|Author: TypeAxiom||Original Source: Scribble Hub|
When the spell finally exhausted its own power, the black dome flickered and disappeared.
The lightning had killed almost all life nearby, burning up the grass and heating the ground, boiling the water within the trees and blasting apart the outer layers. The earth had become barren and the only thing that could still move in the vicinity was Carmen.
Kagriss had been hovering just outside the range of the indiscriminate lightning strikes casting shields to protect Carmen, and now she descended nearby and ran over to Carmen, propping her up and covering her with a layer of undead mana.
“Camilla!” she cried. In her panic, Kagriss had forgotten her habit of calling the girl in her arms “Mistress” for the first time. The person she wished to be with, the one she might lose because of her selfishness, was not some nameless master. It was Camilla. “Please hang on. Don’t die!”
However, Carmen couldn’t hear her.
The mana that surrounded Carmen felt cool, caressing her body, seeping in and helping the wounds both inside and outside of her close. The irreversibly damaged parts that were burnt and blackened were cut away and pushed out of her body, new skin and flesh stretching over.
Although she felt no pain, the discomfort in her body slowly subsided.
Carmen saw Kagriss’s face through blurry eyes, leaning in close. Something warm and wet fell on her chest then and as Carmen wondered why she could feel that droplet, she realized that the initial dose of lightning had blasted her dress apart. Now that she thought about it, the metal plates on her dress might have saved her.
More warm droplets.
Her ears were still ringing, in the middle of regenerating the damage, but she thought she could hear sobbing. Carmen reached up toward the face staring down at her with her right hand. “Kagriss?”
Kagriss grabbed it, squeezing so hard that Carmen thought her bones might get crushed.
“—idiot! Why did you do that?”
Her ears finally recovered enough to hear what Kagriss kept on saying and the first thing she heard was Kagriss calling her an idiot…though she might have deserved that.
“What do you mean?”
She coughed, spitting out flakes of black matter along with mucus. Instead of pushing directly through her skin, the burnt bits cut away during repairs took the easy way out through her lungs and out her mouth.
“Why would you do something so reckless? Did you want to die or something? Did you have a death wish?”
“Of course not…I just didn’t want you to get hurt.” Carmen closed her eyes, trying to focus on recovering. In hindsight, diving in like that was really dumb, and she hadn’t been thinking at the time. However, the thought of that lightning spell hitting Kagriss was something unbearable. Something she couldn’t allow no matter what, so she did the only thing she could do…
“You should’ve thought about how I feel too!”
Once more, Kagriss had experienced something new, a new kind of fear. It was the fear not for her own life, but the fear of losing something. She had read about that kind of fear in the book about the knight and princess, and while she wanted to experience everything, there were some things best left unfelt.
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She never wanted to feel such a way again.
“Promise me that you’ll never do something like that again!”
But no matter how much Kagriss wanted her to promise, Carmen couldn’t. If she had a chance to do that moment over again, grabbing that antler, she’d do the exact same thing.
Even if in the future, there happened to be a similar situation and Kagriss was in danger, Carmen thought she’d probably put Kagriss’s life over her own. It would be an empty promise, one that she knew she’d break, so what’s the point of making on.
She shook her head.
Her action made a strange feeling well up in Kagriss that she never felt before: a mixture of the fear of loss, frustration over her mistress’s stubbornness, and a quiet rage over how Carmen didn’t consider her feelings. Just because she was an undead didn’t mean she didn’t feel as well.
Suddenly, she pulled Camilla up so that their foreheads touched, looking at each other face to face, eye to eye. “Promise me, Camilla! Promise!”
“I can’t!” Carmen said, before she realized that…did she hear wrong. “What did you just call me?”
“Don’t try to change the topic! This is about you. Will you promise me or not?”
Carmen shook her head again. “My answer won’t change. I won’t promise, and I’ll do it again and again as many times as it takes to keep you safe!”
To be honest, Carmen was a little scared of how Kagriss acted right now. She had never seen such powerful emotions from the lich before and it felt a little oppressive. It was like a cat that she thought had been docile suddenly grew up into a tiger and pushed her down.
However, she felt Kagriss was being a hypocrite. Just because she was the one to put herself in danger for Kagriss didn’t mean it’ll be the same way next time as well.
