Chapter 86 - Chapter 14: The Last Flame
They smiled like it was a joke, but the situation wasn’t that relaxing.
Carack grabbed Robin with a serious expression and asked,
"It is a situation that’s different from the usual?”
"That's correct. I’ve never seen Spider Forest look this way.”
Robin spoke politely to Carack as he had done throughout the journey as Carack was an orc who was shockingly informal when talking to the prince and princess. The armour he wore was so great that Robin mistook him for someone with a noble status.
"Are there any regular patrols in this area?”
The lycanthrope rangers patrolled the outskirts of the lycanthrope area at regular intervals, so Robin nodded.
“It isn’t everyday, but the rangers will pass by here once a month.”
"When was the last time the rangers passed by here?”
This time it was Delia who asked.
Robin counted the date in his head and stuttered,
“Eh... We can’t reach the rangers headquarters unless we pass Spider Forest... Considering the amount of time it takes to move and the last time the rangers have been here, it should be 10 days to a fortnight.”
A fortnight was definitely not a short period. However, it was too short to change the distribution of animals in certain areas.
"This is a recent change. It is abrupt.”
Felicia muttered and looked around again. She could feel a powerful energy even without focusing on the flow of magic.
As Robin had said, if there had been no big changes until 10 days ago, then it had to be a coincidence that their visit coincided with the changes in Spider Forest.
Carack asked with a serious expression,
"Don't worry. Can we really blame Prince? This is Prince’s trademark.”
In-gong couldn’t sense the difference, but Carack seemed to think it was good. Carack nodded with a laugh while In-gong looked at Daphne. She a was druid and a dryad, so she would be most sensitive to these kind of changes.
While the party was exchanging stories, she closed her eyes and tried to communicate with the surrounding spirits. Then she spoke with a pale face,
“The surrounding spirits are very afraid. It is more about fear for the future than a sudden change in circumstances.”
Daphne looked at Karma and Karma nodded as well.
"Fear is mixed in with the cries of the beasts. It isn’t just a threatening cry. Some are terrified.”
Intermittent roars could be heard from the depths of the forest. He didn’t know if they were fighting each other, but maybe there truly was a different cause.
Everyone’s expressions became serious. Felicia turned to In-gong and asked,
"The person called Amita, are they strong?”
Although she knew they were unusual because they were a friend of the sword duke, she couldn’t help feeling uneasy.
In-gong was also forced to give an uncertain answer,
"Let's hope so."
In Knight Saga, Amita had always appeared with a difference appearance. In the past, Amita had appeared as a big man who looked strong but also a thin woman and a cute little boy.
Right now, he had Caitlin as an example, so it was impossible to evaluate attack power based on appearance alone. In the end, it was impossible to guess how much strength, skill and abilities Amita had.
'They have lived for a long time, but that isn’t unconditional.
Moreover, there was a law that prevented the existence of a great craftsmen and great warrior in one individual.
While In-gong and Felicia had a silent conversation, Caitlin, who had been listening quietly, opened her mouth.
"Shutra, this is outside the lycanthrope territory, but it isn’t that far. I think that it would be a good idea to ask for support, rather than try to resolve it ourselves.”
Although she was quite curious about Amita, she was a princess of the lycanthropes.
Felicia nodded in agreement to her statement.
However, there was someone who opposed this.
"It is too late.”
It was Green Wind. Robin was amazed by her sudden appearance. However, the party had already seen Green Wind several times, so they were more interested in her words.
Carack asked first,
"It is too late. What does that mean?”
Instead of answering, Green Wind just frowned slightly. However, it wasn’t because she wasn’t offended by Carack’s question but because the energy around Spider Forest was having a detrimental effect on her.
Green Wind hugged herself and looked at In-gong.
"I can feel the power of the guardian. It is very weak. The spirits are just afraid of the monsters. They are afraid that the guardian of Spider Forest will disappear.”
It was Green Wind, the guardian of Enger Plains, who was saying this. Felicia asked Robin hurriedly,
“Robin, does Spider Forest have a guardian? A guardian that protects the area.”
Caitlin didn’t know a lot about the outside territory, so she didn’t know much about Spider Forest.
Robin searched through his memories with a confused expression before clapping his hands.
"There is a story of a spider spirit. It is a story about a giant spider living in the centre of Spider Forest.”
There was no such thing as proper faith.
In-gong nodded thoughtfully. Nothing special had occurred at Spider Forest in Knight Saga. Moreover, there were no tribes living nearby, so the situation was different from Green Wind who was worshiped by the centaurs and satyrs.
Regardless, Green Wind had said it, so the existence of the guardian was certain.
Carack asked Green Wind,
"Anyway, what will happen if the guardian spirit disappears?”
Carack’s question pulled at the core of the story. Green Wind seemed to find it difficult to answer and Felicia suddenly opened her mouth,
“If the guardian disappears, it is a problem. But how does it disappear?”
