The devil said, “There are four knights who are eager for you.”
There is a man who rides a golden horse, and his name is Conquest.
There is a man who rides a white horse, and his name is Famine.
There is a man who rides a blue horse, and his name is War.
There is a man who rides a black horse, and his name is Death.
Conquest will pretend to be subservient.
Famine will pretend to be full.
War will pretend to be peaceful.
And Death will pretend to breathe in the warmth of sunlight while lingering among winged creatures.
You will be the cause of their despair.
Whisper to the blowing wind, the rising ground, and the flowing water.
‘What do you have clutched in your hands?’
The sound of wind piercing through the darkness was as loud as the sound of a beast shot by an arrow, running around aimlessly.
It was not the man’s fault that the bonfire, which was used to drive out the insects crawling along the cave walls, had extinguished. With this in mind, Legria bit her dry bottom lip and curled her body a little closer to herself.
She did that in hopes that the things that stung her skin would stick to it a little less.
Darkness without a single glint of light makes one weak, something she wasn’t aware of before.
It was something she didn’t even need to know. Regardless of how dark it was, she resided in a place where light always existed.
Did she miss that time?
‘Well, I don’t know about that. One thing for sure, this land is unbearable and I hate it.’
When the tears that had been swallowed surfaced once again, rather than crying, Legria looked at the back of the man in front of her, who seemed to be on guard.
A slight heat emanated from him. The fire that lit her surroundings had disappeared, so she could only trace his outline with her eyes.
But she knew the scars that engraved the man’s naked back.
Also, she could tell by the temperature of his body that the scarred giant man wouldn’t run away, leaving her helpless and alone.
Based on the temperature emanating from someone, she could identify the varying degrees of danger. It was the only ability Legria had.
Legria might have gone crazy a long time ago if she hadn’t learned to distinguish such things.
In an unfamiliar world, distinguishing between a trustworthy person and an enemy is the same as discerning the difference between sugar and salt.
In fact, she once wondered how great it would be if all situations were easy to distinguish.
But it was just a useless expectation, so she let it go.
The man was silent. Feeling restless, she opened her eyes and remained quiet.
The man was examining the extinguished bonfire and half-burned firewood when he suddenly grew tense and stood up.
‘Is there something out there?’
It doesn’t matter if it’s human, devil, or beast. For Legria, it was the same.
An unwelcome opponent.
The man disappeared in an instant to find out what it was. Left alone, Legria covered her mouth with her hands in fear that the sound of her breathing would cause her to be caught by whatever was outside.
She wanted to crawl into the deepest part of the cave and hide.
But the man had once explained how it was a bad idea. One of the easiest ways to catch a fugitive is to smoke out a cave, making it impossible to breathe.
If that happened, you would be caught off guard with no choice but to come out.
Then it would be over.
Therefore, it’s better to stay at the entrance of the cave and quietly watch for the pursuers.
Legria knew nothing about escaping pursuers, so she had no choice but to agree.
In any case, the man was strong, a warrior, and an enemy of the beings she sought to escape from.
The enemy of an enemy is a friend.
Even if you can’t be friends, you could become partners, and gain an ally you could trust for a while.
First of all, this man was fundamentally different from her. She is a stranger to the world itself, but the man is only a stranger to the empire…
At some point, the man had returned from checking the surrounding area and was standing in front of her.
Her eyes widened in surprise by his sudden appearance. Legria stood up awkwardly, sweeping away the goosebumps on her arms.
When the man looks down at her like that, she knows what he’s trying to do.
He’s the man who protects her. The man who helps her avoid her chasers.
The immense male may want one thing, but luckily he wasn’t a bully. He wasn’t the type to sleep with just anyone.
‘Didn’t he say that act was reserved for one woman?’
It’s the honor and pride of their tribe to have one companion for life. So regardless of how shameless Legria is now, lying down with her legs stretched out, he would not force himself upon her.
The man didn’t want her to spread her legs in exchange for help. Even though his gaze was full of heat….
“We have to go.”
It was a short conversation. Legria didn’t cry nor did she complain about the lack of sleep.
He leads and she follows. That was the only rule that existed between them.
While the man quickly cleared up the traces of the bonfire, Legria rubbed her swollen feet and blisters before putting on her shoes, tightening the shoelaces, and standing up.
The mind-numbing pain made her hands shake, but she was more afraid of being caught and dragged back there.
To be exact… She was terrified of being thrown at his feet.
‘He’s not a good person.’
Legria had met him before she knew how to differentiate the energy she felt in humans. At first, she believed him to be a good person. After that, she tried to force herself into believing he wasn’t that bad.
But that wasn’t the case. He wasn’t human, just masquerading as one.
“We’ll go here. Northwest.”
At the man’s whisper, Legria limped and clenched her teeth as she walked. The man glanced at her, sighed, and leaned down.
