Home Post 451-chapter-82


Tarhan considered it fortunate that Piache’s voice remained calm. Even more so that Enya couldn’t open her eyes.

If she were to look up now and see the expression on the midwife’s face, she might have given up everything, and her consciousness would have left them. It was the first time Piache’s complexion had turned so pale.

Suddenly, sweat poured down Piache’s face like rain. Her rough hands continued to wipe away the sweat and blood droplets flowing down Enya’s thighs and waist. Yet, from Enya’s emaciated body, blood and water seemed to flow endlessly.

The body he held was also growing cold. Now, Tarhan could also feel it too that something was terribly wrong and getting worse.

Finally, Piache shouted desperately at Enya.

“No! Open your eyes, Enya! Can you hear me? Enya—!”

Even with the plea not to lose consciousness, Enya’s closed eyelids remained shut.

It was as if a whole day had passed. The depleted strength had reached its limit. Piache’s wrinkled face dripped with cold sweat as she breathed heavily like an aged ox.

Enya screamed in agony, not just gasping for air this time. Her trembling body suddenly went limp as if struck by lightning. Piache quickly propped up her head to help her breathe and began calling her name frantically.

Tarhan’s bloodshot eyes looked down at the woman’s face, which was turning blue and growing colder.

He wished it were all just a dream.

Old Lady Piache’s desperate calls to Enya, the crackling sound of firewood in the nearby furnace, and the final scream were all unheard. The only sensation was the coldness emanating from the lifeless body, lying limp against his chest like a chilling corpse.

Even with Piache’s endless calling, there was no response from her.


Enya’s lips, finally parting with a short breath, signaled her body, which had gone limp against his found the last bit of strength.

“Enya, Enya! D*mn…!”

Piache shouted at Tarhan, who seemed to have lost his soul, like lashing a whip.

“Snap out of it, lad. Please! Tarhan, we must save Enya!”

Like slapping a lifeless man’s cheek, Piache screamed at him.

“Tarhan! Can you hear me? There’s no way left now. We have to push out the stillborn baby, or else Enya—!”

Amidst the chaos, Piache’s urgent voice pierced through his consciousness.

“Enya will live only if we get the dead baby out, even if we have to press on her belly. I’ll do it, so you go down and catch the baby!”

Beginning with that scream, the sounds around Tarhan spread away like echoes in his ears.

Something inside him seemed to crack and split.

“What… what are you saying?”

Tarhan gasped for breath as if he couldn’t comprehend Piache’s words. The realization that there was no way out, taking the dead baby out, didn’t register in his mind.

“Dead baby. What kind of nonsense is that?”

Piache stiffened as if she hadn’t expected Tarhan’s reaction, but soon, she shoved his shoulder to urge him.

“…I suspected it since there was no movement last month.”

At that sound, it felt like his heart sank into the ground. The mixture of anger towards Piache and the suffocating fear for Enya and the child erupted in a chaotic wave, mercilessly assaulting his heart. He couldn’t catch his breath.

Still, Piache continued to lash out at him. The old woman’s cutting voice brutally pounded on him.

“Do you want to leave both the child and the mother dead, Tarhan!”

Her voice forced him to move.

Tarhan rose as if pushed by the edge of a blade, and he knelt at Enya’s lifeless feet, taking his place. In the meanwhile, Piache, who had laid Enya flat on the ground, lifted her head and secured an airway before her belly was mercilessly pressed down.

Simultaneously, Enya, whom he thought had lost consciousness, emitted a moan between her cracked lips. Her forearm bounced off the ground, rising abruptly.

She cried out in pain, tears streaming down her eyes.

In the midst of feeling like his soul was escaping, Tarhan could distinctly hear his name bursting from her lips. While Piache restrained Enya, who contorted in pain, even the groans of agony seemed unable to escape her thoroughly exhausted body.


At that moment, Piache called out his name sharply as he was bound and unable to move. Finally, as if a giant hammer had struck the back of his head, his body convulsed. He instinctively reached for Enya’s legs like a whipped slave.

Her pale hand reached him, and her nails dug into his hand. Caught by Enya, his hand was shaking mercilessly.

Piache, now pressing Enya’s belly, kept shouting in her ear.

Calm down, breathe.

It seemed like an attempt to get her breathing.

At some point, Enya began gasping, inhaling, trying to force herself up. Tarhan had never seen her make such a loud sound in her entire life. It was a truly agonizing scream. Although Piache shouted to bring something, his ears heard nothing but Enya’s screams.

