Marriage And Absente - Chapter 1
Translator and Editor: Shin and Majormandorin
“…. Leone .…. Leone!”
A fiery fireball crashed to the floor like a shooting star. The smothering smoke clouding clarity of vision. It must have been caused by gunpowder. It exploded immediately upon contact with the ground and pierced the body of soldiers who couldn’t avoid it. Sitting on a saddle while holding the reins of his horse, a man helplessly watched the soldiers slowly die as the enemy cut the necks of his allies with a knife.
It was when he groaned and tore his eyes from the horror, that the scene changed. This time it was not an attack at the castle, but a small battle on the Swamplands. Again, he watched the destruction of his soldiers.
Blood spattered from a young soldier’s broken wrist. The man watched him in silence. It was time for him to swing his long sword and move forward. Suddenly, he was brought to another place.
Before he had time to react, a gigantic boulder fell from the cliff and rushed towards him. The man panted as he desperately held back the unbearably heavy rock. It was all the more difficult because he had been swept off his balance. The constant feeling of sinking was like a cloth damaged by a moth.
He stood straight and glared at a knight who was looking down at him. The knight’s lips were thin and pale, and he wore a helmet. These lips of his cruelly sneered as he lifted the tip of his sharp sword high. He was aiming at the hands of the man who was holding back the rock.
Just as the sword was about to slash down, it instead abruptly fell to the knight’s side.
The hands that barely grabbed the large stone started to loosen. Without a chance to come to proper sense, the weakened man collapsed, his back pointing to the sky. The knight that was wielding the knife, was already covered in blood.
The man lying on the ground closed his eyes. His memory was fading away, broken fragments melting into pieces. Name, status, position, property, parents, and comrades. In the end, he was tumbling down an endlessly dark abyss…..
He suddenly opened his eyes to reality. A puddle of blood was splattered on the floor. The warmth in it was terribly realistic. The surprised man jolted upwards like a fish pulled out of the water.
His stomach ached. With his mouth open, he clenched his upper body in an attempt to ease the pain. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead. Blood was oozing outwards.
“You can’t move like that!”
He could hear a strict voice yelp. Slowly, he moved his gaze forwards. Outside the cottage, a woman’s voice could be heard from the small window, where very little sunlight passed through. He stared at her with a bewildered expression.
“I said you can’t move like that!”
The woman, who was holding laundry, opened the brittle windows. Her face was evidently distressed. The way she tried to stop him with her head barely sticking out the door was very funny, but the man scarcely laughed.
“Also, take your hands off your waist.”
He was momentarily distracted by the flapping sound of the fabric. On the spur of the moment, he removed his hands and stared at the woman. The woman, who was outside, quickly closed the rattling windows. A few moments later, she opened the door and came in with her wet laundry.
“Jeez, you shouldn’t be sitting like that….”
The woman, who ran like a hen darting around, came and sat next to him with a hand reached out. He instinctively pulled on the woman’s hand for support and stood up. The lady, who was making a fuss, suddenly looked at him with a frozen face. Her face turned pale as she feebly smiled.
He watched her bite her dry lips. She lifted her hands to his wound before quickly pulling it back. The woman, who had fallen into a state of embarrassment, nervously blinked her eyes.
“Let me check if the wound opened.”
Different from before, the voice that came from her now was more soft and faint. The man nodded as he watched the woman shrink from his towering figure. She gently lifted his shirt and loosened the bandage. Then, she examined the wound. Based on her skill when opening the bandage, she must have dealt with this injury before. He looked down at the woman, who must have been the one to put the clean shirt on him.
The woman’s long wavy strawberry blond hair was tied up. At first glance, he could immediately tell she was a virgin with a baby face. Cute freckles on the top of her nose, long eyelashes, lush green eyes, coral glossy lips, and a small chin. But she looked practical thanks to her straight face.
“It looks like the wound opened a little bit, but if you are more careful in the future it will properly heal.”
“For a while please don’t move from the bed.”
After she said that, she went to retrieve a new bandage and disinfectant. Without a word from him, she attended to his wound again. Her hands were fast and accurate as they applied the disinfectant and medicine and put on the new bandages.
The woman hesitated. The man looked at her. The cumbersome pain that heavily clouded his head made him want to lie down again. He glanced at her with sharp eyes, as she shut her mouth again.
