The two of us focused solely on each other, forgetting the surroundings. The sensation of hot flesh moving vigorously and the firmly held grip felt so good.
Even though our time apart wasn’t long, why did it feel so welcoming and yet so yearned for?
This time, I realized it for sure. I couldn’t be without Lucian. If my world changed and he disappeared, it seemed like I wouldn’t have any hope of living. He had already blended into my life, becoming a part of my body.
Thick flesh surged roughly through my mouth like a rebuke.
A large hand slowly climbed up from my throat, firmly gripping my head. The arm that tightly bound me didn’t allow any retreat; it clasped my waist tightly. I, too, wrapped my arms around his neck, balancing on tiptoes, swaying as I hung onto him.
After a while, a silver thread stretched out between us and was abruptly cut off.
Lucian briefly pressed his lips against mine, murmuring as he pulled away. I hastily apologized.
“Sorry, Luci. I’m sorry…”
It felt like Enzo had taken him for a moment, and I blamed myself for it. I didn’t know Enzo had attached himself to Lucian, but there had always been something suspicious.
For instance, the barrier in the Ducal couple’s private room. It wasn’t just a barrier at the level of someone who knew a bit of magic. If Elliot, who could control spirits, couldn’t find it, it must have been a remarkably skilled wizard who cast the spell.
And if it was Enzo, it made sense.
Come to think of it, when I was kidnapped before, Lucian came alone to rescue me. At that time, I was ignorant about this world, so I didn’t find it suspicious. However, looking back now, it was indeed strange.
If it weren’t for Paul this time, I might have been lost. The barrier centered around the maze forest was powerful. However, back then, Lucian came to get me on his own.
Perhaps Enzo helped him.
Lucian responded to my apology with a deep smile. His smoothly curled lips, moistened by my saliva, made me feel a bit embarrassed.
“It’s okay. Your having you by my side is apology enough.”
“Hmph. What’s that supposed to be? If we go back, I’ll grant any favor you ask!”
I didn’t know how he planned to be a duke by being so naive. Did he only know how to make an indifferent expression, or was he genuinely a pure soul?
Lucian, who was gazing down at me, narrowed his eyes slightly at my words. The golden glow beneath his eyelids seemed to flicker. Well, it was better that way. Since the person I wanted to meet so badly was right in front of me, I couldn’t seem to pull myself together.
But soon, I couldn’t help but shift my gaze at the voice that reached my ears.
“…Saint, we don’t have time.”
“Won’t you let this go!”
Suddenly, Elliot, held tightly by Paul’s grip, was struggling violently. It seemed that he still gripped Elliot’s throat firmly with a slow tone.
Maybe Paul was an exceptionally skilled individual…?
I felt my cheeks warming at the memory of the passionate kisses we had shared, even amidst such chaos.
Oscar glanced at me and muttered.
I was curious about what exactly was disappointing, but I didn’t ask. Meanwhile, Damian stared at me with eyes waiting for orders.
I stared at the three shapeshifters and Elliot before turning my gaze to the podium. As I observed the two lying on it, I occasionally glanced at the occasionally rippling floor. I had a premonition that the barrier would activate properly this time.
“Paul, can you bind that guy right next to the podium with divine power?”
“…Yes, I can.”
“Then, let’s do it that way.”
Then, I grabbed Lucian’s hand. As his long fingers intricately intertwined with mine, I smiled at him for a moment, feeling like falling for that smiling face again. Though first, we had to finish this matter. Only then could I return with Lucian.
Once Paul fixed Elliot next to the podium, Elliot screamed like crazy.
“Girl! You’ll regret this! Do you think I’ll just sit here like this?!”
“Well, it seems like you might.”
He seemed to have lost much strength, and I couldn’t figure out where he mustered the energy to glare.
Squinting my eyes, I looked at Elliot and approached Enzo. Indeed, there was an enormous amount of magic power stored in his body.
Turning my gaze to check the Saint’s body, something felt off. The remaining divine power was significantly less than I expected. If I recall the magic circle Enzo had handed over, there should be slightly more divine power remaining in the Saint’s body.
