The Eldest Daughter Walks Down The Flower Path - Chapter 22
Radis patted the horse’s neck and soothed it before she climbed down.
Considering how many hours she ran, the sky was now tinted black.
The same was true of the land.
There was no light anywhere around her.
She was the only one in this wide moonlit field.
Over the field’s horizon, Radis saw a dark forest that was completely black.
Even though such bright moonlight was illuminating the world below, the forest was completely dark as though it had swallowed all the light.
After tying the horse to a tree, Radis walked towards that forest.
This forest was strange.
She couldn’t hear the sound of bugs scuffling in the grass or the birds crying in the night.
And the scent enveloping the air wasn’t the fresh smell of grass and trees, but the stench of rotting soil and an unknown fish-like smell.
Reaching the edge of the forest, Radis reached out and placed a hand over a tree.
Even though it was a spot that should be touched by the sun during the day, the bark was covered with thick moss.
Then, not far away, she heard a low growl.
Radis was certain.
“Forest of monsters…!”
She knew that the Marquisate of Russell was next to the forest of monsters.
But she couldn’t believe that it was this close!
In her previous life, Radis wandered until the point of exhaustion in this vast forest.
The memory was still vivid.
A tiresome march that never seemed to end, the battles against the terrible demonic monsters, almost dying from demonic energy.
Strangely however, Radis never felt negatively about this forest.
Sometimes, this forest felt more like home than the Tilrod mansion.
The subjugation was definitely difficult, but there were also times when it was fun.
‘Why doesn’t the vice commander¹ talk?’
‘Don’t you know the vice commander well? When he comes to the forest he becomes quiet. He’s different when he’s outside.’
She never said anything because she was afraid that they would find out she’s a woman, even towards her comrades who followed her without any doubt.
‘I have faith in you.’
Robert, the commander of the subjugation squad, was just as silent as her, but he was sometimes as warm as the sun.
But in the end, she eventually failed to uphold his faith in her.
Radis began to walk as though she’d find him somewhere in that forest.
“I’ve returned, but what should I say, what should I ask…”
While walking with her head down, something rustled in the dark and so she raised her head.
Three green beads of light looked back at her.
Radis looked around.
It wasn’t alone.
Green lights appeared one by one in the dark.
They were the beasts she saw a lot before.
As if to answer her, a large wolf growled and stepped out from the shadows.
Twice as big as ordinary wolves, it had two glinting green eyes where they should normally be and its third eye was higher on its head. With just one glance, it was obvious that it’s a demonic beast.
“I can’t believe you even came out to the edge of the forest. You must be very hungry.”
Radis looked around.
These monsters were never alone.
From as few as five to as many as ten or even twenty in their pack.
These were nasty fellows who would annihilate another group if they’d happen to meet.
At this, Radis habitually reached to her side, yet she could only say, ‘Damn it.’
She was empty-handed.
“Even if I run away… it’s too late.”
Framed by black branches, the bright moon looked back at her as she looked at it in despair.
She didn’t know how she got here.
She didn’t want to do it just because it’s her. She didn’t want to live like this either.
How nice if she could have been able to live like David or Yurhi, not Radis?
In the name of carrying out a child’s duties, she was so ashamed to the point that she could only bow down. She was so envious of their lives where they had the love and respect of their parents.
But what could she do?
She was Radis.
Since it was like this, she had no choice but to live as Radis.
A wolf rushed at her.
As if it was a signal, dozens of green eyes filled her surroundings.
At the horrifying sight, Radis closed her eyes.
‘If I were to die like this, then I won’t have to suffer anymore.’
Radis’ second heart, the mana core, began to beat.
With her eyes closed, she suddenly reached out her hand and crushed something that was coming her way.
“…I was ready to die, so I didn’t think I’d still live.”
Radis’ eyes opened once more.
And she looked down at her hand.
There, the color of fire burned.
Mana as red as blood wrapped around her hand.
When she was a child, there were flowers that she liked, and they were the same color.
No other beautiful flower could compare to its dignity.
A tall flower that never swayed, just soaring high and blazing beautifully.
After confirming the red, flame-like mana in her hand, a slight smile tugged on Radis’ lips.
“You’re the same.”
The wolves rushed in.
In her hand, a wolf’s dead body lay limp, its head crushed.
