After the Rain (3)
Aristine hurriedly wiped her tears.
Then she smiled at her people who were looking at her worriedly.
“Some dust must have gotten in my eyes.”
That was obviously not the case, but everyone merely nodded in agreement.
Aristine braced herself.
Now wasn’t the time to cry and wonder what to do if Tarkan was dead.
‘There’s no time for that.’
Aristine downed her tea in one gulp.
“Ritlen, I believe you said the barrier could be installed right away.”
Ritlen was looking at her anxiously, but his expression changed at those words, and he nodded.
“Yes, if it’s in the test area…but I thought that was postponed to spring?”
“Get it ready. Perhaps we might need it soon.”
Ritlen nodded his head seriously without asking why.
He immediately rose and led the blacksmiths away.
Asena seemed taken aback, but she followed the blacksmiths who were hurriedly moving out. The other magicians did the same.
They seemed to have decided that it was faster to ask the blacksmiths what was going on, than ask Aristine.
‘But even Ritlen doesn’t know what’s going on.’
At any rate, she was more comfortable that they didn’t ask. Right now, she didn’t have the time or energy to spend explaining to everyone.
‘For now, I should go back to my room.’
The documents that Aristine was dealing with was confidential, so she shouldn’t allow anyone to see it.
Aristine left the smithy and climbed into a carriage to return to her main palace then she ordered the court ladies.
“Bring me a tactical transmission stone. And a map of the Demonic Beast Plain. A large-scale one, if possible.”
The court ladies seemed taken aback by the sudden request, but soon lowered their heads.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
With a clack, the footman closed the carriage door.
As if reading its master’s will, the carriage quickly rode out of the smithy.
* * *
Shortly after Aristine arrived at her room, the court ladies brought her a map and a tactical transmission stone.
“Here is the connection code.”
Aristine looked at the sheet handed to her by the court ladies and nodded.
The court ladies clenched their fists and gave her a thumbs up before leaving the room.
‘Hm, I think they’re misunderstanding something… ‘
They seem to think that Aristine couldn’t stop missing Tarkan, so she asked them to bring the transmission stone. The fact that they could bring such a military device with that reason alone showed that power was truly the best.
‘If only that was why.’
She confirmed the connection code and connected to Tarkan without hesitation.
As soon as a link was made, a voice came through.
[What is the matter?]
For some reason, the moment she heard that voice, her voice couldn’t come out, as if something was stuck in her throat.
A low and languid voice with a sense of underlying pressure.
It was Tarkan’s voice.
[This is not the designated code. Who are you?]
Tarkan asked the silent other party.
She knew she had to say something but all she could manage was a trembling breath.
Aristine inhaled deeply and opened her mouth.
In the end, all she could manage was one word.
Despite that, her voice was shaking, and it was so soft that she feared it didn’t reach the transmitter.
Perhaps he had managed to hear her whisper because in the next moment, a fuss could be heard over the transmitter.
How do you feel? Are you hurt anywhere? Are you sleeping well? Are you eating well? When will come back? Do–.
Do you miss me?
So many questions welled up in her chest like bubbles, making it hard to breathe.
Bubbles that might pop with the slightest force.
Aristine could only force out a hum to stop her emotions from bursting out.
It was only that one sound, but Tarkan whispered softly and tenderly like he had read her mind.
[Don’t worry. I said I’ll be back soon, didn’t I?]
Even though she knew Tarkan couldn’t see her, Aristine nodded her head.
Who knew where all those feelings of resentment and hate had gone? They evaporated like bubbles, not leaving a single trace.
Just hearing his voice like his made her feel happy, sad, and worried.
[Just wait a little. Just a little bit.]
Aristine was nodding her head obediently as she listened to Tarkan then she came to her senses.
Now wasn’t the time for this.
“Tarkan, how is the situation over there?”
[It’s okay. It’s going smoothly.]
“Really? You’re not just saying that so I don’t worry?”
Tarkan’s voice held a hint of laughter.
In other words, he was fine.
Aristine was relieved and asked. “What about the other warriors?
[Why are you curious about those guys?]
Tarkan’s voice sharpened slightly.
[The divisions are separated right now, so they’re not with me. But they’re all fine. Don’t worry.]
He seemed dissatisfied but answered obediently.
He figured it was better to answer, than to leave Aristine worrying about his warriors by not answering.
Although he said not to worry, Aristine squeezed the transmission stone tightly.
It was normal for the divisions to have separate roles. But why did it feel like she was one step closer to the scene that she saw in the Monarch’s Sight.
Aristine licked her dry lips.
She asked cautiously, hoping that he would say no. “Is Sir. Jacquelin with you?”
His affirmation was so clear that it was almost cruel.
Aristine lowered his head and closed her eyes. When she reopened her eyes, she quickly asked.
“Has communication with the other warriors been good so far? No interruptions?]
[Yes, what’s wrong?]
Tarkan seemed to sense something from Aristine’s question, and his voice grew serious.
“Tarkan, listen carefully. If communication is cut off and you can’t get in touch with the others, cancel all operations and prioritize regrouping. Contact the other divisions right now and decide where to meet if communication is cut off…”
In the middle of talking, Aristine felt something strange.
It was quiet.
And ominously too quiet at that.
No reply came back.
The only response to her scream was silence.
Aristine tapped the transmission stone and redid the link. However, the connection signal never appeared.
No matter how many times she tried and tried to reconnect.
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