Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
Nelia thought it was possible.
Since he had no other body and heart, Sigrid wasn’t capable of using his power as much as he used to command the world.
However, the positive thing was that Sigrid started to get ahead in the fight. She could see Duke Hart, who turned into a monster, getting tired.
“At this rate……”
Soon, it would be possible to turn Duke Hart into a human and open the door of the dimension. Nelia held her hands together as if praying for it.
At that moment.
“What is that?”
Nelia’s gaze turned to the corner of the garden. To her disbelief, there was a man who jumped out from behind the tree.
Moreover, she must be familiar with that face……
It must be Leighton. Leighton was running around the corner of the place where the fight was taking place with a puzzled expression.
Nelia’s face stiffened.
’Why the hell did Leighton suddenly……’
However, she realized it was not the thing she had to be worried about now. The monster, whose focus was solely on Sigrid, moved his eyes slowly when something moved on the side.
When its eyes landed on Leighton, it began to jump like an excited bird seeing the worm.
AHH! The loud noise shook the window.
Soon, the monster ran toward Leighton, ignoring Sigrid. It remained a mystery why he was that excited, but it seemed that he was stimulated at the sight of another being.
“…….If he stays there, he’s going to die.”
Carlos murmured in a low voice as he watched Leighton. Then, he looked at Nelia and asked.
“Is there a sword or knife here?”
“No way…… Are you trying to come out?”
“If we let it happen that way, not only will your brother die, but it will be difficult to defeat the monster as well.”
Nelia bit her lips tightly.
As he said, the monster was running more wildly than before, and even Sigrid seemed to be overwhelmed.
When Nelia stopped talking, Carlos looked around the room.
Perhaps, there were various objects in advance preparation for the attack as it was the place where Duke Hart, who turned into a monster, was locked up.
Carlos picked up the sword without hesitation. To be exact, there were several weapons hanging on the wall, among them was a longsword.
However, it was difficult to use his right arm, and his left hand had to hold the sword.
Nelia grabbed Carlos’ arm when he tried to get out because she thought it would be burdensome to him.
“I don’t think it’s a good decision. It would be dangerous to come out when you’re in this condition, Your Highness.”
Although he was a skilled swordmaster, it wasn’t like that now. How would he get through those monsters when he could barely get up from the bed?
“I don’t intend to die among those monsters either. I will just bring your brother. If we leave him there, he will go to the main gate, but it’s a dead end after he gets there.”
As Carlos said, Leighton seemed to be running toward the main gate. However, he wouldn’t be able to get out because it was closed by the barrier.
Then, Leighton would be cornered like a rat.
Standing with a grim expression on his face, Carlos took off his arm which had been held by Nelia.
“I’ll be back.”
She couldn’t stop him anymore.
Carlos ran outside and headed toward Leighton. Leighton, who was heading for the main gate, opened his eyes wide when he spotted Carlos.
However, the monster rushed toward Leighton as well with its mouth wide open.
Carlos swung the sword in his hand. Long sprout of blood flowed down the face of the monster where the sword passed through.
The monster swung his head around with his mouth wide open. He seemed angry rather than hurt.
When the monster’s movement became rough, Carlos seemed to be sending Leighton to the building first, perhaps because he thought it would be impossible for both of them to get back together.
Soon, Leightpn ran into the warehouse by himself.
Leighton, who slammed the door shut, breathed heavily. She was furious upon the sight of Leighton.
Leighton used to be in an accident often, but this went too far.
Nelia approached and yelled at Leighton, whose ribcage was thumping wildly.
“Why on earth are you here?!”
Leighton didn’t answer. It appeared that he was still losing his mind.
He shouted as well, perhaps having come back to his senses.
“It doesn’t matter now……”
“Matter what? His Highness Carlos is in danger because of you! The monster is running wild!”
“Because of me?! Who asked him to save me? His Highness came out on his own accord.”
Leighton said in an irritated tone.
“Do you know how difficult it was for me? The expensive transparent cloak that I obtained suddenly doesn’t work, and they turn into monsters.”
Nelia wanted to move her mouth at his insolent words, but soon closed it.
Spending time talking to him at that moment would be a meaningless argument. She couldn’t be distracted by having an argument with him in such an important situation.
However, after all this, she would make him pay for the trouble he caused. She had made up her mind for this one thing.
Nelia bit her lips tightly and looked out the window again.
Leighton was also looking outside whilst leaning closely against the window. Leighton asked Nelia as he stared at the monster with wonder.
“……Is that monster Duke Hart?”
Leighton smirked when Nelia frowned but kept silent.
“I actually already know everything even if you don’t answer me. I hid behind the tree and saw everything, even when Duke Hart turned into that monster.”
“However, who is that gray monster? It looks similar to Sigrid I’ve seen in the book.”
And Leighton went on, “No, there’s no way it is Sigrid. Is that species similar to that monster?’ and scratched his head.
Nelia looked outside, ignoring whatever he was saying. Leighton pouted.
“Are you not going to tell me? Right, it doesn’t matter. I know how things are, roughly.”
When Carlos joined the fight, Sigrid had the upper hand again. He wasn’t able to throw a fatal attack on the monster, but he was helping Sigrid in stealing some of the monster’s attention.
‘It must be difficult for Carlos to even hold the sword……’
The monster, who had been zeroing all his attention on Carlos, was pushed by Sigrid and his body was slammed into the wall.
Leighton shrank his neck like a turtle when a loud noise was heard. Then, he opened his eyes widely and glanced at Nelia.
“Hey! What if we all die?”
Leighton’s gaze was directed at the door.
“I can’t stay here. What if I get killed by those monsters while I’m here?! I want to leave the mansion.”
She didn’t want to give a reaction, but she also knew that Leighton’s departure from the warehouse would provoke the monster again.
