Rockwall Lou – V8 Chapter 5

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓

(5)

Tweney, barely able to stand due to weakness in her legs, was carried on Luo’s back. Following the guidance of the women, they crossed a bridge made of tree roots and reached a floating island.

The silver tree up close was magnificent. Its age was either a thousand years or more. It wasn’t just large. The trunk and branches had a complicated and dignified shape. Its transparent leaves, delicate like insect wings, transformed sunlight into rainbow colors, sparkling over the water’s surface.

At the base of the trunk was a large hollow. It resembled the entrance to a cave. Following the women inside, it turned out to be a cylindrical living room.

Clearly more spacious than the thickness of the tree’s trunk.

From the ceiling hung flowers with bell-shaped petals emitting a faint light. In the center of the room, there was a large round table and chairs, with a carpet laid on the floor.

On the living room wall, there were several prominent grains in the wood. As one looked through them, a strange creature appeared.

It resembled the stone statues outside, but this one had legs. With long arms and fingers, its body was made of a green, fluffy material.

It was a moss doll.

A flower blossomed on its head, and with fern plants hanging down as its hair, it appeared somewhat feminine.

“They are spirits of plants. Slow on their feet, but dexterous with their hands. They take care of our daily needs.”

The woman in a white coat said nonchalantly.

Tweney noticed a certain change.

It used to feel like it echoed inside her head earlier, but now it’s audible.

The women’s bodies are not see-through, nor do they shine. The other women were the same.

Six women took their seats first. Funyapippi, who had hopped onto the table, curled up as if turning her back. It seemed he got upset because the introduction was half-hearted.

The moss dolls pulled two remaining chairs.

“Peppoko, can you sit?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

Another set of moss dolls pushed a wagon loaded with a tea set. Smoothly, they poured tea into cups. From another container, using a ladle, an amber liquid was poured.

The woman with the soft curly hair explained.

“It’s the nectar of a flower called Tsukishizuku. It only grows in limited areas even at the bottom of the ‘Great Hole’. It’ll heal your fatigue and even minor wounds quickly.”

The refreshing-scented tea seemed to permeate Tweney’s exhausted body. She felt a warmth spreading, making her limbs feel lighter.

Once settled, they reintroduced themselves.

“Let’s start with me first.”

The woman in the calm white dress, with a neutral and unemotional tone, was Sorcier.

Second, the woman in a lavish dress with a graceful demeanor, was Vengeous.

Third, the gentle-looking woman with soft curly hair, was Seto.

Fourth, the woman with short hair, dressed like a man and with a sharp expression, was Aroma.

Fifth, a young girl in her early teens, was Mildy.

And sixth, the woman with her hair tied high and a slightly melancholic smile, was Ophelia.

At the mention of the sixth woman, Tweney visibly flinched.

Then, Tweney and Luo introduced themselves.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Tweney.”

“I’m Luo, a grade four wizard known as ‘Rockwall’.”

Luo, despite his nervousness, managed to introduce himself, eliciting a reaction from Ophelia.

Sorcier gave a nod and began to explain.

“We are the successive Star Princesses. The order in which we introduced ourselves corresponds to our chronological order. In other words, I’m the first generation.”

“The successive Star Princesses.”

 ㅤ

Astonished, Tweney murmured.

Arriving at the destination, she thought it was supposed to end here. There is nothing beyond this. It’s impossible to confirm whether the nations and people were saved.

Yet, that’s what she believed.

“And now, the place where we’re talking is the ‘miniature garden’, the final destination of the ‘journey of trials’. A world existing between heaven and earth. It might be better to describe it as a space where both can intersect. Without our physical bodies, we are like ghosts. If we don’t maintain our presence, even in the earthly world, you all won’t even recognize us. . . . . .”

“Sorcier-oneesama.”

At Mildy’s reproachful voice, Sorcier shrugged.

“Ah, I apologize. My explanation seems complex and lacks consideration. It seems unfit for children. Vengeous, may I leave it to you?”

“Understood, Sorcier-oneesama.”

Vengeous took over the role of explaining.

“Little Star Princess, Tweney. We will answer all your questions. But first, let us confirm something.”

Vengeous’s doubt was about this “journey of trials”.

“Originally, the Star Princess should have waited in the city of Arche, passing the ‘Red Wave’ and then departing for the ‘Altar of Endings’. What went wrong this time?”

Having received an explanation from Maasa, Tweney could answer.

Forty years ago, a major battle erupted between the royal family and the church, and the Mail Cult was almost annihilated.

