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Chapter 120

Ristorte Woods


“Be a good girl here, okay?”

Ann patted Faye’s head as the little girl showed a reluctant expression to be parted from her.

“Can I really not come?” Faye held onto Ann’s clothes, preventing her from turning away as she pouted.

Ann almost fell for Faye’s puppy eyes, but she decided to steel her heart since she remembered that this time’s journey would be with risk, and she couldn’t put Faye in that risk.


“Your fa—”

Ann almost bit her tongue to hold herself from the impulse on saying, ‘Your father and I—‘. Her mind was used to roleplaying that she was the mother, Allen was the father, and Faye was their adorable daughter.

Could it be that my maternal instinct is this strong? Could I have wanted to settle down and build a family back then, instead of building my career like crazy until I died of overwork?!

Ann was a bit mortified by her thoughts.

“Cough cough… We will be back soon, promise. We don’t want you to be in danger… right?” Ann turned to look at Allen who was standing next to her, signalling him to say something.

Even this action of hers reeked her mind roleplay a lot.


Allen was taken aback since he hadn’t expected it.

In a hurry, he blurted out, “You’ll get in the way if you come.”

…which obviously earned him a sharp glare from Ann and a dejected look from Faye.

Everyone looked at the three of them with a weird look since they gave off the vibe of a small family of three so much at this time…


At that time, Viscount Jonas tapped on Faye’s shoulder and said gently, “Duke Allen’s meaning is that you might get dragged into trouble and be at risk since you’re a child, and bad people will target children like you as a leverage. You don’t want that to happen, right?”

Hearing Viscount Jonas’ explanation, Faye shook her head.

She somehow understood. When she was an orphan in the streets, many would bully her or even try to steal what she had. But she held no grudge towards those who tried to steal from her, since she understood that they were all unfortunate people who had to survive at all cost, and she also stole food to survive…

So, she couldn’t be the weak link to be exploited in this important journey.


“We will take good care of her. You guys… be careful too,” The strict Viscountess Vanessa unexpectedly said as she tapped on Faye’s other shoulder.

“Thank you for the help, Viscountess! We’ll get back soon with good news!” Ann said in an optimistic mood.

Viscountess Vanessa’s straight line of a mouth slightly curved up as she said, “Being optimistic is good.”

Ann was slightly dumbfounded looking at the usually gloomy and strict Vanessa seemingly having her mood lifted due to her casual remark.

She scratched her cheek.

I guess it helps to not be gloomy as well.

And Viscountess Vanessa looks better with a smile.


Allen and Ann walked to join the rest of their party, which consisted of Kiehl, Miles, Fremont, Elder Matthias and the two young priests escorting him. And of course, Birdie, who was currently perched on Elder Matthias’ shoulder as opposed to the usual when she perched on Ann’s shoulder.

As Ann looked back towards the Doussier couple with Faye in the middle of them, she somehow had an odd thought about how Faye looked like their daughter…

She quickly shook her head towards this ridiculous thought.

Faye is her child, after all!

Mine! Miiiineeee!!


Putting aside Ann’s ridiculous thoughts that were so engrossed in roleplaying, Ann had a spectre of rationality left in her mind.

Even if nobles needed to adopt to ensure their household would keep going, they would typically adopt from relatives or other noble household and their relatives.

Adopting from commoners is possible, but it’s such a rare case, since they’d be ridiculed for mixing their nobility with common blood.

An exception would usually be made if the commoner was exceptional or possessed rare power, for example Laura.

Faye was a commoner orphan and a halfling, with no special power.

A halfling was often mocked by humans for being half animals, so Faye’s fate was pretty much sealed.

If Ann hadn’t been there to pick her up, who knows if she could still survive and live well?


After dropping Faye off at Doussier family’s residence, the party moved to explore the depths of the forests in the Doussier family’s territory, since the forests would connect them to the place where the Imparie tribe resided.

Ann had no clue on how they could travel correctly. Everything in the forest looked the same, left, right, in front, and behind… But Prince Kiehl, Allen, Fremont, and even Mila could easily point out where they should go and navigate through the correct paths.

At first, Ann had thought that it was true that women were weak in terms of direction and that was why the men could take lead confidently because they were naturally good in terms of direction. But when she looked at Miles who was actually Mila—a female—she realized that it was simply a skill issue.

If this succeeds, I really need to work hard to keep up with living in this world!

Ann said diligently, since she couldn’t imagine how she would be if she were to get lost alone in some unknown place here…


“We’ve arrived,” Mila said as she and the rest of the path leaders stopped at the same time in the same spot.

“Uh… Here?” Ann scratched her head when she noticed that… they were just in the same, ordinary path of the forest. Heck, it was a dead end, even.

