Loren opened his eyes.
The caravan was still shaking, but it wasn’t as disastrous as it was before.
Sunlight was pouring in from a crack in the hood, and Shayna was asleep leaning onto him with an innocent sleeping face.
Still sitting down, he looked around the caravan and saw that nothing had been destroyed.
Before he closed his eyes, Ange was laid down in front of Layla and Roll, but when he looked over to them, Broas was laid down beside her as well, and the two girls were glaring at him.
“You seem so carefree.”
Roll sounded angry as well, but Loren couldn’t understand why they were angry at him, because there was nothing else he could do in that situation and didn’t feel that he needed to stay up until morning.
They could’ve gotten caught by the bone dragon, but in that case it would’ve been either going down fighting or getting killed while asleep. Loren preferred dying in peacefully in his sleep than dying while fighting.
“It looks like we outran it. But what’s wrong with Broas?”
Although Ange was still coughing with the smell of blood coming from inside her mouth, she looked a lot better than the night before. But Broas’ face was pale, his breathing was shallow, and looked like he could die anytime.
Loren looked at Layla if there was an attack from something else than the bone dragon, but the knight just shook her head.
“We have no idea. He became like this after a while. He’s been getting worse ever since.”
“Have you tried healing him?”
“Roll used divine arts after resting for a while but it had no effect.”
Loren pulled away Shayna from his body, being careful not to wake her up, laid her down on the floor, walked over to Broas and looked at his face more carefully.
Broas’ face was noticeably blue and wet with sweat, and his eyes didn’t have any focus.
“I’m not sure if it’s an illness, but…this isn’t good.”
Loren had no medical experience, but he could tell that Broas was in a bad shape just by looking at him.
He easily guessed that a wrong move could cost him his life.
“Ange’s condition is getting worse as well. We’ve used <<Healing>> two times already, but there were too many deep wounds, the best we could do is keep her alive.”
Although Layla told that to him, there was nothing he could do right now.
Loren silently turned away from them and poked his head out to the driver’s seat, thinking that the only thing they could do was pray that they will get better.
“Loren, you’re awake. It’s a pretty good morning.”
Lapis, who must have been holding the reins throughout the whole night, gave him a smile with no trace of fatigue at all.
He looked up, and the sky was a clear blue with the rising sun’s rays shining down on them as if the whole incident from last night didn’t even happen.
Either the horse was a tough one or it was all thanks to Klaus’ power, it managed to gallop at full speed throughout the night, and was still pulling the caravan with ease at a comfortable pace.
On its rear half, Klaus, who had been whipped countless times, was still clinging onto it with his eyes rolled up.
Although it was so that they could run away from the bone dragon, cold sweat ran down his forehead as he imagined how much Klaus had been whipped during the night, and hoped that the experience didn’t open up any new doors.
“How long till we reach Hanza?”
Right now, that was more important than Klaus’ future. Lapis thought for a moment and replied blankly.
“I don’t know. I’m not even sure if we’re going in the right direction.”
Loren was alarmed for a moment at Lapis’ confession, but guessed that it was something that couldn’t be helped.
Even though an ordinary person wouldn’t even have been able to drive the caravan, Lapis had driven it the whole night at an impossible speed.
He couldn’t blame her if she went down a wrong road or two.
“It was a single path, though.”
“In that case I guess it’s fine.”
“It doesn’t look too good back there though.”
Loren shrugged as Lapis turned her head behind her.
“The front doesn’t look good either you know?”
“He’s fine. After a while he starting saying things like ‘Noo’ and ‘More’.”
At those words Loren looked at Lapis like she was a monster.
Lapis looked at his expression and gave him a sly smile.
“I’m joking. But don’t you think getting whipped by a beautiful girl is a reward?”
Loren felt disgusted at the question.
He knew that such preferences existed in the world, and although he didn’t know anyone that would enjoy that kind of thing, if someone asked him if he could get used to it or understand it, the answer would definitely be no.
“I’m not into that sort of thing.”
“I’m relieved. I wouldn’t have known what to do if you had answered yes.”
Loren gave her a troubled face, since he had no idea if she actually meant what she said, but it soon turned into one of confusion as she held out the reins in front of him.
“Loren, can you at least drive it in a straight line?”
“Then can I count on you? I’ve been up all night and I’m almost at my limit.”
When he thought about it, while he was sleeping, Lapis had been driving the caravan the whole time they were being chased by the bone dragon.
Since he knew nothing good came out of sleep deprivation, he was fine with driving the caravan for a while, so he sat on the driver’s seat and took the reins from Lapis.
