Chapter 350: The Dark Forest 1
Sevastol—a commercial city in the south eastern part of Volga Republic.
The city along the side of a large river that flowed to the south of the continent. The place was built over a hundred years ago by a merchant named Bratt.
The man called Bratt had supported the revolutionary army during the republican revolution.
In return, it grew exponentially, benefitting from the supply for the military and the right to trade goods without duty and taxes.
The Bratt Co. entered the continent's top 10 Chamber of Commerce the same year and was serving the republic.
"What is that carriage?"
"Seems like someone is going in it."
In front of the headquarters of the Bratt Co. in Sevastol, a carriage with men from El Kassel order had stopped.
The men around the area looked at the carriage for a while and then continued to do what they were doing.
It was because that shrine often purchased items that were needed for their shrines and other sanctuaries.
However, the workers, who went back to work, stopped moving when they saw who was in the carriage.
Even though the one inside was cool and expressionless, the beauty of the one inside was like a goddess.
"Huh, such a beauty for a priestess…!"
"What made her become a priestess? Maybe a heartbreaking story?"
"Her heart must have been broken by some bad guy."
"Hey, don't talk and get back to work!"
At the shouts of their chief, the workers went back to working.
However, as if she had heard the grunts of the workers, the goddess had stopped for a moment.
She was Erwin.
Erwin, who was under a written promise with Luke, smiled bitterly at the words of the workers.
Though the other men didn't know, there was a bad guy who learned dark magic but isn't aware of her.
‘I can't help it. I was the one who made it like this.'
When it came to princess Reina, Erwin had did something in the past which made Luke despise her.
It wasn't just that. Even after being crushed by his anger, he was consistently using a chilly tone when speaking with Erwin.
‘The words of my teacher were right.'
She remembered that Erenes had once scolded her for not being too compliant when it came to marriage.
At that time, she didn't feel so bad with his words, but now she was regretting it.
‘The next time we meet, would he treat me a little softly?'
It was important for him and her to have a change in their attitudes, but it was much more important to get results.
As promised to Luke, she had to persuade the fairies to neutralize the representatives of the fairies.
In that way, Luke's view on the fairies and herself might be a little softer.
Erwin decided to go along with the escorts provided by Luke and had gone into the main building of the Bratt headquarters.
The escorts, who were dressed as knights of El Kassel, were all members of the Rakan Knights.
"What is your reason in coming here?"
A person in the counter at the center of a spacious hall talked to Erwin's party.
Coming to the head office of the company was very rare. It was because every item could be purchased in their branches.
Moreover, the one there was a priestess.
"I am here to see the boss."
"My boss is going to the capital because of work…"
"The one I want to meet is someone who loves cypress trees."
Upon saying that, Erwin took out the silver ring that she was wearing.
The silver ring had words inscribed in it that said ‘Truth and Eternity' in the elven language. It was a memento she received from her teacher—Erenes.
The expression of the man in the counter changed as he saw the ring.
After a moment, he pulled out a bell from the drawer and rang it three times in a row.
With that, a door to the side of the hall opened, bringing an armed elf warrior.
Erwin and the knights were guided by the elf warrior into the depth of the store.
Upon moving, they passed a small garden and then went into passages and several doors.
In the garden, a middle aged elf wearing a straw hat was trimming the tree with large scissors.
Erwin approached him and bowed.
"The young daughter who succeeded the wise man greets the head of the Wind Valley."
"Erwin Lesa?" The man asked without looking at her face.
"Yes, Mr. Bratt."
Apparently, the elven man who was gardening was Bratt Edelkron—the merchant who had founded the company.
He was actually a promising wizard. He acted as a merchant in the human society, hiding his identity despite the opposition from his close aides.
"Money is what moves the human society. I will use the power of money to help my people who have been persecuted."
After succeeding as a merchant, Bratt saved the elves who were being sold as slaves with his money, and he secretly established an elf community in human society.
Many elves were working in that community created by Bratt.
Some elves were open to the public, but many of them were disguised as human beings like the one at the counter.
Although the Volga treated the fairies very gently and better than the other nations, society was still more advantageous to humans.
In any case, Bratt's activities were very helpful to the elves as well as the fairies.
In the Volga Republic, Bratt was treated well because of his foresight and great merits.
Gaining merits, Bratt soon became the head of the Wind Valley.
Among the elves composed of various tribes, the Wind Valley was the one with more numbers and power.
So, the head of the Wind Valley was recognized as the head of the elves.
"Are you here for the fairies?"
Bratt knew exactly why Erwin had paid him a visit.
"Have you heard anything else?"
"Amur Khan told me that you will come sooner or later."
Amur was the head of the Lycan race.
Erwin met and convinced him before reaching Wind Valley.
"If you heard it from Amur Khan, then you might be aware as to what I wish to talk about."
"I do. I left matters to the fairy representatives regarding the Spirit World's door, and things are going too far."
The heads of the fairies were different, and they had to consider so many things for the sake of their tribe.
So, the heads were selected to meet and negotiate with each other and empower each tribe.
"To be honest, I am in favor of opening the door to the Spirit World, but I don't want to provoke the Holy Empire and the one who has been recognized great enough to receive the branch from the World Tree by the wise man."
"Well, I am going to reclaim the power from the representatives. Especially, Nanas seems to be too obsessed with it. I am concerned for the fairy queen."
The heads of the fairies were all very busy watching the actions of the representatives, including Nanas.
However, they couldn't just reclaim their powers when the word was out about opening the Spirit World's door and agitate their men, and they haven't been struck with any devastating problem.
However, the situation was slowly changing.
"According to the recently obtained information, Nanas is told to be creating a great cause and is sacrificing the lives of the fairies. There are dozens of people who have already been sacrificed."
"That can't be…! We need to do something immediately!"
Erwin was shocked.
"I am still in talks with the warriors."
There were consultations between the chiefs of the races to regain the powers from the representatives, but there was no time.
Bratt decided to move only for himself, the fairy queen and Amur with their forces.
Their forces would be enough to stand against Nanas, and it was possible to neutralize the representatives of the other ones by promoting her problematic behavior.
"When will the warriors convene?"
"Well, a few more days at most…"
When Bratt was speaking to Erwin, an elf warrior ran into the garden with a letter.
After seeing the letter, Bratt's face hardened.
"This is bad news."
"What is it?" Asked Erwin.
"Nanas has completed the establishment of the Trap in the Dark forest. In addition, there are over 100 fairies who have been sacrificed," responded Bratt.
"Dark Forest? A Trap?!"
Erwin couldn't go ahead anymore.
She was wondering why the fairies were dying in the hands of Nanas.
However, it turned out a trap was being established in the Dark forest.
From what Erwin knew, that was the method which was used in the past to kill Sword Master Kamarov and the Royal Wizard Kavin of the Volga Kingdom.
‘Who is Elder Nanas aiming for?'
Was it princess Reina, who was being protected by Arch Duke Gregory, or was it another person?
"Excuse me chief, but I must go."
Erwin felt like something bad was about to happen and decided to bid farewell to Bratt.
"The talks aren't done yet, where are you going? You aren't going to the Dark Forest are you?" Asked Bratt.
At the question of Bratt, Erwin didn't reply.
However, he knew what her silence meant, and Bratt wanted to restrain her.
"Don't do anything that will put you in danger. If you get caught when the trap is still under watch…"
"I know what will happen, but I need to go."
Bratt failed to defeat Erwin's stubbornness.
"Then, I hope you stay safe."
"You too, chief."
She looked sad for some reason as she kept moving away, and Bratt put down the scissors from his hand.
‘I too need to move more actively.'