Thanks for the Ko-fi, Marleeze
༼ つ ◕‿◕ ༽つ
They chose the path that bypassed the forest and came out through a hideout in a warehouse on a backstreet. It was a much better way than delaying time dealing with demons.
Quickly exiting the warehouse, the two of them hurriedly navigated through narrow alleyways. A sudden, powerful earthquake, as if rising from deep within the earth, rumbled and shook the ground, making Vivian’s vision blur for a moment as the ground beneath her feet seemed to crumble.
Cold sweat ran down her back. Vivian, who had placed her hand on the ground, quickly turned her head.
“That… what on earth…”
Her words were stuck in her throat as if something were choking her upon seeing the scene before her.
A circular orb had emerged over the forest, which had previously been filled with rifts and countless demons, like an abyss. It appeared to be a magic circle at first glance. However, it was different from what Daniel and Camilla had summoned.
In their magic circle, white or blue energy poured out, but from the enormous magic circle that covered the entire forest, dark energy seeped out like smoke. It was an evil energy that felt like it could engulf the forest at any moment.
A moment later, in the center of the large magic circle, a line appeared. Vivian, who had been staring at it intently, soon realized its identity.
“The Gate of the Abyss.”
It was clear that the gate could be opened with the dark magic power emitted by the rifts and demons. Why did it only appear now?
As Vivian gazed helplessly at it, she recalled the figures of Marquis Dius and Glen, who entered the secret chamber of the library. Realizing that they were progressing faster than she thought, she quickly got up.
“We need to hurry.”
Roger, too, seemed to have suddenly realized the true nature of the magic circle that had appeared in the sky.
They began to run without stopping. Just as they emerged from the backstreet…
Vivian stared at Roger, puzzled, as he changed direction and walked steadily into the densely wooded area. He soon returned with a large horse. It seemed that he had ridden the horse all the way from the mansion.
“I… I don’t know how to ride.”
Vivian said with confusion.
“It’s okay, I’m here.”
Roger calmly replied, mounting her on the horse first, and quickly climbed up behind her. He tightly held the reins and urged the horse on. The horse started running fiercely with a loud neigh. The biting wind whipped by their faces.
“How many people did you see in the mansion?”
Roger asked, adjusting their speed by pulling on the reins. Vivian tried to recall the memories of the invasion in as much detail as possible. The knights who had entered her bedroom and Husson Audney, five in total. Including the Knight Commander Glen, that made six. What was certain was that there were more than six of them.
“At least six.”
Then Vivian remembered the carriages parked in front of the mansion.
“There were a total of three carriages parked in front of the gate.”
Seeing that there was no definitive response to her words, Roger was lost in thought. Once their conversation had stopped, the only sounds heard were the squelching of horse hooves on the muddy ground and the tense sound of their own breathing.
The rain had stopped, but there were still puddles all over the ground. If she were alone, even these inconspicuous puddles might have felt like burdensome obstacles, but now, she had nothing to fear. That was because she had someone strong by her side. Vivian found it incredibly fascinating how just being with him could bring such peace to her heart.
“So, when we arrive at the mansion, we’ll do this,”
Roger finally spoke after a long pause.
Vivian, on the shaky horse, tried to maintain her balance and listened carefully to the plan he quickly outlined.
The two of them managed to hide behind trees and tall grass and finally arrived in front of the mansion with great difficulty. It seemed that Marquis Dinus and the knights who had taken over the mansion were all inside, as light was seeping out from the ground floor windows.
Vivian clenched and unclenched her hands, hoping that Hamel and the other servants were safe. Leaning against a tree, Roger gestured to her. Vivian nodded, understanding his silent signal.
Thanks to the abundant moisture on the ground from the pouring rain, the stems that had sprouted from the earth grew thick and lush as they followed her careful movements. Silently, they swam through the air and wrapped around the vases lined up outside the mansion’s windows. Then, they slowly retracted, pulling the vases with them, and hurled them towards the glass windows. The target was the brightest room on the first floor, the parlor.
With a sharp crack, the glass shattered into pieces.
“What’s happening all of a sudden?!”
A commotion erupted from inside. Startled by the sudden intruder, three knights rushed out to inspect the situation and leaped over the shattered window frame, landing in the garden.
The stems on the ground silently moved to entwine their legs, tightly restraining them.
“What is this?”
“Damn. What’s going on here?!”
Even if they were skilled in swordsmanship, they couldn’t escape the grip of the stems, and in the face of an ability rarer than magic, they were powerless.
Roger and Vivian’s plan was simple: they didn’t know exactly how many knights had occupied the mansion, so their initial goal was to lure the knights outside. Despite Roger’s exceptional swordsmanship and Vivian’s revived elemental magic, they couldn’t easily dismiss the difference in numbers. Moreover, the sudden appearance of the Gate of the Abyss made it an urgent situation, and they couldn’t afford to overlook any unforeseen variables.
Vivian had managed to restrain five out of the presumed six knights, but she still didn’t see any familiar faces among them. She wanted to wait a bit longer, in case Husson Audney followed them outside. However, before she could act on that thought, Roger made his move. The knights struggling to break free from the stems suddenly spotted Roger emerging from behind the tree, and their faces turned pale.
