The Dumb Man and the Silly Woman
Vera scrambled to Kurdak's side, ignoring the risk of her wounds reopening. Currently, Kurdak had transformed into a werewolf completely. His bear-like physique was even larger and his crude face was replaced with a terrifying wolf snout. His teeth, now completely animal, made him look even savager.
Vera didn't feel any fear for him, though. He was lying unconscious on the ground with a patch of his white fur bloodied. It came from the gigantic white bear right next to him.
It was a fiend slightly smaller than a crimsonblood bear, thus only half as strong. It was dead already, though, and didn't move, presumably from the fatal wound on its neck. It looked like Kurdak had bitten its whole throat out.
Vera didn't care about the white bear right now, though. She was more concerned with Kurdak, whose injuries were pretty bad. There were scratch wounds all over his body, and a huge chunk of meat near the shoulder on his left arm was gone. You could see the bone poking out here and there through the blood.
Vera looked around before she turned to leave.
A few minutes later, she came running back. The cave she had come from was a little too far away and she had to find shelter nearby where they could hide. Fortunately, she managed just that.
She grit her teeth and carried Kurdak slowly. The wound on her back had opened again and fresh blood stained the white hair on Kurdak's chest. The man was completely unaware of what was happening, though.
After who knew how long, she finally made it to her destination. The cave was not that far from where the fight had broken out, just 200 meters. Despite its proximity, Vera spent nearly 20 minutes reaching it. Her wounds weren't completely healed yet, so hauling Kurdak -- who weighed around 100 kilograms -- was incredibly tiring.
"You good for nothing... It's about time you started losing weight!" complained she as she creased.
While their situation was rather bleak, she didn't feel helplessness or despair, maybe it was thanks to Kurdak's optimism, it might have infected her in the last couple of days.
You're still alive. You're just a little injured, that's all! You'll definitely recover! thought Vera.
Unlike her injuries, Kurdak's wounds covered his whole body. So, she had no choice but to suppress her embarrassment and remove his leather armor so she could tend to his wounds. Though he kept many things beneath his clothes, the empty potion bottles caught her attention.
According to him, he still had quite a few of the bootleg potions. She had wanted to use them to heal his wounds, but she practically stripped him naked and still couldn't find any. All she found was an empty bottle. She'd sensed something was off but didn't think too much of it. She just thought it'd all been used up.
After she inspected his injuries, her suspicions were roused again. Most of his wounds were just skin-deep. The largest one was the one near his shoulder. Though it wasn't a light injury, it wasn't one that should've made him faint.
She began to worry he'd fainted because he'd suffered internal injuries. Without healing potions, internal injuries were incredibly hard to heal. This was exactly what she lacked the most right now, too. She took the empty bottle and, though she hesitated for a moment, opened it and took a whiff. Her expression changed drastically immediately.
She quickly lifted Kurdak's arm and stared at it intently. She inspected it very carefully and finally found a small injury on it. It was an abnormally neat and clean cut, almost invisible to the naked eye. It didn't look like something a wild beast would leave.
Her pupils shrunk into tiny dots, and she grabbed her mouth. She couldn't control herself anymore, and salty water ran down her cheeks in rivers.
"You're a dumb man..." Vera whispered through the tears, both hands shivering.
She didn't dare to touch the wound at all.
"I'm a silly woman..." murmured she.
She finally understood what Kurdak's bootleg potion was. She hadn't been drinking potion, but blood… Kurdak's blood! It turned out that a few days earlier, her injuries had worried him immensely.
He knew she needed a potion to kick-start the healing process. But there was nowhere he could find one in the mountains.
It'd be great if she had my regeneration... he'd thought, anxiously.
Werewolf blood flowed in his veins, so wounds like hers weren't a problem for him.
After much thought, he came up with using his blood to treat her. He opened a small wound on his wrist with his dagger, let his blood flow into the bottle, and gave it to her, pretending it was a potion. Its color wasn't like a normal potion's, so he had to claim it was a bootleg one. Luckily Vera believed him and ignored the different texture and taste.
It turned out that it wasn't potion at all!
The pieces all came together at once.
No wonder the 'potion' was blood-colored; no wonder it smelled like blood; no wonder he put the bottle away every time; no wonder he seemed rather weak; no wonder he fainted even though his injuries weren't that heavy! That's no potion! It was blood! Kurdak's blood!
