༺ The First Letter (51) ༻
Silence permeated the glade of the forest. It was an unusual phenomenon. Whenever Seria and I met in this glade, the only sound that would resonate in the air would be the sounds of our blades colliding or our shouts.
However, the silence that now lingered over this glade had produced a frigid atmosphere. The pressure had reached a breaking point, seemingly ready to burst due to even the slightest of sound at any given moment.
I was in the middle of a predicament as Seria kept pressuring me towards the breaking point, even if she didn’t mean to.
The fragrant scent that only a woman’s body could emit brushed the tip of my nose. The harmonious bodily features that I couldn’t help but admire regardless of how many times I’ve already seen them enveloped my field of vision.
If you observed any woman, you would always discover a feature they lacked, regardless of their level of beauty. Seria was different, she was truly genetically blessed. Delphine’s beauty was likewise, flawless. No imperfections could be discovered, even if one were to examine her body with great precision.
Her beauty was that great, I wanted to admire her without a care in the world. If only the light in her eyes hadn’t dimmed.
It seemed impossible to admire her beauty with my ‘relaxed’ mind, at least in this current atmosphere. Seeing Seria’s eyes filled with shades, I broke out in a cold sweat.
“Uh, yesterday? With Senior Delphine……..”
I took a moment to recall last night. Unpleasant memories were mixed into the night, but as a result, I was able to gain some insights.
Due to the costly wine she drank, I was able to stalemate Senior Delphine in a duel. I learned several new things, but the most significant event of all, was laying my eyes on Senior Delphine’s pure white body.
For the sake of Delphine’s honor, I should have wiped my memories of that night. However, the scene from that night has been deeply engraved in my mind.
Human memory is not versatile enough to allow you to forget when you want to forget and recall when you want to recall. Besides, it was such a breathtaking spectacle.
I would not be able to forget regardless of how hard I tried. It was adversity for Senior Delphine, but a blessing for me.
My eyes became hazy for a moment as I recalled my memories of the previous night. Blue sparks suddenly emerged from Seria’s eyes.
She whispered to me in an icy voice as she tightened her grip on my collar.
“Senior Ian…. You just thought of another woman, correct?”
“No, you asked me what I did with Delphine last night!”
I shouted as I thought how unfair Seria was being right now. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem Seria would judge me rationally. She lowered her head impatiently and didn’t even bother listening to my excuses.
An eerie murmur began to flow out of her mouth.
“As expected, it’s getting stolen again…i-it shouldn’t be like that, it’s precious… I, I don’t want to lose it again……”
The chanting, which was blurry at first, gradually became clearer as the colors of emotions were added.
Anxiety, anger, envy, hatred, inferiority, etc. A muddy stream of emotions amalgamated as Seria’s cloudy eyes trembled frantically.
Her quivering voice was a testament to her anxiety. One of the hands gripping my collar slipped away. She inadvertently brought a fingernail to her lips.
Crunch, a small rupture sound rang out. She bit her fingernails slightly. Seria’s current state was unusual.
I recall being informed as a child that inserting your finger into your mouth when nervous was due to the absence of a mother figure. Did they state that they do it intuitively to relieve their discontent with not obtaining enough breast milk? Seria might have been the same.
I couldn’t comprehend why she was behaving in such a peculiar manner. Only one thing was certain, it was time for me to dissuade her.
But how? I fell deep into thought as an obstinate feeling possessed me.
Crack, Crunch. Seria suddenly lifted her head after having bitten her nails for some time. A strange emotion flickered in her eyes, producing a frightening sight for me to behold.
She attempted to articulate her muddied emotions.
“Senior Ian, I cannot lose yo…!”
Just as Seria was about to express her emotions, my hesitation ceased.
My arms wrapped around Seria’s shoulders. Seria likely didn’t expect this outcome as she was pulled into my embrace.
The soft and warm feeling intensified the sense of satisfaction. My arms tightened around her further. Seria’s eyes widened and her lips quivered as if she were shocked.
I recalled hearing it some time ago. When Seria was anxious, her mother would sooth her in this manner.
If biting her nails had anything to do with her lack of a mother figure in her childhood, then I would have to soothe her in a way that would make up for her lack of such a figure. It was just a simple thought.
The effect was immediate. Seria, who had initially remained rigid in my arms, eventually loosened her own strength and silently fell deeper into my arms.
Her arms gently enveloped my body. Her eyes, which had previously displayed a hazy madness, had become calm, like the sea after a storm.
I whispered to her with the intention of soothing her.
“Seria, I’m not going anywhere.”
Hearing my words, Seria remained stationary for a while. Her eyes shut and the sound of her tremulous breathing subsided.
For a long time, we silently remained in each other’s embrace as we felt one another’s warmth.
