Novel Name : Favored By The Villain

Favored By The Villain - Chapter 113

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Long after she should have retired for the night, Elizabeth walked through the woods. The only person near was Helga, who was trailing behind her. The moon was shining brightly in the cloudless night sky, and the stars looked as though they had been delicately painted amongst the inky darkness. Even the woods, bathed in a blue light, had an ethereal quality to it. By all accounts, it should have been a peaceful, relaxing walk. But Elizabeth could not focus on the moon or the stars. She had other things on her mind.
“Your Highness? Please, we should head back to the camp. We don’t know what is out there.” Helga called out. Elizabeth ignored her and carried on walking. There had been a howl as soon as night fell, one that everyone had heard. But there had also been a scream, one that Elizabeth was not able to ignore. It had echoed throughout the entire camp, and was loud enough to rouse Elizabeth from her deep slumber.
On the way out, she had stopped by Levisia’s tent to peer in to check that she’s safe. To her relief, Levisia was fast asleep on her futon, her book still open on the ground beside her. Content in the knowledge that Levisia was not the one who was in danger, Elizabet had set out to find out who was foolish enough to venture out at night. Besides herself, of course.
There had not been another howl since, or at least, not one that Elizabeth had heard. She wondered if the solitary howl, followed by the scream, meant that the beast had found its next meal.
“Don’t be stupid, Elizabeth. Of course the beast hasn’t had its meal. The beast doesn’t even exist.” She said to herself, pinching herself for thinking such things. “The scream was someone falling down and injuring themselves, nothing more. But if that is the case, then they will still need help. Oh, what am I doing?!”
A rustling to her left caused her to nearly leap out of her skin. With her magic at the ready, she waited to see who, or what, was about to leap out at her from behind the bushes.
“Your Highness! We should run! No good will come of us staying here!” Helga said, backing away. Elizabeth didn’t miss how erratic her breathing had become. “It’s too dangerous to be here.”
“What, have you come to hunt the wild beasts, too?”
Elizabeth couldn’t help but sigh at Merril emerging from the shadows. Her grin spread from ear to ear, but that did now hide the new scratch that went across her face. Nor the blood that caked her clothing,
“Merril, what are you doing out here?” Elizabeth said, lowering her hands and waving her magic away. A few sparks landed on the damp grass, sending small wafts of smoke into the air.
“I could ask the same for you, dear sister. Are you here to hunt some wild animals, as well? That would be a great story to tell the others. ‘Elizabeth the Beast Slayer’, they’ll call you. Well, I’m sorry to say, but they are already dead.” Merril wiped her hands on her cloak. “I was out for my late-night stroll when the wild beasts came out and attacked. I had no choice but to defend myself, you know? It wouldn’t do for a member of the Kraidens to die in such an undignified manner, would it?”
“You… You took on a pack of wild animals by yourself?!” Elizabeth reached out and grabbed Merril’s arms. “So that scream? Was that you? And how did you manage to take them all on by yourself?”
Merril shrugged, and peeled Elizabeth’s hands off her arms.
“Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. As for how I did it. Well…” She started walking back towards the camp site. “That is for me to know, and you to find out. Goodnight, Elizabeth.” Merril continued walking away, a light spring in her step. Elizabeth watched her, silently seething. It was one thing for Merril to be attacked during her late-night walk and let out a scream like she was in mortal peril, but it was another to claim that she killed the wild animals in the area all by herself. Merril was strong, as expected for the Kraiden, but was she strong enough to do such a feat?
“Your Highness?”
Elizabeth ran a hand through her hair and looked at Helga, who was now clutching her shawl around her shoulders.
“Yes, Helga?” She said, trying to hide the tiredness in her voice.
“Merril must have been telling the truth. There are dead animals on the ground near where she came from, the likes of which I have never seen. As odd as it sounds, she really did take them all on and live to tell the tale.” Helga dabbed at a spot of blood on her dress. “We should really get back to the camp, now. There is nothing good waiting for us out here.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right. We’ve found the source of the scream, and Merril is unharmed. Which is… Good, I guess.” Elizabeth took one last look into the woods, now deathly silent save for Helga’s terrified breathing. “Come, Helga. Let us retire for the night. We have a long journey ahead of us tomorrow.”
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