YCKTML Chapter 26
That said, I couldn’t reveal my heart. Instead, I folded my arms and raised my chin slightly, glancing at him.
“If you intend to travel beyond, my carriage is open, Your Highness. Unless you’re planning to walk from this wilderness to the Northern hunting ground…”
“Hmm, Count. I’ll tell you. It’s been a long time since we last saw each other, but you’re so cold. I thought the Count was quite worried about me and felt good…”
I knew he was trying to lighten the serious atmosphere. Still, looking at the blood staining Enoch’s cloak made me nervous again.
That’s why the words didn’t come out well.
“I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling good about my concern. I won’t worry anymore.”
At my dull tone, Enoch stifled his laughter and nodded. “All right. Assassins attacked.”
“Assassins? Who would go against the Crown Prince… Are you sure you’re alright?”
As soon as I heard Enoch’s words, I groped around his shoulders and chest to make sure he was really okay.
Enoch faltered and staggered back, his face red. Only then did I realize what I’d been doing, and so I dropped my hand.
He coughed, then quickly grabbed my hand with a smirk. “If the Count wants it, I’m ready any time.”
It was my turn to turn red as I pulled back my hand.
“From the way you’re joking, I can tell you’re doing fine. Please tell me the situation.”
“Well, it’s as I said. There was an assassination attempt, all the knights guarding me died, but I managed to survive.”
Was it such a fierce scene? I’ve seen Enoch fight before. Not only did he subdue his enemies in one shot with his magic, he even broke the carriage.
“Who would even dare attack the Imperial Crown Prince in this Empire? Do you have an idea who they could be?”
As I stared intently, waiting for his answer, Enoch straightened and smiled faintly.
“It’s difficult to say for sure just yet. I hope the Count understands.”
It took me by surprise when he suddenly drew a line with his polite tone. However, unlike his playful attitude before, Enoch had a determined smile on his face.
I eventually stepped back. “Alright. But please… be careful.”
“It’s really true that I enjoy being on the receiving end of the Count’s concern.”
“Then there’s a lot for you to enjoy.”
At the gentle look on his emerald eyes, I relaxed and looked outside.
“I believe it’s Count’s first hunting competition, is it not?”
“That’s right. It just happened.”
“So it did. I think this hunting tournament will be a little bit more dangerous than before.”
His eyes gleamed dangerously, and as I stared at him, I remembered what he had said before.
“Is it because of what you mentioned before about the monsters in the north?”
“That’s right. Monster sightings aren’t unusual in the Northern regions, but reports have drastically increased than in the previous years. And especially dangerous creatures.”
I knew why there were so many monsters in the North. I was going to tell him now but held myself back. If I told him and he asked how I knew, I wouldn’t be able to give him an answer.
“Of course, the Count…” I felt his eyes fixed in my direction. “You don’t have to worry. You’re going to get hurt at all.”
Just as my heart was about to burst out of my chest at Enoch’s words, I realized that he had been looking at my necklace. So I showed it to him.
“Isn’t it an unusual necklace? I got it as a gift, so I wore it…”
“I see. You’ve received something very valuable.”
“Really? This is valuable?”
He took the pendant hanging on my neck and grazed his lips on it. His sudden movement startled me, but I tried to sit calmly when I realized that he was about to mutter a short spell. His distinct scent tickled my nose.
Glancing down, I saw that the jewel set in the middle of the pendant was shining. Then the light spread softly and wrapped around my body.
“It’s a magic stone with defense magic applied.”
“Oh, I see.”
Come to think of it, the ring that Rupert explained to me looked like this. He also said that there was defensive magic on it.
“But what did you just do?”
“I’ve added some magic and increased the duration. It’ll last about five minutes.”
“How long would it normally last?”
“Hmm, I’m not really sure since I’ve never used it, but I think it’s about a minute.”
It was enough time to block just one attack and barely get out. And that was if one was quick.
Still, five minutes was a five-fold increase.
“Thank you, Your Highness. Thanks to you, I’ve also learned the purpose of this pendant.”
“But I hope the Count will never need to use it.”
