"Ready?" Anna asked.

"Yes, Miss." The soldiers shouted in unison.

"Amazing, you've disciplined them in two days." Howard chuckled.

Anna had truly worked hard in the past two days. On the first day, she challenged them and measured their abilities. On the second day, she practiced together with them, but with much higher intensity than the rest. Not wanting to lose, the soldiers tried to copy her, only to fail miserably.

Even then, they realized that Anna was not a simple young lady; she was also a warrior. At the very least, she had earned enough respect to lead them.

"How about you? Your expression has mellowed a bit." Anna smiled, recalling how Howard was so adamant about not acknowledging her previously.

"I still hold onto my opinion though."

"It will change sooner or later." Anna pointed at the river. "Then, we'll be over there."

"Yes. The enemies might be stronger over there since it's a bit farther from the city. But you should be fine since the average ability of your group is higher than this one. If needed, I would stop the exploration and help you."

"If needed, that is." Anna nodded and crossed the bridge together with the rest of the group. The river was calm, but the flow rate was a bit high. If they fell into the river, they would be dragged until they could reach the side. Even then, it would be a challenge to go up.

Anna carefully scanned the entire area, wondering if there was something special.

'I don't feel any dangerous existences. There are several demons not far from here, but the soldiers wouldn't have any problems in dealing with them.' Anna observed the area and noticed that Howard had begun to march.

"Miss, what should we do?" Grandel asked.

Anna turned to him, finding another person next to him. This person was the other Spirit Master who was tasked to follow her. "Grandel and Aerton will divide the group into two and move side by side. Grandel will take the left, and Aerton will take the right. I'll remain in the center."

"You're not going to fight, Miss?" Grandel asked, confused. Anna was so strong, so he thought Anna would lead the group at the front.

"I have earned their respect, but you two are more trusted by them. So, I will leave the commands to both of you. This is also an opportunity to measure everyone's individual strengths. I'll support all of you first before moving to the front."


Aerton and Grandel immediately assembled the group. While marching, Aerton couldn't help but ask, "She actually asked us to lead the group…"

"Interesting, isn't it?"

"Not really. I wish that the lord personally led the troops. Unlike her, who doesn't have much experience in the army, I'm more curious about the lord's ability."

"This is just a rumor though. But I heard that the mistress is stronger than our lord."

"It's only at the individual level, right? As a lord, you need to have a commanding ability." Aerton shrugged.

"Well, we can see her performance here."

"Fair enough. We'll maintain our position near the river and open up the path for you."

"My group will take the enemies coming from the left."

Grandel nodded and started moving to the left while saying, "Good luck to you, Aerton."

"You too."

After taking their position, the group moved to the north. The area near the river was filled with vegetation, but it wasn't big enough to call it a forest.

Hence, Aerton advanced through the forest while Grandel maintained his position outside.

Anna couldn't help but move forward and ask Aerton, "Why are you advancing in the woods? Won't it take considerable stamina to cross uneven terrain like this?"

"Yes, Miss. It's just that the woods are basically the demon's hiding spot. We have to search every nook and corner to make sure that there are no more demons hiding in this place. Besides, Grandel's job is not easy either since he has to cover a bigger area compared to us." Aerton explained.

"I see." Anna wanted to reveal her instinct, telling him that she could find all those demons. But she refrained herself since she wouldn't always go with the soldiers every time. "I understand. I'll return to my position."

Aerton was a bit curious. Anna had all that talent and status, but she didn't seem to be arrogant. She took people's opinions carefully and didn't hesitate to lower her pride to ensure the people's safety.

But he was disturbed when the scouts alarmed him. "Sir Aerton. We've spotted several demons ahead. There should be less than ten."

"Got it. Get into position and lure them here. Warn Grandel on our left as well."

"Yes, Sir." The scouts immediately followed the order. One of them asked the soldiers to get into their position, the other moved ahead to lure the demons while the last one moved to the left.

"This is…" Anna furrowed her eyebrows. The shield-bearers moved to the front while raising their spears. There were seven of them, followed by five archers. The rest seemed to be using swords.

This was the first time Anna saw how the soldiers fought. It was different from the Demon Banner Army.

Since the Demon Banner Army had multiple groups and squads, they were a kind of specialist in their own field. So, they didn't need to gather their strength like this and just overpower their enemies.

But if Noel employed such a system in the family, it would take a long time for it to be effective. After all, normal soldiers were not as trained and smart as the people in the Demon Banner Army.

"Interesting." Anna was satisfied with their movements. While they were not strong individually, if they worked together in an orderly manner, it wouldn't be strange if they killed a stronger demon.

However, Anna abruptly turned around and looked at the horizon as if she noticed something beyond the woods.

At the same time, the scout that Aerton sent earlier had returned and reported in a hurry, "Sir… it seems that Sir Grandel has found the enemies as well and is going to engage the enemies."

Realizing that they were fighting at the same time, Aerton realized that he couldn't use the normal tactic.

'I thought I could stop the enemies here and let Grandel flank them from the left, but…' Aerton raised his hand. "Spread our rank and contain the enemies here."

The soldiers began to spread even further, not letting any demons out of their reach and striking Grandel's group from behind.




A series of roars resounded across the woods. There were a total of eight beasts leaping from one place to another, closing in.

Anna, on the other hand, had changed her position. She was now located between Aerton and Grandell, allowing her to see both groups at the same time.

Just like Aerton, Grandell had spread his rank, preventing any demon from entering the woods.

'I want to see their original ability, but I guess I shouldn't risk it too much during the first battle.' Anna muttered before clapping her hands as Spiritual Energy began to gather around her hands. They seemed to be drawing a pattern.

'In the previous life, all the basic runes have been revealed, and a lot of intermediate-level runes have become public knowledge. While there are only a few Advanced Level Runes, I think it shouldn't be much of a problem to use an intermediate-level rune here, right?

'Noel has revealed the runes and is recognized as its creator. And people have known that I've been working with him the whole time, so it shouldn't be that weird to see me using a bit more complex runes, right?'

Anna just tried to confirm it with herself before drawing the runes.

It looked similar to the Strength Blessing Rune, but the complexity was on a whole different level. The size was twice as big, and there were a lot of multiple patterns that changed from the Strength Blessing Rune.

As soon as it was ready, Anna poured more Spiritual Energy to the point where she could feel it. 'Oh yeah. As expected of an intermediate rune…the effect is amazing. This is the variation of the Strength Blessing Rune… Well, it's more like the Empowerment Rune is the advanced version, while this one is the version to share with others. Its effect is less, but fifteen people can get it at the same time.'

"Intermediate Rune, Enhanced Strength Rune." The moment Anna clapped her hands, the rune began to shine and release multiple lights into the sky.

"!!!" Aerton and Grandel were the first to notice and couldn't help but check it. However, the light was so fast that it flew to the ground and hit the shield-bearers and the sword users.

"This is…" All of them couldn't help but notice the surge of strength coming into their bodies. In fact, they felt so strong that they could destroy the trees next to them right away.

"I feel like I can crush those demons by myself."

"Wow. I'm twice as strong?"

The people were impressed, but they soon heard Anna's voice. "Don't let your guard down. I've boosted your strength, but follow the orders!"

The people were startled, but they soon turned serious as if knowing their duty. Their mistress had gone all the way to boost their power, so it was their job to take care of the demons.

'Much obliged.'

'Thank you very much.'

Aerton and Grandel nodded to Anna before shouting the same thing. "Warrior of the Ardagan Family. Turn this land red with the blood of our enemies."