Chapter 1 - Part 1
“What’s wrong with this idiot?”
Lelia stood up and smashed Kalix’s head against the tree with all her might.
Fortunately, making him faint was a first-try success.
“I was going to try a few times if I failed… this is a blessing.”
Lelia breathed a sigh of relief.
“Hmm, will I be able to carry him on my back?”
Kalix was still a little taller than the children of his age. Firstly, it was not a matter of height, but his bones themselves were a bit thicker than normal.
“I wouldn’t know if a beast would appear, feed on us and run away.”
Lelia was muttering something she didn’t mean for others to hear.
With much difficulty, she managed to carry Kalix on her back and stand up. Still, he was only ten years old. He didn’t feel that heavy. His body rose up quietly on her back.
Lelia was slender, but not weak. She was strong enough to survive, despite the hunger that made her scratch the soil and snow in search of food. And even before she was sent to the temple, the emperor gave her enough food to eat.
“Ah, how do I find my way back?”
She started walking randomly, couldn’t think of a way to solve this magically twisted road.
She can’t just stop walking. The fear that beasts might appear anytime made her senses keen and alert.
Lelia walked on, listening to the sound of leaves shaking, and birds chirping. Then, she heard a rustling sound.
Lelia’s spine froze for a second.
Lelia tightened her arm carrying Kalix, thinking the beast might appear any second. However, she sighed in relief immediately. It was Griffith, not a beast, who emerged from the bushes.
“Who are you?” Griffith asked with a frown. He had a kind of light in his hand, but when she looked closely, it was full of fireflies.
He had apparently looked for light in this dark mountain, found fireflies and locked them in a jar.
“I’m the crown prince of Auraria.”
“I know. But, why are you here?”
“Well, it’s complicated. Believe it or not, a beast will appear soon. So you should leave this place with me as soon as possible.”
“This is the mountain where the priests come every day. There is no beast here.”
“If you run into a beast later, you won’t be able to say such a thing anymore. Anyway, we have to get out of here quickly.”
“The road is twisted.”
“I know that too. Still, there should be an exit somewhere.”
“I know the way.”
“Really?” Lelia asked happily.
Come to think of it…
“You went back and found out that the road was strange, so you made a light box out of those fireflies? And came back? Are you worried about Kalix Ascard?”
“…” Griffith frowned at Lelia’s question.
She thought he had left Kalix and went back to the temple all by himself, and cursed that he was a bad guy. In the novel, their roads seem to have crossed.
Lelia grinned while sweating.
“No, you really are a nice boy, aren’t you? I misunderstood, I’m sorry…”
“…” Griffith seemed even more offended by the word ‘nice boy’, but Lelia didn’t mind it at all.
“What are you doing? Lead the way! Let’s go.”
“But what’s wrong with him?”
“…Uh, he… he passed out.”
“Hmm, weak kid who pretends to be strong.”
Griffith snorted, “I knew it.”
[Actually, I knocked him out…]
Lelia said the truth inwardly, and followed Griffith’s footsteps.
Then suddenly, Griffith looked back at a great speed.
“Why did you…” Lelia turned reflexively without asking why. She couldn’t help but notice the tremendous energy she felt behind her back in an instant.
At the same time as she turned her back, Lelia shrieked and took a step forward. When she lowered her head, the claws of the beast were near her lower stomach, stained with blood.
[When the hell did this beast show up?!]
The beast in front of them was drooling and watching them. After scratching Lelia’s stomach, the beast took a step back. It was probably thinking about when to rush and rip the neck off at once.
“Why the hell is there a beast here…!?”
Griffiths looked rather bewildered. “I wouldn’t have been so surprised if I had seen the devil.”
At the same time, he looked around to see if there was anything that could be used as a weapon, reflexively.
Lelia said, calming her trembling vocal cord, “Griffith, there’s… there’s a whistle around my neck, bring it to my mouth. It’s a whistle used by the priests.”
The purpose was not to call the priests to this place, but to let those, who had planned this, back down…
It didn’t matter what happened now.
