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1592-chapter-83

Chapter 83

The white light blazed, momentarily turning the drawing room as bright as a flash.

Unable to bear the intense light, Carinne squeezed her eyes shut. A sizzling sound rang out, and then the blinding light faded back to its original brightness.

The creature lay sprawled on the floor, its mouth agape. Thin wisps of smoke emanated from its open mouth, and a pungent, burning smell filled the air, causing her to recoil. The acrid smoke made her head spin.

“Are you alright?”

Archen rushed down the stairs and supported her. If his hand hadn’t been there to catch her shoulder, she might have collapsed. The near-death experience had drained all her strength.

“Look there!”

The maid who had been hiding behind the sofa exclaimed, pointing at the charred monster. Surprisingly, it was still twitching its front paw, despite being burned black.

It wasn’t dead? Even in that state?

Carinne was startled and took a step back.

Archen wrapped his arm around her waist and drew a small circle in the air. A white ring of light appeared, and then his palm spread open, and a white beam of light shot out from the center of the ring.

The ring beamed.

Taking advantage of its hesitation, Archen picked up a shard of glass that had fallen to the floor and plunged it into the creature’s skull. There was a cracking sound and something shattering, and then something astonishing happened.

It turned into gray smoke and vanished. Not a speck of dust, not a single hair remained. If it hadn’t been for the people around her, Carinne would have thought she had seen it wrong. It had disappeared without a trace, so much so that she thought she had imagined it.

As the realization that she was safe dawned on her, her strength drained away. Carinne stumbled and sank onto the sofa as if collapsing.

Archen took her hand and knelt before her.

“Are you hurt anywhere?”

Although she said she was fine, he couldn’t relax. He carefully examined her hands and arms, checking for any wounds.

“I’m really okay. Look, I’m perfectly fine.”

Carinne held out her palms.

She was more worried about Marie. She was a young child with little experience of the world, so how shocked must she have been to face it head-on? As she had guessed, Marie was terrified. She was leaning against the wall with a vacant look in her eyes as if the creature were still there.

“Marie, come here.”

“….”

“Marie?”

When she called her name twice, Marie’s eyes refocused.

“Ah, my lady.”

“Come here.”

Marie crawled over and nestled in Carinne’s arms. Carinne gently patted her back.

“It’s okay, it’s all over.”

Waaaaah…

Marie buried her head in Carinne’s chest and burst into tears that she had been holding back.

The people who had been hiding behind the sofa were still looking around anxiously. Then, one of them stood up, and the others followed suit. The people who had fled also realized that it was quiet and gathered in the drawing room one by one.

Although they were out of danger, their movements were still cautious. The biggest reason for their anxiety was not whether it would reappear but that they didn’t know what it was.

Archen would know, wouldn’t he?

While patting Marie’s back, Carinne looked at him with questioning eyes, and he nodded as if he understood.

‘So, he does know.’

It was a good thing her boyfriend was a walking encyclopedia.

Once the people had gathered to some extent, Archen began to explain.

“It’s a monster.”

People’s eyes widened at the unfamiliar word. Even Marie looked up with a question.

“A monster?”

“Yes.”

“Why is a monster here…?”

“I’m not sure, but it seems like a rift to another world has opened.”

People’s murmurs grew louder at the mention of a rift to another world.

“A rift to another world?”

“Why did it suddenly open?”

Some of them looked at Carinne as if expecting an answer, but she was just as curious.

…A monster? A rift to another world?

She had never read about monsters or rifts to other worlds in the original story.

‘So this is also a hidden setting, then…’

Why were there so many hidden settings in this book? It was the same during the witch trial, and now a monster has come out of a rift to another world. It was enough to make Carinne, who had been unexpectedly caught up in the book, want to cry.

“Or maybe someone opened the rift with the intention of summoning the monster.”

Archen continued his explanation in a tone that would have been believable even if he were a teacher lecturing to students.

“However, there are only a handful of people on the continent who can do that, and there’s no reason for them to do such a thing, so in the end, it must have opened naturally….”

A tense silence fell over the room as Archen’s words sank in.

