A Childhood Friend's Request
A Rest Day Before Leaving
Chapter Four: Port City La Rochelle
|Albion of the Wind|
|Volume 2, Chapter 5|
|Release date-||September 25, 2004|
|Chapter Name-||A Rest Day Before Leaving|
Although dawn had just broken, Saito, Guiche and Louise had already started preparing the saddles for their horses. Slung over Saito's back was Derflinger. Because of its length,it could not be attached to the waist.
Louise was dressed in her academy uniform, the only difference was that she now wore horse riding boots instead of shoes. Judging from that, it looked like a great deal of time would be spent riding the horse.
How far would Albion be from here? I'm still not used to riding a horse... Most probably my waist will ache from the riding... he thought to himself.
Just before setting off, Guiche spoke rather awkwardly.
"I have a request..."
"What is it that you want?" Saito responded with hostility while putting his belongings onto the saddle. He still could not forgive Guiche for hurting him that badly during their fight some time back.
"I wish to bring my familiar along."
"Do you have a familiar in the first place?"
"Of course I do. All magicians have one."
Louise and Saito looked at each other, then looked at Guiche again.
"Where's your familiar now?"
"Here." Guiche replied while pointing to the ground.
"But there's nothing on the ground," Louise said.
Guiche responded by tapping his feet on the ground. Just then, a giant brown creature popped out of the ground.
"Verdandi! Oh, my cute Verdandi!"
Saito, dumbfounded, asked, "What in the world is that creature?"
"What do you mean creature? This is my cute little familiar Verdandi."
"You mean that your familiar is that big thing over there?"
Upon closer inspection, that giant brown creature was actually a mole with a size equivalent to a small bear.
"Yes. Ahh... My Verdandi, you look so cute from any angle I look. Have you eaten your meal of earthworms before you arrived here?"
The gigantic mole hemmed happily in response.
"Really? That's wonderful!" Guiche said while rubbing cheek to cheek with his familiar.
"Actually... I don't think that you could bring it along with us..." Saito said in disgust.
“That's right Guiche. That creature moves underground right?”
“That's right. Even though it's slightly bigger that usual, Verdandi is still a mole all right.”
“How are we going to bring it along? We're all riding on horses.” Louise said in perturbed fashion.
“That's all right. Verdandi moves along quickly underground. Am I right, Verdandi?
The gigantic mole nodded in agreement.
“But we're going to Albion! We can't bring creatures that move underground!.” Louise explained.
Guiche, upon hearing that, knelt onto the ground and replied, “I cannot bear the separation with my dear Verdandi... Oh! The pain...”
At the same time, the giant mole seemed to pick up some scent from its nose and drew nearer and nearer to Louise.
“What is this stupid mole trying to do!?”
“Like master, like familiar. They both share the same interest – girls.” Saito said.
“Stop! Stop this right now!”
The giant mole knocked Louise off her feet and started sniffing all over her.
“Ah!!! Watch where you're sniffing! Stop it!”
Louise being constantly poked by the giant mole's nose, started to roll all over the ground. All that rolling disheveled her clothes and exposed her underwear. Louise was starting to get very annoyed...
Saito unconsciously started to be immersed in watching Verdandi and Louise just as if he was admiring a beautiful picture...
“Ah... How beautiful is the scene of a giant mole teasing a damsel.”
“I totally agree.”
Both Saito and Guiche nodded in unison.
“Stop blabbering nonsense over there, you oafs! Come over and help me quickly! Ahh!!!
The giant mole saw the ring at Louise's right hand and started pecking it with its nose.
“You insolent mole! Don't use your nose to sniff at the ring the highness has bestowed to me!.”
“I see now. It's the ring. Verdandi loves jewels.”
“Such an irritating pest!”
“Please don't call Verdandi an irritating pest. It's because of me that Verdandi searches for precious stones and jewels. For an Earth magician, there's nothing more helpful than this.”
Just as Louise was preparing to blow her top, a sudden gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew away Verdandi.
“Who is that!?” Guiche shouted agitatedly.
