Erna walked through Ilgees Forest alone, though she wasn’t exactly alone. About ten paces behind her was Kalion, trailing her footsteps.
After sending the village clan back, Erna had smiled brightly and told the knights and wizards that she had been curious about this place for a long time, and that she would look around because she didn’t need security. Her words, however, to everyone’s ears had sounded like: “I’m angry, and I need to calm myself, so if you follow me, I’ll kill you.”
Orpé, who normally followed her around anyway, thought that it would be dangerous now to utter anything, so she quietly kept her mouth shut. Soon Erna’s steps sped up deeper into the forest. Then, there was someone who had ignored her warning and followed her. The wizards and knights who were about to stop him shut up when they saw that the man was Kalion.
Truth be told if a demon appeared in this situation, the ones in danger wouldn’t be the couple but the knights. Those two consisted of the strongest knight and strongest wizard in all of Hessenguard, and from long ago it had been an unspoken rule to not butt in during their arguments.
They just had no choice but to let the two go, hoping that they would clear up their misunderstandings and return safely.
Erna, who had walked for a long time without saying a word, turned around and asked, “Why are you following me?”
At Erna’s dagger-like voice, Kalion replied with his face stiff.
“I know what you are thinking, but it’s all a misunderstanding. She came to me on her own; I have no interest or anything like that in her. On top of that, through the knights’ strict rules, fraternizing at the mission site is prohibited. No way could I violate such…”
“You would have met her if there were no rules?”
Even though she thought she had to respond as rationally and calmly as possible, Erna could not suppress the sarcasm in her rising voice. She had thought that her anger would soften if she took a walk through the forest, but rather her words had come out even sharper because Kalion was trailing her. At the same time, she couldn’t understand herself because she wouldn’t have been able to endure the pain if he hadn’t followed her.
“Why don’t you answer me? And what do you mean you aren’t interested in her? You were staring at her so hard.”
“Uh… so— I just…”
When she fired back coldly, Kalion, whose face suddenly heated up, turned his head and stuttered in a tiny voice.
As soon as that word hit Erna’s ears, she heard the devil’s whisper with the sound of her inner reason breaking apart. Should I kill him? Should I bury him alive right here and become the sole grand duchess of Hessenguard?
It was a ridiculous idea, but somehow it seemed possible right now. Kalion realized his mistake as Erna grimly twisted her face.
“N-no! Her clothes! Her clothes are pretty!”
“What does that have to do with me!? You’re saying you would wear that outfit? That’s your style?”
As she yelled on, he tried to tell her “No, no! I think it will look good on you,” but the words were stuck in his throat.
For ten years, he hadn’t given up on his habit of snorting. On top of that, such words were only meant to be said between true lovers. They weren’t words said in a relationship where the couple only had obligatory s*x to conceive a child.
Kalion, who couldn’t find the right words to say, tightly gripped the handle of his innocent sword. He’d rather be in bed.
Kalion ran his hand down his face. If they were in bed now, he would just take her clothes and put them on her without having to say all of this. Then, though, he’d take them off again.
“I call that an excuse. What do I look like? Rather, just go get that woman and bring her back or something. I won’t mind. I’ll step out of the way so you two can have a good time.”
Ice-cold words flowed from Erna’s mouth while Kalion didn’t know what to do next. At her words, Kalion felt anger shoot up inside him. Did she really think of him as a low-life scum?
He had lived as the Grand Duke of Hessenguard and the head of the knight guild. Up until now never once had he been caught in a scandal. If so… You can trust me rather than a woman you’ve never seen before
Kalion was disappointed. He knew that Erna was not pleased to see the situation from a little while ago. He also admitted that it was a perfect sight to misunderstand. Still, it would be nice if she trusted him, even just a little bit…
But now she was telling him to go get the woman and bring her back—he couldn’t even remember the village woman’s name. Unjustified, disappointed, and annoyed. Kalion felt all of these complex feelings mixed inside him, and the moment he was about to call Erna’s name there was a shriek from demons flying above their heads.
Surprised, they both immediately lifted their heads. They could tell the demons’ location thanks to the bonfires burning at the campsite but couldn’t see them clearly. When Kalion squinted his eyes, trying to confirm their location, a humongous ball of light soared up into the sky. Erna had used her magic.
One stunned demon promptly flew toward the ground to attack. To be exact, it was after Erna. However, before it could get close she waved her hand around, summoning another fireball.
And then she shot it up at the ever-approaching demon.
It made the night sky light up. While looking at the sky from afar, the knights mumbled to one another, “Don’t tell me that Her Highness is making all that noise over there,” while she continued to fend off the demons with her magic.
Even so, she needed something to pound on but hadn’t expected it to appear at such an appropriate time. The personal grudge she had to project somewhere else flew up and struck the flying demon.
Kalion looked at Erna as if he was dumbfounded by her magic, which seemed to be several times stronger than usual. He should thank her for not killing him. Meanwhile, another demon was crawling toward Erna’s back. They seemed to be creating loopholes, illusions that they would only appear in the sky. And naturally that…
When Kalion quickly ran up to it and struck it hard with his sword, its head was severed from its neck. This was the time when the two were slaying the demons so badly that it was close to a one-sided massacre.
Kalion saw something that had emerged behind her. It was not a demon. It was clearly…
“Why is… that thing here?”
The entrance to the ancient ruin was starting to appear behind Erna.