Chapter 12: Not your typical festival.
A spoon of chocolate mousse just fell on the table that was in Selena’s hand. She stared at Kenley with a shocked and disbelief expression after hearing his story.
“Only 2 survived?!”
“... Unfortunately, yes,” Kenley answered, pushing a plate of beefsteak that he barely touched.
Kenley just witnessed how Selena ate her enormous feast without talking or pausing. After She finished all her main courses and even casually lifted her spoon to dig her dessert in as if she wasn’t full after eating those foods yet, Kenley finally said a word, no, more precisely, a story.
Several days after Kenley explored the Greedy Forest with her, he ordered some of his knights to investigate the forest that was said to be dangerous but didn’t dangerous at all.
Afterwards, 5 high-levelled knights, who worked under Kenley’s command, entered the forest with complete preparation.
However, the result after 2 days of exploring the forest, only 2 knights were survived, and even one of them was dying because of a poisonous tree that could chase humans, and the other knight only had minor injuries.
Countless level 3 high-grade mutated goblins filled the first region of the forest. It was not just that. The poisonous trees in the first region could chase humans with their trunks. Even when the knight explained the incident with such fear because the forest still traumatized him.
“Do you know about the Erland clan?” Kenley asked.
‘What’s with Erland clan? father mentioned it too.’
“…No,” Selena answered, shaking her head. She then gave a gaze that motioned Kenley to explain instead of asking about it.
“Well, Erland clan was actually the villagers of the uninhabited village a long time ago…”
Selena pushed the plate of her dessert and put her hands on the table as she wanted to hear the story seriously.
‘The history of the uninhabited village? Damn, I skipped that part...’
She shut her eyes for a second, realizing how indifferent herself towards anything about history. Selena, well, Celine really hated to read something about in the past like history.
Because she thought it’s boring.
Beforehand, she only read the information about the forest, but not the history of the village because she was actually lazy to know about it, and she thought it was not really necessary for her to know. However, her current situation forced her to know about the history of this weird world.
Kenley looked at Selena, whose expression didn’t change at all. He then continued his explanation.
“The uninhabited village is not only in the Rayen Kingdom but in every country in the continent. Do you know why?”
“No. since I hate learning history, just explain everything without asking me back, Kenley.”
Selena immediately replied, and Kenley, who observed Selena’s expression, gulped before continuing his explanation.
“Well, some source said that the Erland clan built a village surrounding the forest in order to protect what’s inside the forest itself. They were said to be the guardian of the Greedy Forest. What and who did they protect is still unknown, because before the village was destroyed, the Greedy Forest was just a regular forest with ordinary monsters.”
“… So, the reason why the forest became dangerous is related to the Erland clan?” asked Selena, touching her chin in confusion.
“It seems so. I tried to figure it out, but I couldn’t find the answer. Because there isn’t much history about that clan. However…”
“Yes? however? Don’t make me want to flip this table if you continued to pause in the middle.”
Selena’s threatening tone and gaze made Kenley hold back his chuckle. His eyes clouded, looking towards Selena, who looked scary but pretty at the same time.
“Well, surprisingly, all the lands of the uninhabited village that surrounded the forest belonged to the Kacper Household of the Rayen Kingdom.”
Selena shut her eyes for a moment before opening them back. Her gaze was calm, but there was a huge mess in her mind. She actually tried her best not to panic, because she didn’t want to reveal her true identity yet.
Many short conclusions flashed through her mind as she contemplated every piece of information she had gotten so far. She clenched her hands before lifting her gaze to meet Kenley’s dark brown pupils. Her corner lips twitched before starting to speak.
“Should we go back to the Greedy Forest? I mean, would you join me to investigate the forest?”
<The Kacper Household have a longer history than the Royal Family of the Rayen Kingdom.>
<They are known as the calm tiger.>
<Since a long time ago, they had never caused a fuss in the kingdom and kept themselves collected and strong.>
<Since four years ago, the Kacper became the largest investor, especially in finance in the Magic Tower.>
<The current Patriarch of the Kacper Household and the Duke, Alden Ian Kacper, is known as a compassionate person towards her family and citizens. He’s the only remaining descendant of the Kacper household after the last patriarch, the Duke, Alan Blaire Kacper — along with his wife and the eldest son, died after being murdered by an assassin in the Suffolk territory in the year 1309 on the Star Calendar.>
1Quick reminder: the current year is 1318, and our Selena will turn 15 in less than 2 weeks.
