Chapter 1 Part 1
The next morning. We arrived at the border area’s three guard posts. We were finally able to rest in a building, not on the ground.
Kwanach will temporarily open the closed border gate later tonight and act as if he is making a secret deal. Now we will wait and see if the bait will show up.
There was a little time left in the evening before the plan could really get underway. I wanted to take it easy and wash more than anything. I had just reached the end of my patience.
The lodgings provided by the border guards had one large bathroom and several bathrooms attached to a special room. When everyone ran to the large bathroom, Oslin secretly let us use the bath in his room. Marianne decided to wash with me while she took care of the bath.
How many days had it been since I had a warm bath? As soon as she poured the hot water over my body, a lazy breath came out.
“Your beautiful hair is all tangled up.”
Gently, Marianne stroked my hair and said sadly.
“I’ve been hiding it in my wig all along, so it’s understandable.”
“I had a hard time, too, but how did Your Majesty endure all this trouble?”
“Is that so? It wasn’t that hard. And I’ll be done dressing up as a man today.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I don’t know what’s going to happen today. So you’ll have to stay in.”
“And Your Majesty?”
“I’ll probably have to walk around.”
Once again dressed as a man, I intended to look closely at all the people here with the help of the plants. If Roman used his magic to turn into someone else, I would notice immediately.
“Then I will naturally accompany you, Your Majesty.”
“That won’t be necessary. It’s something I have to do on my own anyway.”
“But still. How can I feel comfortable if Your Majesty will be alone?”
Marianne was stubborn. In the end, I couldn’t help it and allowed her to accompany me.
After washing thoroughly, I changed into men’s clothing. I wore a wig again and put on a new mustache.
I returned to my room feeling refreshed and waited for the sun to set and the border gate to open.
* * * *
It was now late in the evening. We headed near the border gate.
The attendants who had been secretly selected and had followed Kwanach, but even they did not know our true purpose. They just assumed that they were here to guard the emperor, who was secretly dealing with the organization.
Only I, Kwanach, and Oslin knew that there was no one to deal with, and that it was a trap to lure Roman in.
We speculated that if Roman had bitten the bait, he would transform into either a border guard who could cross the border gate or an attendant who followed Kwanach.
In other words, I was the only one who could find Roman. After all, the victory or defeat of this plan was on me.
If I couldn’t find Roman, we had to go back without any harvest . In the meantime, Roman might escape the empire like a loach.
After crossing this border, we will be in the neutral zone of the forest for a while, which is the territory of the Kingdom of Sterndal. All use of force was forbidden in the Neutral Zone.
The Kingdom of Sterndal was allied with my homeland of Achaia. If Roman could get through the Neutral Zone and reach Sterndal, Diaquit would be able to take him safely.
It reminded me of a cruel scene I had seen through the trees the other day.
An experiment with the corpses that seemed to be conducted by Roman.
I don’t know what it was, but I was sure it was dangerous.
It all depended on my ability. Fortunately, It was green on all sides. I had chosen a three-second tangent because there was so much vegetation in the area.
When those led by Kwanach arrived at the guard post, all the guards there were waiting for us. They lined up with courtesy and greeted Quanach.
“For Radon’s sun!”
The sound of the guards with armor rang out . They greeted Kwanach in unison. I stood beside the horses pulling the wagon and followed at the back of the procession.
“We will be opening the border gate shortly. Everyone, wait here.”
Kwanach’s words rang out.
“Captain of the guard. I’d like to take a short tour of the area while I’m here.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I’ll take you right away.”
Kwanach left his seat with the excuse that he was going to take a look around the guard post. He took Jaxor with him.
Those who were waiting were given some time to rest. I slipped away from the crowd, pretending to pee, and hid myself among the trees there.
I breathed in deeply and then out. I closed my eyes and placed my hands on the wooden post.
The momentum of the life force seemed to seep in from where I was touching the plants, warming me up inside.
A sensation that awakened every nerve in my body.
