Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 164
Translator – LF
Proofreader – Nymeria
“There seems to be an alliance forming between subracial monsters in the Pamela Plateau, north of Livadon. Highly intelligent lizardmen and trolls formed a large army of monsters that began raiding villages. According to what we heard just before we departed from Livadon, the troll army looted even a fairly vast territory in the north. “
“A large-scale alliance between the monsters?”
Not only the knight’s eyes widened, but Max’s as well at the absurd news.
“Let’s say the monsters did form an alliance. At best, it will be at the level of a small village. In all my life, I have never heard of subracial monsters forming large armies.”
“No one has ever tried going deep into the Pamela Plateau. It is possible that highly-intelligent monsters have achieved a kingdom-scale of civilization, beyond small villages, without us being aware of it.”
Max became pale and felt weak at the young knight’s serious narration. Her body trembled in horror as tremendous numbers of monster armies plundering humans unfolded in her imagination. Even Lombardo’s face hardened, sensing the severity of the situation.
“Is your information reliable?”
“It’s a rumor going around, it hasn’t been confirmed. What’s certain is that a monster army made of lizardmen, trolls, and red goblins have begun to do planned ransacks.”
Gabel pondered, stroking his chin. “Do you think Livadon can handle the situation?”
The young knight anxiously shook his head, his eyes squinting, forming wrinkles on his face.
“I think there is a high possibility that each country in the seven kingdoms will soon dispatch knights.”
“If it comes to that, then it is Whedon, their alliance in the west, which will be first called for reinforcements.”
“You mean… the R-Remdragon Knights will go on an expedition to Livadon?”
Max, who was listening intently to their conversation, suddenly interrupted. She knew that the topic was something she should not intervene with, but she felt impatient and couldn’t help but ask. It was only then that Gabel noticed how pale her complexion was and shook his head quickly.
“The Remdragon Knights barely returned last year after a three-year expedition. Even if there is a call for reinforcements, the extent of it will only be up to the Royal Knights, they’ll be the ones dispatched.
“There’s no guarantee about that. According to the wizards, this phenomenon of large-scale monster migration occurred because of the evil army lurking in Pamela Plateau, which swept the northern area. It’s a serious problem that concerns the western continent. Obviously, even Anatol will be called for reinforcements. We have to prepare.”
“We’ll discuss the matter when the Captain comes back.”
Sir Gabel glared at the young knight who wasn’t able to read the room. Max realized that he was trying to put an end to the conversation for her sake and got up in a hurry.
“He s-seems to be okay now… I have to get up and g-get going first.”
“I will accompany you to your room.”
“I-it’s okay. I can go by myself.”
“I insist. You need an escort even inside the castle.”
Sir Gabel firmly responded and quickly walked towards the door. Max instructed Sir Lombardo to tell Ruth to check the patient again when he returned, as there was a possibility that there was leftover venom in his body, then she left the knight’s quarters. The sun had set and the sky was tinted with a scarlet-orange shade.
“I heard that milady suffered from excessive mana depletion the other day. Is your condition bad?”
“I-it was nothing. You don’t have to worry… I won’t pass out again.”
Gabel leaned down and carefully examined her face. Only when he saw that her complexion was still rosy, he nodded reassuringly and continued to walk.
As they walked silently side by side, Max gazed anxiously at the distant mountain. After hearing the news of an army made up of monsters wreaking havoc, she could no longer afford to get stuck in the past when there were so many uncertainties in the future. She strongly felt the need to prepare herself for it. Just like today, someone could suddenly be poisoned or fatally injured, and in cases like that it was her that could answer pleas for help. It was her magic skills that saved the young knight from the doom of losing his arms forever.
Riftan had said he didn’t need her help, but that wasn’t the case today. There is also something I can do. Max clung to that thought desperately. Her father instilled in her countless times the idea that she was a useless human being, but she proved him wrong today.
No. It wasn’t only that day. Since she came to Anatol, she had been desperately learning many things and improving herself. If she gave up all of that now, she would never escape her lifelong sense of inferiority. She would just be an incompetent failure for the rest of her life, just like her father said. Max, who was taking her steps with a thoughtful face, had a resolute glint in her eyes.
Riftan didn’t return to their room until late. It seemed that they discussed the news brought by the young knight during their expedition in Livadon all night long. She had decided to wait for him to return and ask Riftan’s plans for the future, but after long hours of waiting, she became exhausted from using her mana and could not withstand the fatigue she felt. Max, who laid down on the bed, at some point fell asleep like she had fainted.
By the time she opened her eyes, the sun was high up in the sky. Her shoulders drooped as she saw the empty sheets next to her.
Guarding the territory, road constructions, and even monsters…why can’t the world leave my husband alone of its worries for a while? She sighed deeply, grasping her hair that was fluffy as a cloud with her right hand.
“Milady, are you awake?”
As always, the maid who was in perfect shape and had not a single hair out of place, came into the room with a tray of food. Max laughed awkwardly, embarrassed that she overslept until noon.