Nelia forced her mouth to part.
“You can’t get out of the mansion now. The barrier has been set up around the house.”
Leighton kept opening and closing his mouth like a crucian carp at the sound of not being able to go out. Then, he shook Nelia’s shoulder strongly.
“Well, then, how can I get out of here?!”
Leighton grasped Nelia’s shoulder that it was enough to hurt her, perhaps because he was so worked up. Despite that, Nelia answered calmly, undoing her frown.
“When that fight is over.”
“Well, when would that be?!”
“It will be over soon, so just wait.”
Sigrid summoned the white line that wrapped around the monster. The line tied the monster’s body tightly.
It seemed like the fight was coming to an end.
The rope wrapped around the monster shone brightly. And the black aura surrounded the duke. As if a cocoon.
‘It’s done, it’s almost over.’
As soon as Nelia heightened her focus watching the scene, the monster’s face broke though the black surrounding it and nipped Sigrid.
Tuk, she heard a spooky noise.
The monster was once again sucked by the black aura around it, but Sigrid turned it back and caused a loud banging sound.
The black aura and white light simultaneously spread out in all directions, covering the inside part of the duke’s residence.
Even Nelia, who was staying in the building, was blinded and had to close her eyes tightly.
And when the light that had covered the duke’s residence was sensed to have disappeared, Nelia slowly opened her eyes.
Three ‘people’ were spotted lying down in the garden. The duke and Sigrid seemed to have returned to their human forms.
Nelia quickly stepped out of the warehouse and ran toward them.
Both Sigrid and Duke Hart were unconscious after returning to their human forms, perhaps because of the last blow.
Carlos also barely opened his eyes, perhaps because of the shock he endured from being close by.
“Your Grace, Sigrid, Your Highness! Open your eyes……!”
Nelia shook them one after another.
Everyone didn’t respond for a while, but the first one who opened his eyelids was the duke.
Nelia approached the duke and looked at his face closely. His eyelids twitched so merely, and his clear silver eyes weren’t visible.
What did she have to do?
Looking closely, the duke’s skin was covered with silver scales. It seemed that he hadn’t completely turned into a human yet.
Sigrid had to wake up quickly to do something for the duke…… but he could hardly open his eyes, perhaps shocked by the monster nipping on him.
It was at that time when Nelia was staring at the duke with an anxious gaze.
“N-Nelia, come to me.”
Leighton’s trembling voice came from behind her.
The ominous energy enveloped her.
When Nelia turned her head around slowly, she spotted Leighton with a bow in her hand.
It seemed to be the bow from the warehouse.
Nelia looked at Leighton with a pale face.
“He’s…… not dead, is he?”
Nelia managed to speak in a spooked voice.
“……What are you talking about?”
“Then, what if the duke turns into a monster and attacks us again?! His arms are still covered in scales.”
Leighton was watching the duke who had collapsed to the ground.
“So…… You’re going to shoot the duke with that bow?”
“I was trying to get out of here, but the door wasn’t open. I think it’s because the fight is not over yet, as you said earlier.”
“……When Zenuit wakes up, he will remove the barrier.”
“Who else is Zenuit? And now I see him…… Isn’t it Zenu?”
Leighton’s eyes immediately turned to Zenuit, who had turned into a man.
Leighton’s memory had been previously manipulated to make him see Zenuit as a distant cousin named Zenuit.
It was tangled and twisted, but she couldn’t afford to solve it now.
Then, the collapsed Duke Hart twitched his fingers.
Nelia brought her face close to Duke Hart. his silver eyes, which had been covered by the eyelids, were revealed ever so slowly.
His body moved little by little, but his eyes didn’t gather complete focus yet. She thought he would take a little longer before he completely came to his senses.
“He just opened his eyes, didn’t he?”
Leighton’s voice was shaking again.
Turning his eyes, he saw Leighton pulling the bowstring with a terrified expression.
“What are you doing?”
Nelia opened her arms to block him.
“The-The duke may turn into a monster again and try to attack us.”
Leighton’s right arm was shaking as it pulled the bowstring. He might have never shot an arrow before, but seeing his face that seemed to state he would do anything out of fear was threatening enough.
Nelia tried to speak calmly so as to appease the terrified Leighton.
“His Grace has returned to his human form. He won’t turn into a monster and attack us this time.”
“H-How can I believe that?”
The dangerous-looking arrowhead was aimed at the duke as if it would fly somewhere at the duke’s body at any moment.
Nelia tried to relieve his worry again.
“Leighton, I have been watching the duke by his side for a long time, and I have seen him become a monster like this before. That’s why I know. This only happens once a year, and after he returns from a monster to human again, he doesn’t turn into a monster again.”
“If you’re that scared, go back inside that building and wait. I’ll let you know when the main gate opens.”
Leighton’s hand, which was pulling the bowstring, lost its strength at Nelia’s calm voice.
Then, Duke Hart tried to get up, he was frowning and holding his head with his hand.
Leighton instantly pulled the bowstring out of surprise. Nelia opened her eyes wide, and stared straight at the bow.
However, Leighton shot the arrow without an ounce of hesitation because he was filled completely with fear.
The sharp flew in the direction of the duke.
The arrow that flew in the blink of an eye penetrated through the soft skin. The body, which had been hit by the arrow, slowly fell to the floor. Blood flowed out from the wound and fell to the floor.
The unique smell of blood spread through the heavy air.
The duke, who came to his senses belatedly, blinked slowly. There was sticky blood under his palm that was on the ground.
The duke’s gaze moved slowly, following the blood.
The duke’s silver eyes landed on Nelia, who was bleeding and collapsed.
[t/n: at this point, I wanted to smack Leighton in the head so bad lol, poor Nelia. She doesn’t deserve this T_T]