The moment Kalion realized the identity of the ghost he felt his neck getting stiff. If it were an unidentified being, his curiosity would have rousen more. However, goosebumps erupted on his entire body at the moment he realized that a ghost should never be in front of him. But…
Kalion, perhaps knowing something about Richard Hessenguard, recalled something.
The 17th Duke Hessenguard. A faithful grand duke who had committed suicide. That was all.
He was shocked that he knew so little about the late Duke Hessenguard.
After inheriting the Grand Duchy, he had received education about Hessenguard’s history, customs, climate, dialects of the districts, and cultural traditions. The council members had visited alternately every day without a break, and Kalion had accepted their visits without avoiding them even once even while he was devoted to recovering.
Among them, Chairman Vanessa was the one most eager about education. While concerning Kalion’s health, if Kalion wasn’t fit to sit in class and study she would sit next to his bed and talk about Hessenguard as if she were having a conversation. Vanessa was quite a superb chatter, and thanks to her Kalion could hear tales about Hessenguard’s history with no problem.
Hadn’t she even told him hidden stories that didn’t appear in history books? But… There wasn’t much about Richard Hessenguard.
He had asked about the late grand duke. However, Vanessa had flashed a troubled grin, and from then Kalion had never been curious about him.
He had been busy surviving, so he couldn’t find the time to hold onto curiosity about someone already dead and gone. His death was already over, and it was too much for Kalion to face what was to come. And as time passed and he regained his composure, Richard Hessengard had become a forgotten man for him. So much that Erna had to say his name a while ago for Kalion to recognize his existence.
When Kalion started walking again Erna stumbled while holding him up. Had Kalion not hurriedly grabbed her she would have rolled down the stairs.
Perhaps even Erna was shocked since she stood there just holding on to him. The ghost was disappearing in the distance, but he couldn’t urge her to walk in a hurry. He bent down in front of her.
“Get on. Hurry.”
Erna’s lips quivered like she was trying to say something, and she jumped onto his back as if giving up. Her hot, feverish body leaned against Kalion’s back.
Kalion wiggled the exhausted Erna around to find a comfortable spot before setting off to follow Richard.
The heat emitting from her body felt even hotter because she was breathing on the nape of his neck. He could also feel her body heating up. Probably feeling colder than before because of the fever, she trembled with her arms around his neck.
Nevertheless, as she felt helpless by herself, unable to do anything, Kalion followed Richard’s path.
The ghost that went down to the 1st floor was walking towards the end of the hall. And it stopped where a wall was.
Is it going to walk through that wall or something? Kalion assumed that it would move like a ghost moved, but different from his expectations it placed one hand on the wall. Then, a light from the wall blanketed the ghost’s hand.
Kalion hurriedly scanned the wall where its hand was. He could see a complicated pattern—whether it was writing or a picture, he did not know—etched into the wall. As soon as the ghost put its hand over it the wall opened and the ghost entered into the darkness behind the opening. And then it was gone completely.
Kalion, shocked that the ghost had disappeared out of the blue, thought about when the ghost had opened a drawer. It had looked like it was opening, but that was a delusion. It couldn’t have any effect on what was real.
He hurried towards the wall. He could see the pattern where the ghost’s hand had been. He held Erna firmly with one hand and placed the other on the pattern.
He had thought the wall was going to be cold, but he could feel the warmth on his palm and a strange tickle at the same time. When he lifted his hand, the pattern started to glow, then the light beaming from it wrapped around his body. The light quickly swept through his body just like he’d seen a moment ago.
Stairs appeared in the darkness as the wall opened. Another distant air was felt inside the ruins. Suddenly Kalion thought about the Grand Castle. Was there something like this beyond the walls in the Grand Castle?
“Again…? What… is this?”
Even amid pain, Erna, who was on his back, wiggled her head over his shoulder and looked down.
Then, she said, “What are… you doing? Just… go.”
“You said that you’re scared.”
“At this point… there is nothing to… be afraid of. Hurry and follow… it.” She beat her hand on his back as if telling him to hurry.
Who, me? Those words had risen in Kalion’s throat, but he decided to hold them back for now.
So what if she’d said she was afraid? There was no reason for him to hesitate since she was telling him to go. Kalion carefully started down the steps. The stairs were quite steep enough to make it clear that if he were to make the wrong step, someone would get seriously injured.
The moment he followed the ghost far ahead for a long time, a gust of wind passed by Kalion’s sweaty forehead again. Finally, the end of the stairs was seen. Beyond that…
There was a huge underground space. At the end of the space were two humongous pillars, prompting him to wonder if they were supporting the ruins. It was his first time ever to see pillars, but Kalion was sure what they were.
The symbolic crest of Hessenguard was two pillars. There was no doubt that the origin of the crest lay here.
Kalion caught his breath for a moment after setting Erna down. Having carried her all this way his back was already soaked in sweat.
Erna, seated on the floor, was staring with sleepy eyes at the ghost’s back. She, too, upon first look could tell that Hessenguard’s crest had started with those two pillars. At the same time, she felt a powerful presence.
So they’re here.
The wizard she had sent to Ilgees Forest had said that there were traces of a powerful magic demonstration leftover from the past. But it was confirmed that the magic had really been demonstrated here, as she hadn’t found the place that would have been the center of the demonstration.
It’s natural no one could find it because it is in a crack hidden underground in the ruins.
Erna managed a smile; she’d finally resolved the curiosity she’d held this whole time. Watching her react like that, Kalion stared at her from the side with worry in his eyes. How could she smile like that when she was in so much pain due to the headache caused by her fever? Don’t tell me the fever’s gone to her brain and caused her condition to worsen?