“Wait a minute!”
Tino raised his voice and interrupted me.
We were walking through the forest side by side, both aiming for the same destination.
To my eyes, the grove looked the same no matter which way I turned, but to Tino, who had grown up in the village, it seemed to be a different scenery.
The boy’s request in exchange for directions was that I tell him the story of the hero from the beginning.
I nodded but I wasn’t really in the mood because I felt it would be different from what the boy was expecting.
“There is no way that the hero would say that. It should be like “Hey, don’t be hasty my beautiful princesses ”
“It is impossible for that person to say that”
I replied with disgust at the obvious point.
“I can’t tell you the rest of the story if you interrupt me from the beginning like this. I’m sure things will be much different after this.”
The roadless path in the forest had a gentle slope at the moment, so I could walk along with it without much difficulty.
I was in a hurry, but the wooden soles buckled tightly to my boots helped me through the slush.
The layer of dead leaves, heavy with melted snow, sank into the ground when I stepped on them, and I was soon trapped.
The wooden soles recommended by the farmer had been prepared for Tino’s boots as well.
As the season progressed and the greenery grew thicker, the slush would diminish, but other things would come along to disrupt our steps.
Troublesome insects, fierce forest beasts. Ferns, ivy, and nettles that grew thickly.
The cold, which became less of an issue as you move, was not much of an obstacle compared to these.
More than anything, the pleasure of having company made my steps lighter.
“You know, Tino. I don’t mean to be nosy, but…”
I spoke to the boy as I stepped over a fallen tree that was blocking my way – one of the few things I could do in my dress.
“I don’t think you should ask any more questions. I don’t want you to be disappointed and not be able to sing well.”
“…… Ethel, are you really a princess?”
The boy asked me the same question he had asked me a while ago.
“Tino, when Tino gets older I’ll go to the capital and become a real bard. I’m going to write songs about everything I know. Ethel might get in trouble later if you don’t teach me the right things. Are you okay with that?”
I sighed and stopped in my tracks.
I didn’t mind if they didn’t believe me, but I think it would be uncomfortable for him to listen to me while being suspicious at the same time.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a crest to show my status at all.
The only thing that might convince him was the item hidden in my chest.
I pulled it out of the collar of my tunic and pinched the chain with my fingertips and let it dangle.
“I don’t know if this is evidence or not, but ……”
It was a necklace that I wore constantly.
The clasp through the silver chain held a flattened crystal that was a little too large for a necklace.
It only resembled a crystal, but it was actually something else.
“This is …….”
Tino muttered as he stared intently at it.
My voice faltered slightly as I matched the boy’s surprise.
“It’s a piece of a magic sword.”
“Because the sword was shattered and I picked it up.”
The magic sword was shattered in the last battle.
I’m not sure what to make of it.
It’s not an optical illusion. If you wrap your hands around it and darken it, you could see that the flickering was indeed a flame.
I had found it the day I came to the riverbank with the soldiers in search of Lakis.
I couldn’t wait at the castle and tried to join the search, but they wouldn’t let me near the water, so I was forced to wander along the shore.
Between the stones hidden in the dead grass, it flickered under its own power like a small firefly.
When I bent down to pick it up, the flame swayed as if in response.
Tino whispered. And so did I.
“Yes, it is. Very beautiful.”
We hadn’t been gazing at it for very long.
We had a long way to go, and we had only just begun.
The gentle slope of the forest floor would become a steep hill.
Tino lightly patted an old maple tree with a large split in its bark as we walked past.
There seemed to be a tree or rock that served as a landmark, and he would occasionally check it as he walked.
The sight of the piece of fire on my chest seemed to have satisfied the boy and dispelled his doubts for the time being.
“Tell me the rest.”
The little guide smiled at me.
“Sure.” I smiled too.
“Where were we? How far did I tell you about our first meeting? … Oh, it’s on “What, you’re about to die?”
He said this in a bored tone of voice. With a voice that even held contempt.
“I’d rather die than become a monster? Well, if you want to die, I won’t stop you.”
“…… I don’t know who you are, but you can have it.”
While picking up the dagger that had fallen on her knees, my sister returned to me and threw those words at him.
“It would be rude to speak without introducing yourself. Moreover, from the window.”
“I don’t think that’s the case.”
That’s right, the door shook violently again.
The shaking didn’t stop, and the sound of loud objects crashing could be heard intermittently.
I turned around and looked back at the rude young man and shouted,
“It’s not that I want to die. I want to live. But there’s nothing I can do about it. What else can I do?
“Do you want to live?”
There was a small glint in the young man’s eyes as he asked back.
He brought the horse close to the window, and with a very casual motion, jumped to the windowsill and landed beside me. He then threw his backpack down on the couch on the windowsill and said in the same casual manner,
“Well, open it.”
I thought he was referring to the luggage, but his eyes were on the creaking door.
“Open the door. It’s quicker,” he said.
No way, …… That door was the only barrier left.
I stared at the young man in front of me in disbelief.
The face underneath the wind-disturbed bangs was surprisingly delicate.
However, no upset or horror could be found in his eyes, which were colored with persistence.
He had a very slender body but contained a strength as powerful as an agile wild beast.
He nudged me with a short word and I made up my mind.
He was the only person in the room who was calm enough to give me instructions. I had no choice but to obey, for sooner or later the door would break.
In the midst of a number of resistances, I sprinted towards the door and removed the iron bar.
Then I tried to touch the handle, but the door opened with a momentum that I didn’t need to do so, and my body was slammed against the wall due to the pressure.
I was prepared for an upright monster to come in, but the posture of the monster that came in was on all fours.
The raised big back undulates like a swell. There was no outline of a person anymore, and he rushed to the center of the room with four legs while making a strange voice suitable for a demon.
I froze. This was because the young man stood directly in front of him.
He will be hit directly!
The moment I thought so, he took a big step forward.
At the same time, a dazzling glow burst from around his waist.
It was a sword.
When it swept to the side with the force it was pulled out with, the white light explosively swelled and wrapped the whole body of the demon, covering our field of vision.
No one would have immediately understood what had happened.
The light was too dazzling in our eyes after a long and painful dark time.
One piece of knowledge finally emerged after confirming that our eyesight had returned and that the monster had disappeared without a trace, and after a while.
Make it a flame and light. Light and flame.
A holy magic without heat that squirts out from the tip of the sword and burns while purifying the polluted space.
The simple and uncertain name of magic flame was given because there was nothing else to call it.
It wasn’t until I witnessed it that I realized it.
How should we express the scene far beyond imagination?
A band of light overflowed from the blade. The glitter of silver.
And a swordsman who released it in the tower.