Resh was swept away by the explosion. The moment he resurrected, he started running back to the World Tree’s Forest. Naturally, he knew that he couldn’t help even if he went there. It might even be too late by the time he arrived.
Resh didn’t worry about his stamina. Arriving at the forest was his task so he ran constantly.
‘I have to catch Kyle’s eye for a moment to create a gap.’
It would be a very small gap. Still, that variable could be a strength for someone. Of course, it was too optimistic. Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do even if there was only a 0.01% chance. This was a knight.
Resh shouted once he finally arrived at the World Tree’s Forest.
His voice grew louder as he followed the traces of destruction and approached the scene of the battle.
Resh was desperate. Lee Jeong and Kyle were monsters. It might be different if the battle was with Lee Jeong and Mercedes alone, but Kyle was resurrected. They would never be easy opponents for Grid.
Resh prayed. He prayed and prayed for them to be safe. Then suddenly...
He arrived at the scene, and then he saw it.
“I will keep that in mind!!”
Kyle was bowing in front of Grid.
“Eh? It is Resh.”
What was this? Grid’s group was intact, the war god followers had disappeared without a trace, and Kyle was lying flat on his face. Grid waved to Resh, who was stunned by the unexpected sight. “Resh, were you acting with them?”
Grid knew that Resh was Dulandal’s knight. He had heard the story in person and after exploring the Abyss with Resh and Coke, Grid knew that Resh had opened up affinity with Dulandal as part of the quest reward.
“That’s correct. I, also, the elves...”
Resh didn’t say many words. It was Dulandal’s command and Kyle’s coercion that forced him to invade the forest. He couldn’t bear to hurt the elves. Resh didn’t make these excuses. He had chosen to be Dulandal’s knight and it was true that he killed the elves in the other small forests before arriving here at the World Tree’s Forest.
Resh lowered his head. He was heartbroken when he saw the miserable faces of the elf survivors, who had no more than 10 people left. Then an unexpected person came to Resh’s side. It was one of the surviving elves. Once again, she had lost precious friends and family to humans. She hated and cursed humans yet she held Resh’s trembling hands.
“Thank you, Human.”
Resh’s mind was blank. Why was she thanking him?
“I... I hurt your kin before coming here.” Resh confessed. He was prepared to be blamed and resented, yet the elf only held his hand tighter.
"You must be in emotional pain. You are sad. You helped us because you didn’t want to repeat the same regret.”
It was an unexpected comfort.
Mercedes spoke to the very flustered Resh, “I heard your shout from a distance. That’s how we were able to notice and run here. In the end, the one who saved them is you."
The 12 Te didn’t show up to the scene until the end. The World Tree’s Forest might be wide and the number of elves was small, meaning they couldn’t react quickly to certain situations. However, it reached a stage where excuses could no longer be given. The benefactors of the surviving elves were humans, not their fellow elves. It was Resh as well.
Resh’s eyes were red and he was unable to open his mouth. He was grateful that he was able to slightly help the elves and was moved by Mercedes returning the achievement to him.
“You have suffered, Knight.”
Grid smiled as he roughly grasped what happened and shook Resh’s hand. Resh felt all types of emotions surging in his heart. He clutched Grid’s big hand tightly and started to sob.
“Thank you... Thank you...”
He was able to keep his conviction as a knight. His beliefs had helped someone. Resh was comforted by this fact and his heart gradually healed.
A new person approached Resh’s side. Resh was terrified after seeing him. A murderer who was deeply intoxicated with the providence of power. Even so, his fearsome skills were undeniable. Kyle, the lightning god, was approaching Resh’s side.
Resh reflexively pulled out his sword.
“I’m sorry.” Kyle was one step ahead and bowed his head. “I-I didn’t know you were King Grid’s friend and dared to be rude...”
Grid’s attitude towards Resh was very friendly. At first glance, Grid liked Resh. For Kyle, who had killed Resh like a bug, he had to quickly deal with this matter.
‘What horrible things did he experience...’
Resh was shocked. Kyle’s attitude and tone had completely changed in a short period of time. Kyle glanced at Grid. “That... King Grid, do I just go back?’
Grid briefly looked around at the elves. He felt a bit sorry for the elves if he sent Kyle away like this. Still, what could he do? The elves’ grudge against Kyle would have to be repaid by themselves. Grid nodded after a moment of distress. He was conscious of the Sword Knights and whispered secretly into Kyle’s ear, “Observe the dynamics of the Abyss and Dulandal. If they ever want to harm the Overgeared Kingdom... you understand?”
“O-Of course. I will immediately rush out and report to Your Majesty.”
Grid nodded and Kyle left without looking back. It was almost like he was running away. Grid ordered the Sword Knights to return and finally faced Resh. “Resh, I’m ready to welcome you to the Overgeared Guild at any time.”
“I’m still lacking a lot.”
Resh politely refused. He was very grateful and honored by Grid’s proposal but hadn’t he experienced it today and in the Abyss? He was too weak. He didn’t deserve to be at the place where the strong roared.
“More than anything else...” A bitter smile spread on Resh’s face. “...I already have a master.”
