As the day began to fade, Elise was roughly grabbed and thrown into a barracks. She struggled against the restraints on her hands and feet, desperate to move even just one of her arms. If only she could press the magic circle tattooed on her forearm, maybe she could escape this terrible situation.
But her captor, a knight from Van Yella, had no intention of releasing her. He kept her gagged and bound, even lifting her hand tied behind her back and pinning it somewhere above her head. Elise’s blindfold had been replaced, so she was completely unable to see what was happening.
“I’ve been starving for a month, but what a delicious prey you are,” the man said, his voice dripping with lust. “You’re lucky to have caught my eye. With skin as pale as yours, it’s hard for even a Kyrstan man of stone to resist being seduced.”
Elise’s helplessness and inability to fight back filled her with terror and crushed her pride. The man’s touch felt disgusting and violating. All she could do was repeat the name of her twin brother, Andrei, over and over in her head, hoping against hope that he was still alive somewhere. “Help me,” she pleaded silently. “Help me, anyone, please.”
Just as the man was about to rip off Elise’s cloak, something burst out of her body, causing the man to make a choking sound. Elise couldn’t see what was happening, but she could feel the warm, sticky liquid coating her shoulder and the faint smell of blood in the air.
Suddenly, the ropes binding her arms were cut, and Elise quickly sat up, tearing off her blindfold. She was met with the gruesome sight of the man’s torso, ripped into a half-moon shape. She couldn’t believe what had just happened, but one thing was certain: she had been saved by some kind of miraculous force.
As Elise clenched her teeth, surrounded by the gruesome sight of the man’s massive body, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the sudden turn of events. She hadn’t even had a chance to activate the magic circles engraved on her body, yet somehow she had been able to defend herself and kill her attacker.
Shaking with fear and grief, Elise pushed the man’s body aside and crawled under the bed, hoping to escape unnoticed. To her surprise, there were no guards outside the barracks, and she was able to make her way out without being seen.
But her escape was short-lived. Suddenly, she heard the sound of soldiers running and shouting, “Emergency!” It seemed that someone had discovered the body of the dead knight.
Elise’s heart raced as she heard the footsteps getting closer and closer. She fled to the nearest barracks, hoping to find a place to hide. As she stumbled inside, her legs gave out and she collapsed to the ground.
As she lay there, covered in blood and tears, Elise fumbled for the magic circles on her forearm. Andrei had told her that these spells were simple defensive and offensive magic, as it was difficult to engrave complex formulas for long distances. But now, as she thought about the possibility of being caught and taken back to the Van Yela Empire, Elise couldn’t help but wish that she had more powerful magic at her disposal. She vowed to ask Andrei to cover her entire back with a moving spell, no matter how excessive it might seem.
Elise sat on the ground, tears streaming down her face as she heard the footsteps of the soldiers approaching the barracks. She absentmindedly rubbed the magic circle tattooed on the inside of her forearm, trying to calm her nerves.
Suddenly, someone shouted out loud right outside the door. “His Majesty the Grand Duke!” The announcement was cut off mid-sentence.
Elise froze, her breath catching in her throat as a figure emerged from the shadows in the corner of the room. She had thought the space was empty, but now she saw a pair of piercing blue eyes looking straight at her.