༺ Festival (2) ༻
A week had passed.
In other words, the festival had arrived.
Renee calmed her breathing, feeling the tremble that had been scratching at her heart for the past week turn into a violent earthquake.
It was her second date with Vera.
We held hands together on the first library date, so let’s go further than that this time!
Clasping her hands tightly with determination, Renee raised her head at the sound of a knock at the door.
After the answer, four apprentice priests including Hela entered the room with a clicking sound. The most outgoing of them, Annie, opened her mouth.
“Saint! Today’s the day, right?”
Renee’s cheeks turned red. She lowered her head, appearing shy and pitiful.
Annie trembled as she felt a pang in her chest at the sight, then continued her words with a determined expression.
“Just trust us! Today, just push Sir Vera do…!”
“Annie, watch your language. Your choice of words is crude.”
Annie pouted her lips and glared at Hela.
‘She has been hanging out with Sir Vera lately and has become a boring person.’
Before leaving the Holy Kingdom, Hela was a very eccentric and interesting person, but it seemed like the environment influences a person. After hanging out with a boring person, it seemed as if she was infected with that boringness.
“Hey, don’t fight…”
“Whew, we’re not fighting. Okay, come here quickly. We will be very busy preparing!”
At the sight of Annie swiftly changing her frowning expression and approaching Renee, Hela let out a ‘huh’ and laughed dryly.
Should I call her consistent? Or should I say she hasn’t grown up at all?
Hela shook her head, thinking that her colleague, whom she had met again after a few months, seemed too immature.
Only the two apprentice priests who stood back and watched the two knew that the two people who looked at each other pathetically were actually like peas in a pod.
“Are you done?”
“Not yet! Wait for a moment!”
Renee’s expression darkened.
One hour and thirty minutes had already passed. Renee, who had been investing that much time only in decorating due to the passionate Annie, felt fatigue slowly creeping in and muttered words of frustration.
“It would get messy when I walked around anyway…”
She intended to say that they should do it moderately and then leave.
Annie shouted in exasperation.
“Saint! If you do that, you won’t be able to capture Sir Vera’s heart!”
Annie’s eyes shone with passion as she clenched her fists and continued her speech.
“Even if it gets messy when you walk, isn’t it important to meet with this perfectly decorated look at that moment? That’s the most important thing! For example, first impressions! Now, imagine, Saint. When you open that door after dressing up perfectly and go out, Vera, who’s waiting for you, will be so surprised that his heart will pound!”
Vera’s surprised appearance.
Renee, who stiffened up at Annie’s momentum, let her imagination run wild after hearing those words.
The ingredients were sufficient.
It was just a matter of remembering Vera’s reaction a week ago when she was sitting in Vera’s arms under the pretext of learning swordsmanship.
For some reason, she felt a sense of victory when he flinched and became flustered, so her mouth kept curling up into a smile.
When Renee heard that Vera might show that kind of reaction again today, she fell for it and straightened her back with a serious expression.
The gullible Renee, who easily believed what others said, once again followed Annie with a determined expression, her enthusiasm renewed.
“Plea-please take care of me!”
“Sure! Just trust me! Because I will present you with a winning move today.”
Annie answered with a more serious face than ever before.
It was a passion that would be considered excessive by people who didn’t know anything. However, Annie was thinking that this was not enough.
‘I’m sure she’ll waste the whole day by being timid again.’
It had been three years since Annie began serving Renee. This meant that she could safely assume things without seeing it in person.
Why did she feel so embarrassed? Just hearing the name “Vera” would make her hands shake like a caterpillar, and whenever they held hands, she would forget how to speak.
Annie didn’t want to see such a suffocating sight anymore.
‘At this rate, it would be faster for me to die out of frustration than for the two of them to be together.’
That should never happen. Renee herself had no intention of rushing, so Annie had to give her a little push forward.
Confidence? How could she not have it? The number of men she has dumped so far was in the double digits.
Annie, who was well versed in how to deal with men, played with her hands again, determined to pour out all the skills she had accumulated until today.
“Saint, do you remember everything I said?”
“Yes…! Keep your back straight, and put your head down about 30 degrees from the front! And….”
“Smile until your dimples can be seen! And stride as narrow as possible! The Saint has a straight and pretty neck, so you have to keep emphasizing that! I purposely matched the coat one size larger, so you’re going to hide yourself as much as possible! To stimulate his protective instinct!”
Renee’s head kept nodding up and down.
A look of intense concentration hovered over her face.
As such, Renee was swept away by Annie’s passionate atmosphere and listened to the lecture on seduction for more than an hour, only to forget 90% of it.
“Yes, I’ll be right out!”
In front of the door of Renee’s accommodation, Vera took a step back and stood upright at the voice coming from inside. His expression was a bit more distracted than usual.
There was no other reason. It was because he was nervous about going to the festival alone with Renee.
It was a reaction he was not even aware of.
Thoughts of discomfort and awkwardness kept swirling around in his head as he absentmindedly scratched his nails with his fingertip.
The door opened.
“I’m sorry. Did I keep you waiting?”
Vera’s head snapped up at the sound and he gulped at the sight of Renee.
It was the second time since the library incident. No. He stopped thinking altogether when he saw Rene’s appearance, which was incomparable to the last time.
