The ground rose and stood in the way between Adele and Lina, then it began to shake so much they couldn’t stand properly. Fortunately, there was a big tree where Adele was and she could steady herself with it, but the same could not be said for Lina.
Lina screamed, her foot slipped and she fell down. Adele immediately reached out her hand to grab her but she was still too far. Luckily, Philip caught her and managed to hold her securely into his arms. But the violent tremors still continued to rock their bodies back and forth.
Unable to withstand the swaying motions, the big tree Adele was clutching on for dear life abruptly shifted into a dangerous position and her body was pulled back.
Her head collided against the thick bark of the tree and she fell down, her vision blurring.
Am I going to die just like this?
As her mind became hazy, a distant sound entered her ears.
Hearing that familiar voice, Adele soon lost consciousness.
Autumn, one year ago.
Adele was walking with Enon in the garden of the Maktus family. Vibrantly-colored autumn leaves fell and were strewn on the ground, it was very pleasing to the eyes of passersby.
Wild boars appear quite frequently, but hunters were entrusted with the task of keeping them at bay so it was safe to roam around. Enon looked at a maple tree and raised an eyebrow.
‘It’s quite fortunate to walk with you like this, the scenery is so beautiful.’
‘I didn’t know we had such a view.’
He chuckled, ‘It’s normal for you to not know about this place. People rarely walk here, and it’s been a long time since I came back here myself, courtesy of having to lay in bed due to my illness.’
He muttered jokingly, but it was tinged with a bit of ache.
‘Noah, he used to practice using his sword here. Well, he did say he still trains here quite often. Anyways, it’s nice to get some fresh air outside. Let’s go for a walk like this sometimes.’
Adele could only nod silently, but didn’t expect him to let out a light-hearted complaint.
‘What use is there to become the duke? I’ve lost lots of time to even relax.’
He smiled good-naturedly, and Adele smiled back at him.
Recently, her father-in-law began to pass on his role as the head of state to Enon. He had a lot to learn since his education as the successor was halted due to his infirmity from an early age. Enon looked at his wife who was silently walking beside him and took her hand.
‘You know that I lack many things, right? But you are different. Instead of Baron Liliand solely relying on himself, you assisted him greatly and managed to help him rise to the top.’
‘It was just handling a small barony, it wasn’t that hard.’
‘No, don’t be too humble.’
He firmly stressed.
‘If my parents die, I would have to take on the role of a lord completely, but it’s full of things I have no knowledge about. Now, the only one I can trust is you, and I hope you could help me with that.’
With Enon’s sincere words, Adele found it hard to decline. She was about to say that she would do her best, but then her eyes widened and she immediately tried to warn Enon.
There’s a wild boar!
‘What do yo—ah! Adele, run!’
The boar raised its horns and growled, it looked like it escaped from the hunting team. Adele pulled Enon to the side when it ran towards them and they fell to the side.
Fortunately, the wild boar rammed its head against the tree behind them.
Adele felt blood dripping from her ankles that scraped against the ground. But she couldn’t care less about it at the moment. The boar had already turned around and was rushing back at them.
Adele didn’t have enough time to flee and reflexively shut her eyes.
However, the pain she expected didn’t come. She didn’t feel hurt anywhere but she smelled blood and surreptitiously opened her eyes. In front of her was a broad, sturdy back.
It wasn’t Enon, his small stature wasn’t like this.
This person is…
Enon breathed a sigh of relief and raised his head. Noah reinserted his unstained sword and turned around to inspect Adele. Her body was still shaking because of what had just happened. Noah clicked his tongue once when he saw this.
The servant who followed him immediately went to assess if the two of them had any injuries.
‘Milord! Milady! The both of you are safe! Are you hurt anywhere?’
Enon lost his strength so he couldn’t get up and continued to cough. In the end, he vomited out blood little by little and saliva dribbled form his lips. His body was really too weak.
‘Yes, milord! Ah, milady, should you—?’
‘I am fine, bring him away first.’
At Adele’s command, the servant hurriedly approached and carried Enon who laid weakly on the ground. Enon glanced at Adele who remained motionless while she sat. He felt reassured when he saw she was fine.
‘It’s a relief to see that you are safe. *cough* Pardon, Adele, I’ll have to go first.’
‘Please be careful.’ Adele smiled, trying hard to ignore her ankles that were hurting. The servant carrying Enon began to dash towards the castle hurriedly. She was comforted to see he would be fine soon, but then she felt nauseous because of the bloody smell.
Adele held onto a tree and dry heaved. When she looked up, a leather water bag held out to her.
Noah watched her with as his eyebrows drew together. She smiled awkwardly, but she still thankfully took the bag of water and drank, being careful to not let her lips make contact with the rim.
‘Thank you. I should also take my leave.’
‘Are you injured anywhere?’
Adele felt her ankles ache, but she still shook her head. ‘No, I’m alright.’
Before she could finish her words, her long skirt was pulled up by his hand. Shocked, Adele quickly lowered her garments. Fortunately, only half of her calf was exposed. But Noah frowned when he saw blood dripping from her ankles.
‘If you are hurt, say that you are hurt.’ His jaw tightened and he suddenly lifted her up. Adele was seated on Noah’s left arm and she immediately panicked.
‘L-let me down! I can walk by myself!’