*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
After travelling for two weeks, we once again set up camp for the night. But unlike previous relaxed nights, there seemed to be a rather tense atmosphere around the group tonight.
“We’ve been travelling at speeds unmatched by anyone else, yet why haven’t we caught up to them yet?” Michael demanded, finally expressing his pent up suspicions to Ann. Even though they were childhood friends, his tone sounded rather short and impatient.
As a knight, Leaf has always upheld the noble code that ‘the lady is always right’. But from the fact that he wasn’t even bothering to help defend Ann, I could tell that he, too, had his suspicions. And as for me…… well, I haven’t spoken a word for the past three days, so everyone’s used to me keeping quiet.
Faced with the majority’s suspicions, Ann muttered “Give me a minute” before walking into the forest. After a while, she walked back out and announced, “We are already very close to them, but I do not know the exact distance.”
Looks like the object to track the missing princess is on her person. But it seems that she doesn’t want us to know what it was exactly, hence, her walking into the forest and avoiding us.
Michael was still a little unhappy getting such a vague answer. Seeing that, Ann hastened to assure him. “We really are very close, Michael. We’ll be able to catch up with them in no time!”
Michael nodded, reluctantly dropping the topic.
That night when everyone was asleep, I kept tossing and turning, this way and that…… Urgh! I just can’t sleep! But this isn’t very surprising. After all, I had been sleeping for 24 hours straight and had only just woken up a few hours ago. If I actually did manage to fall asleep I would have to reconsider the fact that I might actually be related to a pig!
After tossing and turning restlessly in bed, I decided to give up on sleeping and crawled out the tent. After sleeping so much these days, I should go out and exercise a bit, or else if I were to continue on in this way-sleeping and eating and sleeping and eating after sleeping…… you get it – it might result in an irreversible outcome…… I might gain weight!! Oh, the horror!
Michael who was currently on his night shift turned back to look at me. I smiled at him before walking into the forest. His gaze followed my progress across the camp coldly, but he did not bother to stop me and ask as to my intentions. Guess he really, really looks down on me, huh?
I walked into the forest, and after using my mage sight to make sure that there was no one around, I took out a dragon shaped badge. I slapped it onto my chest while calling out softly, “Dragon’s Holy Robe, in the name of the dragon’s successor, I order you to activate!”
A tight black outfit instantly wrapped around my body, spreading from my chest to the rest of my body; the lower half of my face and the more vulnerable parts of my body were covered with silver scaly armour. It was then that I noticed that even the silver parts did not show up in the dark, instead it seemed to blend into the dark. When I looked down at myself, I couldn’t see anything and for a moment I thought that my body had disappeared!
“I know I had told you not to speak up without good reason, but just forget about it,” I said with no small amount of exasperation. If I could even sense it when it was ‘speechless’, ordering the robe to remain quiet would be pointless.
After that, I began walking around, looking for the tallest tree I could find before proceeding to climb it. After changing into the Dragon’s holy Robe, tree climbing had become as easy as pie for me. So without too much effort, I soon made it to the highest branch of the tree.
I looked down to observe the surrounding landscape and features before turning to look up into the sky and noted the positions of the constellations. I then climbed back down and began drawing in the ground the positions of the landscape and stars I had noted earlier.
‘I was right,’ I laughed grimly……
‘Master, someone is using mage sight to spy on you.’
I was startled by this news. All this time it was me who spied on others, yet now someone is spying on me?
I hurriedly asked the robe, “Which direction is the person spying on me from?”
‘This humble servant does not know. Master, the person has recalled back his mage sight.’
‘He’s recalling his mage sight back so quickly?’ After thinking about it I deduced that it must have been Leaf. As he was an archer he would more or less have received some training on mage sight. I must have woken him up earlier when I got up, and just now he was only looking for me. As my holy element aura is extremely strong, he would have located me immediately and hence recalled his mage sight the moment he found me.
Alright, now that my business is done it’s about time for me to get back.
I was about to return to the campsite, but when I thought of Leaf and how he would still remember to search around with his mage sight despite having just woken up, I felt a twinge of guilt. Maybe I should do a search of my own around the place and make sure that there wasn’t anything dangerous around us? If not, I would feel really guilty as I climb onto Leaf’s back tomorrow morning.
