Suddenly, he felt his body float in the air, and at the same time, the distorted space began to change rapidly. He glimpsed a lot of faces—Aether knights were startled and Adelaide was screaming. It all passed quickly and when Kalion looked straight ahead, the person he missed the most was in front of him.
Tears cascading down her cheeks as she held his hand. Kalion opened his arms wide and embraced Erna. In the midst of enemies and doom, the two held each other desperately in consolation.
Kalion tightened his embrace as his hands trembled. This was the real Erna—not a fantasy created by his longing, but the real Erna, alive and breathing and incomparable to his imaginations. He buried his face on Erna’s shoulder, unable to suppress the rush of joy. The scent he had longed for every night filled his heart.
Erna. Erna. Erna.
With utter bliss, Kalion’s cries burned around his chest. He had never felt such euphoria in his entire life, and he knew this feeling wouldn’t come easily to him again until the day he died. However, their joy was short-lived. Erna gasped for breath and collapsed in his embrace as if she had lost her strength. Kalion looked at Erna’s face as he held her tightly.
Tears stained her pale face and he could feel her body shiver. At the same time, the magic floating in the sky began to spin more ferociously. Kalion instinctively sensed the connection between the two.
“What’s the matter Erna?” he asked worriedly. Erna spoke in between ragged breaths.
“To save you… I forced myself to… I can’t control that magic anymore…”
She looked up at the sky in tears. She had created the spell out of vengeance, provoked by hatred and agony. She hadn’t let go of control of the magic because she waited for all of her enemies to arrive, and it drained her strength doing so. Furthermore, she had to make certain that the spell wouldn’t cause complete devastation in the capital and harm the people of Hessenguard.
By then, Erna was completely weakened. But she needed to break the spell Aether had cast on Kalion. She diverted the power of the pillars, which fueled the spell to wreak havoc to the armies of the four kingdoms, to the new spell she had summoned. At that moment, the magical power that had been drawn to its limit eventually spiraled out of her control.
Mana not only drives magic, but also controls magic itself. The spell Erna had created was like a furnace, and the mana from the pillars prevented it from combusting at any second; however, as it was redirected to another spell, it went beyond its limit. Even if Erna gathered enough power again, she would no longer be able to stop destruction from unfolding.
“What happens then?” Kalion asked Erna, wiping her tears away.
Maybe you and I will die.
Erna swallowed the words regrettably. She clutched Kalion’s arm and drew magic letters in the air with trembling fingers. The letters rose to the sky, but before it could reach the spell, they hopelessly crumbled into thin air. Erna tried to do it again with a heavy breath, but Kalion held her hand to stop her. He gently cupped her face in his hands and made her look at him. Her eyes shook in both happiness and fear. With that alone, Kalion knew what she was hiding.
“If we don’t stop that, we’re going to die, right?” he asked softly.
Erna wept as he saw through the truth she had been trying to conceal.
“I’m sorry…” she sobbed, “You’ve come all the way here again and I… I…”
Kalion pulled Erna’s face to his chest and stroked her hair.
“Why are you apologizing?”
Kalion placed a finger against her lips and cupped her wet face with a gentle smile on his lips. “I came back because I missed you,” he said, looking at her lovingly. I didn’t come back to live.Whatever happened, his only wish was to be by her side. He didn’t think of his duties as the Grand Duke of Hessenguard nor fretted about the invading armies, he just wanted to see her because he missed her dearly.
“So nothing matters,” he whispered. He had what he wanted, so whatever happened next held no significance. He held the most important person in the world in his arms, and he was content with it.
Suddenly, a sharp scream was heard from behind.
“Erna just needs to die!”
It was the voice of Ruben. As soon as Kalion turned his head, Ruben wriggled on the floor and shouted at him again.
“If that b*tch dies, so does the magic! Then you can live!”