Chapter 363.2

During the active season, more robust measures were necessary to seal the seeds. However, during the dry season, as long as the seeds weren’t mishandled, they were stored with just a small amount of oil, minimizing the risk of breakage. Shaking the glass bottle lightly, one of the men spoke, “With three lark seeds, that number will be reduced to ashes in an instant.” 

Another voiced caution, “If it’s too threatening, it could be problematic. We need to extract the head of the Arse family without causing harm. How about releasing only two for now?” 

Consensus reached, the five men, knights known as Judges, discussed their sinister plan with a casual and nonchalant demeanor.

Unbeknownst to the city’s inhabitants, the Judges were far more malevolent than the world knew. Rarely seen within the city, Judges assumed an inconspicuous presence. Tasked with their mission by Sang-je, they had been covertly tailing Dana since her departure from the city.

“Retrieve the head of the Arse family. However, keep this information shrouded in secrecy,” Sang-je had commanded.

Sang-je asserted having unearthed evidence of Anika Jin’s collaboration with sinister forces, prompting her hasty flight, with the head of the Arse family purportedly serving as her clandestine sponsor. The veracity of the claim was inconsequential; even lacking a concrete rationale, the Judges would unquestioningly adhere to Sang-je’s orders. They were unequivocally obedient to his directives.

The Judges were enthralled by the power that allowed them to rationalize any action as the divine will. For them, force became the swiftest and most straightforward means of resolving matters.

While Sang-je had merely directed them to retrieve the head of the Arse family, providing no explicit details about the method, the Judges interpreted the mandate of secrecy as an implicit order to eliminate potential witnesses. This approach had consistently proven effective in previous missions without complications.

“Let’s release only two for now. And when the larks start moving, you and you…”

Gathering together, they swiftly devised a straightforward strategy.

Unleashing larks in attacks was a practice so extreme that even the most ruthless criminals shied away, not due to any sense of conscience, but because it posed an equal peril to themselves.

Remarkably, the knights had not been subjected to lark’s assaults. This unique immunity allowed them to venture outside the city even during the active season. Fueled by the confidence of Sang-je’s support and the perceived divine favor, the Judges considered themselves invincible, unbound by fear of any king.

As the night deepened, one of the men extracted two green seeds from the glass bottle and cast them onto the ground. He then skillfully hunted a nearby sparrow, harvesting its blood, mixing it with water, and sprinkling the concoction onto the seeds before swiftly retreating.

Breathless anticipation enveloped them as they watched the blood on the green seeds begin to bubble and boil.


The evening unfolded in tranquility, the anticipated rain graciously subsiding around sunset. Dana gazed skyward, where hues of red painted the heavens, a sight that stirred both excitement and a sense of urgency within her.

Had it not been for the earlier downpour, they likely would have traversed the buffer zone and crossed into Slan by now. Despite Slan being deemed safer than the kingdom’s border regions, Dana yearned to swiftly move beyond the city’s influence.

A sudden, desperate scream pierced the air, startling Dana. She turned her head toward the source, situated slightly lower than the open area designated for meals and sleep preparations, obscuring her view of the commotion above.

Reacting instinctively, Dana attempted to move, but an attentive attendant by her side stepped forward. “Madam, I will check it.” Before the attendant could take a few steps, the guards leaped down.

“Avoid it!”

“Larks have appeared!”

Dana furrowed her brow. Larks during the dry season were unusual. While accidents with the seeds breaking did occur sporadically even in dry seasons, such incidents were incredibly rare. The fact that it happened here now struck her as strangely ironic.

More guards descended, their urgency apparent as additional information reached them. Dana couldn’t shake the feeling that the situation was more dire than she initially thought.

“Madam, for now, you must get away from this place,” urged an attendant.

“Is it so severe that I have to flee?” Dana inquired.

“We are dealing with formidable larks—two of them. Without a warrior, we won’t be able to handle them.”

Dana’s voice trembled slightly as she absorbed the gravity of the situation. It was tantamount to saying that nearly a hundred people would face annihilation. In her youth, she had been stranded in the kingdom during the active season, witnessing the feats of warriors hunting larks by chance. The shock from that time lingered, as the larks, initially vaguely heard of, proved to be much more terrifying monsters in person. Ordinary people, she believed, could never capture a lark, especially without the astonishing prowess of skilled warriors.

“How can I live alone by running away like this?” Dana pondered aloud.

“Madam, you must go. If you, Madam, make a wrong move, what meaning would there be even if we all die here?” the attendant reasoned urgently.

Just as the strangers materialized, the escorts instinctively brandished their weapons, demanding, “Who are you?”

In a gruff manner, one of the five men replied, “Ah, there’s no need to be on guard like that. In this crisis, shouldn’t your safety be the priority? We’ll escort you.”

Even in such an urgent situation, entrusting my safety to strangers? Identify yourselves first,” Dana demanded.

The man chuckled and, with an exaggerated posture, bowed his upper body. “We are knights. We have come under His Holiness’s command to safely protect you. You must be aware of our strength, blessed by the divine, that dares not let lark trespass. Trust us and entrust your side to us.”

Dana clenched her fist, an intuition whispering to her that Sang-je was the puppet master orchestrating this situation. He isn’t the representative of God but a monstrous deceitful creature. Trying to harm my life to capture me. She discreetly glanced around, noting the relieved expressions on the attendants who believed in Sang-je and the knights. There was no time now to reveal the truth. They’re trying to lure Jin using me as bait.’

Dana closed her eyes heavily and then opened them again. Rather than endanger her children, she would prefer to face the dire consequences herself.

“I won’t go. I can’t leave my people behind,” she declared with unwavering determination.


Ignoring the desperate calls around her, Dana maintained her steadfast gaze on the knights. “Go and convey your thanks to Sang-je.”

Momentarily puzzled, the men exchanged glances and approached closer. “It can’t be like that. You’re such an important person. We must definitely bring you, following His Holiness’s command.”



not work with dark mode