Thanks for the ko-fi, Winzie ༼ つ ◕‿◕ ༽つ
Vivian’s eyes widened as she could hardly believe the sight before her. She had never dreamed that there would be such a secret space in the library. It seemed that the special device touched by Viscount Dinus was the key to opening this secret space.
Vivian carefully observed the men, memorizing the positions of the books Viscount Dinus had touched just moments ago.
The two people, who were unaware of her presence in the library, began to step into the secret alcove. Their figures disappeared in an instant.
Vivian was curious about what might be inside, but she knew that if she got any closer, she would surely be discovered. Instead, now that the two had disappeared, it was the perfect time to escape from the library.
With caution, Vivian approached the door. She carefully examined the surroundings and checked for any signs of movement outside. Viscount Dinus and Glen did not reveal themselves, even after she opened the door.
Vivian proceeded cautiously, keeping an eye on her surroundings. She couldn’t afford to make noise and draw attention to herself. With haste, she moved forward. She couldn’t help but feel anxious after suddenly encountering those who had entered the mansion, not knowing who they were or what their intentions were.
–Does the Eckhart Order have any chance of defeating the ever-increasing demonic forces, no matter how hard they try? Even if they manage to hold their ground for now, in time, they will inevitably be at a disadvantage. Someone may even die. The Royal Knights must wait for the right moment and seize the opportunity to eliminate them, especially when the Eckhart Order is weakened.
Vivian was particularly concerned about what Viscount Dinus had said. Her worries about the Eckhart Order, about which she had received no news since yesterday, surged once again.
The Royal Knights had come here to deal with the exhausted Eckhart Order, who were outnumbered by demons. They couldn’t afford to let things go that way. Vivian clenched her fist, resolving that she couldn’t allow it to happen. With a sudden burst of determination, she moved toward the servants’ staircase.
Unlike the central hall that led downstairs, this area was quieter. Vivian, gripping the railing, carefully descended the stairs. However, she paused when she sensed a presence in the distance. It didn’t seem like someone was approaching, but if she went further down, she might reveal herself.
She pondered what to do and frantically scanned her surroundings. Fortunately, it appeared that everyone was inside the mansion, as the garden area seemed quiet.
After finishing her survey, she decisively placed her foot on the ledge of the large window. It was a rather spacious square window. When she turned the latch and pushed the glass, the window opened silently.
Vivian cautiously poked her head through. The window was not far from the second floor, so there wasn’t much space between her and the ground.
Although the area below was somewhat withered, it still contained enough lush foliage to serve as a cushion upon landing. Moreover, given the ongoing rain, any noise would likely be muffled.
Vivian nervously surveyed her surroundings for any signs of people. Fortunately, the garden area seemed quiet.
With her exploration complete, she wasted no time and placed her foot on the outside ledge of the window. The fear of being discovered by the owner of the sensed presence outweighed the fear of jumping down. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead.
Vivian, perched on the window sill, took a deep breath. She regulated her tense chest with steady breaths and covered her mouth with her hand. It was to prevent any inadvertent scream that might attract attention.
Without making a sound, she inhaled deeply. At that moment, Vivian leaped off the window sill.
Thanks to the not-so-great height of the window, she reached the thicket of bushes below in no time. The rustling of the bushes made some noise, but as expected, it was mostly drowned out by the sound of rain.
Feeling relieved that she had landed safely, Vivian quickly got up and pressed herself against the exterior wall of the mansion. Her silver hair had become damp due to the rain. She used a cord to tie her hair hastily and then put on her hood.
Seeing things from the inside and experiencing them firsthand were indeed different. The view of the outside landscape from the mansion had been nothing more than a vague observation of heavy rain, but now that she was directly exposed to the rain, involuntary sounds of discomfort escaped her lips.
Standing in her spot, she gazed at the stable for a moment. However, she quickly turned her head. Vivian had no experience in horseback riding. She had tried it when she was young, but her struggle to maintain balance had resulted in several falls, so she had never held the reins again. In the end, she chose to go on foot.
Silently but quickly moving through the garden, Vivian’s robe was soaked through. The pouring raindrops pelted her body relentlessly. The pressure pressing down on her body made her dizzy.
Having come only halfway through what didn’t seem like a particularly long distance, Vivian took a moment to catch her breath behind a tree.
Was her breathlessness due to the fear of being discovered or the anxiety about whether her companions were safe? Vivian couldn’t distinguish between the two.
‘Getting out of here…’
While taking a breather, she decided to organize her thoughts. First and foremost, she left the mansion to avoid the eyes of Viscount Dinus and the Royal Knights who had come with him. If she managed to escape from the mansion unharmed, where should she go next?
