A stone with a rough surface rubbed against the frozen skin. Most of them fell to the ground without being able to reach because they were still quite far away but their faces staring at me were stiff.
Blood-stained hatred was deep-rooted within.
The northern sector of the country, which borders Rox, was particularly enraged, so everyone looked forward to this procession that was assigned for today.
The procession, which was an act of riding a sinner on horseback and circling the streets, allowed the people of the Empire to throw stones at them. Although it was an enemy country, there was no chance to throw stones at the royal family again. Perhaps everyone felt the same way, so many had gathered near the gate since this morning.
The sound of the trumpet was the signal.
The gate opened, and the man entered, covered in a white veil, riding alone on the white horse. The flowing chain dragged along the floor. At the sight of the knight, Prince of Rox, each individual threw the stone they were holding with all their might.
Despite the unexpected violence, the man did not budge.
Even though he got injured by a stone on his cheek, he didn’t even raise his hand to wipe away the blood.
Rather, the white horse, surprised by the pouring stones, rolled its front hooves and screamed loudly. The man almost fell but managed to grab the reins and hold on. As the strange confrontation continued without being able to go inside, Claude, who couldn’t see it, came out.
“First of all, make way. I won’t go around until dark.”
The crowd split reluctantly at the words.
Claude, who grabbed the chain that swept around the floor, barely managed to follow the true white horse as he moved on. Only then, Ian realized why he had been tied to the unnecessarily long chain, and holding back the bitter smile he looked forward. The chain connected to the leash was long enough to walk at arm’s length.
You’re going to sit back and watch.
It was easy to be dragged along.
As if it was the answer, a stone flew from a close distance, hit his shoulder and fell off. He barely passed the gates, but the number of eyes staring at him increased as the sun went down.
Should I be thankful that I’m not naked?
Once again, a flying stone hit his thigh.
Voices of trembling teeth flew in from all over the place.
“You know how many people are dead!”
“Oh, my God, look at the back of your hand. It’s white and clean.”
“Look at this!”
A young man standing nearby shouted, raising the back of his hand.
On the back of the hand was a snake-like pattern. It was the same for the middle-aged woman and the child standing next to him.
When I turned to the other side there was the same tattoo on the back of everyone’s hand, and they shouted with a face full of anger.
“We’re branded here like this!”
This was why anger in the north was more dramatic. The fear of war was located at the forefront and not knowing when it will break out again played a part, but the old practice of stigmatizing them by branding the backs of both of their hands as soon as one was born so that one could not migrate recklessly, was the main reason.
Most of the time, even after barely escaping out of town, the Imperial Patrol inspected the back of their hands and they were taken back.
In the end, the only way out was to cut off both wrists, but there was no way for ordinary people to live normally without using their hands.
Therefore, everyone in Shertian called it a swamp. If the war with Rox breaks out again, they will be the first victim. Although they were under the same empire, they had no issues in sacrificing a few for the sake of the majority. Especially if the majority include nobles.
As time went by, such anxiety had disappeared since the walls were built on the border, but more terrible things awaited them.
“You set this place on fire, and now you’re asking me to do that!”
This time again, it was an incomprehensible sound.
The criticism snowballed when Ian, who chose to grab the reins tightly instead of rolling his head tactfully, said nothing.
Ian suddenly raised his head at the old man’s rant. As the eyes met through the translucent veil, the trembling old man shouted once again.
“Murderer, murderer, murderer! Give me Ollia back!”
Probably lost his lover or brother in the war.
The wind, which was so cold that it bit the flesh through the thin fabric, brushed through.
It was so cold that I felt numb.
It’s so ridiculous that it’s not unfair.
Ian was far from agreeing because he had no relation with Rox or the war situation. He simply failed to commit suicide and entered an unknown body. He was imprisoned for no apparent reasons. And after being a hostage to the enemy’s country, he was now being thrown stones at in a veil over the freezing snow.
It was not just unfair but an extremely unfair situation. Strangely, however, Ian didn’t feel anything. Maybe it was because the criticisms seemed strangely right. His face was different, but the gaze was permeated with resentment.
Those red eyes. When I remembered that I had seen it somewhere, many faces came to mind in an instant.
All the faces of those I killed.
A stone flew in and hit his head.
