*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
When I got back to the weapons store, Igor was no longer there. I figured that he'd probably got tired of waiting for me, so I hurried back to the inn. Sure enough, the moment I opened the door I saw everyone sitting around inside, even Igor.
"Where the hell did you run off to?" Igor asked me in annoyance.
I ignored him.
Women should be better at guessing one's age, right? So I turned to Caecilia and asked, "Caecilia, how old do you think I am?"
Caecilia who was busying with the nets and traps blinked at my question. The others, too, put down their work and looked up at me.
When she saw my serious expression, Caecilia straightened up and gave my sudden question some thought, scrutinising my face carefully before saying with certainty, "Probably around twenty-three or twenty-four; definitely no older than twenty-five. "
"Could I possibly be eighteen years old?"
"Definitely not!" Caecilia immediately rejected the possibility.
I got quiet at that.
So, I'm a twenty-three to twenty-four – possibly even twenty-five – year old virgin…… Could there be anything harder to accept than this?!
"Creus?" asked Yuna gently. "Do you feel that you should be younger? It's alright, people will mature in time, so don't worry. Eighteen is a bit unlikely, but maybe twenty--"
"Ah!" Caecilia's sudden cry cut Yuna off, as she stared at the open door.
The unicorn that I had hidden outside had impatiently pushed its way through the door and trotted up to me. I could sense that its muscles were a little tense as it kept a wary eye on the rest of my teammates.
"How did you find it?" my teammates asked in surprise and glee.
I, on the other hand, was feeling a lot less happy about it, and said dully, "I didn't find it, it found me."
Yuna and Caecilia moved forward and reached out to touch the unicorn, but it shied away and hid behind me, bumping its head against me in uncertainty. The girls' actions had probably made it feel uneasy; it was stomping and snorting heavily. Upon seeing this, I gave it a few pats to calm it down.
As I patted it…… why's everyone staring at us so?
"Don't unicorns only allow the touch of virgin girls?"
I froze at that and said defensively, "I'm not a virgin—ah!"
They blinked before turning to look between the unicorn and I.
The unicorn – not pleased that I had stopped petting it – was now trying to push its way into my arms. I tried to push it away, but was no match for its strength. I couldn't do anything to stop it from rubbing its head against my chest…… damn horse!
Just then, Caecilia started snorting in laughter.
She was followed by Igor who gave an unapologetic bellow of laughter.
Walter tried to keep himself from smiling, but was unsuccessful. He finally gave in and burst out into chuckles.
Archie gave me a pitying look and patted my back, consoling, "Perhaps forgetting everything was a good thing after all. Pfft, hahaha! A twenty-five year old virgin…… hahaha!!"
Halfway through his failed attempt at consoling me, he could no longer control his laughter and burst out laughing…… right in my ear! Thankfully, I was well-prepared this time and had quickly covered my ears. The others, on the other hand, had been too busy laughing at my plight and so were caught unawares, receiving the full blast of Archie's loud penetrating laughter. They looked to be in agony.
'Hmph! Serves them right!'
After his laughter had died down, I immediately retorted, "Who said I'm twenty-five! According to Caecilia, I might be twenty-three! And Yuna even said I might be twenty. That's right! I must be twenty!"
Just then, the unicorn started licking my hand. I immediately snatched my hand back and smacked its head. Even with their headaches, Yuna and Caecilia cried out in alarm for the beast, but the damn horse didn't seem to feel anything and continued pressing up against me…… Damn it!!
'You damn perverted, virgin-loving unicorn, get away from me!
'I'm definitely not a virgin!!'
"Seeing as Creus has brought the unicorn back…… pfft! Wahahaha!"
Caecilia's serious words turned into mirthful laughter midway in her sentence. She was laughing so hard that drops of tears were leaking out from the corners of her eyes and she was unable to get another word out. She was then followed by Igor. I covered my ears in preparation…… but to my surprise, Archie did not burst into a second bout of laughter. Instead, he smirked at me lasciviously as he put an arm around my shoulders. "Never say that Archie doesn't look out for you. Next time, I promise to bring you with me to the brothels, where you can finally leave your days of virginity behind. Hohoho……"
Archie merely smirked at my refutations. That bastard!