Sure, as a warrior, the chances for her getting in trouble and having to sacrifice her own safety was higher, but she didn’t think that Kagriss would just stand by and let her get fatally hurt. Didn’t Kagriss protect her just now, even going so far as to get close to the rampaging spell from the mana beast?
She looked away, not looking at the hypocrite. “It’s not like you won’t do the same for me.”
Surprisingly, that managed to shut Kagriss up as her pale face turned red from her bottled up emotions. It was as if there was so much she wanted to say, but none of it could be said thanks to Carmen’s words just now.
Kagriss knew that without a doubt, if it came down to her own life or her mistress Camilla’s, she’d pick Camilla’s, just as Camilla had picked her over her own safety. They were the same, and so did she even have the right to be accusing Carmen?
She couldn’t promise that she won’t disregard her own safety, so it would be cruel to force that upon Camilla.
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Her shoulders sagged as the heightened emotions that had put her on edge drained out of her. While she didn’t want to feel loss, her mistress Camilla definitely wouldn’t want to either, nor did she want Camilla to ever mourn over her. They were undead, they had an eternity ahead of them…
Where death will eventually force the princess and the knight apart, there was no end for her and her mistress, so why fight over who gets to die for the other? It was needlessly grim and cruel to force such a decision on them.
“Okay…but you still have to promise me that you’ll pay attention to your own safety as well, or I won’t know what I’ll do, Mistress…”
“Same to you. And don’t think I’ve forgotten,” Carmen said. With the grim topic over, she wanted to talk about something else. She thought—no, she definitely heard something just now. “What did you call me just now?”
“I called you Mistress…”
Carmen wanted to hit something. After Kagriss’s emotions calmed down, she reverted to her unflappable self, which meant it was much harder to get a rise out of her. She’ll still try though.
“Stop pretending. Come on, say it. I want to hear it,” Carmen said. “As a reward for keeping my promise of hunting a mana beast with you?”
At the mention of mana beasts, Kagriss suddenly didn’t want to meet her mistress’s eyes anymore. She had been selfish and arrogant…she didn’t listen to Camilla’s warnings about how powerful and unpredictably strong mana beasts were and they almost paid the ultimate price.
To think that she had been so excited and tried to convince Carmen to allow her to fight it. The thought of voluntarily facing one now was laughable.
Because of her, Camilla even promised her to go mana beast hunting in the future when everything was over, despite knowing the risks.
Kagriss reluctantly looked up, staring questioningly into Camilla’s eyes with her head slightly tilted. Hands grabbed her own, clasped together tightly.
By now, most of Camilla’s body, including her arm and hand, had regenerated despite suffering those disastrous wounds. Helping Camilla recover by contributing her own mana in such an inefficient way left her a bit drained but it was the least she could do after her mistress was left in such a sorry state in order to help her.
Ah…the guilt in her heart was becoming unbearable and made her want to cry. The tears that she let out when she thought that Camilla had died started to flow once more.
She closed her eyes as her mistress caressed her cheek, wiping away the gathering tears on the corner of one of her eyes.
“Don’t blame yourself. Nothing you said or done could have prevented the attack from Orlog and Pavlor’s retaliation,” her mistress said. Her eyes opened. “It was my own choice to stall the beast, so if anything, I should be the one to apologize for putting you through this because of my selfishness.”
“No, it’s not—” she tried to protest, but Camilla just shook her head and sat up.
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“Let’s stop talking about this. We’re not getting anywhere…what’s important is that we’re both okay, right, Kagriss?”
“Un…yes, Mistress,” Kagriss said. She wiped her eyes again.
Suddenly, Camilla knocked her on the head.
“Stop calling me Mistress and call me Camilla like you did before.”
It was only later that Carmen realized that she had asked Kagriss to call her Camilla rather than Carmen. That was a mistake, but she surprisingly didn’t mind it all that much.
Axiom: Poor Fleur is still missing her arm. Meanwhile, I lost count of the number of times Camilla lost her arm and just because she’s an undead, she can get away with it. Hmph!
You really have to hand it to Camilla, being able to take advantage of her new physique so easily, but at the same time you have to wonder: with how naturally Camilla took to treating her body parts as expendable, how exactly Camilla managed to survive over a decade as a templar with all her limbs intact?
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