ITDHL (Novel) Chapter 93

C93

Doha is strong. He is one of the best talents on the continent, and Lariette has talent, but she is still just a gemstone. So, somehow, the outcome of this fight was obvious.

Crash!

Lariette's magic shattered the walls of the building and collapsed onto Doha. She deliberately started raining debris in his direction.

"You've improved a lot, thanks to the mage?"

Doha admired her briefly, creating a protective barrier with a relaxed attitude to shield himself from the debris. He had only seen the magic of other mages for a few days, but her skill was excellent. If it were someone else, they wouldn't have been able to dodge the debris and might have even been incapacitated. 

However, it wasn't difficult for Doha. It was unlikely that Doha, who had dealt with Asrahan, would fall to the magic of a novice mage. Lariette knew that too. So, she quickly cast two spells in succession. Boom! A strong wind struck Doha's arm.

Doha took precautions and gradually tried to move out of the range of her attacks. But something caught his ankle. He looked down and saw a sturdy tree trunk rising from the ground, tightly holding his ankles. 

Doha smiled at the progress of his disciple. The tree trunk was quite strong, but it could be melted with divine power or forcibly ripped out. Still, Doha didn't move. He simply closed his eyes and calmly faced the pain that would soon come. Suddenly, a strong wind sliced across his shoulders. With a dull sound, drops of blood sprouted from his shoulders and fell into the pool of blood that had accumulated on the ground.

"He didn't dodge on purpose."

Lariette used magic again and again, distorting her face. Doha calmly looked at her while she used her magic. It was like atoning in advance for what was to come. A massive tree trunk wrapped around Doha's body. From head to toe, taking great care to prevent him from moving. But Doha had a shield around him, enclosing him like a box. He used magic to protect himself, like a containment tool. 

At that moment, Lariette started running. She never expected to defeat Doha in the first place. He was the one who killed a Wyvern in a single attempt, something she couldn't even deal with. The difference in their abilities was so great; it was foolish to confront him directly. So she decided to flee. She moved her legs and began running frantically. Her body trembled so much that she almost fell.

Fear, betrayal, and the terrible sadness for Doha filled her head as she ran. But for a moment, she heard a low voice coming from behind.

"Rie, I told you to be cautious."

How did he...? She knew he would be fast, but he was faster than she expected. Lariette turned her head in horror. Doha's sorrowful face appeared before her.

"If you don't attack with the determination to kill, you'll be the only one who ends up dead."

He told her that one fine day, on the green hills of the capital. When she recalled the moment they shared laughter together, she couldn't even fathom that this would happen, and her emotions overwhelmed her. That was Lariette's last memory. Doha's ferocious hand struck her nape, and her vision quickly darkened.

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

Stump~

Lariette's consciousness slowly began to return amidst the unfamiliar trembling.

"It's shaking... I feel dizzy."

Feeling nauseous, Lariette groaned, furrowing her brow. Soon, someone gently stroked her forehead, and in an instant, the dizziness miraculously vanished. With that, her mind grew increasingly clear. When she managed to lift her heavy eyelids and blinked, she could see the interior of a carriage within a narrow field of view.

"Why am I in a carriage...?"

Lariette, with a pale face, tried to remember. Her consciousness had not fully returned yet, so her mind was still blurry and weak. She clenched and stretched her fingers, feeling a hard touch in her palm. It was the touch of something holding her.

"What is this...?"

Lariette slowly turned her head to find out what was restraining her. It was a bridge. The legs of a man in elegant trousers. Her gaze rose this time. And soon her eyes met golden eyes. It was in that instant that her memories returned.

"Not even for a moment. I have never considered you a friend, Rie."

Doha beheading the prostitutes. Trying to kiss her. Confessing that he wanted to kill Asrahan, chasing after her and knocking her out. Each scene passed rapidly before Lariette's eyes. Understanding the situation, she urgently screamed, moving her body to the edge of the carriage.

"Argh!"

Doha looked at her expressionlessly. She couldn't even find his usual smile. Lariette hurriedly tried to release her magic. However, the mana didn't flow as if it were blocked. Searching for the cause, she soon found a magical restraint on her wrist.

"He sealed my magic?"

The feeling of betrayal surged once again like flames. She bit her lip until it bled and stared harshly at Doha. However, his response was unexpected to her.

"I'm sorry if it hurts."

Lariette's face looked at him as if it were absurd in the face of the quietly spoken apology.

"What...?"

"I hit your neck."

It was ridiculous. He didn't apologize for what he had done, for those crazed acts, but for patting her on the neck. She didn't feel any pain in her nape; apparently, it had healed while she was unconscious. It was a chilling act for Lariette. Doha turned to his other side and concealed his sinful face. He continued with a voice pretending to be calm.

"I sealed your magic so you wouldn't destroy the carriage. I'll undo it when we reach the village."

"Village?" Lariette furrowed her brow and looked out the window. Soon, her pupils widened in surprise. Outside the window, an endless desolate desert stretched out. The sound of a rough sand breeze entered through the thick window and into the carriage. Because the road was not smooth, the carriage rattled constantly. She couldn't help but panic.

"Where are you taking me?" Lariette asked, looking at Doha with hostility. Doha responded, still looking in the opposite direction.

"We're going to a village called Valmore. If you stay in Withya, it may be troublesome."

Doha deliberately concealed the reasons that could be troublesome. It was because in this situation, if she found out that the Duke of Candel was pursuing them, it seemed that she would somehow incite a riot to escape. Lariette clenched her teeth tightly and stared at the nape of Doha's neck. Then she insisted firmly.

"Let me go."

"No."

"I'm going back. Let me go."

"No."

"Please, release me!"

