There was a well-kept garden.
Mohan frowned as he admired the garden.
“Isn’t this a bit too bad….”
Aristocrats changed their gardens periodically to keep up with the times, so you could get a sense of the times by looking at their gardens.
The garden here now was in vogue when Mohan was about twelve years old.
Spider webs stretched out like thin cotton wool and dying shrubs stuck out like sore thumbs.
It looked as if it had been neglected for a long time.
His mood sank further.
Mohan remembered what had happened when he was twelve years old.
It was a dark time, even for the young Mohan.
After some hesitation, he stepped inside the mansion.
It didn’t take long, thanks to the strangely reduced size of the garden.
Mohan went straight up the stairs and stood in front of the massive doors.
Faintly, he could hear beeping and squeaking from inside.
The rotten wooden door creaked open.
Inside the room, by the window, was a rocking chair.
he could see a head peeking over the back of the chair.
Mohan stopped in his tracks as he entered the room.
Suddenly, he was smaller.
He looked down at his blistered palm, as if he had just begun to grip his sword.
It had been a long time since he’d felt the sting.
He stepped forward, ignoring his shrinking body.
Somehow, he felt impatient.
The rocking chair was still rocking, and the person sitting in it hadn’t moved a muscle.
The narrow stride was unfamiliar, and he didn’t like it.
“Mother, are you there?”
It was an awkward greeting.
He couldn’t remember how he had greeted her during this time.
Only the colour of her sickly face was clear.
Mohan stood between the window and the chair, his face somehow impassive.
His face was white with suppressed emotion.
There was a hint of resignation in his eyes as he studied his opponent.
Mohan was silent as he studied the bony right side of her face and the maggoty left.
Then the corpse, which retained some of its mother’s features, spoke to him.
“I want to see the white flowers, Mohan.”
The corpse’s words triggered a long-forgotten memory.
It was about a month before his mother died.
It was the middle of winter, and it was snowing.
In Morocco, where it was warm all year round, snow was a novelty.
Mohan was sitting next to his mother, looking out the window.
It was the first time he had ever seen snow in his life.
‘Mother, white flowers are falling from the sky.’
Because of her sickly body, she couldn’t watch Mohan grow up, so my mother used to like to talk to him when she was younger than him in age.
Mohan knew that the white thing falling from the sky was called snow and that water was just frozen.
But he deliberately said it was a white flower.
Predictably, her mother rolled her eyes and smiled.
‘Yes, a very pretty flower is falling.’
She went on to tell me a long story about white flowers.
It was a mixture of all sorts of spiritual and ominous things and the opposite.
It was all very childish for a twelve-year-old boy from a noble family to hear.
Nevertheless, Mohan wanted to give his mother a white flower.
Different types of flowers have different meanings, and he thought it would be nice to give his mum a beautiful flower with a meaning.
Mohan calmly thought about the types of classes he could skip and set to action.
It was the first heavy snowfall in Morocco in more than 60 years.
Mohan set out alone, speaking only to his butler for the surprise.
He rode into the woods with one of the horses from his recent riding lessons.
Until then, he had assumed everything would be fine.
He knew why it snowed and what plants needed to grow, but he was too young to put the two together.
Moreover, the flowers Mohan was trying to save didn’t bloom in cold weather.
Everything pointed to his failure, but he didn’t know it.
Even then, he was lost.
He scratched his head at how difficult it was to get a flower that meant “happiness.” It was only then that he realized he had gone too far.
It was cold and snowing.
The path was getting buried in the snow.
‘I should have found out where it grows.’
Frowning, Mohan turned his horse and trotted away.
He stroked the nape of his struggling horse and thought.
‘What are you doing here?’
And he thinks he met someone there….
Mohan frowned at the memory and looked at the corpse.
“The white flower?”
The flowers you gave me.”
Had he saved the flowers that day?
Suddenly, his body ached all over, especially in his side, where he felt a tearing pain.
He lifted his arm and saw a reddened hem.
“I want to see that flower again.
Where is it?”
The corpse, which had only moved its mouth, suddenly stretched out both hands.
He tried to pull the Auror up, but his young body was helpless.
He should never have entered this room, Mohan thought dazedly.
Gnarled fingers tightened around his throat.
“Where are you, the white, young flower?”
Mohan’s eyes popped open and bloodshot.
“No, no, no, it’s just red.”
The hand that had been strangling him came up to his face.
