Encounter in the Forest
In a remote forest.
People rarely enter this thick and dense forest.
Therefore, only the cries of the insects, the sound of wind shaking the leaves and my footsteps were audible.
It feels as if this place was totally isolated from the world.
Although it also has an illusion of straying into a nightmare, the sound of the dry grass I step on denies that.
ーーThis is a reality.
The reason I’m here is to meet with the Demon Lord who lives in the forest.
And have him to listen to my wish.
Of course, I have no warranty that he will listen to my story.
In the first place, it’s not even certain that the Demon Lord exists in this world.
I run with anxiety forming in my mind.
That’s because what I heard in the bar was just a doubtful rumor.
It might have been a totally unfounded rumor or just idle gossip.
My legs are about to stop when I think about that, but I have no one else to rely on.
I chose to continue running with the slight hope in my chest.
After my Father died in war and Mother lost to an infectious disease, I lived in the town as a waif.
Talking about my relatives, I have just one and only little sister.
Life definitely wasn’t easy for the ten years old me and six years old Mireia.
Prejudice and apathy, meaningless violence and discrimination, all that hunted us every day.
Still, we somehow endured by encouraging each other.
My only blood relative.
An existence comparable to my other half.
That very little sister has been robbed from me today.
Those guys are famous for being unjust in this town, they have their hands in the slave trade.
Telling those guys “Return my little sister to me please” won’t work.
That’s why I gave it a try and talked directly with the Knights Order.
After laughing at me scornfully, they drove me off like a stray dog.
After that, I consulted with the adults around.
They told me to give up while shrugging their shoulders.
Although our waif friends sympathized, no one lent me their strength.
In the midst of being driven to the wall, a rumor I heard reverberated in my head.
About Demon Lord living in the forest.
About a person with absolute power.
“Did you know? The Demon Lord is apparently living in the depths of the northern forest.”
The roots of the many trees protruding from the ground nearly downed my exhausted body many times.
“I heard that the Demon Lord will grant you any wish if he’s pleased with you.”
The plants bend and the branches stretching from the trees scratch my skin.
Before long, my body was full of shallow wounds all over, the sap of the plants seeped into my wounds, bringing a piercing pain.
“But, if you rub him the wrong way just a tiny bit…… eternal suffering worse than death awaits.”
I have been short of breath since a long ago, my legs are tired and I’m unable to raise them decently.
Still, I have no intentions of stopping.
Because I have no time.
It was probably just past noon that she has been taken, the sun is already going down.
It’s possible that she will be sold to a far-off town by tomorrow.
Thinking about that, my body got filled with energy again.
I have no will of parting with my little sister that easily.
The still young Mireia.
My only family, Mireia.
By now, she’s most likely trembling with uneasiness and fear.
Niichan will call help, so wait for a little more, please!
The time passes but there has been no change to the forest yet.
Impatience, anxiety, fatigue.
My mind has become sloppy.
ーーIt will be over if I get discouraged, I won’t give up until the end!
The moment I forced back those uneasy feelings.
As if sneering at the movements of my heart, the field of vision opened.
Inside the forest, great grassy plains stretching as far as my eyes could see reflected before me.
The grass bending whenever the wind blew quietly resounded in my ears.
A beautifully proportioned world.
It was as if my breathing was out of place, like separated from the outside world.
I felt a little embarrassed.
When I was thinking about that, I suddenly heard a relaxed voice.
“N~ oh, do we have a visitor?”
I didn’t feel any hostility from that person, but I braced myself.
A beautiful woman was standing just several steps away from me.
With a meek smile that didn’t show any hostility.
Perhaps because of the moonlight, the woman seemed to be a magical and unreal existence.
I wonder when she appeared.
Even though there was no one else until just a moment ago…
Because of the agitation and the dryness of my throat, I couldn’t get the words out well.
The woman said “Oh my……？” and tilted her head.
I thought it was a seriously leisurely voice.