“That stupid daughter of mine!”
The Chief-san raised his voice in anger.
All the children of Rosalie-san held their heads, including Lucy.
Maximilian-san and Flona-san were making complicated expressions.
“Let’s go after her.” (Makoto)
I proposed this.
“Wait, Makoto. The 18th spell of Mama is Teleport.” (Lucy)
“There’s the chance that we might chase after her only for Rosalie-san to return…” (Aya)
Lucy and Sa-san explained the reason why everyone is here.
“Are you saying we have no choice but to wait?” (Makoto)
“It is hard to think that the Crimson Witch Rosalie-sama would lose anyways…” (Janet)
Janet-san seems to trust in the strength of Lucy’s mother.
Well, she was strong enough to easily defeat a Demon Lord Confidant after all.
“But even Rosalie isn’t invincible. Rosalie said that she can’t win against the White Great Sage-sama.”
“100 years ago, the one who defeated the Demon Lord Valac was the Sun Country’s Hero…”
The family of Lucy were worried about Rosalie-san.
I asked what bothered me.
“The Great Sage-sama is stronger than Rosalie-san?” (Makoto)
“Mother herself said that she actually fought with her and lost, so there’s no mistake.”
Lucy’s sister answered me.
“Eh?! Mama and the Great Sage-sama?” (Lucy)
Lucy didn’t know either, huh.
“When Mother-sama married in the Sun Country, she said it was suffocating with its hierarchical system, so she challenged the Great Sage-sama of that time to a match.”
“The result was 20 matches, 20 defeats. She apparently got beaten to a pulp without being able to put a finger on her.”
The sisters of Lucy tell me.
Wow, Great Sage-sama.
Oops, we derailed there.
“And so, has the next move been decided?” (Makoto)
I ask everyone and the silence returns.
Flona-san told me in representation of everyone that:
-Today at noon, the Wood Country’s forces are going to be gathering while marching to the Demon Lord’s grave.
-The safe choice would be to match that.
-But are we going to leave Rosalie-san for so long?
That’s what they are troubled about.
I glanced at my comrades.
Lucy was hanging her head down and pondering.
Even though she has finally met her mother after several years.
Of course she would be worried about the safety of her family.
“Then, how about we go to the Demonic Forest first?” (Makoto)
“You are worried about your mother, right?” (Makoto)
Lucy puts her hands together seemingly uneasy.
“Well then, we are going to go ahead to the Demonic Forest, so…” (Makoto)
“W-Wait, please! I can’t let you go on your own, Makoto-niisan!” (Leo)
Prince Leonard hurriedly stopped me.
“It is okay. Sa-san and I can use Stealth, so we will be advancing while avoiding the monsters. If we find Rosalie-san, we will have her use Teleport.” (Makoto)
I also tell them that if we can’t find her, we will be hiding till we reunite with everyone.
“Are you okay with that, Lucy, Sa-san?” (Makoto)
“Okay~.”, Sa-san’s response was light.
That really helps me relax.
“…Thanks, Makoto.” (Lucy)
Lucy directs a grateful look at me.
“Eh? What about me?” (Furiae)
Furiae-san points at herself flustered.
“You stay here, Princess. Stay together with Flona-san and the others.” (Makoto)
If she is together with the Wood Oracle, I can be at ease.
“…Leaving me behind again?” (Furiae)
She says with eyes half-closed.
“No, we can’t bring you to the Demon Lord’s grave…” (Makoto)
It is dangerous.
But it seems like Furiae-san was not convinced.
“I can be of use, you know? I am good at necromancy, so my affinity with the monsters in the Demonic Forest is good.” (Furiae)
She pokes my cheek.
By the time I noticed, Tsui was kicking my legs.
You’re telling me to bring you too?
As her Guardian Knight, I don’t want to bring her to a dangerous place.
“Yeah, no. You are staying, Princess.” (Makoto)
“Eeeh?!” “Nyaa Nyaa!”
Furaiae-san and Tsui protested.
Hey, you black cat, you could cry normally, huh.
You guys will be waiting here.
“Okay then, we will use 5 minutes to prepare and then depa—” (Makoto)
“Wait, Rozes Hero-dono.” (Wolt)
The one who called me to a stop was the Chief-san.
He looks straight into my eyes.
“I was worried about something silly. Rosalie is our family. We shall go together!” (Wolt)
“I will guide the way, Rozes Hero-sama. There’s shortcuts that only elves know.”
“Let’s prepare at once.”
