༺ The North (8) ༻
Feeling herself gradually rising from the depths of sleep, Laura let out a soft groan.
Seeking warmth, she nestled deeper into the embrace, almost instinctively.
The warmth seemed to understand her need, wrapping a large hand around her waist, settling her comfortably.
A handkerchief wiped away the saliva at the tip of her chin.
A touch that removed whatever was stuck in her mouth, alleviating the discomfort of her stiff jaw.
As she gradually regained her ability to think clearly, Laura blinked her eyes and looked around.
A small house made of ice.
Amid it, a bright and resplendent flame.
Furthermore, the lap of the man she was sitting on comfortably.
Whether her body was hot due to the aftermath of the curse.
Or whether it was truly due to the onset of a cold.
Amid the lingering uncertainty, Laura flinched as she saw Ferzen greet her in the morning, while he watched her.
“Seems like you’ve caught a cold.”
“There’s probably no better excuse to turn back. If you departed now and moved quickly, you should arrive before sunset. Once you have returned to Louerg, get examined and rest.”
Trying to grasp how she should react to Ferzen’s casual treatment of her, Laura couldn’t quite figure it out.
“I’m, I’m sorry… I r-really am…”
She definitely had to say this.
As if encouraging her to ponder on what she did wrong, Ferzen asked in a somewhat teasing tone.
“Without… waiting… I, I l-left the ca-carriage……”
Stammering, with nothing else coming to mind, Laura lowered her head in Ferzen’s embrace.
Then, she noticed the faint marks of her teeth on his neck.
Though they didn’t appear as deep, the wounds where scabs had formed looked menacing.
Apart from her selfishly leaving the carriage, there wasn’t much else to point out.
But the wound on his neck – precisely, the one near his collarbone – could it be another thing she had done wrong……?
Rather than answering, Laura brought her face closer, using her small tongue to carefully lick the scar that she had inflicted on him.
Since he had asked her to act this way with the scars on his fingers before, maybe he hoped for this as an apology once again. But it seemed her intention was completely off-mark.
At the tickling sensation of her tongue tracing his collarbone, Ferzen let out a light, incredulous chuckle, then supported Laura’s hips with both hands and rose to his feet.
If she didn’t know any better, it could be quite a romantic event in its own right.
Gradually embracing the bewildered Laura more comfortably, Ferzen dismantled the small house made of ice, reversed the bright and resplendent flame with his magic, and respectfully put Brutein’s ancestor’s corpse back to its long rest.
After paying his respects, Ferzen wandered into the northern landscape.
Naturally, Laura, still held in his embrace, hesitated for a while without knowing what to do. She circled her arms around his neck and buried her head in his nape.
The soothing sensation of sleep and relief enveloped her as her entire body nestled deeply n his embrace.
Why did the rhythmic sound of his footsteps on the snowy expanse sound so comforting, like a lullaby seeping into her ears?
Eventually, not long after, Laura fell into a deep slumber in Ferzen’s arms.
* * * * *
“If I were to bring Lady Rosenberg with me, what would you do, My Lord?”
“I shall continue to my destination. Now, since you’ve been in my service for a long time, I hope you understand the need to keep some things to yourself.”
“Have no fear, My Lord. This servant will respect his lord’s secrets.”
“Very well. Then, I’ll leave her to you.”
Glancing briefly at Laura, who had fallen into a deep sleep inside the carriage, Ferzen mounted a glossy white steed and firmly grasped the reins.
Although some fatigue lingered from controlling her affliction throughout the night, his body wasn’t exhausted enough to crumble under such tiredness.
Before long, the horse carrying Ferzen galloped confidently, leaving its hoofprints on the lightly accumulated snowfield.
* * * * *
Moss covered sporadically on the rocks scattered around.
Turning his head slightly, he could see shrubs composed of thickets in the vicinity.
Although meager, the land was brimming with vitality.
Beyond that, faintly visible, was the fortress wall of Asran’s domain.
“Isn’t it truly ironic?”
Apart from being located in the center of the North, their privileged location rendered them unable to empathize with the harshness of the North.
How they managed to secure their position as the Leader of the North was a mystery.