“Do you have anything else to say?”
“Well, do you need anything? Perhaps you feel uncomfortable somewhere?….”
“No, I’m fine.”
The man stared at the woman, before turning his head away. She lowered her head and exited the room. After the woman left, he fell back onto the bed again.
He observed the whole situation. It seems the woman had been living alone. Furthermore, he didn’t know where it was located. In addition, this woman had a room filled with medicine.
The fragrance of the medicinal herbs in the room was strong. Until he closed his eyes again, he kept looking around for clues that could help find the woman’s identity.
A pharmacist. A virgin. A cabin. Strawberry blonde hair. A young girl with freckles……
The man woke up the next day at noon. He seemed to be recovering at an incredibly fast pace, could now get out of bed and move around. Normally, it would have taken 3-4 days to recover.
The cabin had no specific bedding for patients. For more than two weeks, because the bed was occupied by the injured man, Swan slept on the floor.
She was unable to sleep comfortably and constantly kept moving in her sleep. In the end, she woke up and sorted the laundry. The man, who usually was asleep at this time, was sitting on his bed as he watched Swan come in.
Swan was surprised as their eyes met.
“You’re awake now?”
She asked him to avoid awkwardness, but the man didn’t reply. Swan put down the basket of laundry and turned around again. She was more at ease when he just slept quietly, for this was the first time she had taken care of a patient for so long. It wasn’t long before she quickly became attached to this handsome man, and fell in love with him.
Yes. She was in love. Falling in love was easy, at least for Swan. Radiant sunlight spilled through the window and shined on the man’s dazzling face. The stunning man looked at her.
“Um, would you like something to eat?”
At least, that’s what she wanted to ask. She was going to start talking to him by saying this, but as soon as their eyesight crossed, her mind went blank.
So she just blinked like a carp. She faltered as she tried to stick the words together, as a sharp gaze pierced through her.
The man walked past Swan to the kitchen with heavy steps that made the floor creak. It’s been more than 15 days since he had a proper meal. He barely managed to fit in the room because of his nearly 2 meters tall figure. Swan worried the food would not be enough to fill his appetite.
After entering the kitchen, Swan took the oatmeal that she prepared before, and thin slices of stale bread and brought them in a tray. The man stayed still, like a rusty lump of metal.
After placing the tray down, she prepared a glass of warm goat milk for him. The man walked to the table. It was a round table that was a perfect size for Swan, but to him, it seemed like it belonged to a playhouse toy.
“Do you perhaps…”
That man, who had already swallowed a few spoonfuls of oatmeal, raised his head. Her heart started to beat faster when their eyes met. Swan looked at him with a pale face.
“I’m really thankful for the kind hospitality you’ve shown me. Do you perhaps know who I am?”
It was a stupid question. The man’s eyes became darker. He thought it was an absurd question, so he quickly averted his gaze away. Swan didn’t know what to say to the man who continued to eat his oatmeal. When the man finished, he cleaned his bowl while ignoring Swan who was standing.
After eating his serving of oatmeal, Swan thought that he would eat the bread and milk also. In the end, the man didn’t touch anything else. Swan suspected he was a picky eater.
She felt a strange feeling. She had been waiting for the moment he opened his eyes, and now the situation felt funny. Her heart feels like it was cut into a million pieces. It was strange.
“In the yard….”
“There was chopped firewood.”
“Ah, yes… they’re from Uncle Tom, but he has already gone back to the valley.”
Swan lowered her blushed gaze, fearing her words were gibberish. It was hard to face a man, let alone even talk to. When he fell asleep, he looked like a doll, the only precious time she could pat his soft hair and squish his cheeks.
“Is it okay if I continue to chop it?”
“I would like to return your kindness.”
“Ah, you don’t have to do that….. Your body hasn’t fully recovered yet….”
The man stood up. Swan could clearly see his huge figure. This wasn’t too surprising as Swan’s height wasn’t short either. The girls in the village mostly looked puny, but Swan, with a height of more than 160cm, made her look elegant and slender. Even the men in the village on average had a height of around 170cm, which made the height gap compared to Swan relatively small.
Maybe that’s why she didn’t feel so overwhelmed when she walked or stood face to face next to his figure. In the end, he was still so big, that it could intimidate the average person. Things were certainly special.