Prince Dulandal was a person lacking in character. Nevertheless, he was dangerous because of his strong power. He would certainly create a big disturbance. He might even send Resh on such a terrible mission again. Nevertheless, Resh couldn’t betray his master. It was because he was a knight.
“I will focus on my growth from today onward.” Resh was determined. “I’ll definitely become stronger and qualify to speak to Dulandal. I think that If I stay near Prince Dulandal, it would definitely benefit the Overgeared Kingdom.”
“I will look forward to it.”
‘You will surely do it because your talent and will are great.’
Grid swallowed back these words. He thought it might put a strain on Resh.
“Then I’m going now.” Resh finally left.
“Why didn’t anyone help?”
Mercedes got straight to the point. She knew the elves' circumstances. Their population was small, they were faithful to their duties and didn’t easily get involved in the business of others. In particular, the 12 Te were supposed to defend their kin. They didn’t intervene in the events that occurred at the edges of the forest, yet they still didn’t come despite how severe the case was this time. The battle had lasted for a long time and there were all types of damages and sacrificed guards, but the 12 Te didn’t appear.
Mercedes’ expression was dark. “Did something happen to them?”
“That isn’t the case.” Grid could infer the cause. “I’m sure they’re afraid.”
It might not look like it since they were trampled every time but the elves were a strong race. In particular, the 12 Te were outstanding enough that even Mercedes couldn’t take them lightly. Why did they hide deep in the forest and ignore their kin?
It happened when Mercedes was questioning it...
“The 12 Te aren’t cowards,” the elves stepped forward and clarified. “They just stayed away at the command of Mother World Tree.”
“I see. It was the order of the world tree.”
“Your Majesty... if you don’t mind, I’d like to know the details.”
“Yes, it has to do with why I came here. Among the ancient species, there is a guy called the rafflesia who ate Beniyaru.”
“Is Beniyaru one of the 12 Te?”
She was eaten? Then the others of the 12 Te were also in danger?
‘It means they can’t fight even if the 12 Te are united...’
It meant the rafflesia was stronger than the cave cricket. Mercedes gulped. She had barely fought the cave cricket by exhausting her Origin True Energy. How much sacrifice would she have to make to face the rafflesia. She was honestly nervous and afraid.
“Your Majesty, did the world tree ask you to fight the rafflesia? Please refuse the request. I don’t want Your Majesty to die.”
Mercedes expressed her anger. She resented and blamed the world tree for asking Grid to fight against a monster even the 12 Te couldn’t kill. Grid hurriedly waved his hands. “I was simply asked to search for it, not to fight. That’s why I brought those people.”
Grid introduced Skunk’s group. It was a group of hundreds of explorers, centered around the number one explorer, Skunk. They were dazzled by the beauty of Mercedes but quickly came to their senses to greet her.
“It is an honor to meet you, Mercedes.”
Grid explained, “The rafflesia is a race that seduces people who harbor darkness in their hearts. Mercedes, you know that there is a deep darkness in the hearts of the elves.”
Skunk added, “In an ancient botanical book that we discovered during a past exploration, the rafflesia is called a ‘flower that blooms in the ground.’ It whispers secretly to its prey, manipulating them and luring them before swallowing them.”
This was why the 12 Te were shut up—the rafflesia is the perfect counter for elves as it could hide its appearance and devour them.
“That’s why...” Grid turned his attention to Asmophel and Amelda. They were just like the elves. They were hurt and had as much darkness in their hearts as the elves, meaning they were inevitably vulnerable to the rafflesia. “Asmophel, I’m sorry but you must go back to the capital first.”
“...Yes, I understand.” Asmophel barely managed to answer. It wasn’t enough that he lost to Kyle. This time, he wasn’t helpful to his liege at all and this made him feel sorry.
“Noll, you too.”
“...Che, I know.”
Noll also followed orders.
Grid looked for Piaro last. Piaro was wounded more than anyone else and couldn’t accompany Grid in the rafflesia search. Mercedes and Orc Lord Teruchan were the only ones who could be used in the search. Grid was trying to find Piaro when he became alarmed.
“What? Where is he?”
Piaro couldn’t be seen. It seemed he had been absent for a long time.
“Don’t tell me?”
The people started to shake. It was shortly after they had learned about the rafflesia’s terrifying power so they imagined the worst.
“N-No way, Captain was beaten?”
“N-No! Piaro! Piaro!”
Amelda’s group panicked. Their captain, who they had just reunited with, was beaten? They hadn’t even untangled their complicated thoughts yet. It happened as Amelda’s party almost started crying...
“My Liege! My Liege!”
Piaro’s cry was heard in the distance.
Fortunately, he was still safe? A short time later, the running Grid and the others found Piaro. Piaro had become dirty and was carrying a huge and strange flower on his shoulder that measured five meters in size.
“My Liege! I found a strange plant!”
Grid was speechless.
The rafflesia. It was the name of the plant that Piaro carried. That’s right. After Emperor Juander’s death, Piaro’s heart was no longer dark.
“There was something strange about the ground and dug at it with a hand plow. Then I found this guy sleeping. Isn’t it really cute?’
“W-Why is Captain holding a hand plow?”
Amelda’s question made the atmosphere become even more awkward.Previous Chapter Next Chapter