“Good night, Daniel.”
After saying goodbye, the hallway was quiet enough to feel chilly. The only illumination in the silent hallway were the lanterns hung on the wall at regular intervals.
Roger and Vivian stood side by side and walked down the hallway without saying a word. Just before going to Daniel’s room, Vivian heard a lot of commotion from the first floor, but it seemed that the knights, whose bedtime was considerably later than hers, were exhausted from dealing with the beasts and fell asleep early. She wondered if the noise earlier was caused by an injury.
“Are all the other knights okay?”
When their commander was injured, the knights under him couldn’t help but worry. The brightness of the lamps were so weak that the end of the hallway looked like a gaping hole. Vivian was closer to him than usual without realizing it.
“Be careful not to get hurt after this.”
Today, Vivian’s heart almost stopped three times. The first time was when someone called Roger with a panicked voice. The second time was when he came to see Daniel and was holding his arm, injured. And the third was when his sleeve was removed, and his serious wound was revealed.
Fortunately, Daniel was there. If it hadn’t been for Daniel’s healing magic, Roger might have lost his arm. It was just another reason for her to be grateful to Daniel.
Roger, who had been walking for a long time, stopped suddenly. Vivian turned to face him with a puzzled look.
“Today’s mistake was not mine, it was Tainy’s.”
“The demonic beasts rushed in, and he swung his sword wildly, wanting to escape…… ”
It was the most pathetic tone she had ever heard from him. Apparently, he was hurting his self-esteem to soothe Vivian’s worries. He felt pathetic that he was making excuses like this, and stopped talking with a small smile.
“…… So, it’s nothing to worry about.”
Perhaps he was embarrassed that he spoke too quickly over a trivial matter, so his voice was lower than before. Vivian stared at him blankly. She couldn’t believe that the strongest knight in the Empire was shy. Roger began to move again, and the two walked side by side.
Roger reached his bedroom first. But he did not enter, and stood in front of the door, staring at Vivian.
She moved to open her door right away, but she felt his tired gaze on her back and turned her head. He was still staring at her. Perhaps interpreting her bewildered expression, he leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. The look in his eyes seemed unsatisfied.
“You greeted Daniel kindly.”
His jealousy was still raging.
“Aren’t you going to greet me?”
In front of everyone, or at least in front of the Emperor, he was modest and full of dignity, but in front of Vivian, he acted like a child. Vivian made an absurd expression, remembering just how late it was. If she didn’t greet him the way he wanted, their fight could go on all night.
“…Good night sir.”
Her reluctant greeting was awkward. It was because she knew very well that she would see him again in her dreams soon. In her dream, she would meet a version of this man who was more passionate and forceful than now. The thought made her heart flutter.
Hearing her reluctant greeting, he corrected his posture and opened the door. She couldn’t see his face, so she didn’t know that there was a huge grin plastered all over it.
Vivian entered her bedroom and did not go to bed immediately, but instead took out a piece of paper. It was where she wrote down all the information she had on the crack phenomenon. A new line was going to be added.
Vivian dipped her quill in ink and wrote carefully.
[2. It has to do with black magic]
They had been in this land for some time, but this was the only information they had found. What she wrote might not even be accurate. Vivian ran her hand over her face, perplexed and confused.
‘Spirit magic can block black magic.’
She suddenly remembered what Daniel had said.
He spoke proudly, as if it were an interesting subject. If he was so attracted to its research, that meant that little was known about the field.
Vivian repeatedly opened her hand and closed it. Removing the cracks was much easier than she expected. She stretched the crack, and when she inserted a root into the magic circle, the magic circle broke and the crack disappeared.
‘Spirit magic is black magic……’
Those words floated around in her head. However, when she lay down on the bed, her body felt more comfortable and she was able to fall asleep in an instant.
She heard a rapping on her window.
Her hazy mind was slowly awakened by the noise. Vivian ruffled her frizzy hair and blinked her eyelids. Thick raindrops were trickling down her window.
‘It would be unreasonable to go out today.’
