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Chapter 14: Catastrophe (3)

As soon as I entered the cabin, what I saw were dense bloodstains.

The floor we all frequented was stained red.

There were dark red stains on the carpet Hena maintained daily.

I vividly remember her shaking off the dust every morning, but now it was a mess, covered in mud.

The dishes we used daily were shattered into pieces, and the sofa where Terion often lay had its leather torn.

It was disgusting.

It felt as though our precious haven had been desecrated.

This cabin was a place everyone wanted to escape from, a prison and place of exile we couldn’t have endured without each other.

Yet, it was not a place to be entered with filthy, muddy boots.

Painful as the memories might be, they were our memories.

This was where we had lived. Perhaps one day in the distant future, we could return and reminisce about this moment.

There was a body in the direction of the kitchen.

Thankfully, it was not a face I recognized.

The body was silent.

It couldn’t be that this was the only body here. Yet, the cabin was eerily quiet.

“If you’re there, answer me.”

No response came.

All I could hear was my own breath exhaling sharply.

A cold feeling settled in my chest.

It seemed the enemy was still hiding.

If Terion had taken out all the opponents, someone would have responded; if not, it meant there were still enemies left.

In that case, it was highly likely that Terion was incapacitated.

My teeth ground together in frustration.

Fortunately, there was no sign of Hena or Sirien.

I could only hope they were well-hidden.

“It’s Razen. If you’re okay, just say something.”

“......”

“Fine. Sirien, Hena? If you hear me, stay hidden. I’ll finish this soon.”

Still, no words came back.

I gripped my sword tightly.

I thought I had reached my limits, but it seemed there was still strength left in me.

Was it anger?

Or perhaps a flash of returning light before the end?

Whatever it was, it didn’t matter. If it gave me the strength to fight, then that was all that mattered.

My eyes quickly scanned the inside of the cabin.

The first thing to note was the signs of a struggle.

Chairs and tables were overturned and in disarray.

Chess pieces Sirien used to play with were scattered like trash.

There were quite a few bloodstains from injuries inflicted during the fight.

However, the footprints covering them were not numerous enough to account for three people.

‘Was the fight brief?’

No.

There were knife marks on the curtains hung in the kitchen, not high up, suggesting a sneak attack by Terion was successful here.

This must have been where the fight started one-on-one.

Thanks to that, Terion must have managed to buy some time.

I could picture him fighting desperately.

He was prone to complaints, but he was tough in combat.

He would have fought without sparing himself, leaving wounds on his opponent.

The remaining enemy must have been quite strong. Yet, I doubted Terion had faced him unscathed.

What troubled me was that Terion’s sword was broken.

‘That sword wasn’t easy to break. Terion didn’t neglect his sword maintenance.’

The remaining sword marks were unusual.

They looked like they were made with tremendous force.

That’s when I heard it. A faint sound from behind the wall.

The sound of fabric brushing. It was especially loud in the silence.

I didn’t hesitate and ran towards it.

In the very moment I swung my sword, my eyes widened in shock.

“Terion? Hena?”

No enemies were in sight.

Only Terion and Hena, slumped against the wall in a corner, were visible.

Hena appeared unharmed.

She was breathing evenly, and there were no bloodstains.

She must have been knocked unconscious. It was incredibly fortunate.

‘Did they deem her of no value as a hostage because she was wearing a maid’s uniform?’

The problem was Terion.

It looked like his neck had been slashed; his body was drenched in crimson blood.

There were numerous minor wounds, but the injury on his neck was gravely severe.

He was still alive, barely.

His breath was so faint, it could cease at any moment.

Something seemed to snap in my head.

I needed to stop the bleeding right away. But then, footsteps sounded from behind.

If I hadn’t spun around to defend myself, my body would have been split in two.

The clash of steel roared ferociously.

‘What kind of strength is this...!’

It was a familiar downward strike.

The defense was easy, but the opponent forced a power struggle while our blades were locked.