A rather stout looking noble wearing a feathered cap appeared out of the faint daylight behind him. Saito looked rather surprised.
“That...That person is...”
“What have you done to my Verdandi!?”
Guiche hastily took out his rose shaped wand but the noble wearing the feathered cap was faster. Before Guiche could cast any spell, his wand was already out of his hand.
“I'm not your enemy. I'm under the orders of the highness to accompany you on your journey. The princess is worried about just having you few going to Albion, but then again sending a whole troop of soldiers with you will be too conspicuous. Therefore, I was appointed to accompany you all on this journey.” The noble said while taking off his feather cap and bowing.
“I'm the captain of the Griffin Knights, Viscount Wardes.”
The grumbling Guiche quickly shut his mouth. For most of the nobles, Guiche included, being able to join the Griffin Knights meant great prestige.
Wardes looked at Guiche and spoke apologetically. “Sorry for what I did to your familiar. I couldn't stand watching my fiancée being harassed.”
Saito was shocked.
“This majestic looking noble is Louise' fiancé???”
“Wardes-sama...” Louise spoke in a trembling voice after standing up.
“It's been such a long time. My Louise, my dear Louise.”
My Louise??? What kind of joke is that? Saito thought to himself.
Wardes approached Louise and with a beaming smile on his face, carried Louise up.
“It's really been such a long time.” Louise said with her face turning red with embarrassment.
“Still as light as ever. Just like a feather.”
“Viscount... please don't be like this... There are people over here...”
Wardes, who placed Louise back down and replaced his hat said, “Care to introduce your companions to me?”
“Erm... That is Guiche de Gramont and my familiar, Saito.” said Louise while pointing at them while she was introducing them to Wardes. Guiche who did not dare look at Wardes directly, lowered his head. Saito followed suit though a bit unwillingly.
Wardes said with a rather surprised look on his face, “Are you Louise' familiar? This is the first time I've seen a human being a familiar.”
“Thank you for taking such good care of my fiancée.”
Saito took the opportunity to size up Wardes. He was indeed handsome. Even though Guiche could also be considered a bishonen himself, he was always making a fool out of himself and making irrational decisions. He could even rub his own cheek with a giant mole.
However for Wardes, not only he had the looks. His eyes were like that of an eagle – keen and sharp. That mustache he had further enhanced his suaveness.
In addition he had a muscular and well built body. Saito had originally thought that all male magicians would have a body like Guiche, but he was proven wrong. Even in hand to hand combat with Wardes without the use of magic, Saito could be subdued in seconds.
Thinking about all that, Saito gave a deep and long sigh. Wardes seeing that, approached Saito and gave a pat on his shoulders.
“What's wrong? Are you having doubts about this trip? There's nothing to be afraid of! Aren't you the one who caught Fouquet of the Crumbling Earth? With your courage alone, nothing is impossible.”
Wardes who had finished saying that, gave a broad smile. With that, Saito felt a tinge of remorsefulness.
Is he really that good of a person? I don't think that I can compare with him in any aspect. That's right. I think Louise would be married to him soon... Just thinking of that has made me alone and empty...
Louise, not able to calm down due to Wardes' appearance, was feeling restless with anxiety. Saito had to turn his head away, he did not want to see Louise that way.
Wardes gave a whistle, and a griffin appeared out from the morning clouds. It was a mythical beast with the head of a eagle and a body of a lion. And on its back were wings that were made up of beautiful white feathers.
Wardes had climbed to the back of the griffin with grace, and then extended a hand to Louise.
“Come over, my Louise.”
Louise lowered her head in hesitation and bashfulness, just like a girl who is in love. This made Saito even more jealous.
What does he think he's doing? “Come over, my Louise?” Your Louise!? Your Louise!? What an obnoxious freak!
Saito being a male, had to keep those thoughts to himself and went up to the horse in silence in the end.
Louise, who was still hesitating, was suddenly carried up the griffin by Wardes.
With one hand on the reins and his wand in the other, Wardes shouted, “Well everybody, onwards!”
