Can't Come Back - Chapter 58
* * *
Meanwhile, Cain and Berlia were having a private rendezvous away from the public eye, oblivious to the continuous discussions about them.
“Cain, isn’t it time to go back?”
“We’ll be able to stay out a little longer. Are you fine with that?”
“Of course. Before leaving, I checked on the troops’ wounds one more time. Leona will also cover for me; she advised me to take a break. Up to this point, I’m fine.”
Berlia’s expression was unaffected. Her clothing, on the other hand, was soiled. Nobody would have mistaken her for a noblewoman. She was not the sort to suffer in such a harsh environment. Cain wore a sorry expression, believing she had come to see him.
“I’m sorry that you came here because of me, Berlia, and we couldn’t even meet.”
“What are you on about? I came just because I wanted to. Cain, I don’t want to be a burden to you. Don’t worry about me; I have my responsibilities. Also…”
Berlia took a pause in the middle of her sentence. She resumed after a brief break.
“Cain, being in the same space as you make me happy.”
Her comments struck a deep chord in Cain’s heart. Berlia’s statements were honest and unpretentious.
“The feeling is mutual.”
Cain moved his hand slowly to caress her cheek.
Cain’s hand was warm, and she felt he was pouring his warmth into her.
The two exchanged silent glances. They could understand one another’s feelings by meeting each other’s looks.
“…In a few days, there will be a full-scale attack.”
Cain finally broke the stillness.
“We can’t stand definitely. We can resolve this war within a week.
They planned to concentrate most of the empire’s forces in two or three days to break through Talisbon’s last resistance.
“I’d like to be with you as soon as possible.”
He wanted to stop the war, return, and spend the rest of his life with her.
“I wish I could say the same.”
Berlia had the same reaction. Their lips naturally met, and their tongues connected without them saying anything.
It was the most passionate kiss I’d ever had. They’d never had a peaceful moment together, which could have added to the tension.
But the good times couldn’t stay forever. They reluctantly separated their lips. It was time to say goodbye. It would have been ideal if they could have fallen asleep together, as they had done in the Hildayden home, but this was impossible on the battlefield.
* * *
“There’s an ambush! Evacuate as soon as possible!”
Cain awoke late at night to the noise. This unexpected strike surprised no one. Talisbon soldiers had been waiting nearby. They planned to attack the Notium Imperial Army while sleeping, destroying their camp.
After holding steady for two weeks with little movement, the goal was to pull most of the Notium Imperial Army’s forces, primarily stationed in the rear, to the frontlines.
At the front, more than half of the imperial forces were stationed. Notium would undoubtedly suffer a massive loss if this location fell.
The Notium camp was in disarray, given that the only activity had been taking turns standing guard up to that point. The startled warriors, awakened from their slumber, scrambled in fear.
Soldiers were hurt or killed due to the Talisbon’s surprise attack. The mayhem was unprecedented.
‘Where has Berlia gone?!’
Having realized the gravity of the situation after waking up, Cain searched for Berlia. She was nowhere to be found. He suspected she hadn’t fled like the others.
“My Lord, you must evacuate!”
A soldier persuaded Cain. Cain, on the other hand, couldn’t forsake Berlia and flee on his own.
“Go right ahead! I’ll track down Lady Berlia and join you!”
“But… Alright, please hurry!”
The situation was critical. The soldier raced away, unable to wait for Cain. The surrounding area was in disarray. Talisbon soldiers would have quickly infiltrated the camp.
‘Where on earth is Berlia?’
He couldn’t yell because he was afraid of being discovered. Cain then noticed Berlia hiding near a tent. She was trembling in her tiny clothes.
Berlia dashed toward Cain. He snatched her wrist. There was no time to comfort the trembling woman. Talisbon forces had already infiltrated the camp.
They couldn’t risk being discovered. Cain pressed his index finger to his lips. Berlia nodded, her mouth closed.
Cain rapidly took in his surroundings. Talisbon soldiers pursued their men in the direction they had retreated.
