Chapter 1 - Part 1
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Bonus Chapter (1/2)
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Lelia was so startled that she couldn’t say anything.
“How are you here…?”
She mumbled those words to herself as she heard a scream from behind her.
Oscar had no intention of letting go of those who rushed away.
Lelia squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to see the terrible sight unfolding behind her.
“Don’t close your eyes.”
A low voice said in front of her. Because of that, Lelia opened her eyes again.
She didn’t know why, but Oscar was staring at her with angry eyes.
He blew out the red mist coming from his sword. Somehow, she felt like she was out of breath.
Oscar said, turning his wrist lightly and inserting the sword into the scabbard, “Even if you run away or close your eyes, it’s no use, Leo.”
Lelia was embarrassed and afraid when Oscar called her that.
The magic of gold words that on her was both accurate in standard and ambiguous in line.
If he reveals that she went to the temple disguised as Prince Leo, she will die.
It mattered less if someone naturally noticed, even though she didn’t say it, but it might be another matter altogether for Lelia to admit it. As there was nothing certain right now, it was better to keep her body safe until she could solve the magic of golden words.
Lelia looked around her, wondering if anyone had heard them.
But there was nothing to see around her except the corpses of the mercenaries twisted with blood and their horses running away.
“Do you hate being called by that name?”
Oscar asked in a very gentle voice. But his complexion was cold and his eyes sparkled.
There was a sense of tension.
Lelia stepped down slowly from her horse so as not to provoke him.
“Hey, how did you…?”
When Lelia asked the question, he replied calmly without changing his expression.
“Are you curious about that? I’ve been following you since the moment you left the castle. It was you who ignored my warning.” Oscar said calmly.
Lelia closed her eyes tightly and opened them.
[You’ve been following me secretly for a week?]
[How could I not know that? Didn’t even Alchemy know?]
- …( ｡_｡)… I didn’t know you were being followed, Master.
So she didn’t know about it either.
Lelia touched her forehead as her head was throbbing.
Oscar looked down at her with his eyebrows furrowed.
‘Did he hate being followed so much? Did he really try to abandon me again?’
He felt like his chest was being slashed with a knife.
He trembled at the feeling of betrayal.
Then Lelia opened her mouth to say something.
Oscar stared anxiously at her lips in the hope that it might happen.
“I… I don’t know what Sir Oscar is talking about.”
But Lelia’s lips betrayed him again.
His eyes darkened.
She looked up at him, carefully raising her head, and then bowed her head again.
She couldn’t look Oscar in the eye. His red eyes were filled with hatred for the hunters who put him in danger, and the pitiful fear of death. The two coexisted.
Lelia had to pretend she didn’t know.
Because she can’t immediately admit that she’s ‘Leo’.
If the spell of golden words was triggered by a momentary mistake, everything would be in vain. She might die right now, vomiting blood in front of Oscar’s eyes.
She didn’t want to hurt Oscar any more.
“… If you’re going to pretend you don’t know until the end, it can’t be helped.”
“Lelia, yes, I think you’re curious why I followed you. It’s easy. I name you as the murderer who killed Leo.”
“What…! The person who killed brother Leo has already been executed…”
“No, it’s you. You killed him.”
Leria, who was in a hurry to deny it, shut her mouth and stopped.
Even Oscar knew that Lelia wasn’t the killer.
Lelia bowed her head.
[I guess you are trying to say that by denying that I am Leo, it is the same as killing Leo.]
In that sense, there was nothing to say.
There was nothing incorrect.
“So I’m going to think of you as a replacement for Leo. I’m going to do everything I couldn’t do to Leo, everything to you.”
“What do you mean…?”
“I’ll have you instead of Leo.”
Lelia’s brow furrowed.
What is Oscar talking about now?
“If… If Leo were still alive, he would have come back. But since Leo is dead, don’t you have to replace him?”
“Leo promised me. He will be by my side for the rest of my life.”
Saying that, Oscar smiled as if that was the problem.
Lelia had nothing to say. It is true that she made such a promise to him.
Lelia recalled her past.
One day when she was staying at the temple, Oscar had another seizure.
“Oscar, it’s okay. Don’t listen to anything.”
“Ugh… Leo… Leo…”
“I’m by your side, don’t worry Oscar. Okay?”
Oscar, who was slowly calming down, grabbed her collar and said.
“I, I have to live like this for the rest of my life… It’s scary… The sound of thunder makes me…”
“No, don’t think like that Oscar. I will protect you, hmm?”
“… Yes, for a lifetime. So don’t be afraid.”
‘I will protect you.’
Lelia held Oscar, who was smaller than her, in her arms, as she whispered to him.
At that moment she had no choice but to calm Oscar down.
Yet even if she turned back time, and went back to the past, she would have repeated the same words to Oscar.
Even if she knew this day would come.
