If you were to ask me, when was the most embarrassing moment of my life, it would probably be today.
Where I was being examined by a doctor and given medication in front of the crown prince and his closest knights.
I swallowed the pills in front of them too.
Arnic looked as white as a sheet, while Vaslow sighed deeply, and Shane looked as serious as if he were looking at an important document.
The only saving grace was that Doctor Lambert took it all in a stride.
I don’t think he’d ever examined a slave like this before in his life, but then again, the crown prince’s physician isn’t for everyone.
“Well, then, I’ll leave you to it.”
The Doctor bowed graciously.
I had deliberately let my spirits fly halfway out of embarrassment and strangeness.
Even if I weren’t a slave, I’d be ashamed and embarrassed to be examined in front of so many people.
“We’ll step aside as well.”
Vaslow, who was looking at me with a meaningful gaze, also bowed.
Arnic looked like he wanted to say something, but the word ‘We’ forced him to bow as well.
Now that I’m sure he’s okay, I should probably go with them.
It’s hard to get the timing right though, because I’ve been held by Shane’s gaze the entire time.
The door to the barracks closed.
Now that we were alone again in this closed space, surviving the demon seemed like a distant past.
Only his presence loomed large inside this room.
Every nerve in my body seemed to be alert to him.
For example, I realized that the sound of his breathing seemed deeper now.
“Rest here today.”
Maybe I really do have a fever. I think I heard something strange, but how? I was startled so I blurted out words reflexively in response to him.
“I’m still preparing a place for you to stay, are you uncomfortable?”
A place to stay?
Last time I checked, the herb warehouse wasn’t damaged.
It was still intact.
I could go there right now and rest.
“Wh—What do you mean uncomfortable? No, it’s not like that…”
Isn’t this the largest barrack inside Einfork?
How could it be uncomfortable?
Oh, well, it could be uncomfortable in a different way.
“Then come here.”
I could feel my ears burning hot.
Shane was pointing to his bed.
I suddenly missed Vaslow, who had obediently left.
Perhaps Vaslow would be able to stop his master.
He motioned for me to come over, then walked over himself and held his large palm out in front of me.
I searched my mind for any plausible reason behind his outstretched hand.
‘What is it?’
As I stared at his hand in a confused way, he grabbed my wrist, and with a gentle tug, he lifted my arm.
Like a doll on a string, his strength lifted me up to my feet.
I followed his lead and retraced his steps.
The next thing I knew, I was already sitting on a fluffy bed.
After being swept away by an actual demon, something in my mind seemed to have gone out.
I saw his lips moving for a moment, heard his low voice, and the meaning of his words were only later interpreted by my brain.
So here I am, sitting on the bed where the Crown Prince of the Empire sleeps, and he is asking me to rest on it.
“What? No, His Highness needs to rest too!”
I doubt he’d gotten a wink of sleep all night.
Just looking at the knights’ faces, the shadows under their eyes, it seems like he’s the one who should be resting right here.
‘What did I just hear?’
“When we’re alone together…”
His golden eyes seemed to deepen for a moment.
‘Call me by my name.’
The background of fluttering white petals flashed before my eyes, and the words he hadn’t finished played inside my head.
My breath caught up inside my throat as I remembered the look on his face when he heard his name.
“Shane, sir. You should be resting too….”
Shane’s body jerked open at the sound of the word, and I felt the bed vibrate.
He was still sitting next to me.
I could almost hear my heart beating, and pounding, loudly inside my chest.
His arm went up, and I closed my eyes without realizing it.
‘Ah, it’s refreshing.’
A large hand covered my forehead, and the coolness flowed right through me.
It felt different than when I was washing my face by the lake.
It wasn’t just cold, it was refreshing, and it seemed to spread from my forehead to my entire body.
I replied, not wanting to open my eyes.
“If you ever want to go back, just tell me.”
His low voice was pleasant, like the coolness on my forehead.
His voice seemed to be casually releasing something that was locked up inside my mind.
‘I want to go back? Where?’
Could he be referring to the crown prince’s palace?
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There’s a reason why I’m at Einfork after all.
My closed eyes snapped open immediately.
“I— I like it here.”
‘So don’t send me away.’
There had been a lot of twists and turns in order for me to get from the palace to here, but the truth was, with his words, I could have been sent anywhere.
I looked up at him with all my willpower, making him know that I want to stay here.
“… You like it?”
A deep sigh escaped his lips, and his hand slipped away from my forehead.
I clasped my hands together as if to steady myself from the feeling of emptiness.
“Of course I don’t like those demons.”
I really didn’t want to relive last night’s experience, but the dull ache on my side was nothing.
The sensation of being so close to death made my heart clench for a moment.
My throat went dry just thinking about what could have been.
“I don’t want to go back.”
