༺ The First Letter (73) ༻
My wrecked body begged for rest.
My stiff muscles felt as heavy as lead, and my clothes were soaked with all kinds of blood—a mixture of my blood and those of my opponents.
And among the bloodstains that decorated my top was the blood of the woman who was collapsed in front of me. Delphine Yurdina, heir to one of the 5 most prestigious families in the empire and also the leader of the North.
She looked up at me in a daze from the ground. It was evident from her expression that she couldn’t understand what I had just said. Everyone else also wore similar expressions.
An eerie silence settled into the glade, but I didn’t mind it one bit. Only one thought ran through my head.
I needed to get revenge for the pain Celine, Seria, and Senior Elsie suffered.
Senior Delphine started staggering backwards, but I threw my hatchet at her again to stop her resistance.
Fresh blood dyed her skin as the hatchet lodged into her other shoulder.
Unable to endure the pain, Senior Delphine screamed as the hatchet struck her again. With this, she was no longer able to use either shoulder, preventing her from possibly wielding her sword again.
A sigh escaped my lips.
“That was for Celine. And the next one……”
A scream erupted from Senior Delphine’s mouth as her body trembled with eyes wide open as if she was having a convulsion. Grinding her teeth as she tried to ignore the pain, Senior Delphine suppressed the humiliation, anger, and fear.
Her eyes trembled as she looked at the incomprehensible man.
“Nobles do not attack opponents who have no intention of resisting! If you are a noble of the empire, you too… Gah!”
Her resistance was short-lived. I had picked up Senior Delphine’s sword and pushed it into her thigh.
The blade easily cut through her skin, piercing into her till it hit the bone. There was no need to go any further than that.
Senior Delphine chewed her lip to stop herself from screaming, but couldn’t hide the moan that flowed from her mouth. I twisted the sword sideways without pulling it out.
Her skin tore and more blood poured out. She looked like she wanted to curl up and hug her legs, but unfortunately for her, her shoulders were injured and her arms didn’t move properly.
As she writhed from the pain, an anguished groan leaked from the noble woman’s mouth. Senior Delphine continued to glare at me with bulging eyes, but there was no change in my facial expression.
Ater taking a rough breath, I glared back at my prey in front of me.
“That one was for Senior Elsie.”
Senior Delphine, who had been groaning and rolling on the ground, managed to pick herself up staggeringly after mustering up strength from her pride damaged. Then, right as she was about to talk, her words were replaced by another pained groan.
“Hatchet Lord, you’re going to suffer consequences if you… Kagh?!”
I pulled out the hatchet from her shoulder then struck her temple with the blunt side of the hatchet.
With a refreshing thud, her body fell to the side as her body twitched slightly. The strike had hit her squarely.
I watched her for a short while before growling in a low voice.
“And that was for me. Finally…”
“Kuh, huh… Ahahahahah!”
Although she was likely to be suffering from buzzing and nausea, she still managed to let out a laughter.
I stopped talking and stared blankly at Senior Delphine. Her eyes pierced through me with intense hatred, but her voice, however, was filled with admiration.
She seemed to admire my actions while simultaneously showing her animonisty. It was as if she was evaluating me, a privilege of those who stood above everyone else.
Senior Delphine hadn’t broken down. On the contrary, she gasped and even twisted the corner of her mouth into a smile.
“Awesome, excellent… impressive, Hatchet Lord. So this the taste of defeat?”
“It’s what you’ve been doing to others in the past. How does it feel?”
“It’s a bitter feeling, but… it’s also quite thrilling.”
She was likely experiencing a tremendous amount of pain, and considering how she looked at the hatchet in my hand, clearly feeling an unconcealable fear.
Her quivering shoulders were testament to the unbearable pain and fear she was under. Such was the effect of one-sided violence.
Even so, Senior Delphine did not forget to keep up a confident facade. I didn’t know how genuine it was, but she tried to carry herself in her usual haughty and confident attitude.
It was just like her. Her tenacity and conviction for victory were worth admiring.
It was as admirable as much as it was hateful.
My eyes slightly turned to the side as I contemplated.
“…….But will you handle the consequences?”
Senior Delphine’s trembling voice tickled my ears. I could tell from her haggard breath that she was giving her all to hold onto her pride and trying not to stutter.
My eyes focused back to her. Her attitude conveyed that it wasn’t a threat, but a genuine, honest to goodness question.
“Nobles don’t harm those who surrender. I am the heir of the Yurdina family, but your actions right now…….”
“How could your surrender possibly be enough?”
My indifferent voice shut Senior Delphine up as her puzzled eyes stared at me. My eyes, looking down at her, were as calm as my voice.
“The prey that we risked our lives for was almost stolen from us, Celine was severely in the shoulder by a hatchet, Seria ended rolling across the ground after suffering a direct hit to a vital spot, and Senior Elsie was shackled by ice and it would be great news if she didn’t get frostbite.”
“Those are just things that can happen at any time in a serious battle to determine victory and defeat……”
“But didn’t you lose, Senior?”
My words were accompanied with a chilling voice, and I intimidatingly smacked my palm with the back of the hatchet.
“Then you have to pay the price since you didn’t win.”
Senior Delphine let out a light giggle. My shadow filled her blood-red eyes while she had on an alluring smile.
“You must be angry, I know. I can understand. But in an aristocratic society, there is such a thing as aristocratic law. I am the rightful successor of the Yurdina family and…….”
It was a flat voice devoid of emotion. She didn’t say anything for a while. She merely stayed still with a smile frozen on her face, and it was only after a while had passed that she looked up at me.
Her expression clearly conveyed her confusion.
“You seem to be mistaken… This is a forest, not an aristocratic society. It’s a place where demonic beasts roam, and a place where it wouldn’t be strange even if someone were to lose their life. Especially if their opponent was a named demonic beast.”
She continued to look up at me in a daze with ruby-like eyes as I took another step towards her.
There were no changes in my expressionless face, no emotions discernable from my gait, nor any shifts in my voice.
The executioner simply moved to settle what he had to do. Senior Delphine’s eyes started to shake wildly.
“W-what are you saying?”
Her voice betrayed her desperation, but there was no response to her question. Tapping my hands a few times with the blunt end of the hatchet, I came to a stop right in front of her.
“T-there are many competent investigators in the empire! There’s no way they won’t investigate the death of Yurdina’s…..”
“There are also a lot of monsters around. I wonder how much they would drool over a free meaty meal.”
I raised the hatchet in silence and her body trembled as she lowered her gaze. It was an instinctive reaction everyone had when when faced with death.
Even more so if it was an unexpected death.
Anxiety filled her eyes—as if she was contemplating whether she should calmly accept her death or try to dissuade the man in front of her.
Either way, it didn’t matter. My overworked arm muscles tightened as much as they could like this would be the final strike.
I simply wanted to finish this quickly and go back home.
And it was at that moment.
Senior Delphine hurriedly shouted at me as her entire body trembled. Her eyes quivered intensely.
I came to a stop. Annoyed, I wanted to rub my temple with my free hand, but my left arm was so damaged that I hadn’t been able to move it for the longest time.
I looked down at her with exhaustion evident in my eyes. She saw her chance to speak and quickly opened her mouth in case I would change my mind.
“S-stop…. It’s my fault.”
Swallowing her pride, Senior Delphine quietly admitted her fault with great difficulty.
It was the sound of the majestic golden lion of the North submitting in front of me.
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