ITDHL (Novel) Chapter 90

C90

"If it really was Asrahan, what do I say to him? Can I greet him? How should I look at him? Can I dare, dare to still like him?"

In an instant, Lariette stood up and looked out the window, complex thoughts wandering through her mind. Her heart pounded hard, and the beats were felt in the tips of her fingers that held the pendant. Finally, a figure outside the window unfolded before her eyes.

"Ah..."

Lariette gasped with a watery voice, the corners of her lips slowly tilting upward. It was a smile full of vanity. It was because there was no one she could mistake him for. Even if she desperately searched, there was no one like him. As if he didn't exist from the beginning, as if he was unique.

"Haha..." Lariette sank back to the floor with a weak smile between her parted lips.

She was foolish, as expected. She was pathetic, preparing her heart with strength until she stood up again and looked out the window. Tears filled the corners of her eyes, but they didn't flow. It was because she completely covered her face with both hands.

"Asrahan..."

She thought they might meet immediately, and as the fantasy burst like a bubble, she grew more desperate to see him. Lariette chose to travel because she feared he would kill her. Her newly regained life was so precious that she wanted to fulfill her final wishlist before seeing him again.

But as she stood up and approached the window, she didn't care about the fear of death. She only focused on the longing to meet Asrahan. And Lariette only realized it now. That meant she loved him. She loved him so much that even if he threatened her life, she wanted to go see him.

"Let's go back."

She only wanted to confront Asrahan, no matter how much he cursed or sought revenge on her. It would be a lie if she didn't admit that she felt sorry to immediately give up on her journey, but more than that, her feelings for Asrahan were more persistent.

"Let's go back quickly."

At the same time, she wanted to get off that carriage and head to the capital, but there was one thing preventing her from doing so. Doha's serious request to visit her mother together. She would apologize and decline, but that was Doha's only request, related to her trauma. After hearing her dark story, that her mother was a prostitute and she was sold to the temple, as a friend, she couldn't ignore it.

"I'll finish that and come back right away."

It was an hour by carriage, so she thought it wouldn't take much time. The moment she made that firm decision, the wagon door opened with a rattling sound. Lariette turned and looked at the man who had entered the wagon.

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Approximately a minute before Lariette stood up and looked out the window, Asrahan stopped in the middle of the street and turned his head, staring at the old carriage. That was exactly the one she was riding in. However, there were no changes in Asrahan's cold eyes. It was as if he was looking at an ordinary carriage. That was because Doha had anticipated any situation and set up a barrier in advance.

"... Was it an illusion?"

The familiarity he felt a moment ago had vanished. It might be hiding, but he was too focused on finding it to be deceived. Therefore, Asrahan was convinced that he had been mistaken, but strangely, he didn't move from his spot. He felt something strange. It was such an unfamiliar feeling that it wouldn't allow him to move from where he stood. He had to move quickly and find them, but his feet didn't budge at all.

"Perhaps."

As if possessed, Asrahan turned his head again and looked at the carriage. It seemed like something was flickering through a small window, but at that moment, he heard the voice from the communication channel that snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Sir, I found the priest."

Asrahan turned around again and looked at the communication station. It wasn't the time to look away.

"Call the location. Go right away."

His blue eyes shimmered clearly as if trembling, he fiercely stared at the distant place. Soon, he vanished in an instant, and then the woman he was searching for appeared through the small carriage window and looked at the spot where he had been.

--------------

Tap, tap, tap~

The sound of footsteps echoing alongside a rapid heartbeat revealed the impatient heart of the runner. Lariette was hiding in the carriage, and the priest hurriedly returned to the inn to pack his luggage.

"I didn't know it would be this fast."

Doha came out of the room with a bitter smile, his luggage packed. Despite descending the stairs in a hurry, he did so nimbly.

"There!"

"Oh, my goodness."

The elite knights of La Noche were in better shape than he expected. As Doha exited the inn, he, who had been spotted, quickly turned and ran in the opposite direction. The knights did their best to capture him on the lord's orders, but they couldn't catch him. It wasn't just because of the priest's tremendous speed, but also because Doha was well acquainted with the geography of Deauville. Gerard, the fastest of the knights, watched him, close to touching his back, as if about to catch him. Soon, Gerard lunged at Doha without hesitation.

"I've got you!" he shouted with a victorious smile, forcefully grabbing Doha by the back of his hand.

Soon, other knights appeared and applauded, but when Doha, with his face on the ground, didn't move an inch, Gerard realized that something was wrong. The touch was subtle. And above the knights' heads, on the roof of a building, a charming voice mocked them.

"Hello, ladies."

"What is this?!"

Gerard quickly lifted his head and looked up. Doha was sitting on the roof, calmly waving his hand, as if he had become a puppet again. Doha squinted his eyes like a fox and laughed, then climbed onto the roof and ran off to the other side. It was a much faster movement than before, as if the speed until now had been a joke.

"It's easy."

Thinking so, Doha lifted the corners of his mouth and laughed. He also enjoyed the feeling of his short hair fluttering in the wind. He gently jumped from the roof and headed to a remote alley outside the city. It was also the direction of the most neglected and run-down checkpoint. At the end of the alley was an old cart, and he had ordered the driver to come early. Doha approached it with a bright smile. Then he got into the carriage with a friendly voice.

"You've waited long, haven't you?" Doha's figure soon disappeared as he entered the carriage.

Shortly after the door was closed, it started moving towards the checkpoint. It seemed like they were trying to escape to another town with Lariette. And there was a man watching from behind, it was Asrahan. His cold eyes roared beneath his fluttering black hair as he stared fixedly at the departing carriage.

