She saw Lucas covering her.
At the sight of his desperate face, all the sounds of the world seemed to disappear.
The flow of time seems to slow down and each raindrop seems to stay in the air like a sticky substance.
She saw his lips move like 'Valerie'.
(No! Stop! Stop it!)
She desperately tried to scream in her chest, but no voice came out, and not even her fingertips moved, as if her consciousness had left her body.
The sword that her father has just swung down on her is now coming right at Lucas's head.
It cuts him in half from the head, slicing through flesh and bone, and the sword slowly digs into his chest.
Such a future scene is in her mind.
No, probably she did.
But she is no longer sure if she is screaming or not.
His body comes to cover hers.
A solid weight pressing down on her, and a warm body heat being transmitted.
She desperately tried to hold on to his body.
The next moment, however, she shuddered at the sight she saw over his shoulder.
Between her colorless lips, “Oh, ohh...” a voice falls from between her lips as a breath leaks out.
Her father's great sword slips over onto the sword Lucas has raised, and pierces the ground with a dull thud.
The tip of the great sword splatters muds violently and hits her cheek.
In the next moment, her father's shocked expression became distorted and pained.
Red drops fall from the falling raindrops.
Over Lucas's shoulder, on the other side.
She sees her father's neck slit open, and blood spurts out violently.
His eyes are wide open, staring blankly into the air, and his lips are moving vacantly with a look of horror on his face.
After a pause for breath, the great sword slipped from his hand and struck the ground with a heavy clang.
Her own scream cut through her ears, and the sound returned to the world.
Valerie reaches out desperately, losing herself.
(What!? What happened?)
She still does not know what is happening.
But she already knows.
Her father's life cannot be saved.
She heard Lucas whisper in her ear.
Instantly, her father's body swayed in her vision.
Valerie pushed Lucas's body away with all her might.
But her outstretched hand does not reach him.
Her father falls backward and a dull thud mixes with the sound of the rain.
She desperately scrapes the mud off the floor and crawls to her father's side.
Red spreads through the puddle.
The feeling of her father's life spreading out into the mud eroded her sanity.
"Aaaaaaaaa... no, no wayyyy, aaaaaaaaaaa!"
She no longer knew what she was doing.
She just held the wound with both hands desperately trying to stop the blood from flowing out of her father's body.
Her palms are stained red, red blood is spilling from between her fingers, and her father's life is spilling out.
Her voice begins to moisten, and the words fade feebly from her lips.
But then her father's trembling hand caresses her cheek.
Her eyes widened involuntarily, and for some reason he nodded his head with a weak but satisfied expression on his face.
The next moment, his hand dropped down weakly and hit the ground, and there was the sound of life burning out of him.
She screamed like a desperate animal and shook her father's body desperately.
She has seen many deaths on the battlefield.
There is no way she can't understand what is going on.
She knows there is nothing she can do.
But her head refuses to accept it.
"Father, fatherrrrr, open your eyes, open your eyes, please, please, please, pleaseeeee!"
But no matter how much she called and shook him, he no longer answered.
* * *
Valerie screams, clinging to her father's cold body.
Meanwhile, Lucas watches her in a daze.
He watches her distraught figure with emotionless eyes.
It is natural that she is distraught.
Lucas thinks so.
As for himself, however, he only feels a vague and unpleasant sensation coiled up in the depths of his chest.
As if paralyzed, his emotions do not take a clear form.
He is sure that some important part of him is broken.
Lucas thought so.
After a while, he saw Valerie get up and pick up her father's sword that was lying in the mud.
Her voice sounded as if she had been squeezed, and through the drops of water dripping from the ends of her hair, he could see her standing there with her head down.
When asked why, Lucas had only one word to say.
But before the echo of his words could fade away, Valerie howled like a beast.
"Who asked you to help me! Who asked you to kill my father! Who... who... who...!"
She clenched her teeth tightly.
She picks up her father's sword and walks toward him.
Looking up at her, Lucas thought to himself.
—I knew it would come to this.
But he had no regrets.
He was ready.
This is what it means to save her.
This is what he deserves for all the killings he's committed.
Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.
Once he could feel for her.
And, as soon as he thought that, fate took it all away.
He knew she didn't ask for help. He knew she didn't want her father dead.
He knew it.
And he knew this would happen if he helped her.
But Lucas made a decision.
He would never let this woman be killed.
He decided that.
And at this point he gave up.
He gave up his life.
Once he gave up, he wondered how he had survived so long while he had killed so many people.
Karma is retribution. He who kills will be killed.
All he has to do is to close his eyes and accept what he did.
Then he dies and she survives.
It's all right.
It's all right.
So much so that he wishes, so strongly, for her to live.
He doesn't know if this is what they call love.
He had never had such a feeling before. Or maybe not.
No, it's not.
It's more selfish, one-sided... just selfish, so to speak.
It's not what he wants.
(Duke-sama... now I know how you feel...)
Lucas smiles and quietly bares his neck, hanging his head as Valerie had done earlier.
He doesn't like pain.
He would be grateful if she could finish him off with a single blow so that he would have no time to feel the pain.
With Valerie's skill, it would be no problem.
And now, above his head, he hears the sound of a sword slashing against the wind.
At last it's over.
This is the end.
After all, he'll die someday too.
He had been involved in killing for a long time, and he knew it would be a bad way to die, but it's not so bad if it's in her hands, he thinks.
He can die with satisfaction with this reason. Nothing wrong with that.
And so, Lucas obediently waits for the moment.
The forest is quiet, and the sound of the rain echoes in the air.
But there is no sign of a sword being drawn.
When Lucas looks up quietly, he sees Valerie with her sword raised in the air and her face disheveled and sobbing.
"...Your beauty is ruined."
As soon as he relaxes his mouth, the sword slips from Valerie's hand and hits the ground, causing her to sit down flat on the ground.
"Uu, uuu, uueeeeeeeeeee."
As soon as Lucas muttered this to her, she clung to him and hugged his head to her chest.
She acted wildly, as if she had no control over her overflowing emotions.
Valerie moaned and whispered in his ear as he twisted in her embrace so tightly that he could hardly breathe.
"Danna-sama, I've lost my mind. I have gone crazy. The man who killed my father is... Danna-sama. I'm glad you're not dead, but I'm afraid. I hate you for that... and I hate myself for that, Danna-sama, I've lost my mind. I've gone crazy..."
While shaking like a child afraid of the dark of night, she hugs Lucas.
At this, Lucas looks up quietly, looks into her eyes, and quietly whispers
"I... no, Duke-sama and I just wanted you to live."
And he presses his lips to hers.
In the pouring rain. The shadows of their embrace overlap and become one.
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The World's Most Terrible Mercenary Reincarnated as a High School Student with an Organ Transplant. ~The Story of Royal Consort~