His face was hard to see. The robe he wore was so bulky that it was difficult to determine his build, though glimpses of his bulging muscles could be seen through the torn fabric.

My physical ability was monstrous enough to be notable among my peers, but that was just among those of the same age.

I was not equipped to handle a brute force confrontation like this.

My sword screamed in protest.

The wounds on my arm suddenly became more bothersome.

The pain was bearable, but it was a significant hindrance to exerting strength.

I was mistaken.

Even if I had been in perfect condition, engaging in a strength contest with this brute was a bad move.

I decided to give up on the fight quickly.

As I tried to withdraw my sword, a kick flew at me. I blocked it but was pushed several steps backward.

“Argh!”

“You look miserable. I’ll end your suffering soon.”

The voice was deep.

Normally, I would have retorted, but I genuinely had no room for that.

I was at a severe disadvantage.

The space was too confined indoors to use outfighting effectively. Given that my body was smaller, it wasn’t going to be easy.

He gleefully hammered down his sword.

The noise was unbelievably loud for just swords clashing

—clang, bang, crash!

The strain went through my arm as the blades scraped together.

‘It’s only been a few blocks, and already the blade is deteriorating.’

It meant the sword couldn’t withstand much more.

Pretending I couldn’t hold on any longer, I took a step back, quickly lowered my posture, and darted to his side.

A direct confrontation was out of the question. All I managed while switching positions was a cut on his calf.

It wasn’t a deep wound. The feedback felt shallow.

His expression hardly changed at all.

‘If only my body were in better shape, I could have inflicted a deeper wound.’

At this rate, the tide of battle wouldn’t change.

If I let him keep attacking, I would end up dying helplessly.

Bang! Crash!

Each time our swords clashed, a severe pain shot through my arm.

I gritted my teeth and endured as my consciousness began to blur.

On the fifth attack, my sword cracked.

‘Can it last two more strikes at most?’

I had to make a decision before that.

But how?

Swordsmanship wasn’t the answer.

I might have been better technically, but my condition rendered that advantage meaningless.

Jujitsu or hand-to-hand combat wasn’t even worth considering.

Trying to engage in close-quarters combat with this guy, in this state, would be foolish.

There was no proper angle to throw my sword like before.

That left only one option.

A mutual destruction without regard for survival.

‘Let go of the desire to live.’

If I was prepared to die, maybe I could land a decent attack.

After all, he was the last one.

Even if I died, Sirien and Hena could survive and escape.

Just as I braced myself for death,

a miracle occurred.

“Ugh! Gah?”

He suddenly stopped and spat blood.

A broken sword blade was embedded in his neck.

I thought I saw a staggering figure in the background.

Terion. It was you.

I didn’t miss the opportunity. My sword thrust straight towards his heart and hit its mark.

I heard his sword drop to the floor.

He wasn’t dead yet.

I stabbed his heart several times more. By the time my face was covered in blood, his body collapsed.

At the same moment, Terion also slumped to the ground.

“Is, is he the last one...?”

Terion asked in a barely audible voice.

I quickly supported him.

I hadn’t seen it clearly before, but the cut on his neck was serious.

Even stopping the bleeding now might not save him.

“Don’t talk! You’ll lose more blood.”

What should I do?

Was there a way to treat such injuries in this cabin?

I didn’t know.

We needed help.

Then I saw Hena collapsed nearby.

She was the person most likely to think of something for Terion.

Hena was the most reliable person at this moment.

I urgently woke her up.

“Hena, Hena! Wake up. Hena!”

Thankfully, after shaking her a few times, her eyes fluttered open.

“Help. Terion is in danger. We have to do something.”

Her eyes, cloudy at first, scanned the surroundings as soon as she regained her senses.

Soon, Hena’s gaze must have landed on Terion. Her face turned pale instantly.

“Oh, no... Young master. No, I can’t bear it, not the young master!”

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