Heimarian Odyssey - Chapter 422

Miran broke out of her stupor with the click of a thought. She flailed over to Locke, getting on her knees to beg, “Herr Locke, please! Please save Martin!”

Locke was clearly a superior presence; he’d been able to outrun them and his burst of intensity spoke volumes. While Miran wasn’t sure if he was a peak mid-rank Knecht or a high-rank Knecht, she was willing to do anything if it meant he could rescue Martin. It was ironic. Locke was their client but now he was her beacon of hope.

He stared at her stoically, memories of the monster wave still fresh in his mind. Locke didn’t wish to risk his life for a possibly botched attempt.

“Herr Locke, please. We’ll pay you any amount for your help,” the shield wielder pleaded. As a mid-rank Knecht, he was more than aware that Locke wasn’t just a high-rank Knecht. He’d learnt nothing from his years of fieldwork if he couldn’t detect the presence of a nearby high-rank Knecht.

Suddenly, Quaker was hit with an epiphany; Locke was a quasi-Ritter! Why would a quasi-Ritter request for their escort service? Could Locke have ulterior motives when requesting their services? Stories of stronger perpetrators torturing and wiping out adventurers weren’t uncommon in the crowded taverns. Team Dawnlight was currently in their most vulnerable state and Quaker was sure that the young quasi-Ritter wouldn’t need much to annihilate them. Yet, the man was confident that Locke wouldn’t do such a thing. He was at least right about that; Locke wouldn’t kill them for no reason. Yet, it was impossible to hope that Locke would head back into the dangerous forest for Martin’s sake.

“It’s been a while since we left the forest, I’m afraid Martin is dead by now.” There was some truth in Locke’s words. The monster wave had dissipated, meaning that it was less dangerous to enter Depan Forest again. Yet, that could change easily and it was a risk that Locke didn’t wish to take.

“No! He’s still alive! I can still sense my familiar’s presence. Martin must be alive if the hawk is still alive! Please, there’s still hope!” Miran was a mess of emotions. She begged desperately, completely devoid of dignity.

Locke hesitated.

“I still have some impetus left! I’ll go get Martin!” Daler turned around for the forest with his bow.

“Daler! You…!” Miran snapped around to look at the frantic archer.

“We must return home together, just as how we left it!” Daler answered through gritted teeth.

Locke watched Daler pull a slight distance before letting out a sigh. “Come back here! You’re just going to die! I’ll try saving your friend!” He shouted after the archer.

He spoke a few words to Kristin and Laffey, then blew on the emerald flute dangling around his neck. Team Dawnlight gawked in horror as Fermoss the scorpiondrake appeared out of thin air. They’d never seen a monster so massive!

“Run in that direction if I do not return in the next hour!” Locke pointed at a peak in the northwest before charging into Depan Forest with Fermoss.

The few that remained after the initial monster wave were weaker, which further boosted Locke’s confidence to enter the forsaken forest again. His base-rank scorpiondrake and personal agility would help him avoid any attacks if the monsters dared challenge him. The scorpiondrake lunged between the trees with weighted steps, surprising a flock of hummingbirds in the process.

Team Dawnlight started to regain their senses following Locke’s departure. They hadn’t expected their noble contractor to be such a powerful high-rank Knecht with an equally intimidating mount! The scorpiondrake may be the strongest major monster they’d encountered so far but it didn’t feel half as intimidating as the typical Akanasd.

Is it a base-rank major monster? Howl thought amidst his pain. If anything, Locke’s display of power had fortified his desire to get chummy with him. Quasi-Ritters were rare on the east coast despite their high degree of civilisation and development since that didn't necessarily translate to a better knight cultivation system.

Kristin and Laffey were inevitably worried upon hearing Locke’s decision. However, they had faith in him. He was more than capable of running away if he couldn’t defeat the monsters.

Daler began moving to a higher vantage point. Miran’s mana and mental abilities were depleted, Mien was unconscious, Quaker’s impetus was exhausted and Howl was handicapped. The archer was the only person among Team Dawnlight who still had some fight left. He let Quaker know his plans and took his bow up a sturdy oak tree that offered a great view of their surroundings. The sudden quietness and clarity brought up vivid memories of Martin pressing Mien to him.

“Please come back safely,” Daler prayed. They may be rivals in love but nothing could change their brotherhood. The original members of Team Dawnlight: Daler, Martin and Miran had hailed from a backwater village in the mountains of northwest Marharden. Legends said that the village was named Little Odessa by some lord in memory of his dead son. Little Odessa had nothing glamorous to boast about; there were no windmills, no farms and no ships. All it had were stretches of mountains and untouched lands. Every child born in Little Odessa dreamed of leaving this unhappening place ever since they were capable of thought.

The members of Team Dawnlight were lucky enough to have left Little Odessa and managed to make a name out here for themselves. Most of their members were at least peak low-rank Knechts, which made them above average among the many adventure groups in Morrington Harbour.

There were two things that Daler regretted the most. There were only four of them left out of the original seven that left Little Odessa. The second was losing Miran. He’d loved her since they were children and it pained him immensely to see her accept Martin’s proposal gleefully last year. Archers weren’t wordsmiths since their role didn’t require a sharp tongue. Their greatest tools were their impeccable vision and patience, the latter of which cost him the object of his affection. Daler was using his patience in the wrong place; he should’ve utilised his resilience in actual courtship instead of waiting for Miran to finally understand his feelings. Regardless, this realisation came far too late.

The archer was happy for his friend but the bitterness it left behind was heart-wrenching. He’d decided. Daler would take care of Miran in his stead should Martin never return alive from the monster wave. He’d hoped not, though. Daler would rather trade his life for Martin to come back alive. The archer realised that he couldn’t withstand the simultaneous loss of losing a good friend and his person of affection.

Support Ryogawa and his work Heimarian Odyssey