“Get on my back.”
“I can walk on my own…”
“You’ll be caught.”
She was filled with embarrassment and fear, anxiety and nervousness. And more than anything, she felt ashamed and pity for the man.
Legria didn’t know she would be this incompetent. Even in the world she lived in, she was nothing more than a human, but she didn’t think she would be useless even here.
The knowledge she had learned while struggling to be recognized by her family and trying to follow her younger half-brother’s words was of no use here.
‘Even this fragile body is not mine.’
Her deep red hair scattered over the man’s shoulder.
Legria hastily arranged her hair in fear of tickling him, regretting that she hadn’t cut it before.
‘It’s all because of him.’
The innkeeper never cut her hair because he said he liked her long hair. There were never any sharp blades within her reach. Not even the knife that was supposed to be at her place at the table.
Legria never believed his reasoning for denying her anything sharp, but upon further reflection, she could see the truth.
The person summoned before her had gone on a rampage with a knife.
The man lifted his chin as he gently carried Legria on his back.
The next moment all she felt was the wind.
Regardless of the obstacles, the man ran through the forest at a speed that surpassed that of humans.
Legria quickly bowed her head as tree branches scraped her cheek.
Her nose touched the nape of the man’s neck, which was covered with small drops of sweat. Such contact was unavoidable. If she didn’t hold onto him properly, she would be seriously injured if she fell off.
Legria wasn’t a stupid woman.
‘The smell of fire…’
His muscles were tense and his neck smelled unpleasant.
She could feel the warmth of the bright sun and they were surrounded by vast meadows full of livestock grazing on grass. There was nothing blocking the scent of the burning embers or the cool wind. And the restrained strength of those who know the joy of keeping such a daily life.
There is a tribe of men with nineteen clans called ‘Tuak’, which means ‘fighting to protect’ in an ancient language.
They do not trample on others because they are strong, but want to protect others with that power.
This is why the man kept his promise to her. If he had left her the moment he was freed and ran away on his own, he would have already escaped the forest.
But the man didn’t break his promise and protected the useless Legria.
‘If there’s a tribe that this man protects, I’d like to depend on it.’
But she couldn’t. Because her existence itself would be an annoyance.
In addition to political issues…
She would not be welcome there. Rather, it only puts the man who helped her in danger.
‘I don’t want to cause him any more trouble.’
So, she would use the man’s help to get out of this forest.
‘After that, I have to live on my own. In this terrible world…alone.’
Legria dropped her head in a daze. When she placed her cheek on his shoulder, she could feel the muscles twitching.
‘I’m sure it’s annoying. You’re probably wondering how far I walked to get to the point where I can’t even move on my own, but I also wanted to do well.’
Forest of Divinity. Sinhwangcheong. Sinseong. A language she didn’t know and spices she had never tasted. So many rules, rules, rules.
Legria looked up at the sky. Four crescent moons can be seen through the overhead verdancy. The moons, which would fit perfectly if they overlapped, adorned the night sky like a flower.
Of course, it was a sight you couldn’t see on Earth.
Even if Legria returned to her original world, she had no family waiting for her.
Even if she got out of here, there was no place for her in this world.
But Legria had to leave.
Even if she couldn’t go back to where she originally lived and had to survive in this land, it wasn’t safe here.
That’s why Legria made this perilous escape. By releasing this man, who had been captured, locked up, and treated as subhuman.
For a moment, chills went down her spine. The man leaned down at the same time as she shouted.
The wind carried evil energy.
An arrow struck the tree one step ahead, causing it to shake violently. It was an expensive kind with gold feathers at the end.
An item that only the Crown Prince could use. He even possessed the strength that could end the life of the strongest of demons.
If he hadn’t recognized the danger in time…
If he hadn’t been on the same level as the Crown Prince because he was the most powerful warrior in the Tuak tribe… She may have tumbled off and gotten caught in no time.
She didn’t want to imagine what would have happened after that.
Legria clung to the man’s neck with all her might and closed her eyes tightly while wiping away the drops of blood flowing down her cheek with the back of her hand.
‘If there is a god, please help me just once today.’
Today marks the half-year anniversary since she was forcibly summoned to this ridiculous world.
Today, according to the plan of those who summoned her here, Legria should have been screaming in the prince’s bed.
She was a virgin sacrifice and her purity was an offering.
Day by day, waiting for her end to come, Legria thought she would go mad.
But instead of that, Legria was running away on the back of another man.
And this for sure…would provoke the Crown Prince.
“If you’re going to run away, make sure you hide well. Don’t let a hair show. If I catch you, I’ll crush your ankles and sow my seed until your belly is swollen.”
The languid yet calm voice of the hunter lingered in her ears.
The prince’s trackers had been chasing her for 13 days.
Legria was gradually losing her patience.
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