Author: Arnlian Editor: Arnlian

***

 

 

Black forest, the northern end of Wilhelm.

 

With rotten ground, dry trees, and infested monsters when you go deep into the forest, a huge castle appears.

 

In a place with a shabby and hideous atmosphere that is about to collapse,

 

“Arrrgh!”

 

The scream as if it were a ghost crying, rang out high. 

 

“This, let go! Ack! Let go of me!”

“What did you do to our Ria?”

“Ack! This damned owl, let go of my hair now! Arrgh!”

“If you touch even the tip of our Ria’s hair! I’m gonna kill all of you!”

“Damn it! What the hell did you guys catch!”

 

In a messy room, a man rolling on the floor, wriggled in pain.

 

They looked bewildered at the owl, who was tearing off their colleague’s hair.

 

“… What is that?”

“Looks like it’s a talking owl…”

“Do you think my ear got blocked to ask something like that? How can an owl talk!”

“Right…”

“Don’t we get a lot of money with that too?”

 

The leader of that stupid-like guild, slapped his forehead on the twirling conversation.

 

“I told you to catch the woman! Why did you get the owl instead!”

 

That also a chicken fighter*!

*It’s used to refer to someone who is kinda aggressive or feisty.

 

Their target was a herbalist who is living alone in the black forest.

 

To be exact, a man who stayed with the herbalist was the target, but to catch him, the woman is absolutely needed.

 

‘It’s kind of bait.’

 

A very, very important bait. So they would have thrown away expensive magic tools without hesitation.

 

That is how big the role of the woman was.

 

But they missed the woman.

 

‘Failure means dead. Surely we’re going to die.’

 

A subordinate who was looking at Akte’s face, who was changing all the time, opened his mouth.

 

It was the man with a long scar on his face who threatened Ria.

 

“Captain, don’t worry. That owl, really treasured by that woman. Surely she will look for it.”

“… Moses, can I trust your word?”

“It’s probably faster to wait than to go out and catch her again tho.”

 

Akte has ‘don’t feel like doing this’ face. But his men don’t feel like doing this either. 

 

“Captain, it must really be this castle? I don’t think this place is good.”

“Right. This is the cursed forest. Even the villagers avoided this place, but why this place?”

 

The men looked around with a reluctant face.

 

“You can’t live up to your size! What do you mean cursed! It’s just a dead forest, the reason they run…!”

 

Bang!

 

“Uck!”

 

Surprised, Akte turned around with shaking shoulders.

 

The subordinate, who suddenly caught everyone’s attention, grabbed the door handle and rolled his eyes.

 

“It’s burdensome, why’re you all looking at me?”

 

At the time when the man was looking at his colleagues and leader’s eyes, Akte hit his subordinate in the back of the head.

 

“Knock! Knock! Is your hand just for decoration?”

“Ack! Why are you taking it out on me?”

“We were in the midst of talking about something creepy. Geez!

“What do you mean! Look outside! The target just walked in on herself!”

 

Akte’s gaze reached Moses.

 

“I told you, right? She will come.”

 

Akte breathed out whether he was relieved or sighing as he was shrugging his shoulders.

 

“Get ready as scheduled. Keep in mind. If we fail we will all get fxxked. Got it?”

“Did you really think we will fail? Captain is so tight, that is a problem.”

“Your carefree attitude is the problem. There is ‘what if’, you know? What if!”

“Yes yes, understood.”

“Stop fooling around, move quickly!”

 

Akte’s words moved his men in perfect order.

 

Except for the guy that Nathan caught.

 

“Craaaap! Someone save me!”

“I asked you what you’re up to! You tiger-nosed brat!”

“Arrgh!”

 

 

***

 

 

Thanks to Kanae’s magic, we easily found Nathan’s location and we could head straight to the castle.

 

Fortunately, the place where the castle was located was not occupied by the monsters, so it was not difficult to enter.

 

Standing at the gate of the castle, I frowned at the déjà vu I sensed.

 

It is weird. It felt like I had been to this castle before.

 

‘-Ria.’

 

When I looked up at Dillian to the voice calling me, he asked curiously.

 

“What’s wrong?”

“Didn’t Sir Dillian call me?”

“Me?”

 

Dillian, who was blinking, smiled shyly.

 

“I can’t believe you like me so much that you can hear my voice whenever and wherever I am. I don’t know what to do.”

“Sure, I must have misheard it.”

 

Am I feeling empty? I hear all the crap.

 

“By the way, here, it’s quite large.”

 

Kanae said while looking around.

 

“There’s lot of rooms too.”

 

It was obvious. Even if the castle looks like it’s about to collapse, it must not be small.

 

It is said it was once Wilhelm’s famous place, because it was the place where the child loved by God lived. 

 

But as the forest began to die, everyone was afraid and abandoned the castle.

