud. The beast’s intentions resonated directly in their minds.

The knights instinctively braced themselves, shielding the two children. Even if they believed in myths, the overwhelming sensation of anger, akin to a killing intent, made them react involuntarily.

The blue-furred beast growled with apparent displeasure.

[Leave the “Blood of the Goddess” here and depart quickly.]

Gangi, the captain of the transport team, stepped forward and knelt.

“On behalf of the “Star Guardian”, I, Gangi, address the “Horned Lion”. Our duty is to deliver the “Star Princess” to the “Altar of Endings” and safely return her. We wish to wait here until the “Sealing Ritual” is completed.”

[Foolish and pitiful.]

“Excuse me?”

[And hard to tolerate.]

The beast opened its massive mouth and roared.

[Not only do you disregard the salvation granted by the goddess, but are you also trying to forget the sin of surviving at the expense of your brethren?!]

The roar, paired with the beast’s angry thoughts, was powerful enough to shake the decaying temple.

Gangi cringed, and the senior knights collapsed to their knees, as if burdened by heavy weights.

[You do not deserve salvation!]

Among those present, only Tweney seemed to grasp the true intent of the beast. Perhaps the Horned Lion was expressing its anger for the sake of the pitiable “Star Princess.”

But that wasn’t her genuine desire.

“Please, wait.”

As the girl, with a trembling heart, stepped forward trying to appease the enraged beast, another group appeared from behind.

“Ah, we’ve finally caught up.”

It was unbelievable.

“Stardust Plain” was a place with clear visibility. She checked behind her multiple times, but there was no approaching carriage. Unless they had taken a shortcut, there shouldn’t be a chance meeting.

That was the person with whom the girl had traveled and run away mid-journey.

It was the Hero Squad.

Ozma at the front gave Tweney a glance. The usual smile that was always on her lips was gone. Battsu, Paulun, Tenku, and Fuuri were there too. Out of guilt, the girl looked away.

“I deeply apologize, Lord Horned Lion. These individuals got separated from the main group during our journey. They are mere underlings, not properly informed about the ‘covenant’. Instead, I, the one in charge, will apologize.”

“B, Black Neck Squad!”

The knights stood up, drawing their swords, when once again, the beast roared.

[Are you planning to spill base blood here, fool?!]

Amidst the stifling atmosphere, only Ozma, with an unperturbed demeanor, took a grand bow.

“Lord Horned Lion, I shall now bring Star Princess to you. Please, save many of our comrades.”

The beast glared at the Hero Squad but did not threaten them. Instead, it seemed to sigh in relief.

[Hmph, seems you understand to some extent.]

“Yes, I recognize my place.”

The knights of the “Star Guardian” were confused.

The Black Neck Squad approached confidently. However, they couldn’t attack. For some reason, only they were being targeted with the wrath of the Horned Lion.

They couldn’t just hand over the Star Princess either. Using weapons would lead to bloodshed. Surely, it would further upset the Horned Lion. With limited time and options, Gangi’s last hope was the magic of Luo.

“Luo, bind those wizards━━”

“Hey, Luo-kun.”

The one who asked gently was Ozma.

“Can you restrain the members of the ‘Star Guardian’?”

“What does ‘restrain’ mean?”

“Ah, well. . . . . .”

Ozma pointed to Battsu.

“Can you do what this guy did? Bind them with stone ropes. Can you?”

“Yes, I can. ‘Muddy Rope’.”

The boy’s eyes shone red, and the magic activated. The floor stones broke apart, transforming into tentacle-like extensions, restraining the five knights. The knights tried to break free using their superhuman strength, but they ended up suspended.

“Lu, Luo! What are you. . . . . .”

The knights were further confused.

Not just the “Star Guardian”, even members of the Hero Squad had complex expressions watching the scene.

“Luo, why. . . . . .”

Tweney muttered in shock.

The boy stared back at Tweney with a puzzled look. His face and gestures remained unchanged, only his actions were erratic.

“It’s pointless, Princess.”

A flame appeared and vanished on Ozma’s palm.

Tweney recognized that flame. It was the same fire magic that Tabashika used during the debut ceremony and that Ozma tried to use on her during the journey of trials at Akkare castle. It was the flame magic that manipulates the heart.

“Well, it’s time.”

“No, no.”

Ozma approached, but there was no safer place than next to Luo. Therefore, Tweney couldn’t run.

“Please accept your role, Star Princess. Otherwise, something might happen to Luo-kun.”

Ozma leaned in close to whisper in Tweney’s ear.

“I will have those knights strangled.”

Tweney’s eyes widened in shock.

“What’s there to hesitate about? You came all this way to save this country, didn’t you?”

Ozma held out a hand.

“I dislike people who are slow to decide. Even if they are children.”

Looking at the frightened Tweney, Ozma sighed.

“Oh dear. I didn’t intend to scar a young heart, but it can’t be helped. Luo-kun, to the “Star Guardian” people━━”

“W, Wait!”

Finally, Tweney managed to speak up.

“Please wait.”

This wizard will surely do anything. You can’t go against him.

“If I go with you, will you save Luo and everyone else?”

Ozma nodded easily.

“If our objective is achieved, we have no use for them. We will release them immediately.”

It was just a verbal promise. Knowing this, Tweney had no choice but to cling to those words.

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