“Oh, Sir Orpheus. When did you…?”
They twisted their bodies wildly, trying to get away, but in the end, all they could do was wriggle their fingers and blink their eyes.
Approaching the knights whose limbs were bound as if by ropes, Roger struck the back of their necks. They couldn’t resist even for a moment and collapsed on the floor. Roger picked up the swords they had dropped and threw them into an inconspicuous corner.
“We should look for rope.”
“Is it okay to enter right away?”
“It seems they only brought their subordinates. Since they are known as the Royal Knights, they probably selected the minimum number of people to avoid attracting attention.”
“…Are all the Royal Knights allies of Daenerys, or just the ones who came here?”
“Well, we’ll find out once we investigate them later.”
Answering in a low voice, Roger leaped over the windowsill and entered the mansion. While she was inspecting the inside to enter, Vivian found the mansion’s servants gathered in a corner of the drawing room. Among them, she saw a familiar face.
Hamel turned her head at the voice calling her and was surprised to see Vivian.
Roger, who had entered first, began to untie the ropes used to bind the servants. He slid the ropes through his hands, unwinding them, and then immediately crossed back over the windowsill, heading back towards the garden.
Meanwhile, Vivian approached Hamel and began to untie the rope that bound her hands.
“Are you okay?”
“Miss, are you safe?”
Both of them expressed their concern simultaneously. Vivian nodded, acknowledging that she was fine, and held her index finger to her lips as she looked around at the murmuring servants.
After calming them down, Vivian went to the window. Roger had moved the five knights to a hidden area behind a tree and was firmly tying them up with ropes. Having completed his task, he brushed off his hands and returned to the drawing-room.
“Where are the other knights?”
Vivian asked, keeping in mind the absent Husson Audney. It was a rather tricky situation with the servants still tied up. Hamel, who had been rubbing her sore wrists due to being tied up for a long time, pointed to the door.
“They were whispering among themselves earlier and then went out of the drawing room.”
“How many of them?”
The remaining people in the mansion were Marquis Dinus, Husson, Glen, and two knights, for a total of five. Roger thought it would be easy enough to handle without having to lure them outside. Thinking so, he drew his sword from the scabbard in the drawing room and headed for the door. Vivian, on the other hand, instructed Hamel and the other servants to remain hidden until the situation was resolved and hurriedly picked up the rope that the servants had been tied with and followed behind him.
As they walked down the corridor after leaving the drawing room, as soon as they turned the corner, the two of them came face to face with a knight who was coming down the stairs. It seemed that he had come out to see the commotion that had occurred on the first floor.
The knight was surprised to see the two of them appearing out of nowhere, but he quickly regained his composure and rushed towards them. Roger, who dodged the sword with agility, climbed the stairs with nimble movements and readjusted his grip on his sword.
About to unconsciously strike the knight, Roger realized Vivian was right behind him and hesitated for a moment. He quickly changed the direction of his hand and struck the back of the knight’s neck with the hilt of his sword. The knight collapsed onto the stairs without making a sound, and Vivian quickly stepped aside to avoid the falling knight.
“Are you okay?”
Vivian tried to tie the knight’s hands and feet with the rope she had brought, but it didn’t work as well as she had hoped. Roger, who had quickly descended the stairs, took over for her.
Finally, the two of them climbed the stairs together and hid behind a pillar before reaching the second floor.
“Why was he coming down from the second floor?”
“He was probably in the study. There’s a hidden space there.”
“A hidden space?”
Vivian nodded and continued speaking.
“I saw Marquis Dinus and the Royal Knight Commander enter there. There’s probably something related to the Great Abyss inside.”
With their destination determined, the two wasted no time and ascended the stairs.
It was a study they had been visiting more frequently than their bedrooms in the past few days, so there was no need to search for the way. As they walked down the dim corridor and turned the corner at last, they spotted Hussen Audney guarding the study door. Hussen, who had been peering at a wall clock with an annoyed expression, also sensed their presence and turned his head, his expression changing to one of shock.
“Lord Orpheus, how did you get here…?”
Until now, Roger had only used enough force to make the knights faint, wanting to avoid showing any hostility in front of her. However, upon seeing Hussen Audney, all traces of his kindness disappeared. The memory of him confronting Vivian was still vivid in his mind.
For the first time since entering the mansion, Roger firmly grasped his sword. Hussen, too, drew his sword with a practiced motion. In the darkness of the corridor, the only source of light was the moonlight that seeped in, reflecting off the two sword blades.
When the swords, which had maintained a steady distance, clashed forcefully, the unique sound of metal scraping against metal resonated painfully in their ears. Hussen, like the nobleman he was, displayed traditional swordsmanship taught to the nobility, just like the Knight Commander Glen. However, it was far from enough to defend against Roger’s relentless attacks.
Under the relentless assault from Roger, Hussen was pushed back towards the window, stumbling. His face contorted with the effort.
With no time to spare, Roger increased the force of his sword, deflecting it, and then struck Hussen’s wrist with the hilt of his sword. Hussen instantly lost his grip on the sword.
Vivian, who had been lurking in the darkness, used her foot to kick the fallen sword far away.
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