“Why that face? It looks like the face you make when you’ve eaten something untastey.”
“…It’s a distasteful scenery.”
Sungchul placed his hands into his pockets and walked forward briskly. The one thing he appreciated in the dream world was that the coat that was utterly destroyed during the battle against Sidmia was perfectly recreated.
Sungchul moved quickly through the soul crushing environment in search of Ryze Himerr’s daughter. And he soon found the child. But he could not approach her, because next to her was Ryze.
Even though this was merely a world of dreams, the living breathing Ryze of his memory was perfectly recreated in every aspect before him. Sungchul felt a powerful stinging pain in his heart and winced.
“Mmm? Why did you stop?”
Bertelgia who was following from behind found Sungchul who had frozen in place, and then looked ahead to find the child and Ryze who was playing with her.
“Ah… that woman… is…”
She wasn’t as beautiful as Bertelgia had assumed her to be. If judging from purely an aesthetic point of view, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Clarice or even McRaed was far more beautiful than her. But Bertelgia could quickly tell that there was something shining very brightly within Ryze.
Ryze who was playful and bright was playing with Craiya boisterously like an old friend. Bertelgia who had plenty of experience looking after children knew that it wasn’t easy to be able to play that joyfully even with your own child.
In the midst of rowdy jolly-making, a man made an appearance in the garden.
He was a very large man with gorgeous features that wouldn’t be amiss a statue, and eyes that contained peerless innocence.
Once the man appeared, Craiya opened her arms wide open and ran towards him full of glee.
Bertelgia glanced to the side to watch Sungchul when this happened. Sungchul’s fatigue laden face was now full of desolate bitterness that covered his face like a shade.
“Why are you so disheartened? You faced down a Lesser God without flinching!”
Bertelgia slapped Sungchul on his back and said in a bright tone. A faint smile appeared for a moment on Sungchul’s face before disappearing again.
“But now that we’re here, how are we supposed to get that child to leave this paradise of a dream world and return to reality? Do we have to become something like criminal homewreckers?”
Sungchul was parroting what Bertelgia was saying absentmindedly. Bertelgia jumped up in surprise and pushed Sungchul from behind with her hands.
“Stop thinking about something weird and let’s go inside that manor first. Who knows? We might find a clue!”
Sungchul was pushed by Bertelgia towards the manor contrary to his desires.
The interior of the manor was decorated with suitable inexcessive decor that maintained an elegant and balanced look.
Even to someone lacking artistic sense like Sungchul, it looked like an excellently arranged interior.
Past the entrance and through the lobby, there was an item that caught Sungchul’s attention. On the wall of the lobby facing the entrance was hung a decorated wooden sword. Outwardly, it looked like a crudely and haphazardly crafted ash-wood sword, but this sword was something that meant a great deal to Sungchul.
On the blade of the wooden sword was a scribbled carving in an ancient language. The meaning was uncommon courage.
In Ruteginean Colosseum you can only exit by killing or being killed by your opponent, it was the only accepted 3rd way out. In others words, it was a proof of pardon. It was the reward for engaging Sungchul in a brutal battle that lasted half a day.
Of course Sungchul also received the same wooden sword. The only problem was that once he had become the Enemy of the World, he had lost it during his escape.
‘I thought I might never see it again.’
According to rumors, the wooden Sword of Kreigfreid in the garden was also lost after his family fell into ruin and the auction house holding his sword burnt down before it was sold.
Sungchul stood for a while between the two mirrored staircases leading up to the next floor looking up at the wooden sword that was displayed at the center.
“Um… Wouldn’t it be too weak of a weapon for someone like you to be using?”
Bertelgia who had no way of knowing asked bluntly.
“That might be the case.”
Sungchul moved away from the wooden sword and climbed up the stairs. After grabbing hold of the stair rails that reflected the light like mirrors and reaching the top of the stairs, he arrived at a hallway covered in red carpet with many doors to the either side.
‘Now what should I do?’
Bertelgia took a hold of Sungchul’s sleeve and pulled slightly when she noticed him hesitate and asked.
“What about we try to find the room the kid uses first?”
Sungchul followed Bertelgia’s suggestion and searched for the room Craiya might be using.
In the midst of opening the many doors of the hallway, Bertelgia suddenly asked a question.
“That Craiya kid. What kind of child is she?”
“Why do you ask?”
Sungchul closed the door that led to an empty room as he replied.
“Just curious. Wouldn’t it be natural to be curious about a child you’re willing to die trying to revive when you’re someone I’d be surprised to find out that you could bleed when pricked by a needle?”