Lariette shouted fiercely and struck Doha with the restraints around her wrists. With Doha's skill, he could easily dodge it. However, Doha didn't evade it and silently accepted her attack. He had his forehead pressed against the hard metal, and blood was flowing. Lariette shuddered as drops of bright red blood stained her white shirt. Looking closely, the shoulder that she had cut with wind magic during the battle still bore scars.

"...You can hit me as much as you want."

Unconsciously, Doha wiped away the blood streaming from his face. Following was a voice filled with terrible loneliness and obsession.

"It's okay if you stab me with a knife, burn my skin, or bite me. But you can't leave me."

Don't leave me until you do. Doha's eyes conveyed that message.

"...you're insane."

Lariette cursed under her breath. Those were the only words that came out. The carriage continued moving through the desert. Despite being on the outskirts of the desert, the speed of the sand breeze was gentle. Along the desert, Lariette tried to persuade, threaten, and escape from Doha, but nothing worked. Doha endured all the curses and blows she spat out but didn't let her escape. 

When Lariette attempted to flee, Doha grabbed her hand and stopped her. No matter how much she struggled, he didn't let go. That's why she soon gave up her feeble rebellion. Monsters appeared several times and blocked their path. In the desert, there were monsters more powerful than the Wyvern they encountered before. In those moments, Doha drew a white lance and cut down the monsters, prioritizing Lariette's safety. Lariette coldly watched what was happening and clarified her thoughts.

"How can I escape?"

The village of Valmore they were currently heading to was a place where no one entered or exited because the road was very rugged, and the village itself had nothing to see. He said it was difficult to even find a carriage. In other words, once they arrived there, there would be no possibility of escape, let alone returning to the capital. So, no matter how much she wanted to flee as quickly as possible, she wouldn't be able to get far due to the sandstorm. It didn't make sense to bravely attempt to escape this time. Although Doha looked the other way, he was being cautious, and now she had to find another way to escape. Night fell over the desert. Lariette closed her eyes, pretending to be asleep, and lost herself in her thoughts. She suppressed her emotions to death and awakened the only reason for wise judgment. She soon made a plan. Perhaps it was the cruelest way to plan against Doha.

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

Sitting still in the carriage with her gaze fixed outside the window, Doha realized she was looking at him. It was a very different look from yesterday. Yesterday's Lariette was busy staring at him or shouting, whereas now she was reserved. She didn't even stare at the back of his neck anymore. Perplexed, Doha turned his head to look at her, and soon he felt his heart beating strongly.

"...Doha."

Lariette looked at him with concern. She wasn't as sweet and adorable as before, but it was very thrilling for him because he had already become accustomed to her hateful gaze. He was overwhelmed because he longed for that look so much.

"Is your head okay?"

"...What?"

"The place where I hit you. Also... I think I hit you hard."

Lariette lifted her head and looked at Doha's face. Her voice faltered, as if she had hesitated to say that for a moment. It was a futile hope. She wouldn't become sweet to him again. Doha responded, thinking it would be that way.

"Even if you say that, I won't release the restraint until we arrive."

"It's fine. Although, treating me roughly is too much..."

"...It's fine."

Doha clenched his teeth tightly and turned his head toward the window. She seemed genuinely worried about him, so he was confused by the illusion that she still valued him. It was because he knew it couldn't be true, but he desperately hoped it was. Since then, Lariette obeyed everything Doha said, despite feeling uncomfortable with the restraint on her magic. She no longer looked at him and sometimes asked about the plants she saw through the window.

"Have you given up?"

Doha naturally thought so. If he were in her shoes, giving up from the beginning would be a good decision. However, he hadn't completely abandoned his doubts yet. But it was really difficult to control his thoughts when Lariette let her guard down and took a nap, leaning on his shoulder. The thoughts fluttering through his head incessantly tormented him. The whirlwind of emotions in his mind finally exploded.

Whoo!

"Ah!"

The carriage tilted slightly at the sudden attack of the monster. Doha quickly grabbed her waist and held her. It wasn't an ordinary monster as its attack level was quite strong.

"It's dangerous, so stay inside. It's a pretty strong one."

As soon as Doha finished speaking, he got out of the carriage and blocked the entrance to ensure their safety. Then, he came face to face with a horribly large scorpion-like monster. Doha measured his distance to avoid getting hurt and suddenly summoned a gleaming lance. Creating it consumed a significant amount of divine power, making it difficult to do so.

Kwaang!

Boom!

Every time the monster moved its tail, it emitted a loud sound that made their ears ring and kicked up dust from the ground. It was challenging to handle because the tip of its tail was poisoned, and its movements were swift. 

Doha leaped into the air, evading its enormous, long tail, aiming to plunge his lance into the monster. But as soon as he attempted to throw the lance, a sinister spirit emerged. Sensing this, Doha quickly opened a barrier to protect himself, and within seconds, the monster discharged a powerful electric charge.

"If I hadn't created a barrier, I would have been knocked out."

Doha laughed, thinking that would have been beneficial for Lariette. But the smile on his face quickly disappeared. It was because he spotted Lariette outside the carriage.

"Doha, are you okay?"

Even she was worried about Doha, asking as she approached him while facing the monster. The monster's target of attack swiftly changed.

"No."

As soon as he saw the scorpion monster's tail pointing in her direction, Doha launched himself towards her. All the protective barriers he had created were transferred to her as well. It was an instinctive act, just like when Asrahan ventured into the burning carriage. In no time, Doha's large body stood in front of her. Lariette quickly looked at the man who appeared before her, with her eyes wide open... His golden, indifferent eyes trembled with profound emotions.

"I told you to stay inside."

"You don't even listen to me," Doha murmured with a dejected voice. "Damn it!" And soon, a pointed tail pierced through Doha's body.

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