The griffin moved forward. Following behind it were Guiche, looking full of admiration for Wardes; and Saito, feeling very down and dejected.
Saito thought to himself while staring at the blank sky.
How far would it be to Albion?
From the headmaster's office window, Henrietta was watching Saito and group departing for Albion. Closing her eyes, she starting praying...
“Founder Brimir, please grant them protection throughout their journey...”
Next to her was Headmaster Osman trimming his nasal hair.
“You aren't going to see them off, headmaster Osman?”
“No, as you can see, I'm busy trimming my nasal hair, your highness.”
Henrietta shook her head in disapproval.
Just then, someone knocked at the door.
“Enter,” said the headmaster.
Mr. Colbert entered room with an anxious look on his face.
“Bad news! Headmaster!”
“You say that quite often. What seems to be the problem now?”
“From the news that I've heard from the castle guards, Fouquet has escaped!”
“Hmm...” said Osman while stroking his beard.
“According to the guard who was on duty that time, some noble knocked him out using wind magic. The person used the opportunity that most of the manpower was diverted to protect the princess to help Fouquet escape! This means that someone inside is a spy! Isn't that bad news?”
Henrietta's face turned pale upon hearing the news.
Headmaster Osman made a gesture to Mr. Colbert asking him to leave.
“Okay. Okay. We'll hear further details from you later.”
After Mr. Colbert left, Henrietta placed her hands on the table and sighed deeply.
“We have a spy in our midst. This must be the doings of the Albion nobility!”
“Maybe it is... OUCH!” said the headmaster while trimming his nasal hair. Henrietta looked at him helplessly.
“How can you still be so relaxed? The future of Tristain is at stake!”
“The opponent has already made his move. All we can do now is to wait, isn't it?”
“It's all right. If it's him, he'll be able to cope with any problems they'll face during their journey.”
“The person you're speaking of is Guiche? Or Viscount Wardes?”
The headmaster shook his head.
“Don't tell me that person is Louise's familiar. How could that be possible?! Isn't he just a commoner?”
“Your highness, have you heard of the story of Founder Brimir before?”
“I have read most of the story...”
The headmaster smiled and replied, “Then, do you know about Gandálfr?”
“Isn't that Founder Brimir's strongest familiar? Don't tell me...”
At this point of time, Headmaster Osman felt that he had already divulged too much. Regarding the secret of “Gandálfr” he always wanted to keep that to himself. Although he trusted Henrietta, he did not want the Royal family to know about it yet.
“Yes, he's as strong and capable as Gandálfr and furthermore, he comes from another world different from ours.”
“That's right. He comes from a world different from Halkeginia. Or I should say, from a place not on Halkeginia. I have always believed that this youth from another world will succeed. That's also the reason that I'm so carefree even during these perilous times.”
“Another world different from Halkeginia really exists...”
Henrietta gazed far away. The sensation of the youth's lip still lingered on Henrietta's lips. Touching her lips with her fingertips, she closed her eyes, smiled and said,
“Let me pray then, for the breeze that comes from another world.”
It would take two days to reach Port City La Rochelle by horse from Tristain. The port city is situated on a deep and narrow gorge and because of this, it has a small population of three hundred. As La Rochelle is the gateway to Albion, the number of travelers is ten times more than the local population.
Boulders could be seen on both sides of the narrow mountain pathway. People had carved holes in the boulders, turning them into taverns and shops. Although the buildings look ordinary, upon closer inspection one can realize that all of them are carved out of a single rock, a feat done by Square ranked earth mages.
On the narrow street, it appeared to be dark even though it was afternoon due to the gorges blocking the sunlight. If one made a turn on the street, they could see an even narrower street leading to a bar.
On the signboard resembling a keg of wine, the shop's name was written – “Golden Wine Barrel Bar”. However, nothing in the shop resembled its name; the shop was dilapidated like an abandoned house. Piles of ruined chairs could be seen piling next to the door.
Most of the patrons were gangsters and mercenaries. When drunk, they would often fight over the smallest of things like staring incidents or minor squabbles.