“Where would I even use it? I don’t think women go that deep into the forest.”
It was true. Except for the knights, most of the ladies were escorted by knights in the bright sun to hunt in the shallow forest, catching small rabbits at most.
Dangerous monsters appeared mainly at night, and the knights who wanted to show off their prowess would go into the forest and start hunting in earnest.
I looked curiously at the magic stone on the bracelet and necklace. What I was planning was deeply related to this magic stone.
The magic stone was a precious gem whose value was higher than gold and diamonds in this world. If you carved magic into the magic stone and infused magic into it, you could use magic powers permanently.
For that reason, various magic devices were created by engraving different magic on many magic stones. However, the supply was always less than the demand, so it was very expensive. I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about it.
As I chatted with Enoch, the scenery outside changed. The carriage passed the river and went into the mountains.
“As soon as we get there, you’ll have to change your clothes first. People would be surprised if they saw you like this.”
“I see. I think I didn’t think much of it because it’s something I’m used to.”
His answer caught me off guard, and speechless, I lowered my gaze.
“Then…” Enoch smiled softly and lowered his voice as if telling a secret. “It indeed feels pleasant to know that the Count is concerned, but don’t worry. I don’t really get hurt.”
I looked up, wondering what he meant when Enoch held my hand and kissed me over the glove.
“Thank you for giving me a ride on the carriage. I think I should get off now.”
“Already? We can go a little further.”
“If we arrive together, we will be misunderstood. But, of course, I welcome that misunderstanding,” Enoch said, chuckling.
As soon as he finished speaking, he knocked on the carriage body, and it stopped.
I felt a pang of regret when I saw Enoch leaping down, but I swallowed it tightly.
“I’ll see you again, Count.”
The door closed, and after Lia moved back inside the carriage, we continued our journey.
In the end, Enoch didn’t talk about dedicating his hunting points to me. I felt a little sad, but there was nothing I could do about it. After all, I was the one who drew the line between us.
I glanced at him through the window behind me.
I was a little relieved at the sight of the Crown Prince looking at the carriage until it was far away.
As Erin’s carriage disappeared, Viscount Therien and his men came out wearing black robes.
“The ends of their arrows had monster blood on them.”
“I see. Somehow the recovery is slow.”
Enoch hid in the bushes on one side of the road, unbuttoned his top and threw it away.
Crown Prince Enoch inherited the blood of the Archmage. As a result, he healed quickly, and small amounts of poison had no effect on him. However, monster blood weakened his ability to recover, making him similar to the average person.
When he faltered, his escort knights were wiped out by arrows stained with monster blood.
“Sorry, I killed them all again. I didn’t expect you to rush in like that.”
“That’s alright. It’s been a while.”
When Enoch took off his bloody top, he noticed a long scar on the left side of his torso. The blood on his top wasn’t his, but the bloodstains on his body were his.
Viscount Therien, who had taken Enoch’s discarded attire, moved closer to inspect the wound.
“Hang on, Your Highness. The wound is healing.”
“Didn’t you say it was monster blood?”
“I’m sure it was…”
Therien unwittingly tried to touch the wound, and Enoch swatted his hand with a glare.
“Ah, I’m sorry. The recovery is definitely slower than usual, but it’s true that it’s healing. If it hadn’t been for the monster blood, there would have been no scar left. But if it weren’t for your ancestor’s blood, you wouldn’t be this fine.”
“You sound disappointed that I’m fine,” Enoch murmured as he watched Therien dress his wounds.
“I wouldn’t say I’m not. If you participate in the hunting competition, you’ll be my competition. I also want to give my lady a high score,” Therion said bluntly and handed Enoch a new shirt.
Enoch looked blankly at him for a moment as if he heard something absurd.
“By the way, are you going to participate this time? Weren’t you always just looking around?”
Enoch didn’t answer that question, but he nodded as soon as he had all the buttons on his shirt.
“Is there something you need to do?”
With his eyes shining, Enoch answered, “It’s a surprise.”
Want to read more? Head over to Ko-fi to access the next chapters.