“Let’s have lunch together later.”
Edwin left the room with those words.
When he said we wouldn’t be apart for even a moment, I thought he would cling to me 24/7, but I’m glad for some breathing room.
I examined the jewels closely.
Kindly enough, the names of each gemstone were neatly written on the individual boxes.
‘How am I supposed to use these things with no information?’
No matter how much I tried to recall the contents of the novel, there was no mention of Jueri or the jewels.
‘I’m going to have to go at this completely blind.’
I wanted to have some hope for survival, but the situation was very bleak.
‘Never mind the method, can I even use the jewels?’
I’m not really a Jueri, I’m merely occupying the body of a Jueri.
What if it turns out that I can’t use the jewels?
For a moment, Edwin, who seemed to be extremely excited to find a Jueri, came to mind. Even I was looking forward to using the jewels a while ago.
‘Even though I’m the bride of prophecy, I’m still going to die.’
The moment I realized this, I got chills down my spine.
I patted my face lightly with both hands.
“I have to calm down. No matter what, I have to succeed.”
I carefully looked at the jewels. However, I didn’t find anything special.
Then, I touched each of the jewels, but I didn’t feel any special energy.
While holding each jewel, I tried squeezing, shaking, and applying some mental force, but I was still unsuccessful.
“Please allow me to use these jewels. My life is at stake. Please spare me.”
Thinking that my desperation was lacking, I called out to all the gods I knew and prayed over and over again.
But nothing happened.
‘What am I going to do?’
Burying my face in my hands, I embraced the growing despair.
When I recalled all the ones who were murdered in the desert, I jumped up and lifted my head.
‘No, I can’t let it end like that.’
Trying to cool my head, I sorted through my thoughts one by one.
In a fantasy novel, the first step in magic training is to feel the flow of mana.
So, I can apply this to the jewels, right?
Suddenly, a scene from a martial arts movie came to mind.
When martial arts masters practiced ki, they started by refining and clearing their minds.
I quickly sat cross-legged, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.
‘I can feel the energy within me. I can feel it… I can feel it…’
“Excuse me, Madam?”
When I heard Jenny’s voice, I lifted my head, and her scarlet hair came into view.
“If you are tired, please rest comfortably in bed. If you sleep in that position, you’ll get muscle pain.”
‘Did I fall asleep?’
I tilted my head and patted the corner of my mouth as something damp came in contact with my hand.
How can I be sleepy when I haven’t dealt with my major life-or-death situation?
“Do you feel unwell?”
As I hung my head in shame, Jenny shuffled her feet, as if she didn’t know what to do.
‘No, it’s just that… I’m so pathetic….’
I sighed heavily.
* * * * * * *
The next morning.
As soon as I finished eating, Edwin suddenly announced we were going out and took me out of the room.
“Where are we going?”
“The Mujas Desert.”
“Why are we going to the desert?” I asked with a trembling voice.
The word ‘desert’ reminded me of the scene of the slaughter I witnessed on the first day.
‘You’re not planning to bury me in the desert because I haven’t awakened my abilities, right?’
It’s only been a day!
I looked at Edwin anxiously as he draped a robe over my shoulders and pulled the hood over my head.
“Because it was the home of the Jueri.”
Oh, that’s right.
My shoulders, which had hardened with tension, slowly relaxed.
“If you go there, maybe your memories will return.”
He smiled at me, and I smiled vaguely in return.
This isn’t simply a case of memory loss, there is now a different soul in this body.
Meanwhile, Edwin had already carried me outside and was in the process of putting me on his horse.
Frightened by the unfamiliar height, I grabbed the saddle tightly, and immediately afterward, Edwin climbed behind me.
Only then did the tension in my body relax.
‘I can’t believe I feel at peace in the arms of a madman.’
I was amazed but also bitter because it reminded me of the reality of the situation I was facing.
Edwin directed his horse into a gallop and several knights followed behind us.
After a while, we arrived at a gate just as my hips started to tingle.
“From here on, we have to ride a camel. I don’t mind walking, but my bride is vulnerable.”
As we got off his horse, Edwin gestured toward a nearby camel.
Sitting with its legs bent, the camel looked calm, but as we got closer, the smell was no joke.
Edwin grinned and sat me on the camel as I gently covered his nose with a robe.
“As expected, my bride is sensitive.”
His teasing left me with a feeling of resentment, but I didn’t trust myself to speak up, so I stuck out my tongue instead and gave him the grumpiest face I could muster.
Edwin laughed as he tapped my nose.
Startled by his touch, I quickly straightened my face.
“Is our destination far from here?”
“We have quite a bit of distance to go. So, endure it even if it’s boring.”
When I nodded calmly, he patted my head as if he were praising me.
‘I wish you would stop treating me like a child.’
While complaining to myself, the camel began to move.
“Call the land where the Jueri once lived is known as Ambria.”
“How do you know so much?”
I knew Edwin didn’t like questions, but I was very curious, so I asked carefully.
“Because their clan had resided in my family’s territory for many generations.”
Fortunately, Edwin explained it smoothly without any signs of displeasure.
“When I was young, my father told me many stories.”
When he mentioned the previous duke his blue eyes darkened for a moment, and then returned to their original state.
According to the novel, the previous duke died while subjugating the monsters that suddenly appeared after the annihilation of the Jueri.
‘I had a feeling that the imperial family was involved with his death.’
There was no detailed explanation in the original, but it briefly mentioned that the emperor deliberately incited the demons to run wild, which led to the previous duke’s death.
The Emperor used the demons because he had no way to defeat the Crawford family’s monstrous strength and martial arts skills.
When Edwin later found out the truth, he kidnapped Lillian out of revenge as she was the woman the Crown Prince loved. She also happens to have white hair.