Werewolf blood could, in fact, increase the rate of a person's natural regeneration. That was why it was used as the main ingredient in potions. However, the effect of werewolf blood alone was limited. Since he couldn't provide quality, Kurdak made up for it with quantity.
That was why he'd fed her three bottles a day. Each had about 150 milliliters. Over the course of three days, Kurdak had lost 1350 milliliters of blood! Apart from that, he had to take care of her and hunt. That kind of activity would make any normal person collapse. Even if Kurdak's constitution was abnormally sturdy, he shouldn't have lasted this long. She couldn't imagine how he'd managed to last.
She looked at the unconscious man and could see two figures melding together. One of them was Kurdak's and the other was Cyranos's. She didn't think the noisy man could hide everything, sacrificing himself for her quietly. She didn't know whether it started only recently after Cyranos's death or had been this way the entire time.
She tended to his wounds with teary eyes. While he had lost quite a bit of blood and sustained some injuries, it wasn't fatal given the werewolf regeneration he had. After his bleeding was stopped, he was in no immediate danger.
Kurdak gradually woke as she was tending to his wounds. Seeing a human woman busying herself beside him, his body tensed immediately as a horrifying green light emanated from his eyes.
Seeing that Kurdak had woke, she felt a rush of elation. But she soon realized the current Kurdak didn't hold any of his human memories. Currently, he wasn't Kurdak. He was a werewolf. So, she raised both her hands up slowly and retreated backwards, trying to show she wasn't a threat.
Unfortunately, the werewolf seemed to doubt her. He planned to leap and bite her throat when she lowered her guard. He soon realized he didn't have the strength to attack, however. All he could do was stare at her coldly while growling threateningly.
Vera was also secretly panicking. There were still quite a number of untreated wounds. If she didn't deal with them right away, the infection would be incredibly troubling, especially since they didn't have any medical supplies.
"You're injured and you need treatment. I can help you."
She didn't know whether it could understand her or not, but she had to do something. It continued to watch her alertly but had stopped growling. She was glad to see it had reacted. She tried to make her approach slowly to continue her work. But the moment it noticed her move, its body tensed up again. She stopped immediately and tried to calm it down.
Just like that, she slowly closed in as she consoled it. She carefully resumed her efforts tending to the injuries. It was an incredibly long process, the two focused intensely on each other. It took her nearly two hours to finish. The moment she did, she felt a wave of irresistible fatigue. She was far too tired. She hadn't just realized the truth of the potion, shocking her mentally, but she had also hauled a 100-kilogram man to a cave despite her injuries and spent more than two hours tending to his injuries. The exhaustion it built up in her made her fall asleep right next to the werewolf.
It looked at her suspiciously, but soon realized she was asleep. A rush of bloodlust and impulse filled its mind. It had already recovered some energy and could easily kill her in her helpless state. However, it hesitated because she seemed to trust it deeply. The blind trust she had in it made her feel no fear at all. It didn't understand why the woman treated it like this. It was rather curious. It could feel another 'instinct' apart from its bloodlust. It wasn't sure what it was, but it felt like there was another consciousness firmly stopping it from tearing the woman apart, as if killing her would make it wallow in pain for the rest of its life.
It raised and dropped its hand repeatedly. Its gaze alternated between violent and calm. In one instance, it managed to bring its razor-sharp claws to the woman's neck. But after seeing her peaceful expression, it lowered its claws. It spent the rest of the night struggling with this dilemma.
Vera opened her eyes gradually. Next to her, the werewolf had turned back into Kurdak. The man wore his usual carefree smile.
"Hey! Girl! You awake?"
She rubbed her heavy eyes and cracked a smile. It was all finally over. She felt incredibly calm.
"What happened yesterday? Why am I injured all over? Why did I wake up next to you? Didn't I try to eat you when I was a werewolf? Also, where'd you find this?" Kurdak launched into a flurry of questions as he held out the dark violet crystal in his hand.
"You carried that with you… why're you asking me?"
Vera chose to keep what happened herself. She didn't plan on telling him. She posed her own questions to divert his train of thought. While she had found the crystal the day before, she hadn't paid it much heed as she had been pondering the potion.
Kurdak looked at the crystal and beamed with realization.
"Oh! This was something Annelotte gave me! She said I could contact her with this! Then again, for her to be able to give me something so expensive, how rich is that little lady?!"
"What did you say?" asked Vera, stunned.
"I said something this expensive--"
"Before... I said I could use this to..."
Kurdak was speechless for a good moment. He smacked his forehead.
"Idiots! Two idiots!"
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