Chapter 24:

Completely Realizing (Part 1)

White Nightmare

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The Asturian Knights were fighting bravely. Their power managed to hamper the Woruvens from reaching the garden and eventually turned them into bloody bits. Under the leadership of Baron John Falconet, they managed to suppress them down.Bookmark here

“Sir Rodan, we’ve cleared the area at this point. It appears you are right after all. Those monsters are indeed growing stronger gradually. One knight would’ve been enough to sweep clear tens of those wolves... but in this case, even a single knight experienced some difficulties while fighting them.Bookmark here

Their strange behavior and power forced me to use a strategy as if I’m going to battle against C ranked monsters,” said the baron explaining.Bookmark here

“Uh-huh. But I’m impressed you could grind through those furious beings without losing men. Normally, when overwhelmed, victims would soon fall, but you managed to withstand and all of your men still alive.Bookmark here

That’s a rare feat for a leader, Sir John. A good one, that is.”Bookmark here

“I thank you for your kind praise,” the baron bowed. “But this isn’t over yet. I still haven’t heard from my men in the eastern part of this large garden.Bookmark here

By the way, is Miss Ringo all right? I could send a few of my men to assure her safety, Sir Rodan.”Bookmark here

“That’s a good idea, but I believe she’ll be all right. She has a powerful trump card should things go bleak. That’s why let’s just focus down on taking out these monsters.”Bookmark here

“I see. Very well, then, Sir Rodan, contact me as soon as possible should you require my help to fortify that safe house of hers,” Sir John stated while preparing to fly to the air. “I must now seek out my men. I fear something bad might happen.”Bookmark here

“Go on. I will watch over this area.”Bookmark here

The baron smiled, “I’m counting on you, sir.”Bookmark here

With that, he flew into the air and went right to the eastern part of the garden in his maximum speed. Bookmark here

Rodan watched him as he went there. “You’ve grown so powerful now, eh, Johnny? Not so long ago you were only a crybaby...” he muttered.Bookmark here

“He’s a brilliant commander, is he not?” said Nono as he walked to Rodan’s side.Bookmark here

“Yeah, he’s one of the best... but he’s also the one behind the wacky rules in Astur City.”Bookmark here

“H-Huh...” Nono frowned.Bookmark here

“What I learned tonight is that Roro was not just a simple loner in the Red Forest who set off nobles as his enemies...Bookmark here

He actually has connections to a leader of a city. Just by looking at how they interacted, they seemed to be old friends. It appears there are still many things I’ve yet to know about Roro.”Bookmark here

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One hour later...Bookmark here

The monsters’ activity had reduced significantly. The situation was getting under control. Because of that, Sir John commanded some of his men to patrol the area to look for any remaining monsters that might still lurk around the garden while the rest stood guard.Bookmark here

“My men were mostly exhausted. If by mere eyesight, I expect around more than 5.000 Woruvens have been killed. But I think it’d be more than that.”Bookmark here

Rodan affirmed the baron’s words. He looked at some Woruven carcasses that began to evaporate to thin air.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’d guess as much, Sir John.Bookmark here

Low level monsters... or F-class monsters could easily proliferate and multiply, but their numbers are controlled by the number of newbie adventurers that wanted to reach greater level. But with those adventurers refusing to fight these monsters, nobody hunts them down, thus causing their numbers to explode.”Bookmark here

“Precisely,” Sir John nodded. “Now it is up to us to deal with them. I regret I didn’t realize this threat sooner... I will not do the same mistake again...”Bookmark here

“I oblige you to do so,” Rodan stated.Bookmark here

“I will.”Bookmark here

“Hey, Roro...” Nono called.Bookmark here

“Hm, what?” Rodan responded casually while keeping his eye glued to the plateau.Bookmark here

“It looks like Ringo’s safe house is really safe for now, right?” he asked.Bookmark here

“Not quite,” Rodan gave his reply calmly. “As the battle went on, I was watching how the monsters are acting. It appears they’re trying to adapt fighting against John’s knights.”Bookmark here

“I agree with that, Sir Rodan,” Sir John stated. “Those Woruvens managed to overwhelm my knights to the east. Should I not come to their aid, there might be casualties among us. It’s hard to believe, but that’s what happened. Bookmark here

Their strength feels like C-class monsters and perhaps even above. The main problem is that those monsters are still growing. If we do not find out what’s making them like that, I fear as the morning comes, none of us shall remain standing.”Bookmark here

It was visible in the baron’s very eyes that he was greatly concerning not only his men, but all the people in Astur. It surprised Nono that even though Rodan had called for help from him, the brilliant tactician and powerful man like Sir John still possessed fear in his mind.Bookmark here

