Home Post 1024-chapter-96


The leper cave was Servia’s bottom. Seeing the inside of the cave firsthand dissipated Enya’s fear. The fact that Servia, who condemned her for her leg, was also hiding her sick son was eye-opening. It stripped away any remaining fear in her.

Then, Servia yelled with a sharp voice.

“Are you ignoring me now? I told you to lift your head!”

Servia approached Enya swiftly and raised her foot. It seemed that she intended to nudge Enya’s head with her toe to make her look up.

At that moment, a soft groan came from outside, and someone burst into the room.

It was Jahan.

“Please, please forgive us, Lady Servia!”

Jahan, prostrating before her, trembled as he shouted.

“This, this friend here cannot speak!”

Following Enya’s instruction to make excuses, Jahan knelt at Servia’s feet and began to speak.

“The symptoms have spread to their throat… This friend had forgotten how to speak a long time ago. It seems they have something they wish to convey to you, Lady Servia.”

Silanda, who was standing by, seemed to glare at Jahan and Enya. While she was evidently surprised by their bold move, the damage was done. Enya remained motionless on the ground, waiting for Jahan to continue speaking.

Jahan began to explain while sweating profusely.

“If the pharmacist must accompany you, then we must go as well. To, to make the medicine, we need at least three people… It’s quite complicated and requires a lot of hands…”

Jahan’s voice trembled as he lied, but his careful choice of words and the sincerity in his trembling voice seemed more genuine to Servia.

“We, we also need to manage the care. We have to change bandages on time, clean the necrotic tissue, and apply new ointment… It would be impossible for one person to manufacture the medicine and also take care of Senu. The apothecary needs to make their own ointment, too. So, to prevent Senu’s condition from worsening, at least three people are needed…”

“You’ve been living quite luxuriously in this hole, Senu.”

As Servia interrupted Jahan with disbelief, her expression was filled with mockery.

Jahan opened his mouth to speak, unable to hide his embarrassment.

“The, the ointment really does require a lot of effort to produce. And as, as I mentioned, your son’s condition has worsened recently, so for us…”

Servia’s expression changed instantly.

“Who said anything about my son now?!”

Servia’s face, which was somewhat pale just moments ago, suddenly flushed with anger. The abrupt change startled everyone present.

She screamed like someone unable to contain her fury.

“There is no kin of mine here! Spouting such nonsense…”

Jahan immediately looked shocked and bowed his head in front of her. As Servia stomped around like a roaring lion, kicking up dust from the ground—

“I will go.”

—A calm voice stopped her.

It was Senu, who had been quietly observing the situation until now. Hearing his words, Jahan and Silanda quickly looked up. Lomba and Den, who had followed into the room, also hesitated and fixed their gaze on Senu.

“I will follow you.”

As if Senu’s voice acted as a sedative, Servia’s previously fiery demeanor cooled down instantly. Her raised shoulders slumped noticeably, and the fierce glow in her eyes chilled for a moment. All that was left was a gaze filled with contempt fixed on Senu.

Senu slowly began to speak.

“As you can see, my condition is indeed severe, and I do require medication.”

Enya could feel not only herself but also Silanda, Jahan, and Lomba hesitating at Senu’s words. He was playing along with their charade.

“These people… are essential for sustaining my life.”

Servia’s eyes narrowed. Her eyes were assessing whether Senu’s words were true or false.

Even if his claim was false, Servia stood to lose nothing. Whether one person followed or three, Servia would have provided for their upkeep and assigned a guard anyway. Should Senu rebel against her during their journey, she would simply threaten their lives to ensure he would obey.

‘And if the medicine truly is necessary to extend his life…’

It was a dilemma. Senu’s death was something Servia could not even fathom at this point.

‘…Senu dies.’

The impact of that single sentence on Servia was immense.

A shiver of fear ran down her spine, and she momentarily flinched. She was seething with anger she couldn’t possibly admit to herself. Even though she wouldn’t admit it, the reason she couldn’t kill her eldest son, whom she had banished, was because a twisted maternal bond had ensnared her.

It made her impossible to sever their connection. This was true even after some ten years had passed.

As much as she couldn’t tolerate her son’s diseased life, Servia also couldn’t accept his death. It was an utterly contradictory thought, but Servia had lost the ability to make clear judgments concerning Senu.

“Do as you please.”

Servia gritted her teeth and abruptly turned away.


* * *


Before dawn the next day, as the sky began to brighten, the four emerged from the cave, their bodies and faces wrapped in bandages, hidden under thick cloths even in the faint morning darkness.