Just then, Walter finally recovered enough to speak. "Cough, now that we have the unicorn, we can go and claim the reward! We should do it soon to avoid any unnecessary turn of events, giving the others the chance to steal our reward."
"The reward? I object!" I said moodily, still upset about them laughing at my plight.
"Don't get upset, Creus," said Walter as he smiled wryly. "We didn't mean to make fun of you; we were just joking around with you."
"Oh, I'm not upset." I smiled faintly as I explained. "I really do object to handing the unicorn over to the Adventurer's Guild."
Caecilia's laughter suddenly stopped; Walter went quiet; Igor scratched his head in bafflement, and a look of incomprehension flittered over Yuna's face.
"You can't be thinking of keeping the unicorn for your ride, are you?" asked Archie warily.
As he asked me the question, Archie made as if getting ready to run over to me and snatch the unicorn from me. However, the unicorn was clinging too tightly to me, and I doubt that it would allow anyone else other than me approach it; its glowing horn which was emitting even more light aura than usual would attest to that.
So even though Archie had moved into position to snatch the unicorn, he made no further move to come closer.
"I'm a priest, not a knight, remember? What the heck would I do with a horse?" I rolled my eyes at Archie before explaining to the rest. "Listen carefully. If the Adventurer's Guild is willing to offer five hundred gold coins for this unicorn, what do you think this signifies?"
"That the unicorn is worth way more than five hundred gold coins……" answered Walter. He then hesitated before continuing, "We understand this too, but no one would try to sneak a unicorn out of the city, because every gate out of the city is being guarded. And if we fail this operation, we would forever be blacklisted by the Adventurer's Guild, and even be hunted down!"
"Then we'll just have to make sure that they don't know who it is, duh?" I said matter-of-factly.
"How can we possibly not get noticed?" shouted Yuna upset, "Creus, stop fooling around."
'Fooling around?' I got distracted for a moment. 'This sounded really familiar…… Do others often scold me for fooling around?'
"Hold on guys, I think it might actually work!" Archie shouted. "We could mask ourselves!"
"Masks?" Walter echoed thoughtfully.
Mask? I blinked at that. Is he referring to using other elements to cover our faces? Even though I already had something like that in mind, I hadn't known that this was called 'masking'.
"No!" Yuna objected, glaring at me and shouting, "You shouldn't do bad things, Creus. You are a priest of the Church of Light."
Caecilia hesitated, looking at the latter's angry face before mumbling reluctantly, "Erm, this doesn't seem like a good thing to do……"
Walter, too, snuck a glance at Yuna before shaking his head. "It's not proper."
I ignored their objections and turned to Archie. "Archie, how much is a unicorn worth?"
Archie hesitated before mumbling, "I heard that the Adventurer's Guild was thinking of giving the unicorn to the Silent Eagle as a gift instead of selling it. But if we were to sell it, according to the rumours I'm getting from the black market, at least-at least….."
Everyone quietly perked up their ears, and I purposely baited them: "At least?"
"It would start from at least five thousand gold coins."
When I heard this, I spun around and grabbed Archie's shirt, shouting, "Five thousand gold coins?!!"
Archie was startled by my move. "Hadn't you already known?" he asked.
How could I have known?!
I had only guessed that the damn horse would be worth a pretty sum, but I never knew it would be worth this much. Five thousand gold coins! That's ten times more than what the Adventurer's Guild is offering, and this is merely the starting price!
"Five thousand gold coins……"
I tried to imagine what five thousand gold coins would look like, before realising I had no idea what a gold coin even looked like. I don't even know what one hundred gold coins look like, let alone five thousand!
Could it be that I used to be really poor?
"Five-five thousand gold coins…… That's a lot of money!" Caecilia shrieked.
"Five thousand…… That War God's Glory Staff I had been eying was only worth three hundred gold coins……" muttered Yuna distractedly.
In the end, when they couldn't decide what to do, everyone turned to look at the leader of the group – Walter – to await his decision. The latter was still deliberating, but when he saw everyone looking at him, he said hastily, "Don't look at me, I didn't suggest this. You should be asking Creus' decision instead!"
