Whispering affectionately, he didn’t strongly embrace his daughter into his arms, only slowly wrapped his arms around her and gently placed his hands on her. His actions were cautious, almost afraid that she’d break or disappear under his touch if he applied too much force.

The man murmured, carefully kissing the top of his daughter’s head, “Sorry dad is so late.
Instead, I’ve got a surprise present for your birthday.
I’ll show you the gift while watching Oscar’s star rise.”

Hearing the man’s words full of affection, Gaia showed slight signs of excitement but then shook her head.
Shaking her head for a little while, her face distant as if she had come to her senses belatedly, and she pulled on her father’s wrist. She groaned, tugging at his thick, heavy arms.

“Hmm? What’s wrong? Is there a place you want to go to?”

Although, to him, her force was weaker than a breeze, he gladly went where his daughter led him.
And thus, just like that, Gaia led him into the deep forest.


Standing in front of the mysterious cave, Kalia could smell the faint scent of blood emanating from its depth and noted several round bloodstains on the floor.

Is this bloodstain from the wolf she attacked, or…

Without missing another beat, Kalia strode inside as if she had nothing more to think about.

“Wait a minute!”

If it wasn’t for Humming grabbing her, she would not have stopped.

“It’s too dark inside.
It’s dangerous to go in like this,” Humming warned cautiously, looking to Kalia and then into the cave with a stiff face.

Humming was very worried about Kalia, even though she saw how she defended herself against that single Lycan wolf earlier.

‘I’m the one who should be worried right now, so why is Humming looking so restlessly at me?’

Kalia smiled strangely at the sight of her worrying.

‘Hmm… maybe my skills aren’t good enough?

“I know monsters like that wouldn’t possibly be able to harm Miss.
But… what if you go in there without knowing what’s on the floor and Miss falls over?” Humming quickly added, as if she had noticed Kalia’s thoughts.

Humming was worried that she would fall, hurt her butt or even worse, fall forward, which could potentially be very dangerous for Kalia.

“It’s too dark, Kalia.”

She knew that Kalia was a great war hero and an unrivalled master in many aspects.
But, for well over the past 8 months,  in Humming’s mind, Kalia was a ‘pre-mother’ that needed to be protected.
She couldn’t send a mother into the dark.

What if one of the wolves surprises her?

Angry even at the thought of it, Humming grunted and clenched her small jaw.

‘Damn you wolf! I’ll be a little stronger and roast you!’ She thought and made a promise to her future self.

Humming, who had been grumbling to herself, quickly added, “ If you encounter the wolf, try to lure him outside rather than further into the cave.
I think it’s safer that way.”

Kalia seemed to understand and acquiesced to Humming’s reasonable words.
But even so, Humming was somehow not reassured.

Humming stared into the darkness of the cave with trembling eyes and said, “Can’t I stand in front of you? We don’t know what’s going to pop out.
Well, I’m just going to have to find out, even if I somehow lose my body…” .

‘Oh gosh,’ Kalia thought, patting Humming’s hair with a troubled faced, not sure if she should be laughing or crying at her words.

What the hell does this kid think of herself as?

Kalia was a bit speechless but there was a bit of laughter in her eyes too.

‘She’s the one who looks so vulnerable yet she thinks that she’s going to protect me.’

For a moment, Kalia felt a strange rush of emotions.

‘Even in a situation like this, she was in a hurry to protect me,’ Kalia thought and for the first time in her life, she felt a corner of her heart melting like ice cream under the sunlight. 1

“You don’t have to do that, Humming.”

“No! If Miss gets any sort of shock or falls,  Allen will fry me in a pot!”

At Humming’s desperate cry, Kalia grinned and raised an eyebrow.

“So I’ll stand in front of you,” Humming finished, rushing in front of Kalia.

I see.
Then Humming, you protect me well.”

Kalia glanced past the back of Humming’s head into the darkness behind her, and pulled out something round, the size of her thumb.

Then, one hand lightly touched the back of Humming’s head, as if to alert her, while the other threw the round object into the cave.

‘Huh? What’s that?’ Humming saw a circular bead fly past her and before she could look too closely, rough but warm hands came down in front of her eyes, completely blocking her view.

A soft but gentle voice whispered, “If you look at it like that, you will hurt your eyes.”

And at that moment, a flash of light emitted from the thrown marble with a poof sound.
Even from behind Kalia’s hand, Humming could see the sudden light.
Surprised, Humming recoiled and Kalia gently wrapped her arms around her shoulders, as to reassure her.

“It’s a night light.
Even if the light is not very bright, it can still subtly illuminate a certain area.”

The orb floated in the air, and with a flash, white impurities like dust floated out of that burst of light.
The specks of white floated around on their own and attached themselves to the walls of the cave where they began to give off a soft glow.
Soon, a subtle light spread throughout the insides of the dark cave.
It illuminated enough to not have to worry about what would pop out of the dark.

