The Male Lead Knelt Before Me
The liquid flowed down in a straight line. Edmund did not realize the liquid was black until he scanned his face.
The liquid was horrifyingly black blood.
There is only one thing in the world with such blood. The demonic beast.
He heard a sharp cry and the sound of flesh being pierced and bones being crushed as soon as he realized what it was.
“Come to your senses, Lord Vessel, get off your horse, and grab your sword.”
Edmund, who had finally come to his senses, dismounted and placed his hand on his waist.
As soon as he took the sword from the scabbard, something the size of his forearm attacked him.
The demonic beast’s bright red eyes stared at him from beyond the blade of the sword.
The beast’s small but sharp tooth bit the blade of the sword as if it were about to break it.
In an embarrassing moment, Edmund wrapped his auror around his sword and hit the ground as if plunging it. The head of the demon who was biting the sword’s blade was crushed.
Beginning with the one, several of them charged at him as if they were entangled.
There was black blood all over the place.
He slashed and slashed again, moving his hands frantically.
After killing a few more, silence came.
“Is it all over?”
“For the time being, I believe so. Have you been injured or bitten?”
“Not at all, Commander.”
His tension was relieved after he spoke.
Edmund let out a rough breath and shook his sword.
The blood on the sword’s blade fell to the ground, leaving a stain.
As he breathed in, he detected a terrible foul smell, similar to that of a rotting corpse, which he had not smelled in a long time.
Edmund frowned as he identified the demonic beast’s body from the terrible smell in his nose.
Protruding fangs, bright red eyes, yellowish gray, and round black patterns.
“Are these the Leppards?”
Caleb answered, withdrawing his sword.
Only then did Edmund realize why Caleb had asked if he had been bitten.
Leppard was a venomous beast with fangs that paralyzed its prey.
It was to bring its prey in a fresh state to its habitat and eat it.
“How did the Leppards end up on an imperial hunting ground?”
Edmund had no intention of asking for an answer. Because Caleb has no way of knowing that.
“Wasn’t Leppard only supposed to attack animals smaller than himself? Besides, I know they usually hunt alone, but to attack in such a large group……”
Edmund was taken aback by the Leppard’s actions, which defied logic.
“It’s exactly as you said, Lord. Except in one instance.”
“Are you saying there’s an exception?”
“Yes. This is how they react when another queen invades their territory.”
When a queen other than their ‘queen’ appeared, Leppard, who has territorial integrity, became ferocious.
To the point where they try to attack and kill indiscriminately, as they do now.
“And there’s no queen here.”
The queen was not only ten times the size of an average Leppard, but also had reddish-grey fur.
Among the sprawling corpses, there was nothing that resembled the Leppard’s queen.
“Then are you going to find queen and take care of it, Commander?”
If the goal was to subdue the demonic beast, finding and killing the queen, as Edmund suggested, would have been a top priority.
If the queen vanishes, Leppards reverts to his old ways. They could then get rid of the remnants.
He couldn’t, however, afford to subdue them right now.
It was preferable to protect the people in the temporary camp than to find the queen, whose position was unknown.
Because a swarm of Leppards, led by their queen, may attack the temporary camp.
Caleb attempted to erase his fleeting thoughts. Instead, he turned the horse’s reins.
“What we need to do now is return and evacuate people in preparation for the attack. Let’s hurry back.”
I entered the barracks where the Archduchess was resting.
I could soon see the Archduchess greeting me with a big smile.
“How have you been?”
“It’s always the same for me.”
The Archduchess offered me a seat, telling me to sit down quickly.
As soon as I sat down, the maids immediately pulled out.
With my left hand, I lifted the cup.
It was partly because I had hurt my right hand, but I was also afraid the Archduchess would be worried if she saw it.
For similar reasons, I bypassed the therapist and went straight to see the Archduchess.
Because she’ll know I’m upset if I tell the Archduchess’ servant I’m going to see a therapist first.
I drank my tea slowly, keeping my right hand from falling under the table.
“Did you get along well with your fiancée? I heard he participates in a hunting competition.”
“Yes. Come to think of it, father must have gone hunting too.”
“That’s right. How come they take part in the hunting competition……”
The Archduchess sighed deeply and lightly shook her head.
“I’m telling you, both of them, Elrod and your father are just hale old men.”
“Still, it’s good to be hale and hearty.”
“Of course, I’m still worried. He’ll have a hard time if he gets sick at this age.”
“Father will return safely. Don’t be too concerned.”
“Is that so?”
“I couldn’t help but feel relieved if you said so.”
The Archduchess’ face relaxed a little when I said it while smiling. But only for a short time.
She opened her mouth with a darkened face as if she’d never smiled before.
“I can’t believe we don’t have much more time to spend together like this……”
Regret and lingering feelings were evident in her tone.
Guilt weighed heavily on my shoulders. Because I’ve been hoping for the Archduke and Archduchess to quickly return the principality.
I needed to respond, but my mouth wouldn’t move. All I had to do was take the wholly innocent cup.
