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Published at 18th of May 2023 06:14:35 AM


Chapter 693

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For the two whose bare bodies were weapons, even a tree branch could become an excellent weapon.

The importance of a weapon with aura imbued in it wasn't significant unless it was a relic-level item.

As Reinhardt requested, Ellen imbued the tree branch with aura, and sometimes they fought using only the branches.

Ellen lost most of the time.

It was too difficult for her to compose herself emotionally, and she couldn't concentrate because the unbearable guilt from just meeting Reinhardt's gaze.

So.

-Smack!

"Ugh!"

-Thwack!

"Argh!"

-Whack!

"Uh...."

-Crash!

"Gasp!"

She had been hit for a long time.

Reinhardt didn't really intend to kill Ellen, but he didn't go easy on her either.

Ellen was at her limit with exhaustion and fatigue from her long escape, and she couldn't even remember the last time she had rested properly.

She couldn't remember the last time she had eaten properly either.

It was nothing short of a one-sided beating.

She couldn't control her emotions, and her body had already reached its limit.

Her mind felt rather at ease.

The pain, the suffering.

It was better to be hit like that than to hear verbal criticisms.

It seemed like words would hurt more, so being hit like this was less painful.

It felt like she was receiving punishment for what she had done up until now.

Thinking like that, although it hurt, her heart felt at ease.

However, the pain accumulated.

Her body and mind had already reached their limits long ago.

In the moment when her vision blurred not from sadness but from the pain and the limits of her consciousness, Reinhardt approached and delivered a knee strike.

-Thump!

"Uh...ah!"

Hit by that, Ellen finally lost consciousness.

------

-Whoosh

Ellen woke up when the sun had set, and night had already fallen on the uninhabited island.

"Uh...!"

As soon as she regained consciousness, she sat up abruptly, realizing the situation in which she had fainted.

Fainting was a rare occurrence for her. Fainting in an uninhabited area was akin to death.

Her body had never been pushed to such extreme conditions before.

Her entire body ached and hurt.

"Are you awake?"

Hearing the voice, she turned her head and saw that Reinhardt was still there.

In front of Reinhardt, a campfire was lit.

-Crackling

And something skewered on a stick was being roasted over the campfire.

It was a huge lobster.

A few shells were scattered around, indicating that some had already been eaten.

Chewing on tree roots and eating a proper meal in the city seemed like a distant memory.

There was hardly any meat to cook in the monster-infested area.

That's why she was always so hungry, not just now.

"Eat."

"..."

At his nonchalant attitude, Ellen couldn't help but hesitate.

It didn't feel right.

It felt like it shouldn't be like this.

It seemed wrong to just dismiss everything so casually.

Ellen couldn't approach or distance herself from Reinhardt, who frowned at her indecision.

"Don't make this difficult, just eat."

"Okay... I'll, I'll eat..."

In the end, fearing Reinhardt's anger, Ellen hesitantly approached the campfire.

Ellen couldn't help but be cautious, as if it was only natural.

Had he caught it himself?

At a glance, his clothes appeared as if they had been soaked and then dried.

It was evident that he had caught it himself.

It was unknown how long she had been unconscious.

But during that time, some vitality had returned to her body.

Reinhardt didn't say a word.

Ellen tore off a cooked lobster claw, separating its tail as well.

It was quite hot to touch with bare hands, but that didn't matter.

Somehow, it was a little pathetic.

It wasn't sad or desperate.

She had failed to escape, even though she had tried.

It wasn't a tearful reunion nor listening to criticism.

If Ellen had heard resentful words that made her want to die, she wouldn't know.

But with no words spoken, it felt like she was going mad.

Swinging around a tree branch, she had eventually been struck and lost consciousness.

And now she was trying to eat the lobster with her bare hands.

Moreover, at the moment, Ellen appeared filthy and disheveled, like a beggar.

Looking like a beggar, she had to eat like one.

And she had to eat in front of the person she least wanted to see her in this state.

But since Reinhardt had prepared it, she couldn't refuse.

It might not have been as significant as her previous mistakes, but refusing would also be a mistake, wouldn't it?

Even in this state, on this occasion.

She was so hungry her tongue stung.

This situation.

Too much.

Too much.

Extremely.

It wasn't sadness or pain.

She was ashamed to the point of wanting to die.

"…"

"What's there to be sorry about? Isn't this too trivial to feel sorry for at this point?"

As Ellen hesitated, Reinhardt frowned, as if suspecting there was another reason.

It wasn't that.

It wasn't because she was sorry or sad.

It was because she was ashamed.

She was too embarrassed to eat.

She couldn't possibly say it.

"No, no... that's not it..."

But in this situation, telling someone she was ashamed or embarrassed was too absurd, so the words couldn't escape her lips.

"Just eat it."

In the end, Ellen couldn't resist Reinhardt's urging and bit into the lobster's tender flesh.

The moment she took a bite, various thoughts flooded Ellen's mind.

It was so delicious she thought her tongue would melt.

It was so sweet.

Why was it so sweet?

It was strange.

There shouldn't have been any sugar in it.

The sweetness, like her brain melting as it passed her tongue, almost made her lose her reason.

She wanted to stuff her mouth with it right away.

But doing so would be too embarrassing.

However, with the juices from the bite splattering around her mouth, she looked like a beggar no matter how gracefully she tried to eat.

