Chapter 18:

Secret base

The Guardian

"I said, starting tomorrow you will come with us when we train Yuki. Since you refused to stay home even when is so dangerous outside and we can't just lock you in your room, then all we can do is to take you with us."


Eric tried to keep a straight face while he was relieved inside.

("So that's what she meant, that scared me for a second...")

"I understand, then I will be in your care from now on!"

Eric bowed then opened the door and entered the kitchen. He started to cook something and while he did it, he heard Krystal's voice resounding in his head.

("Master, can Krystal ask a question?")

("Yes, what it is?")

("Master said last night that Master can't run from his responsibilities anymore. If is that so then Krystal is confused why Master panicked a while ago and didn't tell anyone about Master's real identity. Isn't in Master's benefit to be trained before that Kratos will be free?")

After Krystal ended her questions Eric stopped moving without knowing what answer.

("Mmm... I don't really want to tell them yet.")

("Can Krystal ask why?")

("Although I said that I can't run from my responsibilities anymore, I don't want to give up on my current life either. I planned while wandering outside to have you teach me some spells from time to time but it seems like now I don't need it anymore. I can just watch their training and that will be enough for me.")

("Master is a stubborn person from what Krystal can see...")

("Hey, I will tell them when I will find the right moment alright?!")

("If Master says so then Krystal won't ask anymore...")

Eric knew that what he was doing was a reckless thing but as Krystal said, he was a stubborn guy and he couldn't do anything about it. He was the kind who would worry about future problems when they will come, not before, and he would not change his personality no matter what.

* * *

One hour later, Eric and the girls finally left the house and walked toward the forest.

Although it was summer, the sky was cloudy and a cold wind was blowing from time to time.

After several minutes Eric and the girls arrived at the entrance of the forest. There, before entering, Alice stopped the group and warned them with a serious face.

"Although there is a small probability to be attacked, don't let your guard down and pay attention to your surroundings constantly, we never know what might happen! Also, Yuki, Eric, both of you are not allowed to leave the group or wander by yourself no matter what, do you understand?"

"Yes!" ×2

With those things being said, the group entered in the forest.

They advanced deeper and deeper until they arrived where the fight took place two days ago. Iris, Ari and Yuki looked around with puzzled faces then Iris asked Alice hesitantly.

"Ahem... Alice... what are we exactly looking for?"

Alice looked around and her answer become so weak that all of them barely heard it.

"A cut on a... tree..."

"Alice... if you can find a tree that doesn't have any cut on it in a radius of 500 feets then I will clean your room for an entire month..."

As Iris said, all the trees in front of them had many cuts on them. Those cuts were the marks left by Eric's battle from two days ago and it was indeed hard to find a tree untouched.

Alice sighed at the sight of the place.

"The mark I left was in the form of an 'X'. I don't believe that there will be another one like it, so just look after it. Even if there are others alike, there can't be too many of them..."

Eric looked around while cursing himself for letting so many marks and prepared himself mentally for the long search that will come.

("Master, if you want, I can show you where the secret base is.")

("No... I don't want them to find it. If you can, please lock the entrance so no one can enter even if they find it.")

("Krystal can do that but if Master doesn't want them to find the base then those girls will search this place for a long time before leaving. Since Master needs to stay with them then I don't think Master will want that")

("And that's why I'm sighing now. This will be a very long day...")

* * *

As Eric said, the complete search took several hours.

To cover a larger area, they split into two teams. Since Eric saw Alice making the mark, he was coupled with Iris in one team, and Yuki, Ari and Alice formed another team.

After one hour of search, they ended up finding 4 trees that had an 'X' mark, and after a closer inspection, they narrowed the trees to 2.

Even with the marks narrowed to two, the search for the secret base took another three hours until they found it.

They tried at first to find a way to open the entrance and made Yuki shout out embarrassing things like 'Open!', 'Secret door unlock!' and so on.

Eric, knowing that that method won't work, looked at his sister with pitying eyes while Yuki had a red face from embarrassment.

A while later, after giving up on that method and many others, Alice's patience run out and she used magic to make some huge holes in the ground until she dug right on top of the secret base.

Now that she finally found it, she had a satisfied smile on her usually cold face.

"Pfiu, I should have done that from the start!"

Eric and the girls looked around at the dozens of holes while thinking that Alice overdid it a little but didn't say anything about it.

Now that they found the location of the secret base, the girls tried for an hour to open the entrance but since Krystal locked it, they couldn't do it in the end.

"Not even the Guardian himself can open this door, are you sure that this place was really built by the previous Guardian?"

When they give up trying, Ari raised her doubts about if that was really the right place but Alice just shook her head.

"This should be the right place. When I made the hole I intend to make it around ten feets but as you can see, I could dig just half. I couldn't break the wall of the base with my magic. If it wasn't built by a Guardian then I don't know who could build something like this."

After Alice ended her explanation the others didn't have anything else to say and keep quiet.

Eric looked around and thought of a way to stop this meaningless search but Alice talked again before he could.

"Ok, let's stop here for today, I'm sure you all are tired so let's head back home. I will talk with Irra about this matter maybe we can find a solution, now is useless to just stay here."

They spent several hours searching so the girls were so tired that they accepted immediately and the group headed back.

Eric was relieved that they stopped there but didn't show it on his face and while they were heading back he stayed behind to talk with Alice.

"I'm sorry that I couldn't be of any help!"

"You don't need to be, is not like you did something wrong. That place is something left behind by the previous guardian, it was already a miracle that you could open it in the first place so you don't need to feel bad about it."


("If I didn't feel bad now I sure do...")

("If Master is really feeling bad about it then we can go back anytime.")

(" one asked you!")

"Although... do you have any idea why we couldn't open the entrance?"

Eric talked with Krystal in his head but Alice's voice caught his attention again.

"Hmm, I don't really know the reason but what I can say for sure is that it doesn't matter that much. As you could see, the artefacts you searched for weren't there anymore so there's no rush to go in. Maybe even the reason we can't go in is the absence of the artefacts so don't waste too much energy on that place."

Alice fell silent while thinking about Eric's words that made so much sense that even Eric was surprised about them. She fell into thoughts the rest of the way back and Eric didn't interrupt her.


The Guardian