Selena threw the pile of paper on her table before taking the cold towel that was delivered by Nessie beforehand.
She then laid her body on the bed and covered her hot forehead with a cold towel to cool down the chaotic situation inside her head. She then started to conclude something.
It is in the northeast region of the Rayen Kingdom, and the lord's territory is the Count of Kenworthy. The previous lord of the northeast region was the Baron of Suffolk.
Why the Count of Kenworthy became the lord of the Suffolk territory?
It’s because of the collapse of the Baron of Suffolk 7 years ago.
Baron of Suffolk’s household had a lot of internal and external problems, and in the end, the Suffolk household collapsed 7 years ago. It was 1 year after the Duke of Kacper, Alden Kacper, married Ladonna, who was the Baroness of Suffolk.
And, what about the Erland clan?
Well, Selena only found a basic explanation about the Erland clan, which made her headache worsen. There is a book about the Erland clan, but the information was so basic, and there was nothing serious or suspicious about that clan.
The Kacper is a household from the Erland clan.
If the Kacper had a longer history than the royal family, the Erland clan must have an even longer history.
Then, what does it all have to do with the Dark Beings?
Based on the crazy priestess’s explanation, the Duke, her father, might have a connection to the Dark Beings. However, Selena actually couldn’t believe the crazy priestess completely because she thought the priestess wasn’t really normal either.
Well, she didn’t believe the crazy priestess until the jewel on her bracelet cracked. The jewel that was given divine power by the crazy priestess should be able to ward off all the power of the Dark beings.
‘Then, does the Erland Clan have the power of the Dark beings or they are the devil? So, am I the darkness being as well? No way, right?’
When her head got hotter, as if it wanted to explode, Selena shouted and cursed loudly while closing her eyes as she laid on the bed with a cold towel on her forehead—in order to feel refreshed.
“What a rotten world! Why would I wake up as someone who had a complicated life? What a mother-fucking bastard, you god! Why don’t you make me live in another world as the daughter of a farmer instead?! You just messed with me! You nutjob!”
She let out a relieved sigh after she did it. Then she fell asleep very soundly.
The next morning, Selena canceled her plan to go to the temple as she already had a new plan with Kenley to go to the Greedy Forest together. She was not in the mood to meet the crazy priestess, as she was actually avoiding if that priestess would spout some vicious news for her again.
“He will be useful as we need at least a mage in our group.”
Kenley uttered as he pointed his gaze to the light-brown haired man, whose expression seemed awkward, odd, and complicated.
Selena stared at Liam with a frown on her eyebrows, observing the awkward-looking young man, who is Kenley’s close friend and aide. He is also a mage. A mid-leveled mage, to be exact.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Celine.”
She then offered a hand for handshaking as she introduced herself nonchalantly.
Liam, the mage with light-brown hair, received the handshake fidgety as he felt a killing gaze directed at him.
It was Kenley.
Kenley was staring at Liam fiercely when they shook their hands.
“Nice to meet you too, young lady Celine. My name is Liam Byron.”
Selena let go of her hand as she gave a brief smile as a response, and couldn’t see Kenley’s fierce gaze. She then turned her gaze away from Liam to the forest.
Kenley patted Liam’s shoulder and put on a smile as if he was telling him if Liam did a good job. Whilst Liam just slightly nodded and sighed in relief.
He was nervous and frightened after Kenley told him if they will explore the Greedy Forest. Why wouldn’t anyone be nervous? 3 of the high-levelled knights had died in this forest. Moreover, they would enter this forest with a young lady. Well, she might have a sword on her waist, but Liam couldn’t help but worry.
‘Does she even know how to swing a sword?’
He was wondering and became anxious as he shook his head while watching Selena and Kenley stroll casually into the forest as if they were going to a festival.
“The trees that have black trunks, are mostly poisonous trees and could chase humans. They’re alive.”
Kenley uttered as they had entered the forest. After listening to Kenley’s short and clear explanation, Selena nodded her head slightly while observing the trees before starting to speak.
“We did see those poisonous trees before, did we? But they looked like just a regular tree, right? Are you sure that your knights were telling the truth? Or maybe they were just hallucinating?”
Selena asked as she walked side-by-side with Kenley and couldn’t see Liam, whose expression was getting worse.
‘They had come here before? When? And more importantly, why did they come here?’
