Episode 173

Yoru (2)
6 days ago
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“Why won’t they charge?”

Below the ridge, a woman clad in striking attire mumbled fiercely against the backdrop of the white snowfield.

‘Wasn’t this supposed to be an encirclement to capture me?’

She found it odd that the gaze from above the ridge had vanished. Yet, despite the immediate threat being gone, her senses, honed to their limits, refused to relax.

It wasn’t because of those who were continuously following her.

Nor was it because she had inevitably had to part ways with Natalia.

It was due to her aggressive and impulsive nature,

Her pride, scorned for hundreds, even thousands of years for not being able to shed the blood of barbarians continuously urged her to fight.

Click-

Of course, Yoru wasn’t foolish enough to draw and sheathe her sword without realizing that fighting wasn’t the right option. Had she been pursued alone, she would have gladly faced her pursuers, but the thought of Natalia, her companion since childhood, heavily weighed on her mind.

Natalia, not being of the Silleya lineage, would find it difficult to defend herself in a battle against knights. Yoru was acutely aware of this fact, which allowed her to act in a more rational manner.

Leading her pursuers into a remote wilderness was the result of her rational thinking.

With her abilities, she could have easily left no trace in the snow and evaded the chase by completely hiding her tracks, but Yoru deliberately left deep footprints in the snow for the pursuit squad to follow.

Until she verified that there was no further path to take.

“……A cliff?”

She momentarily considered leaping to the other side with a powerful kick, but the distance was too vast. The darkness below the cliff, uncertain whether it would allow her to land safely, sent a chill down Yoru’s spine.

‘I want to go to the bathroom… but it seems I can’t.’

With a look of disillusionment, Yoru turned towards the approaching group. Two, four, six, ten… Fourteen knights had come close and surrounded Yoru.

It wasn’t an easy number to deal with, but Yoru felt relieved. Not a single one of them had gone after Natalia; they had all come after Yoru.

“That’s a relief.”

“What’s a relief?”

The man who led the thirteen knights, Eugen, asked irritably.

“You’re surrounded. Moreover, there’s an endless cliff behind you, and you’ve been pursued for a week, physically and mentally exhausted. And yet, you still exhibit such baseless confidence.”

“I can see perfectly fine. You don’t need to state the obvious.”

Yoru sighed and joked.

“But to call it baseless confidence, isn’t that an exaggeration?”

“…”

“You’re all scared stiff of me.”

“…Stop talking nonsense.”

“Nonsense my ass, you’re all scared of me. The fact that you’re measuring the distance instead of charging at me is proof of that.”

Even though they had surrounded her and drawn their swords, encircling her with their energy, none of them dared to attack first. Seeing their fearful, puppy-like demeanor, Yoru scoffed.

And then.

“Waaah!!”

With a loud shout, the knights instinctively flinched. Some even stepped back, bringing joy to Yoru.

“Just because I yelled with some energy, wow, aren’t you knights ashamed?”

“Shut up. You barbarian. Shame is a feeling reserved for dealing with fellow humans.”

“…Again with the bullshit, you son of a bitch.”

Yoru twisted her smiling face into a scowl and cursed.

Barbarian. They never referred to the people of Silleya by their proper names. Barbarians, natives, and even refusing to acknowledge them as humans, calling them mountain monkeys – the elves and dwarves had never been subjected to such terms; it seemed too harsh among fellow humans.

Yoru drew her sword from its sheath. The action was so swift that no one could follow it with their eyes.

“Today, I’ll make sure to set a feast for you. If 14 of you die at once, the payment will be substantial.”

“Everyone, form up!”

At Eugen’s command, the knights raised their swords. The raw but fierce energy surged along the blade, and mana from their cores flowed through their sturdy bodies. Along with a warm sensation, red dots started appearing on their chests.

“Form up my ass, you’re too slow.”

“…”

“Had you attacked me by now, you could have at least landed a stab.”

Thud- Clatter-

From left to right, ten knights fell to the ground. Yoru shook off the blood from her sword’s tip and whistled.

Eugen and three others managed to parry the attack with their swords. Yoru opened her mouth towards her opponents, filled with pure admiration.

“Still, there are four useful ones among you.”

“…”

“Kid. Seeing you silent, are you finally admitting you’re scared?”

“…Monster.”

“Thanks for the compliment. Being promoted from a barbarian to a monster feels quite good.”

Yoru sighed inwardly while smiling confidently. She hadn’t expected ten to fall to her secret technique, Raegyeok (Lightning Strike). But it was too early to feel relieved. There were still four knights standing in front of her, swords in hand.

‘Same trick won’t work twice.’

Yoru pondered how to kill the remaining four. Eugen and the others were exchanging signals with their eyes.

“Don’t roll your eyes. Running away is pointless.”

“…An imperial knight never runs.”

“Kid, don’t put on airs. You’re no match for me!”
Yoru charged at the knights, emitting a fierce energy. If speed wouldn’t do, she had to break through with force. That’s what she thought as she raised her sword high, but the knights pointed their sword tips to the ground.

‘What?’

