Chapter 27: The Boundary (5)

Suddenly, the sky threw a tantrum.

-Rumble. Boom.

A cry filled with fury transformed into thunder.

The sun sighed, looking at the thick black clouds.

Looks like today is not the day. As the sunlight took a few steps back, the world quickly grew dark.

Clouds unleashed rain into the darkness. It was a torrential downpour.

Was it greedy because it hadn’t rained in a while? The ground hungrily devoured the water.

The soil, after drinking its fill, naturally turned into mud. The sticky mud clung to our feet, like regrets.

With every step, the effort increased. It felt like my energy was being drained.

To make matters worse, our rain-soaked clothes quickly became heavy.

The rainwater wasn’t too cold, but it was only ‘for now.’

Rain, accompanied by wind. If we continued like this, we’d soon lose body heat.

Catching a cold here would be dangerous; we had no medicine.

Sirien already looked exhausted.

“Hah, hah... Ugh!”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Thanks. I didn’t get hurt because of you.”

“We’re almost there. Just a little more.”

I barely caught Sirien as she nearly fell.

A misstep meant her focus was wavering. It was a sign she was reaching her physical limits.

As soon as the rain started, we decided to turn back. It was a wise choice.

Our destination was a cave we’d seen earlier.

The cave was spacious enough to serve as a base. It seemed we’d be spending the night there.

It might actually be a good thing. It would be cozier than staying under rocks or trees.

Ending the day early and conserving our strength wasn’t a bad idea.

As we continued walking, the cliff we had seen earlier came into view. We were about 10 to 20 minutes away.

But Sirien’s condition was concerning.

She was already out of breath, and now her lips were trembling.

At this rate, she’d soon be suffering from hypothermia. We had to hurry.

“As soon as we get in, we need to start a fire. Are you very cold?”

“I can, manage.”

“Watch your step!”


Was I pushing too hard? Sirien twisted her ankle on the slope.

She quickly regained her posture, but seeing her rub her ankle, it must have hurt quite a bit.

In this case, there was no choice.

“You need to be carried.”


“Get on my back. Moving with an injured foot will be slower.”

I had been conserving my strength almost obsessively on this journey.

If I were exhausted when facing monsters, it would be troublesome.

Sirien’s condition was important, but so was my ability to fight.

But this was an emergency.

I couldn’t let Sirien walk any further.

I took off my backpack and crouched down.

The shadow behind me hesitated, but a wave of my hand urged her to comply.

Her small body climbed onto my back.

She wasn’t heavy. With her increased activity and lack of proper meals, she’d lost weight.

She was already skinny, and now she felt even more frail. It pained me.

I didn’t want her to get any wetter, so I covered her with my coat.

A bit of warmth reached me. Our bodies touched, and it felt a little warmer.

I could clearly feel her chest rise and fall with each breath.

Her now steady breaths touched the back of my neck.

“Am I heavy...?”

“Not at all.”

“Sorry. Because of me.”

“It’s fine. You’ve done well to hold on this long.”

Her voice was close. How long had it been since I heard Sirien’s voice this close?

Her skin was quite cold. This wasn’t the time for warmth talk.

I quickened my pace.

“Do you remember when you carried me like this before, Razen?”

“When you got hurt sneaking out of the castle?”


Small talk. Her whispering voice tickled my ear.

She must be feeling more relaxed.

“It was my right ankle that time too. It hurt so much I cried a lot.”

“You used to cry easily back then.”

“Yeah. I can’t cry as freely now.”

Sirien had pestered me to help her sneak out to a field where fireflies appeared at night.

It ended in a complete failure. We couldn’t even escape the castle properly and had to return crying.

I think she got hurt trying to climb over the wall.

“Do you know I got scolded to death then?”


“Of course. I helped a noble girl run away and came back with a broken ankle. Do you think I was fine? I had to run around the training field in armor for days.”

“Pfft. I wish I had seen that. I guess I missed it because I was getting scolded by my mom.”

Now, most of the stories Sirien liked were from the old days.

When she was in the castle, wandering around energetically, and Terion causing trouble almost every day.

I couldn’t shake off what Sirien said a while ago.

She said I was the only person she could trust.

I’m the only one left who can share those memories from back then.

