Chapter 16: A Perilous Journey (1)

When we returned, the cabin was filled with an eerie stillness.

Even the wind had ceased, allowing the silence to settle ominously.

We hadn’t expected the same liveliness as yesterday.

Too much had happened.

We just hoped that Hena had found some peace on her own.

The overly quiet space made Sirien and I uneasy, and our unease soon became a reality.

Was it too unbearable? Hena chose to take her own life.

It seemed she had grabbed a sword lying on the floor and plunged it into her heart.

The blade was deeply embedded in her fallen body.

Strangely enough, it seemed she did not suffer.

Hena’s expression appeared quite peaceful, almost as if she had woken from a nightmare into a restful sleep, a serene smile lingering on her lips.

In her final moments, she seemed to want to keep Terion in her sight. Her eyes, now unfocused, remained on Terion’s face.

After a brief moment of solace, we cleaned Hena’s blood together.

I explained to the bewildered Sirien the emotions Hena had harbored.

It turned into a long story of unrequited love.

Sirien listened quietly before suggesting we cremate the two together.

We took them outside and laid them side by side on a white cloth.

I made sure they held hands, something I thought they would have wanted.

They looked like a young couple that way.

Would Hena have been happy to hear that?

It was their decision to face death together.

Though it was a sorrowful end, we chose to respect it.

There was no other way.

Terion had cared deeply for Hena.

He would have no complaints.

Today, the weather felt particularly cold. It felt like the spite of late winter or the mourning of spring.

The wind that circled the snowy field sang a mournful tune. Leaves rustled in the darkness of night.

“Shall we light it?”


We arranged firewood densely around the two and set it ablaze.

Funerals in the Grand Duchy of Eilencia were always solemn and quiet.

While the deceased’s body ascended in flames, the living closed their eyes in silence, reminiscing about their memories with the deceased.

It was believed that the gods of the heavens would read these memories and guide the departed.

If you recalled good memories, the gods would lead the deceased to a good place. If you recalled sad memories, they would console the deceased.

I chose to believe in these words. The gods of this world were tangible concepts. They granted power to their followers or conveyed their will through oracles.

If they had any sense of justice, they would not abandon Terion and Hena. Though it was just the two of us at this funeral, our time spent was deeply meaningful.

The last time we lit a fire here, it had been a joyous occasion.

We ate delicious food, danced, sang, and laughed by the bonfire. But now, Sirien could not even shed a tear, biting her lip instead.

As the fire consumed both of them, we maintained our silence.

When their cremation was complete, we were of one mind.

“We have to leave this place.”

* * *

We have to leave.

The cabin is no longer safe.

Count Roxen’s betrayal was certain.

Since we killed all of his men, the news likely hadn’t reached him yet.

He would soon send stronger ones, and they wouldn’t be the same weaklings as before.

A force capable of killing us for sure.

I couldn’t handle them with my power alone.

So, we had to run now.

The problem was that we didn’t know exactly where this cabin was located.

When we first arrived, we speculated it was somewhere in the northwest of the empire.

In other words, we had to embark on a journey without knowing the way.

We relied on Count Roxen more than we realized.

Now that he was our enemy, Sirien and I were thrown into the wild with nothing.

Even the words he had spoken couldn’t be trusted.

Was it true that the Grand Duke and Duchess were safe? What about my father’s death?

Who was the traitor who aided Demon King Eligor’s invasion? Was there such a traitor? Or was Count Roxen himself the traitor?

The questions were endless.

It was a problem without an answer.

Sirien and I decided to focus on survival first.

The most pressing decision was our destination.

A roughly drawn map of the empire lay before us.

“Shouldn’t we head northeast? It’s the opposite direction from the Grand Duchy.”

“I agree. If any pursuers come, they’ll start from there. Is there any place we can get help in the northeast?”

“Yes, it’s quite far, but there’s the Count state of Eloran at the end. My grandfather... I mean, the Count has always been on good terms with our family. He will surely help us.”

I had met Count Eloran briefly before.

