After the meal, Holly settled near the campfire. It had been a long time since she had such a full and warm sleep.
She looked back at Cahill, who was snuggled up behind her.
“You should go and sleep there, too.”
Adam, who was very hot because he came from a cold country, was lying furthest from the fire. When he was in front of the fire, he sweated profusely even while eating meat. Seeing that, she thought Cahill would not be much different from him since they came from the same country.
“I like it here.”
However, he clung to her more, nuzzling his nose into the crook of her neck. Her chest was warm, and her back where he was sticking was cold. It was a strange condition, though Holly felt the warmth and closed her eyes.
When her mind was slowly fading away, Holly closed her eyes and listened as the sound got on her nerves. As the firewood burned, she could hear the flames that had died down come back to life. The sound of something resembling water drops continued.
‘What is it…?’
Soon, a delicious smell reached her nose.
‘The smell of meat?’
Holly opened her eyes without realizing it.
“It’s okay, sleep more.”
Cahill’s sleepy voice could be heard from behind her as he patted her with his arm around her waist. He must have woken up because Holly was twitching in his arms.
“Don’t mind it. It’s just that Badin has returned.”
He turned her body around and buried her face in his chest. Holly rested her forehead against his firm chest and blinked her eyes. The group that got separated came back, so wouldn’t she have to worry about it?
She turned her head and looked at Badin sitting in front of the fire. He must have heard the conversation, but he didn’t even turn his head and just stared at the meat.
‘They were originally like this.’
Holly sighed inwardly and buried her face in Cahill’s arms. She fell into a deep sleep in an instant while listening to the breathing sounds of people she had become accustomed to.
* * *
Adam, who was walking ahead, stopped. And then he opened his mouth with an annoyed face.
“It was definitely the opposite…”
The group, who had decided to leave Lauriue, was walking in the opposite direction of the village, but it seemed like someone was approaching the group.
“Shall we run?”
When Holly, who was slow to walk, prepared to cling to Cahill’s back, Adam shook his head.
“It’s already too late. They seem very determined.”
Adam’s eyes scanned the surroundings. It seemed as if the group was surrounded by people coming from all directions.
“Is there a problem?”
Before the elves who had jumped between the branches had even landed on the ground, Adam asked like an impatient person. The familiar elf frowned and answered.
“The elder is waiting.”
“What should we do?”
He asked, looking back at her. When Holly looked at Cahill’s face in confusion, he was just staring at her, so she sighed and glanced at the elf as if she had no choice.
“Maybe there was some misunderstanding? We told the elder that we would leave Lauriue as soon as we finished the sightseeing.”
Holly smiled and lied naturally.
The elf stared at Adam with glass-like eyes. Even though his gaze was cold enough to make Holly, who was watching from the side, flinch, Adam didn’t even blink. He was a man who followed Cahill even though he treated him coldly.
“I only received orders to bring you back.”
When the elf, who was staring at Adam, opened his mouth, he turned his head which was turning towards the inflexible elf with a frown.
“What should I do?”
Should they follow along quietly, or should they just go on and defeat all the elves that came to pick them up?
Adam looked at Holly, waiting for a decision.
“We’re just going along on Holly’s journey.”
She looked back at the group with an embarrassed face. Cahill shrugged his shoulders as if it didn’t matter.
“No problem either way.”
The elves, reading the atmosphere, reached around their waists and placed their hands on their weapons.
“Shall we go first?”
Adam nodded his head. He would disappoint the King by not taking the reward, but he couldn’t risk ruining their relationship with the elven elder.
* * *
Perhaps in a hurry, the elder came to the entrance of the village and waited for the group.
The elder scanned the group with narrowed eyes.
“Where did George go?”
Holly blinked as if she had no idea what was being said.
“I couldn’t let the guests wander through the forest, so I ordered him to guide you…”
The silent elder glared at each member of the group one by one. Facing the harsh gaze, Adam stepped forward and covered Holly with his body.
“He did not accompany us.”
The elder’s eyebrows rose at the sight of Adam’s calm appearance. When the elder, who was looking at him with eyes full of suspicion, was about to speak again.
“Ah! To be precise, it would be correct to say that he got separated in the middle of it.”
Adam answered naturally. The elder closed her mouth. Sighs also broke out among the elves who came out to watch.
“That guy deserves it.”
It seemed like more than once that George didn’t do everything he was told to do and got stuck in the middle of it.
Holly sighed inside, relieved by his usual irresponsible attitude. In the meanwhile, perhaps because she had nothing to say or because she was thinking about something else, the silent elder opened her mouth.
“I’ll let you stay at my mansion today.”
It was clear that this was because she could not ask about the ‘family treasure’ in the presence of others.
Adam waved his hand.
“No. We have to go somewhere else.”
The elder narrowed his eyes at his words.
“And what you asked for… We entrusted it to your son, so don’t worry.”
When Adam spoke the words the elder had been waiting for, the elves became agitated.
“The elder asked a favor from the humans?”
“What did she ask?”
The elder’s face, who wanted to solve the problem without the elves knowing, hardened. There was a nervous look in her eyes as if she was worried that someone would find out what the request was.
“You will stay in the village until George returns.”
There was also an elf who looked at the elder, who was obsessed with the humans she treated as sinners with strange eyes. Adam looked troubled at the elder’s suggestion, and his eyes passed over Holly.
“Then, let’s go to where we stayed before.”
The elder frowned.
“Where you stayed before…”
In the end, the elder failed to keep her facial expression. Even the elves, who had no idea about the completely distorted expression, stared suspiciously at them.
Adam gritted his teeth and asked back with a natural expression as though he didn’t understand the elder’s mumbling words. The elder, who was glaring at him harshly, opened her mouth, unable to hide her impatience.
“My mansion is the best place in Lauriue. You human won’t know when you will come here again…”
“The last time I went there, it was so hot.”
Adam cut off the elder. Seeing him even fanning his hands, the elder’s eyes became increasingly fierce.
“And our Prince sleeps a lot.”
He added, ignoring the angry elder.