Since monsters could only really be dealt with by elementalists, every noble household needed at least one person who had already entered a contract with a spirit.
However, since House Alvinith was a lineage of mages, they couldn’t have a direct offspring who could enter a spirit contract.
Instead, they would adopt a child who’s sensitive to this spiritual power or bring in someone from the capital’s academy.
“Can you really do it?”
There were some people who quickly went to hide behind Adeline’s back, and they cried out desperately.
Concentrating, Adeline closed her eyes, then there was a red magic spell forming in the air above her head.
Red usually signified offensive magic.
Mana tended to change color depending on what kind of spell the magic was manifesting as, and the shade and depth of the color’s pigment depended on the mage’s level.
‘This red color is…’
It looked as if it was submerged under water.
Somehow, I had a bad feeling about this.
I was thinking about whether I should dissuade Adeline even now, but she soon shot the spell at the monsters.
A red arrow hit a monster on its forehead.
Suddenly, the dazed monster faltered for a moment, but its eyes immediately glimmered.
It dashed forward and rushed towards Adeline.
‘I knew it.’
Adeline’s spell didn’t work.
It only provoked the monsters even more.
A knight of House Alvinith shot forward like an arrow and swung his sword at the monster.
Adeline was safe because of this, but the problem was what happened next.
After the other monsters got provoked by her spell, they all went wild even more.
Three monsters ran towards the queen, the crown princess and Rozenne, but I quickly went in front of them.
The brooch that Theodore gave me burst out in a dazzling light.
The blue flames of Seraphim, Theodore’s elemental spirit, enveloped me and protected me from the monster.
Because of this, the monsters that were trying to jump at the queen and the others also faltered and withdrew.
As expected, what the monsters feared the most was the sheer power of elemental spirits.
‘But this won’t last long.’
There was a limit to an amulet infused with spiritual power, and it would soon run out.
They needed back-up to arrive before the power in this rose quartz would disappear…
“Duchess Valentino, how long will it last?”
“…I’m not sure.”
As someone asked me, I answered with uncertainty.
The blue flames lost its luster and started to fade away.
Feeling this, the monsters began surrounding us again.
…At this rate, it was possible for the worst to happen.
‘Until Theodore comes…’
It was at that moment.
The tingling sensation that I’ve been feeling earlier returned once more.
Startled, I froze where I was.
This feeling… It certainly wasn’t the dangerous kind.
I don’t think it would hurt me, and it seemed like it wasn’t going to torment or disturb me.
Rather, it felt as if it was trying to help me.
A gust of wind blew past and the forest swayed along.
My heart started pounding.
This verdant forest seemed to be waving to greet me.
If my hunch is right, then the one that’s sending this feeling was…
‘…The elemental spirit of the Ashridge Forest…?’
Every part of nature had a spirit.
On the land and in the sea, on the cliffs and amidst the boulders of the alpine mountains, within trees and even wildflowers.
And, in this old forest, in the place where spirits of many trees have gathered together, a ‘cluster’ was formed, and that’s where the spirit of the forest was also located.
Spirits did not communicate with any human language.
They only spoke with nature.
The words and letters with which humans communicated were man-made, not a product of nature.
That’s why the spirits conveyed their intentions in a more intuitive manner.
A spirit’s ‘language’ was directly transmitted to a human’s mind, and it felt somewhat intrusive.
That’s what’s happening to me now.
Without any warnings or indications, I felt the spirit’s will directly in my mind.
The spirit of the Ashridge Forest was now asking me, ‘Should I help you?’
‘How could I…’
I wasn’t born with any sensitivity towards spirits.
But how is it possible that I’m communicating with one now?
But there’s no time for me to think too deeply about this.
The blue flames of Seraphim died down quickly.
Seeing this window of opportunity, the monsters prepared to rush this way again, their eyes flashing.
There was no time at all to think.
With all my heart, I asked the spirit of the Ashridge Forest for help.
Right then, the blue flames went out—but at the same time, tree roots rose from the ground and began to either coil around the monsters or pierce through them.
The brutal slaughter of the monsters happened right before my eyes.
The monsters were helpless against the mighty power of the old forest’s spirit.
The blood of the dark red monsters soaked the ground, puddles forming here and there.
As I saw the gruesome bodies strewn around all over the place, I staggered.
That tingling sensation came through again.
It’s like… How should I put it.
It’s like the spirit was asking if it did well.
I felt my consciousness slipping away.
Now that I think about it, this frail body of mine lasted quite a while.
Then, I heard horses galloping in from the distance.
That sound was getting closer.
A familiar voice called out to me.
Soon after, I lost consciousness.
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