And the thought of wanting to eat gracefully was the most pathetic of all.

As Ellen stood there, unable to do anything while holding a bitten piece of lobster, Reinhardt quietly observed her.

With a sour expression, Reinhardt spoke.

"From the very beginning, when you didn't even bother to wash properly and roamed around the Kernstadt territory, you were worse than a filthy, wild dog. Just eat comfortably."

"!!!!"

It wasn't that she didn't know.

She knew what he was thinking.

In the end, tears welled up in her eyes.

It wasn't because she was too sad.

It was because of the sorrow.

"Ah... Hic..."

"…You're making a fuss."

It wasn't that she hadn't washed, but rather that she couldn't wash.

She held back the urge to say such words, knowing full well that it was likely intentional.

Adding any unnecessary comments wouldn't help the situation anyway.

With a heavy heart, Ellen held back tears and ate her food reluctantly.

And when it wasn't enough, she went into the sea and caught a few more fish.

Reinhardt watched, gritting his teeth and turning his head away with a laugh.

It was nice that he laughed.

And she was grateful he didn't get angry.

But it wasn't a laugh of joy; it was a mocking one.

That mocking laugh made Ellen sadder, and she cried a little more.

------

Though she tried her best to eat modestly, it was impossible when she had to eat with her bare hands.

Reinhardt looked at Ellen's messy state and distanced himself slightly, as if he was looking at something filthy.

It was indeed sorrowful, sad, and depressing.

But she never imagined that she would feel such sorrow in this way.

She had thought she would receive criticism or blame for running away.

Instead, she was treated like a dirty person, someone so filthy it was hard to associate with, and this brought her sadness and sorrow in a different way.

It wasn't about blaming her.

It was about her being disgusting.

Hearing such things made her mind a mess.

Worse still, Ellen knew better than anyone how dirty she actually looked, which made her even more upset.

"Are you done eating?"

"Uh, um..."

At Reinhardt's question, Ellen cautiously nodded. After putting out the campfire with a few kicks, Reinhardt began walking somewhere.

"Follow me."

"..."

As if he wouldn't accept any objections, Ellen hesitantly stood up and cautiously followed him.

When Ellen got close enough, Reinhardt suddenly quickened his pace.

And then he turned around and laughed slyly.

As if he had thought of a mean prank.

"…Ugh."

"…"

But after seeing Ellen's expression, he closed his mouth.

It was because he saw a pitiful expression that made it seem like Ellen would strangle herself and die if he said another word about hygiene.

That was how cornered Ellen felt at that moment, in a way she couldn't have predicted.

Reinhardt led her to something that didn't originally belong on the deserted island—a mansion.

He opened the gate, went inside, and turned on a lantern.

"You'll find everything you need here. Wash up and rest."

"…Huh?"

"I have a lot to do. I'll come back tomorrow. Or maybe the day after."

Reinhardt left those words behind and exited the mansion.

Wondering what on earth was happening, she opened the door to find that Reinhardt had already disappeared.

It felt as if she had been bewitched.

What was this mansion?

She couldn't even be sure if this was the place they had visited during their group mission on a deserted island.

She had no idea what Reinhardt wanted to do.

But the important thing was, she had been caught.

She couldn't run away.

"Ah…"

That was it.

Ellen realized.

This was a deserted island.

She couldn't swim from an unknown deserted island to the mainland.

With no knowledge of navigation or anything like that, even if she managed to build something like a raft, it would be suicidal to rely on it and head out to the open sea.

There was no escape.

This place was a prison.

Knowing that Ellen couldn't run away, Reinhardt left.

"So... that's how it is..."

Ellen realized that she was, in a way, trapped in the largest prison in the world.

She could break all the physical iron bars.

But the vast natural barrier called the sea was something Ellen couldn't overcome.

A deserted island prison.

There was no better place to imprison Ellen and make her resign herself to her fate.

Ellen cautiously looked around the mansion.

Though she couldn't be sure, it seemed to be set up for her to live alone.

As if to explain that it wasn't a hastily built mansion, there were magical tools that Ellen had never seen before.

Was this really allowed?

It didn't seem right.

But in the end, the thought that she couldn't escape erased all of Ellen's other concerns.

This must have been expected.

It seemed that they had anticipated her eventual resignation.

Perhaps they had anticipated the day when Ellen would be found and had known that she would try to run away like last time.

Was that why such a place was prepared?

Regardless of whose plan it was to create this place, Ellen resigned herself, as the planner intended, and headed to the bathroom.

Clothes to change into were already prepared.

After taking off her dirty clothes, cape, and boots, Ellen washed her body with hot water.

Meticulously.

As if she intended to wash every single strand of hair thoroughly.

After spending a long time busily washing, it still wasn't the end.

She filled the bathtub with water and immersed her body in it.

"..."

She wanted to rest.

She hadn't had a proper rest in years.

Feeling overwhelmed by this extravagant sensation, she wondered if she was allowed to experience it, as strange thoughts engulfed her.

She lay down in the bathtub as if she were sinking.

She couldn't understand what was happening or how things were turning out.

Would it be okay for everything to go by in such a haphazard way?

She couldn't reach any conclusions.

However.

It was too warm, so warm.

It was supposed to be a prison.

Feeling guilty and tormented for receiving such a warm place.

"...Huh."

Ellen cried again.



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