They then turned to look at me. I gave them a warm and gentle smile to calm them down before calmly saying, "When it comes down to it, it wouldn't matter to the unicorn who it will be sold to, right? And besides, see how much it likes me? I'm sure it would prefer to stay by my side rather than to go to the Adventurers' Guild. If we bring the unicorn along with us, it'll be happy to stay with me for a longer while. So to the unicorn – and to us as well – it's a win-win scenario."
"Isn't that right, my dear unicorn?" I smiled at the creature as I bent to rub its ears.
The darn thing seemed to take that as permission to cover my face with its saliva…… I wonder if there's demand for unicorn saliva? If the unicorn itself is worth five thousand gold coins, I might be able to sell its saliva for a gold coin!
"I guess you have a point, and the unicorn does seem to like you," nodded Walter.
Yuna shot a glare at him before protesting unhappily, "Walter! How can you believe this nonsense Creus is spouting off?!"
Archie ignored Yuna's protests, busy working out math problems. "Five hundred gold coins turn into five thousand gold… and that divided by six… deducting the team's expenses… would mean that each could get at least five hundred gold……"
"What is wrong with your maths?" I rolled my eyes in exasperation. "It's five thousand minus my twenty percent share, and then deducting twenty percent off from that for the team's expenses, with the remainder split evenly among the five of you, which should give each of you about 640 gold coins. Of course, if you are giving up a hundred gold, I won't say no to that."
"You're asking for more even after allocating a 1000 gold to yourself?!" cried Archie. "I think you're even more suited to my role as a thief than me!"
But his protest was drowned out by Caecilia's cry of "640 gold coins!" Caecilia was instantly all for sneaking the unicorn out.
Even Yuna was affected by the huge amount, wavering between her morals and the sinful calls of money. "The War God's Glory Staff... no, shouldn't do bad things… but the Glory Staff……"
Seeing that everyone was on the verge of agreeing, I quickly gave the final push. "This way, the unicorn's happy, I'm happy, you guys are all happy. See? Everyone's happy, so why not?"
Huh? The Adventurers' Guild won't be happy, you say? Well, that's none of my business. It's not like I know them.
I watched as they stared at me, their inner struggle shown plain as day on their faces. Especially Yuna; she kept mumbling about 'glory staffs' and 'bad'…… until in the end, I heard only 'glory staff'; the word 'bad' had completely disappeared.
Sure enough, she finally gave in. "Creus, you-you are definitely not a priest from the Church of Light… you are the devil! The Seducer!"
"Why do you say that?" I smiled my brightest, most innocent smile. "See? Even unicorns love me! I must be the world's kindest, most virtuous Light priest!"
"Yup, he's the devil……"
"…… definitely the devil……"
"The devil's evilness is so powerful even unicorns are forced to bow to him…" muttered Walter under his breath.
This is when selective hearing comes in real handy – I simply filtered out their 'silly' comments and continued, "Well, if everyone is in accord that five hundred gold coins simply cannot compare to five thousand gold coins, we should start discussing our strategy now. We can't keep the unicorn here forever without being discovered."
Everyone quieted down; there were no oppositions this time. Looks like everyone had folded to the lure of five thousand gold coins.
"Firstly, you guys have to think about how we are going to get the unicorn out of the city without anyone noticing."
"Hold on! What do you mean 'you guys'?" complained Caecilia. "If we do the planning, what are you going to do?"
I shrugged irresponsibly and said, "I'm an amnesiac, remember? I haven't cast a single spell that a priest should know, so I want to test out my abilities and get a feel of it. I wouldn't want to end up becoming your burden and slowing everyone down."
"… ah…" she gave in reluctantly while the rest nodded supportively.
"Creus, you should try and see if you can cast Divine Wings – it adds speed; should come in handy when escaping," suggested Yuna. "Holy Protection and Divine Wings help to shield against blows and increases speed respectively. Those are spells that Warrior priests who specialise in increasing fighting power lack. But I'm told that Divine Wings is a bit more complicated. Not only do you need light elements, you also need to be able to use wind elements, so not all priests are capable of casting it. But there's no harm trying."
"Alright, I'll try my best."
"You should first try to gather some light elements," instructed Yuna.
I had no problem with this, for there are always an abundant amount of light elements gathered around me. So with just a wave of my hand, I had the light elements rushing to my hand.
