Chapter 146.2 : Flora’s Agony ~Part 1~
「Humph, sounds good. Time for negotiations. You guys, leave.」
Duran nodded with a satisfied face after driving out the women from the room. The women put on their clothes and left. When only the two of Lucius and Duran were left in the room――、
「Well then, let me to tell you about the treasure」
Lucius was waiting for the right moment to tell the details about the treasure hunt.
◇ ◇ ◇
Around that time, Flora was still loitering around inside a certain forest in the Paladia kingdom. Though at first her feet kept moving due to anxiety and her wish to see her sister, the fatigue that had accumulated as time passed started to encroach on her.
（Uuh, my legs feel heavy. I’m hungry too. Am I anywhere near the outside of the forest? And it’s already dark too……….. What should I do now? From what I learned in the academy, I should secure shelter first before the day completely turns into night at times like these right? But………… I have no camping equipment at all.）
Flora kept complaining in her heart. Within the forest, which she couldn’t see the end of, she not only accumulated physical fatigue, her mental fatigue also raised steadily.
The things reflected in her field of vision were only never ending lines of trees. There was hardly any difference in the scenery of the trees inside the forest. As the sun set in the west, the inside of the forest also become darker with each passing moment. Even though she could see the inside of the forest just a moment ago, now even where she stood had become dark.
（I can hear the cry of animals too. Though I can’t hear the voice of dangerous animals……….. It’s still scary.）
Even the cry of small animals sounded more ominous as she was in a strange, dark place. Since she had no choice but to sleep in the forest at this rate, she wanted to at least be spared from such experiences. She was really scared right now. Though her legs felt extremely hurt and heavy, Flora single mindedly moved forward just for the sake of getting out of the forest while sometimes applying healing magic to her legs.
But, she made a mistake – her psyche wasn’t that strong. Despite being aware of the ironclad rule of camping outside, that she had to build a camp before the sky becomes completely dark, she had zero experience in such matters.
That was why she naively thought that it was still okay and that she might be able to leave the forest before the day completely turned to night.
That was natural since she experienced a field exercise back when she was still in the academy, but that was merely an “Excercise” in which everything including the personnel and equipment were prepared beforehand. There was no way she, the second princess, was going to be allowed to do something at that time, she thus ended up just tagging along.
And that resulted in Flora going even deeper into the forest without realizing her situation. It didn’t even take much for the day to turn into night, when she noticed she was already surrounded by complete darkness. A total darkness beyond her imagination in which she couldn’t see anything. Flora kept charging onwards as she couldn’t handle the scary atmosphere.
And when it become too dark, she chanted the magic aria to create fire and light. Brilliant light shined in front of her.
After controlling the brightness level of her magic, Flora began moving again. She was walking alone with unsteady steps inside the dark forest with an artificial light to brighten her path.
Some time had passed since night began. There was no sign of her finding the end of the forest and as expected, Flora finally hit her limit. Maybe because she was too close to the source of light inside such a dark forest, her concentration also lessened along with the flickering in her eyes.
Nevertheless, she dragged her body that felt as heavy as lead, but――、
「Kya! ? 」
Flora’s feet tripped on the tree root and she fell face first causing the light to go out.
Flora tried to use her dainty arms to somehow propp her body. Though her beautiful dress was completely soiled, she didn’t know about that nor could she confirm that due to the total darkness. She couldn’t even muster her willpower to stand up.
Flora just pushed her upper body to sit on the ground and looked at her surroundings. She noticed that she was surrounded by total darkness. Even the distance of 1~2 metres was already too dark for her.
Though she failed to notice it when she began walking, she finally heard the chirps of cicadas around her. She knew that everytime a cool wind brushed her lightly, the trees were swaying.
（What……….. Should I do?）
Flora, was just staring absentmindedly as she didn’t know what to do. She thought that everything will be okay as long as she could leave the forest without even knowing the proper way to do so. She couldn’t leave the forest no matter how long she walked. She felt the anxiety of whether she could really leave the forest or not.
（I can’t walk anymore.）
Though she tried to stand up again, she gave up the next moment. It felt like blocks of leads were added to her legs. It finally dawned on her that her body was far more fatigued than she expected.
Flora’s will power finally succumbed. She was more than aware that at the very least, leaving the forest by tonight was next to impossible for her. She felt dread inside, knowing that she no longer had any stamina or will power left. She just sat there in place. That was why――,
（For the time being, I can just wait till morning……….）
After taking a break to restore her stamina, Flora started to make her plan. The only thing that the current her could do since she was unable to move for now.
Flora vaguely thougt so and――、