By the skin of her teeth, Alfea dodged to the side, avoiding the Wind Wolf’s strike. With a small gap between them, she took her long sword and swung with her Swordsman Skill, splitting the Wind Wolf into two.
Her distress could not be hidden. Worse, it was emphasized by the blood stains on her silver armor. However, as she pants in exhaustion, her attention was not entirely focused on the situation at hand. Instead, she would catch small glimpses of the Dark Forest in worry.
Silavin: wait. How did she know they are in the Dark Forest?
Balmain who held his post beside Alfea frowned as he checked onto the halved corpse in anger. In a low voice, he reminded, “Miss Alfea, you could have taken out that wolf by simply using your own arm strength. At the point in time, it is imperative that we save up on Sword Aura.”
“No!” Alfea refused. “I can’t wait any longer! Quickly, cut them all down!”
Balmain took a deep sign. He looked around his company, which consisted of a few people; familiar faces like Alan, Athol, and Damon. They all understood their situation and could only return a helpless look towards Balmain as they rushed forward to the Dark Forest at Alfea’s behest.
Last night, after Ye Chui, Debbie, Antano, and Bedwick split from the group, the eight remaining members managed to escape the encirclement set up by the Wind Wolves. Naturally, there were a few Wind Wolves that pursued their group but it was small compared to the numbers those that stayed behind had to face. With a group of eight, those pursuers were nothing to break a sweat about.
However, just when they had made it to safety, about 6 kilometers from Stan City’s walls, Alfea had turned back in preparation to rescue those that they had left behind.
Due to her strong-headed personality, Balmain and the others could not change her mind. Their pleas fell onto deaf ears as they were given a choice to either follow her or head back home.
There, the group further split as three were too injured to head off and were forced to head back to Stan City while the remaining five went to rescue Ye Chui’s group. Out of this five, Balmain, Damon and Athol shared a strong bond with Alfea. Their bond was forged and tested during their adventure together in the ancient tomb. As for Alan, he held feelings for Alfea, so he tagged along.
For the three severely injured members, they had a guard nearby transport them back to Stan City. Since they were already so close to the City, it was hard to believe there will be a stray Magic Beast around, so they felt relieved to leave this task to the guard.
On the other hand, Alfea and hers now team of five headed towards the Dark Forest in a scurry. They met with a few wandering Wind Wolves, along with a few other types of Magic Beast but these opponents were not a problem.
Instead, most of their attention was focused on Debbie’s group situation. All of them knew of the chances that Debbie’s group had already met their end. However, such thoughts were strongly rebuked by Alfea. At the same time, even Balmain, the calm thinker of the group, has chosen to believe the likely.
Suddenly, as they were on their way to their destination, Balmain rushed forward and warned: “Wait!”
Do the unexpected shout, the horses all came to a halt as Alfea’s narrows her eyes to focus on the suspicious figure in front of them. “That… isn’t that a person?”
“It’s Bedwick!” Alan screamed and raced ahead, while the others followed suit a little later.
There, Bedwick laid in exhaustion. He was heavily injured. For the most part, it could be seen that he fought a tough battle. The missing left arm of his was especially ominous. Nonetheless, the Level 7 Swordsman managed to survive with a trail of wolf carcasses behind him. He was weak but still had plenty of vitality thanks to his Level. With a few tablets and a mouthful of water, the middle-aged man managed to open his eyes.
“It’s you…” Noticing that those around him were his allies, Bedwick choked up with emotions. He finally had some hope to live.
“Uncle Bedwick,” Alfea called out as she squatted down with a worry-stricken face. “What happened to Tony and Debbie? Did they?”
After hearing the names of his two nemeses, Bedwick’s heart surged with dread and rage. However, the sly fox was quick and did not even show a hint of anger. Instead, he exposed a weak and sad expression, including a low spirited voice. “They… they… met their end at the hands of those spiteful wolves. Please worry not. I will take complete responsibility for this. Their lives ended in my powerless hands. Tony, Debbie, and Antano. I, as their superior and comrade, will eternally remember their names. I will even have the City Lord Eric order their names to be honored in the Heroic Spirit Table.”
Bedwick: [The world requires one to be able to perform acts. Even it is annoying, I need to make sure that they do not doubt me. That’s right, those pitiful eyes are what I seek.]