“Do I need to transfer it…”
However, the amount of divine power within my body was not as abundant as I had thought. When doubts arose about whether this would be enough, Paul, who had bound Elliot, approached me.
In response to his slow but deliberate call, I raised my eyes to look at him. Beneath the faded grassy hair, brown eyes with deep regret stared directly at me. Despite his youthful appearance, those eyes revealed the traces of many years.
The gaze seemed very lonely.
“…I will be the last guardian.”
“…Do you know?”
I listened to his slow yet powerful words. Paul glanced briefly at the empty space before meeting my gaze.
“…Turtle shapeshifters have a tendency to return to where they were born.”
“…Yes, when it’s time to die.”
I couldn’t find words to respond to his statement. Despite having met him not long ago, I had trusted him from the beginning. Was it because he possessed divine power, or was it simply the sincere gaze in his eyes?
His brown eyes, colored with the passage of long years, differed from any gaze I had encountered before.
“So… I would like to end my life here. I believe I can replenish the divine power.”
Oscar, who had been listening nearby, had reddened eyes. Even though their connection had only been brief, his expression also seemed sorrowful.
I couldn’t easily give an answer. However, I couldn’t deny his wishes.
If he chose the place of his death, did I have the authority to prevent it? I couldn’t comprehend the loneliness and solitude he endured for nearly a thousand years. While I, too, suffered through different worlds, the only memories I retained were from my time as An Hye-young.
Facing him, who had a resolute attitude, I could only nod in agreement.
“…Then, I’ll leave it to you.”
Seeing Paul, who smiled in relief at my permission, I turned to Lucian. He had been glaring at Enzo but soon changed his expression, and his gaze shifted to me.
“Luci, let’s go now.”
Setting aside his calm words, I recalled the magic circle lingering in my mind and infused divine power into the altar.
The next moment, the magic circle hidden in the stone, starting from the altar and spreading to the floor, illuminated as if light flowed in from below. It felt like there were magic stones, similar to the blue ones I saw during the journey, endlessly emitting a blue light.
The magic circle seemed to extend not only to this room but throughout the entire maze forest. The ground began to shake intensely. It felt as if the demon king, who had been desperately hoping for the end of the barrier, was thrashing around.
A chill ran down my spine.
Paul stood beneath the Saint’s feet, pressing his lips against the top of her foot, then releasing it. Like holding something sacred with both hands, he knelt down reverently.
Feeling the bright light emanating from his body, I closed my eyes tightly and then opened them. Although I comprehended it intellectually, witnessing the end of a life was not an easy task. If it weren’t for Lucian holding me firmly, I might have collapsed.
“What is this?! Aaack!”
Despite Elliot’s rough resistance, the divine power binding him grew even stronger.
Soon, a radiant golden magic power surged from Enzo’s body. While a dark magic flowed from his soul, the physical manifestation was different. Perhaps it was the true color of Enzo’s magic power before he used dark magic?
Paul briefly turned his head toward me and spoke.
A warm sensation filled my throat, and I couldn’t offer a lengthy farewell.
All I could say to him was, “Good job.”
Paul’s expression momentarily shifted from puzzlement to a bright smile upon hearing my short reply.
I wanted to comfort him, having safeguarded the secrets of history alone for a thousand years. It was something that may not be enough with just a single word, still…
As our farewell ended, we hastily left the place.
The magic circle flowing from Enzo marked the end of everything.
As God mentioned, the Demon King’s power was undoubtedly beyond imagination. Thus, the true power of the barrier might have caused the entire maze forest to collapse. Lucian lifted me, and Oscar and Damien closely followed behind.
Although I knew little about the temple, it was evident that there was an underground. Explosive sounds echoed from the deep interior, and the entire building began to shake violently.
As we rushed towards the visible door, it led to a dead-end.
More precisely, it was a split path.
When we entered the cave, we hadn’t noticed that we were quite high up. Quickly checking beneath the cliff-like edge, I saw Damien soaring up.