The Demon Wolf (Book 1 of The Devil and the Huntsman)

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Chapter 45: A Failed Task

It is four hours past midnight, and Lagertha continued to sleep with Brant with no one noticing. It was her first time sleeping beside another person and her first time letting someone wrap their arms around her body. She understood exactly why she came to Brant, but she did not expect their conversation to last a long time. She was lucky not to come across her father during the night because she would already see him for what he is. Then, she slowly begins opening her eyes and realizes what time it is by looking at the window.

She was still sleeping with Brant, and she continued lying down and being warmed up by Brant’s body. Lagertha knew that she could not stay in his room any longer and have her parents wonder where she went. Then, she moves his arm away from her shoulder and gets herself up from the bed as he is still asleep. Every other day, Brant is a heavy sleeper, unless he hears many things happening at midnight. Then, Lagertha walks over to her clothes and begins putting them back on her body; she turns around to make sure Brant is not looking at her.

It took her an entire minute to put her clothes on and wrap her cloak around her neck and back. But as she walks towards the window to exit the palace and go home, Lagertha takes another look at Brant for a long moment. She did not know if this would be the last time she would see him or not, and she did not want him to feel bad or worried about her. Then, she steps away from the window and walks over to him to be with him for just a while longer. She then rubs his hair and feeling his cheek as he had no reaction to her doing this to him.

Without hesitation, Lagertha bends over to Brant and kisses him on his forehead as the night is still upon them. She expected him to have some sort of reaction as she kissed him, but he appeared to be dreaming about something. Then, Lagertha gets up from his bed and starts heading out the window not to be spotted by any of the guards. Suddenly, Brant opened his eyes and watched her leave him, and he was now wholly awake after noticing her not sleeping with him.

“Leaving so soon?” Brant asked.

“Oh, I have to. I don’t want to keep my parents waiting for me,” Lagertha answered.

“Are you sure you want to leave without saying goodbye or something like that?” He asked.

“Well, I couldn’t wait much longer. I need to be at my house before the sun rises.”

“I’m pretty sure the sun will not be ruining the way you walk outside. Of course, if you’re fast enough.”

“Exactly. That’s why I’m leaving now, so I don’t do it later. If I don’t leave, it may cause quite a stir.”

Brant now understood everything that Lagertha was saying to him and started feeling bad for himself. He felt bad about seeing her for a few minutes only for her to leave him again, but for good reasons.

“Well, it’s nice meeting you and being able to see you again,” Brant said.

“I won’t be gone for too long. There may come a day where we could bump into each other in the marketplace. I only came here just to tell you something important,” Lagertha said.

“I shouldn’t worry too much. I know you’ll come back, eventually. You have your reasons for doing it,” he said.

“Alright, I guess I’ll be seeing you around. Goodbye, Brant.”

And so, Lagertha turns around and walks towards the window; she opens it and exits Brant’s bedroom. Brant gets up from his bed and walks outside to see if he can get a clear viewing of Lagertha leaving the city. He saw her fall down a large stack of hay and not be affected by it, and he was thankful that she did not break her legs. He was quite hesitant about calling out her name to see if she is alright or not. Brant sees her dash into the shadows of the building to not be spotted by Loftain’s guards.

He then goes back to sleep, knowing that she will make it out of the town and find her way back home. He already knew Lagertha for who she is: a caring person who would do anything at her own risk. If there were anybody else carrying out delivering important news to the earl’s son, it would not end the way they think. Then, Lagertha climbs up the ladder which leads to one area on the wall. She still made sure nobody captures her and lands onto the next ground to find herself out of Loftain.

Since it was an early morning, Lagertha still needed to find another way home instead of going the straight path. A few guards were still on the lookout for night creatures at around three to six in the morning. Everyone else simply had enough of looking outside and got some sleep until the morning comes. Meanwhile, Lagertha ran as fast as she could in the dark forest to make it back to her house. Luckily, she did not see any man or mysterious mortal stop her in her tracks as she looked forward.

Even if there were somebody who would like to tell her something, Lagertha would not have any time to stop and listen. All she needed to do now is go back to her room through her window and go back to sleep. Since it was almost morning, no demon or dark creature stood in her way to rip her open. Then, she continued to think about Brant and how it felt being with somebody else during the night. Meanwhile, the sun was slowly rising from the horizon, and the knights of Midland were coming back from the castle of Stonethorn.

It appears as if they have failed the task given to them by the earl, and none of them could say anything about it. Balvu had no idea what to tell Harald and had no clue how to express it to the earl. It was undeniable that Julius was not with them; he dominated the demon king and commanded him to build his new army. The tide has already changed for both Julius and Harald as they continued living in the world. During that time, Lagertha was in her bed and proceeded not only to sleep but be surprised at how much of an expert she became on climbing walls.

It was something that she learned from her father and considered how to do such a tough challenge. Meanwhile, Harald saw Balvu being the one to lead the knights back to Loftain to rest from the long night. Something felt off with the army because Julius was not seen anywhere in the massive group. He got out of the palace and sees if he can speak to the only one leading the men. Despite it being so early in the morning, Harald was already awake, unlike most people; he was the first person out of anybody to be walking around so soon.

“Balvu. You’ve returned. Was last night a success?” Harald asked.

“Of course. I have done so much to make sure everything goes according to plan,” Balvu answered.

“Brilliant. I don’t see Julius among you at all. Wasn’t he supposed to be the one leading? Where is he?”

“My earl, such a thing must be explained in private. If I tell you now, it may cause quite a stir. And it would cause a massive outbreak.”

“Is that so? Very well. You and I will have this conversation together. Tell these men to get some rest, will you?”

And so, every single knight who was with Balvu went back home and had a much-needed rest from the night. It would be a very unforgettable night because of how much has happened with Julius and the knights. The second commander has now known that Julius dominated the demon king instead of killing him. Balvu followed Harald back to the palace and told everyone waking up to go to one tavern for a while. He had so much to explain to the earl and would not hesitate to tell the truth to him.

Harald closes the doors behind him and walks to his throne to sit down as Balvu stands before him. The commander was exhausted, yet ready to answer every question the earl will throw at him.

“Well, I’m ready to hear you out. What you promised is we both be alone for something rather important. Where is he? Where is Julius?” Harald asked. Balvu looks down at the floor and tries to think of a convincing answer to give to the earl.

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