Chapter 22 Intermission

<< Lady Euphemia POV >>

 “What! Vidfamne is under attack!” she yelled as an elf ranger reported the news that had been received.

 “Yes. We received a call for aid just an hour ago.”

 “What decision had been made by the king?” Princess Siraye asked

 “That is…”

 “I understand. You may leave,"

 “Yes, Princess Siraye” he replied

 Princess Siraye, Princess Louise, and Lady Euphemia were currently in Everwood. They were just about to set off for Vidfamne when the elf ranger came to deliver the news.

 “How could this have happened?”

 “That is a good question, Euphemia. Could this be a new type of strategy, or were they so frustrated about their lack of progress in Everwood and Jarodor that they decided to bypass us all together?” Princess Louise replied while deep in thought.

 “Thinking about their plans will get us nowhere. Euphemia, I hate to say this but…”

 “I know. Neither Everwood nor Jarodor is in any position to come to our aid. As it stands, we are on our own.” She said with a painful expression

 “What will you do?” Princess Louise asked

 “I have to go see for myself. I also need to find out if my mother escaped, but knowing her; if there was no time to evacuate the people, I doubt she left as well.”

 “Hmm…If we are talking about evacuating, wouldn’t her only option be Highland?” 

 “Yes. Mother probably knows that Everwood would be hard-pressed to take in refugees given the food shortage here and across the continent. She will probably try to use Highland as an escape route to the Holy Kingdom or the Empires.”

 “Indeed. My people are used to living in the forest, but with us constantly having to move our home to avoid the demon attacks, it has become a heavy burden to collect food from the forest. For now, we collect the bare minimum to not starve to death.”

 “It's like this everywhere. Food has become a luxury right now.”

 “So then, when are we leaving?” Princess Louise asked with a smile

 “Eh!”

 “You didn’t think we would let you take this journey alone did you?”

 Princess Siraye nodded at her words, “We are all sisters here. We are in love with the same man. We will follow, and besides, you need me to navigate the forest.”

 “Thank you, guys.”

 << Princess Siraye POV >>

 In the darkness of the forest, a young-looking man appeared. He wore a hooded robe to hide his face but as soon he determined it was safe. He pulled back the hood to reveal his face.

 Princess Siraye took a knee and greeted the man, “father.”

 “You’re leaving at daybreak?”

 “Yes. Lady Euphemia wishes to see the fate of her country. Princess Siraye and I will accompany her.”

 “I see. Does she suspect anything?”

 “No. She doesn’t suspect that we lured the demon worm to the border with Vidfamne; in the hope that it will leave our land for theirs.”

 “I see. If that one can’t suspect it, then perhaps her mother will not either. It pained me when I decided to do so, but as long as those demons kept chasing our capital, we cannot reorganize ourselves. As it stands, we are hardly foraging enough food for our citizens.”

 “There is no need to explain further. I saw with my own eyes the state our people were in. You made a wise decision.”

 “Do you truly believe that?” he asked with a serious expression. “You and Lady Rania have been friends since you were young. Do you believe there was nothing wrong with abandoning your best friend’s people?”

 “I will not lie. It pains me that this decision was made, but I am a princess of Everwood. My people come first and foremost.”

 “I see. Then go and rest for your journey. If anything we need to know what the demons will do next after they have destroyed Vidfamne. Best case they move on to Highland.”

 “But wouldn’t result in us being covered on three fronts?”

 “We already are. Highland has closed the borders between us; just because they do not attack doesn’t mean they will allow our people to flee across their borders.”

 “I see. My apologies.”

 “There is no need to apologize. I fully support your marriage to the hero. He is the only hope for this world; now that the goddesses have been captured.” He took a deep breath as he looked at the sparkling stars in the night. “Go now. You need your rest. I will have some elite rangers accompany you to the border with Vidfamne at dawn.”

 “Thank you father”

 << King of Everwood POV >>

 I looked on as my daughter returned. She walked quietly through the forest before despairing in the night. A feat only an elf could accomplish in this leafy forest.

 “My-my, that was touching,” a voice spoke behind him. 

 Elves were masters of the forest, for there to be something that they couldn’t detect was impossible or at least that was supposed to be the case.

 However, neither I nor my daughter detected that someone was watching our conversations. The king of Everwood despite being surprised at first regained his calmness almost immediately.

 “You were watching us?”

 “Yes. I enjoy seeing despair from the shadows almost as much as I like to cause it,” He uttered as he appeared from the shadows.

 He looked like a human but with extremely pale skin and black wings on his back.

 He was a noble vampire.

 “What do you want?”

 “Now, is that any way to speak to your friend?”

 “You are no friend of mine.”

 “Even though I saved your kingdom? If it wasn’t for me you and your people would be long dead by now. Count yourself lucky that I was able to get the abyss king to accept your loyalty.”

 “If you have a message then spill it out already!”

 The noble vampire smirked at his words

 “It’s too late to regret, you know. You and your people are part of the demon army now. There is no turning back.”

 “Tch…”

 “Abyss-sama wants you to prepare your army to join the new force the hero is preparing to march on her. She will have the demons do a strategic retreat from all the occupied lands in the east of Everwood and Jarodor.”

 “If you guys were going to retreat anyway, then why…”

 “Silence!” the vampire spoke, “I told you it’s too late to regret didn’t I? Abandon all hope, king of the elves; your soul belongs to the demons now.”

 His words sent a shiver in the King's spine. He lowered his head, unable to face the noble vampire.

 “Now then. I better go and help that stupid High Orc before he does something stupid. Duchess Rania Teresa Alumet Vidfamne, if your description of her is half true, then I can’t wait to see her. I will play with her until I am satisfied. Farewell, King of the elves.”

I am ashamed of myself for making a deal with the demons and more ashamed of my relief when they accepted it. 

 My people are tired and hungry. We simply cannot last any longer. 

 As it stood, the world tree would run out of mana if we continued to move the capital around none-stop.

 I had no choice. As king, my people come first.

 I pray that the goddess and the world will forgive me.

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