By then, no one was bothering to brainstorm about ways to escape the city. Instead, they were all staring dazedly at my hand. I looked around me before finally picking the one who had dared to leave me alone in the city – Igor. I flung the light elements at my test subject while yelling out, "Holy Protection!"
Yuna sighed and said, "Not like that, Creus. You have to chant the incantation first……"
The ball of light had simply circled around Igor before dispersing. I stopped to think about it. If it were going to shield against attacks, shouldn't the light elements be more sturdy and solid? So, I started pressing the layers of light elements into a thin but solid layer, before using this thin sheet to 'wrap' him up, as if he's wearing paper-thin armour.
"My goodness…!" exclaimed Yuna.
"What is it?!" cried Igor anxiously. "Yuna? He didn't bungle it up, did he? Creus! What the hell did you do?!"
I, too, was startled. 'I couldn't really have made a mistake, could I? But he looks perfectly fine to me!'
Yuna did not reply Igor and instead shouted, "Archie!"
"Yes!" The thief leapt to his feet in surprise at being called upon.
"Attack Igor," she commanded.
"Huh?" Archie stared at her blankly. He wasn't the only one stunned.
Folding in to Yuna's urgings, Archie walked over to Igor with confusion on his face. Just as he had raised his fist – and at the same time Igor had braced himself for the coming blow – Yuna called out again, "Don't use your fists, use your weapon!"
"Yuna……" pleaded Igor, nearly in tears.
Archie hesitated. In the end, he lowered his arm, 'I dare not' written all over his face.
Just then, Walter suddenly gave a cry and – and he then began shifting shape…… Fur started growing out of his skin and his hands became huge meaty paws, each paw equipped with five large black claws. I shifted away from those claws. If I were to get swiped by those claws, I would definitely lose something.
Walter finished his transformation and became a bear. A huge black grizzly with a V-shaped patch of white fur on his chest.
I goggled at him. What's going on? Is Walter human? Or a bear?
Igor cried out weakly, before instantly paling when he saw the Walter-bear swipe at him. He was unable to avoid the blow and crumpled to the floor instantly, but still Walter refused to relent. He continued to kick and stomp heavily on the fallen man……
I stared at the scene before me, mouth gaping wide open. What the hell's going on?
"What are you guys doing?"
Although Caecilia sounded a little worried, she looked more curious than worried to me as she watched Walter who was already changing back to human form and Igor who was slowly getting to his feet. "Are you alright, Igor?"
Igor rubbed the back of his head in confusion. When he heard Caecilia's question, he scratched his face sheepishly and said, "No, I'm fine. Weird, I didn't feel a thing."
"Really? But Walter sure didn't look like he was holding back his punches!" exclaimed Caecilia in amazement before turning to me excitedly. "Creus, me too!"
I had silently breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing Igor's uninjured self, so when I heard Caecilia's request, I immediately gathered some light elements and pressed them into a thin solid layer before wrapping them around her too.
"Quickly! Quickly!" yelled Caecilia excitedly as soon as I was done. "Archie, come and hit me! Ah! Err…… use your fists first."
After seeing Igor's example, Archie no longer hesitated and threw all his weight behind his punch. Even though Caecilia knew that she wouldn't get hurt, she couldn't help closing her eyes at the coming attack. One second, two seconds, ……
When she opened her eyes, the sight of Archie enthusiastically swinging punch after punch at her greeted her eyes. She exclaimed in wonderment, "It doesn't hurt! It really doesn't hurt at all!"
"Of course it wouldn't hurt," said Yuna matter-of-factly. "With such a thick layer of light elements protecting you, I think only 'Frenzy' would have been able to break through. Unbelievable. If Creus casts this Holy Protection on all of us, we wouldn't even need to bother with any plans and just force our way out of the city. There aren't many high-levelled fighters capable of Frenzy in this city. "
Walter shook his head, saying, "It's not that simple, Yuna. You, too, can feel how strong the Holy Protections are, can't you? It'll be hard for Creus to repeat the same on so many of us… he would have to gather a lot of light element--"
Archie, Yuna, Walter, and last of all–me. There – that's all of us done! With the Holy Protection done with, next should be the Divine Wings. According to Yuna, I would need to add wind elements in addition to the holy elements. 'Hmmm… I wonder how much wind elements I'll need?'
"… …" – Walter and Yuna.
