There were dark elf soldiers imprisoned in the fort.
Most of them are wounded and are in no condition to move.
I gave them some potions to help them recover.
"Thank you so much for saving us...."
"Don't mention it. The superficial wounds have healed, but there is still damage. We'll prepare some food so everyone can regain their strength, so rest for now."
The dark elf then lies down.
Is this everyone?
Fortunately, no one died.
After they rest and eat, they should have enough strength to return to their respective homes.
"My lord, I found a room with a bed."
"Thank you. Kaede, let's take him there."
Following Frau's directions, we made our way to a place where the soldiers could rest.
Five days have passed since we arrived at the fort.
Thanks to the warm bed, the food and Kaede's healing waves, the soldiers' strength was recovering quickly.
Some of them have now fully recovered and are helping with the maintenance of the fort.
"It's snowing again."
As I stand guard at the outer wall, a fluffy snowflake flutters down onto my head.
Panda, who had peeked his head through the opening in my cloak, looked at the snow curiously.
He's been hiding in my cape a lot lately.
Well, it's warm, so I don't mind.
However, Frau, who was always by my side, doesn't seem too happy about it.
"Toru-Sama, I brought you some tea."
"No need to attach the [Sama]."
"Are you kidding? I owe you my life. I can't call to you in a disrespectful manner."
"Well, that's fine. You can call me whatever you want, and thank you for the tea."
I took a sip of the tea.
The man who appears to be the unit commander sits next to me.
"Will you leave here when we recover?"
"Well, I've already sent word to the general. I'm sure reinforcements will be here soon."
"Would you consider my proposal again? Please. I'm sure they'll welcome you with open arms. And if that doesn't turn out to be the case, I'll do something about it."
Yesterday the guards were talking about whether I should become their country's hero. They may be trying to repay me for rescuing them, but it's an idea I'm not thrilled about.
As I said before, I don't like to stand out at all.
I'm not the kind of person who can carry the burden of being a hero or a heroic figure.
I want to live a simple and free life without being tied down by anything. So I can't accept his proposal.
"My answer is the same as yesterday. I appreciate the offer, but I can't accept it."
"...I see. I'm sorry to hear that."
"Oh, she's back already."
I could see Chupi in the sky approaching us.
The little bird found me and landed on the outside wall. Chupi then relayed the words she had received.
"Greetings, I am General Gio. Thank you very much for saving our soldiers. I shall send a division to your location immediately to provide assistance. Oh, wait, this animal is going to record the message? What a fascinating creature, and it's very cute--.... Ahem. Anyway, Her Majesty wishes to reward you for your deeds. She would like you to come to the palace."
That was the end of the message.
I ordered Chupi to go to the capital of the dark elves and relay a message for me to General Gio asking for support for the soldiers. The mission was a success.
Chupi was too smart to deliver this message. Even though I showed her where to go on the map, she still doesn't know these lands.
I patted her on the head and she turned to face me.
I could have used the message scrolls, but I wanted to save them because their number was limited. Besides, it's great that I was able to test Chupi's skills here.
Panda looks a bit frustrated, but Chupi just spares him a glance before ignoring him.
Apparently, he didn't like what Chupi just did, so I put her back in the seal and stood up.
"What can I do for you, Toru-Sama?"
"The general said that a group of soldiers are on their way to pick you up. And here, you have food, shelter and weapons. You'll be able to hold out here until they arrive."
"So, you'll be leaving already?"
"Yes. Oh come on, don't look at me like that, I'll leave you with a trusted companion just in case."
The soldier bowed his head.
"We wish you safety on your journey."
The soldiers who came to say goodbye knelt down.
"You have saved us from terrible danger. We will never forget this kindness. We will surely repay you one day."
"It's all good, that won't be necessary."
I waved my hand and walked out of the fort.
I left Chupi and Rosuke as guards in case something happens. Since I have a contract with them, they will know where we are and can meet us later.
"Up ahead is the white wolf village. I hope it's safe."
"I'm certainly worried, especially considering Rudra's objective."
We received information about the demons thanks to the dark elves held captive in the fort.
Rudra's goal is to expand his war arsenal.
