After the Rain (5)
The Great Demonic Beast’s territory that no one dared to step foot in, not even flowers.
《If you go that way, they won’t come after you.》
Aristine flinched at the sudden memory that flashed through her mind.
The voice of a still very young child. But it was also a familiar voice.
A beat later, Aristine realized where she had heard that voice.
Those were the words she’d said to someone in a dream a long time ago.
‘Right, that’s true. Even demonic beasts are afraid to enter the domain of Great Beasts.’
Aristine realized why Tarkan had split away.
If that many people trespassed into its territory, there was a high chance that the Great Demonic Beast would notice.
So Tarkan was trying to draw the Great Beast’s attention before the it attacked the warriors.
Even if he had to sacrifice himself.
Even though he said she should wait, and he’d be back soon.
Aristine clenched her fists tightly.
Her eyes felt hot, and it felt like something was rising in her chest.
Of course, Tarkan has already defeated a great demonic beast before. However, the situation then and now were very different.
Murzika was small even among the Great Demonic Beasts and it couldn’t deploy a forcefield like other demonic beasts, so it wasn’t a good match against a sword.
When she thought that far, Aristine frowned.
‘…How do I know this?’
Even with the Monarch’s Sight, Aristine has never seen the Great Demonic Beast, Murzika. Furthermore, she could count on one hand the number of times she had heard people talking about Murzika.
Even then, all they talked about was the story of Tarkan defeating Murzika, how ferocious and vicious Murzika was, and how brave and strong Tarkan was at such a young age.
‘Where exactly did I…?’
As Aristine was thinking that, bright flashes began to race through her mind.
《Something scary is there.》
《I saw it. You won.》
《You can do it.》
With every flash in her mind, a voice reverberated through her like the echoes of a cave.
It was her own voice as a child.
Aristine clutched her forehead as the pain threatened to split her skull.
Who exactly was she talking to? Who was the one who held her hand?
A dense forest was spread out before her eyes, then a dusty wasteland, then someone’s small back.
It was a small child, but in the eyes of Aristine back then, the small back seemed bigger than a mountain.
Aristine opened her eyes and sucked in a breath, like someone dragged out of water.
The memories were like a shipwreck that had sunk deep into the seabed.
Even if she tried to pull it up, it was locked and wrapped in thick chains so Aristine couldn’t immediately recall the full memory.
But the more she thought about it, the more the chains shook, the rust fell, and the locks clicked.
And at this moment, the locks came fully undone.
* * *
With pain weighing down her entire body, young Aristine gasped for her breath.
After she was confined, she had gotten sick several times due to lack of proper nutrition, but it had never been as severe as today.
Even as the pain interrupted her thoughts, one sentence kept ringing through Aristine’s mind.
I am dying.
Even when countless hardships and persecutions tormented her, she had never thought that before.
Even when the Emperor set her bedroom on fire and engulfed her in flames, she never thought of it.
But now, for the first time, those three words were drawn vividly in her mind.
I am dying like this.
Slowly and painfully, fighting a fever in a place no one ever looked.
Even as the pain made her gasp, a faint smile arose on her face.
‘Well, this isn’t bad either.’
It was better for her to die alone like this, than to drench the continent with blood when the emperor found out about her manifestation of the Monarch’s Sight.
No one would know, nor did she want anyone to know, but she had saved the world. Just having that one fact engraved in her heart, made it a life worth living.
Being born as a descendant of the oldest ruling family, sacred enough to be called golden blood, meant that she was born into this word with duty on her back.
She had already accomplished the highest feat that could be achieved with the Monarch’s Sight.
The pain akin to a hundred needles pierced her body, forcing the young princess to gasp and curl her body.
Her curled-up body was noticeably smaller than her peers, and she looked stunted in size.
She didn’t think it would be nice if someone was by her side. She had realized through numerous experiences such expectations could lead to greater despair.
Aristine burned with a high fever and kept falling in and out of consciousness.
The boundary between reality and mental consciousness was blurred. As well as the boundary between life and death.
Then, when she opened her eyes, Aristine realized that one side of the tattered blanket covering her was soaking wet.
It was too wet in one corner to attribute it to sweat.
When she moved her muddled gaze, she saw that the water jug had fallen. It seemed like she had struck it while she was writhing in pain.
Aristine didn’t even have the energy to clean it off, so she stared blankly at the pool of water on the floor. Then the water surface began to shake.
It was a sign of the Monarch’s Sight.
The trembling water soon calmed down and displayed a boy.
His strange clothes and features were different from that of Silvanians.
His black hair fluttered in the air as he rolled on the ground.
Where he previously stood, the claws of a demonic beast slammed down with a bang. The ground caved in with a single blow.
The boy was unsurprised and swiftly got up, stabbing his sword into the beast’s leg.
The beast screamed and swung its other claw at the boy.
However, the boy had already retreated out of its grasp.
His decisions were calm, and his movements were so clean that it was hard to think of him as a young boy.
However, the demonic beast was too large for a young boy to deal with, and there were too many of them.
While the boy whittled down one demonic beast till its defeat, he was surround by about six to seven demonic beasts.
Just as the boy dodged an attack and stabbed, another demonic beast took advantage of the gap to aim at his small back.
It looked like the teeth of the huge beast would soon tear the boy’s back.
Normally, she wouldn’t have done anything, but perhaps because of the fever blurring the line between reality and unconsciousness, Aristine stretched out her hand toward the boy.
《It’s dangero… 》
Aristine’s words were cut off.
The Monarch’s Sight showed the past, present, and future on the water surface, but it never actually linked Aristine to the situation.
So, normally, Aristine’s hand should have just splashed into water and touched the floor.
However, her hand plunged into the water surface.
As if there was a tunnel to the other side.
The water pooled on the floor was shallow and the area wasn’t wide. No matter how small young Aristine was, it was impossible for her to fall inside.
But as if she was sucked in, Aristine disappeared into the water.
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