Radis patted the horse’s neck and soothed it before she climbed down.
Considering how many hours she ran, the sky was now tinted black.
The same was true of the land.
There was no light anywhere around her.
She was the only one in this wide moonlit field.
Over the field’s horizon, Radis saw a dark forest that was completely black.
Even though such bright moonlight was illuminating the world below, the forest was completely dark as though it had swallowed all the light.
After tying the horse to a tree, Radis walked towards that forest.
This forest was strange.
She couldn’t hear the sound of bugs scuffling in the grass or the birds crying in the night.
And the scent enveloping the air wasn’t the fresh smell of grass and trees, but the stench of rotting soil and an unknown fish-like smell.
Reaching the edge of the forest, Radis reached out and placed a hand over a tree.
Even though it was a spot that should be touched by the sun during the day, the bark was covered with thick moss.
Then, not far away, she heard a low growl.
Radis was certain.
She knew that the Russell Marquisate was next to Monsterwood.
But she couldn’t believe that it was this close!
In her previous life, Radis wandered until the point of exhaustion in this vast forest.
The memory was still vivid.
A tiresome march that never seemed to end, the battles against the terrible monsters, almost dying from miasma.
Strangely however, Radis never felt negatively about this forest.
Sometimes, this forest felt more like home than the Tilrod mansion.
The subjugation was definitely difficult, but there were also times when it was fun.
‘Why doesn’t the Vice Captain talk?’
‘Don’t you know the Vice Captain well? When he comes to the forest he becomes quiet.
He’s different when he’s outside.’
She never said anything because she was afraid that they would find out she’s a woman, even towards her comrades who followed her without any doubt.
‘I have faith in you.’
Robert, the captain of the subjugation squad, was just as silent as her, but he was sometimes as warm as the sun.
But in the end, she eventually failed to uphold his faith in her.
Radis began to walk as though she’d find him somewhere in that forest.
“I’ve returned, but what should I say, what should I ask…”
While walking with her head down, something rustled in the dark and so she raised her head.
Three green beads of light looked back at her.
Radis looked around.
It wasn’t alone.
More green lights appeared one by one in the dark.
She saw a lot of those beasts before.
As if to answer her, a large wolf growled and stepped out from the shadows.
Twice as big as ordinary wolves, it had two glinting green eyes where they should normally be and its third eye was higher on its head.
With just one glance, it was obvious that it’s a monster.
“I can’t believe you even came out to the edge of the woods.
You must be very hungry.”
Radis looked around.
These monsters were never alone.
From as few as five to as many as ten or even twenty in their pack.
These were nasty fellows who would annihilate another group if they’d happen to meet.
At this, Radis habitually reached to her side, yet she could only say, “Damn it.”
She was empty-handed.
“Even if I run away… it’s too late.”
Framed by black branches, the bright moon looked back at her as she looked at it in despair.
She didn’t know how she got here.
She didn’t want to do it just because it’s her.
She didn’t want to live like this either.
How nice if she could have been able to live like David or Jurich, not Radis?
In the name of carrying out a child’s duties, she was so ashamed to the point that she could only bow down.
She was so envious of their lives where they had the love and respect of their parents.
But what could she do?
She was Radis.
Since it was like this, she had no choice but to live as Radis.
A wolf rushed at her.
As if it was a signal, dozens of green eyes filled her surroundings.
At the horrifying sight, Radis closed her eyes.
‘If I were to die like this, then I won’t have to suffer anymore.’
Radis’ second heart, the mana core, began to beat.
With her eyes closed, she suddenly reached out her hand and crushed something that had jumped at her.
“…I was ready to die, so I didn’t think I’d still live.”
Radis’ eyes opened once more.
And she looked down at her hand.
There, the color of fire burned.
Mana that was red as blood wrapped around her hand.
When she was a child, there were flowers that she liked, and they were the same color.
No other beautiful flower could compare to its dignity.
A tall flower that never swayed, just soaring high and blazing beautifully.
After confirming the red, flame-like mana in her hand, a slight smile tugged on Radis’ lips.
The wolves rushed in.
In her hand, a wolf’s dead body lay limp, its head crushed.
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