Whenever they'd fight, they would fight with their weapons. Therefore, it was common to see people dead or seriously injured inside the bar. The shopkeeper, not wanting to see any more injuries and deaths, put up a notice inside the shop.
“Please use the chairs when you fight in here.”
From the notice, the customers could feel the shopkeeper's helplessness. So they started to use the chairs instead of their weapons when fighting each other. Even though there were still injuries, no one was killed anymore. From then on, chairs that were destroyed during fights got piled next to the door.
Today, “Golden Wine Barrel Bar” is filled with patrons as usual. Almost all the patrons are mercenaries returning from Albion which was in an internal strife.
“The king of Albion is finished!”
“Don't that means that they're going to start a republic soon?”
“If so, let us offer a toast to the republic!”
The people offering toasts to themselves were formerly mercenaries hired by the royalist to fight along side with them. However, faced with the imminent defeat of their clients, they all decided to retreat back here. This was not considered to be a dishonorable act. As mercenaries, they value their lives more than their beliefs, and so they are not obliged to fight to their death for their clients.
As they were drinking, the bar's door opened. A rather tall lady had entered the bar. The hood the lady had worn covered most of her face except the lower part of her face. However, from just the lower part of her face one can already be sure about her beauty. As it was rare for such an attractive lady to come to such a place alone, all eyes on the bar were already on her.
The lady, unfazed by all the eyes staring at her, ordered some wine and food and sat on a table in a corner of the bar. After the food was served, she promptly paid up.
“That... That's a lot of money. Is it really all right?”
“That includes lodging. Do you have any empty rooms?”
An elegant voice replied. The shopkeeper nodded his head and left her table. Several of the male patrons looked at each other and approached her table.
“Excuse me miss, it's dangerous for you to be here alone.”
“That's right! There are lots of dangerous characters around. Don't worry though, we'll be here to protect you.”
With a vile smile on his face, one of them lifted up the lady's hood. Whistles and catcalls could be heard once the hood was removed. The lady was quite a beauty, with her beautiful eyes and elegant nose.
This beautiful lady is none other than Fouquet of the crumbling earth.
“She's really top notch! Look at her skin! It's as white as ivory!”
Another patron attempted to lift up her chin with his arm, but his hand was pushed away by Fouquet. Fouquet gave a faint smile. Another male patron immediately stood up, took out his dagger and placed it on Fouquet's face.
“Aren't chair “This is only to frighten you. Chairs can't intimidate anybody right? Don't act so innocent anymore, aren't you here to look for company? We'll keep you company then.”
Even with the dagger pointed on her face, Fouquet showed no fear. With a slight movement, she reached for a wand.
In a instant, she chanted her incantations. With that, the dagger that the man held turned into earth and settled onto the table.
“She's.. she's a noble!”
The men immediately backed away from her. As Fouquet was not wearing a cloak, none of them knew that she was a magician.
“Even though I'm a magician, I'm not a noble,” Fouquet said nonchalantly.
“Most of you are mercenaries right?”
The male patrons looked at each other. If she was not a noble, their lives would not be endangered. If they had done that to a noble, they would be killed without any qualms.
“Yes... And you are...?” a veteran of the group replied.
“It doesn't matter. In short, I'm here to hire all of you.”
“All of us?”
The mercenaries looked at Fouquet with a puzzled look on their face.
“What's with the expression? Is it really that weird for me to employ mercenaries?”
“No. That's not what I meant. You have gold, don't you?”
Fouquet placed a bag full of gold onto the table. After inspecting the contents of the bag, the veteran said, "Wow... Isn't this écu gold?”
The bar's door opened again. This time, a man wearing a white mask had entered the bar. He was the same man who had helped Fouquet escape from prison.
“Well, aren't you early.”
Fouquet seeing that man, gave a low “Hmm” as a reply. The mercenaries, seeing that man's peculiar dressing, were all quite surprised.“They have started on their journey,” the masked man said.
“I have done what you had told me to and hired all these men.”
The man in the white mask gave a once over at the mercenaries that Fouquet had hired.
“All of you were formerly employed by the Albion royalist. Am I right?”
