Chapter 12

Throughout the climb that day, I was worried that I might end up getting buried somewhere in these mountains.
The reason was, to be precise, because of Cabel. 

Fortunately, this mountain was not as rough as the last one, so it was less hard on my legs, but after the midway point, I still had to secretly heal myself in a corner during the break, feeling desperate for my weak legs.

The slope was gentler this time, without any rough roads, so I really did my best to walk quickly.
But my steps inevitably slowed down eventually.

Not only did Lily leave me, but also even I could feel how slow my pace had become, so I politely apologized to Cabel, but he didn’t reply.
And Tirak, the deputy commander who was next to him, kept silent, only offering an ambiguous smile.

And it was only then that I realized there was something off.
In the past, the Nickel Knights would converse while hiking, but today everyone was going up the mountain with their mouths shut.
The practice of silence was clear at this point.
It was the safest way to follow their leader.

I considered for a moment if I should try to cheer them on or just shoot them a look of sympathy, but I couldn’t afford to stop for a moment.
I had to walk straight forward, always conscious of myself under the silent stare of the purple eyes behind me.

However, there was one thing I had overlooked as we starting up hiking again.
It was that I had not yet completely escaped the aftereffects of the last surprise attack.

Since Nickel Knights went on countless campaigns as the most elite knights of the empire, it seems that a single surprise attack didn’t cause them to suffer any particular psychological blow.

But for me, even the smallest sound in the distance would put me on edge.
Even if it was just the sound of the Nickel Knights pulling at branches, I had to stop and check just to make sure.
My heart pounded the entire time.

I really couldn’t let myself stop again or show surprise anymore because Cabel exuded a dangerous aura, but at times when I couldn’t stop myself and glanced back, I would meet Cabel’s eyes.

His purple eyes were so consistent in their display of fatigue and irritation, yet I was strangely relieved.
For some reason, I knew that if a surprise attack were to happen right now, all of Cabel’s pent up frustration from the past few days would serve as momentum, annihilating the enemy in but an instant…

Besides that, during the last surprise attack he even covered my eyes when I was frozen from shock….
Perhaps it’s because of that memory, but whatever the reason, Cabel’s presence behind me suddenly brought me peace.

With that thought, I made a decision.
I have to help Cabel fall asleep tonight.

My decision was solidified even further that afternoon, when rain began to fall as we arrived at the new base camp site.
Beyond my simple appreciation and sense of duty towards Cabel, who has been our VIP customer for 3 years, I really thought I needed to save people.

Although, it’s a bit unfortunate that it’s not just Cabel who needs saving, but mostly the people around him who suffer because of the volatile aura he radiates….

The rainfall became heavy, filling the entire field of vision with dark, achromous colors.
Most people felt more tired than usual because of the rain and went to bed early.
Although I was tired as well, I didn’t go to sleep.
Rather than being sleepy, I just couldn’t sleep well.

From the moment we starting hiking again, I constantly felt anxious, so it seemed that it would take quite a long time for this trauma to subside.

“I’ll be right back.”

Hearing the sound of the rain hitting the ground was calming.
Even after all the priests in the barracks had fallen asleep, I sat still for an extra ten minutes listening to it before moving carefully and saying a quick goodbye to Lily.

I’d already explained to Lily where I was going, so I just quietly waved a few times to her since she’d briefly woken up.

In fact, I’d wanted to let Cabel know in advance, but while we were hiking he didn’t seem quite ready to talk to me, so I decided to visit him myself at night.
There was one place where I had a feeling he’d be at.

Cabel is probably standing guard instead of the night guards.
Considering the fact that I ran into him when I went for a walk at dawn, it was a pretty good guess.

At the time, I felt wronged that the commander of the knights wasn’t sleeping, but instead was confronting and arguing with me, but thinking about it now, it was obvious that he was in the same situation as me, taking a walk outside due to his insomnia.

He wouldn’t have slept for a whole two weeks by now, so even a couple hours of rest wouldn’t be enough to compensate him now.


And, as I expected, Cabel was not sleeping today as well.
Because of the rainy weather, a temporary barracks was built as a tent for the watch guards, but Cabel was sitting there alone.

He must have sent the guards back since he wouldn’t be able to sleep today anyway. 

One side of the tent was rolled up in order to see outside clearly.
Cabel was sitting on a chair in the middle of the barracks watching the rain through the gap.

I had tried to get a feel for the situation that I was walking into by sticking my head through first, but our eyes met right away so I said a very awkward greeting.

It seemed that Cabel had been staring at the rain, but turned at my sudden movements.
But he didn’t respond to my greeting.
He’s such a consistent person.

First of all, I couldn’t stand in the rain forever, so I also entered the tent.
I took off the hood I was wearing and shook off the raindrops.
It was still a little cold, but it was tolerable.

And finally, a voice came from Cabel, who was watching me silently.
Perhaps because it was raining, his voice sounded lower than usual.

“…What brings you here?”

“You can’t sleep well on rainy days.”

I walked towards Cabel, speaking calmly.
Facing the purple eyes that were fixed on me, I smiled as amiably as I could.

“Shall I put you to sleep?”


I thought Cabel might feel touched by my consideration, but the answer that came back was too firm.
What the? I’m even offering it free of charge! I was pretty deeply offended, but I tried again.

“Don’t you want to sleep?”

“…the sentry left from my command, I can’t sleep in this situation.”

“Well, then I can stand guard—no, that expression is a little too much…”

I was disappointed by the pathetic stare telling me that I was speaking nonsense.