‘We cannot go that route.’
Cain resolved to go in the opposite direction, but as he did so…
“There are other people over there!”
A few remaining Talisbon soldiers noticed Berlia and Cain at that moment.
“Damn… Berlia, we have to run, even if it’s hard.”
Cain grabbed Berlia’s wrist and yanked her to her feet. They needed to get out of there as soon as possible.
“Run! Shoot them!”
Talisbon’s soldier fired an arrow at the two fleeing figures. Cain encircled Berlia to protect her.
An arrow had seriously grazed Cain’s arm. Although it did not penetrate, blood began to flow from his arm. However, the situation was dire, and there wasn’t even time to check the wound.
Cain began racing in the opposite direction, holding Berlia’s hand.
“Follow them right away!”
Several Talisbon soldiers started chasing them. They both rushed with all their might. It was a gloomy wooded trail. Only Cain and Berlia were following this route away from the Talisbon army.
They were both out of breath. They couldn’t, however, stop here. They weren’t sure what would happen if they did.
They didn’t hear any sounds from behind them after jogging for a bit. Cain paused for a time to check on Berlia’s condition.
“Berlia, are you all right? Are you wounded?”
“Ha… Ha… It’s difficult… but I’m not injured.”
She was panting profusely. Blood was still streaming from Cain’s arm, which they hadn’t seen in the rush. Berlia regarded Cain with anxiety.
“The problem is with you. Your arm injury… We must treat it right now.”
Cain, on the other hand, shook his head. That wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m all right. We must first go into hiding. We don’t know when they’ll come after us again.”
They continued through the jungle, hoping to go unnoticed so the Talisbon troops would flee.
‘We’ve been fairly far west. There will be imperial forces if we continue south from here.’
Following that, he aimed to locate the Notium Empire forces’ encampment. The arrow wound was causing severe pain, but finding a safe hiding place was the goal.
It wasn’t easily noticed with nighttime and no moonlight because it was in a secluded area. It seemed appropriate to hide for half a day. They went into the cave.
“…It’s too dark in here to go inside.”
The cave, as Berlia stated, was extremely dark. They couldn’t see what was ahead because it was night, and there was no moonlight. It seemed too dangerous to go any further.
“…It appears so. Because it’s silent, the Talisbon soldiers may have left. We should take a break nearby.”
Cain was sitting on the ground. Berlia took a look around and asked,
“Understood. However, it would be good if we could go inside the cave. Should we look around to see if there’s anything that might help?”
Cain, for whatever reason, did not answer. Berlia turned around to face him.
Cain’s face was covered in sweat as he breathed heavily. Berlia approached him with a perplexed expression and inquired about his health. His body was on fire.
“Ca, Cain, what’s going on…? Are you all right?”
“Poison… I believe. Earlier, the arrow…”
He was unable to continue speaking. The poison had been applied to the arrow that had grazed his arm earlier. That was why the ache in his arm had steadily increased. His lips were gradually turning purple.
‘This is bad.’
She couldn’t just watch. Berlia put her mouth to Cain’s wound and sucked on it without hesitation.
“Suck… Spit-, Huff… Spit-.”
Berlia sucked on his wound several times before spitting out the blood. She’d heard that doing so could help to keep the poison from spreading. She wasn’t sure, but she had no choice but to do anything.
“Berl…ia… It’s dangerous…”
“First, I need to extract the poison. I have no wounds in my mouth, so I’ll be fine.”
‘I’m hoping I’ve removed most of the poison by now.’
Sweat began to build on Berlia’s brow as well. She stood up, hoping the poison would not spread farther into his body.
“I’ll look around to see if I can find anything useful. Keep going, okay? You must persevere. Understand?”
After leaving that message, Berlia began to thoroughly investigate the area around the cave.
‘Please, please, please. Something has to be there.’
She prayed frantically as she walked around. She wanted to find any therapeutic herbs mentioned in a book at the mansion.