༺ Tying Up Loose Ends (4) ༻
“I want you to return to the modern world.”
Siwoo was left alone to talk with Albireo.
As soon as Deneb left the room, she declared as such with a resolute voice.
“Allow me to explain further. Please understand that the option proposed by Deneb, for you to become a guest and remain in the Gemini Household, is not a viable option for you.”
‘Has the warmth she had shown previously cooled down because of the mood change?’
Siwoo looked at her face, trying to process her change of attitude.
The entire conversation between him and the Countess had only lasted for thirty minutes, but his face already looked weary.
Albireo began to speak.
At the same time, Siwoo’s left eye noticed that the mana around them was stirred.
“When you went out with Odile tonight, what did you do?”
The world came to a standstill.
His left eye allowed him to perceive everything that happened in the surrounding in a slowed down motion.
As Albireo opened her mouth, the mana around her responded.
Her voice, breath, tone, pronunciation and pitch, assembled an incantation.
The air that she let out from her mouth harmonized with the surrounding mana, turning it into tiny black feathers.
Then, those feathers moved toward Siwoo.
At that moment, his left eye gleamed.
He instinctively raised his hand and swatted those feathers away.
There was a faint, almost invisible mana in his hand. It helped him effortlessly brush the feathers aside.
He had an instinctive understanding of the magic Albiero had employed, that was why he was able to dispel it pretty quickly.
Siwoo knew that there was only one self-essence magic that she would cast in that moment.
Poem of Confession.
He couldn’t let her know about everything that he had done with the twins.
That was the first time Siwoo had heard such bewilderment in Albireo’s voice.
She watched as the Poem of Confession she casted scattered into nothingness with wide eyes.
Though she witnessed it happen with her own eyes, she still found it hard to believe.
Her mastery of the spell surpassed the twins’ by a large margin.
It was supposed to be discreet and almost impossible to be dispelled.
Even if one were to close their ears and block all the incoming sound, it wouldn’t be enough to defend themselves from it.
However, not only did Siwoo manage to sense the discreet spell, he also skillfully dispersed its structure efficiently.
“How did you do that?”
“Um, I don’t know… I just…did…”
“I’m asking you again. How did you do that?”
What he had done was nullifying self-essence magic, not any other form of magic.
As someone walking in the path of magic, it was natural for her to be curious, as she hadn’t even considered that it was possible to attempt such a thing.
“I just swept away the magic formula I saw.”
“…You always amaze me. Are you telling me you can see my self-essence magic?”
“Yes. Since I recovered… I can see the flow of mana…”
Albireo fell into deep thought for a moment.
‘He could see the flow of mana?’
‘By observing the flow of mana, it could allow someone to dispel even self-essence magic?’
‘No, that isn’t possible.’
She concluded that he had misunderstood the nature of his own left eye.
But, she knew that he’d come to realize the truth soon.
At that moment, Albireo’s curiosity rose up, twisting and turning like an impulsive force.
For witches, curiosity was an innate and strong desire. It was the equivalent of a human’s desire to eat, sleep or sex.
However, she forcefully suppressed that impulse.
She knew that this wasn’t the time to have such thoughts.
“I’m sorry for using magic so suddenly. I just had a feeling that you hid something from me.”
Siwoo never expected that she’d resort to cast that terrible spell without any prior warning.
Having already experienced that spell twice, once with Odile and once with Odette, he had no desire to go through that experience again.
“Let me ask you directly. Siwoo, have you committed sexual activities with our twins?”
As a witch who had lived for over a hundred years, and as a mother, her intuition couldn’t be easily deceived by Siwoo’s simple tricks.
Just by the fact that she had attempted to use her magic on him already showed that she had casted her suspicion on him.
With that, Siwoo concluded that there was no need for him to resist anymore and quickly nodded.
“Yes… But, I can explain everything.”
He knew that his explanation wouldn’t amount to anything since he had been caught in the end.
But, at the time, he was already in a state of despair because of the cruel truth that he had recently discovered.