I gathered some light and wind elements and just 'meshed' them up together, but this led to an outcry from Yuna as she warned anxiously, "Be careful, Creus. It's dangerous mixing elements of different types together. If you're not careful it could explode!"
When they heard that, everyone instantly backed away from me and rushed towards the door, prepared to get out at any time but staying inside to watch what I was doing.
Okay, that's them all meshed up together. I looked at my test subject candidates and noticed Archie – he was the one furthest away with half his person already out the door.
Alright. You're next!
I threw the mixed ball of wind and light elements at him, adjusting them as they fall on him and arranging for more of them to gather around his hands and feet. All the while, Archie was trembling like a leaf and not daring to move a muscle. When I was finally finished arranging the elements to my liking, I looked up and said, "Archie, run around a little and see."
Archie nodded before muttering a prayer, "May the War God be with me." He then got into position to run and lifted his foot……
Archie disappeared, followed by an ear-shattering boom. When we looked around for our missing teammate, we noticed a human-shaped hole in the wall.
Igor and Caecilia gaped at the hole.
I, on the other hand, looked on at the human-shaped hole woodenly. The Holy Protection is one of the God of Light's divine spells; yet, you ask for Her rival – the War God's – protection…… Really?
"Are you alright, Archie?" called out Caecilia.
Archie popped his head back through the hole and grinned at us cheekily. "Didn't hurt at all."
Everyone let out a sigh of relief at that. Yuna then turned to me and said, "Too much wind elements."
It seems that too much wind elements had caused the overwhelming burst in speed, so I should mix in less. But for some strange reason, I had the feeling that I had used the right amount of wind elements, and that Archie merely hadn't mastered such intense speeds.
If anyone were capable of mastering such great speeds, he would be as swift as the wind.
As swift as the wind, huh?…… to that person's enemies, he should make a formidable foe even more frightening than a windstorm.
After adjusting the amounts of wind elements several times, I finally got the right mix. As Archie and Caecilia were originally of the nimbler speedier types, I need only add a little wind elements. Igor, Walter and Yuna, on the other hand, needed more. As for me, well…… I'm more of the latter type than the former.
Looks like priests from the Church of Light aren't one of the speedy types either.
Archie, Caecilia and Igor were running around the room in some twisted game of tag, having the fun of their lives with the new spell.
"Divine Wings and Holy Protection on each and every one of us! Your gathering abilities are amazing! No, not even! To get the right amount of wind elements in your Divine Wings, you even had to cast the spell multiple times!"
I smiled and said confidently, "I wouldn't have had any problems even with twelve people!"
Yuna blinked at the odd number, but continued, "I don't think I can contradict you on that. Just who are you, Creus?"
"A priest from the Church of Light," I answered. I paused before asking her unsurely, "Isn't that what you said?"
"Really? Well, I'm not so sure now……" she muttered.
"Well, let's just forget about who I am right now," I said to both Yuna and Walter. "Shouldn't we now think about our strategy to escape this city?"
Walter sighed and watched the three idiots running around. "What strategy? With this speed and shield, no one short of a high-levelled profession would be able to stop us."
"And what if we do meet a high-levelled profession?" I asked worriedly. "Remember, this is five thousand gold coins we are talking about here. Wouldn't the Adventurer's Guild have hired some high-levelled adventurers to guard the city gates?"
Walter and Yuna shot me a strange look. Walter shook his head and said, "How could high-levelled adventurers possibly lower themselves to guarding a city gate? At their level, they could even become the city's commanding officer if they wished it so. Have you ever seen a commanding officer guard a city's gates?"
I kept quiet at that. 'I see, so high-levelled professions are a big deal huh?'
Just then, Archie had stopped fooling around and ran up to us. "I know, I know! There's only one high-levelled thief in this city; there's no other high-levelled professions in this city other than him."
Walter and Yuna exchanged looks at this news, the former smiling as he said, "That's good to hear. Even if he's a high-levelled thief, he won't be able to stop us as his profession deals more with the shadows and hidden missions. Alright, it's decided! We'll just storm our way out!"
"Mm." I nodded my head in agreement before turning around and seeing the unicorn. I suddenly had a bad feeling. "And who's going to be in charge of the unicorn?" I asked in dread.