A white blouse, a long sky blue skirt, and a large navy coat above it that was draped over her shoulders.
It was an outfit that could be described as neither neat nor fancy, but it was clear that she dressed up.
Briefly distracted by her clothes, Vera then looked at Renee’s face.
Long lashes fluttered over her downcast eyes.
Her white hair was falling down a bit wavy, unlike usual. Only the left side of her hair was tucked behind her ear, drawing attention to the slender, white nape of her neck.
Upon hearing his name, Vera suddenly halted in surprise and continued his words.
“I didn’t wait at all.”
At that response and the hardened signs felt in his tone, Renee cheered inwardly.
As Annie said, the ‘first impression’ seemed to work well.
Renee struggled to control the twitching corners of her mouth, her grip on her cane straining unnecessarily in the rush of excitement. She held out one hand to Vera and said.
“Then shall we go?”
Their hands met.
Renee slipped her fingers between Vera’s fingers and grabbed them, feeling the strength in his hand.
Renee touched the ground with her cane as a signal, and the two began to walk.
“Where are we going first?”
“…There’s some time until the night market opens, so we’re going to have a meal first. I know a good place, so I made a reservation there.”
When did he even make a reservation?
When Renee made a surprised face, Vera continued.
“I had some errands to run nearby, so I took care of it while I was there.”
It was a lie.
A few days ago, he got up early in the morning and ran to the 5th Street to make a reservation. Since it was fully booked, he found out the contact information of those who made the reservation, paid them more money, and won the table.
However, Vera, whose pride did not allow him to say that with his own mouth, added as nonchalantly as possible.
“Fortunately, there was only one table left.”
Renee smiled brightly, and focused on the signs felt in Vera’s voice.
Vera is nervous. I wasn’t the only one nervous. We are conscious of each other currently.
Renee felt a chill run down her spine as she realized that Vera was finally becoming conscious of her.
At the same time, there was a tinge of bitterness in the back of her mind, brought on by the pain she had suffered alone all this time.
Accordingly, there was a sense of playfulness that emerged together.
‘Let’s make you a little more nervous.’
She hoped that Vera would be as upset as she had been.
With that in mind, Renee tapped the back of Vera’s hand and asked with a teasing tone.
“Vera, do you have anything to say to me?”
Didn’t you have any thoughts after I dressed up like this?
At the question asked with such intent, Vera’s body began to stiffen even more.
Normally, he could just say ‘You look beautiful’ like he always did, but for some reason, it didn’t work this time.
Wasn’t that right? Didn’t it feel like flirting? Wasn’t saying ‘You are beautiful’, too cheesy?
There must be something better to say.
There must be something to praise Renee’s outfit purely that’s not cheesy and not like flirting…
Biting his lips at the passing thoughts, Vera broke out in a cold sweat at the lack of options.
A voice rang in his ears.
The urging words made him flustered.
In the end, Vera let out words in a trembling tone.
“…You are beautiful.”
He spewed out those cheesy words.
He felt miserable.
Vera was concerned that Renee might misunderstand the intention of his words, but fortunately, it was a useless worry.
“I-Is that so…!”
Renee felt her heart drop with a thud at his answer.
It felt like her face was burning up. She felt like her whole body was getting goosebumps.
It was because the tremble and momentary hesitation in Vera’s voice while speaking made it feel serious.
Renee coughed for no reason and lowered her head.
She tried to calm down her pounding heart.
In her head, she was reflecting on what Annie said just before she came out of her room.
– Do you understand, Saint? You have to look relaxed! Even if you’re not relaxed, you have to pretend to be relaxed! ‘It doesn’t have to be you! You’re nobody to me!’ With such an air, make him impatient… What? He’s not nobody? Oh, my goodness! You have to ‘pretend’. Pretend!
Pretend to be relaxed. Make him impatient.
“How is Vera dressed today?”
Straight waist, slightly lowered head, and pulled neck so that the nape was clearly visible.
At the question asked while recalling what she had learned one by one, Vera’s pupils trembled slightly.
It was a very awkward action, but even such action was compromised as beauty in Vera’s mind.
Vera opened his mouth as if possessed when he saw Renee’s white hair flutter, then suddenly swallowed his words again.
Should I say it? It was because he had such a worry.
How should he explain how he dressed today, how he looked, and also why he looked the way he did?
Would his explanation sound like pointless bragging? Or would it feel too plain?
Vera, who was rolling his eyes with unnecessary worry, forced himself to calm down and speak.
“…It is a light outfit. I’m wearing a shirt, pants, and a coat over it.”
“What’s the color?”
“The shirt is white, while the pants and coat are black.”
“…I left the Holy Sword because I thought it would attract attention. Instead, I keep a dagger hidden in my arms.”
After saying that, Vera took a deep breath and looked into the distance before adding.
“It’s the dagger that the Saint gave me as a gift.”
A small smile appeared on Renee’s lips.
It was a smile that came from the satisfaction of knowing that he had used the gift that she had given him.
Her compliment was vague.
Of course, Vera’s confusion deepened.
Was she saying that the dagger was cool, or that using it was cool, or… that he was cool?
He had no idea.
Although he had no idea…
He was very grateful.
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