The nightly air was growing gloomy. Patrols that scoured the region kept on finding more and more monsters hiding. Most of them were blending with the environment—a feat that F-class monsters impossible to do.Bookmark here

“Sir Rodan, based on how this fight goes, I have several conclusion. I think you might’ve noticed it.”Bookmark here

“Tell me about it.”Bookmark here

“The way these monsters attack could possibly be organized by an Arch Demon. How their power grows over time and how they could adapt to our way of fighting... it is sensible if an Arch Demon was around to command them.”Bookmark here

“I’ve thought of that as well, Sir John,” said Rodan while crossing his arms. “But Arch Demons don’t have the capability to overflow such intense power to an extremely wide range.Bookmark here

You see, Sir John, on my way here to Astur, we’ve faced some Biruboars trying to prey on us. Much like these wolves, they’ve gotten stronger and faster. That time we were still about a day from reaching Astur. Don’t you think it’s impossible that Arch Demons have that range of spreading their influence?”Bookmark here

“Biruboars, too? Good god... b-but it’s possible that there’s more than one Arch Demon lying around!” Sir John stated. His calm composure was beginning to tear apart.Bookmark here

“If that’s the case, then I won’t bother coming here. S-class adventurers like the renowned Demon Slayer would’ve moved out to destroy those Arch Demons. Don’t forget that this had happened for some time now. But even though time has progressed, not even a single adventurer from the upper class came to fortify.”Bookmark here

“...If not Arch Demons... then what?”Bookmark here

“At first, my suspicion was that there has to be an object or two that has the capability to make them like that. But my suspicion is also a bit off, since I observed as the battle went on for two days now, the Woruvens were specifically aiming to attack here.”Bookmark here

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Meanwhile, in Ringo’s safe house, Ringo was heading downstairs from the rooftop. Bookmark here

“Darn it, Roro... why did you call the knights?” she grumbled.Bookmark here

She was upset that Rodan called for someone else’s help to drive out those creatures. But in the end, she had no choice but to believe in him. Bookmark here

“Well, he has saved my precious garden with all his might...” said Ringo with a pouting face. But her expression soon melts. She was relieved that the battle went in Rodan’s favor. “Oh, well, I’m glad to have him around. As long as he’s here, there’s nothing I should worry about, hee-hee.”Bookmark here

But her sense of relief didn’t last long.Bookmark here

As she headed down, she was utterly shocked.Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

The moment she had opened the door to the lower level of her house, she was greeted by the darkness. Her house was completely bleak.Bookmark here

“What the heck happened? Did Romeo cut off the lights again...? I thought he’s fallen asleep,” she said while proceeding to activate her light magic.Bookmark here

But the time her magic illuminated what’s in front of her, it made her even shocked. Her light magic revealed glass shards on the floor. When she approached them, she realized it was from the lamp above her, which had shattered.Bookmark here

“What just happened...?” she whispered to herself.Bookmark here

She decided to journey deeper into the dark house of hers. But what she found was that every single piece of gas lamp she had was already broken. After knowing so, she immediately realized something.Bookmark here

“All lights have gone out... glass shards on the floor...Bookmark here

It felt like the lights was broken by someone... someone who’s... sensitive to light...”Bookmark here

“Sensitive to light?!” Her eyes instantly expanded.Bookmark here

“It can’t be!” she yelled. Ringo’s heart was thumping uncontrollably in fear. Her forehead soon wetted by her own sweat that crawled down like droplets of rain. In the same time as well, she quickly headed towards her room.Bookmark here

“Guys? Anyone?! Wake up and help me please!”Bookmark here

She tried to call her guild members to help her out, but her call wasn’t responded. She didn’t care. She just kept on running towards her room.Bookmark here

“Darn it, these bollocks are sleeping too well, aren’t they? Ah, forget it. I must come to my room at once!Bookmark here

The only one who’s weak to light is Ruru, but it’s strange that all this time she wasn’t showing any sign of weakness to any source of light so I thought she’s changed...”Bookmark here

Then she realized something.Bookmark here

“Can it be...? That time when she said her head hurts... could that be it...?”Bookmark here

As she got near to her room, it felt like horror to her as mist began to enter her house. But she gathered her bravery and walked past them. And before the door to her room, she deactivated her light magic.Bookmark here

While she held the doorknob, she prayed:Bookmark here

“Ruru... please be okay...”Bookmark here

Her hand turned the doorknob and pressed against the door, opening it widely. But what met her eyes was not the albino girl. The flow of wind coming from the outside breezed into her room as the window had been opened widely. The curtains were waving like flag following the melody of the wind. The moon was clearly visible to Ringo’s eyes as she stared towards the window.Bookmark here

Ruru was not present in that room.Bookmark here

“No...”Bookmark here

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