He was a kind old man. They said he was quite fiery in his younger days, but he always turned into a doting grandfather around Sirien.

Indeed, the Count wouldn’t ignore Sirien’s peril. So our destination was decided.

We packed as much as we could.

The knowledge from my time in the knights’ order came in handy.

We couldn’t carry much since we weren’t strong enough to bear heavy bags for long.

“The problem is getting to the Count state of Eloran... The north is full of lawless areas and barbarian tribes, making it very dangerous.”

“First, we need to get out of this forest. You’ve seen them too, right? The monsters living here.”

“Ugh... I didn’t want to think about that.”

We had spent quite a long time in this cabin.

Thanks to Count Roxen, the hideout itself was well-protected, so we hadn’t been directly attacked, but this coniferous forest was full of dangers.

While running around the snowy fields or taking a brief look around at night, we occasionally saw giant beasts or monsters.

Now, we had to make our way through a forest teeming with such creatures.

How vast is this forest?

We don’t even know where the exit is.

“Did you pack everything?”

“Yeah, double-checked. How about you, Razen?”

“I’ve got everything I need. Let’s get some sleep now and leave as soon as the sun rises.”


Our attic room wasn’t too disturbed. The fight had taken place on the first floor.

The second-floor attic was relatively untouched.

We had thrown the bodies of our enemies outside, leaving us with a lingering unease.

So now, it was just the two of us in this cabin.

As we lay in our beds, the absence of Hena and Terion was palpable.

The empty spaces between the four beds stood out.

Terion had a terrible habit of tossing and turning in his sleep.

Even if Hena made the bed neatly, it would soon be a mess.

A clean bed felt like an invitation for Terion to come lie down.

In the midst of this emptiness, a soft voice broke the silence.

“Razen, are you asleep?”

“What is it?”

“Can I sleep with you tonight?”

I almost asked, ‘Are you scared?’ but stopped myself.

Even saying those words might unsettle Sirien.

“Sure. Come over if you want.”

“Thanks. I just can’t seem to sleep.”

“Want me to sing you a lullaby?”

“I’m not a kid... Alright, just for tonight.”


I patted her back and sang a lullaby.

It was one Sirien liked, a song the maids used to sing to her when she was young.

She didn’t need lullabies anymore as she grew older, but tonight it seemed appropriate.

As I sang, I felt a dampness in my embrace.

Her small body trembled.

I remembered a recent moment.

Sirien had comforted me with these words on this very bed.

- If that day ever comes, I’ll cling to you and cry my eyes out. I might cry so much that your shirt gets soaked.

- When I cry like that, I want you to do this. Hug me and pat my back; it would feel really nice.

Sirien wasn’t sobbing uncontrollably, nor was my shirt soaked.

But holding her and patting her back seemed to be what she needed.

Her slender arms wrapped around my waist.

“Razen, you know…”

“Yeah, I’m listening.”

“I’m going to get revenge. I’ll avenge my brother and Hena. I don’t care why my uncle did it. Whatever the reason, it’s sure to be worthless.”

Her voice was fragile, yet her declaration was heavy.

“I’ll never forgive him. No matter what he says, I won’t listen. He made my brother and Hena die in this place, so I’ll make sure he dies in a place where no one will know.”

“So no one in this world will ever know?”

“Yeah. I’ll erase him and everything he cares about completely.”

“Let’s do that. Everything will go as you say.”

I’ll make sure of it.

“I’ll help you.”

“Promise me?”

“Yes. I swear on my name, I’ll keep this promise.”

In the novel I knew, there was no mention of Count Roxen.

There were no records or mentions of him, suggesting that Sirien succeeded.

She must have killed Roxen and buried the truth in darkness.

Just as Terion and Hena died in obscurity, Roxen would meet a lonely and desolate end.

The difference was that Roxen would leave nothing behind.

Only then would this anger and sorrow be appeased.

We would remember Hena and Terrion to the end, but no one would remember Roxen.

“Thank you, Razen. Now you’re my everything. So please, don’t ever leave me.”


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