“Curiosity killed the cat.”
Sungchul did not appear to want to say.
“But I am no cat.”
Bertelgia brought her hands up to her head and used her hands to imitate animal ears.
“I am a Carbuncle, you see.”
Sungchul’s face became rigid. He was caught unprepared for Bertelgia’s sudden and unexpected cutesy act. Sungchul soon freed himself from the shock and made a bitter smile before mumbling.
“…I detest Carbuncles. Sky Squirrels are a hundred times better.”
“Shhh! What are you going to do if the Carbuncles hears this? It’s possible that you won’t be able to do the fairy light show you love to do anymore.”
Sungchul decided that it would be best for him to stop speaking in the face of Bertelgia’’s endless verbal jabs.
‘She’s already normally very verbose, but it seems to be worse inside of dream worlds.’
Sungchul quickly moved down the hallway. But Bertelgia seemed to be unable to permit his behavior.
“I still haven’t heard what kind of kid Craiya was, Carbung?”
It appeared as though she was planning on following him around and nag him until he told her the story. Sungchul let out a shallow sigh before speaking.
“She was a quiet girl of few words.”
Bertelgia finally put down her hands she used as a stand in for Carbuncle ears and stood upright.
“Is that all?”
“She was very obedient. Totally different from you.”
“What about me? How can you say that when I often pull my own weight and earn my meal when I don’t even need to eat?”
He couldn’t win with words. Sungchul closed his mouth and opened the next door. It was a well decorated room that appeared to be a playroom. All sorts of toys and dolls were in the room. There was even a small pet dog sleeping on a bed. Sungchul entered the room and gazed down at the toys littered around the room with indifferent eyes.
Bertelgia walked in front of Sungchul and knelt down on the ground to touch some of the toys before speaking up.
“Hmm. It sure is different for a rich kid. Look how many different toys she has. Back in my day, we played with chicken feet.”
Sungchul appeared to be weirded out, so Bertelgia gestured as if she was holding something in one hand and pulling on it with the other.
“You know, after you butcher a chicken, you’re left with the feet. You can play with the feet by pulling on the ligament that sticks out like this. Didn’t you try this?”
Sungchul had spent a sufficiently impoverished childhood, but he had never played with chicken feet in such a manner. In fact, he’s never even heard of anyone ever having done this.
“Mmm? You haven’t?”
Bertelgia saw Sungchul’s troubled look and hopped forward to ask once again.
“…You really haven’t?”
“Then what did you play with as a child?”
“What are you going to do with that knowledge?”
Sungchul headed to the next room. But once he got close to the door of the next room, he could hear muffled voices coming from the other side. Sungchul turned towards Bertelgia and put his pointer finger on his lips to indicate to her to be silent. It was because the voice he heard beyond the door belonged to Craiya’s family. He couldn’t help but be cautious.
Bertelgia, who soon realized why Sungchul hesitated, reached out and grabbed the door handle.
When Sungchul tried to protest, Bertelgia replied delightfully.
“Well what’s the problem? They won’t mind even if we open the door. This is a dream world after all.”
Even before Bertelgia finished speaking, she opened the door wide open and the scene hidden behind the doors fully came into view for Sungchul.
This was Craiya’s room. Next to the small but elegant bed covered by a silk mosquito curtain was Craiya’s family spending a blissful moment together.
“How do you read this? Mmm? I can’t hear you. Can you speak louder?”
Sitting in front of a desk, Kreigfreid and Ryze were helping Craiya study. Craiya was struggling to read the book on the desk before falling over onto the floor with her arms spread wide.
“I can’t do it!”
Ryze clicked her tongue before leaning her body onto Kreigfried’s shoulders and commented jokingly.
“It appears as though our daughter isn’t very smart because she took after you. If she was more like me, then she would have completely read an easy book like this in a day!”
“It’s not cute if such a young child is too smart, right?”
Kreigfreid laughed light heartedly and picked up Craiya who was laying down on the ground and raised her high.
Although this was an idyllic moment of familial love, it was hopelessly oppressive for Sungchul to watch. He stepped back and soon turned around.
Bertelgia was watching Sungchul’s slight changes in expression with her large blue eyes.
But it was when Sungchul was about to leave the room. Craiya who was laughing brightly in Kreigfreid’s arms turned to look his way. Sungchul didn’t see but Bertelgia saw with absolute certainty. That smile instantly vanished from Craiya’s face when she saw Sungchul’s profile.