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Her heart, which had been cooled by the cold wind, was pounding loudly.
There was something in the shadow of a large stone engraved with the name of the village.
Someone with a clear sense of presence had hidden themselves in the dark.

The direction he was facing was exactly toward the inn where Anne was.
She felt a chill down her spine all of a sudden, and unknowingly shut her eyes tightly.
As if when she opened her mouth, a hot breath came out, the untimely winter came.
She turned back to go to bed, but her feet wouldn’t move, as though they were frozen in the cold.

‘What’s wrong with me?’

It was so scary that her eyelids fluttered and trembled.
It was absurd, but when she opened her eyes, it appeared as though a beast with its mouth wide open would appear in front of her.
A view of a certain wheat field that she had passed in the afternoon came to her mind in a sudden darkness.

That man from earlier.

Anne didn’t know exactly why she remembered the scene, but her instincts were screaming something at her.

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Anne squeezed out one breath after another and slowly opened her closed eyes.
Fortunately for her, the suspicious image disappeared, and at that moment, her stiff body also loosened.
Anne hastily closed the window and dug into the bed.
As she pulled out the sheet of rough material to her neck, the cold chill gradually subsided.

What was that?

She had buried her head in the pillow a moment ago to rid herself of the strange feeling, but her fingers were still stiff as her heart was still beating anxiously.

She tried to read the book to catch her trembling heart, but she stopped.

After all, I still have a lot of time .

Her thoughts that she would be able to read fully through the book while she was on her way north, were mercilessly shattered the next morning.

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* * *

Anne couldn’t sleep properly because she tossed and turned all night in a troubled state of mind.
She repeatedly woke up and closed her eyes and then she realized that she had stayed up all night at the call of the maid from outside the door.

“Miss, did you have trouble sleeping?”

A scrutinizing gaze reached Anne’s face.
She stayed up all night, so it was obvious.

“I guess it was just because everything was a little unfamiliar.
I’ll be fine if I rest in the carriage”

It’s more likely that she had a strange feeling about the man she saw last night, but Anne simply blamed the unfamiliar place.

She stopped at the landing that was going down to the first floor.
It was because she felt a different atmosphere from last night.
It wasn’t cluttered, but there was a small crowd from downstairs.

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I heard that we were the only people staying at this inn .

Obviously, last night, the owner with a shabby face expressed his pleasure that he had a guest for the first time in a week, but then burst into tears and complained.
It was a long road, so unless it was the case with her party, who moved a little too much, the average merchant or traveler usually stayed in the previous village.

“Miss, I didn’t know yesterday, but the number of guests must have increased a lot.”

“I don’t think it is a guest .

Yes? The maid in front turned her head and asked, but she was pushed down first by Anne, who didn’t stop moving.
As soon as Anne set her feet on the final steps, a panoramic view of the first floor caught her eye.
Coincidentally, close to twenty people were filling the small dining room.

The men, who had been sitting in the chair, got their bodies up in unison, as if they had been waiting as soon as Anne appeared.
Although they didn’t look menacing, their identical outfits created a deep sense of alertness just by looking at them.
Again, the owner, who was very nervous, was sweating as he did not know what to say.

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It’s a knight’s uniform .

It wasn’t the uniform of the Libelois family, who was her party.
The dark navy blue background dress was surrounded by a silver band with diagonal lines, and a sentence that people would ever know was engraved near the chest.

A black sword thrusted into a small hill like a tomb, it was the emblem of the Grand Duchy Cromund.
Even though it was black, there were always people who would feel divided over minor matters.
It wasn’t actually black, they claimed.
It was the deep red that was the color of blood .

The Empire had been at peace for over four hundred years, and people have survived their boring daily lives by making up their own stories regardless of facts.
The Grand Duke, who did not show his appearance at all, was a topic gossip that suited their tastes, and it was unusually popular because it aroused curiosity not only in the social circle but also in the common people.
The scandal about the Grand Duke, with whom she was acquainted, also came from there.

Why are you here?

Among the knights in line, a man sitting at the back stood out.
He was wearing a gray cloak over his knight’s uniform and was wearing silver plate armor on his chest, so he seemed to be the most important person here.

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