Alfea’s whole body stiffened as her heart dropped. [Tony… Debbie… To think that even the ever so powerful Iron Swordsman fell today…]
As Alfea was lost in despair, Damon inquired. “Mr. Bedwick, what happened to your arm?”
“… Unfortunately, I found myself being too careless for a moment. For that brief second, I felt a sharp pain spread out my arm and knew that I was caught. To make sure that I was not dragged off by the Wind Wolf, I had to sacrifice my arm.” Bedwick responded in a despondent tone.
“No! I can’t believe that Tony and Debbie are dead before checking!” Alfea suddenly screamed.
Bedwick’s whole face turned pale. He had just used up all his strength to escape from those two. Now, he was going to be dragged back by Alfea to face them again? Even if you were to point a knife towards his neck, there was no way in hell he was going to be willing to head back there. Quickly coming up with an excuse, his eyes suddenly lit up as though he had received a revelation. With haste, he warned: “No! We cannot head back. I have just discovered something of importance. We need to head back to the city with haste. I must report this to City Lord Eric without wasting another second.”
“What do you plan to report?” Balmain inquired.
“The peripheral of the Dark Forest is filled with an uncountable number of Magic Beast!” Bedwick answered with an even paler complexion.
Everything Bedwick had said was not a lie. In fact, yesterday, when he was using his <Shadow Mouse Mode> to escape, he encountered far too many Magic Beast. Fortunately, he was able to slip by without their notice. Nonetheless, the number made him fearful for the city. “Listen carefully. The Wind Wolves that we encountered are not the only Magic Beast around. There are other packs of Magic Beast that roam around together. Truth be told, I cannot be sure of their number but I strongly believe that a single pack consists of close to a thousand members!”
“What!?” Everyone’s face lost color as Balmain murmured, “How… how is this possible?”
“The attack last night was held with more than a hundred Wind Wolves. Although they were ferocious and powerful, can you believe that with just those numbers, this pack of Wind Wolves managed to take down Skull Town? Skull Town has around 5000 individuals that are combat fit. Regardless of how you see it, the town is a hot spot for Mercenaries and Swordsman. Yet, it was taken down. No… Annihilated. With just a few hundred Wind Wolves, such a feat is impossible. Therefore, I believe that the number of Wind Wolves that attacked Skull Town was in the thousands…” Bedwick explained further. “Also, were any of you wary of what had happened yesterday? When we headed to Skull Town, we encountered not a single Magic Beast. Yet, like a bolt of lightning, the pack appeared. The only possible explanation is that those Wind Wolves were all at the edge of the Dark Forest so we did not spot them. For them to act in such a manner, I only have a strong suspicion that something is about to happen. Also, I noticed another strange fact. All the Magic Beast around the periphery were Level 3 and below. Not a single one of them was higher…”
“Why would these Magic Beasts act in such a manner and leave Stan City untouched?” Damon somewhat worryingly said.
“The only thing that I can think of is the sudden presence of a strong Magic Beast within the Dark Forest!” Bedwick slowly turned his vision towards the Dark Forest with fear in his eyes. “To be able to drive away so many Magic Beast out from their home, I can only think of a Magic Beast Skill that forces the others to submit to it.”
“You don’t mean…” Alan asked as though he had come to the same conclusion as Bedwick.
“Yes! This must the mythical <Dragon Might>!”
Bedwick’s voice shivered as he spoke. Once he was done with his news, he turned to Alfea and seemingly advised. “Miss Alfea, we must quickly head back and inform the City Lord about this Magic Beast. From what I know, these low-level Magic Beast can hardly stand up to the might of <Dragon Might> and will flee from the Dark Forest in time. We must head back before that happens and make preparation before this tsunami of Magic Beast sweep over Stand City. We need to hurry up and warn the City Lord to start up Stan City’s Grand Protect!”
Alfea’s face turned white as she looked at the Dark Forest in dismay. Without a choice, she made her decision and ordered: “We must return to Stan City with haste!”
Silavin: Got a little bored of my usual translations so I had some fun with idioms in this chapter. Hope you like it. Well, if you don’t just tell me. I don’t mind switching back. I’m just testing waters at this point.