Rockwall Lou – V8 Chapter 2

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐

(2)

Soft canopies continuously jut out from the cliff. Luo, holding Tweney, pierces through each canopy, descending one after the other.

After several breaks, they finally reached the bottom of the “large hole”.

The sun’s rays were pouring down. The ground was firm with grass and flowers growing. Although the climate was calm and warm, the surrounding area was filled with a dense and suffocating aura of magic. If one was not acclimated, they might have passed out.

“Hmm. We need to hide.”

Following Funyapippi’s warning, they hide behind rocks.

Above a distant forest, several enormous shadows were circling.

There were about ten of them.

“Tricky ones. They’re Rock King Eagles.”

“They’re my parent demon beast.”

“Is that so?”

Bird-type demon beasts are rarely seen on the ground. It’s believed that the miasma that turns beasts into demon beasts drifts like fog near the surface, but here at the bottom of the “large hole”, the miasma fills the air above as well.

“We have a long way to go. We should proceed carefully to avoid being spotted by the demon beasts.”

“Okay.”

“Understood.”

What lay ahead was a vast forest with ancient trees that seemed several centuries old. A thick carpet of bright moss covered the ground.

Of course, there were no roads. They just walked in the direction Funyapippi pointed out. Tweney wasn’t used to walking and ended up getting blisters.

Luo noticed it right away.

“Peppoko. Does your foot hurt?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Take off your shoes.”

At Luo’s suggestion, both of them went barefoot.

The ground in the direction they were heading shone like a rainbow, and a flat, soft path emerged.

“Don’t waste your magic like that.”

Luo, known in the “wilderness” to have the power to turn a plain called “Snow Wind” into a graveyard, had no trouble creating a path wide enough for children to walk hand in hand.

“That’s strange.”

Funyapippi, who had expected them to tire out quickly, kept tilting his head in confusion.

“Even with ‘magical power’, strong magic can be manifested, but it consumes a lot. Even with a ‘blessing’, it shouldn’t last that long.”

Just then, there was a loud snapping sound, like something being torn apart.

Above the forest, a long-necked, round-headed creature appeared. It wasn’t actually a snake; underneath its neck was a huge body with four legs and a long tail.

By rough estimate, it was over thirty times the size of a person.

“It’s a Millennium Dragon.”

“Wow.”

“I’ve never seen such a large demon beast.”

Both Luo and Tweney were wide-eyed in surprise.

“It’s not on the surface. The ‘Number One’ named it.”

The Millennium Dragon had a massive tree in its mouth. It tilted its head back and swallowed the tree whole. One would think its neck would break, but the dragon forcibly bent its neck, crushing the tree inside its throat.

The sheer force was overwhelming.

“We should circle around from its tail.”

Their small group and being on foot turned out to be a blessing. The rune stone Tweney carried could create a small barrier that hid them from demon beasts. If Luo and Tweney held hands, they could hide completely, and unlike a carriage, they made no noise.

Still, they proceeded with caution, holding their breath and taking detours.

 ㅤ

“Don’t worry. I’m the guide. I’ve also taken unexpected situations into account.”

From the hood, Funyapippi tapped Luo’s shoulder.

“First, we need to find a place to sleep before it gets dark. The forest at night is always dangerous. If we don’t find a good spot, we’ll be attacked by demon beasts and die immediately. Let’s tackle this with full spirit!”

Looking at the underground house equipped with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and even a well, Funyapippi looked displeased, but said nothing.

Fire is set on the wooden branches inside the hearth.

“What’s that?”

Luo placed a strange lump next to the fire.

“Green moss and purple moss. They were growing abundantly.”

He said he found it while descending the cliff.

“Moss isn’t edible.”

By the time they finished their simple meal and went to bed, both Luo and Tweney were exhausted. From the “Altar of Faith” to the bottom of the “Great Hole”, it had been a day full of challenges, but it wasn’t over yet.

Suddenly, the underground house started shaking.

“The demon beasts are fighting.”

From the air hole, a loud cry could be heard.

“Luo.”

“It’s okay.”

Luo gently touched Tweney’s anxious cheek and stared deeply into her eyes.

Ah, this feeling, Tweney thought.

“Don’t worry about anything. I will protect you.”

Yet, Luo fell asleep easily. Only he slept soundly. The voices of the demon beasts continued, and sounds like trees being torn and rocks breaking could be heard.

“Funyapippi.”

“What?”

“Tell me about the other Star Princesses.”

“Hmm, if I must.”

Funyapippi, curled up beside the pillow, seemed to have trouble sleeping too and agreed to chat.

Tweney wanted to know about the other Star Princesses.

Was it painful for them, or sad? Or did they endure with a strong will?

And then,

In the darkness, Tweney gently rested her cheek on Luo’s shoulder beside her.

How did they let go of their lingering attachments?

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀◇

The city of Arche was barely holding on.