Even if he were to face death at that very moment, he wouldn’t care.
After all, his dreams, his goals, his purpose for struggling for five whole years had crumbled into nothingness in a blink of an eye.
Observing his strangely composed demeanor, Albiero gently closed her eyes.
As for her, it was natural for her to hold such suspicion.
The fact that the twins visited him every week after he went to coma while wearing sorrowful looks, it was hard for her to believe that the motivation behind their actions was simply gratitude towards the one who had saved their lives.
She had long suspected that they had engaged in some kind of relationship that she wasn’t aware of.
After taking a deep breath, she managed to momentarily suppress her anger after hearing the confirmation of her suspicion.
When she opened her eyes again, the trace of anger in them had already vanished..
“I already know that you’re a diligent and righteous person. Someone like you wouldn’t recklessly try to approach an apprentice witch. That means your relationship started because of those two’s curiosity, am I correct?”
Her astute observation made him slightly taken aback.
“I’m not trying to be overprotective of them. It’s a natural emotion that would bloom between men and women after all, and those two are old enough to feel that way. Besides, if I were to judge you with my own eyes, you’re someone worthy of receiving their love, Siwoo.”
“Thank you for your understanding.”
Her tone suddenly turned stern.
“I won’t disregard your love. I also acknowledge that you’re our family’s benefactor. However, I’m not merely Albireo Gemini the Countess, I’m also their mother and their teacher. And I think that keeping you by their side is dangerous.”
The truth of the matter was, even if she were to forcefully separate the twins from him, as long as he was still in Gehenna, the twins would find a way to reunite with him.
It was impossible for the Countess to watch over them all the time, as they were busy with all their work.
She could try to prevent them from doing any form of physical relationship or other inappropriate actions, of course, but there was still a possibility that things would go irreversibly awry from a single moment of carelessness.
That was why she decided that the best course of action would be to return Siwoo to the modern world, as he wished, and separated him from the twins.
“I wouldn’t need to interfere if those two had officially inherited their brands, well, I wouldn’t have the way to do so either by that time. It won’t be long before that happens. Five years. Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Do you understand my heart as their mother?”
Siwoo had no major objections.
In fact, he found her words reasonable and was prepared to completely accept her decision.
“I know that you might feel like you’re being treated like an afterthought. You just found out that you were brought into this world for no reason and now I’m telling you to leave this world as I please. For that, I’m truly sorry.”
“No, I understand. Besides, if I hadn’t been brought here, I would’ve died.”
A moment of silence followed his words.
“In any case, I hope you won’t strongly oppose my request. You still have the desire to return to the modern world, correct?”
“Yes, I do. There are things I have to take care of and things that I want to do.”
“Then, I can count myself as fortunate.”
“I guess you could say that.”
Siwoo hesitated briefly before nodding his head.
The dangers she mentioned were something he could easily avoid if he were to pay a little more attention.
Still seemingly apologetic, Albireo continued her words again.
“It will still take about a week before you could finish the procedures necessary in the City Hall. I hope you can tie up your loose ends here during that time.”
“Yes, I hope so too.”
“Until then, you are welcome to stay in this accommodation.”
After that, Albireo went upstairs before coming back down, carrying the sleeping twins and returning to the Gemini’s mansion. Left alone in the villa, Siwoo sipped his drink, spending his time by himself until the sun rose in the sky.
The unpredictability of life hit Siwoo hard.
Firstly, his first love, someone whom he thought was the kindest person in the world, turned out to be someone he hated the most in the world. Then, his goal, something that he longed for during the five years of his life, to return to the modern world, might become the start of his new suffering.
“Ahh… Did I betray my whole country in my previous life?”
Even in broad daylight, the villa’s living room remained dimly lit, mostly due to its location in a rather shady alley.
Siwoo was sprawled out on the sofa, complaining while sipping some alcohol from its bottle.
Next to him were piles of empty bottles of alcohol scattered around.
