Chapter 255 [Intermission] Western Forest
More than ten days after the liberation of the Kingdom of Knightley.
A carriage stopped at the entrance to the ‘Western Forest’ in the western part of the Kingdom.
A man in a robe alighted.
After the man alighted and the large luggage on the roof of the carriage was unloaded, the carriage left for the Marquis of Hope’s territory.
The robed man walked into the forest with the large luggage in tow.
But that was too reckless a sight from the point of view of those living in the territory of Marquis Hope.
Reason being, it’s the ‘Western Forest’
The forest where elves have been granted autonomy, and the elves who fought to the death against the Empire were still in high alert….
The man in the robe was advancing forward, and as if to intimidate him, an arrow pierced the ground a little distance away.
“Another step forward and the next arrow goes through your heart! Turn around and go back the way you came!”
A warning voice echoed through the forest.
But the robed man, who perhaps didn’t hear the voice, continued onward, not slowing his pace at all.
The elf who shot the arrow muttered angrily.
Another elf agreed with his sentiment.
Before long, about ten elves had surrounded the man.
“This is your last warning. Leave now, or we’ll put you down!”
The same voice that issued the first warning, warned the robed man again.
But the robed man did not stop.
On the contrary, if one were to look closely at his expression, he was aware.
He was wearing a faint smile on his face.
Perhaps this was the development he was hoping for….
Since his reincarnation into ‘Phi’, he’d been out of luck encountering the ‘cliché developments that follow otherworld reincarnations’ and things always deviated from the norm at the last minute…but right now, it was finally going according to the script!
“Would you quit it already, you fools!”
A voice echoed through the area.
The voice struck the elves lurking in the forest around the robed man.
One of the elves spoke anxiously.
The Great Elder of the Western Forest, known as Obaba-sama, emerged from the darkness.
“That person is an envoy of King Abel.”
The elves were rendered speechless by Obaba-sama’s words.
Perhaps because they were still young and inexperienced elves.
They most likely couldn’t make out the ‘fairy elements’ overflowing from the robed man, like Obaba-sama could ….
“Ah, Obaba-sama, it’s been a while. It’s nothing much, but I hope you like this souvenir.”
“Indeed it has, Sir Ryo.”
Thus, the robed man, Ryo, visited the western forest.
Obaba-sama and Ryo walked in front of the group.
And the dozen or so elves followed behind them.
They looked puzzled.
“Sorry about that, Sir Ryo. They didn’t mean to offend you. But ever since the Empire attacked us, they have been a bit oversensitive.”
“Oh please, don’t worry about it. The imperial army has been sent back to their country, so things will slowly go back to normal and become peaceful.”
Even Ryo could respond appropriately to the situation when necessary.
Obaba-sama turned to look at the ‘souvenir’ that Ryo was pulling.
“Sir Ryo, are you really all right with that? Wouldn’t it be easier to have my people carry it?”
“It’s all right. I freeze the ground as I pull it so it slides easily and it’s not tiring at all.”
“Wow, impressive…. It’s exactly as Sera said, your mastery of magic is also quite something…”
Obaba-sama nodded in admiration at Ryo’s answer.
“Speaking of Sera, where’s she?”
“Hmm. She’s in the village. I came alone because I fear something terrible may happen if she learned that these lot pointed arrows at you.”
The elves who had been following behind them trembled at her words.
It would seem that Sera was as awe-inspiring even in the western forest ‘as usual’.
“Yeah, that’s Sera, all right…”
Respect and awe are two emotions of the same nature.
One could say that they are two sides of the same coin.
However, awe can easily turn into fear.
The difference between the two is extremely thin.
In that sense, the difference between respect and fear may only be twice as wide….
Will their awe of Sera turn into respect? Or will it turn into fear…?
After walking for a while, the group arrived at the elven village deep in the western forest.
As soon as Ryo and Obaba-sama were seen at the head of the group, an elf, who had been watching out for the group’s arrival from the edge of the village, shouted.
Then she leaped into Ryo’s chest at a tremendous speed.
Ryo managed to catch her.
The result of his daily routine training…maybe.
“You came as promised.”
Sera said happily.
Her smile was dazzling.
“Yeah, I’m here as promised.”
Ryo smiled, too.
He’s always loved Sera’s smile.
Sera suddenly glanced at the group of elves carrying bows and arrows who were following Ryo and Obaba-sama.
Then she said.
“Thank you for escorting Ryo.”
The guard captain’s voice trembled just a little as they answered.
Ryo was taken to a large house in the center of the village.
It was the house of the grand elder, Obaba-sama.
Sera explained that the house was made large enough for the executives of the Western Forest to gather there on occasion.
She seemed very happy.
“I live here too.”
“I mean, Obaba-sama is my grandmother after all.”
Ryo’s brain could not keep up with Sera’s sudden confession.
It took him a good ten seconds to comprehend it.
“I had no idea…”
Sera did mention that her parents had already passed away.
But Ryo didn’t really probe into it because she said it while looking a little sad.
