Nagy, who was in the process of growing up, stuffed the bread in his mouth. Then he immediately stretched out on the luggage and fell asleep.
Jackal placed a thick layer of wolf fur on the ground and said to Asha.
"Rest here for a moment. You must have been very nervous today."
"Ah yes. Thank you……"
Asha lay on her side using her luggage as a pillow.
In order to avoid the pursuit, they had to replenish their energy as much as possible, so they all went to sleep without talking.
However, to protect his people, Jackal did not sleep, but sat at the entrance of the cave, keeping watch in silence.
Perhaps even at this time, the knights could also take turns searching their surroundings.
Even if it was a cave, there was a high chance that they would be discovered if a fire was lit.
It is the hunter’s instinct to react to even a small light or smoke.
They need to endure this level of discomfort in order to escape the chase and escape in the safest way possible.
Although they all shivered from the cold, they did not complain and forced themselves to sleep.
Asha shivered too. She went back and forth between her dreams and reality, but suddenly she felt another blanket cover her body.
She could tell it was Jackal without looking.
As her body warmed up, Asha fell asleep, as if she had just passed out.
Jackal made sure she was asleep and walked back to the cave entrance.
He sat with his back against the wall and placed his arm on one of his knees. Sosa quietly approached him.
"Yes. Please tell me, Captain."
"…..How do you feel when you see our men risking their lives for a woman?"
Jackal asked so seriously, but Sosa answered with a smile.
"I think it’s stupid."
"But I don’t think it’s worthless."
Jackal turned his head and looked at him.
Sosa said very calm.
"Because the value of life depends on what you put into it."
He was saying something similar to Asha.
Jackal immediately looked down and said.
"You were helpful."
"Is that so? That’s a relief."
Sosa smiled kindly at him.
Jackal stared at him and spoke sadly.
"Sosa. I know it’s a little late, but I have something to tell you."
His eyes were so serious that Sosa followed him out of the cave without saying a word.
* * * * *
Asha was alone in the middle of a vivid and unrealistic landscape that was indistinguishable from reality or dreams.
Arrows fell from all sides like rain, and the white snowfield was filled with bright red blood as if it was in the middle of hell.
The shouts of the knights and the screams of the Lycaons constantly pierced her ears.
‘Sister! Quickly go over there……!’
Nagy’s urgent voice came from somewhere.
But the moment she looked at him, Asha’s eyes slowly widened as if time had slowed down.
A long arrow flew right in front of her and pierced Nagy’s face…….
Nagy collapsed to his side with his eyes wide open.
Asha covered her ears with both hands and let out a shrill cry.
Soon after, Sosa and Gabe were also pierced by the knights’ spears and swords, and the bodies of numerous Lycaons were left strewn beneath their feet.
Asha couldn’t move.
Then, suddenly, from afar, a man who was fighting fiercely with the knights caught her attention.
It was Jackal.
He looked back at her and shouted loudly.
‘Run away Asha……!’
But at that moment, a long arrow flew and pierced his chest.
His body swayed and blood dripped from his mouth.
Asha screamed. She came back to reality with her eyes wide open.
As soon as she opened her eyes, she saw the dark cave wall and tears welled up in her eyes.
Asha gasped and exhaled as she looked at the ceiling.
She was still lying on the ground of the cave, surrounded by the other sleeping members.
Fortunately, she didn’t actually scream, and thankfully, she didn’t seem to wake anyone up.
However, the sleeping members scattered here and there reminded her of the nightmarish snowfield.
Asha shook her head quickly, trying to forget the scene, but the ominousness of the dream engulfed her so vividly.
In fact, in her previous life, Lycaon met a miserable end after being caught by the Cactus Knights.
She believed that perhaps the time had come earlier.
It’s because I joined the Lycaons……
In the past, if it was a minority village, this time it might be Lycaon’s turn to be annihilated.
The shadow of death always haunted her.
Asha wrapped her arms around her trembling body.
Despite this cold, her body was full of cold sweat.
But suddenly, Jackal who was sleeping next to her, caught her attention.
He covered her with all the extra blankets, and he fell asleep with only a thin cloth.
He looked pitiful, curled up on his side.
Asha’s eyebrows furrowed sadly. She reached out to him.
But then, someone’s voice came from the cave entrance.
"…… Are you awake?"
Asha shook her head, but she realized the identity of the voice and answered confidently.
Asha immediately got up and walked over to Sosa.