"Duh, you of course!" sang Walter and Yuna in unison.
"Whaat?! But I'm a priest!" I objected. "Priests are supposed to stay in the back in these kinds of situations!"
"Are you sure you lost your memories……" muttered Walter under his breath.
"Well, what you said is true!" Archie patted my back. "But! You forget, Creus, that you are the only virgin in our group! You see? The unicorn refuses to allow us 'impure' people to touch it, so only you, the only 'pure' person here, is capable of leading the unicorn out of this city. "
I stared at him expressionlessly. "Would you like me to send you to the God of Light, where he may cleanse your soul and make you a 'pure' person once more?"
Archie burst into laughter at that. With no warning forthcoming, I was subjected to the full blast of his loud laughter, causing my ears to ring and a migraine to form in my head.
"Creus! You are a priest! Priests have no attacks; therefore, you pose no danger to me at all!"
…… perhaps it's time that I try and see if I'm truly incapable of magic spells.
And so there we were, sneaking around in the shadows and dark alleys of the city as we made our way towards the city gates with our 'contraband goods'. After a lot of effort and luck, we finally managed to sneak the unicorn into an alley not too far away from the city gates, and were now preparing for our final dash to freedom (and our five thousand gold coins).
If we were to make our mad dash, both Yuna and Igor wouldn't be able to run fast enough, so we decided that they would join in the queue to exit the gates, leaving Caecilia, Archie and Walter with me. In his human form, Walter would have slowed us down too, but once he transformed into his leopard form he could have beaten even Archie.
"Just how many animals can you turn into?" I asked the leopard beside me, but the large cat only stared at me.
"Walter can't speak after turning," smiled Caecilia. "But to answer your question, he can only turn into a bear and a leopard. He gets super strength when he's a bear, and super fast when he's a leopard."
"In that case, Walter will be in charge of causing a distraction, while Archie and Yuna will clear up a path for me. I'll storm through. If we get separated, make your way to the meeting place we agreed upon."
Two humans and one leopard nodded before putting on our masks. Archie had prepared them for us beforehand, saying that they were a must when doing naughty things…… So…… masking one's face is some kind of tradition?
I put on my mask, still not quite understanding its purpose, before covering each of my teammates' faces with a cloud of holy aura so that their faces wouldn't be seen.
Of course, as a leopard, Walter didn't need any.
I pulled the unicorn to my side, and as both the unicorn and I looked at each other, I suddenly had an uneasy feeling…… Do I even know how to ride a horse?
As I stared at its flawlessly white back, I was in no mood to admire the unicorn's graceful lines. I felt extremely nervous; if I fall off its back……
"What if I fall off?" I asked with a pinched look.
"Fall off?" Caecilia looked at me strangely. "Does it matter? You're a Light priest! Just heal yourself!"
Really? Is that all? But why do I feel that if I were to fall off its back, there would be very, very bad consequences?
Archie frowned as he watched me hesitate to get onto the horse. "Creus, looks like you've never ridden a horse before."
"I'm a priest, not a knight! It should be normal for me to never have ridden a horse before!"
Archie scratched his head. "That's true," he said, forced to agree. "But how are you going to ride away on the unicorn if you don't know how to ride a horse?"
"Well –as long as I just hold on tight and don't fall off, I should be fine, right?" I said as I braced myself to the ordeal.
Caecilia rolled her eyes at this. "Just hold on tight? Yeah right. Are you sure the unicorn even knows where to go?"
"Unicorn!" I stared the unicorn in the eye as I said forcefully. "Later, no matter what happens, you are to storm out the city gates, got it?"
The unicorn nodded.
"It can actually understand us? That's so bizarre…… Or could it be that this unicorn is actually a druid?" Archie's inane ramblings earned him a head butt from Walter the Leopard.
I drew in a deep breath before leaping onto the unicorn's back without any mishaps. Archie whistled in surprise and admiration. "Perfect form! Perhaps you do know how to ride a horse!"
'Really?' I suddenly felt full of confidence as I gave the unicorn's flank a kick. The unicorn gave a prideful toss of its head and a loud neigh before setting off.
Caecilia burst into laughter before turning to Archie. "Archie, how could a person who knows how to ride fall off his horse? And on his back too? Haha!"
