After Fillia and the others regrouped with Ardis, they quickly left the now chaotic town. It was then revealed the explosions and shakings that happened when Fillia was rescuing the kidnapped refugees was because of Ardis.
「Since many people saw the demonic being escape from its basement, as expected, even a large association like them can’t escape from the feudal lord. 」
The culprit of the incident said so as a matter of fact, with a satisfied smile on his face. The other refugees that were rescued returned to their families or lovers but, Haru and his sister had no other people to expect them except each other, naturally they didn’t have a home to return as well.
Sooner than Fillia could ask if they could bring them to a safer place, Ardis asked the siblings 「Want to come to the village? 」.
The siblings that had no place to stay in quickly accepted the offer, but although Fillia felt relieved, she also didn’t understand why Ardis offered them suddenly.
「Well, Al said it like that but, it’s not like he’s a cold-blooded person. 」
She knew about it too. Taking herself and Riana into his protection despite twins without any return, Ardis had even turned his back to influential nobles and the church.
Without Rona having to point it out, Fillia knew his kindness more than anyone.
「Also, there’s also some other considerations as well……」
Rona who said so while trying to fish out something stuck between his teeth never did actually reveal the true reason in the end.
The party walked on foot to another nearby town, and procured a carriage there. Although they arrived at Alburn by flying while avoiding people, the return trip couldn’t be so.
Since they didn’t want to reveal their air travelling method to the siblings, they had to get a carriage as the journey back to the village in the Canobis Mountain Range was still far.
Moreover, the siblings that looked malnutritioned might not even make it there if they walked the whole distance.
「I told them we’re gonna be late already――. Also, about them two wanting to enter the village. 」
As the advance party, Rona headed towards the village first and returned in about three days. Ardis confirmed with Rona who was walking beside the carriage.
「What did the village chief said? 」
「『Another two at this point is nothing』 and smiled bitterly. However, Sera said 『I can’t decide unless I meet them in person』. 」
「I see……. Glad that the village chief is a generous person. As for Sera……, well, it’s natural huh. 」
Fillia who was beside Ardis on the coach box heard about the conversation as well.
「Anyways, I’m sleepy, so I will ride on too――. 」
Saying so, Rona got up into the carriage. Haru and his sister were in the carriage too but, it seems like they were used to Rona already as they didn’t look afraid.
They must’ve understood that Rona who is intelligent enough to speak human language isn’t anyone dangerous. A short conversation between Rona and Haru can be heard within the carriage.
The horse carriage that ran on the highway induced the tired riders with its subtle shaking. Dozing off while her head was swaying, Fillia panickily slapped herself on the cheeks.
「Why don’t Fillia go get some rest inside too? 」
Fillia silently shook her head at Ardis’s question. It was Ardis who brought Fillia to the coach box seeing her stiffness probably because of her experiences in a carriage.
Ardis then pulled Fillia’s shoulders over. Fillia’s cheeks touched Ardis’s thigh.
「There’s no need to push yourself. 」
Ardis’s hardened hand with creases patted Fillia on her head which is now in a lap pillow position. Ardis’s smell and the absolute security. Enveloped by both of them, Fillia started to doze off.
Eventually, when her consciousness was about to dissolve in her light sleep, there were presences that invaded her domain.
Immediately waking up, Fillia extended a searching mana web to the surroundings.
「You’re now able to sense at this range already huh. 」
Ardis who was beside called out three flying swords across the 『Gate』.
「Probably. Although it’s rare to have them come out on a highway, it can’t be helped since there’s probably no subjugation request thanks to the civil war. 」
About fifty mana signatures surrounded their carriage. Considering their strength, they’re probably medium-sized beasts.
「Take care of the carriage, Fillia. 」
Rona had already gotten off the carriage and readied himself to welcome the foes.
「I’m counting on you. 」
Ardis lightly patted Fillia’s head before getting down from the coach box. It seems like they want to quickly get it over with by splitting up the work.
「Take the left side, Rona, I will take the right. 」
After a short delegation of roles, Ardis and Rona charged forward to dispose of the threats. The surrounding responses started to reduce quickly.
Ardis and Rona both have the power to easily deal with demonic beings in the Canobis Mountain Range. Beasts that appear on grasslands, their numbers don’t even matter.
However, the more they have, it’s more likely that some will slip past. Two beasts that managed to charge through came from front and back.
「First…… the front. 」
Judging that there’s still room for the one behind, Fillia prioritized the one coming from the front first. They are 『Grass Wolves』, the beast with grey fur leapt from the ground with its four legs.
Although it might be dangerous if there’re too many of them, they’re not difficult to deal with individually. It’s a beast that even Fillia had defeated many times despite her lack of experience with fighting.