Liam was observing Kenley and Selena talked to each other casually and friendly with a complicated expression. And they left him alone as if he wasn’t important. He fidgety followed them from behind, trying his best to be calm as he peeked around the forest that is known as the most dangerous forest on the continent.
Then, he flinched after hearing Selena’s excited voice while pulling out her sword.
“I’ll be at the front,” said Selena, heading her gaze toward Kenley, and couldn’t see Liam’s chaotic expression.
Kenley also took out his longsword from his back as he couldn’t hide his excited face anymore. He then started to speak in a joyful tone for the first time in Liam’s experience.
“Let’s have fun together.”
They smiled at each other as if they were excited to play some games at the festival, whereas Liam felt like the guardian of two wild children going to the festival for the first time.
“Your- Kenley, what exactly our purpose here?”
Finally, the anxious Liam asked a question.
“Looking for the corpse of my guards?”
“Right. If it’s possible, let’s go near the Siki Mount, which is the core of this forest.”
Kenley answered before Selena chimed in. They seemed really excited. Despite the fact, Selena was the excited one, and Kenley was happy because he could hunt together with Selena again.
‘I shouldn’t ask.’
Liam decided to follow them and prepared to cast sprint magic for them, just in case something worse might happen.
A few moments later…
Kenley just killed a level 2 low grade mutated monster without mercy.
He had reached a high-level knight at such a young age due to all his efforts and killer training he had put in.
He could never use magic or aura because he was blessed with mana, but he couldn’t use it. And because he was blessed with mana, he could never awaken an aura no matter how hard he trained.
Growing up as a shadow prince and a cursed son of the emperor, made him have to become a powerful person just to protect himself first, and also serve and protect his younger brother, the Imperial prince.
Freedom? Doing something fun?
Kenley never thought about it. He was too busy with his job already.
However, since he met Selena, he always ended up doing something fun.
“Your strength seems to have improved quite a lot.”
Kenley said as he swung his sword to clean it from the blood of the mutated fanged fox that he just killed.
“Of course. I punch a ring-sack in my bathroom every day.”
Kenley snorted after hearing Selena’s mocking response. Although he didn’t completely believe in her answer, it’s still fun to be heard.
“It seemed we found more monsters than before, right?” Selena asked.
“It seems so. But, don’t you think it’s weird?”
Kenley put his sword back to the scabbard as he spoke before helping Liam to stand.
“Definitely. It’s really weird. They aimed Liam and you the most,” Selena answered with a serious tone.
Monsters that they found mostly aimed at Kenley, and especially the strict-yet-awkward Liam. However, Selena and Kenley killed those monsters that charged towards them.
‘They didn’t aim for me… Is it because I’m a Kacper who is part of the Erland clan? But, why?’
Her gaze then headed to Liam, who was almost died because there’s a level 2 low-grade monster. It was a mutated-fanged fox. It jumped out from the bush and was about to attack him. But fortunately, there’s our Kenley, who was close to Liam’s position before.
Selena was concerned about Liam. Even though she might be called a troublemaker in her previous life, she hates if someone she knows is in danger.
Do you remember Celine’s nickname when she was young?
Yes. It’s a barbarian girl.
The reason Celine was known as a barbarian girl when she was young—because she fought with everyone, who messed with her friends.
She cherished someone she knows.
Liam is Kenley’s friend and aide, and Kenley is her first friend in this weird world. For that reason, Selena was in a state that she would break or kill something that gets in her way right now.
On the other hand, she was really curious about this situation.
The mysterious Erland clan and her family.
More importantly, she couldn’t ask anyone regarding her family, except the sleeping His Holiness.
On the contrary, Selena snapped out of it and asked for Liam’s condition first.
“Are you okay, sir, Liam?”
“Huff… It was shocking, but I’m okay. Thank you.”
She nodded in concern as a response before heading his gaze toward Kenley, who was observing the mutated monster he just killed. When she was about to say something, there’s a thing that interrupted her.
Something, no, a creature fell from a tree right in front of Selena.
Simultaneously, all gazes turned to that creature.
It looked like a cat, but also a dog, more likely a chubby fox? In their eyes, they never met that kind of creature.
Its golden eyes sparkled as it stared at Selena. Its length about 50 cm, its dark blue fur looked dirty and shabby, but it would look good if someone took care of its fluffy fur.
“OH MY GOD! IT’S SOOO CUTE!”
Selena, well, Celine was weak against the cute creatures.
To be continued...