Erna let out a startled cry and sprang to her feet, her heart racing as the letters on the ancient pillar suddenly flared to life, casting an eerie glow on the surrounding ruins. Panic seized her as she realized that the light had somehow enveloped both her and Kalion. But where was Kalion now?
“Kalion!” she shouted.
The sound of Kalion’s voice came from somewhere nearby, and Erna breathed a sigh of relief as she reached out and found him standing beside her. Her eyes still dazzled by the brightness, she grabbed hold of him, her hands trembling.
“Kalion! Are you okay? Are you hurt?” she asked, her voice filled with concern.
Erna shook him gently, and Kalion slowly regained his senses.
“I don’t know,” Erna replied, her mind racing as she tried to make sense of what had just occurred. They had been standing in front of the pillar in the heart of the Irugi Forest just moments ago, and now they were clearly in a bedroom.
“What’s going on? We were definitely in the ruins just now…” Erna’s voice trailed off as she realized that something was amiss. How had they ended up here? Who had moved them while they were unconscious? And if someone had, then surely there must be people nearby.
As her vision gradually returned, Erna scanned the room, taking in the familiar surroundings. But she couldn’t remember how they had gotten there, and a sense of unease settled over her.
Kalion sat up and spoke in a quiet voice, his words barely audible in the strange surroundings.
“I know. When did we…?” Erna began, but she trailed off as Kalion’s next words caught her attention.
“No. What’s strange is here.”
“Here? What’s…?” Erna started to ask, but fell silent as she took in their surroundings once again. As Kalion had said, something was off. The bedroom they were in was familiar to Erna, as it was where they slept every night. But now, the curtains had a pattern and color she had never seen before.
Erna knew that the Grand Castle changed its curtains every season, and she and Kalion always chose the pattern and color together. But a curtain that they didn’t know about? And it wasn’t just the curtains; the carpet on the floor was unfamiliar as well. And then there was the small bed next to theirs.
“What’s that?” Erna asked, pointing to the tiny bed.
“It looks like a baby bed.”
“I know that, but why is it next to our bed? Did someone ask us to bring it?”
As Erna pondered the question, Kalion suddenly sniffed the air and wrinkled his nose. Erna followed suit, taking a deep breath.
The couple’s bedroom always had a refreshing scent of dried herbs, but now there was an unfamiliar aroma lingering in the air. It wasn’t a bad smell, but a soft, sweet, and warm one that Erna couldn’t quite place.
The two of them sniffed around, trying to locate the source of the scent. Kalion soon found it, and his gaze was directed towards Erna’s chest.
“Erna, what’s this?” Kallion asked, his gaze fixed on her chest.
Erna followed his gaze, lowering her head to inspect her chest. “Yes?” she said, confused.
Kallion gestured towards her chest. “It’s like…it’s coming out,” he said, his voice trailing off.
Erna lifted her chest slightly with both hands, feeling the moisture on the top of her chest. The middle parts on both sides were damp, too. It was an odd sensation that she had never experienced before.
But before she could process what was happening, there was a sudden commotion outside the door. The door opened without warning, and a young girl rushed inside, jumping onto the bed where Erna and Kallion were lying.
“You are…?” Erna began to say, her surprise evident in her voice.
The girl was a spitting image of Erna, with the same bright blonde hair and blue eyes as Kallion. She looked at the two of them, then shouted energetically, “Mom, dad, good night!”