The Master of the Brave - Chapter 104
Chapter 104 – One Step at a Time
The detached queen ant’s head continued to shake and rattle its jaws restlessly for some time. The huge decapitated body spat out its bodily fluids and thrashed against the withered World Tree sapling and the rocks around it. The ants that until recently were under the huge body were crushed one by one. They were more frantic than when the explosives went off. To avoid being trampled by the ants rampaging over the loss of their queen, Wynn and the others ran into the tunnel for now. At the end of the tunnel burned the incense the ants detested, and behind it, Cornelia and the dwarves greeted them with cheers and shouts of joy.
“Hey, Wynn, you did it!” Locke ran up to Wynn, shouting excitedly and ruffling his hair and patting him on the back.
“Thanks to Letty and Mito. The two of them cut off the queen ant’s legs so I could rip its head off.”
“Yeah, but it was impressive all the same, wasn’t it? I don’t know how you can move, seeing that queen ant’s jaws and legs up close. Seeing you duck and dodge like that gave me chills.”
“Speaking of Letty… Letty, did you got hurt? You were thrown into the air pretty hard.”
Letty, who had been running around the queen ant’s body, was thrown into the air. She had landed correctly and had been so busy dodging the queen ant’s attacks that she hadn’t noticed whether she was hurt or not, so Wynn wondered if she was okay.
“No, I’m not hurt. Thanks for helping me back there.”
She certainly didn’t look like she was injured anywhere.
“I see, you don’t know how glad I am.” Wynn exhaled a sigh of relief.
“Well, as I was saying, Wynn, you really did it!”
Locke put his hand on Wynn’s shoulder and then looked alternately at Leticia, who was standing next to Wynn.
“You finally got to fight shoulder to shoulder with Leticia-sama!”
Oh, now that you mention it… At Locke’s assertion, Wynn turned to look at Leticia. Yes, that’s right. Today I fought alongside Letty, wielding my sword… Wynn realized that he had accomplished one of the goals he had set for himself.
After the journey of the Brave, Wynn and Leticia had never fought side by side. Whether it was the decisive battle against principal Zaunas, the battle against the Petersian knights disguised as bandits, or the demon that appeared in the imperial palace, Leticia had always fought against what he considered the strongest opponents. Today, Wynn had fought alongside her against an enemy known as the Queen Ant. Of course, with the conditions where magic was impossible to use, even though she wielded the Holy Spirit Sword, Leticia, who was unable to use magic, had not been able to used most of her abilities. Still, today Wynn was finally able to fight alongside her. One day, when Cornelia asked him about why he wanted to be a knight, he had also thought about the difference between Leticia and himself.
Leticia, who had been toiling alone in a distant land, returned after accomplishing a feat no one had ever achieved: defeating the demon king, far surpassing his expectations. The world in which Leticia found herself was at the end of an interminably long and steep road for Wynn, and it was not a place that could be reached by ordinary effort. Yet Leticia still believed that Wynn would reach it without question.
Wynn looked at Cornelia, who was talking happily with the dwarves. As luck would have it, he had become Cornelia’s squire and her personal knight. And today, at last, he had been able to fight alongside Leticia, which was another of his goals. Even if it was under limited conditions, it felt like a big step forward for Wynn.
I can also climb the stairs to where Letty is standing. Slowly, one step at a time….
“Onii-chan.” Leticia looked up at Wynn and smiled brightly. Her cheeks seemed flushed with excitement, so much so that it was noticeable even in the firelight burning the insect-repellent incense. She looked truly happy. It was obvious that she too was glad to be able to fight alongside Wynn. She raised her right palm toward Wynn. “We did it!”
Wynn also lightly brushed her hand with his own right hand.
Then, dodging the ants that were still rampaging in the tunnels, Wynn and the others were led to the road that led to the Kingdom of Lyon. Mito took it upon himself to guide them.
“Once the queen ant is defeated, there will be no more. I will show you the way.” Carrying the heavy halberd on his back, Mito quickly stepped forward. “Be careful, okay? The roof is fragile in many places.”