He thought that when Sera finally becomes comfortable with talking about it, he wouldn’t mind listening then.
Ryo handed the official letter from Abel to Obaba-sama.
Appearances aside, Abel was the King ….
“And here’s the souvenir.”
Ryo said and opened the large bag that he had pulled all the way from the carriage.
Lo and behold….
“Coffee beans…rice and…spices? This smells like…curry spices!”
Sera arrived at the correct answer just by looking.
Well, except the spices which would be by their aroma.
Ryo got the freshly roasted Kona coffee beans from Kona village through the Royal Alchemy Workshop’s communication network.
And then obtained spices used for rice and curry from Kyradea.
As souvenirs for the western forest.
“You’re amazing as always, Ryo! They’re perfect!”
Sera spontaneously hugged him.
Ryo looked abashed.
And Obaba-sama watched on.
But after a while, intruders popped up.
About ten young elven men.
Ryo remembered having seen the one in the lead once before.
His name was…
“What is it, Roxley?”
Roxley had once drawn his sword against Ryo at the Elven Autonomous Region in the royal capital and had his hand broken by Sera as soon as he drew his sword.
After that, he was mentored by Sera, and furthermore, before the fall of the royal capital, he was a young man who had grown up to assist Carson, the chief of the Autonomous Region.
Ryo, of course, did not know his actual age.
“Please forgive our sudden visit, Obaba-sama. These men insist on speaking to Sir Ryo…”
Roxley said and looked at those who had followed behind him.
Some of them looked like the ones who attacked Ryo in the forest earlier….
Sera tilted her head.
Obaba-sama, on the other hand, frowned.
Perhaps she had an idea as to the reason for the visit.
“You do understand that Sir Ryo is an envoy of King Abel, right?”
Obaba-sama said in a low voice.
Those who entered the room scrunched up their faces a little, but still summoned up their courage and said:
“We, naturally, understand that. Still, we would like to receive some pointers from the Lord Envoy in martial arts.”
At that moment, a violent wind blew through the whole area.
Sera’s piercing gaze stung the young men.
Her voice was even lower than Obaba-sama’s.
The young men’s faces were not only tense, but some were even shaking.
“Lady Sera, I, too, would like to ask for some guidance from Sir Ryo.”
“Roxley, even you…”
Roxley requested too, and Sera glared at him.
But Roxley, unlike the others, said it brazenly.
“Sure, why not?”
Ryo’s single remark dissolved the tense atmosphere.
“You trained them right, Sera? I’m kind of interested in the elven melee combat techniques. If there’s an open ground, that would be perfect.”
“I’m so sorry about this, Ryo.”
“Don’t sweat it. Um, so how far can I go? I wouldn’t want anyone to end up getting badly hurt…”
“Oh, you’re welcome to cut off a limb or two. Fools who can’t gauge their opponent’s strength will probably end up dying in a ditch somewhere without a clue how they died anyway. So, why not let them experience death firsthand, maybe that’ll teach them.”
Sera dared to say in a louder voice.
So that the young men who were preparing at a distance could hear her.
“Absolutely not …you know that I’m the only one in the village right now who can reattach a severed limb…”
Obaba-sama said, shaking her head slightly.
Since it was for mock battles, both swords had blunt edges.
Making it very unlikely to sever a limb with it, obviously.
The referee was Obaba-sama.
“Well then, begin!”
In just one stroke, the young elf’s sword was blown away and Ryo’s sword was thrust at his throat.
Once again, with a single stroke, the young elf’s sword was blown away, and Ryo’s sword was at his throat.
All ten young elves had their swords blown away in a single blow.
“I’m the last, please teach me well.”
Roxley came out.
“All right, come on!”
Ryo was totally in coaching mode.
After Sera left for the western forest, Ryo became one of the instructors of the Knights of the Rune Frontier County.
His role was basically to beat up the knights, and now, he’s completely gotten into it.
Roxley was quite strong.
Stronger than all the elf youths up to now, all ten of them combined.
He stepped forward in the face of Roxley’s incoming head-splitting strike and deflected his sword away, then rammed his sword into his unguarded torso.
Roxley fell to his knees.
He didn’t throw up, either because he was well-trained or just sheer willpower….
As of then, many of the village elves had gathered around the grounds and turned into spectators.
But due to the overwhelming difference in strength, there was hardly a peep.
Only then did Ryo finally notice his surroundings.
(Crap…did I overdo it?)
Nevertheless, the young men were the ones who came to ask for pointers, so who could blame him?
Then, Ryo caught sight of Sera doing some kind of warm-up exercise.
“That should have served as a good warm-up for you right, Ryo? Besides, it’s not always good to hold back. I haven’t had the chance to let loose either.”
“Yeah…right, I had a feeling it was going to come to this.”
A sword fight between Ryo and Sera.
A sword fight that would boggle the minds of all the elves in the western forest unfolded on the grounds.
Needless to say, not a single elf doubted Ryo’s ability after that….