Thank you for the ko-fi Winzie 🙂
“What’s going on, did you fight?”
Vivian heard a voice from behind Camila’s shoulder. When she turned her head, Gray and Camila were standing there, apparently just coming out of the reception room.
Camila, who had returned to the mansion with the Eckhart Knights, was ready to leave. When Vivian asked with her eyes where they were going, Camila, who was wearing a robe hood, smiled broadly.
“We received a substantial deposit, so we need to investigate thoroughly. It seems that the rift is somehow related to dark magic no matter how you look at it.”
Not only the knights but also Camila, who was with them, witnessed the rift and seemed to think that an investigation was necessary. Vivian, who even in this gruesome situation was glad that a magician like her was helping, suddenly stopped at the thought that occurred to her.
Gray suddenly grabbed Vivian’s shoulders, surprised and bewildered.
The solution was so close that Vivian wondered why she hadn’t thought of it until now. Ultimately, it required the power of elemental magic to eliminate the rift, and wasn’t her master a renowned elemental mage?
“I need your help, Master.”
Vivian hurriedly explained the past incidents to Gray.
“So, can you use elemental magic to get rid of that rift?”
Afraid that her master might refuse, Vivian hesitated and couldn’t bring herself to beg for his help to the end. There was no time to waste while they were in this situation.
Gray, who had been silently watching his student, sighed deeply.
“Alright, I understand. I’ll help, so what should we do about that face of yours?”
Vivian’s face, which had been filled with hesitation and anxiety just a moment ago, brightened instantly. Gray continued to blame himself, thinking he had chosen the wrong student, though Vivian didn’t hear a word of it.
“It seems urgent, so we should go quickly.”
At Camilla’s urging, Gray stopped grumbling and turned around. Gray, who was also clad in a robe, sighed again as he looked out the window. However, perhaps because he had stated it with his own mouth that he would go, he followed Camila without further ado.
Vivian, who couldn’t leave the mansion with the two of them, tried to do what she could while hoping they would quickly join up with the knights. However, inside the mansion, the only things she could do were pacing back and forth, checking if the rain had stopped, and praying for everyone’s safety.
Perhaps due to her helplessness, her desire for elemental magic felt exceedingly intense. There was a way to find elemental magic again, according to Gray’s words…
‘Doing it with a man.’
At the moment, that seemed to be the most likely and best way.
She was fortunate that Roger wasn’t by her side right now. If he were, she might have acted unnaturally.
Thinking of Roger brought back the heated conversation from earlier. His voice, urging her to stay inside the mansion, asking what she could possibly do outside, cut her deeply. Even thinking about it again, it felt like a blade was piercing through her heart.
What would it have been like if she hadn’t lost her abilities?
Perhaps she would have confidently stood by his side, striving to solve the problem more assuredly than anyone else. It was regrettable that she couldn’t do that. For the first time in her life, Vivian realized that physical hardship was better than emotional hardship.
The village would now be covered in moss, just like the desolate west long ago. Since the cracks appeared, monsters would appear. Vivian shuddered at the thought of the monsters that threatened to tear the knights apart.
Above all, she worried that the overcast sky was so dark that no light could penetrate it. Monsters thrived on darkness and responded to it more.
“Please, let everyone be safe.”
Vivian looked at the thick, ashy-colored mansion walls like the overcast clouds and wished for it so.
She didn’t know how the monster eradication was progressing, but she could tell there were difficulties. The knight order and Gray, along with Camilla, did not return to the mansion, even after nightfall.
Occasionally, there were loud noises from the direction of the village. Each time, Vivian would stop what she was doing and gaze endlessly in the direction of the village. However, doing so did not ease her frustration.
Unable to bear it, she had gone to the mansion’s entrance with her robe several times. But each time, she stopped as the voice of Roger, who scolded her harshly, came to her mind. His reproach kept haunting her.
As night fell, her anxiety deepened. It was time for darkness to dominate in earnest. There was no sign of the noise subsiding, and Vivian stayed awake all night.
Since coming to the west, this was the first morning so full of unease. Despite the sun rising hazily in the sky, the reason for the persistent darkness was the damp rain that still soaked the ground.
It would be nice if the rain stopped, but by chance, the western rain that only fell once in a while was considerable today, just like the last time.
Time passed too slowly. It seemed like they would resolve the issue and return quickly, but it had been a whole day since she had seen the knights. She asked Hamel several times if someone had returned, just in case, but each time, she shook her head with a gloomy expression, much like Vivian.
‘Is Master doing well?’
Gray helping out was very gratifying, but her bitterness couldn’t be helped. If only she hadn’t lost her abilities, she could handle that role competently.
Vivian shook her head, telling herself not to dwell on such thoughts. There was no need to dig into things that couldn’t be resolved.
She sat by the window and stared endlessly outside. It was as if she could peer beyond the invisible horizon with her own eyes.
From morning to noon and then to evening, Vivian looked out of the window in a state of anxiety and restlessness. The only fortunate thing in this unstable situation was that the raindrops had weakened.
Today, of all days, the ashy walls surrounding the mansion looked gloomy. The reason was that not a single soldier who roamed the top with lively faces could be seen. It had been a long time since they had left to assist the Eckhart Order.
Truly, the only one left in the mansion was Vivian.
“If I had just followed him, even if I had to force myself…”
Vivian regretted it repeatedly, tapping the streaked water droplets on the window with her fingers. She felt so sorry for herself yesterday when she flinched at his words and ultimately abandoned her will to follow him.