His silver hair gleamed softly in the moonlight.
"The captain told me that he would go in and rest for a while. He’s such a light sleeper that he usually wakes up even when he hears someone whispering. He must have been very tired."
Asha looked at Jackal again.
A deep fatigue lay on his hardened face.
He must have had a hard time trying to find a way to escape relentlessly while leading his subordinates, but he didn’t show any tiredness so as not to demoralize his people.
It was heartbreaking seeing him sleeping from exhaustion.
"Sosa, you should go in and rest. I will protect this place."
"What? No. It hasn’t been that long since you woke up, so don’t worry about me. Go in and rest."
"It’s because I’m sorry."
Asha’s expression seemed genuinely apologetic. Sosa kept his mouth shut.
He immediately sighed and said.
"…….I see. Instead, you’re going to change shifts with me in 20 minutes, okay? If anything happens, wake me up immediately."
"Yes, I will."
Sosa before entering the cave, looked back and said.
"Don’t worry. No matter what happens, the captain will always protect you. Asha is very precious to the captain."
He gave her a kindly smile and went inside.
Left alone, Asha looked up at the starry night sky and was lost in thought.
She didn’t really show her emotions in front of Sosa, but she still trembled because the nightmare kept replaying in her mind.
As soon as she saw Jackal’s sleeping face, she thought of his face bleeding from his mouth. She closed her eyes tightly.
The scenery she saw in her nightmare was not so different from the forest they are in now. She felt unbearably anxious.
「"Do you know why we don’t hire female hunters? It’s because one woman can cause the organization to collapse in one shot."」
Suddenly, she recalled what Gabe had said before.
She wondered if what he said could really become a foregone conclusion.
They will not be able to escape from this forest and will be captured and killed by the knights……
Asha looked up at the moon and decided to do something.
If her fate was to be locked up in the Imperial Palace and unable to escape from the Emperor, then there is no need for everyone to lose their lives in vain because of her.
It was the same as not being able to save the villagers in her previous life.
And she couldn’t let it happen again.
While Asha was lost in thoughts, Sosa covered himself with a blanket and closed his eyes.
A moment ago, Jackal revealed to him that she was a ‘butterfly’.
He also found out that she died while fleeing from the Emperor, taking her back in time before meeting him.
Sosa didn’t say anything for a while before the unbelievable story.
But in his head, the questions he had been wondering came together as quickly as pieces of a puzzle.
The reason Asha suddenly appeared and approached them, then Jackal’s sudden change of heart in deciding to accept her, and the natural talent she had for archery.
Lastly, the reason why the knights are desperately chasing after them to kill them…….
Sosa only said this to him.
‘Asha is a Lycaon.’
Jackal smiled and put his hand on his shoulder.
They will be with Asha until the end. They will protect her from the tyrant.
She is now their precious comrade.
Above all, Sosa was certain. If she succeeds in escaping this time and settles in a safe home, Jackal will really welcome her as his wife.
Sosa knew better than anyone what the dagger he gave Asha was.
The dagger was nothing less than the treasure of the Kelpie clan.
Although Jackal hated the dagger and kept it without ever using it, he would not have given such a significant dagger to anyone without thinking.
Therefore, he was going to do his best for the captain’s ‘future wife’.
And he had no doubts that that would be the will of the entire organization.
Asha waited until she could hear Sosa’s steady breathing, and then quietly rose from the ground.
And before she left, she calmly looked around once more.
The familiar faces are engraved on her heart, and it broke her heart.
Asha struggled to avert her gaze. She looked at Jackal one last time.
She whispered in a soft, low voice that sounded like the wind.
"I’m sorry… And thank you for all this time……."
Asha quietly walked out of the cave and mounted a brown horse.
She then began to run quickly back the way she had come.
The strong wind scratched her face and ruffled her hair wildly, but Asha didn’t blink once and headed to the valley where the knights camped.
* * * * *
At that moment, some knights who were on guard saw a woman riding a horse from afar and shouted.
Soon the bells rang loudly, and nearby torches began to light up one by one.
Asha got off the horse and walked slowly towards them.
The sentries simultaneously raised their spears from all directions and shouted fiercely.
"Who are you?"
"Please call Knight Commander Duran."
Her calm words caused them to step back for a moment and loosen their grip on their spears.
It was strange to them that a woman appeared alone at night, but her terrified calm demeanor made them realize that she was no ordinary woman.
But it was then.
"……What’s the commotion?"