Red Labyrinth - Chapter 2
Translator and Editor: Lea and Aki
“Your Excellency! I have captured the royal family.”
At his words, the man turned, whereas the girl flinched. At the door, stood a number of men who were dressed like him. The room was covered in a strong bloody scent. The burning palace was visible behind them. There was a voice of a man humming as he went into silence. Alive? No. The queen and the princess were still breathing after they tried to poison themselves. Really? What would she do? But that girl was…..
As the eyes of the strangers turned to her naturally, she felt the fear of death again. Would they kill her? Perhaps, they would humiliate, strangle, and kill her before throwing her body to someplace where there are vicious animals so as for her to be eaten. Or, they might throw her into the sea alive. No, she’s the blood of King Radiov, so they could slit her neck cleanly. Her limbs trembled at the thoughts. But before the others could see her, the tall shadow swallowed her.
Icaryl felt someone covering her in a cape before picking her up. She felt dizzy. In fact, her body was exhausted by the series of shocking events, and she lost consciousness for a very short time. Even if it was less than half an hour.
And when those brief minutes passed and she opened her eyes,
“Oh, dear. You couldn’t stand it? Those beastly things.”
His voice pierced her numb ears. Next to the muffled voice was the sense of smell. It was more prominent this time. Icaryl instinctively wrapped her nose in the chest of the man who was holding her.
While she was resting in his arms, she got a faint scent of herbs and cool coniferous trees that were so unlike murderers. Mixed with soggy blood, the wild beast-like presence of the man that had just finished hunting gave her a low shake. When she shrank like a crushed herbivore, she felt a slight pain near her stomach. She felt very uncomfortable. In the end, Icaryl raised her head, frowning at his beauty.
And she regretted it right away.
She looked up at him, shivering and unable to say anything. As he informed her that her family was already late and that the Emperor wouldn’t like it, she instantly grabbed his sleeve with her trembling hand.
She felt like she couldn’t breathe, as if her throat was being crushed. Even though it was a very small contact, he bent and bowed kindly to Icaryl, who could not even speak properly. Then, he returned to his usual stature acting as if she had disappeared. The body of a young woman, who grew less than a man’s large body, was so small that the shape reminded her of a poor herbivore being preyed on by a wolf.
The only thing that caught her eyes were those ominous shadowy blue eyes that were looking down at her. It felt like she was surrounded. She stuttered as she started sobbing.
The man, gracefully brief stare, confirmed Icaryl’s doubts and distrust.
“That’s right. Your sister and mother. But it seems like the queen bit her tongue when she was frightened. It’s going to be hard to find out. Do you know….anything?”
She opened her eyes three days after her home had become a pile of rubble.
She woke in a cold sweat as her whole body was aching. She felt a throbbing pain in her lower abdomen. Icaryl staggered down from her bed and looked at Argonia, a small island far away. There was gray smoke still rising from the barbaric but beautiful place.
However, her eyes shed no tears. Her sunburned eyes dried up in the sea breeze. Everything was dreamy and overly substantial. Icaryl swept the rough floor with her cold bare feet and hugged herself with her arms. She saw a small tattoo engraved on the protruding peach skin of her cold ankle. The complex pattern was shaped like a rhombus symbolizing a maze.
A symbol that meant ‘fate to be tied to a temple for life’.
It was engraved by the priests while blood flowed from a girl who would burst into tears whenever something sharp touched her weak and sensitive skin. Although she was already trapped, her chances of leaving Argonia had become slimmer ever since. If a maid with a maze on her body took a single step outside the border, her foot would be cut off. Even her death was supposed to happen inside the country of Argonia.
The same was applied to Icaryl too. ‘The Flower of the Maze’, ‘The One Who Would Fulfill Irrefutable Duty’, ‘The Child Whose Fate Has Been Decided Since Birth’, ‘The Sick’. Her fate, given to her by her land, had cursed her through her life. She suddenly realized.
Argonia was destroyed.
Nevertheless, Icaryl was still breathing and her heart was still beating.
She was alive.
Suddenly, a great sense of despondency and pleasure flooded in her.
‘Oh, God! Look. Your land had been trampled upon and your people had been killed by your enemies. And you are still alive, Icaryl! What a cunning happiness it is!’
Icaryl closed her mouth with her hands and shrugged her shoulders. Her tears, flowing down her cheeks. Because she was sad? No way. It was a poisonous sense of relief that made her laugh and go crazy. She giggled, watching her burning country and bloodline behind her. She could see the rails of the ship, but she couldn’t stop laughing.
The sight of a skinny woman with a background of her country’s ruins was truly rotten. She giggled, leaning on the wall of the room. A dreary queer, quivering with eccentricity, to recede the current circumstances. It seemed as if a corpse was dancing.
Did she ever laugh out like this?
“It’s strange. It’s the only country I’ve ever been to…..”
She suddenly raised her head at the voice. She was laughing so hard that her face was tingling. Before she knew it, the man was looking at her with a subtle look.
“I’ve never seen someone being so rejoiced in the fall of their country.”
He said softly. His blue eyes shining dryly on the dead mermaid’s eyes. Even if she backed away a little, the man stood there and chased them with his eyes.
He was wearing a simple neatly buttoned, blue uniform. He had short black hair and an expressionless fair face. From his appearance, it seemed he was neither a funeral director nor a priest nor a scholar.
Remembering his piercing look that seemed to bite her neck or his ruthlessness that killed her own flesh and blood, she stood there with dignity looking as if she had never harmed anyone in her life. He seemed so noble and ascetic that Icaryl wondered if she misread him the first time she saw him because she was scared.
But she certainly saw that creepy freak lurking under those blue pupils of his….
It took her a while to get a word out of her mouth.
“W-Where am I going?”
Icaryl often stammered and was poor at conveying her personal opinions whenever she spoke in front of people outside her family. She was so shy that she was afraid of looking funny that she couldn’t help it this time. Unlike her dead sister, who often used to laugh at her same lame way of speaking, the man replied without much agitation.
“To the Continent. Karyl, the capital of Pankeat.”
What happened to her? Were the happiness and liberation from her bounds that she felt just a few minutes ago, lies? She fiddled with her fingers, her mind restless and filled with anxiety.
Her soft eyes, which constantly roamed around the room, seemed nervous in a way as if she was being chased. The deep red pigment of her eyes added to it. She was sensitive and impulsive and was probably going through a lot of emotional changes.
The man’s expression was indifferent and unchanged, but the temperature of his blue eyes was changing little by little. She was very much aware of that gaze, which seemed like it would tear off the wings of an insect, through the years that she had gone through so far.
Those cursing blue eyes seemed to be reading and sucking out her spirit. Unable to stand it, Icaryl began chewing on the fingernail of her index finger. She felt like she couldn’t move as if the blades of swords were aimed at her from all directions.
In fact, his metallic gaze stayed for a long time on her powerless young thin limbs, plain round shoulders, and neck before settling on her red pupils, which were the most exquisite.
As if after traveling the whole world, her last stop had finally come. Icaryl noticed a strange brightness within his eyes. His spine shuddering gaze made her feel like she was about to see her blood.
She was overly sensitive. She knew she had a sense of extreme nerves. It was natural. But…but wasn’t she t-too…..
Exposed to him?