Several days passed since Zich and Lyla had arrived at the lake. They took a spot at the lakeshore and spent most of their time there. As expected, life deep inside the forest was uncomfortable. Yet, to Lyla’s annoyance, she was used to living in the forest now, and the items that Zich took out from his magic box eased their discomfort. But above all, the lake was very beautiful, so Lyla didn’t complain much about their uncomfortable lifestyle.
Like usual, she dipped her feet into the lake water and splashed the water around. Zich was walking around the lake’s surroundings to find any helpful information. With the lake as the background, the scene of her playing in the lake made a pretty picture. But rather than thinking that she looked beautiful, Zich thought that she looked like a child. It probably was because she had no recollection of her past.
‘It’s strange to think about it.’
Most people lived with their past memories rather than ones from the future. But Lyla was exactly the opposite; she lived with memories of the future. Zich wondered what that felt like.
“Zich!” While submerged in the lake, Lyla waved her hands at Zich widely. “Join me!”
“I have to check the surroundings more!” Truthfully, Zich had finished surveying their surroundings, but he didn’t want to play with Lyla.
‘She even plays like a child.’
Zich joined her for the first couple of days, but after she continued to show an endless amount of interest and curiosity at every little thing in the forest, he gave up. Everything was new to Lyla, and she enjoyed taking in all these unfamiliar experiences. On the other hand, Zich had experienced pretty much everything before his regression. He almost felt like a dad who had grown tired from playing with his kid. Zich’s stamina was greater than Lyla’s, but oddly enough, he grew tired faster than her when playing.
‘It must be a mental problem.’
Lyla turned her head and looked sulky. But soon, she focused on playing again as if she had forgotten her annoyance. Zich strolled along the lakeshore and decided to hunt for the day’s meal. Then, he tilted his head. While he was sensing the surroundings, he detected something. It was a person, and there wasn’t just one.
His eyes sparkled.
* * *
A group of people arrived at the lakeshore. There were twelve people in total: nine of them were men and three of them were women. All the men carried sharp swords, and they looked threatening as they searched their surroundings closely. The three of them looked like knights, although they wore light clothing for walking in the woods. And the other three men looked like servants due to their simple clothing.
Two of the women were servants, and they were supporting a woman on both sides so that she would not fall on the rough path. The woman was extremely beautiful. Her auburn hair soaked the scent of the woods and swayed, and her brown eyes reflected the lake’s blue scenery. Although she was wearing simple clothing, the quality of her clothes was different from what other people wore. She was the person Zich and Lyla had been waiting for: Evelyn Rouge, the Lady of the current Rouge Marquess family and who later became Zich’s close subordinate.
As soon as they arrived, the group began to make camping preparations. The servants pulled out luggage from a magic box similar to the one Zich possessed and established their camping grounds. The knights sliced the trees around their surroundings to increase the perimeter and then set up a tent.
In the meantime, Evelyn went deeper towards the lake. She took off her shoes and dipped her feet into the lake and laughed. Her servants joined her in the water and played. And from across the lake and hidden inside the forest, a suspicious-looking pair watched them: they were Lyla and Zich.
“Good. It’s Evelyn. This is what we expected so far.” Zich was satisfied. “Now, we just have to save her when she falls into danger.”
“…Even if she falls into danger, isn’t she going to think we are the culprits?” Lyla lamented her current situation. She wouldn’t blame them even if they thought she and Zich were bandits who had been hiding to ambush them.
“Whatever anyone says, we just have to be confident.”
“You sound exactly like a villain convincing himself.”
“I did mean it like that. Even if we are doing something bad, we should be confident in ourselves.”
“…” Lyla ignored Zich’s words. She knew if she continued this conversation, it would only give her a headache.
“We just have to wait.”
“We don’t have to wait long, right?”
“We might have to wait around a half a day, but not more than that. Evelyn told me the incident happened on the day she arrived at the lake.”
The two sat on a grass path and waited. Since they were a considerable distance away from Evelyn’s party, they weren’t spotted. After Evelyn played in the water for a long time, she went ashore and ate the food her servants prepared for her.
Zich’s eyes glittered. He tapped Lyla who was sleeping while leaning on his shoulders.
“Uh, huh?” She woke up and looked around her. She didn’t know what was going on, and her eyes were hazy.
“Wake up. We will move soon.”
“Ah, is that so?” Lyla opened her eyes widely.
Then, the two used mana to strengthen their vision and stared across the lake. The knights dragged a small boat with paddles attached to its sides. They saw Evelyn riding on the boat with her two servants after their meal. A knight grabbed onto the paddles and the boat slowly began to move. Then, one of the servants opened up the parasol to block the sunlight.
“You can also do the same thing later.”
While they exchanged a fruitless conversation between themselves, the boat reached the middle of the lake. From that moment on, the boat slowly began circling around the center of the lake.
