The Wizard World Chapter 26
It had been four days since the baron's caravan avoided the battleground and had chosen another route. Trees were becoming sparse as they continued to advance, which meant that they were nearing the outskirts of the forest.
Night slowly descended. The baron was driving one of their own carriages with Angele seated beside him. He steered the horse with its reins, occasionally glancing at his leather-made map as he navigated through their preordained route. Twilight was falling, and blanket of darkness and shadows gradually covered the forest bit by bit. Angele raised his head and looked at the sky. The clouds could still be seen with the naked eye. It hid the sun behind, which caused these clouds to be dyed red by the color of dusk.
The wind was blowing across Angele's face, carrying with it was the fragrance of flowers that wafted into his nostrils. The heat from the day could no longer be felt much, but it was still there. Some random insects began to produce noises, signaling the overture of their concert at night — a scene that reminded him of Earth. Angele laid on his back at the edge of the carriage, lethargy slowly creeping toward him.
"Father, are we out of the forest now?" he asked.
"Almost, we will enter the Anser Plain by tomorrow at noontime. We are around Vlasov Woodland now," the baron answered Angele's question. While he did so, he kept track of their current location on the map.
"Vlasov Woodland? What is this place?" Angele became curious.
"After we turn left here and advance for about five kilometers, we'll start seeing a bunch of maple trees. There is an abandoned manor there, formerly owned by a noble from Vlasov. It had been burnt down during the war. There are rumors saying that only ghosts lived there now. I've never entered it when I passed by several times during my travels before," the baron said in a fearful tone.
"There is something amiss with the manor. I don't know, but I just think it's dangerous to enter," he said. Angele felt that he had read about it on a book once somewhere, but he just couldn't recall which book it was.
"Wait, how could've those Saladin armies traveled so fast? We didn't even see them overtake us," Angele asked.
"They are after the major territories. Some of them had gone too deep and gotten themselves killed instead just like the grand knight we just met." the baron explained as he kept the map back into his pouch. A well-drawn map was like a precious treasure in this era.
"Vlasov Empire was once a tyrannical power. Now, it has been turned into ashes. Nothing can contend with the passage of time, not even such a powerful empire…" The baron emotionally sighed.
Angele stopped talking. They continue to sit side by side. The only ones making noises were the horses. It was becoming dark, and the air was becoming chilly. Many miniscule shiny objects flew around the carriages, each of it about the size of a nail. This painted a scene as though they were traveling with a blue halo around them.
Angele's eyes became wide open as he looked at this mesmerizing scene.
"What is this?" He couldn't help but grab one of these objects. The blue object was the size of a piece of nail that fell down on his palm. As he looked closely, it seemed like a seed of a dandelion. It was tiny, and had a shiny blue color on it. The seed would've looked just like any other plants' seed if it wasn't shiny. Angele could only barely feel it even when this blue seed laid on his palm. Its blue light reflected on his face, which made him look slightly blue as well.
"It's a Green Ear Masa. In the Volasov language, it means 'the umbrella of the sea'. The Volasov people consider themselves as the sons of the sea that they even think that this plant is sent by the mother sea to protect them on land. It has been a while since I last saw the 'Rain of the Masa'." It seemed as though the Masa reminded the baron of something.
"The road is now barely visible from the darkness. Let's set up camp here." Baron Karl shook his head as he spoke.
"Alright." Angele said. The carriages slowed down as it afterward stopped, and were then parked beside the camp area. They found a suitable empty ground to camp, and some guards decided to survey the area. Several people picked up branches to be used for the campfire while some dragged the carriages to form a triangle formation around the campsite. It was a good formation for defence in case something happened.
It took about ten minutes for them to set up everything. One campfire was lit up in the middle while three were lit up around the outer perimeter. The guards were assigned to take turns for the nightwatch. Meanwhile, the women and the workers settled in the middle area. They began to take out the cooking equipments and food to be prepared for dinner. The camp became lively quickly.
The baron went inside on of the carriages and had his wound on the eye checked by a doctor. The latter also reapplied some medicine on the wound for the baron. For the time being, Angele grabbed a blanket, placed it over a stone and sat on it. His longbow and quiver were carried on his back, his unsheathed sword by his waist, and the silver daggers in his pouch. Also, he tied the chain claws on the back of his waist. Angele wore his leather hunting suit since it was more suitable in such an environment. The suit was lightweight and it had moderate defensive power. Wearing a heavy armor in a forest would only make him an easy, slow moving target.
Angele sat on the stone and looked over the sky.
