sleeping pills last night, then woke up.

However, for lying down for such a long time, her body was not cold.
A thick cloth was draped over her body.

There was a bonfire burning not far away.

‘I cut my arm with a knife…’

Jiwoo looked down at her arm, which was carefully wrapped in a white, clean cloth.

Only the wounded area was swollen, and the cloth was stained with blood.
Jiwoo carelessly touched that side.

“Uh.”

The open wound hurt her.
Jiwoo gave up looking at her wound and looked around.

Of course she was alone.
There was no way the escort had come down here to rescue her.

The man of the other race that she had purified the miasma from… She didn’t save him for anything, so he probably had no intention of taking her to a nearby village.
Still, the fire seemed to have been left behind.

Drip, drip.

‘What a tough life.’

As Akarna, she realized something after doing relief work for a long time.
It’s either people died surprisingly easily, or they didn’t die surprisingly easily.

She must have been closer to the latter since she was Akarna.

“Hoo…”

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She let out a sigh.

The damn body was cold and welcomed the warm fire.
As she warmed her hands to the fire, Jiwoo thought somberly.

‘When the rescue team arrives, I’ll just follow them.’

Impulsively trying to die yet failing only caused her fear of death to deepen.
She suffered deathly pain several times before she came back to life, and she didn’t want to go through it again.

Even if she ended up being treated like a stranger here, there was nothing she could do about it.
There’s no way back home.

Just because she didn’t want to accept this, or just because she recklessly parted with the crown prince, she didn’t have anywhere to go.
The temple wouldn’t allow her, and she didn’t think the crown prince would let her go.

It was when Jiwoo was thinking without any motivation.
A rustling sound was heard from the entrance.

Jiwoo raised her head.
And she found him.

The first thing that caught her eye was brightly colored hair.
Silver hair tinged with a light forget-me-not color.
In the sunlight, it looked much lighter than it did in the dark.

And the biggest feature, the ears, caught her eye.
She didn’t know because she only looked at him lying down, but one of his ears was cut half.
The asymmetry was more conspicuous because the opposite ear was long.

He was wary of Jiwoo, who was already awake.
After a moment’s hesitation, he came closer as if he had made up his mind.

They stared at each other for a moment.

“……”

“……”

There was no conversation.
The man unrolled a cloth in front of Jiwoo’s eyes.

She could see freshly picked berries, mushrooms, and herbs.
He then put the skinned chunks of meat over the bonfire.

Not long after, a fragrant smell spread from there.
The smell of ripe meat and the luscious apple-like fruit caught her eye, but she didn’t feel like eating any of it.

After a while, the other race said,

[You are a stranger.]

“……”

Due to the very closed nature of this race, she had only listened to it.
It was the first time Jiwoo met one in person.

The language he spoke was also strange.
It wasn’t the official language of the Empire she always heard.
She remembered the first time she fell into this strange world.
The first time she heard it was an unfamiliar language.
It was the same as being able to understand, but unable to speak.

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Stranger.
After all, they were all just strangers to each other.

When Jiwoo smiled and nodded to the man, he seemed to think that the words worked, and he held out a berry.
It was a red fruit that she had been eyeing for a long time.

[Take it.
Aren’t you hungry?]

Jiwoo shook her head and refused to eat, but he ate one fruit first.

[No poison.
Here.]

“……”

Even if Jiwoo didn’t respond, he didn’t give up and started talking again.

[Ah, should you drink first?]

She had shed a lot of blood, so the water bag he offered was really considerate.
The leather bag soaked in water was cool, and she was worried that it might smell bitter, but surprisingly, it had a refreshing mint scent.

[Show me your wound.]

After confirming that Jiwoo was drinking water, he pulled Jiwoo’s arm and removed the bandage.

A wound that was almost healing was now revealed.
It was the same arm that was hit by the dagger he swung, and where Jiwoo cut it herself.
But wasn’t he the one who attacked first?

Jiwoo pulled out her arm somewhat nervously.
He said hurriedly, having lost her hand.

[I apologize for attacking you.]

“……”

[Or, can’t you speak?]

Jiwoo, who did not want to deal with him until the end, eventually surrendered and raised her voice.

“I can only speak the Imperial language.”

After a while, he responded with the same words as Jiwoo.

“Right.”

He didn’t have the accent she usually heard, but it was definitely that language.

“…I don’t know if my words will sound right.
It’s my first time talking to a human.”

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