At The Northern Fort / At the Northern Fort Chapter 21
MTL & Editor: A s h e s
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I feel like something bad was going to happen soon, leaving my heart unsettled. Cromwell and the one-eyed Knight took the others up the mountain, leaving me in the fort with Tina. She was trying to read a book, but it seemed her heart was restless as well.
“Mill, don’t you worry, even though the blizzard outside is still going on, the chief and Deputy Chief don’t make mistakes. If they sense its too dangerous, they’ll come back.”
Tina saw me wondering around restless and picked me up then put me on her lap. Were the One-eyed Knights really going to be okay? I worried about a lot of things, but I wondered when they reach Mother’s altar and see her, what would happen. The most likely scenario is that Mother was extremely angry with me. I jumped off Tina’s lap with an “oof” because I couldn’t stay still at all due to the turmoil in my heart
“Come to me…”
I heard Mother’s voice, but it was a faint whisper. For a moment I thought Mother had found me and had come, but I didn’t see her anywhere. Soon only the sound of the howling wind from the storm outside could be heard.
“It’s okay mill…”
Tina called out to me with a gentle tone, but it didn’t work. I felt it in my heart that I had to go see the One-eyed Knight. I kept whining as I paced the common room while Tina looked at me with pity like I was a child whose parents dropped me off and left.
“I know you love the Grayle a lot, but if you’re so worried we can go to the entrance and let you look out from the door for a moment, how about that?”
Yes! take me outside now!
I stood on my hind legs while reaching my forepaws up, inviting her to pick me up excitedly
“Yaa~! What a cute pose!”
I was understood! Since you understand how cute I am, hold me! Tina is weak against me and thus tries to always hold me!
Sadly, the one-eyed Knight won’t hold me since he plans on “returning me to the wild”. Like a strict policy “Train your feet” and making me walk everywhere. Even though Tina knows she shouldn’t be pampering me, she’s weak against my cuteness and caves every time.
“You shouldn’t go out there…”
When I thought that I was going outside with Tina who was finally enticed into carrying me, Brother Gatekeeper had come inside the front hall door as we came into the corridor. He had a good amount of snow piled on his shoulders and head. Even in such a blizzard, you guarded the front gate?
“The storm is getting even worse.”
“What!? It’s been really bad, how can it get even worst!?”
Tina raised her voice at what Brother Gatekeeper said.
“It’s gotten to the point that you could freeze almost immediately out there. “
As he said that, Brother took off his clock, but the cloak didn’t conform to cloth physics when it fell on the ground. It kept a rough shape of Brother’s back. The cloak had frozen over, surely if your clothes were wet you’d turn into an ice sculpture in a heartbeat. While Brother was showing Tina and me how bad it was, the other Knights who stayed behind to remove snow came in. One by one, they petted me while they passed us then gathered around the fireplace to warm their freezing bodies.
As of recent, they’ve gotten in the habit of petting me if I look up at them.
“Do you think they’ll be fine out there?”
“It’s going to be tricky…”
“If the enemy was human, they’d have no problem, but how are they going to compete with a Spirit?”
“We should wait a little bit before we decide to do anything, they loaded equipment and rations to climb the mountain.”
Everyone kept discussing what they should do about the situation, but all it went in one ear and out the other. I wondered if I should wait here. A imagine of the One-Eyed Knight came into my head of him slowly becoming too tired and falling down into the snow and him dying. This thought sent a deathly chill up my spine.
I was almost immune to the cold and snow, but the One-eyed knight wasn’t. Maybe in the past, I was human, but now I’m a spirit with the power to protect everyone, especially the One-eyed knight! These thoughts flooded my heart and then…
I heard Tina’s surprised voice.
“What’s going on!?”
“It’s snowing inside!”
Everyone was looking at me with surprise, around my body a small snowstorm began to wrap around me. I was also surprised by this, but Tina who was holding me held onto me desperately. I could feel the fear coming off her, but for my safety. Unfortunately for her, my body turned into snow and disappeared into the wind. In my mind I was surprised! I could disappear!
Tina cried out and the other Knights came running towards me and tried to grab me. That was the last I saw and I no longer felt anything as my body changed into snowflakes before it melted in the warm air of the common room
I don’t understand what happened, but so suddenly? Is this how spirits die?
