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223 Ambush in the Nigh

 Lunar year, the 15th of the month of fire moon.

It was the 76th day.

Today, the weather was very gloomy and everyone looked so down. Leader did not force us to continue; instead, he found a place for us to rest. Honestly, I was very nervous because I was afraid that I might arouse leader's suspicion. I really don't know how to explain it to him. That was why every time everyone was resting, I was really afraid that leader would look for me. I know that leader is a very good person in spite of his serious face. But I still didn't tell him the truth because this is our family's curse and I don't want to involve others in, including Brother Randolf. However, I'm a little bit worried about how long can I kept this secret. I'm also really scared of Sister Gillian. Every time she looks at me, I felt as if she can see through me, as if she knows my true identity and my cursed bloodline. I keep telling myself not to have such wishful thinking since many years have passed. No one should remember our existence, except for the hunters that lived in the forest.

I know it's very despicable of me. When I heard that leader was going to the Unicorn Peak, I immediately thought of an idea. I wanted to use his power to complete the thing I should have done. This might be the so-called "taking advantage of someone"; I have also regretted this decision and I feel worried and very uneasy. However, I still have to do it in the end because this was my destiny. I have already decided. When everything ends, I will tell everything to the leader. I hope that he will forgive me... I hope the holy spirit will forgive my egoism.

We have almost arrived at the Unicorn Peak.

I can already vaguely hear that they are calling me from afar, ]waiting for me, waiting for everything to come to an end.

The hunters are also getting closer and closer. I have to do it before they find me... This was Father's last wish and the dream of our entire tribe.

"Haa..."

The cold wind blew through the tent gap. The girl couldn't help but keep trembling. She tightened her cloak and anxiously looked around. The sky was already dark, and it was relatively cold outside-even the bonfire swayed in wind. Occasionally, the sound of insects around the forest could be heard. It was already late, so the Ophenians had returned to their tents, leaving the mercenaries guarding outside. The mountain wasn't safe since it was full of bandits and wild beasts. Although Lapis was also the member of the mercenary group, she didn't have to stay have to be on nightwatch. Even though Lapis wasn't a caster like Lize and Marlene and needed rest, the potions she created, including the low-grade ones, were very useful for the mercenaries. To many of them, it was enough to save their lives whenever they were in danger. Because of this, a lot of mercenaries respected her and didn't say anything even though she wasn't on guard.

Of course, from another point of view, it was not too reassuring to let her stay on guard.

"Ah, Lapis, are you sleeping?"

Suddenly a voice sounded from outside the tent. Lapis couldn't help but be surprised at the sound of this voice. She immediately hid her diary and stood up.

"Sister Gillian?"

"Hihihi, I knew it, you haven't slept."

After hearing Lapis's reply, Gillian entered the tent. She dressed seductively as usual. It was as if the icy cold weather didn't leave any marks on her white skin. Gillian proudly raised her right hand. She was holding a wine jug and two wooden cups.

"How about it; do you want some? It's really cold here, so be careful not to catch a cold."

... What she said didn't really sound too convincing.

Looking at Gillian's shoulder, Lapis opened her mouth, trying to say something. But in the end, she said nothing. She had always been timid and not good at communicating. In the Mark White mercenary group, Lapis had no other friends beside Randolf, Anne, and some others because she had never actually interacted much. Moreover, she wasn't strong, so she had always been a hindrance to her comrades. That's why in the Mark White mercenary group, Lapis didn't have many friends; there's no one who liked her except for Randolf, Anne, and a few others.

She thought that she was going to experience the same thing when she first came to Starlight. Afterward, she found out that she was wrong. Because of Rhode, she didn't have to risk her life fighting every day. She just had to stay in her room and do what she liked. Not only that, the other mercenaries also never laughed at her or scolded her like in her previous mercenary group. To the contrary, they were very nice and showed respect toward her. She was no longer a hindrance here...

Lapis really loved her current life. She felt really reassured in Starlight. Everything there was comfortable. There were people who liked her-even loved her-and she didn't have to go on a dangerous mission to risk her life... If she could, she really hoped to stay forever.

Thinking until here, she dozed off a little. But she quickly recovered and took the wooden cups. Gillian slightly laughed while sitting before her. Then, she placed the jug in her hands on the bonfire. Soon, a fragrant smell spread around and the room was filled with the scent of wine.

"Where is the leader?" Holding a cup in her hand, Lapis curiously asked. She looked at Gillian, feeling a little bit uneasy and puzzled... She seemed to be looking for a topic.

"Master wanted to be alone for a while, so he told me to get out." Hearing Lapis's question, Gillian's mouth twitched.

"It's the truth; Master is a very ruthless person. Because the weather is very cold, I thought of warming his bed. But he actually rejected me mercilessly, and I'm really hurt by it. A man can just never understand a woman's heart, right, Lapis?"

"Eh?"

Hearing Gillian's answer, Lapis was totally speechless. She lightly coughed, awkwardly. She had no clue how to answer Gillian's question. However, it didn't seem like Gillian cared about it either. She just skimmed the subject slightly, then reached out to pick up the jug. Lapis was looking at Gillian as she poured wine into her cup. Seeing the liquid, Lapis hesitated for a moment, then cautiously sipped it.

The hot liquid instantly dispersed the cold air around her body. She closed her eyes comfortably; she could also feel the coldness in her body being expelled. When she put down the wooden cup in her hand, Gillian's beautiful face suddenly appeared before her.

"Ms. Gillian!"

The sudden intimidation made Lapis shrink backward as she distanced herself from Gillian.

However, Gillian didn't stop, still looking at Lapis carefully.

"Well... you're a very cute child. Why do you wrap yourself this tight? Isn't it a waste of beauty? Beauty is a woman's weapon. It's only effective when shown. If you hide it, it will make a lot of people cry."

"I, I'm not used to being looked at..." Lapis said, subconsciously tightening her cloak again, just like a child rebelling against her parents. "You don't have to worry, Sister Gillian. There's nothing wrong about it. I'm accustomed to such a life. I think I don't need to change anything."

"What a pity."

Upon hearing Lapis's reply, Gillian took a step back and drank the wine in her cup in a very elegant pose. Then she turned her head again to look at the girl in front of her.

"It's really a pity; I didn't expect you to lack this much confidence. Really is such a pity; back then your perfect tribe was very proud and confident..."

"Eh?!" When Lapis heard this sentence, her body immediately became stiff.

The heat around her body seemed to have disappeared completely, replaced with extreme coldness, as if she were in an ice cave. Lapis blankly gazed at Gillian and didn't know what to say. After a while, she forced herself to smile a very awkward smile. It was even less natural than a smile carved by a rookie craftsman on a statue.

"I, I do not understand what you mean... Sister Gillian, I'm just an ordinary mercenary. I don't know what you mean by perfect tribe..."

Hearing her answer, Gillian only gazed at her silently. When Lapis became restless because of this, she laughed.

"Actually, I only said it casually. I suddenly remembered that such a legendary tribe once existed. They were very proud and confident. Personally, I think it's a very admirable trait; don't you think so, Ms. Lapis?"

"Is, is that so..."

Seeing Gillian's reaction, Lapis couldn't cope any longer. She replied carefully, not knowing what more to say. Suddenly, a sharp scream broke the silence in the camp.

"Aaa----!!"