After coming to the West, she spent most of her time in these walls. She also spent a considerable amount of time on the fortress wall, where she chatted with Chen, and watched over the land with Roger.
It was clear that the walls would be drenched in rain for the rest of the day. It made her sympathize with the soldiers who spent more time on the walls than she did.
Vivian hurriedly lowered her feet off of her bed. She checked the clock on her desk and saw that the hour hand had just passed the number 7. It was a little past 7 am.
After tying her hair up neatly and putting on a shawl, Vivian left her bedroom. Unlike her warm bedroom, the hallway was gloomy and colder than usual, giving her goosebumps. Vivian pulled the shawl tighter over her shoulders and hurried down to the first floor.
“Ah, My Lady. Good morning!”
She saw several wet soldiers standing in the front hall. Chen, who was standing in the center, looked up when he heard someone approaching and greeted her cheerfully. He looked like a wet mouse.
“Good morning. It’s raining a lot, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Sir Orpheus has forbidden everyone from going outside today.”
Vivian thought that Roger was very diligent. Speaking of Roger, he was not with them. She hurriedly asked if he was still outside.
“He hasn’t come in yet. He’s giving orders to the soldiers outside.”
Vivian nodded and called a passing servant to bring the soldiers dry towels. The servants hurriedly brought them towels one by one, and the soldiers headed to their rest area. Vivian, who watched from afar, quietly opened the front door to the mansion. A gust of wind and rain swept through the small gap and coated her entire face.
‘I think I’m going to come back very wet.’
When she looked through the window, it wasn’t like this. Vivian quickly gave up on going out.
She contemplated whether to go back to her room or not, but stopped when the soldiers from before came to mind. Roger, who was still outside, must be more drenched than them.
“Could you bring me another towel?”
Vivian gave the same instruction as before. Before long, with towel in hand, Vivian sat down on the staircase. It was the best place to watch the front door. She rested the towel on her lap and stared at the door, willing it to open. Then she turned her eyes to the window at the sound of the roaring rain. She wanted the rain to subside a bit, but it didn’t. Instead, it fell more heavily. They had been in the West for a while, but this was the first time it had rained. It was the first dark day.
“Hey, My Lady. What are you doing here?”
Tainy, not in uniform, headed towards the door, but stopped when he saw Vivian sitting on the stairs.
Vivian got up to her feet in a hurry.
“Are you leaving? It’s raining a lot.”
“I want to visit the stables because I thought the horses would be uncomfortable due to the weather. Is that a towel?”
Because she suddenly got up, the towel that had been gently folded on her lap fell to the floor. Tainy’s gaze fell to Vivian’s feet, then climbed back up to her face. Vivian hurriedly picked it up and wiped it off, afraid that it might have gotten dirty.
“I heard that Sir Orpheus is out there.”
Tainy immediately narrowed his eyes and smiled sinisterly.
“Aha! Have you been waiting for the Commander this whole time?”
Vivian’s ears turned bright red at his playful tone. It wasn’t like she was caught doing anything suspicious. Vivian shook her head and quickly changed the subject.
“Are the Knights staying in the mansion today?”
“Yeah. With the weather like this, I don’t think we’ll be able to train. The Commander told me not to wake anyone up. They’re exhausted from yesterday.”
Roger took good care of his knights as well as the soldiers of the West. They must be tired, having worked daily for months.
Vivian woke up quite early, but Roger, who was outside, had woken up even earlier than that. Because of his high status, he couldn’t be lazy and was more diligent than anyone else.
“So everyone is still sleeping?”
“Yes. The people who wake up early usually wake up other knights when their shift is over, but I sent them all back to sleep.”
Tainy shrugged his shoulders, and put on a coat. He pulled the hood over his head, and turned towards the door. He clearly wanted to end the conversation and leave.
“The commander said he was going to look around for a while, so he’ll be back soon.”
Tainy’s gaze seemed to rest on the towel in Vivian’s hand. Vivian squinted at him, trying to understand his intentions. He smiled lightly, and then disappeared out the door. The sheets of rain swallowed him whole.
Vivian watched the rain pouring down through the gap in the door, hoping that Roger would return soon.