Chapter 258 – Die Together (2)
Elena opened her eyes. The cave ceiling had become a familiar sight over the past few days.
Elena and Carlisle had leapt off the cliff, ready to die. They fell into the raging river below, and Carlisle desperately held on to Elena when she lost consciousness from the impact. This had saved her life, and the two hid themselves deep in a cave in the mountains. Both were too injured to march back to the Imperial Palace, and had not even the strength to lift a hand against a single enemy. As soon as they confirmed that they were far away from the assassins, they decided to make temporary camp.
Now awake, Elena walked outside the cave. She saw that Carlisle had taken off his coat and was fishing in the river. He was wearing a makeshift bandage torn from her dress, and his wound was healing under a concoction of herbs that she had harvested.
Carlisle gripped a wooden harpoon in his hand. He was exceptionally skilled with the weapon, and from that they had been able to have a few modest meals. Camping life was not too difficult, as they both had the experience and resourcefulness from their time on the battlefield.
Carlisle’s harpoon swiftly struck the water. When he lifted it up, a fish was skewered on the tip. Elena stared at the wonderful sight. Carlisle, noticing her presence, looked over his shoulder and spoke.
“Yes. I told you that I’d be the one hunting today. You’re hurt, and you need more rest.”
Elena had suffered a cut on her right arm, but Carlisle’s stab wound on his side was far more severe. He flashed her a grin.
“I woke up first, so don’t worry.”
She gave him a pleading look, then moved on to find her own task to do.
“I’ll start the fire, so rest easy.”
Elena gathered several dry branches, lit a fire, and skewered the fish Carlisle had caught and roasted them on the fire. Carlisle presented a browned, crisp fish to Elena first.
Elena gave a soft smile as she accepted a fish from Carlisle. She had never imagined this kind of life with him, but it suited them well. She wondered what it would be like if they were an ordinary couple—would they have such a primitive life? In some ways, she liked this simple cave more than all the luxuries of the Imperial Palace. At least here there were no assassins after their lives, and their heavy responsibilities didn’t burden their shoulders. Even though their situation was far from relaxing, Elena felt a calm serene.
“When everything is all done…can we spend life like this?”
Once Carlisle took the throne and they defeated Ophelia and Paveluc, Elena felt that she would be able to truly rest. Carlisle glanced up at her question.
“You must truly like this life.”
“Yes. Well, there’s nothing to worry about.”
Elena’s face was calm as she spoke, but Carlisle noticed a happiness in her tone.
“If that is what you want, then I’ll make it so.”
“But what about you, Caril? Wouldn’t those days be tedious?”
“Not at all. Sometimes I think…I think that it would be alright to not be the emperor, as long as I was by your side.”
Elena looked at Carlisle in amazement. He gave her a faint smile and replied.
“Why? Is it surprising?”
Carlisle was the crown prince—the throne was his birthright from the beginning. She didn’t expect him to be so open to the idea of a simple life.
“That’s how dangerous you are to me. Sometimes I feel that I don’t need anything else except you.”
Elena’s throat tightened at his words. She already knew this, and knew that he had risked his life many times for her sake. He had not only taken the attack meant for her at the cliff, but he had saved her from being swept away from the strong river. His actions spoke loudly enough to her.
“I’m happy that you think so, but don’t risk your life for me again. You…you will be emperor.”
Elena longed for a life free from any threat and responsibility, but she did not forget the reality facing her. She couldn’t let Carlisle throw away the throne for her fleeting wishes.
Carlisle fixed her with a serious gaze as he spoke.
“It doesn’t matter where I stand. I am your husband no matter what.”
“Glory and honor without my wife is nothing to me.”
Their eyes met. It was as if they had returned to the moment on the cliff, and their minds were in perfect agreement. If they had to die together, then that would be enough.
Elena’s voice was soft with emotion.
Pat, pat, pat.
Suddenly, heavy raindrops began to fall from the sky. Startled, Elena looked upwards, and saw that the sky had darkened with gray clouds. Carlisle also looked up.
“Let’s go into the cave. It will be awhile before it lets up.”
The two quickly gathered their roasted fish and headed for their shelter. However, the pair was soaked by the sudden downpour. Carlisle, now inside the cave, looked out into the falling rain.
“I’m glad we ate before it started raining. It will cover our tracks, and it will throw our pursuers off our tracks.”
But Carlisle’s words did not last long. He had turned his head, and Elena’s water-soaked figure came into view. He completely froze, while Elena looked at him questioningly.
“What is it?”
Carlisle hastily turned his head to the other direction. Elena furrowed her brow in confusion, then realized her current state. Her dress was torn in various places, and her curved silhouette was visible from beneath the soaked fabric.
Elena hurriedly crossed her hands to cover herself, and a fiery blush rose to her face. For the first time, there was an awkward silence in the cave.