The answer came quickly.
She needed to inform her companions about what she had seen. Why she had left the mansion against direct orders. Who had come to the mansion. What the newcomers wanted.
‘Where would Roger be?’
However, the problem was the location of the Eckhart Order. Due to the complete lack of news since yesterday, she had no idea where they were right now. Vivian sat crouched, wrapping her body tightly with her robe, as she made an effort to trace their movements.
If she were the Eckhardt Order, if it were Roger, where would they have gone in the village, what would they have done, and where would they have started…?
The day Roger had taken her to the village, they visited a hidden entrance in the forest.
Surely the Eckhart Order would have sent the villagers into hiding first. The hiding place would most likely be the same as the one Roger had shown her before.
Regardless of the direction she went, as long as she found that entrance, she could meet Roger.
Vivian decided on her destination and got up. Her robe’s hem had become damp. She squeezed it, causing water to drip steadily.
There was no time to waste. After making her preparations, Vivian briskly stepped forward to cross the remaining half of the garden.
Navigating the garden, now shrouded in darkness and drenched by the rain, was both easy and challenging. It was difficult because she had to carefully observe her surroundings while struggling to see ahead. However, she managed to reach the mansion’s front gate without being discovered.
The gate was partially open, enough for a carriage to pass through. Seeing no gatekeeper soldiers, it seemed that the arriving knights had taken them first.
Vivian slipped through the opening in the gate and emerged outside. Unfortunately, her troubles were just beginning. According to reports, a crack had appeared in the town beyond the mansion walls, and now the town was likely teeming with ominous and strange demons.
‘I can’t use elemental magic… Will I be able to safely pass through the village and meet Roger?’
As she recalled the eerie sound that echoed beneath the mansion walls, her hands trembled involuntarily. Back then, she felt no fear because they held a clear advantage. But now…
She felt uneasy, restless. Why did she have to stay here alone? She thought that she should have persisted in following them against Roger’s opposition. However, she realized that if she hadn’t stayed in the mansion, she wouldn’t have known the true intent behind the current situation.
‘I need to do what I can.’
Vivian tightly clenched her fist, gripping the sword she had retrieved from her bedroom. It was better to be armed from the beginning since she didn’t know what monsters might appear.
Even though she had only stood there for a moment, her face was already soaked. After wiping her face with her sleeve, Vivian began running towards the village.
Her eyes, like a lake filled with moonlight peeking out between dark clouds, glistened with determination.
* * *
She couldn’t tell how much time had passed.
She couldn’t be sure, but judging by how her legs were wobbling as if they would give way any moment, it seemed like quite a long time had passed since she left the mansion. It took her twice as long to cover a distance that would have taken only 5 to 10 minutes by carriage.
At first, the sword that had felt relatively light now felt as heavy as lead, but it was her only weapon, and she couldn’t afford to discard it. In fact, she clung to it even tighter as it became more difficult.
Running absentmindedly, she suddenly found herself at the outskirts of the village. She stopped briefly, panting heavily, to catch her breath. Now, she just had to pass through here and head into the forest. Fortunately, during her journey here, she hadn’t encountered a single monster, but her exhausted body made it feel like no stroke of luck at all.
To clear her foggy mind, she bit down hard on her lower lip.
She firmly gripped the sword that had been hanging loosely by her side and walked slowly along the straight path that lay ahead.
Due to the anxiety of not knowing when the monsters might appear, her grip on the sword tightened, and her palms began to tingle as if an electric current were running through them.
While scanning her surroundings, she abruptly turned around as she heard a sound from behind. The empty street stretched behind her.
As she turned to face forward again, she sensed a presence up ahead. The area was so quiet that there wasn’t a person, let alone a monster, but her heart tightened regardless.
With the sword aimed forward, she scanned back and forth. Now, with a presence felt from all directions, she couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from. Facing a stationary target and dealing with a moving one were worlds apart.
Suddenly, the presence disappeared. She quickly looked around.
In that moment, Vivian saw a long shadow cast on the ground by the moonlight. It was just beyond her shoulder. Desperately, she turned her body, but it was already too late. A monster that had been crouched on a rooftop rushed towards her through the rain.
With a scraping sound, the force of the charging monster was relentless. Vivian, who had blocked the monster’s swinging hand with her sword, was quickly pushed back.
The hook-like claws, imbedded in purple skin, scratched at her as if they were about to tear her skin apart. Vivian’s clear pupils were quickly clouded with fear.
TL’s note : Roger, where are you? ;-;
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