The stone gate was still open because they had left a latch on it.
As Radis was about to step through the stone gate, she observed the runes engraved on the surface for a moment.
Seeing that Radis was scrutinizing the runes everywhere, Robert asked.
“Aren’t these runes? Do you know what they mean?”
“Not exactly, but I think I have a clue.”
When she answered, Radis pointed at the long, vertically etched runes.
“Last time when I went here, it teleported me back to the marquisate. I think these runes are similar to the ones on a warp gate.”
Frowning, Robert asked back.
“This is connected to the marquisate?”
“I think so. Please place your hand over here.”
Half disbelieving, Robert placed his hand in the middle of the rune array.
A white glow soon followed.
However, that was it.
Nothing happened apart from that brief glow.
Radis was taken aback.
“Huh? Why isn’t it working?”
Pulling back from the runes, Robert grinned.
“It felt like it absorbed a bit of my mana, but nothing else. As expected, it’s impossible to believe something so unbelievable.”
“But last time, it really…”
“Radis, I don’t know if you like the forbidden region or anything, to the point that you want to stay longer. But if that’s not the case, let’s head back.”
And because Robert stepped out the stone gate before her, Radis had no choice but to follow him.
“What’s up with it though?”
Radis stared at the runes with resentful eyes, then she followed Robert down the long passageway.
They were very tired, but their steps were much lighter compared to their trek to the forbidden region.
After all, they found a piece of the puzzle that was their mysterious regression, and so they were filled with more hope than before this trip.
They walked leisurely down the passageway and out towards the woods.
And, at the end of the passageway, they found one man there, waiting with a sharp glint in his eye.
* * *
Wearing black armor and mounted upon a black horse, one Yves Russell was practically exuding a peculiar black aura as he fumed.
“I knew it.”
Yves Russell spoke in a low, dry voice.
“This passageway had been blocked long ago, but evidently, it’s open now. It might not be certain what kind of place it is, but one thing’s for sure—it’s not the place for a walk…!”
Robert took a step forward, using his wide body to block Radis from Yves, who was like a boiling volcano on the verge of eruption.
It seemed like he was defending her.
Seeing this, Yves gnashed his molars so hard that the sound could be heard a distance away.
“You, illegitimate child of House Roderick. Get out of the way.”
“You seem to be under some misapprehension, but I am her legal guardian. You lured a young woman under the protection of Yves Russell and brought her to the most dangerous place in the land. You must pay the price.”
At Yves’s words, Robert made no excuse and just bowed his head.
Startled as she was, Radis spoke up.
“He did nothing wrong, Marquis. It was entirely my choice to go to the forbidden region with him.”
And the moment she said this, Yves’s anger seemed to have reached its limit.
He was about to burst into rage, but he barely closed his mouth.
Through his disorganized hair, Radis saw his golden eyes, intensely burning as though they were melted gold. And in an instant, his gaze turned colder than ice.
He spoke in a chilling, stern voice.
Some knights of the marquisate stepped forward and brought forth the horses that Radis and Robert had ridden to get here.
Surrounded by knights, they had no choice but to return to the marquisate.
* * *
Upon arriving at the marquisate, the knights took Robert somewhere else.
Radis wanted to reassure Robert and tell him there’s nothing to worry about, but considering the current atmosphere, it was impossible to do so.
Besides that, as Allen was standing in the entrance hall with such a worried expression aimed towards her, Radis felt more frightened now compared to when she had entered the forbidden region.
Entering his room, Yves roughly ripped off the cloak on his back and turned towards Radis.
“Now tell me— Why exactly did you make me fall unconscious right before you ran off to the forbidden region?”
Before his icy gaze, Radis was at a loss for words.
‘Marquis, I died at the age of twenty-six and got reborn ten years back in time. And it wasn’t just me who got regressed, but also Robert, who was formerly my commanding officer at the subjugation squad. Before we died, we were in contact with some magic stones, and we went to the forbidden region for the express purpose of checking one of those magic stones.’
…Would Yves even believe a single word of that?
Seeing how Radis had closed her mouth like a clam, Yves spoke.
“Tell me. Isn’t there surely a reason as to why you went to that dangerous place?”
“Did that scoundrel force you to go there? That bastard of House Roderick?”
“Not at all. It was my choi—”
“That’s what I’m asking you! For what reason did you choose to go there!”
In front of the enraged Yves, Radis rendered speechless. All she could do was lower her gaze.
She had no idea how she should explain it.
She couldn’t bring herself to tell the unbelievable truth, and she didn’t have a believable lie that she could tell him.
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