Thanks for the Ko-fi, Winzie
༼ つ ◕‿◕ ༽つ
Just like when she was closing a rift, the malevolent energy began to flow through the gaps between her fingers. At the same time, her benevolent power was being sucked away and gradually disappeared, being pulled into an unseen abyss. It was an overwhelming suction force that her supply couldn’t keep up with.
Vivian shuddered at the occasional tingling sensation that spread through her hand. Every time it happened, Roger’s eyes, watching her from behind, darkened with concern. He felt utterly pathetic, realizing that in this situation, he couldn’t be of any help.
“Roger, how is it?”
Vivian asked without taking her eyes off the magic circle, and Roger glanced briefly at the window.
“It’s still the same.”
The Gateway was still floating in the sky.
It had been only ten minutes since she began consistently channeling spirit magic. Ten minutes should have been enough for a considerable amount to seep in, but there was still no response. She began to feel suffocated, wondering if the principles behind disabling magic circles and closing rifts were different.
She started to exert more force in drawing up her spirit magic. Since her awakening, she had never drawn up spirit magic to this extent. On top of that, the magic circle, like a black hole, was still absorbing energy without showing any signs of weakening.
Roger noticed that her hand was trembling slightly. He couldn’t stand by and watch any longer, so he put down his sword and approached her.
Vivian was startled by the sudden warmth on the back of her hand, which she couldn’t move due to her situation. She quickly lifted her gaze and saw his large hand gently caressing hers.
Unable to remove her hand from the magic circle, Vivian could only raise her voice, worried that he was putting himself in danger.
He reassured her in a low, soothing voice that rang in her ears. Roger held her tightly from behind, as if embracing her, and continued to gently stroke the back of her hand. Vivian’s internal turmoil subsided with his affectionate touch, and strangely, the trembling in her hand stopped.
“You can’t face this danger alone.”
Roger firmly held her fingers, as if he would never let go. His strong grip provided a deep sense of security.
Vivian looked at him with a worried expression but eventually turned her gaze back to the magic circle. She knew how stubborn Roger could be, especially when it came to her. And now, his determination was stronger than ever. So, the only way to keep him out of danger was to quickly eliminate this sinister culprit, the magic circle.
With renewed determination, Vivian focused on summoning the power of the spirits while struggling to maintain her concentration.
Roger seemed unfazed by the strange, wriggling energy under her hand. He didn’t waver at all, as if he had no intention of letting go. His unwavering loyalty conveyed a sense of security.
It was then.
In the central part of the magic circle, which had shown no response until now, a blue light flickered, as if it had been activated. Gradually, this reaction spread throughout the entire magic circle, as if a reaction had been triggered.
Vivian, who had been staring blankly at the phenomenon, felt a sudden seizure causing a painful piercing sensation in her eyes. She snapped back to her senses when she felt a hand on her waist. She felt as if she was on the edge of a precipice. Roger had sensed it as well, which was why he pulled her closer. With determination, she channeled all her remaining strength into the magic circle.
The expected response appeared not from the magic circle but from outside the window.
With a deafening roar that felt like it would deafen her, a powerful earthquake shook the ground as if it was going to split in two. Vivian’s body shook violently, and Roger held her tightly. Shelves shook and books tumbled down with a loud crash. Vivian, with her head buried in his chest, closed her eyes.
After the earthquake, Vivian raised her head and saw the intact magic circle, and sank into despair. Then, she looked at the phenomenon that had appeared out the window.
The night sky, clearer than ever, displayed only serene clouds moving slowly, waiting for the soon-to-rise sun. The dark magic circle and the mysterious door had disappeared without a trace.
Upon seeing this pristine scene, Vivian finally felt the tension in her heart dissipate. She hesitantly reached out and touched the black magic circle. Unlike before, she didn’t feel any sharp energy.
“Vivian, are you okay? Did you get hurt earlier with the dark magic?”
Roger, who had assessed the situation by following her gaze, immediately examined her body. Vivian nodded her head, still a little dazed, but she suddenly became fearful that he might have been harmed by the dark magic.
“Are you alright? Earlier with the dark magic…”
With his arm wrapped around her shoulder, Roger finally smiled with relief.
Upon hearing his answer, the worries that had cluttered her mind faded away. With the tension that had been gripping her body completely gone, she suddenly felt fatigue washing over her. She leaned her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.
* * *
The sunlight filtering through her eyelids was unusually warm today.
Her body, exhausted from the events of last night, felt much lighter, thanks to the deep slumber she had enjoyed. Vivian opened her eyes and realized that she was in the mansion, in her own bedroom.