As expected, she couldn’t yet deal with fifty of them but, she wouldn’t have troubles with five.
「I won’t let you! 」
The wind blades created by Fillia sliced open the Grass Wolf’s stomach. Although not an instant death, it’s clear that it’s a fatal wound.
The one at the front is no longer a threat. As Fillia came to a conclusion, suddenly a cry came from behind.
「Don’t, Haru! 」
As Fillia immediately turned around to confirm what was happening, of all things, Haru jumped out of the carriage with a wooden stick in his hand facing the remaining Grass Wolf.
In a hurry, Fillia shot a fireball and kept the Grass Wolf away, and ran to Haru.
「Haru-kun, you can’t jump out of the carriage like that! 」
「I will protect Onee-chan! 」
Haru yelled despite his legs trembling.
「It’s fine even if you don’t do that! 」
They aren’t even opponents that could ever match Ardis and Rona. Fillia can deal with the remaining Grass Wolves that manage to slip by their guard.
It’s natural that there’s no danger as long as he stayed inside the carriage. But the people that she is protecting suddenly jumping out of the carriage is something she didn’t expect in a hundred years.
This time, another cry came from Haru’s sister who was left in the carriage.
「Another one got through!? 」
The third Grass Wolf that managed to slip by Ardis’s swords and Rona’s fangs is now jumping into the carriage.
「Please make it! 」
Fillia immediately put up a physical barrier ahead of Haru’s sister. As the Grass Wolf crashed into the barrier and got deflected back, Fillia delivered another blow using wind.
The wind blades immediately cut off the Grass Wolf’s head, and Fillia reconfirmed the situation. The horses pulling the carriage, Haru’s sister on the carriage, and Haru.
She had to protect all three of them at once while keeping her guard up and defeating the Grass Wolves. For the time being, she must reduce her targets of protection to two.
Thinking like that, Fillia brought Haru who was beside her back to the carriage.
「Haru. You can’t leave your sister’s side if you want to protect her. We will take care of outside the carriage, Haru just have to protect your sister from the beasts that get inside. 」
「Uu, ……unn. 」
Fillia scolded sternly, as Haru’s response was tied up but still nonetheless replied. Finishing that, Fillia exited the carriage again, and reconfirmed the situation.
Thirty Grass Wolves have already been slain. It’s about time they realize their disadvantage and start to escape.
Fillia continued her duty and kept her guard up until it is confirmed to be safe. Eventually, just as Fillia thought, the Grass Wolves that lost half its number retreated.
All it boils down to was actually mundane, an expected result.
「Good work protecting them well. 」
Ardis praised and patted Fillia head, but Fillia honestly confessed her failure.
「Sorry……, it was almost dangerous. 」
「Well, it can’t be helped right? I think it was a good follow up. 」
「That’s experience too. Since there’s no loss, take it as a valuable learning experience. 」
Even while fighting the other Grass Wolves, Ardis and Rona had understood the situation. Rona and Ardis both seemed to understand that the reason behind the danger was because of Haru jumping out of the carriage.
Fillia is forced to understand that she is still not fully fledged. Burning the remains of the Grass Wolves to not attract other beasts, the party continued their journey on the carriage.
Fillia who sat on the coach box together with Ardis recalled the fight just now. The ones that she’s protecting doesn’t necessarily behave well.
She reflected on her naivety to have not expected such a scenario. At the same time, she noticed the difficulty of protecting someone while fighting.
If by herself, she can probably handle three of the Grass Wolves just now without any sweat. But what about it.
It was almost a carnage when she was doing the same thing while protecting Haru, his sister and the horses. Protecting something is considerably harder than just defeating enemies.
Ardis had been doing something so difficult for a long time. It was only now that she realizes that she was the one enjoying peace because of that.
Fillia who was overcome with an inexplicable stuffy feeling in her chest hugged Ardis beside.
「Ardis, ……thank you. 」
She expressed her gratitude for the past six years into her words. Ardis who was suddenly thanked seemed confused.
「Why so sudden? I didn’t help this time too, and I don’t remember doing anything worthy for that……」
「No, even so. Thank you. 」
There’s no need to let him know. Fillia only expressed the words that she wanted to say the most.
She had been receiving countless warmth from Ardis till now. This time, she wanted to be the one to give warmth to Ardis. Although it might be impossible now, she would in the future.
She wants to proudly say that the overflowing warmth that themselves had received is an irreplaceable treasure. Ardis had made many enemies in order to protect them till now.
There should be many that didn’t have to be his enemies originally. If he hadn’t been protecting themselves, then undoubtedly, he wouldn’t be wanted by the church or nobles in Nagras Kingdom.
That’s why, Fillia hardened herself and swore. Even if everyone in the world becomes Ardis’s enemy, she herself would pledge to remain at his side till the end.