Chapter 23 The 220 year gap (1).
Chapter 23 - The 220 year gap (1)
Arrieta opened her eyes.
A strange sensation was stimulating her senses. This was why she was waking up from her deep sleep.
‘Is it Dragon Demon magic?’
There was an existence, who possessed Dragon Demon magic, nearby. Did that presence wake her up?
‘No, something is different….’
It felt similar to the Dragon Demon magic she knew, but something was a bit different. She couldn’t explain what was different, but it felt very foreign.
Arrieta soon realized the fact that she was laying on a comfortable bed.
She knitted her brows. Soon she was able to assess the situation.
This place was the Western Border Fortress.
She remembered the events that had taken place before she had fainted.
Arrieta had taken advantage of the confusion created by the Dragon Slayer’s Ritual to escape from that place. However, she had to move, while holding Rick and Enora like baggages, so the members of the Dragon’s Shadow quickly caught up to her.
Afterwards, a battle ensued. She had to fight her pursuers every step of the way as she moved closer to the Western Border Fortress.
She hadn’t eaten anything for a day yet she had to fight multiple battles so Arrieta was very tired. Moreover, she had to fight an arduous battle with Regina and her partner, while trying to protect Rick and Enora.
Fortunately, the Western Border guard had mobilized before her tank was emptied.
The Earth Dragon’s movement was too noisy, so the Western Border Fortress became aware of it. After finding it, they dispatched their main force including their elite troops. Also, the battle between Arrieta and the Dragon’s Shadow was noisy, so they were quickly found.
Once the situation turned, the members of the Dragon’s Shadow eventually accepted that their plan had failed. They had no choice, but to retreat.
Arrieta was as exhausted as she could be. She told the Western Border guard about Azell then she had fainted.
Then she had opened her eyes, and this was her current state.
Arrieta rang the bell, which was placed next to her bed. Soon a lone soldier opened the door and entered. He spoke carefully, while having a very nervous attitude.
“You have awakened. Princess.”
“Is this the Western Border Fortress?”
“How much time has passed since I lost consciousness?”
“It has bee 4 hours since you have arrived here.”
She had lost consciousness for longer than she had expected. Even though, she had stepped onto the battle field since she was 15 years old, this was the first time she had experienced being cornered to this degree.
The soldier spoke.
“Ah, your companions is unharmed. They should be receiving treatment at the infirmary.”
“I see. Thank you. Could you lead me to them?”
Arrieta followed the soldier towards the infirmary.
The infirmary was very busy. There were a lot of wounded people and the healers were busily moving around.
Even the haggard looking Rick was helping out.
“Medical officer Rick.”
Rick ran toward her with wide eyes when he saw her.
Suddenly, the surrounding people stirred. They had all stopped breathing, and they were all looking at her.
Arrieta didn’t concern herself with the gazes, and she queried.
“How’s your body?”
“Fine. Thanks to you.”
He had suffered from the load put on him from the Instantaneous Movement method, and he was transported while being slung around her. It had caused him to have motion sickness, and he had thrown up everything inside him…. After arriving here, he had thrown up again. He was a mess, but he didn’t have to tell her that. She had brought him with her while putting her neck on the line. Wasn’t he alive because of her?
“While princess had lost consciousness, the survivors from the ruin excavation site was found by the search party. After one after another was found, they joined this place. Suddenly, there were a lot of injured people, so it is a bit hectic.”
“I see. Where is Enora?”
“She is laying down over there.”
Rick guided her toward Enora’s bed. Enora had various bandages around her body. After spotting Arrieta, she stood up in surprise.
However, Enora soon grabbed her head, and she stumbled. Arrieta spoke while helping her.
“Lie down. You’ve gone through a lot of hardship.”
“Ooh-hook(TLN: sobbing noise), Princess….”
Enora was about to cry. The events leading up to coming here was too harsh for a 13 year old girl to withstand. Arrieta smiled gently, and she wiped away the tears. Enora made a face as if the world was about to end.
“Ahhhhhhh, you shouldn’t. Princess. You shouldn’t do this. This is too much….”
“Princess is going around in such a dishevelled state. Ahhhh. If this becomes known then the head maid will murder me!”
Was this the reason why she was about to cry? Arrieta was taken aback so she stared at her dumbly.
“How can you be so indifferent, Mr. Soldier! I shouldn’t have have left her even when the men folk said they’ll take care of the princess.. Hook-hook.(TLN: crying noise, sob)”
“M, Mister…..” (TLN: the term used is Ah-juh-shi – it refers to older men usually married. Usually men passed their prime )
“I’m only 19! I’ve haven’t even had a girlfriend yet….!”
The ‘Mr. Soldiers’ from the surrounding heard her words, and they stared at her as if they had been wounded.
Arrieta felt embarrassed so she avoided their gazes. Sure enough, Arrieta’s appearance was shabby. After she had escaped the ruin excavation site, she had fought while traveling through the forest for a whole day. How could she be clean? Her hair was tangled, and her face was covered in dirt. Even her coat was dirty.