“So, you know what? I have an idea for you. ”
“Do you have any thoughts of going back to the principality with us?”
“Going to the principality?”
“Yes. Of course, I’m not suggesting that we return and live together for the rest of our lives. Since there are many people here who are precious to you, including your fiancée.”
The Archduchess quickly added.
“But it’s unfortunate that we’re separated like this, and I thought it would be nice for you to see your brother again…… Even a few months is fine. Can you stay with us a little longer?”
I couldn’t open my mouth easily this time.
I had no intention of going with the Archduke and his wife. That resolution is still in place.
The only option was rejection, but seeing the Archduchess’s desperate expression, I couldn’t bear saying no.
Still, I should say I’m sorry and refused it.
“Oh my goodness!”
Suddenly, the Archduchess’s terrifying voice could be heard.
What’s the matter with her?
I knew why as soon as I wondered.
The Archduchess’ gaze was fixed on my right hand. To be precise, on my thumb, which wraps around the handkerchief.
When exactly did I place my hand on the table?
I rushed to cover the wound with my left hand, but I’d already been caught.
The Archduchess inquired as to how I had been injured, and I briefly explained how I had injured my hand.
“Why didn’t you meet the therapist first? I could have waited a little longer.”
“I didn’t want to worry you for nothing.”
Because it was clear that the same reaction just now would happen.
“What were you going to do if the wound became infected? That worries me more.”
“No. You should get treatment right away. No, shall we go together?”
“What? You don’t have to……”
It was then.
My ears were pierced by a shrill sound. It didn’t belong to a human. It was the sound of a beast roaring.
Soon after, a tearful scream was heard. This time it was a man’s scream.
The sound became entangled quickly.
It was such a terrifying sound that I knew something unusual had occurred outside.
“What’s going on……”
The knights rushed into the barracks as soon as I stood up.
“I think we should escape here!”
“Escape? What happened?”
“The demonic beasts have appeared!”
What is a demonic beast?
Didn’t they have nowhere to live in the capital? Furthermore, don’t the knights frequently subjugate them so they don’t show up?
The Archduchess asked calmly, as opposed to me, who was embarrassed.
“Are there any knights who can use Auror? I don’t think all of them followed my husband.”
“As I previously stated, some of them have remained and are currently battling the beasts alongside the Knights of the Empire, but the number of demonic beasts is far too high. I believe it is best if you leave here, Your Highness.”
Meanwhile, terrible noises continued outside.
“First and foremost, it would be preferable to take a carriage back to the imperial castle.”
“Are others escaping as well?
“Yes, we are evacuating as much as possible, so don’t be concerned and get moving. We’ll take care of it.”
“I see. Let’s get started. Elena, let’s get out of here together.”
I made the decision to follow the Archduchess.
I was concerned about Caleb and the other members, but I couldn’t even go looking for them.
“Please come this way.”
It was time to hurry up and take a step, guided by the knights.
The sky darkened before brightening.
It didn’t take long to realize that the source of the problem was the shadow of the “things” that had attacked us.
“T-the beasts! The beasts have arrived!!! Draw your swords, everyone!”
It happened in the blink of an eye, with no time for the knight to react.
When the beast yanked out its teeth, a fountain of red blood gushed from the knight’s neck. Blood splattered on the barracks and the ground.
My steps came to a halt involuntarily as a result of what was happening in front of my eyes.
It was the first time I had witnessed someone’s “death” since I had awakened in this world.
“Everyone! Confront them while protecting Her Highness and the lady!”
Despite the fact that the order of their comrades had changed, the knights held their swords calmly and surrounded the Archduchess and me.
A blue auror fluttered over the blade of the knights’ sword.
Despite seeing auror, the demonic beast was unfazed and bared its teeth at us, its eyes bright red.
Following that, similar beasts of smaller size and with different fur rushed in.
It was a clear difference in size to the extent that I could feel that the red-grey beast was the leader. The beasts’ leader moved its eyes as if looking for something.
And when I felt that the leader beast gaze had stopped at me.
“All right, let’s go.”
The Archduchess wrapped her arm around my shoulder and calmly hurried my steps.
Despite her calm demeanor, the Archduchess’s hand, which was wrapped around my shoulder, was trembling uncontrollably.
My reasoning returned a little after I realized the truth.
‘Now is not the time for that! I need to gather myself!’
I moved quickly.
Because it would be more beneficial to the knights who are currently protecting us.
Behind me, I could hear flesh piercing and bone crushing.
“Stop them all! Don’t let the beasts get too close to Her Highness!”
I didn’t look back on purpose. Because I knew I’d be enraptured by the terrible sight.
But what I overlooked was that my efforts to avoid it and the movement of beasts were different scales.
Something hit my back as I thought the sky was getting dark.
My vision was completely reversed in an instant.
I didn’t question why the ground was directly in front of me. Because I could feel the pressure as if it were about to burst my internal organs, as well as the harsh breathing coming from above my head.
It was when my hair stiffened and the fear intuition hit my body, causing my entire muscles to stiffen.
Something sharp pierced the nape of my neck.
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