Chapter 225 – Following The Doodle
“Are we there yet, Avi?”
A tired voice spoke.
“Almost there, Leor…”
It was met with a noncommittal response as the dark wolf briefly glanced back at the golden jaguar, and stuck her muzzle to the ground to sniff out the various scents.
The Ape walking beside the jaguar grumbled, staring bitterly down at his stomach.
The three young beasts were still travelling towards their destination of Selior city. Since they didn’t want Tarnila or Weir tracking them, they decided to take multiple detours around the mountains and forest instead of taking the regular route.
“Good idea, Gorek! Let’s stop for a quick hunt.”
Avi wagged her tail and pounced backward towards the pair.
“No, we can’t! We just ate an hour ago, and we still haven’t figured out where exactly we are. We’ll stop for a break once we finally see some humans.”
Leor stated, his eyes boring into Avi and Gorek.
“Avi said we’re almost there though…”
Gorek whined as his stomach let out a faint growl.
“Look around, guys. There’s nothing here besides grass and plains!”
The jaguar swirled his head, gesturing at the vast empty plains surrounding them. Besides a few trees here and there, almost nothing else stood out.
“So? We’ll see the city once we cross this area.”
Avi yawned, knowing that Leor wouldn’t let them go on a hunt now. She wasn’t that hungry anyway, but couldn’t pass the opportunity for more meat when Gorek proposed a hunt.
“Selior city is near a forest, not an empty plain!”
Leor exclaimed, regretting putting Avi in charge of navigation. If only he wasn’t even more terrible at it than her, he would have never allowed it.
Avi frowned and began doodling on the ground with an expression of intense concentration.
“Oy, what’re you doing?”
Leor scowled at the messy lines on the dirt.
“It’s a map of the path we took. According to this, we should be at Selior city in less than a day.”
Avi nodded her head as if that fact was confirmed.
Staring at the squiggly lines that the wolf called a ‘map', Leor felt a headache beginning to grow. Don’t tell me that this idiot led us here based on those random doodling?
“Can I at least hunt a little rabbit?”
Gorek complained while licking his bright reddish-orange fur.
“Quiet, I hear something. Take cover!”
Leor whispered harshly all of a sudden, his ears perking up and trying to locate from where he had heard the disturbance from. The three quickly rushed to the nearest tree they could find and hid in its shadow.
The jaguar softly spoke to the dark wolf.
Avi merely nodded her head, and in the next moment, a shroud of dark mist burst from her body and enveloped the three. Within seconds, their forms merged with the tree’s shadow, entirely hiding their presence from sight.
It was one of Avi abilities passed on from her special bloodline, the unique shadow element.
“I see them. They’re d-”
Avi muttered before abruptly going silent. She had the best eyesight amongst the three while Leor had the best hearing, so she was the only one who could currently see the intruders.
“Who is it, Avi?”
Leor nudged the wolf. Confused as to why the wolf refused to respond, he turned towards the direction he could hear the noises from.
He didn’t have to wait for long as the group of people strolled towards their tree, laughing, wildly munching on cuts of meat, and making a ruckus. The only problem was that they were not humans or beasts.
They were Darklings.
Once the group of darklings passed by their tree and were away at a safe distance, Avi deactivated her camouflaging ability.
“You brought us into the darkling territory!?”
Leor gazed at Avi with a stunned look on his face
“Eh? I don’t think so.”
Avi mumbled and started to doodle on the ground again, trying to show her ‘map’ was still accurate.
The jaguar stared at her with a blank expression.
Gorek interrupted them.
“I know we are! Thanks to our Ms. Expert Navigator over here, we passed over Selior city and landed in the freaking Darkling territory!”
Leor cried out while Avi crouched on the ground and whined.
“No, look over there.”
Gorek replied in a strangely serious tone as he pointed towards their right.
With clouds of dust swirling in the air, marching at the far distance was a massive army of Darklings.
“Young lady, the guards still haven’t heard a response from the signal!”
A teenage girl burst through the door and hurried towards woman currently sitting on top of the bed.
“Something feels off, especially with the weird atmosphere in this city. If Rory still hasn’t responded to our clan’s secret signal, I fear he might be in trouble.”
An icy look flashed across Felice’s eyes.
After entering the city, the Axier entourage had taken up residence inside an inn until Felice could contact Roran.
“Maybe we should contact the city’s nobles or the King and see if they know anything about where young master might be?”
Fiona sat beside Felice on the bed and glanced at her.
“No, if they are in trouble, it will most likely be with the nobles themselves.”
Felice sighed. Especially if that annoying guy is with Rory.
Taking out a yellow crystal from her spatial necklace, Felice issued out commands to her guards. “Infiltrate the palace and see if there is any information or rumors relating to my brother or a person named ‘Calron’.”
Once she relayed the order, Felice smoothly returned the crystal back to her necklace.
“Miss, why did young master leave everything to meet this ‘Calron’?”
Fiona laid her head back on the soft mattress and glanced up at the wall.
“Huh? How should I know? Rory is just an idiot.”
Felice harrumphed, agitated with Roran’s disappearance.
“But young master wouldn’t do that for an idiot.”
Fiona vehemently shook her head, recalling Roran’s personality. Roran was honest to his feelings and did whatever he wanted regardless of other people’s opinions, including his own family.
“I guess it's because that guy saved him back when they were in school, and he was Rory’s only true friend. Despite his rude personality as a kid, Calron always cared for the people close to him. Well, who knows how he is now?”
“Is young miss excited to see Calron?”
Fiona teased, poking Felice’s cheek.
Felice yelled, playfully grabbing Fiona’s ankle and pulling on it.
“Umm… did you say ‘Calron’?”
A meek voice sounded out from the door, as a little girl carrying a tray full of food stood outside.
“Oh, I forgot to close the door!”
Fiona stuttered, realizing she forgot to close the door behind her when she entered.
However, Felice’s attention was sparked by something else.
“How do you know Calron? It’s alright, I’m his childhood friend. Come inside.”, she gestured for the little girl to close the door behind her.
“Calron? He used to stay at this inn with his brother and Ellie.”
The little girl brightened up once she sensed that the two strangers didn’t mean Calron and his group any harm.
“Oh really? Was his brother’s name Roran?”
Felice asked in an eager voice.
“Yup. Also, Jolt asked me to deliver this to you.”
The girl cheerfully nodded and pointed at the tray of food in her grasp.
“Thank you very much, you can put the tray on the bed here. What’s your name by the way?”
Felice inquired, relieved and excited at the same time after hearing news about Roran.
The little girl grinned and leapt up on the bed.
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