The path that linked all the different cities within the Empire were paths made of rocks, designed to be firm and solid.
It was a path made from the mix of alchemic technology and magic, stretching all the way to the across this vast land, connecting each and every human race together. It had gone to the trial of time. Cracks and aging could be seen on the surface of the road. Yet, it still held onto its form and didn't break down. It was still leading human travelers to reach their desired destination even today.
Roland was traveling at a fast pace on the rocky path. Carriages and merchant groups could be seen utilizing this facility.
Under normal circumstances, lone travelers would not be seen on this path. Only those riders in a hurry and merchant groups would choose to travel this way.
Roland was not rushing on this journey but he did not even stop his progress. A normal person would feel the fatigue kicking in after half an hour, but it was not the case for the holy knight. Under the blessing of holy light, Roland could travel all day and night without rest. Of course, he might need to stop for a while to have his meals. Even though he was wearing his full set of armor, he did not feel a hint of tiredness.
"Based on the location of the sun, it should be noon by now."
Roland slowed down and observed the sun. After predicting the current time, he planned ahead. "If I were to pick up the pace, I could reach Moldavia by early in the morning tomorrow."
He felt really excited about this. "After a long journey consisting months of traveling, I will finally reach my destination."
There were many stories encountered during his travels, but they would not be highlighted today. The holy knight traveled the path in solitude with a speed outpacing normal horses. The riders and merchants could only see a bright light passing by at high speed and turned into a small bright dot moving far away from them.
He then reached a small forest after traveling for a while.
There were a lot of merchants and travelers resting in the small forest. The presence of daemons could not be found at that particular place. Roland could see clouds of smoke rising from the forest. The days were short and the nights were long further in the north. Those who were traveling prepared dinner for the day before night fell.
Roland did not plan to rest. At his current pace, he could reach another resting spot to prep himself before entering the city of Moldavia.
Suddenly, he heard some noise from the forest.
The noise became louder as time passed, as if the people in that forest were having a riot. There were occasional shouts of anger as well. Roland turned around to observe the scene. He had some suspicion about what was going on in the forest.
"What sort of trouble are they facing now?"
After thinking for a moment, he then decided to extend his help to anyone who needed it.
He would try his best to help those in need. As the obligation of a holy knight, Roland held onto his war hammer and proceeded towards the jungle.
The cedar forest was brimming with life. Even though it was nearing the end of autumn as that moment, the leaves on the tree were still as green as ever. Within the forest, there was a spacious area with camps being set up. Currently, more than ten people were having a heated discussion while surrounding a huge land wyern which was two storeys tall.
They did not notice that a holy knight was standing right beside of them. Roland was trying to understand what was going on.
This group of merchants were traveling with the draconic caravan. They had brought quite a number of local specialties from the southern land to the northern land. During their initial journey, everything was smooth sailing until they had reached this point. When they were about to reach Moldavia, the drake fell sick and was unable to proceed.
This was a very awkward situation. Being the sole drake of the caravan, they had no other means to transport the goods to their destination. If the drake they had could not recover, they had no other ways to transport the goods to sell before the blizzard hit the terrain.
The doctor in the group was out of options against the unknown illness.The drake's temper was getting worse as time passed. They were not able to get close to it right now. At this point, the members were accusing each other of being responsible for the current tragedy.
Roland was in a deep thought and didn't participate in their argument. As he was examining the drake, he was astonished recognized something familiar about it.
"This rune, this aura Why are they so similar to the Berserk Dragons in the West Mountains?"
The holy knight thought for a moment and decided to reach out to the merchant group.
"I think you might need a hand."
Both parties engaged in a heated argument, they suddenly heard a noble voice from behind. The words were filled with magic, bringing their attention towards the holy knight.
When they turned their head, they saw a man dressed in white armor standing near them in the chilly forest.
On his armor, was the holy emblem of the Seven Gods. His whole body radiated in holy light, proving that he was an authentic holy knight himself.
As they turned their head, Roland continued his speech, "I think I have a method to save this drake."
As the words had been spoken, the momentary silence turned into a discussion.
"Who is he? Why is he trying to help us?'
"He is one of those holy knights. Can we trust him?"
"The holy knight from the Church of the Seven Gods is still reliable. I think we have to trust him. After all, we do not have other options left."
"We are running out of time. I guess it is worth a shot."
Having good reputation and deeds for years, the civilian trusted the credibility of the holy knights. If Roland said that he had a way, then he should have something up his sleeve which could solve the issue today.
After discussing for a while, the two leaders from the two factions came to an agreement and welcomed the holy knight to treat the illness of the drake in front of them.
"Since when was a holy knight in training this strong?" A merchant who was quite elderly in the group was surprised at Roland's appearance. "He is wearing a full armor set, traveling long distance. Even a Silver-tier knight does not have such physical strength to sustain it."
A Gold-tier warrior would be able to fly or use a private mount. There was no way that they would choose to travel on foot.
Roland ignored their gaze and focused on the problem ahead. He moved forward under the observation of the merchant group. He then provided to investigate the reason behind the drake's fury and successfully found some familiar traces.
"The whites of its eyes are turning purplish blue. Its breathing is ragged, as though there are unknown particles in it. Its consciousness is fading, replaced by a strong urge to attack. These were all the symptoms found on the draconic beasts in the West Mountains."
He then extended his arm and touched the drake's scale. Roland then went deep in thought,"Does that mean that the anomaly also exists in the Northern Empire?"
Before he could finish digesting all the information, a beast's roar was heard. The drake which was not responding to any external stimulation at first suddenly opened both its eyes. It then turned towards to the holy knight and decided to bite him.
The merchants panicked. Roland was not able to respond in time and now half of his body was within the mouth of the drake. The sharp teeth were grinding away at his armor, as if it'll shatter anything in its path. The merchants felt that this unlucky holy knight would definitely die on the spot. Although a drake did not have strong battle capabilities like a wyvern, their bites were not to be underestimated as it could crush any living creature alive.
This holy knight was done for!
The panicked merchants within the chaos were trying to flee after that gruesome attack from the drake hit the holy knight. Suddenly, they felt strange as they could not hear the screams of the knight or any form of blood spilled.
As opposed to what they had expected, a bright white light shone for a moment there and words could be heard from the mouth of the drake.
"This is indeed the symptoms of a Berserk Dragon."
Both his arms radiated with holy light and Roland easily opened up the mouth of this drake. He was completely unhurt. Even the corrosive saliva from the drake just slipped away from his armor without damaging it. The holy knight then nodded his head and said, "The infection is not severe. This could be cleansed by using holy light."
As he spoke, Roland removed himself from its mouth. Gathering a cluster of holy light in his hand, Roland hit the jaw of the drake, sending it flying for a few meters in the sky. As he looked at the drake which finally landed on the ground after he sent it flying using Shoryuken (1), he felt a little bit sorry for it and said, "You need some treatment, lil drake." During the time when Roland was treating the drake, there were two middle-aged men dressed in robes slowly leaving the group without raising any attention.
They went further into the forest.
"What's going on? Why did a holy knight appear out of nowhere?" The single-eyed middle-aged man asked his partner in a low voice. He felt very nervous about this. "His battle capabilities are not low. Or we should say that he is very strong. Sending a drake unconscious with one punch is only possible for a Perfect Silver-tier knight."
"Do we have to change our plans?"
The other middle-aged man did not have any significant traits in his appearance. One would not notice his existence in a place filled with people. He came into a deep thought then shook his head, "No, I guess this is only an accident. Based on his outfit, he should be on his journey to train and gain experience around the world."
"So do we proceed as usual?"
1) Shoryuken is a skill from Street Fighter.