I took a deep breath and slowly extended my mage sight to their very limits……
I suddenly stiffened before turning to look in a direction. Not too far away from me there was something with a super-mega-strong dark element aura. I had only ever felt such strong dark aura coming from a Death Knight-Roland. (Even though Pink’s dark aura should be higher than Roland’s, she typically chooses to hide her aura……)
‘Could that be the princess’s kidnapper?’ As I thought back to the Queen’s request, I wondered if it had been a coincidence or if the Queen had known that our opponent was a dark creature-the type that warriors are worst at dealing with-and had therefore insisted on Leaf and I joining in the mission?
But other than the dark creature I could also sense another being with extremely strong wind elements beside it. The person seems to be a wind mage.
I frowned when a thought of doubt flashed through my mind. “Is it just me or has my mage sight seemingly improved?”
When I had just taken over the title of Sun Knight, the level of holy aura on me had been so strong that it had drowned out the other elements; I could hardly sense any other elements…… except for the opposing dark aura, of course. But recently, I don’t seem to have to exert as much effort to be able to sense the auras. Like previously when the magical wolf had attacked me, I had sensed its fire element before it could even attack me.
“Could it be that I’ve been using too much magic recently-I had even used necromancer magic-and this has caused my holy aura to diminish?!”
If that were to be the case then I’m in trouble! I am the Sun Knight; my holy aura can only grow stronger, not weaker! Looks like I’ll have to watch how I use the other magic spells from now on.
And here I had been thinking of taking a walk and exercising my stiff muscles after having slept so much, but now that I cannot simply use magic anymore I think I had better go back and try to sleep. It’s safer for me this way…… As I turned to head back towards the camp, I suddenly sensed an extremely strong wind aura gathering behind me.
When I spun around, a person now occupied the previously empty clearing. He was dressed in light black armour and wielded a pair of slim swords; the dark aura coming from him was staggering – on the level of a Death Knight even.
But, there was no doubt that he was a living and breathing person, could it be…… I was stunned by the thought and burst out with my suspicions, “the God of Chaos’ dark knight?”
But then again, he had just used Instant Teleportation. How would a knight how to cast magic spells? Again, I couldn’t resist asking him, “You know how to cast Instant Teleportation; are you really a dark knight?”
The knight, too, had looked surprised to see me and asked, “What strong ‘holy’ aura; are you really an assassin?”
Realising that we both doubted each other’s identities, we both fell into a strange silence. After a while, the dark knight asked coldly, “You’re our pursuer?”
I couldn’t deny it even if I had wanted to. Other than this guy in front of us and our group of pursuers there was no one else within miles. So I coldly retorted, “If you are the fleeing party then, yes, I’m the pursuing party.”
Even though we had identified ourselves as the fleeing and pursuing party respectively, we remained still, neither making a move to attack. I did not want to fight with him, for I could tell from the familiar way he held his swords and his stance that he was on a level equal to Judge and Roland. I’m not interested in dying at such a young age.
And I think that he did not wish to fight me; the amount of holy aura I had was enough to drown out his dark aura, and he had no interest in dying so early either.
If we were to fight each other, the chances were split fifty-fifty as to who would be killed first: Him being seared alive by a full frontal attack of my holy aura, or me being hacked into two by his dual swords. Seeing as I did not even have a hundred percent confidence of defeating him-which went completely against my 200 percent victory principle-I decided to let him off!
“I do not wish to fight with you,” I told him frankly.
The dark knight frowned upon hearing that, but to show his peace, he put away his swords. But for some reason he did not immediately leave, and so we stood there staring at each other…… Smack!
I glared coldly at my palm. This mosquito sure has the guts to fly around me whilst I’m wearing the Dragon’s Holy Robe! Doesn’t it realise that now that I’m dressed in black I no longer have to worry about dirtying white gloves?!
I flicked away the flattened mosquito, and when I raised my head to look back up, the dark knight was staring at me in shock. I said in an impatient voice, “What? Never seen someone killing a mosquito before?”
The dark knight’s lips twitched as he said in an amused tone, “People killing mosquitoes is a common enough sight, but this is the first time I’ve seen an assassin kill a mosquito.”
‘Oh? Too bad for you then. You still have yet to see an assassin kill a mosquito for I am a holy knight, not an assassin.’
I gave a huge yawn and said, “Seeing as we’re not fighting, I’m going back to bed.”
My face darkened at that. Looks like he has no intention of letting me leave. What a pity. I had been thinking of going back and telling them that the target was just nearby and that we should all hurry and catch him. Once we’ve caught him, located the missing princess and attend a wedding, I could then finally return to the Holy Temple to continue my life as a temple sap. What joy!
