Chapter 105. Life (1)
There was nothing but forest.
They travelled, stopped and rested, then got up and travelled further according to Sia’s guidance, their proud self-proclaimed guide.
Just as they were getting sick and tired of the greenery – the point where their eyes were starting to feel sore with it, the forest began to get lighter and soon –
There was earth and rock and sky.
They were finally at the end of the long road.
“Boss! Say goodbye now!”
Sia laughed as he said that, standing at the edge of the forest that their party had just escaped from. It meant they would be splitting up from here.
“Sia, will you being going home straight away?”
“No, there’s another elf village near here. I’ll stop by there first, then go back to the village.”
“Do you have to go back to that village?”
Calian didn’t want Sia, who was still innocent, to return to that strange village just yet.
“My whole family is there, so I have to go back. I’ll be fine, boss, don’t worry!”
Calian simply stroked Sia’s hair and patted his head for a moment as the rest of the party shouted their words of farewell. Since they had travelled together for close to a month now, it couldn’t be helped that they had developed some affection for the little elf.
Finally, after hugging Hina tightly, Sia returned back to Calian and held out the black pebble that he had been holding on to this entire time – to make sure they could communicate smoothly.
“Now you can take it, boss.”
In fact, long before the end of their journey, Calian and Sia had talked about Sia’s ability to answer a question before it had been asked. Since Calian was on his way to meet the Will of Sispanian, he had asked Sia if it would be alright to ask her about it.
That was also why he had wanted Sia to hang around a little longer, until then, but Sia refused.
“The mother tree said so – that it was most natural for me to answer like this. She aid that just because I’m a little different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Even if I speak differently, it doesn’t change that I’m an elf. So you don’t have to look into it. Thank you!”
When he’d heard that, Calian had felt a little ashamed. He realised that up until now, he had been thinking of Sia’s speaking habit as a ‘problem’.
Thinking of that day, Calian nodded and took the stone back. Then Sia replied to Calian’s words, which he had yet to say,
“Yes, I’d be glad if we could. Thank you for saving me!”
Although he had already heard the answer, Calian didn’t stop saying what he was going to say,
“Lets meet again.”
Sia, who nodded, waved both of his arms in the air and ran back into the forest, disappearing almost instantly.
And so ended Calian’s journey, with the kindest elf he had ever met.
After confirming that the grass had settled after Sia left, Calian mounted Raven once again and began to climb the last hill towards their destination.
After a while, when they reached the top of the hill, he couldn’t help but gasp because of the magnificence of the land that unfolded before his eyes the moment Raven put one foot on the top of the hill.
Calian stopped Raven, looking around in admiration.
“So that’s it.”
The land of elephants.
The Siegfried Duchey.
.The very same place where Franz had paused last year. And Randell, three years before. And a long time ago, Rumein too had stood here, atop this hill. Standing there, in that very spot, Calian forgot his words and simply looked upon the walls of Siegfried for a long time.
The high walls were stronger and more magnificent than the outer walls of Kyrisis. Two stone statues erected high on both sides of the main gate of the outer castle gave a solemn feeling enough to lower their heads. The will passed on through the generation, to protect the land of Sispanian, could be seen in that wall.
It was almost a guarantee that all the princes of Kyris, who had stood here would have unwittingly been grateful in their hearts, that this was the land of herbivores who never sought the throne.
Lost in thought for a long time, Calian finally turned his head, a determined look in his eyes. Now that he had come here and see this, there was problem that he had to solve before he could step foot on the elephants land.
At Calian’s call, Yan turned his head and answered in his normal gentle and carefree way,
“Yes, your highness?”
“When we get there. Don’t act like a servant. I’m begging you.”
The knights around them burst out into laughter.
Hadn’t they thought the same thing when they had first seen Calian? That they would show the Prince who treated Yan like a servant, his place?
Now that they were here, it was impossible for even Yuran to estimate just how many knights with those same thoughts were eagerly awaiting Calian’s arrival.
Calian had already considered the idea that everything would end up being revealed when he came to this place, and so he had already told Kyrie, Hina and Arsen about his hometown. So the three of them had little smiles on their faces.
Yan’s eyes narrowed into something sharp, even as his tone remained gentle.
“I’ll take care of things.”
Now that he understood the weight those words held, Calian took another moment to reflect.
Alan stared at Rumein, as if waiting for some kind of explanation.
“Excuse me, your majesty.” He said.
Then rubbed his eyes with hand and wiggled his pinky finger in his ear as if cleaning it out. After seeing that, Rumein began to regret even bringing it up.
“Well, if you don’t want to nevermind.”
Alan quickly shook his head.
He them smiled at the two cups and bottle that Rumein had brought to the table.
“I didn’t expect your majesty to be the one to look towards alcohol first.”
Without further ado, Rumein gestured to the seat opposite him, but instead of sitting down, Alan gestured to the window.
The sky was dark and the moon int he autumn sky was bright.
“Wouldn’t that be better?”
He meant to drink outside.
Rumein paused for a moment.
Ever since he had ascended to the King’s throne, he hadn’t even been able to take a proper walk without worry. For a powerless King, alone in this great country, it was not safe for him anywhere but in front of his desk, in this large palace.
But if the moon was bright an there was a mage to protect you…
Wouldn’t it be nice?
“…. I suppose so.”
Rumein immediately rose from his seat. Alan laughed and flicked his finger and the bottle and cups vanished.
Soon, Alan took Rumein to the Arpia Palace’s garden. The stream that flowed in an elegant curve was slightly larger than the one in Siegfried Hall.