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MLAP | Chapter 5


“Put it on.”

With a sigh, Veronica stared at the black robe that had fallen in front of her.

As she glared at him with her mouth shut, Leon, who was putting the saddle on the horse, tilted his head slightly. 

“Do you want me to put it on for you?”

Veronica didn’t answer. She picked up the robe with her white-knuckled hands hesitantly, realizing that the man in front of her might actually do that. She decided to endure it for now. She had to stay alive to try anything.

The black robe with a hood was either too big or belonged to a man, dragging all the way down to her toes.

After putting it on, she realized how cold the weather was. Her hands and feet were freezing.

As she stood there awkwardly, Leon asked her a question in passing.

“Have you ever ridden a horse before?”


“Have you ever held a sword?”

“I haven’t.”

“Do you have any intention of running away?”

Her continuous response abruptly stopped. When she shot him an incredulous look, he returned her gaze, seemingly amused. His deep pupils sucked her in like an abyss within his arrogant gaze.

When the man approached her with his hand outstretched, she instinctively closed her eyes, thinking that he might hit her.

Her neck still felt sore.

However, the feeling that came over her was unexpectedly gentle. Feeling the weight of the heavy cloth on her head, she slowly opened her eyes to see an emotionless face in her narrowed vision. He put the hood on deeply so that the cold wind wouldn’t touch her face. That was all.

She was dazed for a moment, but she let out a high-pitched scream as he grabbed her around the waist. Leon ignored her and lifted her onto his black steed, and she hastily grabbed the reins to regain her balance. 

He climbed on behind her, pulling her slender waist close. Her body stiffened as she felt his hard armor.

In the distance, the city huddled in the snowy plain resembled a dead animal, similar to a young beast that couldn’t grow and died. 

It was originally a city famous for its sunrise in the Far East, but now there were only desolate traces of that blue land.

The horse trotted lightly through the streets, and then began to run in the opposite direction. The moment Veronica left her hometown, she had a premonition. 

There was no turning back now.

⊱ ────── {.⋅ ❁ ⋅.} ────── ⊰

She had spent her entire life in Bayern. In other words, it meant that even just half a day’s horseback ride would take her through a landscape she didn’t recognize.

In the plains outside the city, there were snow-covered farms and steep houses scattered about.

Beyond that, a tall and majestic white pine forest was visible. It was at the last farm before entering that forest that Leon halted his horse.

“We’re going to rest for a bit.”

He said, putting her down on the ground. Veronica, whose legs were trembling, glanced at the eerie forest and quickly walked towards the dark-colored house.

“Is anyone there?”

Her fists pounded on the door, hoping that she could call for help from a third party. Her hands were trembling, cramped from holding onto the reins since earlier.

“They’d be better off not being there.”

“…What do you mean?”

Leon, who was feeding the horse, looked towards the back of the house instead of answering.

Veronica took a few steps forward with suspicion and curiosity, then held her breath.

There lay a fallen human, or rather a lump of flesh that was once human. It was headless.

Only then did she see the large footprints on the snow and she shuddered with horror.

Bahamut. It was the Bahamut. 

They had passed through here.

“At least the humans are better off than the dead animals who couldn’t even run away.”

Leon pushed past her stiffened form and approached the stables at the back of the house. Veronica gagged at the sight of a horse torn to shreds with its entrails hanging out.

She was surprised at Leon’s indifference as he fed the horse there.

Would the horse even have an appetite when their kind was dead?

She had heard that horses were one of the most intelligent animals, especially in terms of memory.

The creature following that man was probably filled with memories of Bahamut.

Looking down at the ground, she saw that she was also standing on a large footprint under her black robe. She froze for a moment, feeling as if she were about to be caught until the sound of a door unlocking the empty house made her look up. 

Veronica immediately followed Leon inside.

“What are you going to do?”

“Can’t you tell?”

Leon searched through the kitchen and cabinets and found three blocks of cheese, two dozen potatoes, and a bottle of wine.

Upon seeing the wine, he casually uncorked the bottle and drank from it as if he were a savage.

“That’s someone else’s food,” she said, staring at him like he was a barbarian.

“I never said it was mine.”

Leon replied nonchalantly as he sat down at the table. He looked at her as he ran his tongue over his lips, which were stained with the wine.

“Aren’t you thirsty? Go get some water and come back.”

“I don’t need it.”

It was already the second time she had refused to eat, having previously declined jerky in the morning.

When he grabbed her wrist, her slender arm was exposed as her sleeve slipped down.

“You’re so skinny.”

“This is normal for me.”

“Did you ever dance?”

