Despite the fact that his head was spinning, the feeling of stuffiness that had been blocking his airway cleared up.
All it took was Hazel’s voice.
Her breathing was music, melody, and the air that he breathed.
‘…This is crazy.’
He regretted not taking the call from the communication device earlier. At that moment, his mouth was parched, and he felt anxious for no reason.
Could it be that Hazel was the cause of all these stuffy emotions?
Could it be that he thought of Hazel as someone special?
Did he, by any chance, develop feelings for her as she confessed her love for him every day like a bird singing its song?
In his mundane life, it was somehow entertaining, so he let it be. It was also quite interesting to see her becoming prettier each day. Even though she annoyed him sometimes, she was useful because she relieved his headaches.
To be honest, these were all lame excuses.
The truth was, he wanted to keep her by his side. He wanted to reach out and hold her in his arms without any hesitation, smell her comforting scent, and listen to her heartbeat, which was slightly faster than his. He liked the way she looked up at him, as if he was the only one in the world.
His eyes kept going to her pursed lips.
Even when she frowned in concentration, she would smile adorably as if nothing had happened when he called her name.
He felt like he had fallen into his own trap.
This was hilarious.
He couldn’t believe he liked this woman.
…He couldn’t believe he was falling in love with this woman.
Kairos laughed again because he thought it was funny. On the other hand, he felt like his head had cleared up, as if he had found the right answer. He couldn’t stop thinking about it for a long time, occasionally bursting into absurd laughter.
* * *
“Wahh, wahh, yes! I’ll, I’ll try!”
I waited for Fay’s illusion magic with my arms crossed. After the big incident yesterday, the knights were helping to repair the city walls instead of training.
I came to the palace early again today to finish my work quickly, and I was training Fay separately in the training ground. I planned to go back around lunchtime, listened to Annie’s report, and looked for a way to annul or divorce my marriage.
Annie must be searching thoroughly, but I didn’t want to waste any time.
At dawn, I had a sudden, terrible nightmare, and I grabbed the communication device as if I were possessed.
I didn’t think anyone would answer since it was so early in the morning, but the moment I heard Noah’s voice on the other end, the tension melted away like snow melting in the sunlight.
As if by instinct, I found comfort and even fell asleep listening to his lullaby.
People with dark magic were said to be comfortable with nightmares because they considered them a part of their power.
I often woke up from the nightmares feeling startled. It wasn’t like I was being chased by something scary or having bizarre nightmares. Most of the nightmares I had were just black smoke billowing up like a storm cloud, or I was with two people whose faces I couldn’t see.
Still, I couldn’t move a muscle because it felt like I was caught in a spiderweb. I couldn’t breathe properly, as if I was trapped underwater, and I felt an unknown gaze behind my back.
Yet when I turned around, there was no one there.
I also felt like the ground was collapsing beneath me, and I was being sucked into some kind of underground place from which I could never escape. It wasn’t so much that it had a form but rather that I felt trapped in something vague.
What was this?
I had so much dark magic in my body, yet I didn’t know why I felt so tormented whenever I had a nightmare. As soon as I realized that I was having a nightmare yesterday, I thought it was going to be a difficult night, but thanks to Noah, I slept soundly until morning and felt refreshed.
Fay’s dark magic felt a little stronger, and I could tell that she was concentrating. I intentionally made eye contact with her and relaxed my body to make it easier for her to practice.
At that moment, my vision narrowed and became pitch black.
I thought she would show me a simpler illusion, but it was just pitch-black darkness.
I wondered what she wanted to show me.
Since I had been teaching her combat illusion magic, I was a little taken aback by the sudden attack. I responded to Fay’s illusion and slowly walked through the lightless darkness. Gradually, the color turned faintly white, and a little child was crouching in front of me with its back turned.
Then, the crouching child raised its head.
It wasn’t Fay.
As color started to fill my black and white vision, the first thing I saw was red hair. The face that lifted up had golden eyes that were brimming with tears.
To be exact, it was Hazel Love as a child. She was neither too young nor too old. She looked to be about ten years old. Still, why was I seeing these kinds of hallucinations?
There was no way that Fay had this kind of ability.
The man and woman, whose faces I couldn’t see, approached her. The young Hazel Love huddled up as if she was scared.
Suddenly, my heart ached as if I had absorbed the young child’s fear.
I unknowingly crouched down and covered my head with my arms as the man and woman chattered in a language that I couldn’t understand. The young Hazel Love desperately tried to persuade them… No, it felt more like she was pleading her innocence.
What in the world are they talking about?
One of them offered the child a cup.
As the child, who had been taking steps backward, reluctantly accepted the cup, I suddenly felt a burning sensation in my throat.
Then, the scene changed.
She was delighted to receive new clothes as a gift, but she ended up having to stay huddled up alone in her room with it.
What in the world was all this?
While my vision kept changing like that, I continued to feel unpleasant emotions and tremble in fear. Memories that felt both familiar and unfamiliar tormented my mind. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff with no one on my side, and I was feeling terrible when my vision changed once again.
Someone was calling the child’s name.
It wasn’t just one person. They looked like people wearing robes that covered them from head to toe. A group dressed in black welcomed the child and cheered for her.
The child, who had been refusing to go, suddenly started to smile brightly and ran toward them.
After that, the child grew up quickly.
She was always with someone.
She was always looking down on someone.
She felt happy after getting what she wanted, and she sometimes even laughed so hard that she almost cried.
It wasn’t simple happiness.
It felt more like pleasure. She felt a sense of superiority, as if she was reigning over someone and looking down on them from above. I was so confused that I didn’t know why I was feeling these emotions, yet the intense emotions kept tempting me.
It’s all yours.
These are the things you’ve been looking for.
These are the things you should enjoy.
Did it hurt? Get revenge.
Did you feel sad? Get revenge.
Are you lonely? We’re here.
Let’s be happy together.’
My mind kept trying to tempt me.
When I came to my senses, I could still see the child in front of me. She turned her head toward me at seventeen, nineteen, twenty, and then when she was about my age. Hazel, who had the same appearance as me, smiled happily as she lifted the corners of her lips. Her eyes were pitch black.
I unknowingly broke the hallucination as I saw her face that seemed like it could rip apart. As soon as I came to my senses, I saw Fay collapsing in front of me.
I didn’t even have the time to ask her why. I called out to the other knights.
A long time later.
I was finally able to catch my breath after taking Fay to the infirmary.
They diagnosed her, saying that she must have collapsed because she couldn’t control her power properly. I couldn’t help but worry if I had forced Fay to use her power. Even though Dylan kept telling me that it was fine, that Fay was the one who couldn’t control it, and that it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t easily let go of my worries.
After saying goodbye to the knights, I got on the carriage, trying to shake off the unpleasant feeling. I was about to close the door when someone grabbed it.
“I almost missed you.”