PDM Chapter 49
I couldn’t think of a reason why Takan would apologize.
Takan broke the twig that had been stinging the flames and threw it behind him, placing an elbow on his thigh and clasping his chin. After a while, he glanced resolutely at me and said, “I lost it, the handkerchief.”
If it’s a handkerchief, there’s only one thing I could think of that might be related to Takan– the handkerchief I had poorly embroidered my name on that I had given him.
Takan sighed, scratched his eyebrows, then clasped his chin again. I pretended not to notice, but I could feel him looking at me.
“I don’t know why I keep losing it.”
Come to think of it, Tarkan said that the handkerchief I embroidered resembled something he had lost.
“Did I lose it again?” He seemed to ask himself.
Takan scratched the back of his head, hesitating to answer my seemingly difficult question. “I lost the handkerchief that my sister gave me. That, too…”
Takan frowned and swallowed hard. “I’ve been living my life in vain.”
Tarkan let out a deep sigh and waved his hand as if telling me not to ask any more questions.
“Let’s call it a night,” Takan said, reaching for the water bottle beside him to put out the fire. “You have to stock up on stamina for tomorrow, so–”
Suddenly, Takan froze. I felt a subtle tension when he suddenly stopped moving altogether.
His eyes wandered around, vigilant about his surroundings. As he gripped the water bottle, the veins on his hand appeared.
“Keep your head down.”
Takan narrowed his eyes as he stared at one area. A cool breeze swept through the forest, chilling my whole body. I immediately bowed my head.
As Takan threw the bottle of water in the direction he was focused on, the bottle crashed into a tree and shattered.
Maybe a beast appeared in the forest? The thought of it brought a chill down my spine.
I reluctantly grabbed the bow and fumbled through the winds to pick up one of the scattered arrows. Soon, a sharp arrowhead passed through the fire.
Unlike a while ago when he was calm, Takan looked nervous as he stared at something. In my nerves, I could almost feel my rapid heartbeat in my ears.
Yes, I’d been practicing all day. Even if I couldn’t hit it, at least I could threaten it. I closed my eyes tightly before opening them, then I took an arrow to the bow and aimed.
I narrowed my eyes but couldn’t see anything in the dark. I turned in multiple directions to try to find the target, but the flames flickered for a moment and illuminated the darkness.
Surprised at what I saw, I slowly lowered my weapon.
Kyle was in the middle of the forest where the moonlight shone through the leaves. He didn’t look surprised when he saw me; he merely got off his horse.
He looked so unkempt and scruffy that I almost doubted he was the person I knew.
Kyle sighed and rubbed his face. There wasn’t a hint of any fear in the pupils that appeared between his fingers slid towards the arrow aimed at him.
“So this is where you ran away.”
No, I think it would be better to say he was as calm as the sea before the storm, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he exploded immediately.
I could feel Takan take a step back. It was clear that he also felt Kyle’s dangerous energy.
Kyle stared at Tarkan and seemed to suppress his anger. Only the sound of bonfires, tacks, and bonfires filled the silence.
Kyle’s eyes turned toward the bonfire and said, “You must have had the time to run away and hang around in the middle of the woods.”
His sarcastic tone revealed his feelings. He must have found us in the forest because of the bonfire. I couldn’t believe that this fire became the beacon that revealed my location.
“Aelle, come here.”
Kyle clenched his teeth and looked angrier as he looked at Takan and me.
Well, it’s not surprising that he felt betrayed since I ran away with Takan amid the misunderstanding that I was having an affair with him.
“Come here.” Tempering his soaring emotions, Kyle generously extended his hand but looked like a hunter who took a step back to set the trap. “Enough wandering around.”
“You just lost a child and haven’t recovered. Just wait until the forest is sealed off, then I’ll take you wherever you want.”
Ha, I scoffed and smirked. It was absurd that my wishes and desires seemed nothing more than defiance to Kyle.
When I didn’t move, a subtle crack appeared on his face. He lifted his foot, licking his lips slowly with his tongue anxiously, and said, “Aelle.”
“Don’t come near me.” I raised my bow and aimed at him. In an instant, his face hardened.
He seemed surprised that I had pointed the bow at him rather than that I was wielding it.
I could hear Takan breathing heavily. He didn’t think I’d aim a bow at Kyle either.
I looked around the bonfire and saw no signs of the knights. It wouldn’t be strange if he had brought his knights here and surrounded us, but Kyle appeared here alone. I wondered if this was an opportunity.
I thought of asking Rin for help, but it might only put him in danger, so we had to get out of here without anyone’s help. Even the cold-headed man must have been shaken by anger and betrayal.
“Takan, prepare to leave quickly.” When Takan didn’t respond, I turned to him and said, “Takan.”
Then Takan backed away and ran to where he had tied his horse. As the wind blew, the leaves fluttered, creating a dreary and delicate atmosphere.
“The forest is dangerous, Aelle.”
“You’re more dangerous to me.”
When I glanced at the sword in his hand, he let out a short sigh as if he had forgotten that he had it before throwing it away.
“I have no intention of threatening you.”
With a clang, the sword fell at his feet. Then, Kyle raised his hands in surrender. He probably wanted to ease my mind, but it was a mistake. His cooperation only heightened my anxiety.
“I told you, don’t come near me.”
“I know you can’t wield a bow.”
As if rebelling against his remarks, I grabbed the bow’s body and pulled the string to the point that my shoulder felt sore.
“Is that so?”
His eyes widened for a moment. Not only did he think it was a joke, he didn’t seem to think I was going to shoot either.
His guess was correct. I could aim, but I didn’t have the skills, courage, or guts to shoot. My inexperienced archery skills could cause more trouble if I injured him.
But at least he could see my determination. When I didn’t back down, Kyle sighed as he brushed his hair away.
He stepped forward.
Even during the threat, Kyle approached without hesitation, narrowing the distance. Dry leaves crunched at his feet.
My hand pulling on the bowstring had turned cold and white. My fingertips had gone numb, my aim shook, and I couldn’t stand it any longer.
At that moment, I let go of the string, and the arrow flew past Kyle’s cheek and pierced the tree behind him. I gasped and took a step back.
A line appeared on his unscathed cheek, blood pouring down. Droplets of fresh blood slid down his cheeks and under his chin. His eyes widened.
I had no intention of shooting.
The bow shook as if it would fall from my grasp when I dropped my hand weakly. After that, I just stared at him in a daze.
I stared at Kyle as he wiped the blood with the back of his hand and watched the blood spread like paint.
My breath hitched when I realized I could have killed Kyle if I hadn’t missed. My hands trembled at the thought that I could have killed someone.
“I had no…” I squeaked out, my throat tight, and I took a deep breath. “I had no intention of shooting you. Really.”
I didn’t want to, but I thought I had to explain.
But even with my explanation, Kyle stared at my hand as if a little lost in his thoughts.
I’d rather he looked me in the eyes so he could see my sincerity. But, at that moment, the distant sound of a horse galloping broke the silence.
The horse that Kyle had brought stepped back at the noise. The sound of the horse steps grew, and a firm hand grabbed my waist. When I came to my senses, I found myself in Takan’s arms, riding in the saddle of his horse.
Takan took a hard breath and rolled the horse’s reins twice in his hand. He glanced at the arrow stuck in the tree and me and quickly grasped the situation.
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