“So now you are mine.”
“I will have you.”
His voice was low and dangerous.
Oscar approached her, grasping Lelia’s shoulder. His threatening approach forced Lelia to take a step back from her. Lelia counted to three inside and opened her eyes.
At times like this, she had to come to her senses properly. The trauma he suffered from Leo’s death was compounded with the trauma that Oscar received from his childhood.
In short, it means that his mind was not completely healthy.
He felt that Lelia was responsible for him. That it was her responsibility to heal Oscar.
“Oh, Oscar. Just calm down.”
Oscar’s eyebrows wrinkled. It was as if she was speaking to her patient.
“First… Take a few deep breaths.”
“What are you doing?”
“People are not things… You can’t do this…”
“Besides, I am not a slave… So, take it easy for a moment…”
Oscar was hard to control. The more he was like this, the more cautious she had to approach him.
More carefully than the Oscar of her childhood. It was like soothing a kitten.
“First of all, thank you for saving me.”
As Lelia calmly said thank you, Oscar’s expression wrinkled even more.
He continued to deny so Oscar thought he would push him away, but he was surprised. If Lelia had come out like that, he would have hurt him again without being unable to control his urge. Oscar stared at her intently, eager to see what Lelia had to say to him.
Seeing his gaze become more gentle than before, Lelia exhaled a breath of relief.
“I have to go to my hometown estate. There is a lot of work to be done there.”
“… Where are you going?”
“… To the Superion Territory.”
Lelia added her words succinctly so that he could understand as much as he could.
“Actually, when I was a kid, I ran away from the Imperial Castle. There were people who helped me back then, so I have to repay their kindness. I was very young back then… I was afraid, and I was a child who couldn’t do anything.”
It was words conveying the meaning that it was not intentional to deceive, but she had no choice but to do it.
Fortunately, Oscar seemed to have noticed her intentions to some extent. His eyes fluttered.
It was a great relief that Oscar was in front of her.
If it were Kalix, he would never have noticed.
“Anyway, I have to go there…”
“Would you like to go with me?”
Lelia cautiously suggested. After all, it was impossible for her to leave Oscar behind.
She could tell by looking at those eyes. His eyes were like leeches with a determination not to fall away from her.
When Lelia made the meek offer first, Oscar nodded slowly.
His eyes and expression were cold, but in any case, the reaction itself was gentle like a kitten.
“But there’s something you have to keep in mind when you get there. You can never… You can’t call me Leo. You must not say anything to them.”
She had an unexpected companion.
Lelia, who had proposed it, felt uncomfortable, but Oscar’s expression seemed rather comfortable.
[Yes, Oscar, as long as you’re comfortable…]
Lelia sighed internally and climbed back on the horse.
But something was wrong.
Lelia looked down at Oscar while atop the horse.
“… What about the horse you rode on?”
“I’ve never been on a horse.”
Lelia blinked her eyes. So you walked here?
“Well, then how did you follow me…”
“Made a crack.”
Oscar replied nonchalantly. Lelia was dazed for a moment.
[Crack? If it’s a crack… You’re not talking about a crack in space, are you?]
When she was young, her grandfather showed her the holy book of the temple.
Her grandfather said, “You don’t have to believe in religion, but the holy book is also a history book, so you need to read it.”
However, there were many difficult topics, so he told her about this and that while reading the book himself to her. There was a part in the book that explained the power of the ancient horsemen…
One of them was the ‘crack of space’.
In short, demons were able to move through space by creating cracks in the air with their fingertips.
With that ability only allowed to high-ranking horsemen with enormous power, they used it to attract tens of millions of horsemen and slaughter humans.
[But he is using it?]
Lelia’s gaze turned to the sword he was wearing around his waist.
The first person with that sword could not have used that much power.
Lelia was terrified of Oscar.
At the same time, she was worried that the power of the sword might eat Oscar.
However, maybe because Lelia allowed him to come along, Oscar’s expression was as gentle as a kitten.
Looking at him like this, it seemed like his childhood face was still there. When they first met again, she thought it was someone else.
[Now that we’ve come to this, should I ask Oscar to make a crack and move to the estate?]
She considered it, but she felt uncomfortable when she recalled that it was a power the demon people had.
[Of course, I’m more concerned about it from the perspective of others…]
Alchemy posted a message protesting against the “stuffy power,” but Lelia ignored it.
Yeah, let’s just go together.
The only path left is the safe meadow road, and she just had to go a few more days.
Lelia organized her thoughts and told Oscar, “Then we should ride a horse together. Get on behind me.”
As soon as she finished talking, Oscar climbed behind Lelia. Lelia shrugged at the strange energy she felt behind her back.
[Should I have said I’d be riding in the back?]
It was then, a hard, thick arm came forward from behind her back and hugged her strongly around her waist.