Even after we leave this dreadful forest, that won’t change.

It’s not like my situation is any different.

What exactly was the relationship between Sirien and Razen in the novel?

They definitely cherished each other. When Razen died on the battlefield, Sirien nearly lost it.

She abandoned her usual calm defensive strategy and started commanding the army very aggressively.

It was as if she no longer cared about the future. She launched suicidal attacks aimed solely at killing as many enemies as possible.

Without Razen there to steady the spear, it didn’t last long.

Their relationship was described in a way that felt both deeply emotional and like a simple lord-vassal bond.

At least on the surface, they didn’t break the knight and lord relationship.

The novel was indifferent to the villains. There wasn’t much reliable information about us.

It all depends on what I do.

The arm around my neck somehow felt significant.

“Ah, we’ve arrived. Thanks. I can move on my own now. You can let me down.”

“Can you help start the fire? I’ll gather some wood.”

“Sure. I hope the flint isn’t wet.”

“It should be fine; I wrapped it in a leather pouch.”

The inside of the cave was cozier than expected.

Contrary to the preconceived notion that caves are damp, the interior was filled with dry leaves, soil, and twigs.

It felt more like a spacious hollow than a cave.

It wasn’t deep enough for any enemies to be hiding, so we didn’t have to search the inside.

I gathered some branches from the pile of leaves.

Snap. Snap.

Sparks flew from the flint in Sirien’s hands.

It used to take forever to start a fire, but now she could do it skillfully.

“Ah, it’s lit.”

Sirien and I huddled close to the fire to warm up.

Now that we were sheltered from the rain, the endlessly falling rain seemed quite picturesque.

It felt like looking out of a large, round window from the castle.

The castle.

By now, Count Roxen must be coiled up in the castle, right?

If there’s a pursuit team, they should be close by now. Would this rain erase our tracks?

It might be optimistic thinking, but hoping for something isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As long as we’re not careless in our preparations.

Whether fortune favors us or not.

They will come soon.

* * *

After warming up a bit, Sirien quickly fell asleep.

It was still too early for the night. Feeling it was too soon to sleep as well, I decided to practice with my sword alone.

Perhaps seeing a strong swordsman—someone I didn’t know—had stirred something within me.

I wanted to take this opportunity to assess my swordsmanship.

I hadn’t had much time lately, so now was my chance.

‘I’ve gotten a bit faster. My movements are much smoother too.’

Days filled with countless battles. It seemed my body bore not just scars but a wealth of experience.

The hands-on combat experience acted like a lubricant.

Even starting with the same movement, I could seamlessly transition into various other actions. The crises I navigated with improvisation made my movements more fluid.

The increase in speed was likely because the sword felt lighter.

Whether I had simply gotten used to the weight of the new sword or if my body had grown stronger, I wasn’t sure yet.

‘Well, I’ll figure that out by swinging the sword more.’

The blade, tinted crimson in the firelight, moved roughly.

Is this a downside?

My movements had become larger. I was using more strength.

It probably stemmed from recently facing only massive opponents. Developing the habit of overpowering their immense toughness must have ingrained some bad habits.

It’s never good to get too accustomed to a particular way of handling the sword.

However, I couldn’t dismiss the changes in my swordsmanship as purely negative.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t use the precise techniques I used to.

I just needed to ease up on the excessive force.

The aggressiveness of my sword strikes had definitely increased.

Am I starting to resemble the Razen from the novel?

We are, after all, walking the same path.

Fortunately, there was a lot of description about Razen’s combat style.

- Count Berthus’s swordsmanship remained fierce. His sword aura roared ferociously, gnawing away at everything around it, like a beast flashing its fangs, sometimes like a bolt of lightning.

- Ferocious attacks stormed from his jet-black sword. Razen Berthus stubbornly adhered to an all-out offensive style. He shredded through magic spells, shattered unyielding divinity head-on, never halting his advance for even a moment. Relentless murderous intent surged through the entire battlefield.

After swinging my sword for a while, sweat beaded on my forehead.

Satisfied, I sheathed my sword. I had certainly grown faster than I had been back at the castle.

I felt like I could see the path to the next level.

Once you grasp the path, all that’s left is to run.

The destination was clear. I knew the possibilities.

All I needed was time.

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