“If I remember correctly, I almost died about three times, including the first boulder.”
Cassion smiled as he said this, but Rosetta shook her head.
“Four times, to be precise.
You didn’t notice, but I blocked one more blow.”
He let out a bewildered exhale, but that was all.
Rosetta observed Cassion’s reaction.
There weren’t any signs of him getting frustrated or nervous.
It’s just that, he looked so baffled.
But even that cleared up quickly, and he soon became serious once more.
I guess you’re not angry.’
Truthfully, it wouldn’t be out of place if Cassion had gotten angry at her.
She made him deal with a formidable enemy right off the bat, and she also willfully hid that enemy’s weakness from him.
If she was in Cassion’s shoes, she would have been confused.
However, instead of dwelling on negative feelings, Cassion simply raised his sword.
With how focused he was, even his ragged breaths started to calm down.
Rosetta also raised her fan.
She was going to leave the beast to Cassion again this time, but she would have to step in whenever the situation would get too close for comfort.
Right then, Cassion swung his arm.
Matching his razor focus, the sword stretched forward and undulated into the air.
Like a snake, flicking its forked tongue.
The spot that the stretched sword’s blade had hit was the deer’s jaws.
‘I just said that the deer’s weak point is its jaws…’
But he’s seriously attacking its jaws
His attack was straightforward.
He was openly looking for the opponent’s weakness.
The deer probably noticed this as well, and so it lowered its head and, with a huff, it rushed forward headfirst.
Its tall antlers shone sharply and approached threateningly.
The antlers and the sword clashed.
The accompanying sound rang as ferociously as the collision.
The sword was pushed out first.
It’s only natural, given that Cassion swung the whip with his hand while the deer wielded its antlers with its body’s full strength behind it.
However, instead of dropping down to the ground, the weapon weaved through the air.
With a path open before it, the whip sword slinked around the antlers.
Startled by the sensation of the sword wrapping around both of its antlers, the deer reared its head up.
As the giant head was lifted high into the sky, the recoil was tremendous.
Cassion, still holding the sword, was soon flung up.
The deer quickly lowered its chin again to hide its weak point, but Cassion shot through the air.
Rosetta stepped forward, anticipating that she might need to cover for him.
But before she could even jump off the ground, she stopped where she was.
While Cassion was up in the air, he clenched his teeth and gripped his sword tighter.
As if he was a fish in the water trying to take the bait into its mouth.
‘No, isn’t it the other way around’
It’s as if he was an angler clutching onto a fishing pole, trying not to let a giant fish get away.
Right, it was more like the latter rather than the former.
Because his gaze, as he was looking at the enemy, was dead set.
His black eyes were looking at only the head of the beast with not a hint of fear in them.
He was neither confused nor flustered.
With the sword still wrapped around the antlers, Cassion moved through the air once more.
Naturally, the arc in which he moved also changed.
Now, there was an enormous tree in the path of his trajectory.
An old tree.
It was the same old tree that had been useful for determining the right location.
This old tree had a considerably sized trunk, and its branches were also massive in size.
It was only after Rosetta saw the branches—which were larger than most adults—did she realize what Cassion was up to.
A sudden smile graced her lips.
As soon as he found out its weakness, he thought of a plan right away—and he did not hesitate to try it out.
Rosetta confirmed that it’s a good thing that she told him about the deer’s weakness belatedly.
If it was too easy for him to find a way to defeat it, then he wouldn’t be able to get any good ‘practice’.
Truthfully, Rosetta did not push ahead without an actual plan.
The white-yellow deer was a demonic beast that was not an easy opponent for the current Rosetta either.
She was marginally relaxed right now because she was on defense rather than going for the attack.
If she made up her mind to attack it head-on, then she wouldn’t be this relaxed.
No matter how much she had honed her skills, it didn’t mean that all her tricks would be able to reach the target during an all-out attack.
‘In the first place, without an opponent, I wouldn’t have gotten chased in my second transmigration—and that incident led to my death.’