"There is Lariette."

She was the one he had been searching for days. To achieve his goal of reuniting with Lariette, he drastically cut down on sleep and only ate what was necessary to survive. After yearning for her so desperately, when she was right in front of him, a great and heavy helplessness overcame him. All the images he remembered of Lariette were precious and sweet. That's why he was even more afraid. He was so afraid of the harsh words she would pour on him.

"Nevertheless, it can't be helped."

"I can't live without you," Asrahan firmly murmured in his mind. Whatever state Lariette was in, he intended to force her to come and stay with him. Despite the feeling of guilt, Asrahan tried to ignore it. She said she liked him, promised not to leave, and betrayed him first, so she should be held accountable.

As Asrahan made a decision, he quickly took a step forward. It was very easy for him to catch up with the carriage that had just taken off. But at that moment, something unexpected happened.

Boom!

With a loud explosion, a hot breeze spread in all directions. In the fierce heat, Asrahan squinted his eyes and looked ahead. There was an incredible scene before his eyes. The carriage with Lariette and the priest was brought down by the impact of an unknown explosion. The unrecognizable body was buried in the ground, crushed, and a terrible blaze immediately engulfed the carriage. It was such a devastating explosion that the occupants could never survive.

"No," a whispering wind flowed through his trembling half-opened lips.

"This can't be happening, this can't be right."

He was anxious, but the flames in front of him burned relentlessly. It didn't take long for him to realize that a Night driver, skilled in installing explosives, had been brought in as an elite knight. He felt like all the blood in his body had drained away. The pounding of his heart reverberated loudly in his ears like a drum. Lariette had died because of him. As these thoughts continued to swirl, Asrahan instinctively moved his body.

"No!"

Ding!

The black sword that Asrahan carried as if it were his life was thrown to the ground and rolled on the dirty floor. He ran frantically towards the fire without even realizing he had abandoned his sword. Fierce flames burned his skin, and acrid smoke penetrated his lungs, but he didn't care at all. He told himself that the pain of losing Lariette was hundreds of times greater than any pain he had felt before.

He wandered through the flames like a madman in search of the slender woman. With inhuman strength, he broke open the carriage door and soon found a woman who had been blackened like a block of charcoal.

"Lari... Lariette, Lariette!" Ignoring the flames engulfing his body, he embraced her.

Then, with his arms and back tightly wrapped around her, he hurriedly escaped the fire.

Asrahan laid her down on the ground, breathless. Due to the black ashes on her face, he couldn't see her properly, and it was difficult to confirm whether she was alive or dead. He approached her and tried to ensure that she was breathing, but he couldn't feel her breath on his fingers.

"No, I don't believe it."

Asrahan chose a different approach, murmuring as if hypnotizing himself. He placed his hand on her skin to listen to her heartbeat when he noticed something strange.

"Her skin...?"

The texture of her skin was unusual for a burn. It was like the puppet they had found before. At that moment, Asrahan realized that there was no man in the carriage.

"I'm not stupid."

A shadow fell on Asrahan's knees. When a mischievous voice resonated in his ears, he stared at Doha's head. He saw Doha's face smiling cheerfully.

"Is there a need for us to face each other?"

Without hesitation, the sacredly shining lance pointed at Asrahan's throat. Desperate and defenseless, he would die with a cut in his throat. Doha laughed loudly at that idea.

"Thud!"

A dull sound resonated between the two men. The white lance aimed at the exact spot and clashed against Asrahan's skin. However, his neck remained intact without a scratch. Even at that moment, he moved his body and hit the window with his bare arm. That wasn't the end. Despite being in poor physical condition, Asrahan grabbed Doha by the neck with a monstrous movement. His blue eyes shone fiercely as he stared at Doha.

"A monster is a monster."

Doha was impressed by his opponent's skills despite being strangled. If they had faced each other as Asrahan had said, his life would have been in danger. Even now, when he created an advantageous situation, Asrahan still had great power to suppress his title. It was a relief because he was protected by divine power in advance. However, even if Asrahan's physical condition was normal, it didn't mean that Doha, who had also fought him, couldn't defeat him without his weapons and with his burned body. Doha's elegant gestures recreated a white lance in the air. Asrahan noticed this and quickly turned, defending his vital points, but Doha was faster.

"No, no."

"Oh!" Doha's fingers fluttered through Asrahan's burned skin.

Because of that, Asrahan momentarily lost his stance.

"Crash!"

A thick lance crashed heavily into Asrahan's back. It was an attack that could have broken his neck, but his defense saved him from death. Shortly after, Asrahan's body collapsed without strength. A false figure of Lariette appeared in his blurry vision. He felt a slight sense of relief as he lost consciousness. It wasn't a good feeling for a situation that could soon lead to his death.

"Still, Lariette is safe... Yes... that's it."

Asrahan closed his eyes with those thoughts in mind. It seemed that the corners of his lips were slightly lifted.

"He's a bad guy to the end." Doha, who witnessed the scene, felt a serious disgust and raised his lance again.

He couldn't afford to lose that great opportunity to kill him. However, as soon as he tried to lower the lance, a sharp sword attack violently flew and stood between Doha and Asrahan.

"Master!"

"Sir!"

The elite knights of The Night made noise as they found Asrahan's fallen figure and hurried towards him.

Doha clicked his tongue. He could deal with all of them and kill Asrahan, but he didn't have enough time. It was because the carriage that carried Lariette was waiting outside the checkpoint, unfortunately, it was time to go. Doha swallowed his disappointment and left the place.

"Let's go, to where my lady awaits."

An evil smile hung from his beautiful face; he was a complete villain.

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