Scenes from my time with him at Einfork flashed through my mind like fragments.
Warmth immediately welled up within me like a spring.
I don’t want to be away from him, from this place, from his side.
The need was greater and more urgent than my dislike of the demons.
“Because Sir Shane is here, too.”
It would be even more uncomfortable if I went somewhere I couldn’t see him.
And anyway, leaving the battlefield as a slave wouldn’t be completely safe.
As I was thinking along these lines, I felt him stand up next to me.
He stood up from the bed, with his back to me, and remained still.
He swiped a hand across his face, then took several deep breaths.
“I only have one question.”
I looked at him to see if he was uncomfortable, but the question came out of his mouth.
‘Where were you that night.’
‘How did you get away from the demon?’
The time for questions had finally arrived.
I took a deep breath so he wouldn’t recognize that I was lying once I said that I don’t remember.
“Did you know?”
“When you were captured by a demon…”
He turned slowly towards me. I’d been practicing my ‘I don’t remember’ speech, but the unexpected question left me with a blank slate.
‘Did I know?’
‘Wait… Does he think that I saw the future?’
I didn’t know anything that wasn’t in the original story, and I had no way of explaining it to him.
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The longer I didn’t answer, the more his eyes seemed to sink.
I sat up in bed, wondering what he must think of my expression as he looked at me.
A heavy weight settled in my chest, and I finally spoke.
“… Not completely.”
I answered vaguely, as if I were lying or not.
I realized that if I was going to explain my disappearance overnight, it might be better to say that I knew a little.
I hadn’t expected to be captured by a demon at all, but I knew there could be demons appearing at Einfork, and I wasn’t entirely wrong.
He swept a hand down his face again, as if he had come to some sort of conclusion.
He looked so exhausted for a moment that I almost grabbed his hand.
A shiver ran up the back of my neck at the sound of him calling my name.
I could feel the depth of his emotions in those two words.
Instead of answering, I stared up at him.
“As long as you’re okay, I will be the same.”
His eyes closed for a moment, then opened.
“I would have done anything.”
His voice resonated deep into my heart, as if he was holding the emotions of the past night.
A hot lump rose up my throat immediately.
Apparently, he hadn’t really set any limits on the ‘Anything’ category.
My eyes stung.
“And yet, there was nothing I could do.”
The man who was supposed to be the hero of the empire stood before me, with his utterly helpless expression.
His fists clenched tightly, he looked like a man holding something in.
“So from now on, if you know anything, tell me, and I’ll do everything in my capacity…”
I tried to squeeze my eyes shut, but I couldn’t stop them from filling with water.
All that he must have been through the past night was etched inside my mind.
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He ordered, but his tone and expression said otherwise.
I bit my lip as his dark eyes seemed to say, ‘Please.’
“Are you feeling sick?”
He stepped toward me in an urgent motion, a tear was rolling down my cheek and onto the back of his hand.
Then a cool sensation passed over my eyes as he wiped them away with his fingers.
“No, it’s okay….”
I quickly wiped my tears away with both hands, confused as to why I was suddenly crying so much.
But I kept seeing the image of him standing there, helpless, and it felt like he was scratching my chest with something sharp.
He grabbed my shoulders and gently pushed me back.
I tried to sit up again, but his gentle strength held me still.
“Don’t think about anything, just rest.”
He stroked my forehead once more as I lay there.
I can see the corners of his eyes crinkle slightly.
In fact, His hand was so cool that I wanted him to keep doing it.
He wiped the corners of my eyes once more and looked down at me again.
My vision seemed to be blurring, so I squeezed my eyes shut and looked him in the eye.
He took one big breath and slowly pulled back.
It looked like he was trying to get away from me, afraid I wouldn’t be able to rest with him around.
That’s fine, but it would be better if he stayed with me.
No, no, no. More than that, I’m not the one in charge here.
I need to get my shit together.
I blurted out before he was completely out of the barracks.
As he pushed open the door, he turned his head and looked my way.
Yea I definitely have a fever.
I didn’t mean to say, ‘Okay, I’ll get some rest.’ What I meant to say was, ‘I’ll tell you in the future.’
This was in response to him asking me to tell him what I knew about the future.
Of course, I can’t tell him everything I know right now.
I’ll have to think about what I can tell him after I get some sleep and when my brain starts working properly.
My heart leapt a little with the anticipation of having something to share with him.
And then I realized how much I longed to be able to tell someone what I knew.
With that short, breathless answer, he opened the door and left the barracks.
But I don’t know why I felt so relieved by his words.
I had a feeling that if I closed my eyes, I would fall into a very deep slumber.
(T/N: As an Experienced reader myself, I have a bad feeling with all this ‘Calm‘, and ‘Sweet‘ moments that author-nim was pouring our way… I feel like something bad will happen.. Hopefully not.)
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