Every direction was surrounded by demon beasts. Fortunately, there were no “huge” ones like the Crested Bear or the Moon Horned Elephant that could break the outer walls. However, several demon beasts that could climb had penetrated the walls, and many casualties had already occurred.

The city’s militia, including the demon beast hunters, wizards, and even volunteers from the residents, formed various teams to keep watch day and night, but their morale was low.

The only reason they were still holding on was because of the appearance of a peculiar assistant commander.

“The eastern aqueduct bridge is the lifeline of this city. We mustn’t fight near it. Therefore, we’ll make the area outside the west gate our battlefield.”

Inside the city hall’s main conference room, Maasa was giving orders with a city map spread out in front of her.

“We’ll take the initiative. Have you selected the demon beast hunters for this?”

“Yes.”

The captain of the city militia responded confidently.

 ㅤ

“As per your assistant’s request, I’ll be hunting a nimble demon beast alone.”

“Alright. I will hand over the rune stone to you.”

“However, we cannot open the city gates.”

“Please descend from the elevator tower’s window using a rope. It’s sufficiently large for entry and exit, and there should be indentations on the wall to use as footholds. At this time, the wind isn’t very strong. Paralyze a “small” demon beast with the numbing medicine and wound just one of them. The other demon beasts should then fight among themselves. The demon beasts are also quite…”

Maasa, with a cold tone and expression, uttered something chilling.

“They must be hungry.”

“So, let them cannibalize.”

“There are various kinds of demon beasts. The possibility of them resorting to cannibalism is low.”

The issue was different, but the city’s captain, upon receiving the instruction, swallowed his saliva nervously.

On the other hand, having a calm tea chat were the elderly ladies responsible for dissecting: Suu, Nura, and Morin.

“Maasa-chan has always been something special.”

“I’ve known that from a long time ago.”

“Well, I thought the same.”

By the way, Crozet is staying at the “House of Walls” taking care of Theresa. Perhaps because she handed over her representative duties to Maasa, Theresa’s vigor has declined, and she frequently falls ill.

“Ever since she was little, she’s been quite remarkable.”

“Even in harsh environments, she never cried and always stayed calm.”

“Oh, it’s not always like that. Maybe Theresa-sama’s expectations were too high. I remember once Maasa-chan was scolded severely, and in the shadow of a tent, she━━”

“Excuse me, everyone.”

For Maasa, the three elderly ladies felt like older sisters. Even if she gained authority as the “Star Guardian”, she still couldn’t act superior in their presence.

She asked, blushing slightly.

“Can I request a “blessing” for the demon beast hunt?”

Though not as potent as the Star Princess who carries the “Blood of the Goddess,” when the devout clergy of the Mail Religion combine their powers, they can temporarily enhance the physical abilities of the target.

“Well, Mrs. ‘Star Guardian’.”

Norancho, who despite the food shortage was still quite portly, was watching Maasa’s command with admiration.

“You’re quite impressive.”

“It’s just knowledge. Things might not always go as planned.”

Maasa answered honestly.

After sending the Star Princess on a “journey of trials”, it was also the “Star Guardian”‘s role to protect the city of Arche.

Born from past battles and passed down through generations, Maasa tried to convey the strategies and tactics of the “Star Guardian” to Norancho. However, for some reason, due to the lack of time to learn, she was unexpectedly promoted to the temporary position of deputy commander.

“Well, we are in a better position. Thanks to the barrier, without even realizing, we were protected. As a result, we lost not only our combat experience but even our readiness to fight.”

“However,”

“All responsibilities lie with me as the governor and commander. I would like the ‘Star Guardian’ to fully utilize your precious knowledge.”

 ㅤ

Given what’s been said, Maasa had no choice but to agree. There was no other option but to promise to do her best.

As for Norancho, there were reasons why he honestly felt it wasn’t the time to fight.

The head of general affairs rushes in with a pale face.

“Mayor, it’s urgent!”

“Again?”

When referred to as the mayor, it pertains to internal matters.

Riots stemming from food shortages, opinions from representatives of various districts, protests, impeachment requests. The list is endless.

“This truly defines internal strife and external threats.”

Whether breached from the outside or imploding from within, this city will perish. It’s a delicate balance to see which will happen first.

Maybe about ten days.

If the princess called the “Star Princess” can reach the “Altar of Fate” by then, there might be a chance of salvation.

Ten days later, just as Norancho predicted, the city of Arche was on the verge of falling when powerful reinforcements appeared.

Knights of the “Star Guardian” and members of the Hero Squad all returned together.

However, the news wasn’t all celebratory.

Neither the knights of the “Star Guardian” nor the Hero Squad were able to fulfill their objectives.

Ozma’s betrayal and the truth about the “covenant.”

The new journey of the princess and the young wizard.

After compiling reports from both parties, Norancho, having finally grasped the full scope of the situation, let out a heavy sigh.

*

“Even if one has power, wisdom, or knowledge, if they can’t come together, a tragedy can occur.”

At this point, the options were limited.

Just like before.

To hold out to the very end and survive.

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