Home Post 832-chapter-88


Enya glanced at the man walking ahead, holding a small torch.

Senu, who had been silent, seemed to sense her gaze and scratched his chin, murmuring low.

“…Even though I look like this now, I was once considered a promising future leader of Aquilea.”

She stared intently at Senu’s back as he spoke almost embarrassingly. His back was covered in what seemed like perforated old leather, with bandages protruding here and there, discolored to the point of being useless. Yet, that disease-stricken back appeared oddly imposing.

Suddenly, something pushed her back. Silanda had lightly jabbed Enya’s back with a long stick.

“What are you doing? Hurry up.”

As Silanda commanded with a curl of her lip, Enya hurried her steps. Listening to Jahan’s enthusiastic descriptions, the ‘Rabbit Hole’ seemed to have a fairly systematic structure.

“Ah, be careful there. That’s the path of the tooth mole. Last time we blocked its hole, it retaliated by urinating all over our food storage, causing us quite the trouble.”

Jahan quickly grabbed Enya, preventing her from stepping into a dark hole she hadn’t noticed.

“Oh, oh! So, sorry…”

Enya was startled by the feel of his bandaged hand, and the boy immediately apologized, removing his hand from her.

Silanda, who was following behind, snapped sharply at the scene.

“Making a fuss over a touch. Even if you were naked and rolling around for days, it’s doubtful you’d catch it—the disease isn’t that contagious.”

Her voice was displeased. Silanda’s eyes fiercely glared at Enya, who involuntarily shrank and quietly apologized.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. It’s my carelessness. It’s natural for an outsider to be cautious after seeing our state.”

Jahan maturely tried to defuse the situation, preventing Enya from blushing fiercely. Having experienced a lifetime of unpleasant stares and disgust, she found herself instinctively reacting similarly when placed in their position.

A caution and an innate fear.

Enya felt her face heating up.

‘Oh no.’

It was both amusing and somewhat embarrassing. Recalling times when she could never have imagined feeling this way made the current situation feel even more alien.

They walked through the cave for a while.

Soon, the passage became so narrow that even the small-framed Enya had to hunch significantly. That’s when strange noises began to echo in her ears.

Clang. Clang.

The irritating sound of something being endlessly hammered with a giant mallet made Enya instinctively frown. She struggled to follow the two men leading the way and was almost crawling on her knees.

Silanda grumbled from behind and ground her teeth.

“D*mn it, we should dig a new passage. If passing through this narrow path peels off our already tender skin, Senu, it’s all on you!”

“I’m sorry, Silanda.”

Senu, who was leading the group, chuckled silently.

“But we all agreed it was necessary to keep the smoke from leaking through this passage.”

At Senu’s polite response, Silanda pouted her lips. Enya received a scolding as she had been staring at Silanda’s face, which was not wrapped in bandages, glowing red in the torchlight.

“What are you staring at?!”

At those words, she quickly looked forward again, too startled to reply. Silanda was indeed a fierce woman.

Watching Enya flinch, Jahan giggled and whispered in her ear.

“Don’t mind her too much. Silanda’s cold-blooded. Her heart fell out when her arm fell too.”

Seeing her blink in shock at his words, Jahan rolled his eyes and pointed somewhere.

Enya followed his gaze and gasped in surprise, inhaling sharply. Just as he had said, one of Silanda’s sleeves dangled empty. Until now, she hadn’t had a chance to observe her closely due to the light and their positions. She was taken aback.

‘…I thought it was a joke.’

Seeing Silanda’s right arm tied off at the wrist, Enya was at a loss, unsure whether to take Jahan’s words as truth or jest.

Jahan giggled again after observing Enya’s reaction.

“Of course, underestimating Silanda because she’s missing an arm would be a mistake. It’s a well-known fact that being kicked by her legs is far more painful than…”


With that sound, Jahan stumbled forward.

“If you mention my arm one more time, it won’t just be your butt that suffers.”

As Silanda had kicked Jahan’s butt from behind, he yelled with tears welling up in his eyes.

“Ugh! D*mn it, Silanda. What are you going to do if it’s not just my butt?”

“I’ll kick you in the front.”

Hearing her threatening voice, Enya felt a shiver down her spine. She instinctively stepped back from the two. Of course, given the cave’s cramped quarters, there wasn’t really anywhere to retreat.

