Note: Chapter 24 was uploaded yesterday, but it wasn’t showing up on NU’s main page for whatever reason yesterday. Unfortunately, during my available hours yesterday, the mods weren’t on either. So if you haven’t read it, just scroll down for the previous chapter button and read that first.
“Your highness, most of the participants have returned, only…”
“His highness hasn’t returned, correct?”
Vyvyan bit her finger nail and violently tossed a cup of water out. She stood up and anxiously walked back and forth outside the forest. She asked: “Have you gone to where the rescue call signal was fired?”
The captain of the imperial guards looked at their furious queen and quaked as they said: “We did… We only found five corpses belonging to the assassins… It appears that they were killed by Lucia and his highness. We are currently searching, but… We have yet to locate them… We do not know which direction they went. The heavy rain and strong winds also caused trees to fall. We think it may take some time to move the trees….”
“Uhm…” Vyvyvan took in a deep breath to calm herself down and then said: “I’ll go search for my son myself. Good work.”
“Your highness, you cannot leave. We need you to look at the list of dark elves and humans in addition to deciding how to deal with them.”
Vyvyan started to become slightly frustrated so she grabbed her hair and angrily said: “Elders, please tell me what you are all alive for. I’ve stayed here for two days already. I’ve had enough!! My son ran into assassins and his whereabouts are unknown. You have all been clinging to me asking me to interrogate the dark elves and humans for the last two days. I want to see my son. I want to search for my son. Searching for my son is more important than interrogating these people!”
Lucia’s father knelt down on one knee and said: “Your highness, you are the only one who is able to tell if they are lying or not. At present, we have found out that this is a plot. You must stay here in to prevent the success of their plot. His highness should be alright with Lucia by his side. Please have faith in Lucia and his highness. Even if they were to meet any mishap, did you not give his highness a horn? He should be fine. On the other hand, if our progress here is delayed, there is no telling how many of them will escape.”
Vyvyan’s eyebrows twitched. It was true that she could see through lies. She has the ability to unravel a criminal’s plan and thoughts with a single glance. There may be more assassins than this group, and possibly an even larger group. Her current prediction was that the dark elves were in cahoots with the humans who shared two goals, one was to kill the prince, and two, was to kill the eight elders. The queen was unable to leave since she needed to find out where the larger group was hiding.
Vyvyan clenched her teeth and passed down her orders: “Alright… Go and quickly find his highness’s whereabouts. Arm yourselves, and kill all those armed in the forest.”
“As you command.”
The fifth day since his highness’s disappearance…
“Reporting in… Other than his highness, all participants have returned…”
“This won’t do! This won’t do! It’s been five days… It’s been five entire days…. I have to go search for my son. I have to go search for my son. I’ll destroy the forest if I have to. My son has disappeared…. My son has disappeared….”
Vyvyvan was crying like she’d gone mad inside the tent. The imperial guards split up to scour the forest, but then they realised they were searching in the wrong direction afterwards. Their ability to sense mana couldn’t compare to Lucia or a white deer king, and as a result, they never managed to find us.
“Your highness! Your highness! We followed the clues you provided and the shadow squad discovered that the humans gathered in a small hunters’ hut. Our men have set up an ambush around the area. To avoid alerting, do you think…”
Vyvyan sprung up, grabbed the hair of Lucia’s father and thundered: “What are you reporting back for then?! If there are humans to capture, capture them. And if they resist, burn the hut! My son has been trapped in the forest for five days! Five days! How come you don’t have a single clue?! I’m going to go and search for him myself. I’ll personally go and search for him. You go and capture those humans. If you can’t capture them, kill them. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter! If something happened to my son, I’ll bury everyone on the continent as sacrifices!!”
The queen chanted an obscure curse, and she vanished from the tent in the next instant. The queen is able to accurately teleport to any location. I think she must’ve teleported to where the incident first started to begin with, and then used a spell that would allow her to re-create the scene at the time the incident happened. I imagine she would then search for the two of us.
The queen’s fury caused the clouds and rain still looming overhead to vanish, and so the second wave of hail was cancelled by her.
At the same time, the elven guard unit started to move, sending orders to the small group headed towards the humans.
When I awoke again, somebody had lit the fire once again. A black silhouette sat by the fire, throwing long lengths of firewood into the fire. The warm temperature and flickering flame filled the little cave, while the crackling flame warmed me up. The strong wind protecting the entrance of the cave had vanished. Lucia seemed to have returned.
However, I couldn’t tell who exactly the silhouette belong to.
The silhouette seemed to notice that I had awoken. It walked up to my side, pinched my chin and raised my head up. I looked at the black face mask in front of my face. I panicked at first but quickly relaxed after. I was going to die even if they hadn’t come. As a matter of fact, I’ll get a quick and less painful end now.
“Your highness, you should have figured out who I am by now. However, it looks like you cannot move. Sorry, your highness, please accept my sincere apology. Sorry.”
She removed her hoodie, revealing her blood-red lips and eyes. Of course I know who she is. The fragrance she carried gave her identity away. I don’t know if Lucia knows, but I know that there are definitely humans behind the scenes. I believe humans are the masterminds.
I wanted to ask her “why”, but I couldn’t speak.
She lightly walked away from me, picked up a backpack by the side, fumbled through it, pulled out a horn, laughed and said: “Wow, you guys had the horn of a white deer king. Why did you not use it? You could have nullified the venom just by grinding it into powder. You could have treated your wound and left, right? Why did you put yourself through this suffering when you had the most valuable items in your backpack?”
If my face could turn red, my face would be bright red right now. I didn’t use it, not because I wanted to uphold some sort of reputation, but simply because…
I think Lucia also forgot I had the horn of a white deer king in my backpack. We weren’t willing to use what the queen gave us, so I just shoved everything into my back without looking. The only memory Lucia and I had of the items was when mom placed them on the dinner table and told us about them that time. After that, neither of us touched the items. You can’t go wrong listening to mom….
Well, this is just great. I’ve got the antidote with me and Lucia has to go through so much suffering.
Mera threw the white deer king horn onto the ground and then crushed it under her feet. The horn shattered to pieces like a toy-statue. Mera then kicked the shattered pieces into the fire before sitting down by my side. She then pulled out a dagger from her belt, looked at me, knelt down and said: “I am very sorry, your highness. I do have shame, and I know that I owe you. However… However… You must know that my last tribe members… My last family members… They…. They mingle with humans… And they are all now under the control of the humans. If I do not kill you, they will all die.”
Mera looked at me and kowtowed, “Sorry, your highness… I have betrayed your gentleness and kindness. However, please understand that I have no choice…. I sincerely apologise…. However, please allow me to tell you some things, things only said between friends.”