Kalion looked at the village under the hill. The bonfire in the plaza reached as high as the sky as if the festival had reached its climax. People danced around the bonfire, holding each other’s hands. Kalion could hear music playing, although it sounded terrible as it mixed with the noise of the wind and laughter.
While everyone was enjoying their time, Kalion was in the middle of heavy silence. He turned his head. He could see Erna silently sitting with her head down.
Kalion turned his head again and looked at the village. He could see Chenille’s house which they had left an hour ago.
They did not kill Chenille although she might have preferred to be dead as Erna had ruined her brain with her spell. However, Erna simply looked at Chenille for a moment and did not anything else.
Erna healed Chenille’s wrist with her magic and placed the fallen table and chair back to normal before they left. Kalion looked at Chenille on the ground. If Erna was right, it was unlikely that Chenille would return to her original condition. Even if she could, she would have to find a wizard as strong as Erna. But such luck seemed unlikely for her.
Kalion left Chenille and exited the house. If someone found her, they would think she had passed out for an unknown reason and unable to recover her mind.
Kalion looked up at the sky. There was not much time left for the two. Coming here was a secret. Thus, they had to return before their assistants began to suspect something.
However, Kalion had a hard time initiating talk with Erna as she sat there.
He saw the side of her face. She was not crying, nor was she grinding her teeth in anger. Her face seemed empty and cold.
Until this day, Kalion had seen many faces of Erna. She had made a variation of facial expressions which showed that she was abundant with emotions.
In the past, she would make a disgusted face when she saw him. When she was with other wizards, she would laugh in joy. When she was happy, she made a big smile. And when she was angry, she would tremble and yell.
But Kalion had never seen her like this. He had never seen her so empty of emotions.
Kalion bit his lips thinking about Chenille. He could not forget the last face that Chenille made while looking at him and Erna. She was smiling. She smiled as if she was satisfied to see the two in shock and despair.
It was not only the two that Chenille despised. She also hated Vanessa.
No wonder she told us everything in such detail…
Kalion thought he would also have a difficult time seeing Vanessa again. By simply telling the truth, Chenille had damaged the two and Vanessa. What she had done was quite amazing as not even Haband, nor Aether was able to do so.
Kalion quietly stood next to Erna not knowing what to do. Then Erna turned her head towards Kalion. When the two made eye contact, she opened her mouth.
“I wanted to be… a good duchess.” She began. “You know how well everyone treated us in Hessenguard. So, I wanted to help them too. That’s probably why I was able to manifest my power… Anyways, I figured being the duchess of Hessenguard was not something anyone could do, and it was an important duty for me, and if I did it well everyone would like me.”
In the past, Erna had hated Kalion. She thought if she was the only grand duke, she would have received all the love to herself if she did it alone.
“But… I was being stupid.”
Due to Richard’s work, not only the bloodline of the first duke, but anyone with magic power could be accepted by the pillar of Hessenguard.
“What would have happened if we did not listen to Vanessa?”
Erna mumbled. Kalion knew the answer but remained silent.
“What if we… didn’t like Hessenguard and missed our home…”
“…She would have killed us.”
Kalion ended up answering with a bitter face as he plucked the grass from the ground. The two were easily disposable from Hessenguard. That truth agonized the two.
They were in pain not just because they lost the one who they deemed as their parent. From now on, their lives were at stake. If Vanessa found out about what they knew…
Erna thought about the castle. Chills ran down her spine as she thought about returning to the place she regarded as home. Erna crossed her arms. Kalion took off his cloak and put it on her back as he saw Erna unable to stop shaking. Still, Erna continued to tremble.
“…What do we do now?”
Erna was daunted. Before she came here, Erna had thought about the things she planned to do in the future.
About Adelaide and Ruben. About the pillar. About Vanessa. But after hearing the truth, everything became cloudy.
Right then, Kalion’s hand slid into her cold fingers and gripped Erna’s hand tightly. Kalion said in with serious voice,
“Should we leave?”
Erna looked up at Kalion after hearing his unexpected question. But Kalion continued.
“You don’t want to return to the castle,” he paused. “And you don’t want to do anything else either.”
Kalion spoke exactly what was in her mind. Erna looked at Kalion’s hand and asked, “Would you join me if I said yes?”
“Of course, were you thinking of leaving by yourself?”
Kalion frowned as he emphasized the word “yourself.” As he did, he gripped her hand tighter as if he would never let go. Erna couldn’t hold in her laugh as Kalion did so.
“I’m not joking,” muttered Kalion.
Erna rested her head on Kalion’s shoulder.