Jahan, who had fallen face-first into the dirt, got up as if it was nothing new to him.

Perhaps having experienced it a time or two before, he dusted off the dirt and even winked at Enya. She responded with an awkward smile. Even Senu seemed accustomed to such commotion, surprisingly maintaining his composure and urging them to continue on their way.

The passage only got narrower.

Unidentifiable warmth started to make sweat beads form on her skin, and the piercing noise grew so loud it was almost headache-inducing.

‘My ears are going numb.’

Enya couldn’t help but look at the three people with admiration. They didn’t even blink at the sharp noise.

After a long time.

“We’re here!”

Senu announced, almost shouting. At the end of the cave, a bright red light leaked through.

Clang, clang, clang!

The sound of something being violently struck was now unbearably loud that it felt to ring her whole head. Enya looked with a face filled with fear towards the source of the intense red light leaking through the hole, incomparable to the torchlight.

What was this place?

“Don’t be too scared! It’s hot, but you’ll get used to it over time!”

Jahan exclaimed after glancing at her.

Senu looked at her calmly, his face lit by the fierce glow from the hole. It appeared solemn and determined despite the bandages.

“This is what I wanted to show you about our leper cave!”

Led by Senu, Enya stepped into the hole.

As they exited the narrow passage into a more open space, the thick air choked her, and the heat seemed to scorch her skin, making her squint and bow her head.


An indescribable smell assaulted her nose. She noticed it was the same burning odor she had sensed upon entering the cave.

Enya opened her eyes. She was stunned by the sight before her.

Around a blazing forge, busy hands moved tirelessly—all were lepers with bandages wrapped around parts of their heads or bodies. Their necks and backs drenched in sweat as they cut metal into pieces, melted it and hardened it into molds.

It was a blacksmith’s forge.

Enya glanced around, not knowing how to react after witnessing a forge for the first time.

A forge was the tribe’s most valuable asset and its most guarded secret. The level of military capability could often be assessed by the ability to work metal. Even Tarhan had only been granted free access to the forge after being elevated to the position of the chieftain’s right-hand man.

“Come over here!”

Senu called out to Enya, who was standing there dazed. She was startled and quickly moved towards the direction Senu was heading in.

Some of the blacksmiths stopped their work and looked up as they passed. Most had their faces and bodies wrapped in bandages, making it difficult for her to distinguish their genders. However, Jahan seemed to recognize each one of them, shouting their names excitedly.

“That’s right, she’s the woman! She’s awake! I told you I’d bring her here once she woke up! Oh, there’s Romba! Ines. Yo, Caleb!”

Amid the chaotic noise, a few craftsmen managed to hear his call and waved back. All the blacksmiths made respectful gestures as Senu passed by before returning to their work.

Senu took her around the spacious area for a tour.

Enya absorbed the sight of the patients skillfully managing the forge and fitting handles to completed blades with a mix of awe and surprise. It was a remarkable sight.

“Now, let’s head back. It’s hard to talk here with all this noise!”

After showing her around the forge, Senu shouted something to her.

“What did you say?”

Enya had to ask several times, unable to understand him. Even when she tried shouting near his ear, it seemed he couldn’t hear her questions well either.

While they struggled to communicate, something suddenly pushed her.

It was Silanda’s stick.

With an annoyed expression, she used the stick she held in her left hand to prod her back. Startled by her push, Enya hurriedly made her way back to the entrance where they had first come in.

They retraced their steps back to where they started.

A spacious area like the one they left behind appeared again, and Enya finally felt like she could breathe freely. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she straightened her back and patted it. The prolonged crouching in the cave had made her body sore and achy.

“How was it? Can you share your thoughts with us?”

Senu approached her.

Enya looked up at him, momentarily at a loss for words.

“I… I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was… indescribable.”

That was true. Enya had never lingered around a forge with Tarhan, even when she lived in the village.

Remembering the lepers she saw there, she gulped dryly. In the midst of heat that would be challenging even for a grown man and noise that pierced the ears, the patients laboring under the glow of the red-hot forge appeared incredibly amazing.

The thought of that place made her palms sweat as she honestly conveyed her feelings to Senu.

“But honestly, I still don’t understand why you wanted to show me that scene.”