‘Still, I’m skeptical. No matter how much the monsters ran wild, a Crawford shouldn’t have collapsed so easily.’
If Edwin learns the truth about the death of his father, my chances of survival will increase. With his hostility directed at the imperial family, he won’t allow them to take me away from him.
Nevertheless, this left me with a heavy heart.
I understood how Edwin felt when he lost his father because my mother also died early.
As I struggled to shake off my depressing thoughts, the camel’s pace suddenly slowed.
“This is Ambria.”
Before my eyes, A vast sandy desert stretched out under the intense sunlight.
It was a desolate landscape where not a single grass or tree could be seen, and the only movement was the grains of sand fluttering along with the wind.
Although it has been a long time since the Jueri was exterminated, this place was not a place for people to live.
“Did the Jueri really live here? I thought there would be an oasis.”
“It wasn’t like this when the Jueri were alive.”
Confused, I looked up at Edwin, and he placed his large hand on my head.
“Did you forget about the jewels?”
“Didn’t you say they only had healing abilities?”
“Most of them did. My father said there are beautiful forests and lakes in Ambria.”
‘Is that even possible?’
Now I coveted the power of the jewels even more than before.
“Have you ever been here before?”
“When you inherit a territory, you must visit it at least once.”
‘Are you here to inspect as the Lord of the land?’
I hoped that was the case.
“Did the previous dukes visit Ambria as well?”
There was no explanation in the original work about how the Jueri lived before the emperor’s conquest.
Given that the previous dukes came and went, did they also spend time interacting with the people?
“My bride has a lot of questions today.”
When I saw Edwin smiling brightly, I came to my senses.
He was so docile that I forgot for a moment that I was talking to a madman.
A crazy guy who doesn’t like questions.
“… … I thought it might help me recall my memories. I think I will be able to use the jewels once my memory returns.”
Edwin grinned as I made excuses with a shaky voice.
“I’m proud of you. Are you motivated because you’re greedy for rewards?”
Either way, he seemed to be satisfied with my answer.
“As your groom, I can’t stay still when you’re showing such enthusiasm.”
Edwin smiled meaningfully as if he was about to do something great, stopped the camel, and got off first.
Then he held my hand so I could get down as well.
“I think the lands of Ambria begin here?”
Edwin walked a little further forward and drew a line in the sand with his foot.
When I looked around, there was no change in the scenery, so how the hell did he know the boundaries?
From what he said before, I don’t think he’s ever seen Ambria in person.
“Ambria was protected by a barrier. So, it wasn’t visible to those who weren’t allowed entry,”
“Like a space that doesn’t exist,” Edwin whispered in my ear. My eyes widened as I stared at him in surprise.
Holding me with a small smile, he slowly began to walk forward.
When he halted, we were in front of an old tree boasting majesty.
The trunk, which was thick enough that it could be surrounded by a dozen or so men, was barren without any vitality, yet it felt lofty.
“This is the guardian tree of the Jueri. It is said that the power of this tree was able to maintain the barrier.”
The fact that the Emperor annihilated the Jueri would mean that the barrier had been broken.
Was there a problem with the guardian tree? Is that why it looks dead?
The more I listened to Edwin’s explanation, the more questions I had.
“Okay, go take a closer look.”
Edwin put me down and gestured toward the old tree with his chin.
When he set me down, I immediately glanced around for a place to run, but the knights quickly surrounded us.
If I tried to run on the sand, I’d be caught in a second anyway.
With resignation, I slowly walked toward the guardian tree.
Up close, the guardian tree had a dignified aura, despite being devoid of life.
I carefully touched the trunk and it felt dry and rough under my fingertips.
‘Do you recognize the owner of this body? She is a Jueri, the people you use to protect.’
I expressed my frustration because I still had no idea who I possessed.
Who else could I tell this story to, if not this tree?
As I conveyed my thoughts to the tree, I felt a sense of unity with the owner of this body.
I didn’t think her life would have been any different from mine because it would be difficult to survive as a Jueri.
However, since she didn’t survive, the amount of grief, and resentment I felt, simply couldn’t be described with words.
At the very least, this guardian tree should recognize this woman.
My eyes were brimming with tears as I expressed my sadness to the tree, and suddenly I could hear my heart beating loudly as if it was resonating with something.
Panicking, I tried to take my hand off the old tree, but it was as if it was glued to the trunk of the tree.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
My heart pounded louder than before.
At the same time, I felt a building pressure in my heart and a sharp pain in my chest.
“Angelina?” Edwin called out with a concerned voice.
Grabbing my chest with my spare hand, I fell to my knees, as I groaned painfully.
Kneeling at my side, he pulled me into his arms and asked urgently.
‘I feel like I’m going to die from the pain.’
I struggled to speak as the pain increased in my chest.
As I managed to raise my head to convey the words somehow, I could see Edwin’s blue eyes subtly shaking.
I didn’t have time to be confused by the genuine fear I saw in his gaze. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I pleaded with my eyes.
‘Please save me from this pain. Please take my hand off this tree.’
I still couldn’t pull my hand away from the trunk, so I had no choice but to hang on.
Edwin froze like a stone statue. Then his eyes narrowed the moment he grasped the situation.
“What are you doing?! Pull your hand away!”
I wanted to tell him that I couldn’t, but I couldn’t breathe properly since the pain and pressure were so intense. It felt like my heart was being ripped apart.
Edwin swore loudly when I shook my head to indicate that I was unable to.
Suddenly, I heard swords being unsheathed, along with the sound of blades clashing.
‘Is someone here? Is someone ambushing us maybe? Could it possibly be the Ravens?’
Even in the midst of confusion, I could only focus on one thing.
Instinctively, I reached out and grabbed Edwin’s arm tightly.
‘Please save me.’
Thank you for reading!