Suddenly, her eyes opened wide and a muffled sound escaped from her mouth. It seemed her senses had finally returned.
“Ah, uh, ah, ah……..”
Seria’s face reddened. I could almost feel the heat emanating from her. It seems that Seria’s strange behavior just before was just a defense mechanism that emerged when she was thrust into the pits of despair.
Now that she had regained her sanity and seemed ashamed, I teased her with a wry smile.
“Were you that worried about me?”
Seria’s body jerked upward. The icy wind filled the space in an instant as she slipped out of my arms. The lack of human warmth was making me feel slightly lonely.
Seria twiddled with her hair as her face glowed beet red. This appeared to be a habit that had manifested when her troubles or embarrassment reached a pinnacle.
Her pupils were twitching. I felt sorry for her as she stammered.
“Ah, uh, so, so…”
“Don’t worry too much, most of the rumors are just nonsense.”
For me to assault Senior Delphine, or strip her of her clothes to humiliate her. Do any of these rumors make any sense?
There are even rumors suggesting that I was Senior Delphine’s secret lover. It seemed that the reason for this was Senior Elsie’s remark from the last time.
It was insolent to think about it again, but I considered paying another visit to Senior Elsie.
My assertion seemed to have made Seria relieved. A faint happy expression materialized on her face as she lowered her head in embarrassment.
“O… oh, so that was the case……..”
Though she spoke words that indicated she believed me, doubt continued to reflect in her eyes.
However, I decided to cease my teasing since she may end up crying if I continued to do so. Though, I sincerely desired to tease her just a little more because of the unfamiliar facial expressions being displayed on her face.
However, something lurked in my mind that I wanted to enquire about. I repeatedly opened and shut my lips as I contemplated whether or not I should ask.
Seria and I had previously revealed numerous secrets to one another. It was comical that I was hesitating to enquire now. The root of the hesitation was due to it potentially eliciting a loss of sanity within her for a brief moment.
Seria appeared to be struggling to suppress her ignominy as her feet trawled across the ground. I questioned her carefully to prevent any potential astonishment from transpiring.
“……..Seria, come to think of it, you mention matters that worry me at times…”
In my own clumsy manner, I articulated my consideration for her in a faint voice. Yet it must’ve been quite abrupt for Seria, who was already fidgeting while abashed.
She responded immediately, but bit her tongue for the first time in a long time. Her face glowed beet red due to her own clumsy mistake.
She looked adorable. I smiled lightly and questioned Seria.
“Things like…. I don’t want to lose something?”
A pitiful sound emerged from Seria’s mouth. Her eyes widened in shock before sullenly lowering her head again.
“Oh, d-did I…..”
It was a gloomy complexion. I was unsure if I had prodded at a trauma. No, I almost certainly had. Otherwise, there would be no reason my question would incite such a reaction.
If I continued the way I currently questioned her, there would likely be another sea of tears. I attempted to lighten the mood by teasing her.
“Yeah, you did. You said you don’t want to lose me at least.”
Seria responded as I expected.
Her body, which had previously been drooping, suddenly stiffened again. Her pupils quivered and she stammered incessantly.
There was only one possible result.
Seria sighed and muttered “Ha” after standing there stupefied momentarily. Her body’s strength seemed to drain away like water in a bottomless dock.
“……You’re correct. Ever since I was young, things were often taken away from me by my older sister.”
I swallowed my saliva in the silence without uttering a word.
Although I had expected a response like this, it didn’t please me when I heard it directly from the person involved. Seria seemed to mirror my feelings.
A glimpse of despair flashed in her eyes. She was anxious.
She had grown up with nothing of her own. Even her surname, ‘Yurdina’, could be taken from her at any moment. I was her very first friend.
She couldn’t afford to lose even that. Seria’s words continued.
“Senior Ian, I’ve liked swords since childhood.”
“But never once have I ever used a sword I liked.”
I redirected my gaze towards Seria’s waist. Her sword was of high quality, yet it felt inferior to one that should be presented to the descendants of the Yurdina family.
Wasn’t her sword a part of her very being? It accompanied Seria on demonic beast subjugations and fought her battles. Her sword was like her spare life, like another limb. She certainly deserved something of slightly greater quality.
I recalled my duel with Senior Delphine from the previous evening. What was the dagger she used like…?
It was as sharp as an artisan’s blade. My eyes burned when a golden flash cut through my vision. At the time, I thought it was just Senior Delphine’s meticulous nature.
But I remember it now. A warning from Seria, before I had met Senior Delphine.
Whatever she desires, she will obtain by any means.
All the best things within the Yurdina family’s grasp belonged to Delphine. Since such was the case, it was clear what Seria could keep as her own.
