Thank you so much for the Ko-Fi support Jackie (◕ᴗ◕✿)❤
Tainy was skillful, as if it wasn’t his first time doing it. He was more of a thief than Vivian had thought. Tainy carefully moved his hand a few times before he heard a click from inside the doorknob. It sounded like a lock had been released.
“Did you hear it click? Let’s open it.”
Tainy got up with a proud expression. Roger, standing behind him, simply shrugged. He turned the doorknob.
“It won’t open.”
But the door still didn’t budge. The prideful expression was erased from Tainy’s face, and a look of embarrassment replaced it in an instant.
“Is that possible? Even though I unlocked it?”
Tainy approached the door with an expression of disbelief and turned the doorknob. The door still didn’t budge. Vivian also tried, but the result was the same. The three of them, who were wrestling with one doorknob, fell away from the door, tired from trying.
“Maybe something is blocking it?”
Tainy initially followed them without much interest, but now he had become invested. Roger and Tainy looked at each other for a moment. As Roger grabbed the doorknob, Tainy took three steps back.
Vivian didn’t know what they were going to do, but she felt uneasy and quietly backed away.
Roger looked at Tainy with the doorknob turned. Tainy sprinted towards the door with a light cheer.
His accelerating body collided with the solid wooden door. Bang! A loud sound echoed through the hallway.
“Ouch! It hurt!”
The one who gave way was Tainy.
“It doesn’t look like something is blocking it. I think it’s completely locked.”
Even though Tainy was rolling around saying he was dying, Roger was calmly looking at the door, not worrying about him. Vivian, who had retreated, supported Tainy on behalf of Roger with a half sad and half embarrassed expression.
“Magic… Is it because of magic?”
They had tried everything, even force, but it didn’t budge.
So, maybe there was a force that could not be explained in words protecting that door. Roger ran his fingers through his hair and nodded.
“Maybe. First, let’s write a letter to His Majesty to see if he knows anything.”
A wooden sword slashed through the air with a roar of cheers. There was a sound of wind from the tip of the speedy sword. At first, after making a sound like this, Vivian’s hand hurt after hitting it, but it seems that she has made some progress.
“You’ve grown a lot, My Lady.”
Enka praised Vivian with a proud expression. If she had nothing to do, she practiced swordsmanship, and her skills improved by leaps and bounds. The first reason she wanted to learn swordsmanship was because of Roger, but now Vivian enjoyed it.
“You can use a real sword instead of a wooden sword like this.”
It was the highest compliment to Vivian, who had been the owner of a wooden sword for many years. Vivian smiled shyly and put down her wooden sword. Her wrists ached, perhaps because she had swung her sword in succession.
“Well. I don’t think I’m ready yet. My wrist is a little bit……”
As Vivian pointed to her wrist and groaned playfully, Enka smiled softly. It was an expression that could not have been imagined in the Imperial Palace. Since there were few women in the Knights of Eckhart, the two quickly became close.
The weather in the west today was sunny. Sweat was dripping down her forehead even though she hadn’t been outdoors for a long time. Vivian wiped her sweat and sat down on the wooden chair to one side. Enka handed her ice-cold water.
“Is the crack investigation going well?”
Drinking cold water, Enka suddenly asked.
“Ehh. We’ve just been keeping watch, or investigating that crack.”
Vivian recalled a crack that had been dormant for a time approaching two weeks. The wind blew pleasantly as if to erase her worries, but Vivian’s mind whirled as she recalled how complicated the cracks were.
“Thanks to My Lady who killed all the beasts, the West is unexpectedly quiet.”
After finishing her water, Enka came and sat down next to Vivian.
“If there is a crack, demonic beasts will appear again.”
“Isn’t My Lady going to take care of them too?”
At first she sounded serious, but Vivian knew Enka was joking. Vivian gave a fresh smile. At first, she didn’t know because Enka was so blunt, but when she got comfortable with her, Enka often joked around.
“If I had known this would happen, the Knights of Eckhart would not have come. My lady is so strong, I don’t know if we can help or not.”
From the beginning, the key figure of this mission was Vivian. She had her powers, but she was also able to investigate and prepare for the fissures from which the beasts were emerging. The Knights of Eckhart were only an auxiliary force to help Vivian. She had come this far with that in mind, but in the current situation, she felt like a burden rather than a savior.
