Chapter 20. I said I'd find you

 

 

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The sound of howling wind hit my eardrum as I plummeted further and further down.

 

Stones and branches protruding from the cliff walls scratched my skin mercilessly.

 

‘Am I going to die like this?’

 

Even in the midst of an endless fall, a silly laugh slipped out of my lungs.

 

Ever since I recalled my past life, I had been struggling to live after realizing that I was fated to die a premature death in the future. I raised independent funds, invested, and worked really hard.

 

It was all to no avail. In the end, I was going to die in vain like this.

 

Even while I was immersed in such useless thoughts, death raced toward me moment by moment.

 

Even the steepest of cliffs had a bottom. 

 

I was getting closer to the forest floor; the rough ground covered with rocks and boulders, large and small, was about to devour me.

 

I was just thinking that I was really going to die now, and it looked like it would hurt.

 

‘………..!’

 

Was it because this was the moment before my death? Strangely, the speed of the fall seemed to have slowed significantly.

 

Tak– 

 

 Of course, I thought I would fall head first onto the ground, but someone’s strong arm held me up.

 

Soon a familiar scent brushed the tip of my nose.

 

While my consciousness was fading, I strained through my blurring vision to see the face of the person holding.

 

It was a face I had seen before.

 

“Y….ou…….”

 

I couldn’t even finish my thought as I blacked out.

 

“Take a rest.” 

 

After I barely caught those soft words, a deep darkness descended.

 

PHOTO

 

***

 

The attack on Carlot and Elodie soon reached Duke Perdia’s ears.

 

With it, came the news that Elodie fell down a cliff while confronting an assassin.

 

The Duke’s expression hardened coldly when he heard Carlot’s report, even though his son had returned as a wreck.

 

There was a painful silence.

 

Carlot fell to his knees.

 

“It’s my negligence. I didn’t escort properly. Please give me a punishment.”

 

Instead of reprimanding Carlot, Duke Perdia asked calmly.

 

“Where is the location?”

 

“It’s a cliff on the way to the South Magic Tower, outside the capital.”

 

“Lead the way, Carlot. Take care of your wounds as you go.”

 

“Yes.”

 

Carlot rose from his seat and clenched his fist.

 

He was bleeding profusely, and some parts of the body stiffened with paralysis, as if he had been poisoned, but he did not dare to speak out about his physical condition.

 

It wasn’t the time to say such a weak thing.

 

Carlot couldn’t stop thinking as he climbed onto his horse and headed towards the attack site.

 

He was constantly reminded.

 

The feeble and half-hearted strength with which she had reached out to him.

 

The resigned face when she withdrew her hand, like she had given up.

 

The last sight of her falling down the cliff, as if she was being eaten up by darkness.

 

As if imprinted on his retina, these final glimpses of his sister would not disappear at all.

 

If she had escaped alone when he was dealing with two assassins, she might have been able to survive.

 

However, Elodie made an unreasonable fight to save him, and she fell off a cliff.

 

It was something that didn’t fit with Elodie Perdia.

 

‘Wasn’t it natural for her to escape alone, to live?’

 

Then suddenly, Carlot’s expression twisted.

 

No.

 

‘Do I know Elodie Perdia properly?’

 

He never even tried to in the first place.

 

A sister who may have caused a split between his parents. A family troublemaker.

 

She was just that.

 

Didn’t he always pretend not to know that she was crouching and crying in a place where no one was looking? And then he would go indifferently back to the road even after hearing the whispers of the servants….. He did pretend he didn’t know, all along.

 

His hands were shaking.

 

In the end he wanted to cut off the fingers that couldn’t reach her.

 

‘She must have died.’

 

It would be a miracle to survive falling down a rugged cliff like that.

 

Moreover, since Elodie Perdia has no powers, she must have died.

 

Once again, his young heart sped up in his aching chest. He felt like he couldn’t breathe.

 

‘Who would appreciate it, if you were to be saved even without wanting it? Did she die at will?’

 

But he had to believe whatever he wanted.

 

‘If I had done better, I’m sure you’d be alive.’

 

So he blamed himself for not escorting properly, and got angry again.

 

Before long, the Duke, Carlot, and their family knights arrived at the scene.

 

On the way to the cliff, the abandoned carriage, the dead coachmen, and the scattered bodies of the assassins were still strewn there.

 

The Duke headed for the cliff, ordering some of the following knights to gather information.