He wants to incorporate elves and dark elves into his ranks to destroy the existence of nations on this continent that take pride in their power.
This seems to be part of the reason why the Spirit Queen was neutralized.
The soldiers also speculated that the reason the demons occupied the fort was to invade Jornen.
"It seems that the White Wolf tribe's settlement is in a hard-to-find place, but not necessarily out of Rudra's reach."
"That's true. We should hurry up a bit."
The Celestial Beasts are a powerful race.
If the demons were to come face to face with them, they would be taken down with ease.
But there's always a chance that this might not be the case.
They may still end up fighting against the demon race in a drawn out battle.
"My Lord, I have found a village over there!"
Frau returns after doing some reconnaissance.
Panda peeks through my cape and flies toward Frau.
"Show me the way."
"Yes, my lord."
Off the road and deep into the mountains, there was a small village there.
There were many old brick buildings and the people seemed to live the same life as before.
All the humans we see are members of the wolf tribe.
Many of them stare at us as if observing something unusual.
The quickest to react are the children.
They are young and curious, and they follow us.
"Master, what do we do now?"
"We have to find someone who knows about the white wolves."
"In situations like this, the quickest thing to do is to ask the boss."
But I don't know where their leader is.
I'd ask someone, but they'd run off before I could ask any questions.
The atmosphere is unwelcoming to travelers.
"Hey, where are you from?"
I was approached by a boy covered in scrapes.
His face was very cocky and he had a smirk on his face.
Behind him were many similar kids, all with black or brown wolf ears and tails.
"I'm searching for the White Wolf, do you know anyone like that?"
"Oh, so you're here to see the White Wolves. You're an unusual stranger."
"Do you know where he is?"
"I don't. Even if I did, I wouldn't tell a weak human."
The children began to laugh.
"I won't forgive a child talking to the master like that--... Frau-San?"
Kaede pulls out her iron fan, but Frau stops her with her hand.
Her body flickers slightly.
Oh no, this girl is going to do something stupid.
Frau and I close our eyes, knowing what comes next.
"Fairy God Flaaaaaaash!"
A blinding light was generated from Frau's body and the children rolled on the ground while covering their eyes.
Perhaps she was holding back, as the glow was dimmer than when she first used it.
But still, the light was strong enough to momentarily blind them.
"This is your punishment for mocking Frau's Lord! He's a great person, and very smart! So you show him respect, you little monsters!"
"Shut up, you winged rat! Damn it, I can't see!"
I felt a strange presence around me, so I looked around.
As I did, I saw that we were surrounded by angry adults, growling angrily.
They think we attacked the children.
A man quickly closed the distance and brandished his sharp claws.
I ducked just in time, and almost immediately tripped him over with my foot.
"How dare you!"
"Don't let them get out of here alive!"
"Kill him! Kill him!"
That's when all the residents rushed at me at once.
I don't want them to get hurt if I can help it.
Otherwise we won't be able to get the information we need if we cause a misunderstanding.
Kaede, Frau and I continue dodging and just wait for them to get tired and stop attacking.
A voice emanated from somewhere, and the inhabitants stopped moving.
There was a young man standing high above.
He jumped down and waved his hand to call the inhabitants back.
"You're not from these lands, what brings you here?"
"We heard there was a white wolf here."
"You want to see our god?"
As soon as he heard the White Wolf's name, the young man's eyes sharpened.
The air was tense, and a murderous aura was seeping in.
"This person is-"
Kaede tried to reveal my identity, so I stopped her.
Just because they revere the white wolf doesn't necessarily mean they will welcome someone of the dragon folk.
It's better to analyze the situation rather than provoke it unnecessarily.
"Whatever your intentions are, I cannot overlook the fact that you are hurting my people."
"You're wrong. We didn't hurt anyone."
A man in a wolf mask appears from behind a building.
I'm surprised that I was unable to sense his presence.
"I've seen it all, and I sense no hostility in these people's actions, and the act that started it all seemed to be just a distraction."
"I see. So the villagers were in the wrong."
"Besides, I can tell they are very capable. It's quite a feat to keep anyone from getting hurt while fighting against a dozen adults in this village."
"I understand the situation. Now get back."
The man named Obi disappears.
The young man led us into the village.