"I just hadn't had a good hold of it, is all!" I said defensively myself as I got up from the ground.
After dusting myself off, I smacked the unicorn's head and scolded it, "What did you go rushing off so suddenly for? You trying to knock me off on purpose?"
The unicorn lowered its head and gave a small apologetic whicker as it looked up at me piteously.
"Alright, alright." I softened a little at its pitiful eyes and relented, only reminding it to be more careful next time.
The unicorn perked up and started licking at my hand happily. God knows why this horse likes licking me so much!
And so after that brief incident, I got back onto the unicorn's back. When everyone was fully prepared, Walter the Leopard rushed out into the crowd, drawing cries and attention from the crowd gathered around the gates. There were even a few screams of terror.
"Where'd the leopard come from?" roared the city gates' guards as they fanned out and surrounded the leopard, carefully keeping their sharp spears pointed at the leopard.
"Now!" I shouted at Caecilia and Archie. At my order, they rushed out as planned, and I nudged the unicorn out behind them…… This time, the unicorn dared not leap at full speed as before and instead kept a steady but quick pace. Feeling the wind in my hair and the smooth gallops of my ride, I felt that riding wasn't so bad after all.
I sighed with feeling as I said, "This is soo much better than riding on a person's back."
Right after I said that, I stopped to examine my words. 'Weird? How would I know whether riding a horse is better than riding on a person's back?...... Could I have ridden on someone before…… but that's preposterous!'
Ergh! Whatever, now is not the time for this. Ahead of me, Caecilia and Archie had already cleared a way for me. I grabbed on tight and said in the unicorn's ear, "Hurry now!"
The unicorn instantly increased its pace, causing the wind to whoosh past my ears. The city gates were not far away now. However at the same time, people were beginning to notice the unicorn and my presence.
"It's the unicorn!" someone shouted.
The crowd stared open mouth before quickly gathering their wits and coming at us with all sorts of weapons. I even caught sight of a broom coming at us!
The city guards immediately gave up on the leopard and turned their attention on us, but Caecilia, Archie and Walter started attacking them from behind. Even when faced with all sorts of weapons like spears and swords and daggers, they still flung themselves at the crowd fearlessly. The crowd paused at this show of recklessness. Especially when they saw with their own two eyes how the blades bent upon hitting them, leaving the three of them completely unharmed. They stared at this display in shock.
Perfect opportunity to escape! "Quickly! Unicorn, go faster!" I cried in excitement.
The unicorn immediately put on a burst of speed, and I could see the gates just ahead of us! Everyone had been drawn away by the distraction, so no one was around to guard the gates; no one to stop us!
But, the pleasing wind whooshing in my hair came to a sudden stop.
Not too far in front of us, a huge wall suddenly came up from nowhere. The unicorn gave a jolt and tried to stop its pace, but our mad dash was too strong and quick for us to stop so suddenly. It tried its best to stop, to slow down, its hooves scratching against the dirt road, trying fervently to gain some friction, but still inertia carried us forward.
I clung to the unicorn with both hands and feet, grasping its mane tightly and doing all I could do to stay on its back.
In the end, the unicorn couldn't avoid hitting the wall, but thankfully it wasn't a very heavy impact as the unicorn had slowed down considerably by then. The unicorn stumbled a bit before shaking its head and steadying itself.
My heart was pounding in my chest. That was too close. If the unicorn hadn't reacted quickly enough and slowed down in time, at that speed, I would have been knocked out from the impact. And chances are I would have woken up to find myself in jail!
I let out a breath of relief before examining the wall before us. The wall was composed entirely out of ice elements – it's an ice wall!
"What's going on?"
Caecilia, Archie and Walter had caught up to us and were staring at the ice wall.
"Knock down this wall!" I cried out in anger.
"With what? We're an archer and a thief!" Caecilia and Archie shouted back.
'Who the hell's counting on you?' I rolled my eyes at them.
By then, the unicorn let out a blast of light aura and threw it at the ice wall before us.
"Let's go!" I cried, but the unicorn neighed in dissatisfaction, and a second later I could see why, for the large amounts of ice elements had once again gathered to form another ice wall. And I could feel that this ice wall was thicker than the previous one. I didn't think the unicorn would be able to destroy it with just one blast like just now.
