Walter was wandering through the woods, all by himself.
Earlier while he was still with his hunting group, strange monsters suddenly appeared, and he soon fled, leaving behind the others.
However, considering what he’s experiencing now, he was having second thoughts.
Maybe it would have been better to stay together with them rather than escaping alone.
Walking alone in the woods seemed several times more dangerous.
Besides, what’s with this squalid rain
‘Ha, shi… In the first place, I wasn’t going to participate in this hunting festival anyway.’
Truthfully, he joined the hunt only because he trusted Leo.
Last time, at the funeral that House Carter had held, when Walter and Hermann went together with Leo—
Leo was the one who approached them first.
Thanks to this, they also got to see the rare scene where the ducal ladies and the young dukes were gathered together.
It’s for this reason that Walter thought Leo would have his back in this hunting festival.
There’s also a young lady he’s been eyeing since before, so he was just planning to stick by Leo’s side while hunting, then he’d bring back good enough game for her as a gift.
However, after the hunting festival first started, he couldn’t find neither hair nor hide of Leo.
‘If Leo was there when the monster appeared, I wouldn’t have needed to escape alone like this…!’
His lamentations were absurd, but at least Walter genuinely believed it.
He didn’t know how long he’d been wandering through the woods alone now, but then, he suddenly began to hear something rustling nearby.
Walter halted where he was and blinked.
Coming through the sound of the rain, this unusual rustling was not usually from an animal.
Earlier, those monsters.
It’s obviously one of them.
Walter immediately crouched close to the ground just in case he’d get caught.
And, he held his breath.
However, despite such efforts, the heinous monster jumped out through the bushes and quickly found Walter.
It rushed in at once.
When a blue monster that looked like a mad dog lunged at him, Walter fell on his behind.
And it would definitely not be enough even if he tried to defend himself as hard as he could, but he nonetheless sloppily drew out his sword—but raised his arms only to cover his eyes.
Wholly unable to wield that sword.
Meanwhile, the distance between the monster and Walter gradually narrowed.
‘Ah, I’m going to die!’
No matter how stupid he was, he could at least tell this much.
Through his now-glazed view, the sharp fangs of the monster were clearly visible.
However, it’s not Walter but the monster that collapsed first.
The monster was right in front of him now as it bore its jagged teeth at him, but it suddenly fell to the side.
When the monster’s giant body fell, the wet soil splashed everywhere, accompanied by a loud sound.
There, sweeping her wet hair roughly up, the woman went on to stab the fallen monster with a longsword.
Without a moment’s hesitation.
Soon enough, the monster that had tried to rise to its feet again instead began to disintegrate into the air without a trace.
Walter gawked foolishly at the scene that had unfolded in front of him, and he belatedly noticed who exactly this woman was.
“Ducal Lady… Valentine”
When Walter uttered her name, Rosetta’s golden gaze turned to look at him, then she walked closer to him.
She brushed off the blue dust on the sword and approached him.
“That sword, you know how to use it, right”
At the question that’s spoken with a cold voice, Walter nodded.
“Then that’s enough.
Aim for the heart of the blue monsters, that’s their fatal spot.
Don’t just sit down like you’re doing now, but immediately aim for their hearts.
That will increase your chances of living.”
This was all that Rosetta said.
After that, the woman did not offer a hand to Walter, who was still collapsed on the ground.
She simply turned around.
However, she stopped somewhere for a moment.
With a closer look, it seemed like she had left a man there, leaning against one tree.
She stopped to hoist him up and support him.
Walter hurriedly stood up from the ground and grabbed Rosetta.
“E…Excuse me! Please wait, Lady Valentine!”
Unpleasantly, Rosetta turned at the unwelcome call.
As they were closely facing each other now, Walter realized how breathtakingly beautiful the ducal lady was.
Looking at her with her face soaked by the rain, Walter strangely even found his throat feeling parched.
The man gulped dryly and continued.
“Please take me with you.
I’m injured as well.
Like the man next to you.”
It’s an obvious lie.
After he had faced two monsters with the group that he was with earlier, he realized how futile it was to fight.
Regardless of how many times he cut them down, they just wouldn’t die.
And that’s why he was the first to flee from the group and run away alone.
Without a chance to get injured.
He felt pain in just one place now, and that’s at his bum and tailbone.
Rosetta looked at him with such glacier-like eyes, then she sighed briefly.
You’ll just be a nuisance.”
“You know their weakness now, so it wouldn’t be too difficult for you to deal with them.
You’re one of the hunting festival’s participants, are you not Perhaps a few knights or other nobles would come down from the mountain.
After refusing him coldly, the woman soon began to reposition the man she was supporting, and she then carried him on her back.
Walter gawked once again.
How could a slender woman like her so easily carry a man who looked twice her size
However, his shock was short-lived.
More important issues still remained.
“No, but… Then you should at least take me there!”
At his brazen request, which sounded more like an order, Rosetta raised one eyebrow.
“…How is it possible that everyone says the same thing”
After saving them, everyone just wants more and more, of course…
Rosetta muttered quietly to herself, not exactly responding to Walter’s words anymore.
She turned around and went on her way.
“Ah… no, please! Your Ladyship! Your Ladyship!”
