Chapter 276: The Giant’s Bed, Flimslat
Her right hand twitched and her cheeks tightened. Feeling a strange pain in her joints, Caria used all of her strength to tie her body to the ground, which was about to start moving at any moment.
Her silver eyes, which were looking at Lugis’ side face as he pointed to the large map, saw something dark occasionally as they got wet. Her heartbeat increased and her sharp canine teeth bit her lip without realizing it.
“Ah, I hate this. This is too much to bear. If possible, I want to avert my gaze as soon as possible and pretend that I never saw this spectacle.” However, without being able to do that, Caria caught Lugis with her sight.
She stared at that warm look on his face. She could even see the feeling of longing in his eyes. It was exactly the same as what she saw in her own eyes when she looked in the mirror.
It was an expression that longed for something, wanted something, and desired to reach out for something even if it meant throwing away everything else. There was nothing wrong with that feeling alone. Rather, if it was directed at oneself, the heart would be filled with satisfaction and joy. Happiness was not something that could be expressed with cheap words.
However, what was floating in his sight was definitely not Caria herself. She understood that truth and hated it. Lugis moved his eyes over the map, but in his heart he was thinking about a childhood friend who was far away and was still unable to meet.
…The witch Ariene.
When those words spilled from Largud Ann’s lips, Lugis was the first to react. Caria could tell that his eyebrows, which were usually calm, were now bouncing.
“No one else here knows the reason why he is not calm. No, in the first place, no one can even guess that Lugis has no small feelings for that witch.”
“However, I know. Yes, I know it.”
Caria swayed her silver hair while enduring her distorted expression. She clenched her fist hard as she bent her fingers one by one.
“Knowing a side of Lugis that others don’t know makes me proud, and I even feel a strange exhilaration. But because of that, mad thoughts are piercing my heart without mercy.”
“Since the first time I met him at Gharast, time has passed that cannot be said to be short. But until now, Lugis’ heart has not been swayed. The longing he feels for his childhood friend never stopped even once.”
“Even if he occasionally turned to my direction as if on a whim, he would immediately turn his face to another direction. What a selfish and cruel man. He could have lied to himself in order to appease my ferocious feelings.”
「…There’s no point in chasing a missing witch. You can’t grasp the sky without your feet on the ground.」
Caria unintentionally said so to cut off the topic. She desperately pressed her lips to keep her voice from trembling. If her voice showed such weakness, she would sound like a frail girl. There was no way that Caria would expose such an unpleasant look.
Ann nodded lightly, as if to agree with those words. Originally, the topic of the witch Ariene was probably added as a supplement. She didn’t even pretend to pay attention to Caria’s words.
Caria honestly thought that she managed to avert this topic. She didn’t want to see Lugis think of his childhood friend anymore. She couldn’t stand it.
“If possible, I’d like to reprimand him for being immersed in the past.” Caria was fighting with herself because her internal organs were numb. The silver eyes caught Lugis who was still looking at the map. Would the face of his childhood friend never leave his mind? Caria’s lips twisted in response.
“What did that childhood friend do to you? Isn’t it me who has accompanied you on your journey and fought alongside you? I knelt down and vowed to hold you by my hand, swing your sword, and even shield you. Is that not enough? Then, what more should I do?”
“I wanted to say that it is enough while clinging to Lugis. If I can do it without shame, my heart will be relieved.” However, Caria’s lips were tightly closed without letting out anything else. Ever since she realized it in Ghazalia, she had imagined that scene over and over again. However, allowing it or ignoring it was impossible for Caria.
It was partly because of Caria’s nobility that she could not imitate such an unsavory thing, and partly because of an emotion that consumed her heart.
“…If, only if. Forget everything and look at me. Don’t reject me.”
As soon as she had those thoughts, she realized that her mind had become cold as if it had been frozen. Her eyes flickered, and something cold crawled down her spine.
Caria pretended to put her hands together while enduring the pain the encircled her body. The tent suddenly became uncomfortable. At some point, fear ran through her fingertips.
「Lastly, Lord Lugis. About what you’re going to do during the dead snow… 」
Ann started out with a slightly nervous tone. Her gaze wandered around as if she were lost.