All I did was wish with all my heart that I could help the One-eyed knight, then I felt like my body was weightless and before I knew it, my body had turned into snow. All these thoughts raced through me, but I then felt like I became whole again… Even though I was scared, I opened my eyes. For a split second, I thought I truly died and went to heaven, but with the serve weather, I was able to deduce I was just outside in the storm.
I thought it for a moment, then it clicked I just moved outside. I’m not dead yet!!
Thinking back, mother also left for the kingdom like this. It also happened to me when I thought of the One-eyed knight, so I thought of the One-eyed Knight again like before and I felt the same sensation again. I think I did it!
I really did it!
Sadly, the scene before me poured water over my excitement. In front of me was the One-eyed knight and beside him was mother… They were about to start fighting!
Oh! I need to stop them!
Before I could even utter a cry, mother had stopped midway, she was looking directly at me. Her eyes were wide with surprise, but the tears were spilling out of them. I felt my chest constrict painfully at the sight of my Mother crying.
The One-eyed knight had frozen mid-action too with his sword half drawn. He too was looking at me with surprise.
“Why are you here…?”
Knix yelled out in surprise along with the other knights behind him. I let out a sigh of relief that everyone was alive. I made it in time, I didn’t want to imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t made it in time… I checked one more time and confirmed all the knights who left were here unharmed.
My mother was now kneeling down with her arms open towards me, her voice a mixture of pain and relief. I quickly ran into her embrace and started to lick the tears running down her two beautiful cheeks, leaving my tongue a little numb.
“You had me so worried! I was scared I lost you!”
I had to apologize to my mother who I worried so much with my little escape.
“What’s going on…?”
“Wait… Mill is Snowlea’s child?”
The Knights were obviously confused, who would have thought that a little fox cub was actually a snow spirit? Unfortunately, I couldn’t speak their language so I couldn’t explain, but this was put to the back of my mind as I was embraced lovely by Mother. It felt so warm and comfortable to be back in her arms.
“So you ran away by your self Mil. It’s good that you returned back to your mother…”
Mother was stroking my head with a beautiful smile filled with a tender smile, but her face suddenly twisted when the One-eyed knight spoke towards me. Her eyes locked onto him and her face twisted with anger, her voice filled with killing intent.
“And again, how dare you scoff at my child that you kidnaped, I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you! “
What!? Kidnaped!? him?! The words that my mother almost screamed caught me off guard. I don’t know how Mother misunderstood what happened, but I left our home without permission by myself to try and find Mother… Was this why the blizzard was going on?!
“Wait, Mill -“
“Shut up, Don’t try and make excuses you!”
Mother was misunderstanding the situation, he wasn’t the bad man! I tried to explain to Mother in a rush, but I couldn’t form the words with my mouth. Only ‘Kyan’ came out. Mother was in a frenzy now and didn’t respond to my barks.
“I will not let you or your knights leave here alive for this!”
Mother then let out a chilling declaration towards all the knights, her voice was monotonous and cold, almost ice like. I could see the magic in mother becoming more dense, swirling around inside her. If it was released, none of the knights would survive it, maybe even the fort and the villagers would be spared either. It felt that much from what I saw.
Mother was about to rob me of my beloved One-eyed Knight…
I couldn’t let such a horrid thing happen. I couldn’t speak, but that didn’t matter. I kept barking or making other sounds, whatever I could to stop Mother from killing him, but suddenly as if responding to my heart; it wasn’t a bark that left my mouth…
“- Stop it!”
A high-pitched and lovely voice, like a toddler, came out. It seemed like time itself stopped at that moment, Mother was stunned for a moment and she stopped gathering power.
“… Is that your voice…?”
Mother’s mouth was agape and she let out a surprised voice while the One-eyed Knight made a stupid surprised face as well. Even I surprised myself, I even looked around me for a child, but there wasn’t one. I took a moment to compose myself and grasped onto that feeling before I could forget it.
