Evelina was unable to answer Kaiden’s question. Because even she didn’t know what it was about.
Kaiden read everything through her expression and approached Evelina with a frown.
Evelina was frightened of his expression. What’s more, an unknown person’s blood covered his clothes.
A dark red bloodstain was visible on his red uniform, the smell of blood permeated from him, and his calm eyes screamed murder.
Evelina was afraid when she caught sight of the gun in his right hand and the long sword in his left side. Yet the same time, she was trying to be calm.
“It’s all right now.”
She said so out of fear. Yet the source of her anxiety came closer as if to reassure her. She was madly afraid of him, but soon realized the reality and tried to control her body’s reaction.
“Ah, hug me. I’m scared. My legs….”
“I don’t think it’s just your leg.”
She couldn’t walk. Fortunately, even though she fell off the horse, only her leg was injured. Even that was just a sprain. The only wound on the body was a scratch.
He held her tightly as if he were sighing. Evelina was becoming more and more lucid at the damp sensation of the blood on her ear.
She was going to die the moment she gets caught being afraid.
However, Kaiden embraced and patted her on the back as if to relieve her when she trembled in fear. The white shirt she was wearing was stained with blood from his hands.
Kaiden smiled as he saw the horse come to the owner.
Evelina sighed with relief as she saw the horse approaching them as he let go.
When she spoke as if she really didn’t know, he hugged Evelina and sat her on the horse, and said,
“It looks like someone is targeting us.”
“…No way…I don’t think so.”
She could clearly see the pendant of the Marquis of Logias next to the dead body for a moment.
“Someone is stealing and using the symbol of the Marquis of Logias.”
“…Is that so?”
That’s what Kaiden said to reassure her. Then Evelina, who was trembling with fear, soon seemed relieved.
She worked tirelessly to get better with her head. But her body trembled so much that she couldn’t move properly. Her body, hardened by her fear, made it difficult for her to walk or even move.
Usually, she would have known the difference between the state of her body and her mind. But now, she tried hard to calm her fear-stricken head but failed, and her body was in physiological fear to the point where it was a miracle not to cry.
Her body was trembling convulsively.
“It would be dangerous to go back to the barracks.”
“I have already sent someone there.”
It wasn’t the first time death had come for him. Rather, it was so familiar that it was clear how it would turn out, so he said so.
“It’s better to go back to the Imperial Palace on Beron.”
“We have to go for a long time to do that.”
“Yes, but that’s the best way.”
His words stopped her thinking, perhaps because Evelina was afraid. She was desperate to cool down with her head down.
But how many bodies did she just see? She was afraid to see people die even though there were scores of bodies she had seen recently.
“A search party will be initiated if Lina and I disappear for a day. That would be much safer.”
“If Lina doesn’t want to move, I’ll try to find a place to hide nearby.”
As he spoke thoughtfully, Evelina felt more frightened. Maybe he could fake an accident somewhere in the forest and kill her or leave her.
“T, to the Imperial Palace… Let’s go.”
But she would still be useful. She was trying to breathe evenly, believing he wouldn’t abandon her.
“Yes. I will try not to burden Lina as much as possible.”
At that moment, he said while stroking her cheek.
“I’m glad you’re okay. I was worried.”
He said it like he meant it and laughed. Evelina burst into tears without realizing it, and said, wiping the blood clinging to her face with her sleeves.
“I want to stop being scared.”
“All right. I’m here, so don’t worry.”
He grinned at her words and began to move.
– Tatang! Tang! Tang!
Evelina shrank at the sound of gunfire nearby. Looking at her like that, Kaiden, who said she shouldn’t make a sound, laughed as she seemed to find her stability when she looked into his eyes.
She could come to her senses by looking at his false smile. By survival instinct.
“They’ll be nearby!”
“Find the Emperor and the Queen! I’ll give the Grand Duke title to the person who finds and kills them!”
There were still loud gunshots. The voices of the men echoed through the forest.
Kaiden, who took Evelina off her horse, sighed and said in her ear.
“It would be dangerous to ride a horse like this.”
“I’ll carry you on my back. Until your legs get better.”