“If you’re going to sleep you should go inside.”
Loren didn’t think the driver’s seat was well suited for sleeping.
Although there was one that was injured and another that was sick, Loren thought that laying on the floor would be better, but Lapis shook her head and declined.
“No no, just lend me your shoulder. I like this better.”
Lapis didn’t even wait for Loren to respond as she rested her head on his shoulder and fell asleep almost immediately.
Loren was surprised at how quickly she fell asleep, but guessed that running away all night brought a lot of anxiousness and fatigue, and focused on keeping the caravan on the road, being careful not to move his body as much as he could.
“It would be really helpful if I knew where we are…”
He guessed that they were heading towards Hanza, but since he wasn’t certain that they were going the right way, it made him worry.
As he thought how nice it would be to know they were going the right way, something tugged at his back.
When he looked back, he saw Shayna pulling at the cloth that was wrapped around his great sword to get his attention. He turned back as far as he could without losing control of the reins.
“Onii-san…everyone else in the back…”
At Shayna’s worried tone, Loren looked past her and saw Layla and Roll collapsed on the floor.
He wondered why bad things kept getting worse, but even if he were to stop the caravan, there was no way for him to know what was going on.
“What’s happening…are we getting cursed or something?”
“What should we do Onii-san?”
“Don’t call me Onii-san, call me Loren. There’s nothing we can do right now. There’s no way for us to treat them right now. We’re going to have to get to a city first.”
“I think we’re getting close to Hanza, Loren Onii-san.”
“Are you sure?”
Shayna nodded and pointed at the forest and plains around them.
“I’ve walked around outside of Hanza a lot for my father’s job. I remember this view so I think we should see the city in a little bit.”
“That’s the best news I’ve heard in a while. Is our luck turning back?”
Since Shayna was from the area, what she said was very reliable.
If they could reach Hanza, there would be medical supplies as well as doctors, and there would be a higher chance saving the four in the back.
Loren saw the walls of the city shortly after Shayna told him that they were getting close.
Since it was the center of the city-state Hanza, the walls surrounding the city were tall and thick.
On one of the sides was a large gate, and whoever wanted to get into the city had to pass through there.
He was worried that the guards wouldn’t let them in since they were carrying one wounded and three unconscious members, but they should be able to call a doctor for them, and if he told them they brought the president’s daughter, they shouldn’t be able to treat them roughly. As he was thinking that, Lapis, who had been asleep leaning onto his shoulder, woke up and gave him a warning.
“Be careful Loren. Something isn’t right.”
“What do you mean?”
Loren couldn’t understand what she was talking about.
As they got closer to the gate, where usually there would be a line of people trying to get in, he couldn’t see anyone there.
But if there were lots of undead roaming around, of course people wouldn’t want to travel, so it didn’t seem like an unnatural sight to him.
But then he realized that there were no guards at the gate either.
Even if the number of people coming to the city decreased, it was hard to imagine that they had abandoned post.
As Loren realized that this was what Lapis was talking about, she softly took the reins from Loren’s hands.
“Please be ready to fight whenever.”
“Alright. But…the whole city?”
“I’m not sure. If the gates were closed I would’ve guessed they barricaded themselves inside, but the gates are wide open.”
It was unnatural that the gates were left open even though no one was there.
It pretty much told them that something had happened.
“What do we do?”
“Nothing other than going in. Even if no one’s inside there might still be supplies, or they might have moved the barricade inside the city.”
Either way, their goal was to take Shayna back to Hanza, so they had no choice but to go inside.
Plus, Ange had to be treated as soon as she could or she could die, and they couldn’t ignore the chance that Broas, Layla, and Roll, who had collapsed for an unknown reason, could become like the female adventurers that died the first day.
“I guess luck isn’t on our side after all.”
Even so, they didn’t have the option of turning back.
With their luck, Loren had the feeling that even if they did, they would again encounter the bone dragon that they tried so hard to run away from.
“It’ll work out somehow. Okay, let’s go.”
In contrast to Loren’s heavy thoughts, Lapis didn’t seem to think of the situation heavy at all, and sped up the horse slightly and started heading towards the entrance.
Loren had no way of stopping her, and could only watch as the entrance grew larger and larger.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
Sorry again for the late upload.
Some close friends that I haven’t seen in over 5 years came over for the week.
I was spending time with them outside of work, so I didn’t have the chance to upload.
I’ve started a new mini project!
It’s under the Sub-Projects tab, so go check it out if you have some time on you hands 🙂
Hope you enjoy and I’ll see you guys in the next chapter!