“I knew it from the beginning, but the power of My Lady is really…… It seems to be unfathomable. Our knights are trying to improve their skills to be on par.”
Enka often praised her for her abilities. Vivian, who was at first embarrassed, was now just laughing out loud.
“But there were times when I didn’t like it either. It was quite a difficult process until the spirit art was stably established in my body.”
“What do you mean?”
“Elemental art is not the power of human will, but the power of a spirit. Trying to force that kind of power into the human body has side effects. I had a fever of 40 degrees just before waking up. At the time, I really thought I was going to die.”
Signs of spirit art were not apparent from birth. Like a disease, it had an incubation period in the human body, then awoke at a certain age and its abilities bloom.
Of course, the awakening age was different for each elemental magician. In the case of Vivian, she was 14 years old, and just before awakening, as she told Enka, Vivian had a severely high fever. It was an incident that made her family’s hearts pound.
Enka murmured, raising her eyebrows at the story.
“I just thought it was a natural ability at birth,” she said.
Vivian shook her head resolutely and then whispered, mostly to herself.
“I thought I was just an ordinary person until I was 14.”
No matter how much she thought about it, the starting point of Vivian’s life, which had been boring and quiet, was the age of 14. The day she became a spiritist, one of the few in the world.
She didn’t know what Enka was thinking, because she was silent for a moment. She may be looking back to see if she has ever said anything that would be disrespectful to Vivian.
Vivian also sat in silence, until she suddenly remembered Enka’s past. It was the past that she heard from Roger.
In fact, as Vivian became closer to Enka, it was hard to believe that she had previously been on death row. Her sword was sharp and quick, but her own personality was gentle side. What the hell did Enka do to her that she deserved the death penalty?
‘Should I ask?’
She was curious, but she didn’t open her lips because she feared that it would be rude. But the more she kept her mouth shut, the more her curiosity grew.
“I found out that Sir Tainy and Sir Enka were on death row.”
“I just happened to hear it. I’m sorry if I offended you.”
At her absurd apology, Enka waved her hand, gesturing that it was okay. She made a face indicating she didn’t know how to tell her story. Silence followed.
“First of all, Tainy, the Captain, and I are from the same orphanage. So I knew them from a very young age.”
Orphanage. At that word, Vivian suddenly remembered the story from her dream. It was a part of Roger’s past that she asked about the other day. He revealed his past easily without showing any signs of hiding it.
“Then the orphanage caught on fire and we scattered. I ran away with Tainy, and ever since then, we walked around the back alleys together.”
As if recalling her distant past, Enka’s eyes lit up.
“But life in the back alleys were not that difficult. As young children, we headed to the southern estates looking for a place to squat. There, an old woman we met by chance took us in.
But the old woman was ill, so several years later, she collapsed. We went to the village to get medicine to save the woman who took care of us. But to the poor, the drug was exorbitantly expensive, so we stole the drug in the end.”
Enka’s story continued quietly.
“Coincidentally, the Imperial Knights came down on that day for a mission.”
It was an unexpected moment when her story had a drastic twist.
“If it had been the territorial police force, the punishment would not have been so severe. However, the pharmacist asked for help from the Imperial Knights. We were caught shortly thereafter. How could we outsmart trained knights? I was able to accept being caught, but Tainy has a temper…… ”
Enka’s story ended there. Vivian frowned at something she didn’t understand.
“You just stole drugs… The death penalty was imposed?”
“The situation was not as good as it looked on paper. They said that the medicine we stole was very rare and valuable. There was a lot of speculation about our actions because of that. It’s nonsensical, but there were also rumors that we were trying to steal it to use it as material for black magic. Isn’t black magic a sensitive matter? To make matters worse, the knight Tainy fought was of fairly high rank.”
Dungeon management was entirely the domain of the knights. It is said that it is a place where the word of a knight carries more strongly than anywhere else. Even thinking about that time again, Enka wrapped her arms around herself as if she were freezing.
“For stealing one medicinal herb, we were subjected to endless criminal trials. There was no one to save us, so they did not listen to our objections. Every time I closed my eyes and opened them, the charges snowballed and things kept getting worse.”
Vivian was speechless. Occasionally, she had heard of things like this. The fact that there were people who ended up climbing the stairs to death row for crimes they didn’t do. However, it was the first time she heard about it from a person who actually had such an experience.
Enka smiled weakly, as if she knew what Vivian was thinking.