Griffith slowly reached out to the back of Lelia’s neck, looking at the beast. The beast was judging the situation from afar.
As Lelia lowered her gaze, she could see her ragged clothes scratched by the claws of the beast. What was inside must be terrible.
Nevertheless, Lelia stood upright with Kalix on her back.
“Aren’t you afraid?” Griffith was surprised.
Moreover, she looked straight into the eyes of the beast. Rather, she did not blink at all, as if she would never lose the fight against the beast.
In fact, it was a result caused by extreme fear, but in Griffith’s eyes, it seemed as if Lelia was trying to eat the beast.
Griffith succeeded, very slowly, in passing the whistle to Lelia’s mouth.
When Lelia blew the whistle as hard as she could, the drooling beast rushed towards her. At the same time, Griffith lifted a long branch that he had found earlier.
Lelia stood there, not avoiding or turning her back, even as the beast rushed towards her. Kalix was on her back. She could never show her back.
It happened in an instant. Griffith swung the branch, blocking Lelia’s way, and at the same time a white light shone.
“What…” Griffith murmured, unaware of the sudden action, the white light emitting from his hands.
“Oh my God! I’m alive! Good job, Griffith!”
It looked like Griffith awakened the divine power.
In the novel, it was mentioned that he had awakened his divine power just before returning to his home country…
Lelia had heard that when you are on the verge of death, ordinary people can use miraculous power. She guessed this was the moment for Griffith.
But the miracle didn’t come twice.
The beast rushed back towards Griffith, and he could not use the sacred force he had used earlier.
The beast ran and bit Griffith’s arm, who screamed and tried to shake it off.
A light poured out of Griffith’s arm. It was on spur of the moment.
The beast, who bit Griffith’s arm, confronted them again. Saliva and blood dripped out of the beast’s teeth.
It was Griffith’s blood.
“Are you all right, Griffith?” Lelia asked, helplessly with regret.
It was then…
“…Ugh… what are you… Oww… my head…”
A low voice rang from behind Lelia’s neck. Kalix was awake.
Kalix blinked as soon as he opened his eyes. There was a beast growling in front of him. It was a real beast. It was not a dream. It was real.
He noticed he was on someone’s back. There was a high probability that this back would be Prince Leo’s.
Kalix stepped down from Lelia’s back and pushed her away. It was hard to have strength because he had a severe sprain in one foot, but Kalix stood upright and took out a small dagger from his arms.
It was at the same time, Lelia, who was pushed aside, screamed, but couldn’t stop what happened in an instant.
[That’s how I tried to protect you!]
Can’t the fate of the novel be changed?
Lelia closed her eyes tightly.
For some reason, her heart seemed to boil with anger. Her own helplessness was pathetic. She was a fool when she thought she could save Kalix when she had no power. Rather, it did more damage to Kalix. It was all her confidence…
“It’s my fault…”
The moment she closed her eyes for a while, it felt like a very long time.
In the story, Kalix loses an arm to the beast on this day. Nevertheless, Kalix becomes a great warrior by defeating the Dragon, while holding a big sword with his other hand.
On the top of that, he plays the most important role and makes irreparable sacrifices. Although he was not dead, he was a victim that no one could be happy with.
So Lelia couldn’t turn away from Kalix.
[At least one arm…]
[I wish I could save that one arm…]
Even though he became one of the heroes who saved the world, she wanted to give back that arm to Kalix, who lost everything.
However, it was a failure.
[I am so useless.]
[I should have thought more about it and acted…]
Tears trickled down, her eyes tightly shut with guilt.
However, from now on, there is nothing she can do about that is inevitable.
[At least I have to help Kalix not to get hurt anymore.]
Lelia woke again with a firm heart. However, what Lelia saw when she opened her eyes was a little different from what she had expected.
Kalix was shivering , holding his dagger tight and stabbing it into the beast’s neck. His arms were fine.
Lelia seemed to have lost strength in her legs. A shudder ran through her whole body.
The beast, having suffered a seizure for a while, soon breathed its last breath.