Home Post 584-chapter-85


In the forest, not a breath of wind stirred. Even when they lifted their heads, the dense emerald-green canopy concealed the sky, enveloping them from all sides.

A forest where spirits danced. A dwelling of the gods.

Motionless branches, birds did not chirp and only hid in their nests, and an environment filled with cold darkness and fog that even sunlight couldn’t penetrate. The entire forest felt like a giant cradle.

“Is this the Nervana Forest?”

Tarhan’s murmur, as he brushed aside obstructing twigs, was met with a scoff from Reyhald.

“What are you talking about? We haven’t even reached the entrance yet.”

Following closely behind Reyhald, Leroi snapped at his brother’s disrespectful tone.

“Shut up and keep moving, Reyhald.”

Yet, Reyhald’s words were true. Despite traveling for days on end without rest, they hadn’t even reached the forest’s starting point yet. The majestic forest seemed to be silently immersed in its tranquil serenity, as if not wanting to disturb the mood of its inhabitants.

The Nervana Forest men, familiar with the forest, maintained a square formation without any disorder.

Cugnac, the composed son of the Lehjin tribe’s leader, led the group. Flanking him were Zechariah, with his reddish hair, and the ever-talkative Reyhald. Tarhan, not native to the forest, filled the gap between them. At the rear was Leroi, known for his swift feet.

Their formation was for efficiency.

As they were skilled over long periods, they made no unnecessary sounds while moving. This method of travel, which was clearly purposeful, was easily adopted by Tarhan without any complaints.

“There seems to be a pack of Black Claw wolves nearby.”

Zechariah, known for his seriousness, signaled to Tarhan. True to his words, the distant howling of wolves echoed from deep within the forest.

The group ignored the disturbance, maintaining their pace.

Time passed as they continued this routine, taking turns between eating, sleeping, resting, and moving. Yet, they remained focused on finding traces of the missing. However, no traces were easily found.

In fact, not even the slightest clue.

“Yaru and Fiarca are experts. They wouldn’t leave traces easily. It might take weeks more to find them.”

Zechariah explained calmly. Reyhald seemed to have a slightly different take, adding ominously.

“That’s if they’re still alive.”

True to the nature of those who live in these lands, the Nervana Forest people didn’t base their hopes on assumptions. Despair was their default. Their concerns became more real as the group ventured deeper into the forest.

“It’s certain that intruders have entered the forest. There are signs of disturbance.”

Cugnac, deftly avoiding a branch as thick as an arm, glanced back briefly. His expression, along with those of the other young Nervana Forest men, grew increasingly somber as time passed.

“Seeing the Skull Spiders this agitated is a first for me.”

Zechariah shared his honest impression. Sweat trickled down his temples and pooled at his collarbone.

“It seems there was quite a commotion right from the entrance. No, the entire atmosphere of the forest seems to have changed.”

Cugnac wasn’t the only one sharing Zechariah’s sentiment. The brothers Reyhald and Leroi also exchanged uneasy glances.

“If they are still alive… we should prepare that they may not be in the perfect condition.”

He stated gravely.

After uttering those words, he glanced back as if to gauge the reaction of Tarhan, once a great warrior who ruled the Great Plains.

Tarhan had been silent so far.

He was merely moving forward quietly as if he was just being told to move, and his expression was unchanging. He walked without even altering his breath, focusing only on the path ahead. His movements, while brushing aside branches, were precise and agile. Droplets from the trees dampened his chest and sturdy forearms.

‘How can he maintain such composure after all that’s happened?’

Cugnac marveled at the sight.

He averted his gaze from Tarhan, shuddering as if to shake off the impression, and refocused on the path ahead. Tarhan was an incredibly solid man, almost inhuman—not just in appearance but in his reaction. No normal person could respond like that.

‘It’s as if…’

He seemed almost not living. Even a corpse wouldn’t have such dry eyes even if it were rotting in a barrel.

Cugnac didn’t believe the woman was still alive. He was to be the next leader of the Lehjin tribe, responsible for its future. Even in his judgment, the idea that she could still be clinging to life seemed far-fetched.

‘The likelihood is very slim.’

She had a limp and no combat ability. Even if high-ranking warriors like Yaru and Fiarca were with her, her survival couldn’t be guaranteed.

And the thought that she was together with those warriors was just an assumption. Moreover, if they were pursued so urgently that they couldn’t even signal the Nervana Forest people in Aquilean territory, their situation must be dire.

‘Even if she was the daughter of Eireke, born as the daughter of the daughter, she wasn’t born in the forest herself. It’s doubtful whether the spirits of this land would bestow their powers upon her.’

Even if, by some chance, she had inherited some ability from the daughter of the forest’s bloodline, the likelihood of her not being able to control Skull Spiders, let alone being overwhelmed by the forest itself, was high.

The forest had never been merciful, even to its own children.

Cugnac decided to push away any further personal thoughts. He just stepped forward on the path given. Their role was to search. If this mission turned into a life-threatening situation because of that woman, Cugnac would not hesitate to prioritize the lives of the remaining people and make a decisive call.

‘It’s unfortunate for him, but the lives of others are also important.’

He glanced at Tarhan, who had been quietly clearing branches and moving forward silently. Tarhan’s weathered eyes were fixed on the endless expanse of the forest.

‘What could he possibly be thinking…?’

Cugnac reminded himself to avoid getting too involved with this man. He turned his eyes away, feeling uneasy, and focused on the dark forest ahead.