‘It’s about time for them to come.’
Zich cautiously watched the water under the boat. The water that looked blue began to get darker. There was something beneath the lake, and it was waiting for Evelyn to come near. Zich signaled to Lyla and lowered his stance. At that moment, the lake trembled fiercely. The ripple started around the boat.
* * *
Evelyn came up to the capital city to celebrate the king’s 50th birthday, and as she always did when she came to the capital city, she and her escorts went on a trip to the lake. This particular lake in the forest was a well-kept secret and only a few people knew about it. As always, the lake reflected the bright blue sky and was waiting for her. Evelyn felt free whenever she came to the lake.
Usually, she dipped her feet into the waters and played around until she went back ashore to enjoy a simple meal. Then, she would ride the boat to the center of the lake and enjoy the view. This was what she always did, but today was different.
“My lady! Hold on tight!”
“You mustn't fall off!”
The lake began to shake as if it had gone crazy, and the knights stood on the boat with their swords raised. They tried to find the instigator under the water. Even while the maids screamed, they put one hand firmly on the boat to stabilize it and the other hand to hold Evelyn. From inside the trembling lake, they could see a swiftly moving shadow. There was something beneath the lake.
One knight swung his sword down at the lake. A chilling scream rang out, and the boat went up in the air.
The boat split into two. From the scattered debris of the boat, a large fin quickly appeared and disappeared inside the lake. But that was not the important part. With the small pieces of debris, Evelyn was flying up in the air.
“Kyaaaaah!” she screamed. But none of the knights nor maids could help her as they all fell into the lake too. They weren’t on solid ground, so the knights helplessly watched Evelyn fly far away from them. Moreover, the lake’s monster was still spying on them.
Evelyn fell into the lake. She did not know how far she flew. Even though she fell in the water, she fell at such a high altitude that her whole body hurt. Moreover, there was another important issue.
She didn’t know how to swim.
She struggled with all her might. She frantically moved her legs and arms and floundered around in a random motion. However, the more she moved, the more she sank into the water. The lake, which had always given her a sense of freedom and freshness, was now pressing her down like a heavy chain. It got harder and harder for her to breathe. But at that moment when she thought she was going to die...
She was able to breathe again. Something was supporting her. Without even checking what it was, she tried to use it to get up. If she didn’t climb on top of it, she thought she was going to definitely drown. However, her body didn’t move. Yet as time passed on, she was able to breathe and gain back some of her clarity. She realized that someone was supporting her.
“Are you all right?” A strange man looked at her and asked her a question.
* * *
There had been a sudden ambush from a monster. But miraculously, no one died. The knights defeated the monster, and the maids who didn’t land far away from the boat had survived by clutching on the boat’s shattered debris. Moreover, Evelyn who had been thrown a great distance away from everyone else was saved by a passing stranger.
“I want to express my greatest thanks!”
Bupio Ricky, the leader of this group, bowed down his head towards Zich without even taking the time to wipe the water dripping down his hair. From a little further away, Evelyn calmed down her rapidly beating heart. The maids dried her with towels and said all kinds of things to comfort her.
“Anyone would have done the same thing if they were in the same situation as me. And judging by the situation, I’m sure you and the other knights would have been fully capable of saving the lady.”
Zich was humble with his words. In reality, the knights had quickly assessed the situation and were quickly heading towards Evelyn. They would have been able to save Evelyn, and from what Evelyn had told him in the past, they really did save her then.
“No matter what the situation was, it doesn’t change the fact that you helped our lady, and we owe you a great favor.”
“Yes, you are right about that.”
Before Ricky realized it, Evelyn was right next to him.
“My lady! You have to rest right now!”
“I’m alright. I’m only a little surprised. I don’t have any injuries either. It’s more important to express my gratitude towards my savior.”
Then she elegantly bent down at her waist. Even though her clothes were wet and messy in many places, her movements were extremely elegant.
“I’m Evelyn Rouge from the Rouge Family.”
She straightened her waist again. Then she looked around her surroundings a bit and continued awkwardly, “Ah, um, I haven’t had many conversations with a man before. So, if I’m a bit awkward in my speech, please forgive me.”
‘Yeah, I thought you might be like this.’
Since he already went through something like this, he wasn’t as shocked as the first time it happened to him. With a smile, Zich looked at Evelyn. But the situation inside his mind was far from laughable. Lyla, who was standing next to Zich, also made a fake smile, and she probably had the same line of thought as Zich. From her memories of the future, she also knew Evelyn’s future title. Currently, Evelyn Rouge looked at Zich with embarrassment and was too shy to even meet his eyes.
But before he regressed, Evelyn’s ability had been hallucination and charm.
She was known as ‘Succubus.’Previous Chapter Next Chapter