Thank you for the ko-fi, Sephiryn
༼ つ ◕‿◕ ༽つ
As Vivian shed hot tearsA, she suddenly flinched.
She didn’t know if all her running around would make a difference or not. But staying still could put Roger, who was struggling without her knowledge, in danger. Moreover, Gray, who had nothing to do with this, but was suffering for her, could also be at risk. The Eckhart Knights who were with them, as well as the other servants who might have been captured with Hamel, could be in danger too.
With every familiar face that came to mind, the apathy that had been creeping up on her began to peel away.
Even if nothing changed, she didn’t want to regret not trying at all. She wanted to give it her all and then regret, if necessary.
Vivian groped her body as she struggled to rise from her sitting position. Her limbs screamed in pain and agony, but despite that, she clenched her teeth and got up. She limped around the ruined house, searching for anything useful. Fortunately, after much hardship, she found a thin piece of cloth.
She removed her soaked robe and tightly wrapped the cloth around her bleeding wounds. Perhaps it was due to the sudden frustration, but for a moment, her mind became hazy as she looked at the blood she had shed.
With her stumbling body, Vivian finally managed to stand upright. She put on the robe and picked up the sword scattered on the floor. After calming her anxious heart with slow breaths, she stepped out of the broken door that the demon had smashed.
The wind, which felt strangely chilling today, brushed against her face. Taking it as a warning to stay alert, Vivian pressed her dry lips together and pulled her hood tightly over her head.
She didn’t know how deep into the alleyways she had come to avoid the demon. Even when she held onto the wall and took small steps forward, the narrow path seemed endless. It was a desperate situation, but she persistently moved her feet and eventually found her way out onto a wide straight path.
However, the fear of not knowing when the demon might appear again kept her from moving forward willingly. Unlike before, encountering a demon in her current state would likely lead to a dire outcome.
But returning to the narrow alley she had just left and making her way to the forest would take too long. In the end, Vivian decided to stick to one side of the dimly lit street and take one step at a time.
Trying to hide her presence as best as she could, Vivian, half-exhausted, sat down. Her forearms throbbed sharply as if needles were piercing them, and her entire body ached in ways that couldn’t be put into words. Moreover, after leaving the mansion, she had been exposed to relentless rain, and the biting cold was so intense that her jaw trembled.
She wanted to take a short break, but as soon as she shifted her position and sat down, all strength drained from her body. The sword that had been tightly held in her hand like a lifeline fell to the ground with a thud. With a dazed look, Vivian stared at the sword, then closed her eyes tightly and reached out towards it. Her mind was filled with the single thought of needing to move forward.
However, something grabbed the handle she was about to pick up.
For a moment, her vision blurred, and she couldn’t see clearly. Squinting to make her sight clear, Vivian suddenly noticed violet skin that had threatened her just moments ago. A shiver ran down her spine from head to toe at the realization.
Her body had stiffened so much that she couldn’t look up at the presence that had grabbed the part of the sword she was trying to lift. Nevertheless, the fear that consumed her entire being compelled her to recognize its existence.
Vivian desperately tried to get up, willing to abandon the only weapon she had against the demon. However, in her panic, she stumbled, her foot slipped and she fell.
Her ankle seemed to twist suddenly, and she felt a sharp pain. She was disheartened.
Then, clinging to the wall next to Vivian, the demon let out a deafening screech that felt like it could tear her eardrums apart. The eerie sound echoed through the empty space.
With frightened eyes, Vivian pushed her buttocks back. Now, with a useless leg, her only way to escape was to move her body as much as possible.
The demon in front of her seemed like a gaping pit of death. She knew that she would undoubtedly die if she were swallowed by it. Filled with that eerie certainty, Vivian couldn’t move a single finger.
Without fleeing or fighting back, Vivian, with a pale face, sat still, which seemed strangely unsettling to the demon. Slowly, it descended from the wall.
She couldn’t help but feel regret for coming to the Western Region in the first place. If she hadn’t come here, she wouldn’t have experienced this. Many memories flashed through her mind. Among them, the most vivid and bright memories were, of course, the memories of her parents. If she died here, her parents would surely be sad. They would regret allowing her to come here in the first place, pounding the ground and screaming while wearing grim, suffocating clothes. Just imagining her parents in pain like that caused her chest to ache intensely.
Roger, who had a helpless expression just like her parents, came to mind. He would feel so sad, perhaps even more than her parents.
The emotions that had been deeply suppressed in her, which hadn’t even been allowed to surface until now, began to surge as Vivian couldn’t help but cry silently.
As she gazed at it, the monster approached step by step. When the distance was just right, the monster would charge without hesitation, ready to tear her apart. Vivian’s hand trembled with fear at the thought. As the dark shadow approached, her throat tightened. The tension was so thick that she couldn’t even breathe.
Finally, when the shadow completely enveloped her body, the monster screamed and lunged. Vivian felt as if her heart was splitting in two with the sheer intensity of fear. But waiting, there was no pain. Her heart, heavy with fear, had barely returned to its normal rhythm when she opened her eyes.