The dark knight furrowed his brows as he said hesitatingly, “The Princess chose to come with me willingly.”
I was startled by this statement, but on the outside I maintained my calm demeanour and coldly retorted, “Rapists always claim that the women had seduced them in the first place.”
The dark knight’s face darkened at that and he again announced another shocking statement. “We’re eloping!”
I was starting to believe him, for no reason other than because the dark knight was extremely tall, dark and good-looking. He belonged to the ‘enemy of all men’ type – ya know? What with his amazing good looks he could be a potential love rival; all men, watch out!
He looked extremely suited to being a dark knight; because dark knights tend to be the cold and ruthless type, the kind who is forever wary and treats everyone else as his enemy…… With how good-looking he is, he should be wary and treat every man around him as his enemy to be able to survive until today.
“If you had really eloped, then why leave that letter behind?”
But I still struggled, not wanting to so easily believe this ‘truth’…… With such a handsome kidnapper, I’m sure that even if the Princess had really been kidnapped in the beginning, after spending about two weeks in the presence of this ‘bishie’, it probably had evolved into an elopement.
The dark knight blinked at me blankly and asked, “What letter?”
Just as I realised that there might be more to it than a simple kidnapping and was about to question him further, I heard a faint rustling sound from behind and quickly shut my mouth. The dark knight, too, appeared to have heard it.
He shot me a glance as he took out a mage scroll and whispered “Instant Teleportation”. His entire person was then wrapped in a whirl of wind, and with a ‘whoosh’ he disappeared.
“I see, so he was using an Instant Teleportation scroll. Like I said, how can there be so many people in this world who do not fit their job criteria ……” I muttered as I changed out of the Dragon’s Holy Robe and gathered a small ball of holy light in my palm, lighting up the place. I then proceeded to wait in the clearing.
Leaf was the first to emerge from the trees. He looked at me up and down, and after making sure that I was alright he let out a sigh of relief. But he still inquired after me with concern, “A-are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” I replied. Short and sweet, that’s my motto.
Behind him came Michael, Ann and Alston. When I saw them looking at me with a questioning look in their eyes I explained calmly, “I met a dark knight.” All the while taking note of each of their reactions.
Michael asked questioningly, “Dark knight? What are those guys from the Church of Chaos doing around these lands?”
Alston frowned, seemingly deep in thought.
A look of panic, however, had flashed across Ann’s face, but as expected of a princess she quickly regained her composure, managing to even feign a worried look in my direction.
As usual, I returned her look with a smile. The smile seemed to reassure her and she calmed down.
Leaf then voiced his suspicions. “Could it be that this dark knight is the one who had kidnapped the princess?”
I smiled brightly at Leaf, while the latter widened his eyes at my response, looking for all the world like a little boy who could not understand what he had done wrong. My mind raced with my thoughts as I considered what to reveal. In the end, I decided to play innocent and answered, “This Sun does not know.”
Michael, on the other hand, growled angrily, “It must be him! Where is he now?”
“He escaped with an Instant Teleportation scroll. I’m afraid he’s now some distance away from us,” I replied honestly.
Hearing that, Michael shook with fury, yelling for us to chase after him immediately. After two whole weeks of no real action he’s probably itching for battle.
However, Alston had quickly grabbed Michael and began lecturing his son, talking about how the distance was unknown and that they couldn’t be sure that they would catch up to the dark knight even if they started chasing right now; and besides all our tools and supplies haven’t been packed, if we didn’t catch up to them it would be hard to survive without the tools……
Back at the camp, it had been decided – at Michael’s insistence – that we would set out two hours earlier than planned the next morning. And so with the exception of Michael who would be on the lookout for the rest of the night, everyone else crawled back into their tents to continue sleeping. However, I don’t think any of us can actually fall asleep after all the excitement tonight.
Leaf and I were among those who couldn’t fall asleep. Since he crawled into the tent, Leaf kept staring at me as if wanting to say something. Before he could say a word, I hurriedly covered his mouth. Leaf stared at me in bewilderment.
After thinking about it, I finally thought of a method to communicate with him without being overheard. I gathered some holy light in my finger, and using that finger, I started writing out glowing letters in the air.
[I think we have been played the fool by the Queen and Princess Ann.]
After reading my words, Leaf struggled to follow my example and write out his reply with holy light too, but…… his writing was so sloppy that it took me a while to figure out his message: [Why do you say that?]
I then wrote out another message: [I know for a fact that Ann is leading us around in circles.]