“That was until last month,” one of the mercenaries replied with glee.
“But the soon to be defeated royalist aren't our employers anymore.”
The mercenaries laughed in unison. The man in the white mask laughed as well.
“I'll fulfill all your monetary desires. However, I'm not like the soon to be defeated royalists, if anyone dares to run away from battle, I'll kill him myself.”
Since departing from the magical academy, Wardes' griffin had been endlessly moving towards their destination. Even though the rest of the group had already changed their mount twice, Wardes' griffin just like its master, appeared to be tireless.
“Hold on, isn't the pace too fast for us?” Louise, who was on Wardes' griffin, asked. Over the duration of the journey, Louise spoke in a more informal manner to Wardes than when they were reunited. But that was also partly due to the Viscount's request.
“Guiche and Saito are already on the brink of exhaustion.”
Wardes turned back and looked at Guiche and Saito. Just like Louise had said, both of them were holding their reins tightly in fear of falling off. From the looks of it, both of them would collapse from exhaustion before the horses would.
“But I had originally planned to journey to port city La Rochelle without stopping...”
“That would be difficult, it would take two days to reach by horse.”
“If that's the case, why don't we just leave them behind?”
“We can't do that!”
“Aren't we in this together? Furthermore, a magician should not abandon her familiar...”
“You seem protective of them both. Which one is your sweetheart?”
Louise's face immediately turned red and replied, “What... What sweetheart!?”
“That sets my heart at ease. If my fiancée tells me that she already has a sweetheart, I would die of a broken heart,” replied Wardes nwith a smile.
“But that was only something that our parents had agreed on.”
“Then, do you dislike me, my small and dainty Louise?”
“Please, I'm not young anymore,” Louise replied, pouting.
“But in my eyes, you're forever that small and dainty Louise.”
Louise remembered that dream that she'd had a few days back, where she was back in the courtyard of her home, la Vallière.
The secret boat on the forgotten lake...
Whenever she was throwing a tantrum there, Wardes would always be there to pacify her.
The marriage that was decided by her parents.
The betrothal that was decided since youth. The one that she would be married to. Her fiancé.
At that time, she still did not fully understand what was going on. She only knew that, so long as she was with the man she had admired, she would be happy.
But now, she finally understood everything. She would be married to Wardes.
“I don't dislike you,” Louise replied with a tinge of embarrassment.
“That's wonderful, in other words, you like me?”
Wardes gently hugged Louise's shoulders.
“I have never forgotten about you even after all this time. Do you still remember? After my father's death during the lancer campaign?”
Louise nodded her head.
Wardes began to reminisce and narrated to Louise about the past.
“My mother had passed away earlier, I inherited my father's estate and title. Wanting to make a name for myself, I went to the capital. Fortunately, the highness had a deep impression of my father who had perished in the battlefield, I was incorporated into the Griffin Knights. I had entered the Griffin Knights as a trainee, training was tough then.
“From then on, you seldom went back to your estate again,” replied Louise while closing her eyes. She too seemed to be immersed in her memories.
“My house and estate were cared for by butler Galgann while I put all my effort serving the nation. After so long, I finally made a name for myself, accomplishing what I had decided upon leaving my homeland.”
“What was that you have decided upon?”
“To ask your hand for marriage once I have made a name for myself.”
“You're kidding right, Viscount? You're so popular among the girls, you have no need to honor your promise to such an insignificant me.”
About Wardes' betrothal. Louise had cleanly forgotten it until she had that dream a few days back. The bridal pact to Wardes was all but a fleeting dream. In her opinion, it was only an agreement made on a whim.
After Wardes had left his estate ten years ago, Louise had never seen him again. Wardes had already become part of her distant memory. Distant memories had suddenly become reality.
“This journey is a good chance for us to regain those feelings we had when you were young,” Wardes said with a gentle and calm tone.
Louise thought to herself, do I really love Wardes?
Even though she did not dislike him and she did admire him when she was young, that was all in the past.