All Senior Delphine left behind for Seria… was Seria’s heart. The only question now was whether or not Senior Delphine will desire that too or not.
The meeting between me and Delphine seems to have reawakened Seria’s painful memories. Seria’s lonely narrative continued.
“When I saw the knights’ swords in my childhood, I wished to have one of my own. Unfortunately, I couldn’t obtain even a single one.”
“Because that was my sister’s desire.”
I nodded as if I understood her. The Senior Delphine I encountered the previous night, she definitely displayed characteristics like that. She was a woman with a strong desire to possess whatever she desired, and a strong drive for competition.
She must have taken it for granted. In her worldview, she was the victor while Seria was the loser.
“It’s not just the sword. It was everything else as well. Even on the day my mother was excommunicated, my opinion had no sway. It’s all because Seria Yurdina is a lowborn loser…”
“……That doesn’t mean you deserve to be treated in such a way.”
“That is how it is for me in the Yurdina Family.”
My obvious consolation could not appease Seria. Uttering those words seemed to drain Seria of her vitality. On the outside, it seemed she had already given up. Yet, there was a faint ember that still lingered within her.
It was her determined will. She had no choice but to match the Yurdina Family’s tenacity.
After biting her lips for a moment, an awkward smile emerged on her face. It was the smile of a girl who hadn’t learned all her life how to laugh. This smile was pitiful, it hardly resembled a smile.
She had no friends, and she had lived her life deprived of everything she wanted.
Her life had been robbed of laughter and happiness. It was a truly dreadful tale. Are tragic stories such as this commonly hidden in the abysses of people’s subconscious?
Seria forcibly feigned her composure as she spoke to me.
“It’s strange, I’m not the type to talk about myself. Why am I able to do so when I’m with Senior Ian… Then, shall we begin our training?”
Seria gazed into my eyes and made a suggestion. She seemed intent on burying this conversation and bringing it to a conclusion.
I agreed with her intention. The more we discussed this matter, the more embarrassed she would become.
However, I was unable to part my lips due to a heavy weight I felt in my heart.
I thought of Senior Delphine. The confident attitude of hers as she casually reopens someone’s wound and declares the righteousness is always on the side of the victor.
She took everything from her, including her mother. Yet, she continued to try to trample on her half-sister who struggled with an inferiority complex.
“Yes, Yeahh? Ugh, uh……”
Seria bit her tongue again when I called her name in a faint voice. She was sullen again. However, I was already immersed in my thoughts, so I was indifferent to her reaction.
“You said you would participate in the Hunting Festival, correct?”
“……? Yes, I am.”
My gaze of suspicion landed on Seria. She tilted her head as if she didn’t understand what I was saying.
“Did you not gather all the members?”
Seria flinched, as her body trembled. My question must’ve hit a nail on the head.
The Hunting Festival is conducted in groups of 4. Seria could not participate alone, she’d have to gather her own group. Unfortunately, she would be incapable of doing so due to her human relationships being strained and the recent rumors encircling her.
Seria became even more depressed. She responded in a hushed tone.
It was a melancholy countenance. Her demeanor, however, rapidly shifted after my few words.
“Shall I gather them for you?”
Seria’s complexion instantly brightened in response to my suggestion. Her brightly lit face made me feel better as well.
It was the most dramatic change in Seria’s expression I have ever seen. Her face was usually haughty and cold. Even if she did reveal her emotions, only the corners of her eyes and lips would move slightly.
This demonstrated that my offer was that welcoming. I nodded my head with a smirk.
“Yes, I also have something I want to do at the Hunting Festival.”
Seria didn’t seem to concern herself with what I said. She muttered faintly as her eyes gleamed happily.
“…….As expected, I can trust you, Senior Ian. It was true that all the rumors you had with my sister were all lies.”
“Of course, were you ever in doubt?”
In response to my absurdity, Seria shook her head as if she never believed them in the first place.
She let out a sigh of relief and asked me one last question.
“Indeed, it was a ridiculous rumor. Rumors such as Senior Ian gazing at my naked sister’s body…”
My body suddenly stiffened upon hearing Seria mention the only truth in all the exaggerated stories.
Seria spoke to me with a strong expression of trust.
“That’s a lie too, right, Senior Ian?”
My response to Seria was subtle. Since I couldn’t even properly meet Seria’s gaze, she tilted her head again.
The light began to fade from her eyes again. Her eyes sank to a deep, murky color.
“No, uhh…so…. Seria.”
I broke out in a cold sweat since I didn’t know how to properly respond to Seria’s chilly voice. I heaved a sigh as if it couldn’t be helped.
I then tried to speak with a false grin.
“That part is true.”
It was the moment when the shade vanished from Seria’s sapphire eyes.
E/N: Oh boi..
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