The moment she felt puzzled, Yoru felt the ground beneath her give way.

Crunch-

Even though she tried to jump off by stepping on a rock piece, the ground was so shattered that she couldn’t stand on it.

‘Was pushing me off the cliff their plan from the start?’

‘Just one more step and I could have killed them all.’

‘Goodbye, father, mother, elders. And Natalia. Live well for me.’

Still, on her way down, she killed ten of the empire’s men. Regretting not having killed more imperial knights, Yoru fell off the cliff.

“…”

Then, she felt curious.

Surely she was falling down the cliff, but she only felt buoyancy, not the sensation of falling. However, that lasted only a moment. The sensation of floating gently lasted only about ten seconds before her body accelerated downwards towards the ground.

‘I’ll die at this rate.’ Yoru concentrated energy into her legs, wrapping them with force and inner strength to absorb as much impact as possible. Crunch- The pain of her leg bones shattering made Yoru unable to scream.


“Insane, is this really a human?”

Shiron frowned, looking down at the woman who had fallen from the sky and shattered both her legs as if she were a monster. It was too harsh for a woman who fell off a cliff and broke her legs, but since it was Shiron who had caused the woman’s legs to be crushed, he felt no sympathy.

The buoyancy magic that let her come down from the cliff intact. Had he not removed it at the right timing, she would have come down perfectly alive or dead – only those two outcomes were possible.

‘Good thing her legs are completely smashed,’ Shiron smiled contentedly.

“I would’ve come down unscathed if it were a bit late.”

“She’s definitely strong enough to keep exclaiming in admiration. If she came down intact, both of us would’ve been in big trouble.”

Demodras also exclaimed in admiration at the woman sprawled on the ground. Despite bleeding from the nose and groaning, except for her broken legs, that was all there was to it.

“…What the hell are you guys, shit.”

“Ho. She hasn’t lost consciousness.”

“What’s with ‘ho,’ you son of a bitch… I’ll kill… you.”

“To have such fighting spirit even with both legs crippled, what a remarkable disposition, tsk.”

“Eeeek!”

Yoru clenched her teeth, trying to locate the two muttering entities, but her eyes were so filled with tears of blood she couldn’t open them properly.

It was a miracle she was alive, so pretending to be dead would have been the appropriate course of action, but Yoru was not such a rational person.

From the beginning, Yoru was known among her tribe as a warrior prone to aggression. Had she not been educated to lead her people, she might have ended up as a wild savage, rampaging aimlessly.

“If you’re going to kill me, hurry up! It’s a disgrace to a warrior!”

Still excited from the battle, Yoru vomited blood and shouted into the air. Shiron was fed up with the adult woman’s temper tantrum.

“What disgrace of a warrior, what the hell are you talking about, damn. Isn’t it a disgrace to be rolling on the ground?”

“Kill me, damn it!”

“Joojoo, kill me, joojoolalala.”

Shiron chuckled, thoroughly teasing Yoru. Demodras and Latera felt an indescribable emotion watching Shiron.

‘…Why is he doing that?’

She had been assured that she wouldn’t be left to die, so she expected at least a heroic standoff with the intruder, swords drawn. However, the method employed by that man was despicably cunning and underhanded.

Yet, for Shiron, it was a matter of no concern. The method might have been a bit cowardly, but hadn’t he managed to subdue the opponent intact?

Yoru… felt a tremendous humiliation, her face flushing red.

“You, I remember your voice! If only my legs were fine, I’d have pickled you in salt!”

“What? Weren’t you going to bite your tongue and die?”

“Keeeek!”

“Enough, my dear. What if you really get angry and die from it?”

[That’s right, hero. You said there was a need to save this woman!]

“Cough. I got a scar on my chest because of her, and that’s infuriating.”

Chastised by those around him, Shiron coughed and scratched the back of his head. Indeed, Yoru shouldn’t die here. The continent would suffer from a chronic manpower shortage in the future, and losing someone with such strength would be a significant loss to humanity.

Therefore, Shiron didn’t wish for Yoru to die from hypothermia or sepsis on the cold ground.

Approaching the fallen Yoru, Shiron carefully examined her broken legs. Fortunately, there were no external wounds where bones protruded. After manipulating the legs for a while, Shiron emitted just enough divine power to prevent the bones from healing incorrectly.

Whoooosh-

‘I asked him to kill me, and he ended up saving me.’

Yoru felt her crushed bones finding their way back. Amid these sensations, a thought briefly surfaced…

‘Is he actually a kind person, just weird in demeanor?’

However, any budding goodwill was shattered instantly, as if a cold breeze blew right through her nether regions. Startled, Yoru’s face turned red from the tickling sensation.

“What are you doing now!”

Could it be an assault? Yoru, who grew up hearing about the fates of those captured by enemies, feared the worst. Contrary to her fears, what Shiron did was merely inscribing letters on her thigh.

[Live a good life from now on. From Kyrie.]

Letter by letter, carefully inscribed. Shiron stood up, wrapping the charcoal piece in cloth. Then, turning his back on Yoru, he walked away amid shouts and the sound of footsteps, leaving through the gorge.

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