Suddenly faced with a fiancé and probably marriage, she did not know what to do. Furthermore, they had been apart for so many years, she did not really know whether if she still had any feelings for him.
Louise turned her head and looked behind.
She saw Saito prostrating on the horse, it looked like he had nearly reached his limit. Louise pouted her lips. Good for nothing! As soon as she thought of that, she became anxious and her heart pounded furiously.
“We have already been on these horses for nearly a whole day, doesn't he get tired? Are those griffin knights monsters?” Guiche, who was also lifelessly slouching on the horse, asked.
“Who knows?” Saito replied lethargically. He felt embittered each time Wardes touched Louise. He touched her again...this time hugging her by the shoulder... What is that guy up to... Even though you're Louise's fiancé, even though I have no right to stop you, you should have at least done it somewhere else where I could not see...Each time Saito thought of that, he became more tired and his heart became heavier.
Guiche, looking at Saito in such a state, began teasing him. “Heh heh... Don't tell me you're jealous?” Guiche said with a snicker.
“Ah! What are you implying?”
“I guessed it correctly, didn't I?” Guiche laughed even harder.
“Shut your mouth, mole boy!”
“Mwahaha... You actually carried a love for your master that would never flower? To tell you honestly, love between people of different status will only result in tragedy.”
“Stop talking nonsense! How could I ever like such a person like her? I admit that she's cute. However, she has an extremely bad character.”
Guiche suddenly looked to the front and exclaimed, “Look! They're kissing!”
Saito, shocked, immediately turned to the front. However, Wardes and Louise did not kiss.
He then looked again at Guiche. Guiche was barely controlling his laughter.
“Arggh!” Saito shouted and pounced on Guiche. Both of them fell off their horses and began fighting each other on the ground.
“Hey! If you guys continue fighting, I'll have to leave you both behind!” Wardes shouted.
Guiche quickly got back on the horse. Meanwhile, Saito, realizing that Louise was looking at him, turned his head away.
As they had been traveling at full speed and exchanged their tired horses for fresh ones several times, they reached the outskirts of La Rochelle by nightfall.
Saito looked around in astonishment. Aren't we approaching a port? Why do I still see mountains everywhere? Maybe once we cross this mountain we should be able to see the ocean.
Traveling under the moonlight, Saito and the group finally saw a narrow mountain pathway. Buildings which were carved from boulders could be seen on both sides of the pathway.
“Why is a port built on top of a mountain?”
Hearing Saito asking, Guiche replied sarcastically “Don't tell me that you don't even know where Albion is?”
Although Saito and Guiche were nearly reaching their physical limits, the thought of 'Once we reach town we can finally rest' gave them the strength to engage in small talk.
“Yeah, I don't know.”
“Really?” Guiche replied with laughter. But Saito did not laugh.
“I have no common knowledge of this world and please don't assume that I do.”
Suddenly, from top of the cliff, torches were thrown at the their horses. The burning torches illuminated the ravine they were about to cross.
“What's... What's happening !?” Guiche cried.
The horses, frightened by the burning torches, threw Saito and Guiche off their backs.
As they fell, a hail of arrows showered upon them.
“It's an ambush!” Guiche shouted.
Saito began to panic, just as he wanted to unsheathe Derflinger which was slung behind his back, two more arrows flew towards him.
Just as they thought they were about to meet their doom, a strong gust of wind blew towards them, changing into a small hurricane.
That same hurricane caught all the arrows and sent them away.
Wardes raised his wand.
“Are you guys all right?” Wardes shouted.
“I'm all right...” replied Saito.Damn it! Louise's fiancé just saved my life. That sense of dismal kept expanding, causing Saito to feel inferior. He unsheathedDerflinger. The runes on his left hand started glowing again, reliving him of the exhaustion that he had been suffering.
“I'm so lonely, partner. It's too much of you to keep putting me inside the scabbard.”
Saito looked at the top of the cliff, but no arrows could be seen.
“It was most likely thieves or bandits.” Wardes said.
Louise, suddenly realizing something exclaimed, “Could it be the nobles from Albion?”
“Nobles would not use arrows.”