‘Oh, this is…..’
This was a land that was much closer to the silver forest of the north, the source of my power. I could feel that my power to communicate with plants had grown even stronger.
I felt like I was connecting with all the plants in this area, even though I had just placed my hand on a nearby tree.
<The chosen one! >
At that moment, many voices overlapped in my head at once. They were the plants of this area.
I felt like I was one with nature, and it made my hair stand on end. I felt a shiver run through me.
“Yes. Can you help me?”
The spirit of the rooted plants seemed to condense in this place. I don’t know how this was possible, but I felt like I was part of this huge root society.
<Of course. As much as you want. >
“I’m looking for someone. However, he’s hidden by magic and requires the wisdom of the plants to see his true nature.”
<Magic… But even if it isn’t, a strange force has been entering this deserted land for some time now. >
My heart throbbed with the voice of the plant’s soul. Is it Roman? Did he really come here with the information we threw as bait?
I painted a picture of Roman in my mind and showed it to the plants, an image that emerged clearly from within.
“Have you seen this person before? He must have transformed into someone else.”
<Oh, wait. >
Whishhh. I opened my eyes and looked around at the sound of nearby trees shaking in unison. Even though it wasn’t a terribly windy day, the leaves on the trees shook and fell.
The ground vibrated a little, and I held my breath as I felt the ground and the plants resonating with me.
Eventually, I could hear the trees again.
“Yes. He’s here. >
“I knew it…… What does he look like now?”
Immediately the scene the plant had sent me was clear in my mind.
I could see one of the border guards. The one who was with us when we were all gathered earlier. A normal young man. But there was a faint hint of black mana around the guard’s body.
Perhaps the plant had used its wise eye, and for a moment, the black mana was lifted and a familiar face was revealed.
It was Roman. It was him.
Once I had identified Roman’s face, the plant’s infused memory ceased. I caught my breath and spoke to the trees.
“Thank you, really……”
<He was very strange. It gave me goosebumps. Please don’t let him stay here too long. The young trees were scared. >
“Yes. I’ll make sure to kick him out.”
I slowly withdrew my hand from the tree. I clenched my fist once, and then unclenched.
‘Roman. You’re in a trap.’
Pretending to be a guard, I guessed he was only waiting for Kwanach to open the border gate. He probably tried to escape to the forest, the neutral zone, by any means necessary.
Or perhaps others had come to Roman’s rescue beforehand.
‘The gate won’t open, and you’re a rat trapped in the cage.’
I strode fast. I had to inform Kwanach of this fact.
However, I was happy to find Roman, who had been escaping the manhunt for some time.
‘Roman came….which means that Jaxor really was a spy after all…’
I already knew what it was like to be betrayed by my beloved brother.
Diaquit Catatel. I thought of the name of the brother I hated. Biting my lip, I walked out onto the clear road again and approached Marianne.
“Where’s His Majesty?”
“He’s still going on an inspection.”
My heart began to race. Kwanach left with Jaxor, saying he would inspect the place. Roman, disguised as a guard, must have gone with him.
There were many eyes to see, so those two probably could not do anything to Kwanach right now…… If they had common sense, that was.
‘They may try to harm Kwanach in some sneaky ways, just as they poisoned me.’
It could be useless anxiety. But I was worried that Kwanach would get hurt. I was even more concerned because he wasn’t right in front of me.
If I was with him, I would be able to protect him. It might be a little awkward for me to try to protect someone who was much bigger than me and had conquered a continent.
‘I think I can understand a little bit of why Kwanach was trying to lock me in to protect me……..’
Because right now, I was thinking of keeping him close to me for his safety.
“No. I have to go find His Majesty.”
“What? I’ll go with you….”
Marianne was surprised, but she quickly followed me. However, one of the knights on horseback at the front seemed to have seen us trying to break away.
“Hey, over there. Your Majesty ordered us to stay here. Where are you going again? I let you off earlier because it looked like you needed to use an outhouse.”
I froze and looked at him.