How the heck can they determine if this is the right place or not?!

Ann was baffled.

Mila turned quickly to look at her with a look that could burn hole in her body.

Gah, my bad! Wrong decision on my part! I shouldn’t have asked!! But I am genuinely curious!


“The Imparie tribe protects their territory by putting a defensive barrier that would make it look the same as the rest of the forest. If you look carefully at the big rock in the middle of the trees, you’ll see that it has some writing on it,” Allen explained.

Prince Kiehl was surprised once more by Allen’s patience in explaining things.

He isn’t even that kind to me, who’s the crown prince… I guess love makes people change.

“…It looks like a scratch or some kind of scribbles,” Ann took a good look at the rock, but she just saw a giant rock with some scratches that couldn’t seem to be some kind of a language’s writing on it…

“They conceal it with their magic. But this rock, the scratches on it, and the two slightly different trees on its left and right proved that this is indeed the place,” Elder Matthias explained with an amused tone.

“Let me,” Prince Kiehl walked towards the rock and touched it as he quietly muttered something that Ann couldn’t really hear or understand.


Then, gust of winds quickly gathered around Prince Kiehl, the few scribbles on the rock glowed dimly.

After he finished muttering and opened his eyes, the gust of winds disappeared and the dim light on the rock’s inscription also faded out.

Nothing seemed to be out of ordinary, but suddenly, there seemed to be a kind of ripples from around the giant rock, and a person came out of the ripples.


“…!!” Ann covered her mouth quickly to prevent herself from screaming.

The person that came out of what seemed to be the other dimension had a strange vibe around her. She wore a set of clothes that couldn’t be seen anywhere else, and Ann could only describe her outfit as what the Eastern people in modern earth used to wear—a.k.a the traditional clothes of Japan, China, or Korea. However, it wasn’t exactly the same as the modern outfit. It had a fantasy vibe to the clothes, if Ann could describe it as best as she could using the terms she knew.

The woman had a brown skin, her forehead had some kind of a small jewel on it, her hair was silver, and her eyes were like a crystal’s. Her ears were pointy and there seemed to be small set of horns on her head. Her face and body had some tribal markings as well.



The woman quietly scanned all of them, one by one, before asking.

“Who was it that recited the spell?”

“Me,” Prince Kiehl quickly stepped forward and faced the woman, making a proper eye contact with her.

“I am Kiehl Velt Griffiths, the Siegrest kingdom’s current crown prince. The royal family and your tribe have exchanged non-aggression treaty and also left a way to contact each other,” Prince Kiehl introduced himself and perhaps to state that they weren’t some intruders having evil design on the tribe, he quickly explained how he came about the way to break through the barrier to Imparie tribe’s location and alerted the woman.

“The royal family… I see. My name is Nymnienna Emfeyra XIII, the protector of the barrier. Do you seek entrance to the Ristorte Woods?”

The Imparie tribe woman seemed to drop her previous hostile vigilance and suspicion towards the party and introduced herself.

“We would appreciate it if you could let us enter. We’re seeking audience to the Tribe Leader, as we have a very important matter to discuss,” Prince Kiehl said in a respectful manner.


Ann was amazed looking at how the crown prince of her kingdom had to be respectful when speaking with a mere barrier protector of the Imparie tribe. That solidified the Imparie tribe’s reputation—unbending, unaffected by outside world.

She had thought that the reason Prince Kiehl was there was so that the Imparie tribe could be respectful towards them since he was the crown prince, thus easing up the discussion.

Turns out that Prince Kiehl had to be there to relay their goodwill, gravity of the matter, and since he was the only one amongst them to know how to find and enter the Ristorte Woods.


Nymnienna turned to scan them one by one again, her eyes full of assessing and intimidation, before her gaze stopped at Prince Kiehl once more.

Without even smiling, she merely said, “Very well. Follow me, then.”

She had judged the whole party to be safe to enter the territory of her tribe, and led the way for them.


Nymnienna walked towards what seemed to be the ordinary giant rock without hesitation. As soon as her body contacted the giant rock, there was a faint ripple again from the rock and she disappeared into it.

Prince Kiehl followed Nymnienna, as well as Fremont and Mila.

Ann gulped.

Though she knew that the rock was actually a portal and she would enter another dimension protected by the Imparie tribe’s barrier, the thought of walking casually towards the giant rock scared her a bit.

Perhaps sensing her fear, Allen suddenly held her hand.

With her hand in the warm grasp of her loved one, Ann felt like some of her fear disappeared.

She then followed Allen’s pace to enter the Ristorte Woods, followed by the rest of the party.


Whatever is waiting for us on the other side of this mysterious portal… Here we go!

Ann said inside her mind as she closed her eyes and entered the portal.



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