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Chapter: 31


Episode 31: Hunting (IV)

*******

The place where the two of them moved together with Yulif’s magic was a wide open plain.

「Whoa……!」

Canaren spread her arms wide and the wind blew past her body.

Surrounded by the refreshing breeze, the fresh scent of grass, and the sky shining above her, she forgot her worries for a moment. The dark emotions that had built up to the tip of her throat had subsided a bit.

It wouldn’t be weird if her heart exploded.

Come to think of it, this had happened before.

On the night Yulif saved her from Deltinus, who was full of desire.

If it weren’t for Yulif at that time, she might have made an extreme decision, unable to withstand the horror.

Obviously, Yulif saved her several times. Aside from showing his obsession with unknown reasons, she received a lot of help from him.

That’s why, Canaren was sick and saddened by Yulif’s words that she should not put her feelings on him. She wouldn’t have suffered all night if it had been possible.

"It’s okay to take out your wings. No one will come."

Yulif, who had disappeared somewhere, returned with a black horse and a white horse. The white horse was smaller and seemed more docile than the black horse.

Canaren answered bluntly.

「I can’t even fly, so what can I do with it?」

"Why do you think you can’t fly?"

「You told you to stay by your side. You must have kept me from flying.」

"The barrier is not that small."

Barrier? She wasn’t expecting that, but she was shocked to hear him say that. Canaren looked at Yulif with a puzzled face.

「Why did you bring me here? Are you trying to tease me?」

"Have you ever ridden a horse?"

Yulif pointed to the white horse. Canaren climbed the horse without saying a word. It had a sleek gesture like a species living in the forest.

Yulif held the reins tightly and waited for Canaren to get adjusted.

Whoosh! As if sitting on its back without warning was uncomfortable, the horse cried out. The appearance of it struggling and trying to lift its front hooves was very unsettling.

Before Yulif could say anything, Canaren stroked the horse’s long neck, then leaned over and placed her forehead on the back of the horse’s head.

「I’m sorry to scare you. Can you give me a ride?」

Then, to his surprise, her words stopped the fidgeting horse; it lowered its feet. Yulif, who was paying close attention to whether the horse might run wild, released the reins.

"It seems that the Hwira tribe can communicate with animals."

「Because we are not egotistical. Hey!」

Canaren, who was looking down at Yulif from the horse, moved easily. Seeing that her posture was not disturbed even at a fairly high speed, it seemed that she did not need to be taught.

Riding on his black horse, Yulif ran with her in his sight, albeit at a distance. He was sure she would hate it if he followed her too closely.

‘I will have to make a decision on this hunt.’

Time was too short.

Yulif looked at Canaren’s radiant blonde hair swaying in the wind and solidified his thoughts.

‘It’s really…… the worst!’

"…Ugh."

The pain, which had been quiet for a while, came over. It was because of the extreme consumption of mana to make the huge barrier that covered the entire field.

Yes, that’s probably why. It was not because of what Canaren said yesterday. As for him being hated by her, he was prepared enough.

After wiping off his cold sweat, Yulif rode towards Canaren, who stopped at the end of his barrier.

*******

It was the day Deltinus would leave for Lake Nice’s hunting grounds.

The atmosphere of the Imperial Palace was quaint from dawn when the sun did not rise. It was a hunt that happened whenever the seasons changed, but this time the scale was different. As the news of Yulif’s participation spread rapidly, a large number of nobles who wanted to establish a close relationship with him joined in.

As the Imperial Guard was in charge of escorting, the participating nobles could only bring their servants along. Nevertheless, the people passing through the gates continued endlessly. The procession of nobles were with colorful family flags, showing their wealth and power.

There was no nobleman who would want to be looked down at in a place where prestigious nobles gathered.

Canaren glanced across at Yulif, who was sitting opposite her, with a haggard face. She hadn’t slept properly for several days, so the veins in her eyes seemed to burst out, and the bottoms of her eyes swelled up.

The reason for the insomnia was the man sitting in front of her, Yulif.

She had no way of understanding him, who seemed to have become a different person. It was similar to not being able to understand natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes.

All she could do was endure the painful time.

‘But will anything change as time goes by?’