Walter shouted, but Rosetta just continued to quickly move away.
And so, Walter was left alone, stunned.
Then, he stomped his feet out of frustration.
“Oh, how stingy! What’s wrong with taking one more person with you If you helped me, you should take responsibility.
He grumbled for a long time, but he suddenly realized that something’s strange.
‘By the way, I’ve never heard of the Ducal Lady being so strong that she could kill a monster without hesitation.
And she could even travel down the mountain with a man who looks to be a head taller than me on her back…’
Now that he thought about it, it was also strange how she knew about the weakness of the monster in advance.
The shameless, childish man soon looked at the direction where Rosetta had disappeared.
There was a mysterious look in his eyes.
And what’s certain was this: despite being the benefactor who saved his life, his prolonged glance was of a different kind.
* * *
“He knows now, so he should do well, right”
At Cassion’s question, which was accompanied by his harsh breathing, Rosetta nodded.
She didn’t stop running forward.
“Yes, I also told him the blue monsters’ fatal point, so he should be fine.
If you persistently kill them that way, it’ll be difficult for them to revive.
Besides, all the monsters we’ve encountered until now have been going around alone.”
This was not the first time that Rosetta had saved someone on her trek down the mountain.
Just now, that guy was already the fifth.
Normally, she would have just gone on while pretending that she didn’t notice, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave them alone.
She kept thinking that the blue monsters were only here because of her.
It’s not her fault, just as Cassion said.
This was all the doing of that disgusting prick who followed her here and summoned all these monsters.
Still, the more people get hurt by those blue monsters, the more uncomfortable she would be.
Despite the hectic situation she was already facing, whenever she encountered anyone who’s in danger, she would stop in her tracks and help.
Funnily enough, however, they all said the same thing each time.
‘Take me with you.’
‘Can’t you take one more person with you’
‘Don’t be so miserly, let’s go together.’
What’s even funnier was that, while they would say this, there was this certain look somewhere in their eyes—desire for her as the opposite sex.
It’s difficult to figure out just who the real beasts here were.
“Ha… Aren’t I heavy”
Cassion’s question made Rosetta grin.
This scenario and this question, it’s usually a classic cliché in any romance novel.
However, it’s usually the woman who’s being carried and who’d ask.
“You’re not heavy.
You’re as light as cotton candy.”
When Rosetta answered playfully, Cassion grinned as well.
On her back, the man’s chest slightly puffed up as he laughed.
Then, she felt it go back down again.
The area where they touched, through the wet fabric of their clothes, was both cold and hot.
“That’s… haa… a relief.
Still, as expected, you would have fared better if you left me there earlier… haa…”
Though hindered by panting breaths, Cassion’s voice drew a smile on Rosetta’s face.
Still, she darted off with a stiff expression.
Just a while ago—
Around the time that they departed from the cave.
Cassion told her to leave him there.
Considering how injured he was, he said that he’d only weigh her down.
However, Rosetta firmly shook her head.
‘You need to be brought down the mountain to get treated.
His current condition was terrible.
It wouldn’t be good to leave him there alone.
The large gash on his back was serious, and because of the rain, his body temperature dropped increasingly.
Besides, there might still be some blue monsters wandering about.
Leaving Cassion was tantamount to forgetting about him completely, already expecting his death.
She couldn’t possibly do that.
She could never turn a blind eye to Cassion and let him die.
It was a different feeling from when she was protecting Alicia.
This man protected her even though his entire body was left in shambles.
He was severely injured, and yet, this foolish man pushed the bonfire closer to her.
And, he was this strange man who just casually believed such a groundless story.
She wished for him to live, at any cost.
So, Rosetta carried him on her back.
Somehow or another, they would both reach the barracks together, and she’d leave Cassion’s treatment to the priests.
After that, she would go find Alicia on her own.
All she could hope was that Diana was holding up well.
“Saying things like, ‘You should have left me behind, you should have gone alone’.
Don’t even dare to say such foolish things.
No, just don’t talk, period.
You’re wasting your strength.”
Rosetta spoke thunderously, then clamped her mouth shut right after.
Evidently displeased, her furrowed eyebrows moved up and down for a moment.
On the other hand, Cassion smiled with his face buried in Rosetta’s shoulder.
And, with a blurry gaze, he peeked at his side.
The wound on his back had been feeling strange since a while ago.
While it was getting hotter and hotter even as it was being soaked by the rain, but even so, blood continued to flow down.
He just held back his groans, forcing himself to bite the inside of his cheek.
And he could only hope that his breathing didn’t sound too erratic.
At the very least, he didn’t want to hinder Rosetta any more than this.
Fortunately, Rosetta didn’t notice Cassion’s strange condition.
Cassion’s breathing was still rough, just as it was in the cave.
Before he knew it, they were nearing the barracks already.
Rosetta paused for a moment, looking back towards the woods.
As she halted all of a sudden, Cassion flinched.
By any chance, did he get caught
It was a question he painstakingly uttered normally.
Rosetta looked at the forest with a slightly grim gaze, but she soon shook her head and moved once again.
“No, let’s go.”
Her golden eyes fluttered strangely.
She’s sure that Damian’s holding up well out there.
Unable to bring herself to voice her concern, Rosetta instead turned away from the forest.