Mito seemed to know the abandoned mine roads so well that he didn’t even bother to look at the map, and even warned them in advance of the dangerous spots whenever they strayed off the path.
“Somehow, the reinforcements have gotten stronger. We think this may have something to do with the fact that the World Tree sapling has withered and the dragon has disappeared…”
“I’m sorry. But that’s because of me.”
“What on earth do you mean?”
Leticia said to Mito, but Mito was so surprised that he ended up banging his head against one of the rejuvenated wooden reinforcements, still having a confused expression on his face. As they walked and talked about these things, they came to the road that led to Lyon’s side. There, Oort and the others had already arrived. It was night outside the mine, and Oort and the others seemed to be sitting around a campfire.
Wynn and the others waved the lights in their hands widely as them, seated at the campfire, stood up with weapons at the ready. Oort and the others, who had remained alert watching the lights and the figures coming out of the tunnels, realized that these belonged to Wynn and the others, and jumped up and ran toward them with joy.
“You’re safe!” Lino’s reaction was especially strong. When she saw the big, gangly Wedge, she hugged him without fear of being seen and said loudly. She must have been anxious to have gotten away from Wedge, with whom she was always together.
Wedge stroked Lino’s head awkwardly. Seeing this, Eliza’s eyes filled with tears as well.
“Haa… When we got separated in the tunnel, I thought it would be impossible no matter how much Leticia-sama was there. But no, I’m so glad you’re okay!”
When Oort said that and invited them to approach the fire, Wynn waved his hand at Mito, who was following him.
“If it weren’t for Mito and the others here, we really would have been lost in the bowels of the earth.”
Then each introduced himself to the other. Oort offered the dwarves a drink, and Mito’s face broke into a happy smile. Then they talked about what they had done since they had parted ways. Apparently, there were no major obstacles after Oort and his group managed to fight off the ants that were chasing them. Along the way, they had a few encounters with ants, but there were not many and they were able to get away mostly unscathed. It seemed that they didn’t encounter a Magic Void like the one Wynn and his friends had wandered into, and when Eliza heard about it, she said with a pale face that she was glad they didn’t have to fight in such a place. Meanwhile, Locke was talking excitedly about how Wynn, Leticia and Mito fought. Perhaps the battle with the queen ant had been burned into his mind. He spoke passionately with gestures and motions.
“Well, we knew what Wynn and Leticia-sama were like as children. So, it’s not so much of a surprise…”
When Oort said this, Louis and Eliza nodded at the same time. Mito, who had been watching them all with amusement, took a breath after finishing his drink and opened his mouth.
“You guys are heading to the royal capital of Lyon, aren’t you? Can I join you?”
“We don’t mind, but…”
All eyes were on Cornelia, the imperial princess, and she answered Mito on their behalf.
“As said before, that girl is a noble of the Empire or something, isn’t she? If such a person goes to the capital of Lyon, she must have some business with the royal court. The fact that ants have emerged in the mines must be reported to the human kingdom. Even if you have defeated the queen ant, it doesn’t mean that a new one won’t be born. If those ants overflowed the mountain, what would happen to the human villages? It would be better for them to send the knights or an army.”
“That’s true. But we are from the Lemmrousell Empire. We can ask the Kingdom of Lyon to send troops, but we can’t promise anything, is that right?”
“I don’t mind. As for sending troops, I’m going to ask for it directly. There’s a brat in that country there known as the ‘Sword Saint’, isn’t there? No, I shouldn’t call him a brat, should I? He is the crown prince, after all, isn’t he? Ah, well. Anyway, if the brat is the ‘Sword Saint’, he’ll be more than willing to meet with this old man.” Mito sipped his drink.
Wynn and the others couldn’t help but look at each other when Mito said as if it was nothing that the crown prince of a country wouldn’t want to refuse to meet with him. Seeing their reaction, Mito opened his mouth wide and smiled.
“Do you wonder why the Lyon Sword Saint would want to meet me? Just like Leticia-dono over there… mine is not as good as ‘The Brave’, but I also have a title.” Then Mito raised the halberd at his side and showed it to them. “Mito the ‘Sword Artisan’. That’s what they call me, in case you were wondering.”
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