“Get in.”

Two of Servia’s closest soldiers, who had escorted her to the entrance of the leprosy den during the day, were already waiting. They shoved the four into a narrow carriage with a stern demeanor.

“Wait a moment.”

One of the soldiers, noticing the enormous baggage each member of Senu’s party was carrying, halted them with a question.

“What’s in those bags?”

The soldiers seemed puzzled by the sight of Senu and his companions, each shouldering bags as big as themselves. Fortunately, perhaps aware of their condition, the soldiers did not dare to touch not only them but also their luggage.

Jahan quickly responded.

“Didn’t, didn’t you hear from Lady Servia? It’s medicinal supplies.”

“We weren’t told they’d be this bulky.”

One soldier grumbled, eyeing the large bundles of luggage with disapproval. Enya, standing at the back of the group, watched the situation unfold in suspense.

“You get one meal a day. One visit to the back room as well. Cause any trouble or get annoying, and you’ll be left behind in the plains teeming with monsters.”

Eventually, the soldier allowed them into the carriage with a look of resignation. The group sighed in relief as they were loaded onto the carriage.

The carriage, covered with a leather lid, was so packed with the four of them that there was no room to move. The space was so cramped that their knees and backs touched the person next to them. Sitting up straight meant their heads touched the ceiling, forcing them to hunch their backs and necks endlessly.

Jahan seemed utterly disheartened as he complained.

“I was hoping to see some sunlight for once, but this is worse than a beast’s cage…”

Senu somehow managed to carve out a bit of space for himself in the cramped quarters, keeping a distance from the rest of the group. It seemed he was being cautious not to let his breath or skin touch anyone else.

When Enya looked at Senu doing this, Jahan awkwardly explained.

“Just like Enya knows, Senu has always been careful in the cave to ensure that the cured ones don’t get reinfected in the cave. You wouldn’t believe how much effort he put into it.”

The group endured treatment worse than dead animals as they waited for dawn to break. Soon, the carriage started moving, and the noise of many people, horses, and Gerpans for transportation filled the air.

“It must be Servia’s personal soldiers.”

Enya speculated as she paid attention to the sounds outside.

With the addition of the personal troops left by Kahanti, Servia’s forces had become a significant military power within Aquilea, not to be underestimated. These soldiers, all under Servia’s command, reflected the vast scale of her authority.

Eventually, the carriage began its journey with a vigorous clatter of the wheels. Inside the bumpy and uncomfortable ride, they traveled for half a day.

It felt like being livestock. The stifling carriage air became damp with just their breaths, causing discomfort and a suffocating feeling. Above all, the biological needs tormented the group. Everyone struggled, but Jahan, a vibrant teenager, couldn’t hide his misery.

“Even livestock can relieve themselves wherever they please. What about me!”

As Jahan squatted, clutching his buttocks and groaning, Silanda, who had moved as far away as possible, covered her nose and scolded her in a raised whisper.

“Just try to relieve yourself here! I swear I’ll sever your hips from your waist that very day!”

Eventually, Jahan endured the whole afternoon and only in the evening, around dusk, when a soldier came with their meal and to take them for a break, did he rush out. When he returned after a while, his expression was almost divine, as if he had encountered his god.

Haa. The whole world seems beautiful now.”

Senu, who hadn’t eaten anything since last night, also did not refuse the chance to breathe in some fresh air.

Enya, under the guard’s watch, managed to briefly relieve herself along with Silanda. Of course, they had to ensure that they did not reveal their bandaged bodies that were draped with cloth from head to toe.

Even during that short time away from the carriage, Enya eagerly scanned her surroundings beneath the cloth. She hoped to catch any news about Tarhan or learn about the situation of the people from Piache’s pharmacy and the Nervana forest. However, the day passed without any significant findings.

The next day was even more challenging. Stuck in the suffocating carriage, Silanda seemed to have resigned himself to his fate, closing his eyes and leaning against the wall in a contemplative position throughout the journey.

Senu also sat eerily straight in the cramped space, maintaining his posture throughout.

The group was trapped in the carriage all day except for when one of Servia’s closest soldiers allowed them out under the cover of darkness to attend to their biological needs.

They had to wrap themselves in cloth when stepping out, and food was provided once a day. The meal consisted of a bland porridge made from hastily boiled dried beans and carrot roots, at which Jahan made a face as if he was going to vomit, earning him a scolding from Silanda.