As for the matter of the ‘ransom’ letter, well…… my theory about the letter’s authenticity cannot stand based on just the dark knight’s word, so I decided not to mention it just yet.
Leaf frowned and wrote: [Then what should we do?]
After giving it some thought, I replied: [We must not get separated. For now, we’ll continue on as before, so you need only worry about carrying me for the rest of the journey!]
Leaf – very diligently – dotted six glowing dots: [……]
About an hour later, Michael started yelling and bellowing, calling for everyone to get up and pack up. I wasn’t bothered at all, for I hadn’t been able to fall asleep the whole night, but poor Leaf was startled awake. As he got up and got ready, he looked exhausted and ready to fall asleep at any time.
As I watched Leaf go about his morning, I felt a prickle from my conscience. I even hesitated for a moment when it came time to crawl onto Leaf’s back. Thank goodness my conscience had long since been beaten back into the furthest reaches of my soul, for it was only a small prickle, and soon, I was making myself comfortable on leaf’s back.
When Michael saw the two of us, he immediately roared angrily, “Aimer, stop carrying him around, it’s a complete waste of time! He’s useless anyway; just leave him behind and run with us at full speed.”
Right away, Leaf objected. “No, we can’t! Before this, it wouldn’t matter if we had left Sun behind.”
“But now that we know that the enemy is a dark knight, we must bring Sun along! Only he can contain the enemy’s dark aura.”
Michael gave a cold laugh and sneered condescendingly. “Is there anything that doesn’t give off a dark aura after we’ve gone through them? Dead bodies are dark, right?”
Leaf was stumped at that. With a party of our calibre, we could have mowed down everything that stood in our way…… even though throughout the whole journey we only had the misfortune of meeting deplorable parties and pitifully weak magical beasts, and thus have yet to have a proper battle. Leaf, Aston and I hadn’t even had the opportunity to demonstrate our skills, as all the enemies were instantly dealt with in a one-sided battle.
After going at an inhuman pace for two whole weeks, we were already deep within the forest, but the situation had yet to change: Michael was still able to deal with any trouble with his bare fists and had yet to draw his sword; Ann was still sending her ‘admirers’ flying with a kick and had only used her axes to cut up our dinner; and Leaf’s only duty was to carry me, with not a single arrow less since we started out on this quest.
Leaf hesitated and turned to look at me. “Sun, it’s only for a day. Will you be able to run with us?”
I had previously sensed a wind mage with the dark knight; and wind mages’ specialties are flying and instant teleportation. This was probably why we were never able to catch up with them no matter how fast we were going. Since we weren’t able to catch up with them before, I do not believe that we would be able to catch up with them now.
And since we won’t be able to catch up, why should I have to run like crazy after them?
I slowly replied, “To avoid slowing down this Sun’s team members, this Sun requests that my brothers and sister to go on ahead without any worry for this Sun. Sun will catch up with my brothers and sister later.”
“Sun?” Leaf stared at me in surprise.
I raised a hand to stop him, saying calmly, “This Sun remains firm in my decision, so my brother Leaf need not bother to persuade this Sun. This Sun will be under the God of light’s watchful gaze.”
Leaf hesitated for a moment before nodding and saying wryly, “Alright then, take care now, Sun.”
“Hurry up,” Michael called out impatiently.
I stood there watching the rest leave. Leaf kept turning back to look at me worriedly, but the trees were growing densely so deep in the forest and soon enough, I could no longer see them anymore.
“Okay! I heard that there’s an interesting little town somewhere in the middle of this forest…… so…… where there is civilization, there should be some alcohol, right?” I mumbled to myself.
It’s been almost a month since I last drank! For a guy spoilt with a secret cellar filled with wine hidden under his room, it’s amazing that I even lasted this long! I was so desperate that I was even thinking of picking some of the fruits from the trees and mixing them with my apple wine.
What’s that? You ask why I would bring along a few bottles of my apple wine?
Winemakers would sometimes trade their wines with each other for some variety in their merchandise, so…… get it now?
What? Aren’t I a holy knight? Since when did I become a wine merchant?
Of course I’m still a holy knight! It’s just that I have my retirement to think about! I am now already twenty-three years old, and I will be retiring at the age of forty. How can I properly enjoy my retirement with so little time left and yet so little money saved up?? So that’s why I have to do some little odd jobs here and there to help earn more money. Besides, how can I deprive the world of the fruits of my labour when I have such excellent winemaking skills!