A heavy rain would stop at some point. However, the heavy rain that hit her body didn’t seem like it would. She looked at the uncertain hope and had to wait too long to hold on. In the process, she did not know how much she would be broken or how disappointed she would be.

Didn’t even Yulif turn into the emperor?

Wouldn’t it be less painful if she didn’t see him?

Canaren turned her head away desperately. But she soon saw the colorful and intricate wave embroidered outside the window and became fed up.

‘Where did all these people come from? Does hunting require so many people? Or are all these people going hunting?’

The faces of the people were generally bright. There were many people who did not hide their anticipation and excitement. Canaren, who had been treated as their prey, was displeased with their joy. They had no awareness that they were going to ruin the lives of other living beings.

As she watched the procession with a frown, a question arose. The procession that followed Yulif was too simple compared to them. There was only the carriage that they were riding on, two horses to be used on the hunting grounds, and ten servants. It was very different from the others who had loaded all kinds of things on carriages with the impression to build a house on the hunting ground.

"Anything you want to say?"

「……No.」

"It’s dangerous if it stops suddenly, so don’t stick too close to the window."

Yulif replied with his arms folded and his eyes closed.

He didn’t even open his eyes, but how did he know she was looking at him?

Canaren actually had a lot of questions to ask, but she swallowed her questions.

After the day Yulif stopped using Hwira, she didn’t speak to Yulif first. When Yulif asked a question, she would answer briefly, as she just did. She didn’t want to mix more words with him if she could help it.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Yulif, who was not very talkative, did not talk to Canaren except for essential things.

So if Canaren didn’t speak to him first, there wouldn’t be a chance for a conversation to come and go. Even if the two were in the same space, it became increasingly rare to exchange glances. The little hut was enveloped in deathly silence all day long.

Canaren glanced at Yulif. She was fed up with the carriage ride, and she didn’t want to see people who seemed to be enjoying the event.

He looked flawless today wearing a black suit. There was no emotion in the blunt lips that were tightly shut. It was a cold impression; not even a drop of blood would come out even if he was stabbed with a needle.

‘What was that expression? Am I wrong?’

The expression on Yulif’s face, which seemed to shed tears when touched because it was so painful, suddenly came to mind. Even though that expression disappeared in an instant, it was deeply engraved in her mind and never faded.

If things weren’t bad between them, Canaren would have hugged him tightly.

‘Don’t be in pain, what’s bothering you so much?’ She wanted to say that.

She should resent him. She had to hate him, but she didn’t know why her heart was weakening when she kept thinking of the pain expressed on his face.

Then the carriage came to a smooth stop without shaking.

Canaren turned quickly when Yulif opened his eyes. His gaze touched hers lightly before she completely looked away.

"Looks like something happened."

Disliking the awkwardness, she tried to get off as soon as the door opened, but she was a little startled. It was because Yulif, who got out first, was standing with his body blocking the door.

「Are you going to stop me from getting out of the carriage now?」

"I need to find out what’s going on. Wait a minute."

Canaren looked down at him. He didn’t seem to be lying. How lightly lowered his eyelids were, his firm lips were slightly but softly released.

"Long time no see. Looking into your eyes."

「……I feel uncomfortable and I hate it.」

"I know."

「It’s stuffy inside the carriage. Please let me down for a moment.」

"Wait. The footing may be uneven."

Surprisingly, Yulif, who answered meekly, extended his hand. Canaren hesitated, unable to grasp his hand easily.

No matter how harsh his words were, Yulif didn’t push or upset her. Really, he had the attitude that he didn’t care what she did as long as she was by his side. It’s impossible, but even if she swung a sword to kill him, he would probably be beaten

As Canaren hesitated, Yulif took her hand and gently pulled it towards him. Canaren descended from the steps as she clasped his hand in an awkward way. Thanks to the steady Yulif, she was able to come down without much discomfort, even though the steps were rather high.

"You have a very good relationship with everyone except me in the morning."

「……!」

Deltinus appeared with a sarcastic voice. Yulif blocked Canaren, who shrank back, as if to defend her.

Deltinus, wearing a cloak covered with dark red fur, smiled at the Canaren hiding behind Yulif’s back. His light gait stopped, and he shoved his face at Canaren. She gasped, startled, and inhaled sharply.

"You’ve become prettier while I haven’t seen you. Did you like my brother’s arms?"


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