He originally went down to the underground storage to drink the beer Odile had given him, but he ended up taking out various expensive-looking liquors with him. Currently, he was trying to compare their flavors one by one.
But, he found that all of them tasted disgustingly unpleasant and bitter.
For some reason, they went down his throat rather easily, though.
‘Maybe it’s because my heart feels hollow.’
He struggled to rise from the sofa.
‘Anyway, if I were to continue drinking here, mold would grow inside my heart.’
Thinking so, he decided to meet with a certain someone. He went to the gate and headed towards the academy.
Since he possessed a substantial amount of gold coins that could only be used within Gehenna, and the Geminis promised him generous support upon his return to the modern world, he felt like this expenditure wasn’t a waste of money.
As he traversed the hallways of the Trinity Academy, a place he hadn’t set foot in for a long time, he made his ways towards the teacher’s area to the east. There, he spotted a familiar face.
It was Takasho, who was swaggering around like an NPC.
“Dude, you’re too loud.”
As soon as he found Siwoo, Takasho threw his broom aside and ran towards him while screaming before pulling him into a tight embrace.
The tremendous force he felt made Siwoo almost vomit out everything in his stomach.
“You fucker! You’re alive! You’re alive!”
“Oi, back off. You’re creeping me out.”
Takasho continued to welcome Siwoo with tears streaming down his face for a long while.
Since they couldn’t exactly chat in the hallway, they moved to a nearby bench and sat side by side.
“When you suddenly disappeared, I was worried. I thought something happened to you.”
“I heard that you often came to visit me. Thank you.”
“Fuck you, of course I’d come! You’re my friend and you were about to die! Though, I thought if I visited you too often, you’d get sick of seeing me. Anyway, what’s with the eyepatch? Are you trying to be Kakashi?”
“I have my reasons.”
“Oh yeah, the witch who treated you was a real beauty. Do you keep contact with her?”
“No, I don’t even know who she is. I really should visit and thank her at least.”
Takasho, who was initially talking cheerfully, noticed a subtle change in Siwoo’s behavior.
Since his body was fully healed, he figured that his dear friend should have been acting excited, but for some reason he was unusually gloomy.
Then, he noticed a strong scent of alcohol coming from Siwoo.
Siwoo told him everything.
From his experience with Amelia and the complicated emotions it brought.
To his conversation with Countess Gemini about what would happen if he were to return to the modern world.
This went on for almost an hour.
The funny thing was that he didn’t even shed a single tear during the conversation.
“Ugh, I don’t even know what to say, Man… That’s really rough…”
Takasho tapped his back lightly.
“So, at this point, is there even a reason you want to go back? I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to sound like I’m holding you back for my own selfish reasons, but can’t we just stay here in this world together?”
“Well, I should at least see my parents’ faces once. They must have been worried.”
His answer made Takasho, who was about to dissuade him from coming back, to be unable to do it.
“Anyway, what are you going to do about… Um… Professor Amelia…?”
“I just have to forget about it and live on. But, she still saved me and ran around everywhere because of it… Should I thank her for that? …Fuck, I don’t know.”
“Just a simple thank you wouldn’t hurt. Besides, if what you said is true, you won’t be seeing each other anymore after this.”
“I don’t know about that… Honestly, I…”
In truth, Siwoo wanted to meet her and have a long talk with her.
He wanted to ask her the reason behind her actions and what was in her mind when she was doing all that.
The image of Amelia, sitting and crying in front of him, still remained ingrained in his mind.
But at the same time, he didn’t want to see her face.
The warm memories he had spent with her sharply contrasted with the cold expression she used to show him.
He couldn’t help but think that the smile she showed him was nothing but a lie.
Besides, the five years he suffered under her torment wasn’t the only problem that he had.
Everything about Gehenna was the cause of his confusion and the reason why he felt mentally tortured.
Siwoo lowered his head and exhaled the thick smoke from the cigarette Takasho gave him.
And just like before, there was no trace of tears flowing from his eyes as he mulled over his troubles.
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