“I recall that Irgis is a place where monsters appear more frequently compared to other areas. Also, it’s a basin forest and it’s greatly influenced by the climate, and the species of monsters inhabiting that area are slightly different to those found in the forests beyond the mountains,” Erna said confidently. She squinted at the map again, “This path here is oddly straight, is there anything special there? ”
“In the past, it used to be a sacred place, I’m not sure for what exactly but there is a settlement there and that road was built for them,” replied Kalion.
The two of them were standing in front of the map, having a normal conversation. At first, Kalion was baffled; it was different and surprising that Erna spoke to him purely to ask questions, without any animosity. Well, I guess she does have a very curious personality.
That was one of the characteristics of Erna that Kalion had discovered, she clung madly to a question that she wanted an answer to. The last time she was stuck in front of the map, searching for the forest of Irgis, she’d wanted to know more about the area and so she had run to her room and brought back books to investigate further until she satisfied her curiosity. Are all sorcerers like that? he wondered.
It was a poorly understood behavior for him as a knight. Knights like himself didn’t have the luxury to think deeply; the act of thinking was directly connected to his life. That’s why Kalion was the type to move on quickly, even if there was a question, and then reflect later when he had time. And honestly, he didn’t even try to understand every last detail of everything. But Erna acted like the world would fall apart if she let go of anything. She has a rather tiring personality. Kalion thought that that was the reason why she was also so sensitive.
And now, after talking with Erna, Kalion realized that her personality wasn’t necessarily bad, although her questions continued, one after the other. Meanwhile, the things that Kalion was suspicious of began to be solved, one by one, and he realized that the numerous questions he had were only one problem.
Kalion wasn’t the only one surprised by the normal conversation they were able to have. Erna was also surprised to see this unexpected side of Kalion. He is more conversational than I thought, she mused. When they were debating with one another in the conference room, the conversation between the two never went beyond ten sentences, but that wasn’t the case today. The information she’d heard from the wizards, about the forest of Irgis during the day, had sparked Erna’s curiosity.
“It’s an amazing place, just an ordinary forest, but there are traces of magical power in certain areas. Doesn’t that mean that there used to be strong magical power there in the past?” Kalion asked, seeming interested in the area now too.
A huge magical power. At those words, Erna recalled the ancient magic protecting Hessenguard in the past. If the forest of Irgis could be the key to finding the magic… I need more information.
Erna couldn’t run right into the forest but she was dying to find out more about it. Kalion knew where the forest was. It didn’t matter whether the person was him or not, Erna wanted more information right away and asked him another question. Kalion looked at her for a while and began to explain in more detail as he answered more of her questions, sharing with her everything he knew about the place.
Of course, Erna understood that Kalion was just answering these questions because they were related to the document. Nevertheless, she felt oddly strange because few people immediately answered her tiresome questions. Kalion didn’t add on any of his thoughts but merely told her all the facts he knew, and that was enough for Erna. It was a really pleasant and insightful conversation.
Erna glanced at the document on the table. Unlike her, who usually stayed indoors in the Grand Castle, Kalion traveled far beyond the Castle and therefore he knew every inch of Hessenguard far better than she did.
“Hey, wait a minute,” Erna called Kalion as he was returning to his desk. She quickly took the piece of paper that she had written on and said, “Let me ask you a few more questions.”
Kalion didn’t say no, although some of her notes bothered him. The two of them talked for a long time standing in front of the map, forgetting their respective positions. Sometimes, hesitating to answer but there was no more awkwardness and they ended up staying in the room together much later than their agreed time.
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Kalion sighed as he twisted his neck around. Every time he turned his neck, he heard a crack and he moved his head and turned his shoulders several times trying to relieve the tension, but his mind was still not focused. This tension must be a result of being caught up until the early hours this morning.
He sat on his bed reflecting on the previous evening spent with Erna. After he’d answered Erna’s questions, she’d stood in front of the map with a piece of paper jotting down notes as if it were the opportunity to ask all kinds of further questions like, “What’s in here? Is there a reason why the road is this way? I think this town was closed fifty years ago, is there anyone who still comes in and out? Did the knights feel anything when they went to this area?” Kalion had felt as if he had become an answering map! But he tried his best to answer her questions, she wasn’t just asking because she was bored, but rather because of the documents that Vanessa brought her to review.
In addition, Erna had murmured her thoughts in response to what he was saying, “Then it must have disappeared in the war ten years ago. If people still feel something there, is it a sign of magic other than the murder spell they used in the past? But it doesn’t seem like a land worth it.”
Although Kalion didn’t quite understand why she murmured in front of him and not when she was alone, he still listened without responding until he figured out what she was curious about. As a result, the dawn sky was brightening when the two came to their senses.
Kalion had been in a daze since morning due to a big disruption in his usual schedule. It was only natural as he was unable to sleep. He’d entrusted Cedric with the training of the knights and when he went to see them, not only Cedric but also the knights looked at him with faces showing concern.
“Your Highness, are you sick?” Cedric queried. “Wouldn’t you rather call a doctor?”
“What’s all this nonsense? I’m just fatigued because I couldn’t sleep until dawn.” With his response, the knights returned to their places, still a bit baffled to notice Kalion’s usual disorderliness.
Cedric remained and said, “I can’t believe you didn’t sleep until dawn.”
“I just had something to do. Anyway, I’ll leave today’s training to you.”
Cedric nodded vigorously at his command. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. And, if you’re tired in the future, please let me know.”
“What? No, this won’t happen often, I just had an unexpected late night.”
Cedric looked at Kalion with a serious face, “You have to do what you have to do. I think it’s okay to forget all the chores and focus on the important things.”
Kalion was confused why Cedric was so determined for him to step down from his duties. Despite putting Cedric in charge, it wasn’t like Kalion would take a relaxing nap. His body was used to being up and about during the day so he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep easily, if at all. And, in the afternoon, people came to see him, so he couldn’t afford the time to rest.
Later that evening, he returned from dinner with the knights, still not having had any proper rest, and went to his room to wash and change his clothes. During the day, Kalion couldn’t help but yawn several times and on returning to his room, he felt relieved, as if he could sleep at any moment.
But isn’t today…? Kalion quickly looked at the calendar. Today was the fifth day of the week. It was the day he promised to make efforts with Erna to have a successor. If he fell asleep or didn’t make it on time, he knew Erna would not respond to it positively. Most of all, Kalion knew Erna would look at him pitifully, asking if he was irresponsible and the mere thought of her reaction made Kalion feel stressed.
He sat and waited patiently for ten o’clock to arrive as he tried desperately not to give in to his drowsiness, and as the hour approached, he began to feel jittery again. Is this possible?
A week ago, he had tried but when Erna cried after drinking, he’d just stopped. He was not a pervert who was turned on at the sight of a crying woman, and above all, it was unpleasant for him to hug a woman who was drunk and behaving insanely.
When the clock finally struck ten, Kalion leaped up and hastily approached the bedroom door. I think I’m feeling a little better now. He wasn’t sure whether it was because of the long conversation the two had the other night, or because he still felt a bit fatigued, but he did feel different compared to a week ago. Last week, standing in front of this door had felt horrible and disgusting, but today he felt less despair and it could be possible to do what needed to be done unless of course, Erna decided to pick a fight with him.
He opened the door and automatically looked at the sofa where Erna would roll around to find a comfortable position, but the emerald-green sofa was empty.