Robert’s party continues their journey through Yggdrasil’s Forest in Thyrine due West to the Thyrine-Escudia border. Lavennia Iris the female elf archer leads the way, but she walks almost like dancing along the path, showing off her flexibility and agility in slipping through narrow passages, while Christopher always lags behind, with his heavy armor and provision backpack as burdens. To his annoyance, Iris always talks along the way, and dominates all discussions, so the rest of the party then choose to be silent and concentrate on the tricky way ahead. The guide doesn’t lead them to easier paths, but at least they are going the right way – they hope. As they arrive at a clearing, Iris is going to walk on, but Robert insists that the party needs rest. Snorting to mock humans’ lesser stamina than elves, Iris ultimately agrees. They come to a halt near a small creek and set their camp there. Robert’s party gathers round the campfire, but without cheerful chats and jokes as usual. They only sit there silently, minding their own businesses. Iris tries to cheer the situation up by telling about herself.
‘I gladly volunteered for this task, you know. Being the best summoner, enchanter, dancer and archer in Thyrine, I was appointed as a guardian of Yggdrasil, The Tree of Life. I was the youngest among them, you know.’
‘But, guarding Yggdrasil is a boring job, I only free when not on my shift, so when our queen gathered the best elves as guides for the chosen heroes, I was the first volunteer, and here I am, guarding you and your gloomy-looking party for this mission.’
Andreas suddenly becomes curious and asks, ‘Well, who else are chosen for this mission? Any well-known heroes among them?’
Iris puts her finger on her temple, and looks up, thinking. Then she quickly says, ‘I’m not supposed to tell you, but yeah, I guess I will if it helps. I only know most of them, especially the very famous ones. Vadis’ champions, to be exact.’
‘Don Hernan y Parvaez, the flamboyant fencer from Escudia. Owner of the Enchanted Mythril Armor.
Viscount Adler von Bachmann from Borgia. He specializes in two-hand swords, so we better be extra careful with him; he is most likely the “heir”.
Paliades, the rich nobleman in Parthenia who employs Eidos Crydias, the most powerful chronomage in Aurelia and an all-resourceful scientist who can construct golems and airships.
Kyflynn, the dark elf assassin with his hunting party.
And of course, the most famous of them all, the crown prince of Arcadia, Alexis Deveraux.’
Robert, Carolyn and Christopher are shocked on hearing Alexis’ name. Robert even mutters ‘Alexis...’ in a vengeful way. It was him who slain Duke Walthorn. Robert pats his trusty steed Paeldagrin and remembers how Duke Walthorn died in battle. As it was done in a battle, Robert can’t help thinking about why one nation claims others, and use force by war for those who won’t submit? What use are conflicts? If it’s for greater prosperity, fair trade can give better results to it. Robert is deep in his thoughts about what he will do if he meets Alexis. Will he kill or be killed by Alexis for vengeance? Will he pretend that he doesn’t know Alexis, or just forgive him and blame the war for it?
Robert is very much distracted by his own dilemmas that he doesn’t pay attention as Iris talks on.
‘The dark forces should’ve sent their champions and hordes. Releasing and unsealing their dark lord is their primary mission. So, besides the traps set by our Enian comrades, we must also fight dark monsters and champions there.’
Iris looks at Robert inquiringly, saying, ‘Robert, are you listening to what I’ve said? This is important!’
‘Yes,’ Robert says. ‘So all we will meet there are our enemies. We don’t know whether our fellow chosen ones really intend to protect the sword, or claim the Deathblade for their own. The “heir” might be one of us. So we need to be extra careful.’
Chris nods disipiritedly, ‘Yeah’. Carolyn doesn’t respond at all, she just stares at Chris with a worried look on her face. The observant Andreas notices this, but before anyone else realizes what’s going on with Chris and Carol, he talks, ‘Well, we are in better grounds now knowing who we’ll be facing. So now, let’s…’
Before he can finish his words, Andreas feels an arrow flies right past the right side of his face. Then, he hears a ‘thud’ and a beastly scream. Andreas looks back instantly, and he sees a cockatrice, an overgrown rooster-like creature being pinned on a tree by an arrow through its throat and unmistakably dead.
Then, still surprised, he quickly looks in front of him, and he sees Robert aiming his crossbow towards him with a bolt on it and Lavennia Iris with an arrowless bow. Andreas is amazed, saying,
‘A cockatrice, here? And you two – just killed it?’
Robert sighs and puts his crossbow and bolt back in his backpack, saying, ‘Ah, Iris shoots faster than me. Who can beat 80 years of training and experience?’
Unexpectedly, Iris tries to be modest. ‘Ah, it’s nothing. Compared to other elves, mine is slow. Anyway, I heard you’re an accomplished swordsman, Robert – in which I’m not. So, shall we move on? We’re getting out of time now.’
Robert’s party moves on, with thoughts in heir heads, to the dangers ahead, to the heart of the sun.
End of Chapter Six