If we can't destroy it with just one blast, we won't be able to dodge the attack from the person behind us – the origin of the ice wall!
I patted the unicorn's neck and said softly, "Turn around."
Everyone had long since turned around by then; I heard Caecilia's shocked cry of "How could it be?! Holy knights from the Church of Light!"
"And not just holy knights……" Archie's voice trembled as he said, "Look at their leader, his insignia on his chest marks him as…… one of the Twelve Holy Knights."
"It's the Frost Knight!" Caecilia moaned. She sounded close to fainting.
The Frost Knight?
Sounds familiar. My attention shifted from the group leader's ice and holy aura to his appearance. He had an icy look on his face, his entire posture was frozen stiff and he even held an ice popsicle in his hand!
He truly is worthy of his name 'Frost' Knight! …… Is he even going to eat that popsicle?
The Frost Knight raised the popsicle at us and said in a frosty tone, "Freeze." (@_@)
"Who do you think you're trying to scare with that popsicle of yours?" I asked. To avoid being recognised should we ever meet in the future, I had purposely lowered my voice when replying.
The Frost Knight said nothing in reply, nor did he do anything; not even the muscles on his face twitched. I'm beginning to think this guy's face had been frozen solid.
Everyone else, on the other hand, had some kind of reaction to my challenging words. Even my teammates had drawn a sharp breath; as for the Frost Knight's holy knights, they had exploded in anger at my disrespect. "Silence! How dare you insult our Frost Knight Captain's Holy Frost Blade!"
Holy blade huh? But it totally looks like a popsicle…… I guess you could call it a holy popsicle,… but a blade?
"Creus," Archie said in a panicked undertone. "Th-the Frost Knight is even stronger than a h-high-levelled swordsman. It's impossible for us to w-win against him. He's one of the Twelve Holy Knights! What should we do?! What should we do now?"
"Calm down! We don't need to win, only to escape," I said quietly.
Archie's face fell at that. "It's impossible to even escape from him… Creus, you-you've lost your memories, so you don't understand how scary the Twelve Holy Knights truly are. Th-they are as scary as the gods themselves!"
"Bullshit," I rolled my eyes at him. "I don't care if he's the devil king himself, you guys will hold him off and buy us some time so the unicorn can knock through the ice wall."
Although his face paled even further at the order, he, Caecilia and Walter moved to shield the unicorn and I from the holy knights, moving into position to attack. When they saw this, all the holy knights were surprised; with the one exception of the Frost Knight – his face had yet to twitch.
"Defensive positions," he called out calmly.
The holy knights immediately moved into a neat formation and braced their shields, forming a wall of shields and raising their swords through the gaps of their shield wall.
Twenty or so holy knights forming into defensive positions around the four of us? Do they not have the intention of capturing us?
As we were puzzling over their unexpected move, a gap opened up in the wall of shields and the Frost Knight walked out towards us alone.
At the same time, the unicorn let out a large burst of lightning elements, and from the skies came streaking down a lightning bolt right onto the ice wall behind us. Unfortunately, I could tell that the ice elements had yet to break up.
Ahead of me, the Frost Knight was steadily pouring more ice elements into the ice wall. As long as we don't take him down, attacking the wall would be pointless, for he would just keep creating another one until either he or the unicorn collapses from magical exhaustion.
The unicorn screamed in anger and pawed the ground furiously, as if thirsting for a showdown with the Frost Knight……
"You better behave, or else…" I warned as I smacked its head.
The unicorn whinnied plaintively and lowered its beautiful head dejectedly.
Just when the Frost Knight was no more than ten steps away from us, another ice wall formed up from the ground in front of us, blocking him from reaching us.
This was followed by another bolt of lightning behind us, identical to the earlier lightning summoned by the unicorn.
"Run!" I shouted.
There was a second of blankness before my teammates comprehended what was going on. Archie was the first to react, immediately slipping around the unicorn and I and running away. His actions reminded Caecilia and Walter of the opportunity and they too started running.
As Caecilia passed by me, I kicked the unicorn's flank, signalling it to follow quickly.
As we made our escape, I could feel the ice wall behind us crack and crumble apart. But not to worry, I still had a couple more bolts ready to throw in the Frost Knight's way and stop him from following us.
At last, we escaped the city.