It was just a stupid comment. She knew that it was a common prejudice against the Southern dancers and that it didn’t apply here in the East. 

Nevertheless, she was taken aback like a fool, recoiling like she was pricked by a sharp needle.

“It doesn’t matter. Whether I starve a few meals or not, as long as I’m alive, that’s enough,” she said, turning and leaving the house.

Her throat burned as if she had swallowed hot water. The reality she had forgotten came flooding back as her thighs ached and hurt. 

Annoyingly, the horse poked his head out of the trough, its ears pricked. 

She sat down by the door and bowed her head.

After a while, Leon walked out of the door with the provisions he had gathered.

He no longer urged her to drink water or eat food.

He walked down the forest path. As he passed through the forest where the insects and birds were buzzing, he put out the fire and set up camp when the sun set.

It was hard. She was so tired she could die.

She was actually on the verge of collapsing. Her whole body was shivering, not to mention the pain that felt like she had been beaten.

Leon, who was sitting in front of the fire, sharpened a thin and pointed stick and started roasting the potatoes and cheese he had obtained earlier. 

The aroma of deliciousness tickled her nose; the hot potatoes were steaming in the winter night, and the melting cheese sizzled.

Even though her mouth watered, Veronica scowled with discontent from her pride.

That was when it happened.

“It’s all cooked. Eat it.”

Leon examined one of the potatoes and suddenly pushed it towards her.

The potatoes that were speared on the stick were so dazzling that Veronica blinked her eyes, dumbfounded. 

Leon didn’t wait long.

“If you don’t want it, don’t eat it.”

“Oh, wait—wait a minute.”

She grabbed his hand anxiously as he tried to take it back.

The difference in size was even more apparent as she held his rough, elongated hand.

Bowing her head, Veronica couldn’t look him in the eye and only gazed at his hand as if it was her only lifeline.

“…Can’t you just ask me one more time?”

An embarrassing silence filled the air, making her want to die. It was a burning feeling that surged to the tips of their intertwined fingers.

Still, she wanted to eat it. She was hungry. 

She closed her eyes tightly for a moment, and then a faint laughter erupted from above her head.

When she lifted her face that had turned as red as an apple in embarrassment, she met his eyes, which looked like he was looking at a child. 

He slowly opened his mouth.

“If you take a bite of the food I’ve prepared with all my heart, I’ll take it as an honor for the rest of my life.”

His clearly teasing tone made her face even redder.

Leon passed her the skewer and put a pitcher of clear water beside her. 

For a moment, she forgot her embarrassment as she focused on the steaming, melting cheese and the crunchy potatoes in front of her. She blew on the fluffy potatoes and bit into the thin layer of melted cheese.

Adding a bit of exaggeration, the simple meal was the most delicious thing she had ever tasted.

As she pushed one more in her mouth, she realized she had already eaten five.

After the meal, Leon offered his sleeping bag to Veronica and leaned against the tree stump.

Even though he was a Paladin, Veronica didn’t let her guard down since they were alone together. 

For a moment, she thought she’d better be on her guard, but when she awoke to the sound of birdsong, the sun was already up.

The days passed like that.




The sturdy horse ran tirelessly even with two riders. Traveling was exhausting, even as she just sat atop the horse. 

Her hands were red and swollen from gripping the reins, and her thighs trembled from the exertion. 

Veronica cleared her head and just held on.

“I’m not hungry.”

That was the only thing Veronica had said so far. 

There was no trace of rebellion or anger left in her. She just had no appetite, to the point where it was difficult to swallow a single piece of jerky. She usually skipped breakfast and lunch and only ate dinner.

Finally, one afternoon, they arrived at Asseldorf.

It was a normal, refugee-stricken city, with nothing special about it except for its ever-rising walls. 

The problem was the smell.

There was a smell of blood that made their stomach churn from the moment they arrived, and a creepy feeling as if hundreds of faces were staring up at them from beneath their feet.

It reached its peak when they entered a weapons shop deep in the city.

“If you could choose quickly, I’d appreciate it.”

A hoarse voice woke Veronica up from her nausea. She quickly returned to reality and looked up at Leon’s face against the background noise inside the crowded weapons store.

He was too close. 

As soon as she realized it, Veronica quickly lowered her head and ran her eyes over the few remaining longswords, her cursory gaze stopping on a scabbard with camellia branches.

The bronze plaque on the top read that it was a mass-produced piece by the craftsman Camellia.

She was drawn to the sword as if by an invisible force. Feeling the weight sticking to her hand, Veronica asked suspiciously.

“Are you really going to buy it for me?”

Leon replied dryly.

“You can pay me back later.”

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