‘I guess it can’t be helped since it’s the battle field?’
She had stepped on the the battle field at the age of 15, so she didn’t have much interest in being a neat freak. She grew up being educated this way since her childhood.
Arrieta spoke with sigh in her voice.
“Enora. Let us put that problem to the side… First, go get some rest.”
“I’m capable of washing my face, and brushing my hair. If that doesn’t satisfy you, you can quickly recover and serve me.”
After saying this, Arrieta forced Enora to lie down. She had no choice but to follow suit.
At that moment, Rick gave a fake cough behind her back.
“Hmmm. Princess. Well……”
“Mmm. I’m sorry. I showed you an unsightly appearance.”
“No, you haven’t. Actually, I have one thing I have to speak to you about….”
“What is it?”
“It’s about Azell.”
“Ah, what happened to him? Did he return safely?”
As a matter of fact, she had thought about asking about Azell. She had left words to the search party. Did he safely join up with them?
Rick hesitated. Arrieta’s heart skipped a beat. (TLN: her heart throbbed should be correct, but I kind of like ‘skipped a beat’)
‘Don’t tell me he got eaten by the dragon?’
She had no idea what the Dragon Slayer’s Ritual was. However, it was a fact that he had challenged the dragon by himself.
Could he win against a dragon by himself? Rather, was it possible for him to survive and escape?
She was flooded with all kinds of ominous thoughts when Rick spoke.
“Mmmm. You just woke up so you must still be tired. I apologize but…. Could you go see the commander, and vouch for Azell’s character?”
Arrieta eyes became round when she was given an unexpected request.
“Oh, Princess. You arrived safely. I’m happy to see you again.”
Beyond the bars, Azell was smiling brightly and waving his hand while wearing a heavy chain with handcuffs on his two arms.
After seeing him, Arrieta couldn’t think of anything to say.
The clothes Azell was wearing was tattered, and his whole body was covered in dirt. He looked like he had worked in a forced labor camp for a couple month. However, she couldn’t see any wounds and he seemed to have quite a lot of energy.
“The search party located me. Didn’t they tell you what they saw?”
“I heard, but…..”
The search party found the part of the forest, which was overturned, as if a storm had swept through. Also, they found the Earth Dragon’s dead body, which had died after losing massive amount of blood, and Azell was meditating in font of it. When they asked what had happened, Azell told them that another dragon showed up while he was running away from the Earth Dragon. He testified that the other dragon appeared and killed the Earth Dragon.
“Did the other dragon really show up?”
“Maybe I saw a phantom since I was terrified. However, if that hadn’t happened then who could have killed the dreadful dragon?”
Arrieta was immediately aware that Azell was lying, but she didnt’ question him any further.
Instead, she spoke to the knight who had accompanied her.
“This person is Azell Zestringer. He travelled with me. He has helped me in lots of way while coming here so release him. Also, treat him well.”
The knight immediately opened the prison cell door, and he released Azell from the handcuffs, which was imprisoning him.
There was a simple reason why Azell was locked up inside a cell. The ruin excavation site was attacked by an unknown horde, and numerous people were killed, so it was a situation where they couldn’t easily trust an unknown person.
They had located Azell’s whereabouts, but Arrieta had to wake up and confirm whether he was the real Azell or not. Rick testified for him, but Arrieta was the one who had initially asked for Azell. Therefore, it couldn’t be helped.
“I’ll have to apologize.”
“No. I understand that the army is an organization that could only be run this way. Aside from being imprisoned, nothing bad happened to me.”
Azell spoke in an easy going manner.
Truthfully, the Western Border guard hadn’t done anything harsh to him. They had imprisoned him because the situation was too dangerous, and his identity was in question.
The restraints might have been an overkill, but they took this measure when the scouting party’s knights and magicians identified him as a Spirit Order practitioner. If they let a person with superhuman strength move around freely then they could suffer great damage if he has evil intention in his heart….
“I’ll take steps to get you clean clothes after you wash yourself.”
“I’ll listen to your story afterward. Moreover, Rick expect to hear from you so show your face to him.”
After parting from Arrieta, Azell followed the low ranking soldier, who was called over by the knight, to the bathing house.
It would have been problematic if it was winter, but he could wash his body without conserving water in this season.
“Hoo-ooh, this is great.”
Azell was immersed inside a bathtub made out of stone, and he sighed languidly. In the current season, it would have been normal for him to tremble from cold when immersing his body in cold water. However, his face became red as if he had entered a sauna.
Truthfully, his surrounding started to steam. It was the magical effect of Spirit Order. Steam started rising up and his skin took on a rosy color.
After he washed his body for a long time, Azell stepped out, while having a refreshed look.
“Hmmm. Should I cut my beard?”
After hearing Arrieta say that he looked like 40 year old man, he had decided he must cut his beard. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a razor.