“Then Kaiden will be in danger.”
“Lina feeling better is more important than danger.”
He said firmly and showed his back to Evelina. She wondered why he was doing this, but thought she would die if she was left alone in this situation, so she put herself on his back.
She moved the gun he was carrying to the front of his neck, moved her gun to him, and leaned back, winding her arms.
“Your ankle is swollen. It can’t go on like this. Let’s get rid of the swelling in the lake down there.”
“It’s dangerous to do that.”
Evelina said so, listening to the hoofs and gunshots of horses running in the distance. It was like being in the middle of a battlefield.
“Beron, go to the palace. Go get back up.”
With Evelina on his back, he took off the emperor’s ring from his hand, tied it on a rope, and hung it around his neck.
Then he stepped down. Then Beron began to head to the palace as trained.
“The sun is setting.”
“We need a place to stay before the sun goes down. There are wild animals here.”
She had never camped in the woods. Even in her previous life, she had never been on a camping trip.
Perhaps because of the early summer weather, flies and mosquitoes were slowly felt in the forest. Evelina was already bitten on the arm or was itching.
“Lina, hug me tighter.”
She held his neck tightly at his words. Then her chest touched his back. She hated herself so much that her heart, which was beating with fear, felt like it was going to touch his back.
Because she didn’t want to be caught being a coward.
Soon he walked so silently for a long time. After how long he walked, the sun completely set, but they couldn’t find a place to stay.
Rather, it was easy to find the pursuers after sunset. They were following with torches. Evelina and Kaiden hid in the dark and moved quietly.
After moving for a long time holding their breath, they soon felt the surroundings quiet.
“They must be continuing the searching at dawn.”
“How do you know?”
“The soldiers must be exhausted. And horses are surprisingly easily exhausted animals.”
That’s what Kaiden said and walked on. Evelina was sick maybe because she was nervous for too long. She leaned into him and said.
“Who’s trying to kill us?”
“Anyone would be in trouble if Evelina and I were alive.”
“Is it the Dowager Empress? Last time… IT WAS THE CASE.”
Kaiden scoffed, recalling that his grandmother betrayed him. He remembered the funny look of his grandmother asking him about his family loyalty. She appealed so much to him, but when she heard that he had collapsed, she was desperate to find a bloodline to reign in another country.
“But she’s locked up….”
“It could be someone else.”
“But if it’s not the royal family, even if Kaiden and I die, they can’t continue the throne. And to do that, they have to revolt, but isn’t it impossible to rebel with the people who came to the hunting competition?”
He grinned joyfully at Evelina’s sharp words. As if he loved this wisdom.
“I’m not the only one left with the royal family. Grandmother married in, even though she’s half royalty.”
“Elsius is a princess.”
“But she’s a woman.”
“Abelard is a country founded by the empress, Lina.”
Evelina had forgotten that for a moment.
“It was covered up in a way that is easy to interpret, so not many people know about it. Because if she is a woman now, she cannot inherit the throne.”
Evelina was a little relieved by his words. He didn’t really seem to think it was the work of the Marquis of Logias. And it couldn’t have been. The Marquis wouldn’t have been after Evelina.
Evelina thought that her father was not behind the scenes in the murder that was after her.
“That’s why you prepared to hunt like that.”
“I suppose so.”
At Evelina’s words, Kaiden began to walk faster and faster. She thought she heard footsteps somewhere.
“I think we’ve been caught.”
– Bang! Pusyuk*!
*TN: onomatopoeia for a stabbing sound
A single shot rang out in the quiet forest. It was stuck in a tree right next to Kaiden and Evelina.
He started running like that with Evelina on his back.
– Bang! Tattang! Pusyuk! Bam! Piyuuung!*
*TN: onomatopoeia for something being launched
The chasing shooter soon fired a flare into the sky. Then they were constantly chasing them.
Kaiden stood as if he could not help it and put Evelina down. He turned around and loaded the gun forward.
“Close your eyes.”
There was a cliff behind them all of a sudden. Down there was a lake.
“If you kill the queen, I’ll let you live.”
Kaiden laughed at the shooter’s words and fired the gun.