Besides that, this body was in such poor condition that her outer strength wouldn’t be able to handle her inner strength.
Wasn’t that so lousy.
In the second transmigration, if she had come to possess this body, she wouldn’t have even lasted three days in that world.
She would have immediately moved on to the next transmigration.
Of course, the supernatural entities that she dealt with in that previous world were much worse than this demonic beast over here.
Still, the deer could live up to its title of ‘demonic beast’, as it was too much even for the knights of this world.
Nevertheless, there’s a reason for how Cassion was going through the ordeal of fighting against such a beast.
‘Because he’s going to have to fight alone in a few hours.’
The red-coated lizard, which would appear a few hours later, was something that Cassion would have to face alone.
The place where the red-coated lizard would rouse was near the barracks.
And this would be at a time when people who were participating in the hunt had already gone too far into the woods.
This was the case for both Leo and Damian.
And the three dukes, along with the emperor, would all be on their way to the imperial palace in their carriages by this time.
Therefore, there would be no one left who had enough strength to deal with the lizard.
It’s true that there were knights and mages stationed near the barracks.
But, to be perfectly honest, how helpful would side characters be in a situation like that
They would be nothing but pitiful cannon fodder, meeting futile demises.
Amongst those people, Cassion would have to step up alone to face the red-coated lizard.
Even Rosetta wouldn’t be able to help him.
Since there would be a lot of eyes around, she had no choice but to act like an ordinary ducal lady.
She could secretly send a burst of force or throw a concealed weapon, but it would be better for him not to expect any help because someone might notice.
So at the end of the day, Cassion would have to deal with the demonic beast on his own.
She was planning to tell him about the lizard’s weakness in advance, but it’s obvious that it would still not be easy to face it.
Therefore, he needed to put in some practice first with a suitable opponent so that he wouldn’t panic.
While pleasantly recounting my thoughts, Cassion’s body—which was still up in the air—came close to a branch.
At this moment, a thunderous call flowed out of his lips.
Hearing him, Rosetta readied her fan.
Then, she stepped forward, launching herself off the ground.
Summoning a burst of force around her feet, the surrounding scenery soon swept by around her.
Cassion’s body fell over the branch.
With the sword still in his hand.
With a harsh noise, the blade of the whip sword was caught over the branch, preventing Cassion from falling.
As if Cassion had become a pendulum.
Because the sword was still wrapped around the deer’s antlers, it couldn’t resist the momentary rebound, and so it raised its chin high up once more.
Its bewildered cry pierced through the mountain.
Rosetta continued to run forward without stopping, and she quickly reached the spot underneath the deer’s chin.
For a moment, their gazes met, and the deer’s eyes went wide.
Those eyes looked at her, who was staring straight at a spot beneath the deer’s chin.
It trembled, as if it knew its imminent demise.
The beast stomped its feet in a hurry, but the only thing it achieved by doing this was for it to lose its balance.
Eventually, it stumbled.
In a pitiful attempt to survive.
“I have no time to let you off easy.”
With a smile on her lips, she smashed the beast to the ground.
When the deer struggled, dust rose all over the area.
Amidst all that, chak, Rosetta folded her fan.
All at once, white dust settled around the folded fan.
Like dust that had been weighed down by something huge.
The end of the fan was loaded with force, and when she swung down with that force on the fan, the fan cut through something hard.
There was not even a doubt that it was the deer’s jaws.
* * *
The deer’s body collapsed with a huge resounding thud, and the spooked birds flew back into the sky.
Looking at those flocks flying away, I wiped the liquid I could feel trickling down my face.
On my forearm as well, there was a sticky green liquid oozing down.
Realizing that it must be the same thing that’s covering my face, my stomach lurched immediately.
With knotted brows, I hacked away at the dead deer’s antlers.
And as it was cut, a sharp sound accompanied the small piece that fell out of the deer’s giant antlers, tumbling down the floor.
It was only the size of a palm.
There’s no need for a lot in the first place.
This much was enough.