But their attention shifted.
For these hungry demonic beasts with low intelligence, the death of one of their kind became like bait as it turned into a lump of meat for them to devour, and it became more attractive than the enemy in front of them.
Radis jumped into the pack, too.
The hand with mana wrapped around it was like a heavy blunt weapon, or it could also be a sharp sword.
Like a hungry beast herself, Radis knocked down the wolves.
She crushed the wolves’ heads, twisted their necks, and stabbed them in the chest.
At the same time, her expression was calm.
As though she was just cleaning her small room—dusting off the surfaces, scraping off candle wax, making her bed and sweeping the floor.
Rather, these familiar movements even felt boring to her, and she destroyed the wolf pack one after another.
In an instant, the whole clearing was covered with the dead bodies of the wolves.
Those left that survived were unfaithful.
Either scared or injured, they ran away while limping and whining.
Radis stopped there and didn’t chase them.
She wasn’t here to hunt them.
Amidst the corpses, Radis pulled the mana stones from each wolf’s third eye, where she could feel their strong demonic energy.
She didn’t forget to cover her hands with her sleeves while doing this.
Most of the mana stones that she got from the three-eyed wolves were as small as a wheat grain.
It would be difficult to get a high price for these since three-eyed wolves were considered as low-tiered demonic monsters.
However, it wouldn’t be strange if she’d be kicked out from the Marquisate of Russell tomorrow, so even this much was something she appreciated.
“Well, first then…”
Radis sighed, looking down at her body that was covered with the wolves’ black blood.
“I have to wash first… then go back.”
* * *
As she washed away the black blood in a stream, Radis decided to meet Marquis Russell as soon as the sun rose so that she could talk to him about what she wasn’t able to say yesterday.
But she couldn’t do as she planned.
She caught a terrible cold that day.
Looking back, this was a plausible outcome.
She had pushed her body too hard when it wasn’t used to mana yet, and at the same time, she used too much mana, sweated a lot and then washed herself in a cold stream.
And to top it off, she returned on horseback, riding through the cold wind without having dried herself first.
It would be more odd if she hadn’t caught a cold.
But something strange happened then.
Allen, who visited Radis for breakfast, found out that she had a cold and suddenly had an expression as though he was about to collapse.
“Call the doctor!”
“I’m fine. It’s just a cold.”
“Bring him in right now!”
Radis rarely ever had a doctor visit her.
And even more so, it was impossible to have a doctor visit her for something as insignificant as a cold.
The doctor who Allen called was the Russell family’s official doctor.
In the midst of her fever and all that commotion, Radis was feeling so grateful that she didn’t know what to do.
Even so, the doctor didn’t get angry at Radis. He didn’t scoff at her for coming here just for a cold, and neither did he make her feel intimidated by all the medical fees.
The doctor kindly said that he would diagnose Radis and prescribe some medicine for her.
Drinking the brewed herbal concoction, Radis’s stomach felt warm as she lay back down on the soft bed.
She was feeling a little out of sorts because of her fever and she was hurting all over as though she was beaten, but even after all that, she felt a little… no, she felt really good.
While she was in the Tilrod household, no one looked after her even if she was sick.
Whenever Radis was sick, Margaret would only say, ‘Rest well and just get better.’
Radis always had to endure everything alone, whether it was when she had a stomachache after eating spoiled food, when she had a terribly high fever, or even when her finger broke while using a wooden sword.
‘It’s the first time someone’s worried about me.’
After her cold got better, Radis decided that she should thank Allen.
But the strange things continued after that.
“Lady Radis, I’ll help you change your clothes!”
“Would you like some lemon water?”
“How about warm milk with honey?”
“I’ll change the wet towel on your forehead!”
Two maids at a time came to Radis’ room alternately.
She fell asleep because of the medicine. Then when she opened her eyes, the maids were there, but she fell asleep again. And when she opened her eyes again, there were different maids.
This was a Marquisate, so it must be natural for the maids to take special care of their guests like this, but…
There are too many of them.
It’s like almost every maid in the household had come to visit Radis.
¹ clarification: In her previous life, Radis was the vice commander of the subjugation squad, not the commander. It’s Robert who’s the commander, and Radis (masquerading as David) was his second-in-command. Sorry for the confusion, I should have researched those military ranks before ^^;;