 

Before long they reached the top of the cliff.

 

The corpse of the assassin who died fighting Carlot lay there.

 

The Duke stood at the edge of the cliff.

 

Clack– clack…. 

 

Small stones clattered down the cliff at the Duke’s feet.

 

As expected, it was a cliff so high that you couldn’t see the bottom.

 

He calmly gave the search order.

 

“……..Release the search party. Find her as soon as possible. If you find even the slightest trace, report it immediately.”

 

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

 

The family’s knights set up a search party and began scouring the vicinity of the cliff where Elodie fell.

 

An hour after that.

 

The search party returned with brooding looks. The Duke, who was waiting, asked first.

 

“Are there any traces?”

 

“No, Your Grace, no trace……There was nothing.”

 

The knight didn’t say it out loud, but he could understand the implied meaning.

 

There wasn’t even a body.

 

A knight asked Carlot, “Young Master, is this the right place?”

 

“…….I’m sure.”

 

It was not possible to assume that she was swept away by rapid currents because no water flowed under the cliff.

 

Then where did Elodie disappear to?

 

It was then.

 

“Your Excellency, please see this.”

 

Another armorclad figure ran up. What one knight handed over was the hem of a torn dress. The flimsy piece of cloth was dotted with blood.

 

“It was hanging on a thorn branch, in the middle of the cliff.”

 

It was a high-quality fabric that commoners and poor nobles could not wear.

 

So, it must be Elodie’s.

 

The evidence in hand made it clear that Elodie fell down this cliff. The Duke gazed down at the scrap of cloth and then immediately gave another order.

 

“Expand the search radius. Is there any sort of private residence nearby?”

 

“Yes, there is a small village near the foot of the hill.”

 

“That, too, include it in the search scope,” The Duke commanded.

 

“Yes!”

 

The knights disappeared again and resumed their search. One of the knights glanced at Duke Perdia and admired him.

 

‘As expected, his Excellency the Duke is calm.’

 

A lesser man could not stay so collected when his own daughter fell off a cliff and went missing, thought the knight.

 

But no one there knew that the Duke held the ragged hem of Elodie’s dress so hard that veins popped out on his hands.

 

He was quiet on the outside, but not on the inside.

 

‘Elodie.’

 

The Duke frowned as he recalled his daughter’s face, which always looked nervous in front of him.

 

How much time had passed?

 

After hearing the sad news, Jansi and the Duchess arrived at the scene belatedly.

 

As soon as Jansi got off his horse, he walked over to Carlot.

 

The knights nearby widened their eyes wide as he strode over without hesitation. Jansi’s hands roughly grabbed Carlot’s shoulders and shook them.

 

“Carlot Perdia!”

 

Carlot: “…….Brother.”

 

“You would call yourself an escort?!” Jansi shouted. 

 

“……..”

 

“Do you have any idea what you’ve just done?” Jansi’s eyes glared at Carlot as if to kill him.

 

Carlot trembled with extreme fear at the sight of his brother’s furious eyes.

 

Jansi, who never got excited no matter what happened, was really angry.

 

Carlot’s pupils wavered wildly in shock.

 

“I, I………….”

 

At Jansi’s words, the guilt he had suppressed broke out.

 

The Duke and the other knights said nothing, but they knew it.

 

That Elodie fell off the cliff because of himself.

 

“I should have let her escape, even alone, but I, like a fool……” Carlot, who bowed his head as if he were confessing, stuttered and continued.

 

Jansi looked down at the top of Carlot’s head with cold eyes.

 

It was the Duchess who stepped in between the two.

 

“Jansi, leave it at that.”

 

“Mother.” Jansi looked at the Duchess rather sharply as if to mean she should not intervene, but she smiled gracefully and ignored her son’s glare.

 

The Duchess’s sharp gaze scanned Carlot up and down.

 

Well.

 

“You’ve been poisoned, Carlot.”

 

“………..”

 

“Leave the search to your father and go back to treat yourself.”

 

Carlot shook his head.

 

“Me too……I, too, will help with the search. All of this is due to my failure to properly fulfill my duties, so please allow me to fulfill my responsibilities.”

 

Carlot’s appearance of speaking in a trembling voice with his fists clenched tightly was pitiful.

 

It was an unbelievable reaction, for those who knew Carlot, for him to be trembling because of Elodie.

