Under the Oak Tree

Chapter 27 Mysterious Heat
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Chapter27MysteriousHeat

Riftan poured out kisses as if he were trying to devour Max, pinned between a wooden post and his hard body. He grasped her backside with both hands and pulled her closer, rubbing his swollen groin on her lower stomach. Her body instantly responded, warming to his touch. Fearing her surprising reaction, Max twisted away quickly from his hold.

“No... not here...” she said.

“...You’re driving me crazy.”

Riftan let out a low moan and leaned his head against the tree in exasperation. Feeling his shoulders soar up and down, Max became nervous. It was apprehension that stemmed from his incoming anger because of her rejection. But contrary to her thoughts, he only backed away, with painstaking effort, from her.

Riftan patted her cheek and said, “...You’ll sleep alone in the wagon tonight.”

He said as if he were speaking to a naive child. She barely mustered a small nod, feeling embarrassment creep up. The man took her hand in his again and walked her back to the camp. Seeing their return, a giant knight sitting on a rock, who was igniting a fire, grinned.

“Leader, you’re faster than I thought. Isn’t your sword so old that it’s rusted?”

Riftan footsteps halted, and he turned to the man. Although the knight was snickering, there was no hint of any ill will on his face. When he saw this, he leaned his sword against the tree and muttered, contempt present in his voice, “Bastard.”

“How noble is the master of the Rikaido family?” another knight joined in.

“Nobler than yours, that’s a given.”

“What? How dare you speak to me like that? This guy goes behind everyone’s back! Agh! You bastard!”

The man tried to kick the blonde knight’s legs. He jumped out from his seat, grabbing his sword to rush at him. The latter also drew his sword and casually pointed it at the man’s throat. At the fearsome display, Max was shocked and hid behind Riftan’s back. Riftan wrapped an arm around her shoulder and gave the men a fierce glare.

“You seem to have a lot of energy... So both of you can take turns keeping watch tonight.”

“Leader!” Both objected at once.

Rifftan continued walking towards the wagon, pretending not to hear their protests. Max looked over his shoulders and saw the two men threatening to kill each other behind his back. Riftan merely turned her face towards his and said,

“Don’t worry about them. They always fight like this.”

Max nodded her head. She grasped that not all of the knights have a good relationship with each other.

Riftan put her in the wagon and started putting up the tent they had left again. As he worked, she sat at the entrance of the wagon with a lit lamp beside her, offering light in the gloomy surrounding. After laying a sleeping bag inside the tent, he sat down on a tree root protruding next to him to started sharpening his sword, as he always did.

A few moments later, two knights who had been scouting around returned with three black birds, both about the size of a goose. They grabbed the wings of the birds and twisted them, tearing them apart and peeling them off their feathers all at once. Max only froze in surprise.

The torn wings laid on the ground, a sickening sight for her, as the knights cut the birds’ leg with a sharp dagger and tossed their feathers in a pile. Max hurriedly ran inside the wagon, trying to hold the bile that rose from her throat. A while later, Riftan brought her some of the roasted meat, but she didn’t feel like eating it.

She refused even one bite and just ate bread with a little cheese. Riftan glanced at her, biting into the lean meat. “It will take a few more days to get out of here. Until then, you must fill your body so you’ll have enough strength.”

“I... I’m eating well.”

Riftan raised his eyebrows as if he wanted to say something. But he just finished eating his meal with a sigh. Meanwhile, Max consciously tried to avoid looking at the feathers piled up near the fire, like darkness on the brown ground.

Late into the night, the air got much colder and denser. As the other knights laid down one by one in their tents, Max laid down on the thick sleeping bag placed on the carriage seat. Occasionally, she would hear the cries of beasts in the night and the rustling of leaves.

Feeling an eerie chill on her back, she opened the door and looked down at the tent where Riftan was sleeping. When she saw his long legs sticking out, her mind was relieved for some reason. She laid her head down again to sleep, but the cries of the birds who seemed to mourn their fallen friend kept her awake all night.

Hehehe Riftan barely managed to restrain himself there...

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