His cheek and back of his hand were bruised, but Ian did not make excuses. There was nothing to say. It was an inexcusable life.
When I realized I hadn’t apologized today, not knowing who to apologize to, I frowned.
I haven’t repented yet.
It was then that I heard a small frightening sound.
A little later, Ian, who was looking down at the horse’s rake that was disturbed by the wind, turned his head when he felt that the stone was no longer flying.
The white breath dissipated through the middle.
When my eyes met those brightly shining eyes even though there was no light, something inside me trembled.
Whenever Claude was walking apart, it was this man who held my chain, right next to him.
“Grand… Grand Duke!”
Even the people who followed the procession couldn’t recognise him. And those who recognised Logan’s face turned pale one by one and stepped back, there was a gap between the bustling spaces.
“Great to see you, your Highness!”
It was Prince Hyer, who did not come down to the village.
When the lord, who thought the commander of the Knights was coming, ran from afar with a blue face, everyone began to lie flat on the ground, perhaps they couldn’t understand the situation. When the knights arrived, they couldn’t be seen at all, so Ian couldn’t imagine they were here.
They couldn’t figure out why he came down this far, and so their backs trembled like a tree.
It was more out of fear than respect.
Logan, however, didn’t pay attention to such things. He called Ian and said that it didn’t matter if he made a fuss or was in a panic, but of course, he didn’t hear a reply.
Unlike when I left the mansion, I looked around the mess. I noticed that the veil became red everywhere. The fabric, which had been fixed so tightly that it did not slip down, was already almost ragged, and it wrapped around the skin that was beginning to turn purple.
The frosty abrasions on his whole body were painful to look at. But he didn’t seem to be able to feel that way.
“How can I do this to you?”
Logan’s face had a look of regret when he took off his shoes and brought them back himself. Unlike the noisy surroundings, when he listened to Ian’s quiet reaction and moved his steps, the sound of the hoof rang.
It looked like something more than a parade to carry a person in a white veil between people lying on their stomach without looking up, but Ian didn’t respond once even when he went around the street.
Not even an idiot pretends to be an idiot.
“Shall we go back?”
The procession started in the morning and lasted until just before sunset. It’s nice to say that it was just the beginning after going just one lap.
But the Grand Duke’s order changed the story. Before he knew it, Claude, who followed him, bowed his head and turned right back to give the orders, without complaining.
“All knights must assemble. We’ll be returning.”
Logan’s horse, who was walking around the entrance, came along with a team of knights who quickly lined up according to their ranks.
Logan briefly watched Claude climb behind Ian, and then he climbed onto his horse. The closed gate slowly opened.
They retread the path they came, stepping on the snow where the footprints remained.
Halfway through the forest, I heard a vague cry from afar.
At the same time, some who were sensitive to the surroundings scattered to the side, sending small signals.
There was someone following them across the forest. It was a priority to check whether it was human or not, so everyone looked at Logan, but no significant figures were dropped.
That was the answer itself. As he grabbed the reins and pulled out the sword, an arrow flew through the tree as if they had been waiting.
“Don’t go into the woods! It’ll crawl out on its own!”
As soon as Claude’s words were over, people covering their faces rushed out. It was usual to be attacked, but this time the number of people was quite high.
The white snowfield was covered with blood.
When Logan, who stopped the horse and turned back he saw Ian, who was left on the horse in the mess, not reacting much.
“Do you just want to die?”
It may be so seeing that he didn’t cry, beg, or resent. Logan turned his head and cut someone’s neck right in front of him just before the sword hit him, but he still held onto the reins.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to let him die here. Logan wasn’t interested in things that didn’t have the will to live.
He didn’t know what Rox was going to ask for, but whatever they ask, they have to comply.
Logan slashed a nearby knight and blankly stared at the man running towards him. The blade flashed sharply as if he was about to poke his stomach. It was a time when he knew it was meaningless, but he didn’t get tired of it and thought he was doing well.
The sound of metal scratching vibrated in the air.
Looking at the back of the man who was standing in front of him, Logan blinked twice.
T/N: What do you guys think about the guy, Logan Hyer? (Yes that sharp Jawed guy in the cover ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) I am confused if he’s a good or bad guy(θ‿θ). Let me know what do you guys think about him and also tell me what do you guys think will be happening in the next chapters.
(. ❛ ᴗ ❛.)
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