Obviously I thought I was in the position granting mercy here, but why is the situation turning out this way? Why do I feel like I’m begging you to let me put you to sleep!

Biting back my anger, I smiled softly again.
I offered to be on guard instead.
Of course, I was met by the same gaze as before.

“You have too little trust in me.”



“….Don’t tell me, all the things you’ve done so far… was it to gain trust?”

Well, damn it.
I was hoping you wouldn’t react so seriously.
I suddenly regretted coming here,  facing Cabel looking at me with a deadpan expression.

However, I decided to strengthen my resolve because of those exhausted eyes, strained heavily with fatigue.
Yes, that’s right.
If this goes on, the Nickel Knights will have to suffer in silence again tomorrow.

“If something happens, I’ll wake you up right away.
Just sleep for a moment.
Weren’t you unable to sleep yesterday, too?”

“….Why haven’t you slept yet?”

‘Because of you!’… I wanted to shriek at him.
But I decided to be honest.
I’d already confided in him before, so it became easier to say I was troubled.

“I, well, I just can’t really seem to sleep.
I guess I just haven’t gotten over my anxiety from the surprise attack.”

It was something I hadn’t even told Lily, who has been worried about me staying up late these days, but Cabel knew about it already, so the words came out in a very calm voice.

I worried for a moment that I might sound ridiculous, but my concerns quickly disappeared because of Cabel, who still looked at me without a sound.

Cabel didn’t say anything more, so I sat down on the chair next to him.

There was only one small lamp in the tent, so it was quite dark already.
It was a little disappointing that there were no scented candles or oils, but it wasn’t a bad setup for a good night’s sleep overall.

Well, is it though? Cabel always slept in a very quiet, deserted room….
After contemplating for a moment, I asked him frankly.

“Will it be too noisy?”

“…You only need to stay quiet.”

I said it because I was concerned about the sound of the rain, but this is the answer I get in response.
It was a bit harsh, but it was still an improvement considering his flat rejection earlier.
I couldn’t help smiling a little since he finally agreed to sleep.

The light from the lamp flickered above Cabel’s face looking back at me.
His eyes were deep and submerged in shadow, but nevertheless the purple in his eyes was still unmistakable.

He was looking at me a little strangely because of my unwarranted smile, so I quickly asked him how many hours he was planning to sleep.
He pondered briefly before responding that one hour would be enough.

Your level of exhaustion doesn’t seem like it could be resolved in an hour… was what I wanted to say, but I still smiled lightly.

“I’ll give you an hour that’ll feel like two.”

I was worried that Cabel might be too sensitive to sleep with the sound of rain all around us, but it seems his exhaustion from the past few weeks finally caught up with him, and he fell asleep quickly. 

I can’t say if it’s a good thing or not, but as I was leaning against the side of my chair with a lowered head, watching Cabel sleep….
to be honest, I wasn’t keeping track of the time at all.
Is it normal to have this much fun looking at a face?

Though it’s a face I’ve seen many times before at the temple, I had always sat a bit of a distance away from him while he slept, but thankfully I got this experience to be right next to him.

Sitting in the chair next to him with my arms over the armrests, I got to appreciate him in earnest while resting my chin in my hands.
Maybe this is the real reason why I knocked Cabel out so quickly with my powers.

With the moonlight obscured by rainclouds, the only proper light came from a lamp, but it still showed his face so clearly in this situation.
Even his black hair was as sharp as a sword, giving him a dark atmosphere.
Nevertheless, it did look neat.
The pale face beneath it continued to be buried in devastation, but now it looked a little more human.

The shading around his eyes and the shadows cast under his nose blended and disappeared around his face in such perfect harmony that I had to stifle a sigh as I admired it.
He’s like a black and white painting.

It felt like an hour had already passed, but I had no intention of waking him up.
I mean, how can an hour or two be enough? No matter how deeply or comfortably I can put him under with divine power, it seems a bit harsh to wake up a person who hasn’t slept properly for two weeks after only an hour, even if that hour feels like two.

So I decided against waking him up.
But as I watched Cabel’s face, I suddenly felt a cold wind blowing.
The rain continued to fall down hard, and the early morning breeze began to pick up the cold chill.

After thinking for a moment, I raised myself up from the chair very carefully.
When I entered the barracks earlier, I had seen some blankets in the corner.

In case my movement woke Cabel up, I poured out more divine power before moving forward very slowly.
Fortunately, the loud battering of the rain easily buried any noise I made.

I took out a blanket from the box, roughly brushed off the dust, and carefully made my way back.

Cabel still had his eyes closed.
“Wake me up after an hour,” he’d said, yet here he is still fast asleep.
I felt a little annoyed for some reason, but I brushed it off and carefully draped the blanket over Cabel’s body.

It was a big blanket for me, but its size proved to be ambiguous as soon as I tried to cover Cabel’s shoulders and legs.
When it covered his legs, it slipped off of his shoulders, but when I draped it over his shoulders, it couldn’t cover his legs.

So, rather than taking time to figure out the blanket, I thought it’d be best to cover his upper body first, so I cautiously reached out and arranged the blanket delicately.
Pull it up over his shoulders this way, and then cover around his torso that way….

“…… ”

Our eyes met.

My heart pounded from the proximity of our faces.
Standing in front of Cabel, I had bent my upper body slightly and tilted my head forward to properly cover his shoulders with the blanket, so I hadn’t realized how precariously close his eyes were.
Our noses seemed to touch.

In this black and white painting, purple was the only color I could see.

“…You—you’re awake.”

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