I couldn’t find a big difference between the maze forest that I saw when I was kidnapped as a child and the current maze forest. Although it may feel more like this because it was a place I had recently seen in my dream, this was something I felt in my dream as well.
Nearly ten years have passed. Didn’t they say that the rivers and mountains change in ten years?
…Still, how could there be no change like this?
Perhaps because the trees were dense, the sun set quickly or because of the shadows of the trees. I ran fast with Oscar and Damien and Paul. While it would have been better if I had brought a horse, I couldn’t help it because my riding skills were poorer than I thought.
I’d rather run.
As I ran without rest, it seemed that I had come quite far inside though it was still a long way to go to the cave.
It was different from my dream. In reality, the sensation was strange. Strangely, every time I felt like I was hovering in the same place, Paul took the lead.
“… It’s not about hovering in the same place. Rather, we’re on the right track. Because of the barriers the saint put up in the past, they recognize us as intruders and activate the barriers.”
It wasn’t simply because the waves of magic were strong that people wandered on the road. As Paul mentioned, the barriers were still doing their job, and they only regarded people as intruders.
“You said I was the saint. But am I an intruder, too?”
When I questioned again because it bothered me, he gave a concise answer with a gentle smile.
“…You are not the saint of that time.”
“What does that mean?”
I asked indifferently as I walked slowly, exhausted.
“…The saint’s body is still sealed in the temple.”
However, Paul’s answer was inconsequential.
“What? What do you mean?”
“…Even though the barrier spell created to seal the demon king was perfect, it lacked the power to complete it. So, the saint herself made up for the lacking part with her own body.”
In other words, did it mean that the saint’s body from a thousand years ago exists somewhere here? I couldn’t believe it. It was such an amazing story that not only me but also Oscar and Damien looked surprised.
“…Is that possible?”
“…In the tense situation at the time, it was inevitable… If the barrier was not completed, the entire empire would be annihilated.”
It was a somewhat bittersweet voice.
“…It would be good to start a fire here.”
When Paul suggested that we set up a spot with a large old tree, Oscar and Damien quickly picked up branches and made a bonfire in the clearing in front of the old tree.
As the sun went down, it felt chilly, so the fire was warm.
I took out something to eat from my subspace pocket. Wanting to eat something warm, I looked for a pot just in case, and it came out naturally. As expected, Amber was a great handmaid with sense. I didn’t even say that I was going to the maze forest, so how could she even think of putting a pot in it?
Was I the type to show my inner feelings with my facial expressions? I don’t think so…
While I put the appropriate ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, Paul stepped forward when I fumbled because my cooking skills were not very good. Like a very familiar person, he whipped up a pretty appetizing soup.
We sat down, and each ate soup and bread.
As I thoughtlessly ate the soup, I remembered that I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I saw Lucian covered in blood as soon as I opened my eyes, so it was hard to stay in my right mind. I’ve been trying hard to stay calm.
“Is he awake?”
Clearly, all his injuries had been healed though why couldn’t he wake up?
‘…I hope it wasn’t a big problem.’
Even though I was far away, it was Lucian who occupied all of my head. Would he be surprised? I wished he didn’t have to worry about anything. Since he had work to do anyway, he should wait for me while finishing his work.
What if he misunderstood that I left him?
What if I went back and he rejected me then?
A person’s personality couldn’t have changed easily. I didn’t even know I stopped the spoon because I was caught up in the familiar flow of negative thoughts.
The next moment, Damien came over and urged me.
“Master, you must eat well. The magic waves of the Maze Forest seem to affect humans more than shapeshifters like us.”
“… That’s right, saint.”
“Master! Would you like some melon-flavored candy?”
I was able to get out of my negative thoughts with the affectionate attention of the three people. After eagerly emptying the rest of the soup, I asked Paul what I was curious about.
“Why do you think I am a saint?”
“…I knew it by seeing the saint’s unique magic and eyes.”
“You, too, know how to distinguish magic.”
“…Since I am a priest, I only know how to recognize the divine power.”
I was surprised by Paul’s words. How the hell did this turtle shapeshifter survive? Was it just because he was a turtle shapeshifter?
“It’s kind of weird to say this… but can I ask? How have you been able to survive this far?”
After asking the question, I thought about Paul’s age. Since he was vaguely a shapeshifter, I treated him the same way as Oscar and Damien… while, in fact, wasn’t he an elderly man who deserved a lot of respect?
“… I’m curious. Could you tell me?”
Paul let out a cool laugh as he saw me change into a polite tone.
“…The saint does not need to be courteous to me. I am the servant of the saint.”
“Then… I’ll just call you comfortably.”
I asked what I remembered while drinking water.
“I forgot about it because she died when I was very young, but my eyes resemble my mother’s. So, does that mean that my mother’s family is the saint’s family?”
Paul answered right away as if he knew everything, still in a slow tone.
“…Isabelle de Peyton. She was born with the same eye color as the saint after a few hundred years… So, there were times when I visited with high expectations.”
I waited for him to speak.
“…However, her divine power was empty. Disappointed, I wandered a bit at the time… I didn’t understand why I had to survive alone.”
Then, Oscar intervened.
“So, you got caught? Somehow you didn’t seem like a person to be caught, but I thought it was surprising that you were there!”
“… That’s right. I didn’t have the confidence to take my own life, so I deliberately revealed my identity to the slave trader.”
Maybe the two were talking about their days when they were captured by slave traders. I couldn’t understand why they were rejecting shapeshifters. They didn’t even harm humans.
“…Humans are wary of beings different from themselves.”
“…Were you listening?”
Could it be that I murmured what I was thinking in my mind without realizing it?
“…You seem curious.”
As Amber said, I seem to have a personality that shows quite a bit through my facial expressions. I thought I didn’t.
“…Then one day.”
Paul’s story didn’t seem to be over yet.
“…I heard God’s voice for the first time in a few hundred years.”
“…Yes. Someone who never gave me an answer when I prayed much suddenly said this to me.”
Recalling that day, Paul looked up at the night sky with a vague expression.
“…My daughter is finally back. It’s time to finally make amends for a mistake I made a long time ago… was what it was.”
Paul’s words made me question back.
“When is that?”
“…It was when me and the white fox were captured by slave traders… It must have been about ten and a half years ago. It has been almost eleven years.”
Goosebumps ran through my body at Paul’s words.
If the voice I heard was God, I thought that it might be the same as the voice Paul heard. Well, wouldn’t it be ten and a half years ago when I possessed this place? Was it really me that God mentioned, not Rachel?
…So, I didn’t simply possess a webtoon?
It was confusing.
I couldn’t open my lips anymore as I was lost in thought. Nonetheless, it was not easy to come to a conclusion. As soon as I realized that there was no use in thinking hard about it, my mind became clear.
I recalled the purpose of coming to the maze forest. I came to find out how to completely annihilate Cassandra and to make the possessed people, or the ghosts of ancestors, cross over… and it seemed that I could only find someone who would solve all these problems by going to the temple.
In the midst of the sound of the bonfire crackling, I tried to shake off the sudden surge of stress and immediately closed my eyes. As I was dozing with my back against a tree, the campfire suddenly went out.
With the exception of me, the three jumped up and opened their eyes in surprise.
At that moment, a voice sounded in my ear. I was horrified and annoyed by the voice of the trash booger king, which I hadn’t heard in a very long time.
“Little girl, I came to get you.”
As Elliot grabbed my shoulder, I suddenly swung my fist at him. Although it didn’t look dark anyway, I wanted to hit him anywhere with my blind fist.
Seeing him laughing happily, he was the madman I knew.