“Uh, Ka….” Humming turned around to look at Kalia with a flat, unamused expression, unable to even finish the thought in her head.

Kalia grinned and gestured with her chin to the outside of the cave.
“Be on the lookout outside the cave.
I’ll try luring the wolves out from inside.
If you see anyone outside, hide and wait for me.
We have to finish this as quickly as possible so we can get out of here, okay?”

“Yes? Yes!”

“Okay, let’s get this over with and go back.
Before we’re both fried by Allen.” With those words, Kalia grabbed her sword and swung it lightly into the wall.

With a bang, the sword dug deeply into the cave wall near the entrance.
The sound resonated deep into the darkness.


Soon, 3 Lycan wolves appeared in front of Kalia, breathing heavily and growling at her.
One had more than half of its shoulder cut off, and he only staggered and his light snarl revealed its teeth.
However, these clever wolves didn’t lunge at her or continue forward beyond a certain point.
One of the animals came out holding a small body in its paws.

“…Oh God.”

They’re so clever… that they’d take child hostages?

That choice of theirs was something that Kalia could not let go in her eyes.
She didn’t intend to let them go alive, but she really hated just killing them.


The 3 Lycans wolves stood like humans, walking on their 2 hind legs.

The one with the body was grabbing the child by their neck with its claws, so sharp that it could rip off the child’s throat with a single movement.
At the sight, Kalia’s brow wrinkled and without a word, she glared at wolves who were breathing hard.
That wolf’s movements were small, moving his nails little by little around the child’s neck, as if to threaten her. However, the animals came out with only one of the two children.

How astute.

One child may have been left inside the cave.
Seeing as she could not pick up any human sound from inside, the child had probably fainted or collapsed.
Monsters had habits of eating at night when there was less threat to them, so it was probably saving for a big meal tonight. The child held in the wolf’s claws was covered in a lot of blood.

It didn’t seem to be the blood of a monster, nor the blood of that child. 2

Then, the only remaining possibility is that the blood was the missing child’s.


Kalia looked at the monsters trying to threaten her with intimidating looks.
When her eyes met the upside down eyes of one of the wolves, its eyes had a little life, unlike the other two’s lifeless eyes. 3

Perhaps he had regained some of his consciousness due to the pain.
The  monster’s eyes glared at Kalia, exuding killing intent from its gray depths. But beneath its hatred for her was a great deal of fear of her. However, except for the wounded one, the eyes of the other two wolves were still crazy.


Mouth foaming, they exposed their teeth to Kalia and their mouths were dripping saliva as they approached Kalia.
While watching the wolves who were overtaken by madness move towards her, the wounded wolf, who had been slowly backing away, suddenly threw the child towards Kalia and bolted.
At the same time, two remaining monsters rushed toward Kalia.

Kalia caught the child with one hand and readied the sword she was holding in the other.  Her sword had long been drawn in anticipation.
Her one swing left an afterimage in the air and effectively cut the two wolves in half.

Kalia carefully laid down the child in her arms who had long fainted and signalled to Humming with a short whistle.
Then turned to chase after the remaining flewing monster.


From the outside, Humming heard a whistle and then, not long after, a wolf was seen rushing out with Kalia following right behind.

‘Yes, be so frightened.
Shiver when you realize you can’t escape,’ Kalia thought coldly and closely chased after the wolf.

It was not difficult to catch a monster whose body was significantly slower due to its injury.

She accelerated a bit, applying force to the soles of her feet and swung at the monster’s back.
The sound of the sword cutting through the air pierced through the surrounding like the sound of wind.
In a single stroke, the golden sword went through the back of the wolf’s head.
The action was accurate, neat and very quick.
The monster crumpled in a few mere seconds.
Kalia watched the ground beneath the collapsed monster slowly dye red with the monster’s blood with unimpressed eyes.

She recalled the thin drops of blood that had welled and flowed down the nape of the child’s fragile neck from where the monster’s claws had dug into the child.

There was no way she’d have any mercy left for this crazy monster.
Had it not been the child in her belly, she would have long ripped the beast to pieces and destroyed it without leaving a single trace of it behind. 4

No, maybe she’d have left the nerves intact and the wolf alive so it could watch her rip its body up piece by piece. 5

Maybe even something more cruel, brutal and painful than that…

Thinking that far, Kalia felt one side of her stomach cramp lightly and shook her head hastily, “…I’m sorry, sweetheart.
Mom had such a horrible idea.
I promise to think only good things.
I’m so sorry.”


At that moment, a wolf that’d been hiding jumped violently from behind her and swung its long claws.6 Kalia, who easily avoided the attack with a dodge and a half-step back, frowned at the sight of another attacking monster. 7

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