༺ The First Letter (76) ༻
**Chapter starts in 3rd person
“Ian Percus, third-year of the Knight Division!”
At President Delemore’s call, the eyes of the dignitaries focused on Ian. Even amongst that silent crowd, a few gazes stood out.
The Saintess, the ‘Queen of the Ball’, and even the most gifted student amongst the first-year Magic Department students, the Imperial Princess.
All eyes were on Ian, but the expected roar of applause was nowhere to be heard despite the corpse of a great demonic beast lying in front of them. Only silence ensued as the audience witnessed the unimaginably terrible condition of the champion’s body.
For a man who had accomplished such a feat, neither applause nor cheers felt sufficient. Instead, it seemed more apt to simply express awe at his strength and will.
“Step forward on behalf of your party”
With that, the man quietly stood before President Delemore, and President Delemore handed him a fine plaque alongside a small box.
“Your prize, four vials of the Imperial Family’s arcane elixir, Dragon’s Blood!”
Gasps traveled from within the crowd.
An elixir capable of instantly increasing one’s magic power was already a very expensive item on its own, especially so if it were the Imperial Family’s arcane elixir. One could only imagine just how precious it was.
It was proof that the Imperial Family paid a lot of attention to the Academy. Each elixir was worth thousands of gold coins and they had given enough for every member of the team.
“In addition, I grant you the right to dispose of the beast’s corpse however you want.”
While shaking hands, President Delemore spoke with a kind smile. Meanwhile, the onlookers began to stare at Ian in anticipation.
After all, it was a demonic beast of a massive scale. People couldn’t help but wonder just how much it would sell for.
“It has yet to be given a name, but I’m sure it will be soon. You can expect at least ten thousand gold.”
Whistles and cheers rang out as President Delemore confirmed the value.
Ten thousand gold coins was a lot of money. A commoner rarely came into possession of that much in their lifetime, and a country noble would only ever find it in an entire year’s budget for his estate.
And yet, that was just the bare minimum it could be sold for. It would become much more if it were auctioned.
The audience, who had previously been nervous at the sight of Ian’s bloodied body, quickly began to congratulate him.
Some even appeared to be Ian’s friends who joked around with hearty laughs.
“Treat us to some drinks!”
Ian didn’t answer immediately. He silently looked over at his companions, with Elsie being the first to react.
“You think this Elsie of Rinella is going to bend her pride for money? You have a right to it, so do what you want with it.”
“It’s just as Senior Elsie said. Senior, it’s yours.”
“Y-yeah, Ian-oppa, do what you want. I won’t resent you even if you were to keep it all to yourself. Besides, I never thought I would become one of the champions of the Hunting Festival… I’m one step closer to reviving the Haster family, ehehe…….”
Ian stayed silent for a moment, his gaze dropping to the side as if he were hesitant, but soon he raised his head with a look of determination.
His golden eyes darted to the side, ahead of the venue where the crowd was gathered.
As the onlookers watched him inquisitively, a sudden shout erupted from Ian’s mouth.
Suddenly, a path opened up between the crowd and Ian.
Standing there at the end of the path with a bewildered look on her face was the Saintess with her silver hair, pale pink eyes, and luscious curves.
She pointed to herself in confusion.
He smiled as he pointed towards the corpse
“Would you be able to heal Emma with this as the sacrifice?”
The words that came out of his mouth shocked everyone into silence.
The Saintess, the crowd, and even President Delemore and his staff stared at Ian.
Some looked at him in confusion at his question, some in revelation, while others looked at Ian as if he had gone mad.
Regardless, the silence did not last long. After momentarily staring into Ian’s golden eyes, the Saintess smiled in understanding.
He was serious. She bowed her head and silently traced a holy symbol on her chest.
It meant, “May the Lord be with you.” It was confirmation that she could cure Emma.
Ian breathed a sigh of relief and shortly looked up at the night sky.
Light poured down as if the heavens were in celebration.
The crowd cheered and roared in applause, while President Delemore and his colleagues showed jubilant smiles.
All of these colors mingled with the light to form a picturesque view.
It marked the end of the hunting festival.
The Saintess began Emma’s treatment immediately, wasting no time in the process.
I, too, required healing, but for now, I only got first aid. I had asked the Saintess, who was the most skilled healer I knew, but I still felt nervous.
The outcome was announced in the morning, and a villager with a bushy beard was currently bowing down to me as his forehead began to bleed from repeatedly hitting the ground.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you… w-what could I possibly do to repay this favor…….”
“P-please don’t do this.”
I panicked and quickly pulled him to his feet, and I also empathized with him while seeing the tears flow from his eyes.
‘You survived, Emma.’
The demonic beast used as a sacrifice was indeed worthy of a name. As her father said, God Arus must have not forsaken her. She recovered from a critical condition in just a single night.
It was a wonderful ending that made me feel like an idiot for being so worried.
‘I should have tried to get a sacrifice earlier.’
I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Please let me repay you with my paltry life. Even as a servant will do. Please, even as a servant… I have nothing but my daughter anyways, so if you’ll just let me, I will……!”
“It’s all right, sir. I only did what any friend would have done.”
And what human would use his friend’s father as a servant?
I broke out in cold sweat at the mere thought of it and had to talk him down, but even then, Emma’s father refused to pull away from me.
“No, no… I thought I’d never see my daughter again… my daughter, sob…….”
Eventually, I had to coax him to calm down, and after a while, I managed to get him off of me once I said that I couldn’t wait to see Emma’s face.
I felt overwhelmed, but more than that, I was relieved. It was clear that he cared about his daughter as much as I did.
I didn’t even want to think about what would have happened if we had lost her.
I stood still in front of Emma’s room, half expectant and half worried. I took a deep breath, trying to shake off the nervousness, and steeled myself before walking in.
Warm sunlight streamed in from the windows, causing the white marble walls to gleam in bright light. A fresh scent wafted past my nose.
And in the middle of that picturesque setting was a girl.
Draped in a snow-white comforter, the red-haired girl was staring out the window.
Her previously flawless skin looked somewhat emaciated from her long stay in the hospital room, but her sickly appearance did little to disguise her natural beauty that caused every man to feel protective of her.
Her hair which was a faint reddish color looked almost dark brown in the sunlight, and her eyes shined emerald as she slowly looked back at me.
Without saying a word, we simply exchanged gazes for a long time.
Then finally, she smiled. It was the same warm, friendly smile she had always shown.
Faced with that smile, I had lost all my words.
I didn’t know what to say. It felt like there was a lump in my throat and that my legs were going to give out. I was so happy, but so sorry at the same time.
‘I always regretted the moment I should have warned you.’
I wanted to ask her to forgive me for being so stupid.
However, I bit my lip and chewed on it until all the things I wanted to say and all the emotions I wanted to convey became mashed together.
In the end, only a single line came out.
It was the same greeting they’d always shared, and with that, the boy and the girl reunited.
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