“Miss, are you awake?”
Hamel’s calm voice felt like a dream today. It was because her voice last night, urgently shouting for her to hide, had been so vivid in her memory. Still half-asleep and groggy, Vivian quickly sat up.
She stared at Hamel in surprise for a moment before gradually recalling the events from the previous night.
“Is everyone safe?”
She remembered how she had fallen asleep as if she had been knocked out, with no chance to check if they were okay. Hamel nodded with a gentle smile.
“Yes, no one was hurt.”
“What about Marquis Dinus and the Royal Knights?”
“We’ve captured them all. It seems the knights from the Eckhart Order are taking turns guarding them.”
Relieved that the intruders hadn’t caused another commotion, Vivian sighed in relief. Her tension eased as she realized that everyone was safe. Rubbing her eyes, she noticed that her dress from last night had been replaced with a clean nightgown. She was about to ask Hamel if she had helped her change when someone knocked on the bedroom door.
Hamel opened the door, and Roger stood outside.
He nodded to Hamel, who then left the room.
Vivian, startled by his presence and his abrupt posture, quickly became aware of her disheveled state as she had just gotten up and hurriedly lowered her head.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Roger reached out to her with a concerned look on his face as Vivian desperately tried to avoid him. She quickly turned her head, avoiding his hand.
“No, you can’t! I just woke up, and I’m not in any condition…”
Although he had seen her embarrassing state yesterday, she couldn’t help feeling self-conscious as she showed her true face immediately after waking up. Smirking at her protests, Roger extended his hand to gently lift her chin.
“Come on, lift your head. You’re pretty.”
‘What did he just say?’
Vivian’s face turned crimson at his unexpected words.
‘What is this man saying now?’
Forgetting all her efforts to hide her face, Vivian opened her mouth in astonishment.
“Now I can finally see your face.”
He said with a smile, brushing Vivian’s tousled hair aside. His tender touch sent shivers down her spine.
“Did you sleep well? Are you feeling okay?”
With a flushed face, Vivian nodded and then suddenly remembered the memory of him meddling with dark magic. Worried, she looked away and anxiously grabbed his shoulder.
“Are you okay? You must have had dark magic in your body…”
“Even if you didn’t say anything, I thought you might be worried about it, so I had a mage perform a purification spell on us. You received it while you were sleeping.”
His kind reply finally put Vivian at ease. When she released her grip on his shoulder, his fingers, which had been hovering around her throat, slowly moved down and pulled her dress down from her shoulders. When he revealed the marks on her skin, Roger, who had a broad smile, kissed her passionately on the mark.
He had expected her to push him away, but instead, she clung to him more firmly. With one hand, he pulled down her dress, and with the other, he firmly grasped the bed’s headboard. His actions became more intense. His hot lips gently explored her delicate skin. Making a sensitive sound, Vivian’s toes curled up.
Suddenly, she remembered his words about not giving her rest next time. Surely he didn’t mean this morning, did he? Anxiously rolling her eyes, Vivian finally spoke up amidst his deepening physical intimacy.
“U-uh, are we leaving today?”
Her voice sounded somewhat strained, as she had asked in a hurry. Roger paused, leaned on her shoulder, and chuckled.
“Why are you so tense?”
With a flushed face, she slightly turned her head to avoid his eyes. With a smile, he brushed aside her tangled hair.
“Now I can see your face.”
His words made her even more embarrassed, and she sighed inwardly.
She pushed her doubts aside and continued,
“When we’re ready, we’ll leave. But it seems that the teleportation spell can only accommodate a certain number of people, so our group may need to split in half.”
Since they had to take the captured criminals with them, they couldn’t use the teleportation that connected the mansion and the palace all at once, as they had when they came from the west. If the number exceeded the limit, it could cause a magical backlash, and they might end up in the wrong place.
That’s why Roger explained that half of the Eckhart Order would use the teleportation that connected to the palace, along with the criminals, and the other half would use the teleportation that connected to the city square.
“I have some tasks assigned by His Majesty, so I need to go to the city square.”
“Then… I want to go with you.”
Her announcement was quite unexpected, causing Roger to momentarily raise an eyebrow before smiling warmly.
Feeling his tender touch as he brushed her hair aside, Vivian lowered her eyes. For some reason, her heart fluttered, making her unable to meet his gaze.
“When you’re ready, come out. I’ll be waiting.”
He kissed her forehead and got up from the bed. As she was about to nod in agreement, she remembered the faces she hadn’t thought of until now and urgently grabbed his sleeve.
“By the way, what about Master?”
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