“I… Words… Talk…”
Each word felt alien to me, each one took a lot of effort. It’s been a year since I was born, but I could still remember words well, but I was able to absorb even more words at the fort. I could finally speak, But pronunciation is difficult! The words were hard to form with my small tongue and maybe the fact a fox’s vocal cords weren’t meant to form such complex sounds, the mouth structure wasn’t in my favor as well.
“Shh, enough for now…”
Mother interrupted me as she kneeled back down and look at me with impatience.
” You don’t have to say anything more. I’m happy you can speak now haha!”
Mother was about to keep talking with a happy tone, but I needed to clear up the misunderstanding.
“Mother… It’s different… than you think… I-I was not scolded… It’s true..”
Poor Mother, her eyebrow raised slightly with interest. I kept talking, but it was tiring using my voice to speak. Even so, I had to clear this one so the One-eyed knight doesn’t get punished for something he didn’t do
“The reason I wasn’t there… Was I was lonely so I left to find you… But I ended up at the fort with the One-eyed knight…”
Every one of the Knights were good people.
“… Everyone at the fort… Good people… Even the village. I sorry I left the mountain…”
I bowed my head, bracing myself for Mother’s anger. I was sure she would be shout at me, Mother-
“That’s amazing, Milfria!!”
-Mother is happy… She stroked my head while impressed.
“I thought of you as a baby, but you still made it down the mountain by yourself on foot. I didn’t know you had such bravery! You can even speak and use a movement skill! Mother is very happy!”
The One-eyed knight was staring at us, his mouth wide open.
“Even though you’ve been growing wonderfully, but you don’t have to rush to grow up my child. Let me enjoy my time with you, my cute Milfria..”
When you think of spirits, you’d think of something cool, but not what mother was showing right now. She was Mother though, she was relieved and expressed her happiness towards me after finding me safe. It was cute though.
“Well, you’ll forgive me, won’t you?”
” Of course.”
“You won’t hurt the others?”
Mother, finally remembering there were other people here that she almost killed after being reminded, turned and stood up, facing the Knights.
“I’m sorry to you all, I almost did an unforgivable act. I hope you could understand the situation of losing your child, I hope you could forgive me.”
Mother apologized towards the One-eyed knight with a sorry expression. Her expression seemed to disperse the tension that hung in the air before, was this the power of a beautiful woman?
The One-eyed knight’s expression went back to its usual stoic ways, but everyone else was surprised still.
“No, It’s alright is the misunderstanding has been fixed.”
Sensing the situation cleared up, he pressed the sword back into the sheath and visibly loosened up. He accepted her apology, but his sight was on me. I wanted to say something, but when I spoke, it was strange to keep calling him the one-eyed knight. It caught in my mouth, but Mother spoke up before I could figure out what I wanted to say.
“Even if you say that should you ever need help you should come to the altar, I’ll lend you my power, but for now I will need to give my apologies to the village people below for the blizzard. Since it turned out this way, unless the current snow clears up, I won’t let the snow fall this winter. “
With Mother saying that the clouds dispersed at a visible pace and the sun already began to shine through.
“Also thank you. You’ve protected my child while I was away. I can tell that you all took great care of her. What should we do for your reward.. Maybe a kiss from me?”
Mother was smiling while saying such a joke…
However, the expressions of the One-eyed Knight and the other men had expectant expressions. Is this not a tsundere!? You all were about to get killed just a few seconds ago, but you forgive mother because she’s beautiful?! Well, on the bright side, it’s good that no one was angry with Mother…
Well… I don’t know about me. I was the cause of all this trouble and I would be sad if they hated me because of it
“Well, let us go home Milfria.”
“You’re still you and developing, you have to spend time with mother so you can’t go back with them today.”
The winds began to wrap around Mother and me as she picked me up. Mother was going to move to our home in the mountain, but I still haven’t apologized to the One-eyed knight yet nor have I expressed my gratitude to them for taking care of me! I wasn’t even ready to part with them yet!
The One-eyed Knight extended his hand towards us, but before he could reach us, we began to fade into the snow. Even so, I managed to say my goodbye before my head disappeared.
“I’m so sorry and thank you! It was fun! everyone, I love you all!”
And before they disappeared, the One-eyed knight was the last thing I saw. no, I guess I disappeared before them…