What he had said first was about their comrades, and yet she was the only one who had fallen so far behind. It was too bitter to express in words.
Roger worried about losing her elemental magic. However, while she understood it in her head, her heart couldn’t accept it. At the very least, if he considered her a comrade, she should have followed him even if she had to force herself.
Being alone intensified her anxiety, leading to deeper contemplation. Thinking that she should do something other than sitting like this, Vivian got up from where she had been sitting.
It was then. Even though Vivian hadn’t searched for her first, Hamel hurriedly entered the room.
“You need to leave right away!”
Vivian furrowed her brow at the unexpected words. Hamel, who never raised her voice, was in a hurry.
Vivian raised an eyebrow at the noise coming from outside the open bedroom door.
“Suddenly, some knights rushed into the mansion. They’re holding all the servants on the first floor right now. From the situation, it doesn’t seem like they’re on our side. You need to run away quickly!”
Hamel quickly opened the wardrobe and handed Vivian a clean robe. While she was hurriedly getting ready, the noise from outside increased. The sound of swords scraping against something, loud shouts, and heavy footsteps overlapped and echoed.
As Hamel was about to go out, realizing they had already reached the second floor, she looked flustered for a moment and then firmly locked the door.
“I’ll go outside to buy you some time. So, my Lady, please hide somewhere for now!”
Hamel quickly went out and closed the door behind her. Left alone, Vivian realized that she couldn’t stay like this and moved urgently.
A noise from outside was heard once. Then, with a thud, a dull sound that made the ground tremble rang out. Concerned that Hamel might have been injured, Vivian hesitated for a moment, then remembered her advice to hide and became desperate.
However, there was no suitable place in the bedroom to hide. The four-legged bed was raised, and would reveal everything as soon as the door was opened. Behind the curtain would be too obvious, and she would be discovered under the table in no time.
As Vivian hesitated, the mysterious knights had already reached the sitting room, and various voices could be heard as they quickly checked the room.
With no other choice, Vivian hid in the wardrobe in one corner of the bedroom. She knew it was the most likely place to be checked, but with no time and limited space, she had no other option.
As she hid in the wardrobe, a beam of light seeped through the crack in the wardrobe door. The view was narrow like a needle hole, but she felt like she could still see.
Knights with sheathed swords moved quickly and immediately turned her bedroom into a mess. They rapidly checked under the bed and desk, and even behind the curtain.
“Check that wardrobe over there.”
One of the knights pointed to the wardrobe where Vivian was hiding. Among them, the knight closest to the wardrobe started to approach slowly.
Vivian swallowed hard as the distance between them grew smaller.
‘Should I leave now?’
Her heart pounded anxiously. Her hand holding the wardrobe latch tightened. Perhaps she might have to open the door first and get out.
It was that moment.
“Oh, don’t touch that wardrobe over there.”
Someone prevented the knight from approaching the wardrobe.
The knight who had been walking toward the wardrobe stopped and turned his head. The tension that had enveloped Vivian dissipated with the sound of his halted steps. However, there wasn’t time to relax. She immediately focused her on the situation outside the wardrobe.
“Captain ordered us not to touch the wardrobe at the end of the second-floor corridor.”
It was the voice that had stopped the knight from approaching the wardrobe earlier. Vivian, who had been sitting quietly, squinted her eyes as the voice somehow felt familiar.
Narrowing her field of vision, it gradually shifted, eventually illuminating the area near the door. Finally, she saw the man that stood there.
Vivian doubted her own eyes and pressed her face against the gap in the wardrobe door to get a better look. But as if to reassure her that what she had seen was not an illusion, his face turned in her direction and became clearer.
That man, that man was undoubtedly…
‘Husson Audney from the Viscounty Audney.’
‘Yes, a member of the Royal Knights.’
It was him.
They had first met at a banquet, and he had brazenly approached her during her sword training sessions with Roger.
Why was Husson Audney here? Vivian pondered the reason carefully, but she couldn’t discern it clearly.
“Why did you say not to open the wardrobe?”
The approaching knight asked with a puzzled expression. Husson scratched the back of his head and sighed.
“I heard that the late Sir Ozent imprisoned his disobedient apprentice, who eventually turned into a dark sorcerer, in that wardrobe against his will.”
The mention of dark sorcery made Vivian’s hand gripping the wardrobe latch twitch.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
While Vivian was taken aback, the knight was surprisingly composed. His attitude seemed nonchalant towards dark sorcery. Although she was suspicious, she couldn’t delve deeper into her thoughts as she focused on their conversation.
With endless curiosity, the knight explained with a sigh.
“To turn someone who isn’t a dark sorcerer into one, you have to infuse a certain amount of dark magic into a magic scroll and forcibly inject it into the person’s body using the scroll. There are other methods, but that is the most reliable. It’s possible that the dark magic used in that scroll may still be lingering in the wardrobe. Since you’re not skilled in handling dark magic yet, you should stay away from it as much as possible.”
The knight seemed to understand quite well, while Vivian was left somewhat puzzled. His demeanor appeared as if handling dark sorcery was not a big deal. Though she had doubts, she had no time to think deeply about their conversation.
Sighing, Husson, who had lost interest, turned away from the wardrobe. Vivian was quietly relieved but her head was spinning with complex thoughts.
Why was Husson Audney here, and what was the conversation about dark sorcery just moments ago? None of it made any sense, and she couldn’t even begin to grasp the threads of the situation.
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