PDM Chapter 48
“Thank you, Louis.”
Hari took Kyle’s hand on her waist and moved it to her face. Kyle couldn’t shake her off, so he just gently removed his hand from her pale skin.
Kyle felt like he’d go insane every time Hari did this. Revealing Louis’s death has always brought the same result– she would cry and beg for Louis’s life and collapse from emotional exhaustion in the end.
He had gone through it while protecting her in the mansion last time. Every time he tried to leave her, trembling with anxiety, it was as if Louis’s soul held him back.
“What’s wrong, Louis?” Hari asked, staring at him.
She rubbed her skin with her cold hands and smiled as if she was dying. It was a sad and delicate smile that reminded Kyle of glass that could break any moment.
Hari’s suspicious condition made Kyle wonder if there really was a forest where one could forget the memories they wanted to forget. Although Hari sometimes forgot his name, she remembered Louis amidst the confusion and oblivion.
Kyle ruffled his hair and sighed. Aelle should be stopped from going to the forest. Even at this moment, Aelle filled his thoughts.
A sudden noise downstairs pulled Kyle out of his thoughts. He made his way down, and the employees bowed to greet him. All of them were Hari’s exclusive caretakers and attendants.
Kyle shifted his expression to his usual cool and cold gaze. As he withdrew his hand, Hari’s eyes followed it regretfully.
“How is the treatment progressing?”
“The delusions and hallucinations seem to have subsided, and her memory is slowly recovering.”
Kyle sighed in relief. Hari took his hand again and locked it in her arms, but he responded by shaking it off.
“But there’s something strange about it.” One of the elderly members of the group slowly raised their head. “Every time she returns to sanity, she mentions a specific name.”
“Name?” Kyle frowned.
The employee looked into his eyes and nodded. “Yes. In case Your Grace knows about it–”
“Your Grace!” A knight rushed in before the employee could continue their report.
The knight kept his eyes on his feet, worried for a moment for entering the Harden mansion without permission, then raised his gaze.
Flustered by the appearance of a stranger, Hari hid behind Kyle. Kyle stayed in his place, protecting Hari, and eyed the knight.
“What’s going on?”
“I got a report from a merchant that he saw a man and a woman on horseback going into the forest by Walton Square.”
The forest by Walton Square. If they’re there, it means they haven’t gone far. Perhaps they had a temporary shelter there.
When Kyle, who was rubbing his chin, suddenly raised his gaze, the knight took a step back.
Kyle tried to move but stopped when a hand weakly held onto his robe.
Hari poked her face out from behind him, and Kyle’s guilt resurfaced when he saw her anxious expression.
After a while, he sighed. “I have to go somewhere.”
Kyle hesitated for a moment, then pulled Hari’s hand away. When he did, Hari immediately grabbed his robe once more.
“W-where are you going? When are you coming back?”
Her pitiful voice overwhelmed him, and Kyle looked down at her hand, at a loss for words. Hari looked like she was about to burst into tears.
“The war is over, Louis! Don’t… Don’t leave me alone anymore, okay?”
Hari shook her head violently as she wiped away her tears. She was unconsciously aware of it.
The fact that Louis would never come back.
So whenever Kyle leaves, she must hold on to him so desperately, call him desperately, and wait tirelessly.
Kyle swallowed the words he wanted to say. I’m not Louis. He’s no longer in this world.
He painfully kept it to himself because he couldn’t let Hari suffer again.
“I’ll be back.”
He held the hand that gripped his robe and gently pried it away. The pitiful sight of her shaking hand was heartbreaking, and so Kyle looked away.
“Then… Then you have to come back quickly because I’ll be waiting. Okay?”
He wanted to answer her, but he couldn’t.
Turning around, Kyle anticipated that the road with the knight would be long and arduous. The past, the memory of him and Louis crossing the rugged mountain round, seeped in like water, and Kyle stopped and closed his eyes.
After a while, the sound of Hari and the maid entering the bedroom echoed. Ha. Kyle inhaled and exhaled.
He walked past the knight with a clearer mind and hurried his steps. The knight quickly followed.
“How many people?”
“He’s agile since he’s a mercenary, so we’ll keep it to a minimum.”
“Go with me.”
The knight paused in his steps in surprise, then hurried to catch up, afraid he’d miss his chance. After all, it was rare for Kyle to lead the knights directly after returning.
He glanced at his master’s face. Kyle was a confident man who didn’t falter even with a blade pushed to his chin.
There were times when the knight’s body froze when he met the cold, fierce eyes devoid of warmth, and he jokingly wondered if there was any muscle in that handsome face.
He thought Kyle was a man who didn’t feel anxious and nervous, but he was just like him after all. He didn’t expect his master to be so frazzled after losing his wife.
The knight shook off his idle thoughts and recalled the matter to be reported. The knights who had gone to the forest returned and said something strange. Apparently, they heard a scream in the inhabitable forest infested with monsters.
“Sir, I think this is a false report, but one thing…”
The knight swallowed hard and stopped. He realized that Kyle was too far away to hear him.
As Kyle reached the carriage, the coachman rushed and opened the door. Instead of riding the carriage, Kyle pulled out the sword attached to the knight’s waist and cut off the leather connecting the carriage and the horse.
He mounted the horse and grabbed the reins. “See you in the forest.”
Kyle gave a sidelong glance at the bewildered knight before heading to the forest.
The lone knight followed him and shook his head. The knights had to rally to the duke in haste.
Beneath the oak tree far away from the shop, I heard the sound of crackles and sparks. I approached Takan, sitting in front of the campfire, and handed him a blanket.
“Why are you giving it to me?”
Considering that he looked away indifferently, he had no intention of taking it. So I sat opposite him, put the blanket on my lap, and watched the bonfire.
As he lit the bonfire with a fallen twig, he asked, “Why are you sitting on the cold ground?”
His forehead furrowed in an instant, seemingly displeased that I sat on the dry ground with a blanket.
Takan tapped the bow on the ground with the knuckle of his hand. “I’m going to ask Rin to fix it tomorrow. It’s made of the toughest bamboo I’ve ever seen, so don’t worry about it breaking.”
“It’s a shame. I wanted to practice more.”
“The real deal is better, so don’t be too disappointed.”
The real deal? Sensing a curious gaze, Takan grinned. “Please don’t do anything and stay behind me. Do you want me to say that?”
“Who said I wanted that?”
Takan’s teasing somehow made me feel vexed. I grabbed the bow and kept it in my arms to divert my rising temper.
I opened my eyes to glare at Takan, but it stung from the hot flames, and I quickly closed them again. As I rubbed my eyelids, I heard a chuckle.
“You look like you’re throwing a tantrum.”
Well, he wasn’t wrong. I coughed, put down my hand, and stared at the bonfire. The flaming embers roared as if they were about to ascend to heaven.
As I absentmindedly watched the bonfire, I felt better because the memories that remained with me seemed to burn.
Suddenly looking down, I picked up a small branch that had fallen on the damp sand. When I shook it slightly, the leaves still attached fluttered.
One leaf fell and landed on the sand. Takan’s eyes followed closely.
“What are you doing?”
“I used to do this with my big brother a lot.”
That’s what I remember. I took a leaf off of the branch and placed it neatly next to the first leaf. I took the leaves one by one, leaving a bare branch.
When I placed the branch neatly under the leaves, the flickering light created an illusion that the leaves were still attached.
I looked up at Takan’s sudden apology. I didn’t understand.
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