Owing to our travels back and forth between the North and the imperial capital, we could see our camp we left behind. We couldn’t humanly reach the North from the imperial capital in a single day, which was why we had to camp for a day. In spite of it being summer, it was still unbearably cold out in the wilderness at night in the North, so Angenlina had to wrap ourselves in blankets and sit around the fire, Veirya and Leah lied on the fine, comfortable mattress in the carriage.
If Angelina didn’t decide to trick me into sleeping with her, I could look at her amicably. How was I supposed to know if she’d try something again, though? She, on the other hand, quietly enjoyed wine by the fire. Angelina didn’t want to chat with me, which perfectly coincided with my attitude.
Though neither Veirya nor clouds were there to keep me company through the cold night, the blanket of twinkling silver dots was welcome. Notwithstanding the numerous times I commuted along this very path, I never had the luxury to admire the stars. I had never seen the Milky Way look so beautiful and bright in games, especially because the pervading silence accentuated the argent river’s beauty. I mused, “How sad must the stars feel when they realise they can’t light up the world when there are so many them, yet the sun can light up the world all on its own?”
I recalled the worry and confusion I felt when Veirya brought Leah and I to the North. I remembered the mesmerising sight of Veirya emerging from the water. I couldn’t say for sure if that was the night I decided to protect Veirya. However, based on the circumstances surrounding me at the time, I probably didn’t have plans to protect anybody besides Leah. After that day, I always ran back and forth on this very path, trying to carry out requests from the empire whilst confounded. As opposed to saying that the path had witnessed my footsteps and wheel tracks, perhaps I should say it witnessed my emotional changes and the changes to my life.
The last time I travelled the path feeling nerve-wracked was when I had my abdomen pierced. Had Ross not discovered our so-called bodyguards’ agenda, providing me with the opportunity and time to think, I’d be probably be a skeleton at this spot.
I went to have a drink from my bottle of wine, but before I got to taste what the girl at the tavern claimed to be the best wine, Angelina suddenly shoved me over.
As I tumbled to the ground, I grouched to myself, “What does you want?! I understand your emotional needs as a widow, but can you not do this to me? I’m your son-in-law, not your husband! Your daughter is pregnant, yet you want to do this out in the open with her husband?! Ask your conscience if this is right!”
Angelina didn’t plan or need to, for that matter, explain herself because a sharp length of metal violently zipped past my head and extinguished the fire, explaining what I wanted to know. A shiver crawled up my spine and into my nerves. Angelina covered my mouth with her hand then drew her sword and trained her gaze in the direction the arrow was launched from.
There was no second arrow. The archer seemingly left after firing one shot and had no intention of getting into a melee contesr with Angelina.
Angelina directed, “Get into the carriage. Veirya can protect you. I’ll go see what’s going on.”
“On your own?!”
“What, were you planning on making your pregnant wife fight? I’ll take Anna with me; don’t worry.”
Angelina sounded identical to Veirya when she was in battle. Though she behaved slovenly and flirtatiously most of the time, she was collected and analytical when it was time to scrap. She didn’t give me a chance to speak. How? Grab me and throw me into the carriage.
I saw the arrow but didn’t know who fired it. If it was fired deliberately, the archer was after my life. My first thought, therefore, was, I haven’t affronted anyone recently, have I?
I shut the door and hid behind the carriage, instead, since I didn’t want to put Veirya and Leah if I was their target.
Although Anna was our bodyguard, she didn’t notice the arrow. Angelina didn’t chide her, though. She, instead, patted Anna on the shoulder and whispered. The two then rushed over toward the woods that the arrow was fired from.
I didn’t hear any shouting or metal on metal contact coming from the woods that resembled a wild beast with its huge mouth opened, waiting to devour any passing human at night. All I heard was the heavens blowing and leaves dancing. I went prone on the small mound of dirt we sat on, feeling as though there was a pair of eyes on me.
I thought the arrow was a signal of some sort that would be followed up with a group that’d charge over, roaring before engaging Veirya and Angelina in combat, but none of the sort happened.
“Is there only one assailant or a group? Is this a premeditated assassination or one done on a whim? Have I made myself some enemies? Mm, I have offended a good number of people recently. Would Lilia have found out the truth and sent mercenaries after me, or could it be the nobles who couldn’t stand the humiliation I put them through and want to punish me? Man, I don’t know. There are too many people who’d want my head,” I internally noted.
Angelina and Anna soon returned, bringing back the smell of leaves and dew on them. Angelina spat and fumed, “I don’t know who it was. We found where he shot the arrow from, but he already got out of there by the time we arrived. Seems he’s experienced and won’t give us a chance to counterattack. Be careful because, if it isn’t obvious yet, we’re walking target bulls eyes.”
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