“The Mail Religion was banned, and the temples and the statues of the Goddess were destroyed.”

The women, who once were Star Princesses, were abuzz.

Ten years ago, the year Tweney was born, an incident occurred where the surviving members of the church sneaked into the royal palace.

“I was told it was to seal my power.”

The seal was successful, but they were all captured and executed. The women buzzed again, and Tweney hastily added.

“It’s okay. The ‘Star Guardians’ survived in the city of Arche.”

“Is that so?”

Vengeous looked gloomy.

“The friction between the royal family and the church reached that extent.”

In other times, there were conflicts between the secretive Mail Cult, which monopolized vested interests, and the royal family.

“Even though the name of the country changed many times, only the Mail Cult, the bearer of the ‘covenant’, persisted.”

Sorcier sighed.

“My father’s wish also perished here. No, perhaps it’s remarkable that it lasted until this era.”

The father of the first Star Princess might be the ancient king who made a “covenant” with the Goddess.

“So, were you safe?”

Vengeous urged the story.

“Yes. I wore a mask and lived moving from one place to another within the kingdom.”

“A mask? What kind of mask?”

“A mask to hide the seal’s emblem.”

The room fell silent.

Vengeous’s lips twisted, revealing white teeth. Her eyes slanted, and her elegant hair swayed gently.

 ㅤ

V, Vengeous-onee-sama.”

Seto from next door called out, but Aroma from the opposite side seemed even more angry. The phrase “hair standing on end” would be perfect. All her short hair stood up.

“To the Star Princess, who should be revered by all, what a treatment!”

“A, Aroma.”

“Such a rotten royal family isn’t necessary. Even if the “covenant” is fulfilled and the country is saved, just destroy it――.”

“I, I’m sorry!”

The one who stood up and bowed was Ophelia.

“As a member of the same royal family, I apologize.”

Aroma and Vengeous’s anger dissipated. Ophelia probably spoke more to not scare the children than out of genuine remorse. To clear the awkward atmosphere, Tweney spoke.

“It wasn’t all bad.”

A life without any hope for the future, giving up on everything and just existing.

Even so, at Akkare Castle.

“Because I met Luo.”

Luo blushed as she received a slightly mature and happy smile.

Later, Tweney was called back to the royal capital. She had been locked up for a while but was ordered by her father, King Ramon, to set out with the Hero Squad led by Ozma.

To defeat the “Blue Demon Beast”.

Sorcier nodded.

“Ophelia. What was he called at your time?”

“That, ‘Blue Demon’.”

Vengeous cast a cold gaze towards Funyapippi.

“Lord Horned Lion, did you rampage again?”

“Didn’t rampage.”

Funyapippi turned away.

“I just breathed a little.”

Afterwards, when Tweney arrived in Arche city, she miraculously reunited with Luo and set out for the “Altar of Endings” with the knights of “Star Guardian”.

“After overcoming all the hardships, you’ve finally arrived, Tweney. Our beloved sister.”

Vengeous seemed moved to tears. At first, she seemed like a refined and demure lady, but it seems she’s quite emotional.

“It’s all thanks to Luo.”

Without Luo, who knows what would have happened. The knights of “Star Guardian” might have been defeated by just Battsu, and probably couldn’t have reached the “Altar of Endings”. Or even before that, her own spirit might have broken.

Funyapippi got up and stretched like a cat.

“Luo is the same as Maltheus.”

That one sentence shocked the women.

Sorcier was taken aback.

“Is that true, Lord Horned Lion?”

“No doubt. He may lose in terms of destructive power. But in terms of usefulness, Luo is definitely superior.”

“His very existence was supposed to be an impossible probability. But with this much trust, perhaps.”

“Right.”

Luo asked.

“Is Maltheus a hero?”

“Do you know him?”

“Yes. Peppoko told me.”

 ㅤ

Tweney added.

“Maltheus is the protagonist of the fairy tale called ‘The Tale of the Hero’. He’s so famous in the kingdom that no one doesn’t know him. Also, Princess Ophelia appears in it.”

“Oh my!”

Ophelia seemed surprised as well.

“It’s already been seven hundred years.”

In the story, Maltheus and Ophelia were in love. Now, only Ophelia remains. Tweney imagined how she might feel. Is she sad? Is it painful? Or does she just feel nostalgic?

“Ophelia.”

“Yes, Sorcier-oneesama.”

“You two, look alike.”

Ophelia didn’t deny Sorcier’s words.

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