“Onee-chan, Onii-chan!” (Lucy)
In the end, more than half of the fighters of the Kanan Village will be chasing after Rosalie-san.
The remaining half will be protecting the village.
The ones going will be mostly the male elf warriors (mainly the brothers of Lucy).
Also the Wind Tree Hero, Maximilian-san.
In the end, Prince Leonard and Janet-san will be coming too.
The Chief-san has to keep in contact with the other villages, so he is staying.
(He rampaged saying ‘I will be going too!’, but his family persuaded him.) (Makoto)
Furiae-san will be staying here with Flona-san.
Most of the female elves will be staying in the village.
Almost all the elves are high rank mages, so the women are powerful fighters too.
Unless it is quite the extreme situation, the defense of the village should be fine.
We departed to the Demonic Forest.
We silently advance through the Demonic Forest.
It isn’t the same path Sa-san and I explored before.
It is apparently a shortcut to the Demon Lord’s grave that only the people of the village know about.
There’s few monsters and we can safely advance…apparently.
The mist is dense in the Demonic Forest even at noon.
The branches of the giant magic trees that are said to surpass the 1,000 years in age were overlapping and blocking the sunlight.
The Water Spirits were noisy.
“…There’s a lot of monsters.” (Janet)
She can use Detection that has a wide effective range.
What she says can be trusted.
“What do you think, Lucy?” (Makoto)
“Yeah…this might be the first time I hear such a noisy Demonic Forest.” (Lucy)
I could see the elves guiding the way were also tense.
We advance through the Demonic Forest carefully.
After a while, all of a sudden…
A head-splitting headache attacked me.
(What’s this…?) (Makoto)
A headache from Detection…?
The elf warriors guiding the front stopped.
(…That’s not it.) (Makoto)
The elves at the front turned into stone!
The moment my brain registered that…
“Water Magic: [Mist]!” (Makoto)
I put my all to create a heavy fog.
The vision is blocked in an instant.
I can’t see anything in a distance of 1 meter.
“Hoh! Splendid! With just one use of the Petrification Gaze, you took the optimal option of blocking the vision. I would like to see the face of that mage!”
A voice that seemed to be enjoying this from the bottom of his heart.
There’s not even the need to ask who it is.
I remember it.
“Excuse the lateness. My name is the Setekh of the Magic Eyes. The one who dirties the lowest seats of the Great Ruler-sama. I have been waiting for you people, the warriors of the Wood Country!” (Setekh)
He is really excited…
Setekh of the Petrification Eyes, huh.
Looks like his legendary magic eyes have returned.
This is troubling…
“Everyone! Please come out!” (Setekh)
Setekh shouts loudly.
The voices of many beasts rang.
“We are surrounded!” (Lucy)
I also noticed slightly later that we are in the very middle of enemy territory.
They were waiting in ambush?
“Everyone, scatter! You will be targeted if you are too grouped up!” (Max)
“Sa-san, I count on you with Prince Leonard!” (Makoto)
“Got it!” (Aya)
Sa-san can use Stealth, so she should be able to carry Prince Leonard alone!
“Lucy, let’s go!” (Makoto)
I pull the hand of Lucy and activate Stealth.
“Ssh! Keep quiet.” (Makoto)
I covered the mouth of Lucy and, silently, but quickly left our location.
We are surrounded by enemies.
But it is not a perfect encirclement.
We can run away if it is now.
“Fufufu, I am here, Wood Country’s Hero-dono. How about slaying me and raising your name?” (Setekh)
I could hear the provocation of Setekh.
Why does he know the Wood Country’s Hero is here?
Can he tell just from his voice?
I use [Eavesdrop].
But I don’t hear the sounds of battle.
Everyone should be retreating from this place.
We have to escape too.
“That’s boring… Even though His Majesty Bifrons will soon be reviving…Shuri isn’t coming back.” (Setekh)
I faintly pick up those words of his with Eavesdrop.
(Soon…? He means at the full moon tonight, right?) (Makoto)
Is that really the case?
I had a slight bad feeling about that, but I decided to prioritize running away.
Within the deep mist.
We held our breaths as I continued using Stealth.
I eventually stopped hearing the voices and footsteps of the beasts.
I could also confirm with my Detection Skill that the enemies were getting further away.
Managed to escape huh…
I sighed in relief.
I turn around and speak to my comrade.
“Lucy, we managed to escape…e-eh?” (Makoto)
“…Sorry. I was told not to speak, so…”
The one who was being pulled by my hand and had an apologetic expression…was a female knight with blonde hair and sharp eyes.