“It’s too late f-for me to say g-good morning, right?”
“The Lord had instructed me to be considerate and let milady sleep as long as she needed. He said that milady was tired…” Rudis placed the tray down on the shelf next to the bed with a gentle smile.
All of a sudden, Max became worried about how Riftan would react if he knew that she used her magic to heal the young knight the day before. Would he be against it like he had been so far, or would he reluctantly admit that her magic helped? As she was lost in her thoughts, Rudis presented her a unique-smelling tea.
“The wizard handed me herbal leaves and said that it would help replenish milady’s mana.”
Max took the teacup and her eyes widened. “Ruth returned?”
“He gave me the pouch containing the tea last night, instructing me to boil it when milady woke up.”
Rudis opened a leather pouch, showing dried leaves and well-groomed roots inside. Max was able to learn about medicinal herbs and was immediately aware of what the tea was made of. It was a mix of Mandragora roots and dried herbs.
Max rolled her eyes. It seemed everyone knew about her magic performance of the day before, they must have discussed it together. Just what kind of things the wizard went around telling without her knowing?
“I should say t-thank you to him. Perhaps h-he’s still in the castle?”
“The wizard?” Rudis tilted her head, placing one hand on her cheek, as if trying to scan her memory. “I saw him come down to the kitchen this morning to eat, but after that… Shall I go to the library and check?”
“I-it’s alright. I’ll go b-by myself. I have something I want to ask him…”
She murmured vaguely as she sipped and blew on her tea. After finishing the slightly bitter tea, Max simply filled her stomach with the meal Rudis brought and washed her face. She then headed straight to the library after fixing her hair and wearing a navy-blue silk dress by the seamstress.
It had been a while since she saw Ruth, which made her feel a little uncomfortable. She opened the door slightly with a nervous face, expecting to hear a sarcastic comment about her interrupting him, but the wizard was nowhere to be seen.
She searched every corner, even behind the farthest shelf, to see if maybe he was hiding somewhere sleeping. When she saw no sign of him, even the books were neatly piled up, she sighed; it seemed like he had gone to the road construction site. It was a huge project, crossing the rugged mountain range, so there was no doubt that they would need a wizard to do more than a thing or two.
She gazed at the window with a sullen face and then rearranged her thoughts. Even if Ruth wasn’t around, she could still research on her own. She looked through the bookshelf and picked up a heavy atlas, recalling the words from the young knight.
She placed a thick book on top of the desk and flipped the pages, finding the name in the northwestern region. Max then ran her fingertips over a rough map. Pamela Plateau was located at the far end of Livadon, in the northern area adjacent to Balto. She squinted her eyes at the squiggly letters written at the side of the map which were difficult to recognize. The brief description about the said region was that it was an uninhabited wasteland, due to its harsh climate and desolate environment.
Her forehead creased as she scrutinized the next page of the book for any explanation, but to no avail, she resigned and closed the nook. In the first place, the young knights said that there was not much known about the place, explaining the reason why there was no detailed description in such an old book.
Max quickly got rid of her disappointment and began to search the bookshelves again. Soon, she was able to find several books about monsters in a corner. She pulled them out, looked inside, and selected an encyclopedia with detailed drawings and sat down again by the desk. As she unfolded the heavy book daunted with an elaborate leather cover, a foul smell crept to her nose. Max went through the faded sheets of paper with her nose scrunched. She was able to find the names of the monsters she heard yesterday in the second chapter.
It was the name of the cannibal monster that was often heard in heroic bard stories. She looked down at the detailed illustration with narrowed eyes. The troll appeared terrifying with its rough skin reminiscent of a toad, giant arched nose, pointed ears, heavy muscular limbs, and a bulging stomach. The monster stared back at her with sunken eyes bent under swollen eyelids. Max, who was looking at the vivid picture, read the description right below.
<Their average size is from 7 kvet (210 cm) to 8 kvet (240 cm). They have enormous strength, which matches their body’s build, very ferocious, and cruel in nature. They have excellent regenerative power, even deep wounds can heal in a short amount of time. They live in groups of thirty to fifty, and are more intelligent than goblins, enabling them to make their own weapons and armor.>
Max’s shoulder unconsciously tensed as she read the scribbled words. Imagining an army made of strong cannibalistic giants who were intelligent enough to make tools sent shivers down her spine.
‘It’s okay, the distance between Pamela Plateau and Anatol is great, almost to the continent’s edges…’
However, the fact that the rampaging monster army was far from Anatol did not comfort her. After all, it was a situation that might demand her husband to leave for an expedition at a distant place.
Max anxiously bit her lips before turning to the next page. Drawings of goblins and ogres appeared one after another. She was focused reading the descriptions written underneath them when someone suddenly patted her shoulder making her jump out of her chair, taken by surprise.
Note – Nymeria: Last chapter was edited and it has been proofread by me. I’m sorry I couldn’t do it before, I wasn’t feeling good and our lovely LNH admin took over for me and edited it a bit for you guys! Anyway, I feel like this is a pivotal chapter for Maxi’s development.