Chapter 19.1

Elena found herself utterly entranced, incapable of taking in her surroundings with a discerning eye. She lay prone upon Kennard’s sturdy back, her face concealed from the world. It was only after acclimating to the gentle rhythm of their movement that she summoned the courage to peel open her heavy eyelids.

The snow, a flurry of glistening gems, raced by at a breathtaking speed through the gaps in the surrounding forest, casting an ethereal blanket of purest white. Spellbound by the mesmerizing panorama, Elena gradually raised her upper body.

The spectacle that unfolded before her was nothing short of awe-inspiring, as a multitude of stars adorned the midnight sky. Elena’s breath caught in her throat, a gasp escaping her lips involuntarily.

Amid the hushed and still darkness of the forest, Kennard’s steady breaths, the soft crunch of his footsteps upon the snow, and the swift passage of the wind left behind a symphony in Elena’s ears. It felt as though they were soaring through the heavens, transcending the confines of time and space. 

How far had they journeyed? Only when Kennard led them to an unknown, densely wooded area did he finally come to a halt.

Nestled within the heart of the densely enveloping forest, a small hill rose from the earth, and at its base, a colossal rock formation loomed, its sheer size rivaling that of a house.

Kennard slowly descended to the forest floor, his eyes fixed upon the rock, its forbidding appearance like an entrance to the underworld. Elena, as though in a graceful glide, slid down from his back, her feet finding solid ground.

With Elena securely on the ground, Kennard rose once more. The contours of his visage, from his noble brow down to the bridge of his nose and lips, retained a strength that echoed his former humanity.

“Do you have any inkling of our whereabouts?” Kennard’s inquiry pierced the air.

Elena, who had been idly studying his profile, initially responded with silence, her thoughts drifting in distraction. Then, comprehension dawned, and she turned her head.

“Am I familiar with this place?” She was still ensnared by amnesia’s veil, her memory shrouded in a profound and disorienting fog. Consequently, the why and where of this location remained a mystery to her.

“I found you right here,” Kennard revealed. Elena was so taken aback that her mouth remained agape, the realization dawning upon her that this was the very place where her journey had taken an abrupt and painful turn.

“Here?” Elena echoed, her voice tinged with disbelief.

“Yeah,” Kennard affirmed, nodding solemnly. “You tumbled down that hill and collided with this very rock.”

Even though the evidence was laid out before her eyes, it felt strangely remote, as if this had happened to someone else entirely, not the Elena of the present.

“Can you shed any light on why I was here?” Elena inquired, her curiosity tinged with a hint of desperation. In response, Kennard turned his attention up the hill, his gaze distant.

“You still haven’t remembered anything?” he asked, his tone tinged with a touch of disappointment.

Elena’s heart sank. “No, not yet,” she admitted in a subdued tone, her lower lip caught between her teeth. She couldn’t help but wonder how long Kennard’s patience would last, caring for her as she struggled to regain her lost memories.

Such thoughts kept her gaze lowered, her own self-doubt weighing heavily upon her.

“Elena,” Kennard’s voice broke through her reverie.

“Yes?” Elena responded, her eyes meeting his, uncertain of what he was about to say.

“…I’m going to give you leave here for a while,” he revealed, leaving Elena taken aback by the unexpected declaration.

Their eyes briefly locked in mid-air.

He said it would only be a brief moment, but is he contemplating abandoning me here? Is that the reason he brought me to this place, where it all began? Elena’s pale gray eyes betrayed her anxious thoughts, although she chose to keep her words to herself, as his hazel eyes seemed to harbor a multitude of unspoken thoughts.

“It will just be a moment, although it might take a little longer,” Kennard reassured her as he slowly retreated. Unconsciously, Elena found herself drawn to follow him.

“Your Highness!”

Kennard’s command froze Elena in her tracks. “Do not move a single inch until I return,” he insisted.

In the end, Elena ceased her advance, respecting his directive. She could no longer approach him.

Kennard took a few more steps backward before he pivoted and vanished into the depths of the forest. His glossy, jet-black fur, previously gleaming, merged seamlessly with the encroaching darkness as the distance grew.



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