Chapter 303.2

But Aldrit wasn’t even listening anymore. He didn’t care that much about the scales, but he did start to think about something else.

When he had asked Mara about Mahar and all he had said about him was that Mahar was his enemy.

Sang-je is Mahar, Aldrit realized. I need to let the queen know.

He looked back at the mouse and glared. He was determined to let the queen know about Mahar, but would it be okay to bring the mouse along with him?

“Only I know how to deal with Mahar,” Mara had told him.

Aldrit didn’t know if he could believe Mara’s claim enough to bring him to the queen.

“I’ll let you meet her if and only if,” Aldrit stopped to take a breath as the mouse’s ears twitched, “you promise not to harm the queen. If you do, I will do everything in my power to make you pay.”

Fine. I can’t harm an Anika anyway.

“I’m not just talking about directly harming her—”

I said fine! Why do you have to take things so seriously? Now, when are we leaving? It’ll take a while to get to the castle so we should hurry.

Aldrit frowned at the mouse. When he spoke to Mara, it felt a lot like speaking to an old man.

He remembered how his ancestors weren’t very fond of humor, even after they had lived in the dark basement for as long as they had. It made sense that a lark who had spent most of his time with them would share the same qualities. Though it was because of a deal, the tribe still owed a lot to the lark. If it wasn’t for their home in the caves, they wouldn’t have survived.

Eventually, he decided to go to the Hashi kingdom. He needed to meet with the queen, but he wasn’t sure when he would be able to do that. He also considered searching for other factions of the tribe while he was there. He didn’t know how long all his tasks would take.

He wasn’t worried about leaving. The wise ones and the young ones could be trusted to take care of the tribe. He planned on leaving quietly after assigning a few tasks to members of the tribe, but he knew that, despite wanting to leave in peace, the next dawn, they would be waiting for him at the entrance of the lake to see him off.

All the while, the mouse wouldn’t stop talking.

So, I told those old people, why not make a deal that will benefit us all?

His stories seemed to be on a loop.

How noisy, Aldrit couldn’t help but think to himself. He missed the days when he traveled alone in the desert. Now that he had a companion to worry about, the desert seemed too wide and their journey seemed too long.


It was a wise decision for Eugene to ask Alber for more time. She knew that she would have regretted ending the dream early if she had known there was a possibility for more time together. She made sure to try and get as much information as she could.

“Mara is a lark,” Alber told her.

Eugene nodded, trying to put the pieces together.

There wasn’t a single thing that Alber couldn’t answer. The younger woman felt like she had been given the answers to an incredibly difficult exam.

Mara is a lark. She couldn’t help but be angered to learn that so many of these people had been monsters all along.

“What is Mara planning?”

Alber shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said. “The monster thinks that all larks are monsters, but it didn’t tell me anything specific. From what I’ve understood, Sang-je had plans against Mara, but they didn’t seem to work. He had made a mistake or something like it.”

Alber had known about Mara’s existence for a few hundred years already. Mara acted as the head of a religion just as Sang-je had, and his following was steadily growing in size. Sang-je had told her about how another lark was acting similar to him and he had asked her to search for his whereabouts. Alber, however, didn’t want to help. She believed the enemy of her enemy to be her friend and she hoped that the other lar would annoy Sang-je and inconvenience his plans.

But he was so insistent on her finding it that she was forced to look anyway. Surprisingly though, she couldn’t find it. It was as if something was blocking her.

“That monster was definitely bothered by the other lark’s presence,” Alber said. “20 years ago, he swore that he would kill all of Mara’s followers. But what sins do humans have to be used by a lark in that way? So, I told that monster that I had looked into the future and found that, if he killed those followers, the Anika he was looking for would never be born.”

“Did you really look into the future?”

Alber chuckled. “The future is limitless. No one knows.”

She lied, Eugene thought. She had noticed that Alber’s personality was quite strong. Though she had been persecuted by that monster for all those years, she only resented it, she never feared it.

She remembered what Dana had told her.

“A follower of Mara was rumored to have kidnapped you and disappeared soon after,” Dana had said. “People thought that, because one of Mara’s followers was involved, everyone tied to it would be jailed and kicked out of the Holy City. But Sang-je seemed to let it go.”

Eugene looked across the table at Alber. It was all thanks to her, she thought. If she didn’t step up or if Sang-je hadn’t listened to her, those followers might not have survived. They wouldn’t have just been kicked out, they would have been brutally murdered… just like in the book I wrote.

Suddenly, a vision flashed through her head: Mara’s followers, all oppressed.

She had written that in her novel.



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