Just then, the sound of flapping wings could be heard. It was a sound that they were quite familiar with...
Screams could be heard from the cliffs.
Arrows could be seen shooting towards the night sky. However, all the arrows were parried away by wind magic.
After that, a small hurricane created by magic blew away all the archers.
“Hmm... Aren't those wind incantations?” Wardes mumbled to himself.
The archers, attempting to ambush them, rolled down the cliffs after being blown away by the magical tornado. They landed hard onto the ground, giving out moans of pain.
With the moon as the background, a familiar sight appeared. “It's Sylphid!” Louise shouted confoundedly.
It was Tabitha's wind dragon. After it landed, a red-haired girl jumped down from the dragon and flicked her hair.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Louise too jumped down from Wardes' griffin and replied, “What do you mean sorry to keep you waiting!? Why are you here in the first place?”
“Not to help you in any case. When I saw you leaving the academy on the horse in the morning, I quickly woke up Tabitha and followed you all the way here.”
Kirche pointed at Tabitha, from the looks of it she was woken up from her sleep; she was still wearing her pajamas. But she didn't seem to mind at all, and was still reading a book.
“Zerbst! Listen to me, we're on a secret mission given to us by her highness!”
“Secret mission? You should have said so earlier! How would I know if you did not tell me about it? Anyways, be thankful to me, for I have apprehended the people who wanted to ambush you!”
Kirche said while pointed to the people who were lying on the ground. Those ambushers were unable to move due to their injuries and hurled abuses towards Louise and the group. Guiche approached them and began interrogating them.
Louise, crossing her arms, gave a vicious stare at Kirche.
“Don't be mistaken! I'm not here to assist you. Am I right?”
Kirche posed suggestively, and then leaned on Wardes, who was on the griffin, and said, "Your beard makes you very manly. Do you know what passion looks like?”
Wardes glanced at Kirche and proceeded to push her away using his left hand.
“Thank you for coming to our aid, but please do not get so close to me ever again.”
“But why? I just told you that I liked you!”
That was the first time that Kirche received such cold treatment from a male. Usually any male would be mesmerized after some sweet-talking from her. But Wardes was not in the least interested. Kirche gazed at Wardes with her mouth wide open.
“I'm sorry. But I cannot let my fiancée misunderstand.” Wardes said while looking at Louise; her face turned red from embarrassment in an instant.
“What? She's your fiancée!?”
Wardes nodded in response. Kirche took a closer look at Wardes, she did not realize it before. Wardes' eyes showed no emotion at all. Just like ice.
She then looked at Saito. He looked listless and was talking to his sword rather dejectedly.
Eh? Is he looking like that because I made advances on Louise's fiancé? As she thought about that, Saito suddenly looked cuter. Looking at Saito, she ran towards him and hugged him immediately.
“Actually, I'm here because I'm worried for my beloved!”
Saito gave a bewildered look, but then quickly looked away.
Is he jealous? Thinking of that, Kirche's passion in her heart burned brightly.
“Cute! So cute! Are you really jealous?”
“I'm so sorry for neglecting you. You must be angry, right?" Kirche said while pushing Saito's face into her breasts.
“Please forgive me! I may have looked at other men, but in the end, the only one that I love is you!”
Louise bit her lips, wanting to tell Kirche off. She could not tolerate Kirche for seducing her familiar.
Just then, Wardes gently placed his hands on Louise's shoulder. Wardes looked at Louise lovingly and gave her a smile.
Guiche who was interrogating those ambushers had just returned.
“Viscount, those ambushers admitted that they were robbers.”
“Hmm.. If they're just robbers, let them go.”
Wardes effortlessly mounted back to the top of his griffin, carrying Louise up with him. He then announced to everyone, “We'll spend the night at La Rochelle, tomorrow we will take the first ship to Albion at the break of dawn.”
Kirche sat behind Saito, sharing the same horse with him. Guiche also mounted back to his horse. As for Tabitha, she was still reading her book on her wind dragon.
In front of them, sandwiched between two cliffs, was the port city La Rochelle, dazzling with lights.