What was the point of being good at time magic? It was forbidden magic, and there was always a price to pay. Even though a wizard could manifest magic through a medium, dying from using too much mana was part of that price.
“You mean, someone purposely created an artificial snowstorm to avoid being caught?” I asked.
“There’s a high chance of it.”
Kaichen simply threw the coat he’d taken off me and roughly took his hat off. The sun shined brightly on the snowy field where no footprints were present.
“What a shame. It’s a beautiful view.”
Behind Hoiore Castle, there was magnificent scenery of an icy mountain. Trees covered in snow lined the walls. The castle stood tall in the centre. It had a simple yet modern feel, with spires reaching towards the azure sky. It was a beautiful city with a calm atmosphere.
“It looks like a city from Europe…” I mumbled to myself.
After appreciating the scenery, which was not quite appropriate for the situation, Julius came over after a brief conversation with Chushinik.
“This is time magic… isn’t it?”
Chushinik was a swordsman down to his bones, so he couldn’t feel anything, but Julius, who had learned high-level magic, noticed immediately. Maybe he could feel time magic even better than Kaichen.
“Yes,” Julius gazed ahead. “As I thought, they won’t stop,” he said with a resigned voice.
Chushinik offered him a sympathetic glance. “Now that they know how to do it, they will keep doing it again.”
“I have a headache,” Julius sighed, pressing his forehead while asking everyone to move closer.
I walked through the snowy field, seeing breath come out of every exhale. Kaichen linked his arms with me to prevent me from falling. With his help, I was able to reach the gates of Hoiore without looking ridiculous.
I let out a breath as I looked at the surroundings. Like I’d seen from afar, Hoiore clearly had the familiar sensation of time magic within its walls. The strange and suffocating silence made me wonder if anyone even lived there.
While looking around, a short scream suddenly came from Chushinik. Julius immediately ran over to him.
“Are you alright?” he anxiously asked.
Julius, who was fond of those who were loyal, liked Chushinik very much. In the original story, he was called the Crown Prince’s excellent and faithful hound, and that said it all. Julius, who showed affection freely, was someone you just couldn’t hate.
Meanwhile, Kaichen was still Kaichen. He didn’t show warmth despite the situation. He asked with straightforwardness that was probably colder than the snow on the ground.
“I tried to open the gate, but I bounced right off,” Chushinik explained with a sheepish grin.
“Oh, you didn’t know because you didn’t learn magic.”
“When time magic is activated, it envelops the space around it like a barrier. If it isn’t destroyed, you can neither go in, nor get out.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier.”
Apart from Chushinik, Kaichen, Julius and I were skilled at magic. We forgot to tell him beforehand since we thought this was common knowledge. Luckily, he wasn’t seriously injured, but I still felt a little sorry.
“It’s my fault for trying to get in without thinking, Your Highness.”
Chushinik wiggled his butt and stood up, laughing good-naturedly. Julius smiled as he patted him on the shoulder and told him what to watch out for in detail. It was pathetic that Chushinik fell for Lamia, but the fact that he was a kind, handsome man didn’t change, so seeing him like this made me smile.
“What are you smiling about?” Kaichen suddenly interrupted beside me.
I shook my head and said, “It’s nothing.”
“You almost laughed, you know.”
“I said it’s nothing.”
“I really hope that’s the case.”
My eyes widened. “It looked like a happy scene.”
Kaichen’s eyebrows twitched as he tilted his head. “What is there to be happy about?”
“Huh… uhm… you also grew up well.”
“You weren’t even the one who raised me.”
“I’m saying I feel like you’ve grown up. That’s why I was smiling!”
I laughed nervously. Unlike the first time where I thought everything was wrong, I was just happy to see characters slowly developing like the original! Kaichen was now leaning on one leg, staring at me with his arms folded.
‘It couldn’t be… is he jealous?’
Come to think of it, even at that time in the restaurant, he strangely overreacted to Chushinik. But I couldn’t dare say he liked me back then. I merely thought he was just angry at Chushinik for treating me rudely. Then, at the next moment –
“Ah… you’re seriously adorable,” Kaichen suddenly said. Gone was the hard stare, only to be replaced with a helpless look. “Don’t smile when you think of a guy.”
I fought the urge to smile. “I’m smiling while thinking of Master, though.”
“I still can’t smile?”
I glanced up at him with wide, blinking eyes. Kaichen pursed his lips, and covered my face with his hand, threatening to push me away violently.
I didn’t know why I had to get Kaichen’s permission to smile, but his reaction was cuter than I thought.
“Fine, just do whatever you want.”
“No, I have to listen to the Master. Why? Why can’t I smile?”
“Oh, why master! Why aren’t you looking at me?”
When I followed him and continued to pester him until his ears turned red, he suddenly grabbed me.