 

“If you want to do a search, finish your treatment,” the Duchess firmly said to Carlot, who insisted on joining the search until the end.

 

“It’s okay–”

 

“If you hold out saying that it’s okay and then you collapse, it will rather interfere with the search.”

 

“All right…….” Still with his head down, Carlot turned his back to the cliff.

 

When he heard that no body had been found, it gave him a futile hope.

 

She might be alive.

 

Maybe she was alive…..

 

‘Okay,’ he decided, ‘She is alive.’

 

She had to be.

 

‘Only then will I be able to tell Elodie……’

 

***

 

“Ugh…….”

 

I opened my eyes and frowned at the muscle pain and the mild fever that I felt all over my body.

 

What greeted me was an unfamiliar environment.

 

The simple bedroom, equipped with only necessary furniture, felt spacious because it was empty.

 

‘Where am I?’

 

I raised my body unconsciously in the foreign space and grimaced immediately.

 

“Ugh…..”

 

A great deal of intense pain radiated from my right shoulder. It seemed that it was the injury I sustained from slamming into the side of the wagon during the attack. 

 

Grabbing my shoulder with my left hand, I stepped up gingerly from the bed.

 

‘It was him.’

 

The man who appeared out of nowhere while I was out in town a while ago, muttered the name of my previous life, and then disappeared.

 

A stunningly beautiful man with black hair darker than the dark  and red eyes.

 

I asked Martha to investigate him, but she eventually failed to find out who he was.

 

‘You showed up right before I died and saved me.’

 

Did you like me? Even so, I couldn’t completely clear my doubts. Because I didn’t know who he was and what he was thinking.

 

Anyway, I had no intention of staying in an unknown place for a long time.

 

I tried to put my hand on the doorknob, but the doorknob turned on its own.

 

“Uh…..”

 

I blinked my eyes in embarrassment at the man seen too closely through the opened door.

 

But the other person also looked embarrassed.

 

Was that all?

 

With his hand still on the doorknob, he froze and just stared at me without even making a sound of breathing.

 

“Excuse me,” I began.

 

“………..”

 

“Are you coming in?”

 

“Yes,” he finally answered.

 

The man, who must have finally come to his senses, opened the door, came inside, and closed the door again.

 

Click.

 

The fact that we were alone in the room somehow made my throat feel like it was burning.

 

“You’re hurt. You’d better sit down.”

 

“Okay.”

 

In fact, I really wasn’t in a physical condition to stand up and walk around, so I quickly went to bed and sat down at the man’s words. Perhaps he had gone to get some medicine, since he had a medicine bottle in his other hand.

 

“Can I treat you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

When I looked down, there were countless scratches everywhere.

 

When I handed over my left arm, the man held my hand carefully.

 

I was self-conscious at his confusingly reverent attitude and tried to keep from blushing.

 

But putting that aside, I looked at the man coldly.

 

It was definitely the face I saw for the first time a few days ago, but why do I feel familiar as if I’ve known it for a long time?

 

“Are you a wizard?” I asked the man, who painstakingly applied medicine to my cuts.

 

“No, I’m not.”

 

I was definitely from the cliff at a terrifying rate, but just before he caught me, my speed had gotten slower. It was a miracle that was not possible unless it was by magic.

 

Unless he used power as a blood relative of the four major families or the imperial family.

 

Even if you were not a direct descendant, you could use power.

 

“Angellus, Severes, Kreundel, Perdia, Wallent. Where are you from?”

 

“Not from there.”

 

To say he was lying was not reasonable because there was no hesitation in his voice.

 

‘Hmm.’

 

I corrected myself. Because his face was so handsome, I wanted to believe that he was not lying.

 

Coughing for nothing, I brought up the next question.

 

“How did you find me in that situation?”

 

“Because I said I’d find you.” 

 

“I will visit you soon.”

 

That was what the man said before disappearing.

 

Obviously, that was not the answer I was hoping for.

 

Actually, it had been like that for a while. No matter what question I asked, this man didn’t give me the answer I wanted.

 

‘It seems that he had no intention of telling me in the first place.’

 

I asked the second question again, in a different way.

 

“Tell me your name. I can’t keep calling you vaguely.”

 

Then the man who had his eyes fixed on my arm raised his head.

 

Our eyes met. Pink and red.

 

“Raeyan.”

 

“…….”

 

“You can call me Raeyan.”

 

I involuntarily stopped breathing.

 

***

 

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