Chapter 367.1

“Mara! I know you’re listening,” Aldrit called out, his frustration evident in his voice. Judging Flora’s reaction earlier, he figured out Mara had approached her before. 

He couldn’t dismiss the consequences of his hasty promise to prevent any contact between Mara and Flora in the kingdom. At the time, he had believed there must be a solution, but upon his return, regret overshadowed his initial confidence.

The challenge of blocking Mara, who could navigate the village’s hidden pathways using small animals as messengers, proved more formidable than he had anticipated. Negotiations seemed a viable alternative, yet Mara remained elusive since his return, showing no signs of cooperation.

Anika’s unwavering animosity towards both the tribe and Mara provided a temporary shield, preventing Mara from approaching from any side. However, he recognized that relying on luck and Anika’s hostility couldn’t be a lasting solution.

Frustrated and feeling cornered, he decided to seek counsel from the elders responsible for safeguarding the magic. Venting his concerns, he was met with amused chuckles and a blunt response, “Kid, your relationship with that creature is simple. Either coexist or break the magic. Don’t expect anything beyond that.”

Confronted with the stark reality of his situation, Aldrit let go of the arrogance that had lingered in the depths of his heart. He abandoned any notion of manipulating Mara to conform to his desires and began to reflect on a more pragmatic approach to the challenge at hand.

“Mara, come out. I’m not here to blame you; let’s have a serious conversation.”

“What about?”

Aldrit hesitated, settling into a seat. After a moment, a mouse emerged from somewhere, making its presence known at his feet.

“Did you bring Anika here because you want to utilize the magic you mentioned before?” Aldrit inquired.

“I don’t plan to use it right away,” Mara replied. “But Anika is like my last resort.”

Aldrit wanted to argue that Mara’s perception of using Anika as a tool was incorrect, but he suspected that the fundamental difference in their perspectives couldn’t be easily reconciled.

“For now, Anika shouldn’t leave our village. Do you agree on that point?” he clarified.

“Yes,” agreed Mara.

“So, cooperate in monitoring Anika while I’m away. After I come back, let’s thoroughly discuss your plans.”

“Where are you going?”

“To the kingdom.”

“Again? It hasn’t been long since you came back.”

“Both of you would be curious about the situation here. I need to assure them that Anika is being protected.”

“You’re going all out.”

Despite Mara’s mocking tone, Aldrit paid no attention. He believed that his efforts were a small return for the favors received from the two.

“Do you comprehend what I’m saying? Don’t merely acknowledge and then proceed to do something else. If you repeat that, you’ll let me down. I can’t discuss the future with someone I can’t rely on. I’m being earnest.”

“…I understand. But that Anika, her temperament is really bad,” Mara complained.

You’re no walk in the park yourself, Aldrit mused silently. “I have a question. Why didn’t Sang-je feed Anika the seed you gave me? If he had, you wouldn’t have been able to bring Anika here.”

“There’s a risk. The one who consumes the seed shares their energy with me. That’s how I can track them, know if they’re alive or injured. But if Anika consumes it, it heightens the chance of awakening Ramita,” explained Mara.


“It’s like offering meat to someone on the verge of starvation. So, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”

Aldrit raised an eyebrow and probed further, “Were you contemplating feeding the queen the seed?”

“I only considered it.”

“What about the king? Wouldn’t it be advantageous to know the king’s location if he consumed the seed?”

“Big trouble. If the king eats it… Hey, you’re not planning something like that, right?”

“I’m not.”

“I’ll make sure the seeds I provide are ingested right in front of me from now on!”

“I said I won’t. Do you think I’m someone who speaks with a forked tongue like you?”

Aldrit recalled Mara’s uneasy reaction and decided to cease asking more about the seeds, sensing an elevated level of caution.

He regarded the mouse with mixed feelings. Sly yet straightforward, transparent yet unpredictable—Mara was an enigma. In the past, he had dreamt of a world where larks would disappear. However, recent experiences had shaken his values. He couldn’t simply label larks as mere monsters; they, too, had their thoughts and were earnestly living in this world.

Maybe humans need to find a way to coexist peacefully with them.

The next morning, Aldrit left his hiding place. He instructed the tribe not to mistreat Flora while keeping an eye on her and embarked on a distant journey across the desert.



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