Did they understand the pain of frostbite?
Did they witness the never melting snow?
Or have they felt the fear of being inside a snowstorm?
‘There’s no longer a need to ride this horse.’
Dismounting the saddle and gently patting the horse, Ferzen took hold of the reins and began to walk slowly, appreciating the tranquility of the moment.
* * * * *
On a particularly dark night in the North.
Lord Asran rested his head on the window of his chambers as he gazed into the dark sky.
The moon on such a night was particularly red, illuminating the land.
Seeing such a natural phenomenon filled him with a sense of foreboding.
Coupled with the rumors from a massive undertaking being planned under Ferzen’s lead, his sense of foreboding only became stronger.
The lands of Louerg were not lacking in space for such a project.
But its bareness made up for it, as the remote areas of the frozen wasteland would incur high logistic costs.
Therefore, no matter how much Brutein supported this folly, the project was doomed from the start.
However, what if the profits exceed the costs? The value of an Apollyon-Class Warlock couldn’t be underestimated as well.
The Lord of the North clenched his fists at his own insecurities.
But he was aware that the mindless sheep would always flock towards an Idealistic monarch who whispered sweet nothings in their ears rather than follow a realistic ruler.
His musings were interrupted as a butler entered his chambers and handed him a list of the nobles attending the banquet.
‘So, this is how it is.’
Five would be attending the banquet celebrating his daughter’s birthday.
Those five were long supporters of the Crown Prince’s faction.
Now that Ferzen was openly supporting the Second Prince, those of the Second Prince’s faction must have turned their backs.
‘A fine organized mess this is.’
A 5:5 ratio was not a bad thing for Lord Asran.
Honestly, had he been in Ferzen’s shoes he might not have limited the number of invitations.
He was either foolish for mentioning the exact number of invitations, or he was naive enough to not consider lying about it.
‘It seems that it’s still too early for you to play politics.’
Stroking his glorious beard, The Lord of The North strode into the ballroom.
But, as he saw the butler who had previously handed him the attendee list rewriting it, Lord Asran became puzzled.
“So, it’s more than five nobles attending the banquet?”
“Ah……T-that would be right my Lord.”
It was not even a fair 5:5 ratio.
The balance was already tipped to his side with a possible 4:6 before the next generation truly began.
Though the steward seemed to have more to say, Lord Asran lightly waved his hand and opened the large doors of the venue, stepping inside.
However, the moment he took a step inside, the Viscount of Asran felt a sense of discomfort.
Why was it so quiet and still, instead of the usual bustling atmosphere?
Where was the music that should have enhanced the liveliness of the celebration?
Why wasn’t the scent of wine, usually carried by its sweet melody, not permeating the air?
“You’ve arrived, Lord Asran.”
And soon, a voice resolved his questions, causing the Lord of the North to jerk his head in surprise.
“I heard you were bedridden. It’s fortunate to see you have recovered so well.”
His pupils widened.
Why was he here?!
Shouldn’t he be in Louerg right now?!
“Since Lord Asran is finally here, we should begin the celebrations, don’t you think so?”
With a faint smile, Ferzen’s voice spread through the quiet banquet hall.
Late as it was, the orchestras started playing.
The nobles from the North, unsure where to direct their gazes, lowered their heads. Following Ferzen’s lead, they grasped their knives and forks.
Yes, clearly, the protagonist of this celebration was Lord Asran’s daughter.
Yet, the actual protagonist sat there with flushed cheeks, biting her lips.
Ironically, it was Ferzen who, like the protagonist, led the grandly adorned celebration.
TL note: 7/20
Well, now that the boring said his note. (Im locking him up again) has anyone played Starfield? For me it was shit.
Everything is shit compared to Baldur’s gate 3 hahahahahahahaha.
Of course, aside from the magnificent Kotor games.
Man, I have this unhealthy obsession with those games. And it gets even worse with the MMO. I think I have over 2k hours in that thing.
I mean have you played the damn game????
OMG the Sith Warrior storyline is the best thing I’ve ever played in starwars content in like, 10 years by now. (Yes I’m old, fuck you
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
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