Unexpectedly before her eyes unfolded a scene she had not foreseen. The monster, who was about to pounce on her, was frozen in place. The only thing preventing the monster’s attack was a rope wrapped around its neck. As its neck constricted, it clawed at the rope with all its might, emitting a guttural sound.
However, before the monster’s claws could cut the rope, someone agilely jumped down from the roof, landing on the monster’s shoulder. A single beam of moonlight pierced through the clouds, illuminated a sharp blade.
This sudden appearance, as if a miracle, pierced the monster’s only weakness with a flawless stroke. Unlike when she had stabbed, the person pulled out the sword without hesitation. Blue blood gushed from the pierced forehead.
Contrary to Vivian, who had endured countless hardships to defeat one, the figure who had vanquished the monster with a single gesture lightly jumped down to the ground. He stood right in front of Vivian. His movements, devoid of any urgency, were as graceful as a butterfly fluttering around a flower.
Even in the darkness, Vivian recognized the graceful figure and held her breath. The pent-up sorrow that she had kept inside, knowing she had finally found the one she had been looking for, almost burst out.
Turning his back, he called Enka, who was tying the monster with a rope along with other knights. Without the need for further explanation, Enka understood the meaning and approached Vivian, who was sitting on the ground.
As the bound monster gradually faded and disappeared like smoke, one of the knights picked up the fallen rope.
“We didn’t know there were still survivors in the village.”
It seemed that neither Roger nor the other knights had recognized Vivian due to her hood, thinking she was just an ordinary villager.
“Are you okay? Why are you still here… My goodness, what happened to your face?!”
Relieved of her tension, Vivian couldn’t answer and touched her face. It suddenly occurred to her that she had been splattered with blood earlier, both hers and the monster’s. She didn’t need to look in a mirror to know that her appearance must be a mess.
Vivian, who was about to answer after swallowing her saliva, suddenly tried to raise her head to see the owner of the feet that had come into her field of vision. However, before she could do so, Roger, who had approached her like an encroaching shadow, bent down and met her gaze. His normally dark amber eyes seemed unnaturally rigid, as if they couldn’t believe what they saw.
Roger’s face twisted, confirming he recognized Vivian. Soon he raised his hand and gingerly touched her bruised and swollen cheek. A hand that was steady when facing monsters was now trembling.
“Why… are you here?”
He asked in a somewhat static voice. Her chest, which had been fine when she saw Enka, started to tremble as soon as she saw him. This intense reaction was clearly a sense of relief. Vivian couldn’t hold back the tears welling up in her eyes and lowered the corners of her mouth. She needed to explain why she had come all the way here now that she had finally met him.
“I think it’s best to return to the hideout for now, Commander, even if just to check on Lady’s condition,”
She was about to speak when Enka whispered quietly. Roger, who hadn’t taken his eyes off Vivian, briefly looked around and nodded in agreement.
“Can you stand up?”
Vivian tried to answer yes and get up, but for some reason, her body didn’t respond with strength. Sensing her hesitation, Roger reached out to help her get up. Unfortunately, it was exactly where the monster’s claws had inflicted severe wounds.
She screamed, and Roger, startled, released her hand. He quickly unwrapped the robe that was tightly wrapped around her. When he noticed the blood-stained fabric, Roger fell silent for a moment. His fierce gaze soon rose to Vivian’s face.
“Did you encounter a monster?”
Vivian, who had been crying, swallowed her saliva. Somehow, his expression was even more severe now. Under his demanding gaze, Vivian nodded hesitantly.
With a firm grip, he raised Vivian up and then looked at Enka. Without hesitation, he signaled to grab the sword. It was the sword he had given her, the one that had played a significant role in getting her this far. They couldn’t leave it behind.
Roger held her tightly, his hand on her shoulder, and stiffened. Not knowing what he was thinking, Vivian felt relieved when she saw him instructing Enka to retrieve the sword.
They moved immediately after that. The knights who had come with them drew their swords and went ahead into the alley. Roger followed them, still holding her.
Vivian, who had been lying down, asked with uncertainty about their direction.
“Where are we… going?”
In the midst of her question, a cough escaped her throat unintentionally. His expression grew even darker at the sound.
“We’re going to the hideout.”
“But this isn’t the entrance.”
“There’s another entrance connected to the village.”
Realizing that he was talking about the entrance in the forest, Vivian nodded as Roger answered in a low voice.
After that, they moved quickly and quietly. The knights entered a small warehouse at the innermost part of the alley. While the others kept watch for any monsters, Enka sat in the middle of the warehouse, feeling around with her hands.
Not long after, her hand found something uneven, and she pulled it. As she did, the seemingly solid floor split in half, creating an entrance.
“Can you fit?”
Since he couldn’t enter while holding her, Vivian moved away from his grip.
Her ankle throbbed as she stood on one foot. Nevertheless, she was able to summon more strength than when she was alone, perhaps thanks to meeting them.
“There’s a mage in the hideout, so you should be able to get treatment right away.”
Seeing the painful expression on her face, Roger whispered softly, his voice even more pained. Nodding her head, Vivian followed slowly behind the knights who had entered first, descending the ladder.
TL’s note: Please make up already;-;
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