Home Post 1163-chapter-111


There was no one in the vicinity who had suffered more severe injuries than the Grand Duke, so no one raised their hand for treatment.

“…It seems there’s nothing more to see here. Then, Akarna, please rest from your journey. A carriage will be arranged for you shortly.”

Grand Duke Leveion left the tent with strides that seemed unbelievable with his injured leg.

Jiwoo was taken aback by the Second Prince, who had been silent until now. He was glaring at the knight who had just drawn the dagger, reaching towards his waist as if he was about to draw his own sword.

However, upon making eye contact with Jiwoo, he immediately erased his murderous intent. And averted his gaze.

“There is a place for you to stay. You will probably need to spend at least two months in the north. Akarna…”

At this point, the prince glanced briefly at Jiwoo.

“—will find no lack in accommodations.”

“N, no! It’s fortunate that the damage wasn’t severe. So, I plan to check the land for purification and then return.”

“…Who said that? The damage wasn’t severe?”

The Second Prince’s voice suddenly dropped.

The expressions of the aides and escorts changed strangely.

In reality, there was visibly no significant damage, and the situation was clear without needing a deeper inspection. Especially after what the Grand Duke had said.

But no one dared to argue with the prince, who was serious. After all, the Second Prince was the person who had reduced the damage. If he said so, there must indeed be hidden casualties somewhere.

Akarna’s escorts were skeptical, but the aide, having greatly benefited from the Second Prince’s deeds, sent him an unwavering look of trust.

“There is a separate task for Akarna.”

“Are there more injured somewhere else?”

“….Yes. So, please wait here for a moment.”

The Second Prince then left the barracks, his cloak billowing behind him. As a cold breeze entered through the tent entrance, Jiwoo instinctively wrapped herself up, realizing a warm object was perched on her shoulder.

This white bird.

The bird, which felt almost weightless, continuously emitted a warm heat. Given it made no sound, it seemed not to be a living bird. Could it be some sort of magic?

More importantly, isn’t it going to follow its master?

“Ah, I almost forgot…”

The Prince who went out, came back in.

“….It seems the bird has found its owner again. Take good care of it.”

Jiwoo blankly watched him leave.

* * *

That evening, Jiwoo saw the carriage brought by Grand Duke Leveion and the Second Prince.

It was somewhat unexpected. She had known before heading here that this land was barren. It was cold, lacking in resources, far from the capital, and with a high risk of monsters.

But finding such a grand carriage in a place like this was unexpected. It looked far more comfortable than what Jiwoo had ridden on the way here, yet the presence of it didn’t ease her mind.

‘What task lies ahead now…?’

Who could be the ‘special’ injured person that Akarna must attend to? In this territory, other than Grand Duke Leveion limping, could there be someone in more grave condition?

Truthfully, she was anxious. Regardless of the task, it was inevitable that she would have to shed her blood.

For the imperial family, ‘special’ usually meant something that required more sacrifice and attention from her end.

Standing beside the carriage, the Second Prince said.

“I didn’t expect you’d go straight to purifying the land. I thought you’d take ample rest.”

“No, there are still many citizens in need of our help. We can’t just abandon the suffering civilians just for our comfort.”

“Right. Right. Of course.”

The prince seemed to take the words lightly despite being the one who asked. Though his gaze remained fixed on her. If Jiwoo tried to meet his eyes, he would hurriedly look away, which had happened more than ten times already.

It almost seemed as if the prince was wary of her gaze.

Suddenly, the prince asked while avoiding eye contact.

“…And you?”

Caught off guard by the sudden question directed at her, Jiwoo was taken aback.

Her? Was he asking for her perspective?

Truth be told, she wanted to rest. No matter how accustomed she was to the overtime culture back in Korea, here, the work physically drained her.

But the expected response was clear. Being a prince of the empire, surely he would expect her to eagerly undertake the task for the people, or something along those lines.

Before Jiwoo could respond, her escort spoke on her behalf.

“Akarna is more eager than anyone for this task, Your Highness. Akarna descended to earth to convey God’s will—”

“Did I ask you?”

The prince cut off the escort’s speech irritably.

“My, my apologies. Akarna is not yet fluent in the language here. Akarna would surely share the same sentiment.”

“…You don’t seem very close to Akarna, do you?”

“The knights of the temple are forbidden from engaging in personal conversation with Akarna. It’s a rule to ensure no impure thoughts are harbored towards Akarna.”

“Impure thoughts.”

The Second Prince scoffed at the escort’s words and then ignored him. He then led Jiwoo into the carriage.

He extended his hand politely, yet his eyes never made eye contact. Not once until Jiwoo took his hand and climbed onto the carriage.

The Second Prince was a strange person. With his strong, intense presence, somewhat irritable demeanor towards the guards, and their first meeting…..the unexpected hug for greeting Akarna, who was doing rescue work, it was hard to pin him down.

Many had shown awe or fear towards Akarna, but Jiwoo had never encountered someone who seemed so lost on how to interact with her. Still, his attempts to look after her were clear, and she wanted to express her gratitude for that.

At least she could manage that much.

“…Your Highness, thank you.”

The hand that held her trembled as if struck by lightning.

For a moment, those red eyes met hers directly. Within that lifeless, tired expression that harbored no vitality, only his eyes sparkled with life.

Deep red eyes that resembled the setting sun or perhaps blazing flames.



He averted his gaze again.

“…Yes. Better than being called ‘Your Highness’ or something like that. You’re not a citizen of the empire, after all.”

Was he drawing a line?

It made sense, given the pride expected of an imperial family member.

Aleph, that is, the Second Prince, made sure Jiwoo was comfortably seated inside the carriage after witnessing her hesitant nod.

Seated on the plush seat, Jiwoo gazed out the window. True to the northern region’s reputation, it was already snowing. Even the wind seemed to grow fiercer. For Jiwoo, who knew little of such matters, the weather didn’t appear conducive for travel.

Yet, Aleph stood outside, looking in through the window. Their eyes met for a considerable time across the glass, and once more, it was the second prince who looked away first.

‘Is it really okay to travel in this weather…?’

But judging by the fact he departed despite the conditions, suggested it was fine.

The carriage ride was surprisingly smooth. Jiwoo had worried about the cold, but the thick clothes Aleph had wrapped her in and the ample blankets provided ample warmth. Not to mention the white bird that had not left her side since she met Aleph was offering its warmth.

Jiwoo instinctively touched her wrist and shoulder.

Come to think of it, this was the first time that she arrived at the mission site without any injuries.

What would happen after arrival remained to be seen…. but for the first time in a long while, there was nothing frightening.

Reaching out to the white bird on her shoulder, it nuzzled against her hand affectionately.

This was the first warmth she had felt since arriving in this world. Jiwoo was drunk by the warmth as she gazed out the window and eventually drifted off to sleep.