"How beautiful…" he said while feeling relaxed. He looked over the gap of the carriages and saw Maggie organizing their things together with Celia and some other girls. Mark was checking the situation of the area with the guards. Several guards were adding branches into the fire, and they lit several torches after. They did so to increase and ensure the safety of the people in their caravan.
No one checked on Angele because people knew that he loved to sit by the side alone. He had asked the people not to disturb him, so they followed his request. Angele took out a necklace that had chained the emerald ring. He held the ring in his hand, and started walking around the camp. He kept glancing over the bushes at the side.
After walking for awhile, he suddenly lowered his body by a small bush. There were several small, round red fruits borne on it. This plant had long, hard leaves, and he could even see small insects moving on it. There were also several shiny Masa seeds that dropped on the bush. Angele took one of these red fruits and threw it into his mouth. It tasted quite sour and at the same time, bitter.
'Angele, this wild fruit contains moderate poison. Data obtained from the Wild Plant Record. No enhancement effect detected,' Zero reported. Angele became disgruntled as he heard this and spat out the remaining. 'It's a no-go. I really want to find something useful,' Angele thought as he stood up. He walked around for awhile, yet he found nothing special. The chip did not find anything useful to him. Angele still desired to reach the apex as fast as he could even after knowing that his body had a certain limit. He wanted to become stronger, and the easiest way to gain strength was, still, eating food. He didn't need to actually eat them, though. He only had to put the item he wanted to analyze into his mouth to get the result. Otherwise, he would've already consumed many poisonous plants.
Angele was still curious about this world, so he was quite interested in everything. He had always felt refreshed whenever he encountered something new to him.
Nothing much occurred that night, and in the next morning, their caravan vacated the place. Angele felt as though they were about to leave the forest because the trees around them weren't as many as before. The baron was sitting in the first carriage, and he opened the window to check.
"We are almost out of the forest. The Anser Plain is just ahead," he said.
"It means there might be some bandits around the intersection, right?" Angele asked while he wiped his sword with an oiled cloth.
"Yea, that's why we must stay alert," the baron said.
Angele nodded and put his sword back into the sheath. His agility had reached the limit with the help of the mysterious energy.
'What's my body condition.' Angele asked.
'Angele Rio: Strength is around 2.1 to 2.6. Agility is 4.1. Stamina is 2.2.' Zero reported. Angele felt slightly despondent, but at least his agility now could be considered eminently high by him. He should be stronger than the him of the past ten days, nearly reaching the level of an uninjured Baron Karl. He had far better sword skills, so he might even be stronger than the baron himself in certain situations.
However, he knew that he was still considered pretty weak in this world. The grand knight from before was much stronger than him, but even then, he couldn't survive a barrage of arrows from a whole troop of archers. He thought of the emerald ring again and the mysterious power that might've come from the wizards of the ancient times. Angele still had qualms about the source of this power, but he knew the ring was enchanted.
He suddenly heard sounds of people fighting up ahead, and he stopped thinking right away.
"Something is going on there!" The baron asked the coachman to slow down. The carriages slowed down, trying to lessen the noise.
"Father, I am going to take a look." Angele jumped out of the carriage and said. The baron nodded his head as he knew that Angele was good enough for such a task. Angele quickly rushed forward, leaving the forest right away. He hid himself in a bushed and surveyed up ahead.
A caravan of five carriages was surrounded by bandits who each wore grey scarves on their heads. The guards of the caravan were fighting against them. Three knights mounted on horses were fighting against five bandits who seemed to be the leaders in the encirclement of carriages. Angele sharply sensed from the battle in that area that the people there were far stronger than the others outside of the encirclement.
'Get me their data.' Angele ordered.
Zero put up the blue data in front of his eyes right away, and Angele looked over to one of the knights.
'Target unknown: Strength greater than 4. Agility greater than 2. Stamina greater than 3.' The data read.
'A knight with such strength is actually in trouble? … Just how strong are those bandits?' Angele was surprised. The baron once told him that people with knight-level strength existed amongst bandits, so lords would definitely hire any knight-level warrior. The knights would live much better lives than being bandits.
On their way to Marua Harbor, bandits were usually in groups of ten, and the strongest ones were probably close to post knights. But the ones ahead of Angele looked quite different. Angele looked at one of the bandit leaders. He saw the blue data popping out on the side.
'Target unknown: Strength greater than 4. Agility greater than 4. Stamina greater than 3. Burst potential is close to Karl Rio's, about 72% similarity detected.' Zero reported.