Everyone’s gazes moved toward Felicia. She raised her index finger and explained,
"There are two main ways that a guardian can disappear. One is that the guardian spirit itself is destroyed while the other is that the source of the spirit is destroyed.”
In-gong was reminded of the small temple on Enger Plains. Green Wind had said that Enger Plains would lose its colours and revert back if she disappeared.
Felicia presented the answer like she had read In-gong’s mind.
"Green Wind is a higher ranked guardian. So, even if the source disappears, she won’t. Her strength is likely to just weaken.”
Karma had a heartbroken look on her face at those words, but no one witnessed it.
Green Wind just shrugged in response.
‘Now, you know. Master should take care of me more,’ was what her expression seemed to be saying.
In-gong looked away from Green Wind and shifted toward Felicia, who laughed and continued her explanation,
"But most guardians are destroyed when the source is. Most of them are cases that I have encountered before in ruins or dungeons.”
Since Felicia had many experiences exploring ruins, no one expressed any disagreement.
Caitlin frowned and asked,
"Unni, are you saying that the guardian of Spider Forest is weakened due to the source itself being hit?”
“It is accurate. I also think so.”
Green Wind nodded with a serious expression and spread her arms wide open.
"This is the first time I’ve come here. The spirits are confused and frightened and they can’t communicate properly, but I can feel it. There is powerful magic in the centre of that forest. Once the magic is destroyed, a big change will take place in the neighbourhood.”
"Like Enger Plains?”
In-gong asked reflexively and Green Wind nodded.
“Master broke through the crisis on Enger Plains, but that would have been the case if Master hadn’t appeared. Enger Plains would have been turned into a desert. I don’t know what magic is in the centre of the forest, but if it is similar to Enger Plains, the area may become a desert or wilderness.”
Robin’s face became speculative when he heard the word ‘desert’. Green Wind continued to speak,
“There isn’t enough time to call for support from somewhere else. The power of the guardian spirit is too weak. If we wait for support, we might miss the timing.”
It had taken In-gong’s group a few days to reach Spider Forest. However, when considering the round distance travel, it would take at least three days for support to arrive.
In-gong stared at Spider Forest. Firstly, they had to confirm the identity of the enemy.
“On Enger Plains, the monsters of the Northern Limit Line came down directly. What monsters are gathered in the forest to attack the guardian?”
“I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe something like a powerful curse is weakening the guardian.”
"In the end, we have to go into the center of the forest.”
Outside the forest, they couldn’t do anything other than guess.
In-gong was reminded of the Death Knight. If this was a repeat of what had happened on Enger Plains, then it was likely that the Death Knight was involved.
‘The purple aura.’
It had been wrapped around the monsters in the north. Additionally, the man with the spear had a blue aura which contained a power of death that was one step higher.
Karma interrupted suddenly, raising her hand slightly when In-gong glanced at her.
"I know we don’t have time, but I think it will be hard to explore the forest right now.”
Her words were correct. There was a clear basis for them and Daphne agreed with Karma’s words.
"Your Highness, the spirits are afraid of the night. It is clear that something will happen at night.”
Green Wind nodded to confirm it.
Felicia bit her lip and asked,
"Can we get to the center before that?”
"We won’t arrive that quickly. It is already late afternoon.”
Carack pointed to the sky; the sun was close to the west.
"Okay, then we will set up camp nearby. We will put off going into the forest until tomorrow morning.”
Although In-gong was responsible for Thunderdoom Fortress, Felicia was in charge of the visit to Spider Forest.
"The most important things are our lives. We shouldn’t run away, but it isn’t worth doubling the risk.”
It was true that she wanted to meet Amita. As a child of the demon king, she had no desire to leave the forest.
However, the lives of In-gong and Caitlin were more precious. Felicia made a clear statement, then asked In-gong,
"Shutra, can I give Karma some work?”
In-gong turned to Karma and Karma immediately responded to his gaze,
“I will follow your words.”
In-gong looked back at Felicia. She accepted it as permission and told Karma,
"It is important to inform the lycanthropes of the current situation. Robin has to guide us in Spider Forest, so Karma will tell them the news. I believe in your quick feet and strong heart.”
Karma replied with a determined expression. Felicia smiled and tried to relax.
"I'll write you a letter, so just wait a moment. Does Green Wind agree with camping?”
“Yes, I agree. I am sorry for the guardian of this land, but Master is more precious.”
Green Wind scattered back to wind. After a rough plan was set, Robin and his group started moving again.
Then Caitlin grabbed In-gong’s hand and stared straight into In-gong’s eyes.
“It isn’t because of Shutra.”
This wasn’t happening because of In-gong; he was just involved in the incident.
"And on the contrary, can’t this crisis be resolved because Shutra has come here?”
Caitlin smiled so brightly that In-gong couldn’t help smiling back. He was thankful to Caitlin.
"Um, I think so as well.”
Carack laughed as he listened to the conversation. In-gong also laughed and patted Carack’s chest.
"Well, it is like this.”
Carack went to say goodbye to Karma who was preparing to go a long way.
Then a few hours later.
Night came to Spider Forest.