The forest’s heavy, subdued atmosphere weighed down on the group’s hearts. Dry lightning began to crackle in the sky. The forest, now shrouded in thick mist, settled into a deeper silence. It was the rainy season, a time for new life sprouting when the forest saw frequent rain.

Tarhan listened to the tearing noise of the sky with a numb face. It started to rain. He looked down as the lightning struck a nearby tree, making it charred and smoked.

When he found the woman, he intended to kill her.

Raindrops hit his tight, muscular forearms. Even the cold water droplets turned into misty water vapor in the painful heat, where his skin, which was covered with anger and betrayal, blew up.

‘…The wolves are making a fuss.’

True to Zechariah’s words, the wolves were howling nearby.

Suddenly, he remembered that he had been living this life for quite some time. First with rising anger, then with madness that couldn’t be controlled on its own., and he was now blaming the reason he continued to do this on ferocious inertia.

Yes, it was inertia.

‘Otherwise, there is no reason to continue this madness of wandering aimlessly in search of that woman whose life or death is unknown.’

Tarhan realized that at some point, unexpectedly, his thoughts began to flow in that direction again.

He remembered the bitterness of his stinging wounds and tried to change the direction of his thoughts. Still, he couldn’t do that. If possible, he would have been successful by trying a hundred times already.

It was always her.

Behind all the motives of his actions was the woman.

To him, who was responsible for the survival of the entire tribe, surviving alone in the forest was not a task. Rather, he was more suited to this condition. Nevertheless, he reconsidered the reason why he had been obsessed with life in the group.

A child.

It was because of the child.

His children that she would have again. The child who would be in her nine months inside her bulging belly enough to make her narrow shoulders stand out.

Oddly enough, it was at first.

Since they were young, he thought they would soon have children. Living in groups increased the survival rate of newborns. To do that, he had to be recognized within the tribe.

He desperately needed a high position.

As if looking up at the top of a sheer cliff, his position would be so high that everyone looked up to him. A position that will never be defeated in a subtle conflict between his woman and the prey he has taken over. He needed a position that no one on the ground he stepped on would ever point a finger at his woman for fear of him.

It was for this reason that he, who survived the fallen Cartantina, did not immediately bite their stomachs and tongues right away, despite the kicks and spit insults of the Aquileans.

If he had torn their dirty faces on the spot, he would have been intoxicated with victory that night. But he wouldn’t have been able to hide his woman with poor legs from among the women of the tribe while he went hunting.

He would not have been able to build a house that was not lacking in anything compared to others and obtain another ten houses. Nor would he be able to hand over the necklace crafted from the bones of Geppas, the most honorable accessory.

Though now Tarhan was thinking over and over again what a foolish and terrible decision it had been for his life.

‘She never wore that necklace.’

In the house where he and the woman lived, the necklace was kept in its original place. The woman didn’t take anything about him as if she would not wear any traces of him, no matter how small.

It tightened his breathing every moment.

There wasn’t a night he didn’t regret, without knowing what he regretted.

It was all his fault.

Even after that day’s incident, no matter how lovingly she looked at him, this bitter deja vu didn’t fade. No matter how much he procured for her or how cruel and sharp he became to the Aquileans who hurt her, it was the same.

Every time he remembered that moment, his breathing would stop, and rage would blind his eyes.

His anger made every hair on his body stand on end, and the joints of his fingers strained. However, it was soon replaced by a melting feeling of powerlessness. He regretted and regretted, and that regret turned into self-loathing.

Why had he been so stubborn? Why had he thought he could only protect her there?

He had never been a great warrior.

The notion of being a reincarnation of Reias was funny. He was just a stray dog. A discarded dog, dragged through the market, changing owners. A dirty, frightened fighting dog, drooling in fear and forced to bite anything in front of him.

That was his true nature.

Every time he was called out for hunting, he knew she prayed to the Aquilean gods for him.

Tarhan, too, had once prayed to God. Back then, his only desperate wish was one. The one and only desperate wish of a discarded wild dog of Cartantina.

Please look after that girl while he was away.

God never answered his prayer.

The inside of his mouth, which was filled with festering blood, dried up. Simultaneously, like a volcanic eruption of sorrow and humiliation flooded within him. The pain was so intense it felt like his spine was breaking. His instincts were struggling and screaming, trying to expel the pain.


Why do you look at me as if I were a bright light? To me, you are the light.


Why do you call me your God? To me, you are God.

He knew that the men he was with half-predicted Enya to be dead. They, too, imagined that the best outcome might be finding her remains.

Therefore, he, too, had to brace himself. By the time all the dust and dirt had been washed away, and only the smell of pouring water was present, Tarhan began to move his steps again. His eyes were sharp again, like the claws of a predator.

He had planned to kill her when he found her.

Kill his own self for failing to protect her. This wretched body, proving its incompetence once more. He was so pathetic to bear the one remaining light in his life in this life that was like walking on the edge of an abyss.

This time, he would surely do it.

He would end his own life, having lost someone precious again.

The plan he had contemplated thousands of times in his life, he was determined to execute now. No matter what form Enya was found, he was ready to plunge the knife into his own heart without hesitation.

He wouldn’t endure any longer.

This time, he would not survive alone. In doing so, he intended to atone before her because he couldn’t waste a single moment of this life without her.

This time, he was determined to share the end with her.