“That’s something that only happens once in a few hundred years.”

He continued, his voice heavy with resignation.

“In short, we’ve been incredibly unlucky.”

The assembled people murmured their agreement, some wiping the sweat from their brows as if finally allowing themselves to breathe. Still, Carinne knew it was far too early to relax.

“Wait a minute.”

She interjected, her voice cutting through the murmurs.

All eyes turned to her expectantly.

“So, when does this… rift… close?”

Archen hesitated, his expression mirroring a teacher caught off guard by an unexpected question. “No one knows,” he admitted.

“It will remain open until someone goes and closes it.”

A cold shiver ran down Carinne’s spine.

“There’s no way there’s only one monster in that other world, is there?”

This time, there was no answer.

Everyone’s minds were filled with the same horrifying possibility: what if the creature they had just fought wasn’t the only one? Or worse, what if the mansion was simply too far from the rift to attract many creatures while closer areas were teeming with them?

Suddenly, a man burst through the crowd, his face pale and his voice trembling.

It was the same man who had earlier cried for help as he led the beast into the mansion.

As he drew closer, Carinne recognized him: he was a coachman who belonged to the Iris family, Shunen County.

The coachmen’s breathless explanation confirmed their worst fears. He had encountered a pack of monsters on his way to the mansion. They had attacked, destroying his carriage. In the chaos, he had fled for his life, ending up here.

When asked about Iris, he replied that he had heard her scream as the carriage shattered but hadn’t seen her since. So, had she been left to fend for herself?

Fury surged through Carinne, though before she could react, the others intervened.

“Calm down,”

Archen urged.

“We need to find Iris. Let me go instead.”

“Of course, we need to find her.”

Carinne retorted, struggling against their hold.

“Just let me go! I’ll be quick.”

“It’s too dangerous. No one knows how many more monsters are out there. I’ll go in your place.”

“The monsters only attacked me, not you. It’s just as dangerous for you. Honestly, I’d rather go alone.”

“I said no.”

“Fine, whatever. I’m going anyway.”

Archen sighed, his shoulders slumping.

There were only two possible responses left. He could either say, ‘As you wish, Princess,’ or ‘How about we go together?’ He knew Carinne would choose the latter. It was the only way to ensure her safety, as the others wouldn’t allow him to let her go alone.

Just as he was about to speak, a cold metallic sensation clamped around Carinne’s ankles. She looked down to see a glowing ring encircling her legs, attached to the leg of the sofa.

“What are you doing?!”

She exclaimed, her voice laced with panic. As she moved, the sofa dragged along the floor, effectively trapping her.

“How far is the carriage from here?”

Archen asked the coachmen, completely ignoring her outburst.

“N-not far, sir. About a fifteen-minute walk.”

Archen nodded curtly and, with a quick “I’ll leave the Princess in your care,” exited the room.

“Wait!”

Carinne cried, scrambling after him.

“Take me with you!”

Though the sofa snagged on the furniture, preventing her from following. She tried to lift the sofa and remove the ring, but it was firmly attached. In desperation, she hoisted the sofa, but the chain was too short for her to walk properly.

There was no way she could navigate the monster-infested grounds while carrying the cumbersome piece of furniture.

“Marie, go get a knife! And a saw and a hammer!”

Carinne barked at the hesitant maid.

“Hurry!”

Soon, the maids returned with an armful of tools. Carinne tried sawing the ring, then chopping it with the knife, and finally, when all else failed, hammering it. However, the cursed ring, forged from some unknown material, resisted every attempt.

Only one option remained.

Carinne curled her toes, attempting to slip her foot out of the ring. It was like a playground challenge, trying to remove a bracelet without breaking the chain. The difference being, this wasn’t a paper bracelet on her wrist, but a metal ring around her ankle.

Finally, after much struggle, her efforts paid off.

With a triumphant cry, Carinne freed her foot from the ring. Her ankle throbbed where the metal had chafed, but that was the least of her worries now. She snatched a nearby kitchen knife and, without a moment’s hesitation, dashed out of the mansion.

“My lady!”

Marie cried, scrambling after her, but Carinne was already far gone.