Amidst the collapsing surroundings, Tarhan moved instinctively.

At the same time, something wet and sticky, buried in the back of his memory, poured onto his palm. Shortly after, every muscle in Enya’s body, which had been tense, relaxed like a corpse, and the surroundings fell into an eerie silence.

Tarhan looked down at his palm.

There was no sound of a baby crying.


* * *


Crack. Crack.

Logs, blackened by the fire, were burning so vigorously that it was now difficult to tell how many had been thrown in.

The heated room was heavy with stillness.

The room, heated almost to a boiling point, made the air so humid that even lying still caused sweat to bead on the forehead.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere had sunk to an eerie level. It was unclear whether the reason for the somber mood was due to the sinking mood of the people in the room or the excessively hot temperature.

Tarhan, leaning against the wall, kept his gaze fixed on the smoke billowing from the brazier connected to the ceiling chimney.

The sound of water boiling in a bronze kettle could be heard from the side.

“…The child never fussed, but oddly enough, she seemed anxious during your absence.”

Piache spoke, putting firewood into the stove.

“I mean Enya.”

Her voice was rough and coarse. Even after several days, her disheveled hair still loosely covered her back and waist.

“I tried to give her a hint. Since you’ve been gone, from that moment, things seemed ominous. It seemed like she should be prepared to give birth to a dead child.”

Tarhan ignored the old woman’s attempt to start a conversation as he fixed his gaze on the flames.

He didn’t want to hear anything.

If he did, it would be unbearable.

“…Then, even in her sleep, she kept looking for you, calling for Tarhan, Tarhan. I couldn’t say anything because it was so pitiful.”

Piache muttered again while poking at the brazier. It was a hoarse and dry voice. Even her voice sounded old.

“Even if she gave birth to a dead baby, childbirth is childbirth. Aftercare should be done the same way.”

As Tarhan remained silent, Piache moved again.

The old woman couldn’t stay still for a moment. Every day, she busied herself around Enya, who lay as if dead, and Tarhan, who sat next to her without moving or blinking—boiling water and barley, mixing medicinal herbs with curdled goat milk, and burning talismans to ward off evil spirits and monsters.

She kept busy with these tasks throughout the day.

Despite the newborn’s absence in the birthing room, a sense of bustle lingered with the old woman running around frantically.

Tarhan thought it might be better that way. In the quiet birthing room without a newborn, he felt no emptiness with Piache.

Since that day, Enya slept all day.

She spent her time blankly in the same spot where the baby was born, occasionally sipping the thick concoctions and eating porridge provided by Piache, then sleeping again. Following Piache’s instructions, she also painfully emptied her milk from the painfully swollen breast.

After that, she spent time in a daze as if unaware of the frost falling outside. Neither Tarhan nor Piache could bring themselves to say anything to her.

It was a son.

Despite coming to full term, the small baby came out as a boy.

“Whe, where is… the baby?”

Tarhan feigned sleep, leaning against the wall. Piache, with a voice so tender he had never heard, answered Enya’s question.

“The child was buried by Tarhan. To prevent monsters or beasts from disturbing it. He was given a proper burial in the sunny land beyond Aquilea.”

Those words were true. Tarhan had indeed given his son a proper burial.

He wrapped it in new cloth and gently placed it in a hazel tree box. He shoveled several times in sunny land. After digging deep enough for his lower body to fit, he carefully placed the box, he covered it with earth after setting a stone imbued with anti-monster power.

However, Enya did not give up.

Even now, she persisted. As soon as she woke up, she was asking for the location of the baby’s grave, a question to which Piache had not answered until she fell asleep the night before.

The woman’s voice now resembled a fragile thread, barely audible and devoid of strength.

“I’m not asking you to bother taking me there. Just later, after a very long time has passed, I want to place flowers there…”

Tarhan felt a sense of urgency in her tearful request.

He could take her there himself.

Still, he knew that such a thing would never happen. She had to turn away from anything that brought back the unbearable sadness, as he had experienced a grief so deep that even facing the memory was too much.

That was why he took his dead son from Piache and buried him with his own hands.

He was completely overwhelmed by fear.

He was afraid that Enya might succumb to them, unable to deal with the unnecessary thoughts or grief about the child. He was afraid that, just like him, she might never get up again.

Now, that fear was resurfacing, crawling through his spine.