* * *
Every muscle in his body twisted and tore, line by line. His hands trembled as he clasped them together to channel the mana. Blood trickled through his clenched teeth.
Cadel endured, endured, and endured through pain that threatened to explode at any moment.
‘I have to endure until the spell is complete. Secure Lydon, then flee with Lumen.’
If they succeed, they could all survive. It was just around the corner. It had to be done, no matter the cost, no matter the pain.
“You’re running away first!”
“What? That’s ridiculous―”
“You have 30 seconds to run first! If I’m not there by then, come get me. Any more flailing and I’ll blow you away, so shut up and run, Lumen!”
The easiest thing for him to do was to let Lumen and Van get away while he bought a little time, but he didn’t expect Lumen to listen to him.
Therefore, he also had to be prepared to run away together. Otherwise, Lumen, who had an unbecoming soft side, couldn’t escape.
“……Again, don’t think for a second that I’m going to abandon Leader for this hunk of baggage.”
Lumen replied in a hushed voice and stomped on the ground. Following the distant footsteps, Cadel coughed and coughed up a handful of blood. A trickle of blood soaked the dirt floor. His bloodshot eyes, intermittent flare-ups, and convulsing body seemed to be the last gasp of his life.
‘Endure. Endure. Endure. Endure.’
He didn’t want to die here. He had no intention of dying. In this world or in the other world, it was better to be alive in some way. In order to do that, he needed to maintain his spell.
But even before Cadel tried to squeeze out his last bit of energy.
“Can you get me out of here?”
The outrageous request came from inside the cell. Cadel grimaced, barely controlling the momentary loss of strength.
“What do you mean take you out? All I can take out now is your heart.”
“No, this is no joke.”
“Do I sound like a joke?”
“No, little man, if you don’t take me out now, you will be annihilated.”
“If you’re that confident―”
“The elders are moving. Aiden must have arrived earlier than expected.”
What? The unexpected shock of the remark distracted him. The momentary lapse in guard had only created a gap the size of a lightning bolt, but Lydon didn’t miss, reaching out through it.
“You can trust me, I’m not lying.”
“……How am I supposed to believe you?”
“Because if you don’t believe me, you will die. But if I catch you, you won’t die, right? Think carefully.”
Cadel’s gaze fell to Lydon’s white fingertips as they slipped through the cracks in the cage.
‘30 seconds have already passed, and if I don’t move now, Lumen will come back.’
And if the fairies arrived in the meantime? Annihilation with no time to spare. He had used all of his mana to trap Lydon, and there was no turning back.
‘But what if Lydon’s words are lies?’
It could be that he was scheming to get out of this prison. However, from what he had experienced so far, Lydon wasn’t a character who tried to get out of the situation by adding such small lies.
‘He doesn’t care if he’s imprisoned or attacked as long as he’s having fun. Then…….’
Cadel wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth as he thought.
“Is there a guarantee that if I let you go, we won’t be killed by your own kind? That you want to keep us.”
“I want to keep you, I don’t want to see you die. I’ve changed my mind. And little human.”
“It’s Cadel. Don’t call me that, it’s gross.”
“Yes, Cadel. Whatever it is, if you don’t release me quickly, you’re really going to die.”
The spell had already been disrupted for a long time. Cadel chewed on the inside of his mouth and spat the blood on the ground, and spoke to Lydon, who, through the slowly withdrawing spell, was emerging.
“Heh, you don’t want to see me die? Then give it a try. If what you hate is my death, I don’t think that’s pretty bad either.”
He could get help from him, but he didn’t want to be caught in return. Being captured by Lydon or being killed by the fairies, that was all for Cadel.
So he turned around and started running, even before Lydon could convince him of anything. Lydon was protecting him, so he had to escape first.
For a moment, Lydon stared at the tiny figure in disbelief, then resumed his flight, grinning broadly.
“Cadel! You’re the best! I love you!”
Cadel’s bloody face contorted at the loud confession that rang in his ears.
‘What the hell is that maniac talking about?’
Cadel was already having a hard time, but it was Lydon’s statement that made him lose more strength. He clicked his tongue and ran out, and it wasn’t long before he saw Lumen on the other side with Van on his back. As if he hadn’t gone far from the beginning, Lumen quickly ran as soon as he found Cadel.
“Why did you only come all the way here? Did you put sandbags on your legs?”
“I can’t run because I’m nervous.”
Lumen’s disgruntled gaze swept over Cadel’s condition. Lumen’s expression darkened as he realized that it wasn’t a good look.
“Leader, your condition is…….”
“Go out first and worry about my condition later. The fairies are on the move. If we procrastinate, we will be killed.”
When he pushed Lumen’s shoulder and said, he heard an empty laugh. Lumen seemed to think it was annoying. Cadel also felt the same way.
“So. What about that giant fairy? Do we have to run away while dealing with that?”
“No. He said he’d protect us.”
“You believe in that?”
“It doesn’t matter if I believe him or not. We have no choice but to run hard under the premise of him protecting us.”
Whether Lydon planned to capture them at the exit or planned to persuade the fairies. There was only one thing they needed to do now. To flee.
Cadel sprinted alongside Lumen, putting all the strength he could muster into his shaky legs. The landscape outside was closing in fast as they sprinted.
‘If only we could get out of here!’
It must have been a joyous event, but naturally, such a miracle did not happen.