He could see what it was about to do as it steepled its fingers in front of his eyes.
It was a terrible place.
Why his mother?
It was the first promise he ever made in my life, that he would hold on to his sick mother and protect her.
It was also the first promise je broke.
The painful words choked him.
His vision blurred from lack of breath.
He couldn’t tell if his eyeballs had been poked or not.
A familiar voice called out from beyond his mind.
His blurred vision slowly returned.
His heart pounded in his ears, and the sensation of his labored breathing and overwhelmingly expanding lungs washed over him.
‘Warrior, she’s not Princess Aurora, no matter how pretty she is, are you really, really…?”
The voice was familiar, rising furiously and falling to a whisper.
At the same time, the rising and falling of the voice, as if it could disappear at any moment, unnerved Mohan.
‘I think he’s going to run away again….
he swallowed hard, pressing down on his confused senses.
He blinked rapidly, tears streaming down his face.
His vision brightened.
The fog and the castle were nowhere to be seen.
he was lying in a heap on the dirt floor.
“Oh, are you awake?”
A familiar magic enveloped his body.
A silver shield glowed, white hair spilling out of it, and grey eyes that had become familiar over the past few days stared back at him with clarity.
“Are you hurt?”
I groped all over the warrior with suspicious eyes.
He flinched when I grazed his side, so I pressed down hard and checked his palm, but nothing came out.
What is it? Is he hurt?
Its eyes seemed to wander dreamily towards the top of my head, which was not a good sign.
There was no telling what the magical air might have done.
It was bad enough that he was lying defenseless on the bare ground.
It wasn’t bad enough to have a beautiful man in a cold sweat touching my hand, but I needed to know the source of that sweat.
Are you awake? Can you get up?”
He didn’t respond, even though I’d cast the strongest protective spell I knew in his stupor.
How out of it did he have to be to not even be bothered by the faintly glowing membrane? I thought about using the excuse he’d given me this time, but I didn’t think I’d need it.
“Did you come to rescue me?”
There was a faint hint of madness in the warrior’s voice as he uttered those words.
With an unknown sense of urgency, I quickly contemplated a ‘not incompetent, but not very good either’ answer.
My eyes narrowed and I opened my mouth.
“I, uh, saved the day, but… as you know, I’m not very good….
well, I finally got there, and the warrior, I mean, Mohan, was… down?”
I felt like I was digging myself into a hole the more I spoke, so I shut my mouth and rolled my eyes.
The warrior looked at me and laughed.
Wh, why do you look at something that’s so precious…? I’m just a… lowly mage fellow?
Somehow, he felt himself drifting towards dreamland again.
If he fell asleep again, he wouldn’t be able to wake up easily.
“Um… it’s not like I know much, but I’m only asking because I’m worried….”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s right …What happened to you?”
He lifted his arm, stared at his palm, and let it rest on my forearm.
It was a force that neither grasped nor released.
“I… I think I dreamed… I saw a very old Moroccan castle, and my mother was sitting in a rocking chair, rotting away in it.”
It was horrifying for a sweet-sounding voice.
And since it was Magi nightmare, there had to be something different about it.
“Are you having a headache?”
My first concern was a mental attack.
If the warrior had lost his memory or been brainwashed, that would be bad.
He could only use his mind, but his body was filled with divine power, so he was likely fine, but I didn’t know.
Fortunately, the warrior shook his head.
did you feel the pain in your dreams?”
This was a higher-level attack than mental attacks.
I had heard of it being used by the highest level of Shadow Demons, mostly in the Demon Realm.
It was an attack that linked dreams to reality, so that death in a dream became reality.
Some people would intentionally kill themselves to wake up from nightmares, so it was easy to fall victim to it if you didn’t know better.
The warrior replied, his eyes narrowing.
Don’t make such an innocent face….
You were so dangerous….
“…The corpse was choking me, trying to dig out my eyes, and suddenly I was bleeding from my side, arms, and legs….”
The attack is one thing, but why the sudden wounds? This isn’t my area of expertise, so I’m disappointed that there are so few clues.
For a moment, I rattled off a list of people who might know, then shook my head.
I didn’t want to go to the tower yet.
Besides, they don’t really stick around.
If I was lucky, I’d run into them on the way.
“It was hard.
Now again, let’s go together.”
I put my hand to my cheek to wipe away what I didn’t know was sweat or tears.
The warrior pressed his face close to my palm.
…the beauty’s charm was fatal.
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