The topic about what Lugis was going to do. In short, would he stay in the walled city of Garoua Maria, which was the key point of the Heraldic Order? Would he stay in the Hanging Gardens of Ghazalia, which was the kingdom of elves? Now, which one should he choose? Unless there was something else.
Caria managed to catch her breath while listening to Ann’s voice. She could see that Ann’s gaze, which was entwined between Saint Matia and Queen Eldith’s, was becoming stiff.
Those two looked very serious. Yes, without knowing it, Caria understood. Just as she had a heart-burning obsession with Lugis, they probably had something deep down inside them too. She couldn’t say if it was a bad thing or not.
“What would my former self say after seeing my current self?” Just like that, it was around the time that Caria let out a small sigh and before Matia and Eldith managed to speak out. Lugis immediately spoke without any signs of uncertainty.
「…I’ve decided what to do a while ago. I’m stretching my legs to the Northern Mountains of Flimslat. I literally felt like I was burning. It will not be a bad choice to cool off a little.」
At that moment, Caria had a hunch. It was more than her natural sharpness. It felt like the things she had built up until now had meshed together.
Lugis was not thinking about Caria or Filaret now. He didn’t call out to anyone else. He just thought about someone who was on the other side of the map.
Caria had a hunch about the identity of that someone. There was no need to confirm her theory and suspicions.
“…He wants to head north to take the hand of his childhood friend.”
Within that moment, Caria’s silver eyes darkened and she narrowed them sharply, as if regaining her natural intensity.
The Northern Mountains of Flimslat. Originally, it was not a place where people could easily enter and exit. There was no road connecting that place and the map was only roughly made. In the first place, it was not a land where people should enter.
After all, it was not the realm of humans. It was not the realm of demon beasts either. It was a place with no humans, no monsters and even no elves.
Then, who or what was making the vast northern mountain range their base?
The answer was simple; since the dweller was neither human nor monster…The Founding Giant was the one who made it its territory. The Flimslat Mountains were known as the Giant’s Bed. Everyone called it the place where the lost relics from the age of gods slept.
That said, of course, it was not like the giant was walking around all over the place on a daily basis. Rumor had it that the Founding Giant was even bigger than the mountains themselves. If such a thing were to roam free, the human kingdom would be blown away in a single night.
The giant simply sat comfortably in his own bed with his eyes closed. He had a long, long dream. It was a dream that wouldn’t wake him up until the end of this world.
Therefore, in order not to incur the wrath of the giant, and thus the end this world, no one should approach the north. That was the bedtime story that children were often told by their parents and grandparents.
Practically speaking, nobody knew if there really was an existence called the Founding Giant; and if it really existed, was he truly asleep? It was said that most of the giants perished after continuous intercourse with humans over the centuries.
However, it was a fact that demon beasts did not approach the Flimslat Mountains, and even though humans were different from demon beasts when it came to intelligence and curiosity, they did not try to touch the mountainous areas that were difficult to live in and lacked the blessings of the earth. As a result, the Founding Giant was able to keep his bed undisturbed.
Well, if that giant really existed, it would probably be able to bounce off the intruders with just one tossing. Even in the past, such an existence was only heard in fairytales, and no humans currently alive met such a being.
Normally, no one would approach such a place. Even I was not curious enough to move my legs to such a place for no reason. But now I had a clear reason. The reason was more important than anything else.
Yes, the Flimslat Mountains were a familiar place. It felt nostalgic. Did it seem like it was floating on my eyes? I recalled the snowy field, days when the blizzard pierced my cheeks and froze my legs while walking on Flimslat. I had nothing in my hands during those days and was just licking the humiliation and resignation every single hour of the day.
Ariene’s journey carved on the large map seemed to depict those dreary days as they were. And if it was the same as it was in the past, the next destination would be undoubtedly the land of Flimslat.
Unknowingly, my eyebrows distorted. I realized that my breath, which should have been cold, had a strange heat. I thought that I had come a long way. But, it seemed that I still had not escaped from those days.
… If that’s the case, why don’t I trace it for the first time in a long time? Let’s revive the memories of the journey of salvation, a life I once had.
Even so, the past kept dirtying my skin like mud even when I was running around. In that case, it should be a good idea to face it directly now.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!