༺ Andante (4) ༻
In the evening, upon their arrival in Lamia, the city closest to Rufeld Forest, Ferzen’s first priority was to take his students to a restaurant and provide them with a meal.
Excluding the coachmen, their group consisted of a total of 21 people. Although not a small number, they easily found ample seating in the restaurant due to the low foot traffic in Lamia.
Lamia served as a gathering place for aspiring medical professionals, which explained why many buildings were still illuminated in red with glow-in-the-dark stones, even at this late hour. These buildings were academies established by retired doctors.
“Go ahead and eat without me. I’m heading to the mercenary association.”
Ferzen strolled through the quiet streets until he reached Lamia’s mercenary association.
The building itself wasn’t particularly large, as only authorized doctors could make requests at this establishment.
Upon entering, Ferzen received a list detailing the types of corpses that had perished in Rufeld Forest over the past year.
The list would give him an idea of the potential hosts his students might encounter during the test and the level of danger they would face.
“Thank you for your hard work.”
“Yes! Have a safe journey, Your Grace.”
En route to the restaurant, Ferzen glanced at the paper and quickly skimmed through it.
“Well, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything noteworthy here.”
Of course, he would need to study it more closely later, but for now, there didn’t appear to be any significant information.
At least not on paper.
It was common knowledge that nobles who didn’t want the Elmark Empire or the Imperial family to gain more power would conduct their activities discreetly, leaving no trace on official documents.
And regardless of the era, there were always ways to bypass regulations.
If someone truly desired it, they could easily take a detour and enter Rufeld Forest without detection.
Keeping this in mind, the announcement of the test location had been made recently, and Ferzen had also recruited an impressive six men from the Imperial Knights and the Magic Corps…
“Am I overthinking this?”
There was one Apolion-ranked warlock, three knights on their way to becoming proper Auror Knights, and three elemental mages skilled enough to join the Imperial Mage Corps.
It would require a significant number of high-level individuals to breach such formidable power and cause harm to the students.
Moreover, all 14 students Ferzen had brought were Keter-ranked warlocks.
On the contrary, the previous incident that had terrorized the academy was an extremely exceptional case.
After all, aside from him, no one would ever know the truth about that incident.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, Ferzen tucked the papers under his arm, quietly finished his meal, and led the students to the inn he had reserved for their stay.
“I’ll take the patrol duty.”
“I mean, I’ll handle the patrol duty tonight. You and the others will have a challenging day tomorrow, so it’s best for you to rest.”
“What’s the matter?”
Rather than being pleased by Ferzen’s consideration, the knights and wizards exchanged puzzled glances.
“Did you think I’m an inconsiderate person?”
“Your voice is loud.”
“I’ll let you take the first patrol duty, and I’ll take the second. I hope you don’t mind me being a little greedy.”
“Th-thank you for your consideration!”
Accepting their gratitude with a small wave of his hand, Ferzen retreated to his assigned room and began reading the papers he had received from the mercenary association.
He contemplated going to the first-floor bathroom to freshen up but decided against it, assuming it would be crowded with students by now.
As Ferzen read through the papers, he didn’t come across anything particularly alarming. It was no different from when he quickly skimmed through the contents earlier.
The only noteworthy detail was that a veteran mercenary had been killed a week ago while attempting to capture a Parasite on behalf of an authorized doctor. His name was marked with a check, indicating that he had indeed been a host for the Parasites.
Ensuring proper confirmation of death was crucial to prevent the smuggling of the corpses, so there was no doubt about the accuracy of the information.
Time slowly ticked away as Ferzen delved deeper into the papers.
* * * * * *
Even though it was comfortable inside the carriage, Lizzie was still weary from the long ride, and sleep was hard to come by…….
Perhaps everyone was as nervous as she was, except for a few who weren’t too concerned about their exam results.
With a sigh, Lizzie sent her intent to the corpse sitting silently on the floor, causing it to bring the wheelchair closer to her. She then struggled to move her body into it.
After sitting down on it, she opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. The lamp’s glow gently chased away the darkness that had fallen.
Rather than dreamy, it felt quite unnerving, but…… the need to use the restroom was more pressing, so Lizzie controlled her body and pushed the wheelchair.
But it wasn’t long before Lizzie froze in place, her distinctive violet eyes fluttering open.
For a moment, she thought she was seeing things, but……
She could hear the sound of books being flipped, very clearly.
Ferzen Von Schweig Louerg.
That man sat in the center of the hallway, reading, like a gatekeeper.
Breathing hard, Lizzie looked around.
Luckily, the sight of the innkeeper sitting in the lobby saved her from having a seizure on the spot from the trauma that had been etched in her mind since childhood.
Ferzen’s hand stopped flipping through the pages before he turned his head towards her.
In the darkness, bathed in scarlet light.
A pair of distinctive red eyes bore into her, and Lizzie felt an eerie sensation in her lower abdomen that made her legs twitch even more.
Part of her wanted to push the wheelchair past him right now, but her magic that worked on her corpse was following instinct more than reason.
Ferzen, still saying nothing, lowered his gaze as he flipped through the pages once more……
Only then did Lizzie push her wheelchair and slowly moved past him.
She didn’t do any foolish thing like looking back but went straight to the bathroom before trying to calm her racing breath.
Maybe because it was summer.
She felt hot.
Sweat poured down her face, soaking her clothes and making her hair stick uncomfortably.
Even worse, as she pushed open the closed door and stepped into the stall, she realized that……
Instead of a sitting toilet, there was a squatting toilet.
Lizzie frowned, but there was nothing she could do about it, so she made the corpse that was pushing the wheelchair move closer to her and lift her by holding her armpits.
Then she pulled her underwear down, put her weight on one shaky leg, and barely squatted.
But no urine came out.
Or, more accurately, her overly tense body couldn’t relax its muscles.
The tingling sensation persisted as if someone forcefully held her urine inside.
The muscles and nerves near Lizzie’s hipbone were tightly wound.
She attempted to gently squeeze it out but to no avail.
At that moment, through the open window,
A gust of wind forced its way in, accompanied by a distinctive high-pitched noise..
Lizzie shuddered as Ferzen’s whispered words from that night echoed in her mind once again.
There was no time to turn away.
Her mind just replayed the moment, brutally, piece by piece.
The wolf in sheep’s clothing had let its mask go.
Clutching at her throat, it whispered in her ear in a low voice……
Her complexion paled.
And on top of that,
Her body suddenly relaxed all of its muscles and nerves, solving the urgent physiological phenomenon.
* * * * * *
Feeling miserable, Lizzie exited the bathroom and lifted her head to glance down the hallway.
Ferzen was nowhere to be found.
Instead, a knight now occupied the spot where he had been sitting earlier.
Unknowingly, Lizzie let out a sigh of relief.
“T-Thank you… for your hard work…”
“Thank you. Get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s exam.”
Lizzie bid farewell to the knight, waving as she continued on her way back to her room. The knight returned the gesture with a small smile. Though their interaction felt superficial, Lizzie appreciated any form of support she could get.
As she slowly made her way down the hallway, a lingering scent reached her senses.
The faint, lingering aroma of his luxurious cologne drifted into her nostrils, causing her heart to sink.
If someone wasn’t familiar with it, they might not even notice the scent due to its subtle nature.
Lizzie felt a sense of shame for recognizing it, like a herbivore desperately trying to survive amidst its natural predators.
No matter how determined she was.
Sheep would always be sheep.
They were fated to fear the wolves.
TL note: Lizzy just can’t catch a break man……
Im tired, no new thing.
fuck it’s 6 am
i wanna die
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.