While I was packing away the antler part, I heard weary steps coming this way.
As he walked towards me as he sheathed his sword, I saw that Cassion was covered entirely with leaves and dust.
“How did you go down I was just about to think whether I should help you down.”
“It was a rough journey up, but it was easy going down.”
Oh, so you did roll on the ground a little.
I murmured back indifferently, but all the while, I was trying to hold back the coming grin that was threatening to burst through my lips.
Cassion also let out a brief chuckle.
“Is it really dead”
After Cassion chuckled, he asked as he nodded over to the beast.
“Yes, it really is.”
He looked down at the deer in silence.
He seemed quite relieved, as if he was thinking that it was all worth the struggle.
Smiling, I hid my fan back into my waist pocket.
Then, the antler part was placed into a pouch that had been prepared in advance.
If this thing would get lost, then only tears of blood would be left.
It was only after I tied the pouch that I raised my head.
In the meantime, while I hadn’t noticed, Cassion picked up the mask and the skirt that were thrown to the side earlier.
He approached this way with both items in his hands.
I greeted him with a smile, but I felt my eyebrows twitch as I saw the noticeable wound on him.
Cassion asked back, but without answering, I strode up to him and reached forward.
A faint groan flowed out of the man’s chapped lips.
“Over here, a wound.”
I brushed a thumb underneath Cassion’s eye.
Fortunately enough, the cut wasn’t deep, but a light smear of blood appeared like a trail left by my thumb.
Slowly retracting my hand, I stared quietly at Cassion’s wound.
He gazed back at me, equally as silent.
But after a moment, he hesitantly opened his lips to speak.
“Are you worried”
It was a silly question.
Perhaps he realized it too, and so Cassion’s ears got red right after he asked.
At the silly question, I glanced up at him.
‘Am I worried’
Rather than that, I felt a bit of regret.
“Perhaps, should I have… told you about the deer’s weakness a little earlier”
Instead of answering his question, this was what I said with a small voice.
Cassion gave me a subtle look.
Well, what I said was also a silly remark.
But I meant it.
I didn’t care when I went through four deaths before, but this regretful thought crossed my mind just at the sight of a slight cut on his face.
Good grief, I’m acting like an idiot.
This is ridiculous.
“By the way, aren’t you mad at me”
Amidst the delicate mood, I threw out that question.”
“That I didn’t let you know about the deer’s weakness earlier.
If I had told you from the start, you’d have struggled less.”
Cassion asked as if he really didn’t know, and so I pointed out the reason he should be angry with me.
After saying this, I immediately thought that I shouldn’t have said it anymore.
However, I had no regrets in the end because I really was curious about what he’d answer.
Not even a second after I stopped speaking, Cassion shook his head.
There was no hesitation in his answer, neither was there any frustration.
“Why would I be angry”
My curiosity was soon quelled.
Even so, I just shrugged back.
Cassion smiled lightly and held out my skirt back to me.
His unavoidable gaze looked straight into my eyes.
“There’s a reason for everything that you do.
At the very least, I know that you won’t put me in any danger arbitrarily.”
His firm voice was full of conviction.
As if there was nothing that could make his certainty waver.
I felt strange.
There was a subtle emotion rising within me, tickling at my mind.
Chuckling in surrender, I raised an index finger, a middle finger and a ring finger in succession.
Just as I did on the day we first met, when I vowed to him.
I even swore an oath to protect you.”
Cassion’s expression briefly hardened, as though he was recalling the events of that day, but he soon laughed afterward.
His small chuckle reverberated in my ears.
Still, there was that tickle.
However, this subtle tingling sensation did not last long.
Amid this stillness,
A strange bird’s cry broke through.
t/n: the ‘force’ that was mentioned in this chapter is a loose translation of ‘공력’, which is the ‘accumulation of the martial artist’s inner strength throughout the years’.
i admittedly haven’t read enough muhyeop/murim translations to know what the right term is, but i’ve settled for ‘force’.
(if you know a more apt translation for it, let me know~!)