 

A hundred years since it was left unattended.

 

As time went by, only an eerie rumor was added here.

 

Such as ghosts coming out, monsters living there.

 

In addition, it was the castle where even bad bandits did not step in because of the stench everywhere there.

 

I looked around with anxious eyes.

 

“It’ll be faster if we are scattering.”

 

Harris, who was looking around the castle, said.

 

“I will go with Miss Ria.”

 

Harris’s face cooled when he saw Dillian, who quickly stood next to me.

 

“Do as you please. Then I’ll take the east.”

“I protect Your Grace and madam!”

 

The hot-blooded knight, Ludo, raised his hand.

 

“Get out, don’t disturb us. The same goes for you all.”

“Don’t call me madam, please.”

 

At Dillian’s and my bruising, Ludo hesitated and lowered his hand.

 

It was Harris who reached the poor Ludo.

 

“Ludo, you follow me.”

 

So, Harris and Ludo to the east.

 

Eldman, Kanae, and Jerry to the west.

 

Ben was staying and defending the fainted Claude. 

 

Automatically it was decided that Dillian and I would go together.

 

It was a decision that didn’t reflect my intentions at all, but I did not complain.

 

Why?

 

‘This place is scary!’

 

I hate ghosts. I hate spiders even more.

 

This ancient castle was a collector of all the things I hated.

 

“If you find it, you can contact me through this. It’s a communication device.”

 

Kanae held out a small bead to me.

 

“We’re leaving first.”

 

I stuck behind Dillian, who was in the lead.

 

“Do you hate dark places?”

“Is there someone who likes it?”

 

Unlike the brightness outside, I frowned at the darkness inside.

 

It did not light up well because of the trees that surrounded the castle.

 

‘I don’t know what’s going to pop out, but that’s obvious.’

 

I hurried my steps, wary of the surroundings.

 

I wanted to get Nathan out of here as soon as possible.

 

However, I am not confident of taking the lead. I walked quietly next to him, matching his footsteps.

 

Suddenly Dillian stopped.

 

“Why, why is that?”

“There is something there.”

 

When I, who stopped at the same time, asked, Dillian pointed forward.

 

I looked around with anxious eyes.

 

At that moment, a black object rushed at us.

 

“Arrgh!”

 

Surprised, I turned and clung to Dillian’s arm.

 

I really hate it! It’s scary! I can’t even watch B-rated horror movies!

 

With my face buried in Dillian’s shoulder, I was breathless.

 

My heart pounded.

 

Is it possible to expel evil spirits by divine power? Can you catch it in the first place? I don’t remember learning it at the temple!

 

It was when I remembered the subjugation methods I saw in the movie.

 

“Meoow.”

 

Huh? Meoow?

 

When I raised my head slightly to a cute sound that did not match the ghost, my eyes met with the black cat.

 

“Meow.”

 

Stupid. It’s just my illusion for it to sound like that.

 

The cat looked at me with pathetic eyes and left soon afterwards.

 

As I watched it backside, my mouth hardened at the low laughter above my head.

 

“What should I do, you are so scared.”

 

Only then did I realize that I was almost hugged in Dillian’s arms, so I quickly escaped from him.

 

‘Embarrassing…!’

 

Dillian’s smile burned my face.

 

It may be mistaken, but I was more embarrassed because he seemed to find me cute.

 

Hmhm, with a dry cough, I laid a sheet of iron* on my face.

*Put on a brazen face.

 

“Well, that kind of thing happens in people’s lives, isn’t it?”

 

I was making excuses and suddenly a big hand came in front of me.

 

“You want to hold it?”

“Huh, is it because you think I’m scared? I don’t need it.”

 

I said bluntly, but my hand was already holding Dillian’s.

 

So tight to even the blood blocked.

 

‘Crap, I’m scared to death.’

 

“Haha.”

“Don’t laugh. It’s because I think something will pop out.”

 

I glared at Dillian’s shaking shoulders, but he could not stop laughing.

 

“I say stop laughing!”

“Is it because it’s the first time Miss Ria held my hand first? I keep laughing.”

 

At the time Dillian thought like that, he tied my fingers and interlocked them.

 

As if he would never miss it.

 

‘It’s not the first time tho…’

 

The last day Dillian got the Runaway, I ran and grabbed his hand first. Very desperately.

 

He just did not remember.

 

I shaked my hand lightly against Dillian.

 

“You held my hand to the fullest for today, it’s enough right?”

 

I wonder if I have gotten used to it in half a day.

 

Dillian wasn’t as burdensome as before.

 

“I hope I can hold it as much as I want tomorrow too.”

“You have a big dream.”

“A dream is supposed to be big.”

“Don’t you know it’s going to explode if it’s too big?”

 

Butterflies that appeared before I knew it, hung around me.

 

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