“If she dies, the magic dies!”
Ruben struggled and yelled as if he had been granted an exit from hell. Kalion’s eyes narrowed in anger at the sound of his voice, but Ruben kept talking, knowing he only spoke of the truth. When the caster dies, so does the magic. The power of the wizard is essentially what allows the symbols that constitute magical spells to exist in the world.
Ruben swallowed the truth he couldn’t tell. While the spell will be broken, its magic won’t completely disappear. The damage, however, will be significantly less than the complete demonstration of the magic. When condensed magic loses its container, it becomes pervasive. The experience of being drenched by a waterfall that pours into one location and that of being immersed in a shallow river that flows widely is different, even if the total volume of water involved is the same. Even if Erna died, the enormous amount of the spell’s power would undoubtedly inflict damage, but at least they would be spared from death.
Ruben’s sight temporarily returned to its original state as Erna prevented the spell from activating, and he caught a glimpse of Kalion affectionately embracing Erna.
Despite his abhorrence toward him, Ruben still admired Kalion. The spatial distortion magic prepared by Aether’s wizards was not something that could be easily undone. It took the wizards months to perfect the spell, but Kalion still managed to escape from it. As expected, Kalion lived up to his reputation.
So, Ruben racked his brains in order to survive. At the same time, he felt a painful scratching in his chest from the anger and shame he felt when he saw Erna in Kalion’s arms. He belatedly realized that Erna’s kindness and affection were merely lies to keep him and Aether’s army captive. To add insult to injury, he was utterly bewitched by the temptation she presented him with when she smiled at him.
Who wouldn’t be fooled by that? Her body was perfect as well as her face. Ruben believed he could finally eat the fruit he had waited patiently for, but what fell into his mouth was poisoned fruit instead. He had tried so hard to hold her hand, but she didn’t allow him until the end. But as soon as she saw Kalion, she hugged him and clung to him, turning his stomach.
A long-held, distorted sense of inferiority engulfed Ruben.
Knowing that the first prince would eventually kill him if he stayed hidden, Ruben pledged to reveal himself so that Kalion, who should have been long gone, may resume his normal life with all the recognition he deserved.
He was born second in line for the throne and thought at the time that he had no control over being raised by the first prince. But following the birth of the king’s third son, Kalion, Ruben witnessed all the king’s care and affection poured into him, and he realized it was because he was not enough.
Ruben felt an irrational rage towards Kalion. Thus, on the day the first prince attempted to kill Kalion, he withheld the truth even though he was aware of all the prince’s plans and never intended to rescue Kalion from his despair even though he had hidden in the forest far away. In fact, he was pleased.
He, however, didn’t want Kalion to die. Kalion living with a permanent disability would have satisfied him enough. Only then might he be able to take solace in sight of someone worse off than himself.
He was happy to find Kalion, abandoned by their father, unable to walk properly on his own. It was the most invigorating experience of his life. And when he heard that he was being sent to Hessenguard, he figured it would be his end, but he didn’t expect he would become someone feared by the first prince, and with a lovely wife by his side.
Why is he the only one who gets everything? Ruben asked himself.
Come to think of it, he only fell in love with Erna because he was overjoyed that the woman he assumed belonged to Kalion had fallen for him. And it made him feel superior to Kalion.
Ruben shouted at Kalion again.
“You certainly didn’t come all the way here just to die, did you? So go ahead and kill her!”
He gritted his teeth as he looked at Erna wrapped in Kalion’s arms. He wanted to see the woman who fooled him suffer a horrible death, and there was no better way than for Kalion to kill her. Wouldn’t it be atrocious to die at the hands of the man you’ve been waiting for so long?
Ruben kept shouting, thinking that things would work out as he wanted.
“Kill her! Kill her! So that you can survive!”