Chapter 34

Enemies in the forest

“The hero and the elves are working for the demons?” those words came out of Shelley’s mouth. Her face was pale, she couldn’t understand what she was hearing right now.

Before she was sent after Lady Euphemia, Shelley was discussing with Duchess Rania.

“Shouldn’t we warn the empires?”

“We have no evidence. Even Queen Madeline said it was nothing more than a hunch based on the vibe the hero gave when she tried to approach him and the fact the world spirit tree is not responding to her.”

“But still… only fools wouldn’t believe her.”

“Your speaking like humanity lacks fools. If anything, there is an abundance of fools amongst them.”

“I can’t believe this, but if true then the attack the demons launched against us…”

“Everwood knew it was going to happen. No. I wouldn’t be surprised if they proposed it in the first place.”

“Duchess!?”

“Shelley.” She uttered with a firm voice. “If this information is true then we have an enemy on our border to the north and south. Highland is our only source of security.”

“But you come to an agreement with Edwin-sama haven’t you?”

“Yes, but my position is pretty weak. My concubine position ensures Vidfamne security but not it's future.”

“What do you mean?”

“Highland must come to our rescue in case of attack, but the borders are still closed aren’t they?”

“You are talking about trade?”

“Right. Highland clearly has advanced technology, its potential as an economic power is huge but if Vidfamne cannot tap into that, my successors will forever live in the shadows of the royal family of Highland.” She sighed before continuing, “So this is karma. Thinking back this must have been the feeling the previous kings of Highland felt. They must have large grins on their faces right now.”

“What will we do now?”

“I need to win Edwin’s favor and have my place raised from concubine to legal wife.”

“And how will you do that?”

“Our intelligence network is unmatched on this continent. Except for Highland, we are informants everywhere on the continent. Furthermore, our family's ability to analyze that information is also unmatched. I will use that to raise my worth to Edwin.”

“Understood.”

“In that regard, I have a mission for you. Go to Everwood and deliver these necklaces to Euphemia. One is for her and the other is for the hero. Try and make sure you are there when he puts it on. I want you to confirm Queen Madeline’s suspicions.”

***

“How interesting. If you don’t mind me asking, where exactly is the fairy queen now.”

With a bone-chilling smile, Hero Hans asked Shelley Lancaster the question.

Shelley felt completely uncomfortable. No one else in the room felt that way apart from her.

As a former slave, she was sensitive to the ill thoughts of men and she felt it from the hero.

His smile couldn’t deceive her.

[Why is he asking about the fairy queen? Could the demons be after her? I better not show any hint of hesitation in my replies.]

“I don’t know her exact location but I believe it is somewhere between the two empires.” (Shelley Lancaster)

“Really?” (Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien)

“As I said I am not 100% sure of her exact whereabouts. She seems to be in constant movement to avoid an attack from the demons.” (Shelley Lancaster)

“That makes sense. With the goddess captured it would be wise to assume the demons were after her as well. Being in constant motion would prove to be a better strategy than staying in one location.” (Princess Siraye)

“Hmm…” (Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien)

“Is something the matter Hans?”

“No… I just wanted to meet her that’s all. I hear she can grant skills and blessings.”

“I have heard that too, but she charges a ridiculous amount of money for that.”

“But Hans is the hero, surely the fairy Queen will be understanding.”

“That is just wishful thinking Euphemia. You should learn not to trust people so easily.”

Shelley couldn’t help but glance at Princess Siraye after she had uttered those words.

[Was that a warning?] (Shelley Lancaster)

“In any case. Why have you brought these here?” (Lady Euphemia)

“There to be gifts for yourself and the hero.” (Shelley Lancaster)

“Really!?” (Lady Euphemia)

“The reason you acted out was that you felt that you and Vidfamne had not contributed enough towards Hero Hans. Isn’t that right?” (Shelley Lancaster)

“Euphemia! Did you feel that way?” hero Hans asked as he grabbed hold of her hands. “Silly girl, what am I going to do with you?”

“It just that, I am not at fighting like the others and Vidfamne can’t provide any major support. I can’t help but feel like I have somewhat let you down.”

Hans placed his hand on her cheek and lifted her downcast face, “you can never let me down, Euphemia. I will always need you.”

“Hans!” she said softly before the two kissed each other.

“Sorry Euphemia, I didn’t know you felt this way.” (Princess Siraye)

“Me too. I didn’t notice at all. Sorry.” (Princess Louise)

“No, you guys. Don’t blame yourselves this is a result of my insecurities. You guys have done nothing at all.”

They all had a group hug with smiles on their faces.

“Lady Euphemia, perhaps you and Hero Hans should take this moment to place the necklaces on each other’s necks.” (Shelley Lancaster)

“Eh…right now. But…” (Lady Euphemia)

“Don’t worry about me and Siraye. Your mother sent these two for you and Hans. With this our fighting force has been greatly improved.”

“You are right Louise”

Hans placed the necklace around Lady Euphemia's neck and it shuns bright blue. She felt the rush of mana flow through her body and the same time.

“Amazing. I feel so much more powerful. I can’t wait to test it out.” (Lady Euphemia)

“Please be advised that the mana is not unlimited. It will run out if you waste it. I suggest you wait until battle before using it.” (Shelley Lancaster)

“That makes sense.” (Lady Euphemia)

It was now the time Shelley had been waiting for.

She watched closely as Lady Euphemia placed the necklace around the hero’s neck.

If it shuns blue, then she and the duchess would be back to square one with no concrete proof that the hero was against humanity.

She held her breath.

A light shuns and the hero felt a surge of energy.

“That felt amazing. I can feel the power passing through my body.” (Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien)

“It feels total amazing doesn’t it?” (Lady Euphemia)

“Yes, it does. Please send my gratitude to Duchess Rania…” Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien

“…” (Shelley Lancaster)

“Shelley?” (Lady Euphemia)

“Ah…apologies Lady Euphemia, I was caught in the moment. I will convey the message to the duchess. I hope this small gesture from Vidfamne will help you in your journey to rid us of those demons.” (Shelley Lancaster)

“Leave it to me. I will send those demons packing and rescue the goddess from capture.” (Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien)

“You have my and the world's gratitude hero-sama” she replied while bowing her head.

The moment Shelley entered the room her duchess was resting in, she heard the question.

“What color was it?”

“Black…”

The duchess sighed.

Had the necklace turned blue, it would mean there was nothing bad about the hero.

If it turns red, it would mean that the hero has an evil heart.

Black meant that the hero has demonic blood passing through his veins.

“What will you do now?”

“Prepare immediately. I am going to Highland.”

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