Chapter 8.1

In a vast expanse devoid of any candlelight, the sole radiant beacon was the hearth nestled on one side of the room. Amidst the combustion of firewood, the prevailing hush was punctuated solely by the rhythmic crackling and the restless dance of flames.

Kennard positioned himself beside the window, his gaze transfixed on the outside world.

This “window,” if it could even be called that, was a diminutive portal, commencing at his waistline and scarcely reaching the height of his head. Divergent from its counterparts, this place lacked a terrace; it was graced with but a solitary window.

Beyond this limited aperture, shrouded in the cloak of darkness, an uninterrupted cascade of snowflakes animated the quietude, casting ethereal shadows into the void.

Kennard’s countenance, reflected in the glass, betrayed no discernible thoughts. Only his profound, pumpkin-hued irises remained unwaveringly fixed on the obscurity, as if hunting for concealed quarry. They flickered on occasion, but no other movement betrayed him; it had persisted for hours.

Tap, tap. A slight rap at the door shattered the silence, causing Kennard’s brow to slightly furrow.

Kennard directed his attention toward the door’s reflection in the glass. Even without turning around, the distinct aroma that wafted through the air revealed the intruder’s identity.


Without a moment’s hesitation, Serin made his way in, his emerald eyes aglow with discontent.

“Are you present?”

The visitor’s tone brimmed with unmistakable irritation.

“For what reason?”

Kennard, once more without shifting his gaze from the window, observed Serin as he raked his silver-streaked auburn hair impatiently with his hand.

“His Imperial Majesty still awaits your response. It’s been a month already. It should be completed today at the very least…” Serin began, only to be swiftly interrupted.

“You can pen it on my behalf,” Kennard suggested.

“What should I pen?” Serin inquired.

“Write whatever you see fit.”

“Are you absolutely certain about that? I won’t bear responsibility for the consequences thereafter.”

Kennard turned slowly to meet Serin’s gaze. In one of Serin’s hands, he held a candle, while in the other, a tray cradled rolled parchment, an inkwell, and a peacock feather quill.

One of Kennard’s eyebrows arched. “You’ve been carrying that with you?”

“What other choice did I have? You were nowhere in your chambers, the office, nor the reception area. I’ve scoured the entire palace… Finally, I found you. Why are you here once more?”

Kennard’s annoyance manifested in the form of a raised eyebrow at Serin’s grievances.

They were comrades who had shared the crucible of life and death on the battlefield, and their friendship stretched back even further, to a time shrouded in the mists of childhood memories.

Serin was the only one audacious enough to jest with the fearsome ruler of the Baruchella Empire, the enigmatic figure known as the “Black Wolf Who Devoured the Devil.”

Kennard’s expression darkened. “Do you have a death wish or something?”

“If I don’t craft a response promptly, my fate will be sealed with the Emperor. Whether I meet my end in court or by the rending of my throat, it makes no difference now,” Serin replied with unyielding determination. Even Kennard’s icy demeanor momentarily wavered.

With swift efficiency, Serin relocated a wooden desk and chair that had been leaning against the wall to stand before the hearth. Retrieving a handkerchief from his trouser pocket, he meticulously wiped away the dust from the furniture. Then, he placed the tray and the candle upon the desk.

“You’re absolutely mad,” Kennard muttered, his curses muffled by his hand as he roughly ran it across his face.

“Very well then. Let’s proceed to the office,” he suggested.

Serin, however, stubbornly shook his head and pointed to the parchment with a determined finger. “No! We write it here. You insisted on going to the office, and then you attempted to lead me elsewhere again. You pulled the same stunt last week.”

“You want me to write it here?” Kennard gestured to the austere room, steeped in a somber ambiance

Though obscured by the veil of darkness, cobwebs clung to various corners, and dust accumulated like a blanket of snow. The furniture in this room, spacious yet oppressively cramped, consisted solely of antiquated beds, desks, and chairs.

Within this airless chamber, distinguishing the source of the draft was a futile endeavor, and the atmosphere mirrored the chill of the outdoors, where snowflakes danced freely.

As a wolfkin, Kennard possessed a naturally elevated body temperature, rendering him impervious to the biting cold that pervaded the room. Were he of a different race, enduring even a single day in such conditions would prove unbearable, let alone several days.

“You may loathe it, Your Highness, but it had to be this room once more. I understand your disdain for Terra Demorte itself, but your aversion to this room is even greater,” Serin remarked.

Kennard shot a glare at Serin, his teeth grinding in frustration.

He was well aware that once Serin reached this point, there was no retreat. He knew all too well that this obstinate companion possessed a will stronger than an ox.

While Kennard could tolerate Serin’s antics to a certain extent, there were moments when they proved excessively troublesome, to the extent that he yearned to throttle him.



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