༺ Tellon Academy (2) ༻
As soon as they entered the entrance of the Academy, everyone in the envoy except Renee and Miller were stunned at the same time.
Vera trailed off, and Renee tilted her head at the words that were abruptly cut off.
Vera had a grimace on his face.
He made that expression because there were countless people lined up on both sides of the central road from the Academy’s entrance.
As the carriage neared the entrance, the sound of magnificent music began to resonate. This was followed by cheers that seemed to echo through the streets.
Renee eventually grew puzzled, and Miller burst out laughing at the sight.
“Ahh, our Headmaster must have prepared for the Saint’s arrival. Well, the second official destination of the Saint is the Academy! With that personality, the Headmaster probably couldn’t help it!”
Clap, clap, clap!
Renee’s face turned pale as she heard his explanation, which was accompanied by clapping.
Of course, this kind of reception was new to Renee.
After all, she always disguised herself when traveling to other countries, and even when she first revealed her identity in the Empire, she spent the majority of her time within the mansion.
At this moment, Renee was feeling the weight of the name ‘Saint,’ which she wasn’t usually mindful of.
“B-But not to this extent…”
She made a face, feeling unnecessarily burdened. Her admiration for the Headmaster, whom she had yet to meet, was plummeting.
Vera, who had been observing her, read her complexion and said in a worried tone.
“…It’s not very comfortable, but you’ll have to get used to it. Please don’t mind it too much.”
Tears welled up on Renee’s face, and her face turned red with discomfort for some reason.
Unable to find the words, Renee’s lips moved stiffly, until she finally gave up and sighed heavily.
“…No, let’s hide our identity next time. I don’t want to go through this again.”
What’s with all the noise?
Her surroundings were far too loud. The voices shouting ‘Saint!’ were almost overwhelming.
“…Please pass by quickly.”
It was an order driven by discomfort. Vera, who made an awkward face at that, nodded and told Norn to speed up the carriage.
“I’ll see you later, Sir Vera!”
After passing through the entrance and heading toward the teaching building, the carriage stopped in front of the building where the Department of Theology was located. Miller got off first with his luggage before saying his goodbyes.
As soon as Miller waved his hands vigorously and walked away without any hesitation, Vera’s expression turned sour at the thought that he would have to see that guy again.
However, Renee looked relaxed even in that situation.
At least she wouldn’t have to see Miller again. She thought that she had survived, and that was enough.
She felt bad for Vera, but there was nothing she could do. It was his fault for nodding when he was invited to the lab.
“Shall we go now?”
Her voice was relaxed.
When Vera glared at Renee, thinking she was being condescending, she smirked at him and wrapped her arms around Vera’s.
Vera trembled. His mind was replaying things he’d forgotten because he was tormented by Miller for the last few days.
“As expected, this is the most comfortable way to walk.”
Renee’s merciless attack of seduction wasn’t over yet.
Vera looked up at the sky with a gloomy expression, feeling miserable.
He thought there was no heaven for him anywhere.
Theresa, the Apostle of Love and professor of Theology at the Academy, widened her eyes as she noticed a man and woman walking in the distance.
The people walking arm in arm were extremely familiar.
Theresa recognized the white woman with the radiant smile and the man whose face flushed burning red despite the fact that he was pale to begin with. It was none other than Renee and Vera.
‘They look good together.’
A deep smile formed on Theresa’s face along with that thought.
Their distance was gradually closing. When the distance was reduced to approximately five steps, Theresa opened her mouth to speak.
“You’ve grown up so beautifully.”
Renee smiled brightly when she heard that voice and exclaimed.
It was a voice she hadn’t heard in three and a half years, but she knew at once that it belonged to Theresa.
There was only one person she knew who had this kind of soft and warm voice that sounded like she was soothing a child.
“It’s been so long!”
“It really has. I always knew you were pretty, but you’ve grown up better than this old lady thought.”
Theresa laughed. Her comment made a red blush appear on Renee’s face.
In a heartwarming atmosphere, Theresa turned to look at Vera and added.
“You also grew a lot, too. Why do I feel like you’ve grown so much bigger than when we met in the Holy Kingdom?”
“That’s because I haven’t slacked off on my training.”
“Take it easy. I’m afraid you’ll end up like His Holiness.”
Vera’s body shuddered at the words, and his eyes narrowed.
“…That won’t happen.”
For Theresa, it was a joke, but for Vera, the mention of the possibility of being a two-meter, tens of centimeter giant somehow triggered a sense of repulsion.
Theresa burst out laughing as if Vera’s reaction was amusing, then shook her head and continued.
“Let’s go to my room to finish our talk. Will you come with me?”
“Then I’ll get going. I think it’s better to finish my work early on.”
Theresa tilted her head at Vera’s words.
“Huh? Aren’t you going with us?”
“I have an appointment with Professor Miller.”
“…Ah, that child.”
Theresa let out an ‘ah’ sound and nodded.
“I had no idea you two had grown so close during this time. You two don’t seem to be compatible.”
“It’s just for work.”
Vera drew a firm line, feeling his stomach turn at Theresa’s words.
Theresa blinked at his attitude, and soon nodded.
“All right, see you later.”
A white room with basic instruments, books, and a small flower plant. In a room that reminded one of the structure of the Holy Kingdom, Theresa brewed her favorite tea and handed it to Renee.
At the same time, she spoke in a playful tone.
“You seem to have made quite a bit of progress?”
She was asking about Renee’s relationship with Vera.
One could say that because they haven’t seen one another in a long time, they should start by catching up on each other’s lives, but neither Theresa nor Renee were big on formalities, so she jumped right to the point.
Renee blushed at Theresa’s words, smiled a little and nodded.
Her smile was like a shyly budding wildflower, and it made Theresa’s face light up with joy.
“…W-We even kissed! Oh, but it was forced.”
She went on with a questionable statement.
With a confused look on her face, Theresa looked at Renee, who was puffing out her chest with pride.
“…By forced, you mean?”
“Yes, yes! I confessed, got rejected, and then I just rammed into him!”
Theresa’s mind spun in confusion.
Thinking that she needed to know the exact sequence of events first, she overcame her surprise and asked.
“Um… this is too sudden. Since we have a lot of time, why don’t you tell me what happened slowly?”
A look of concentration came over Theresa’s face.
As she listened, her confusion slowly turned into frustration, then back to shock, and changed to disbelief.
“…So! I’m trying to seduce Vera now!”
Renee finished off her remark by coughing out ‘ahem!’. Anyone could tell that she was bragging. She looked like a child waiting for a compliment.
Theresa was too stunned to say anything else, so she replied with an awkward smile.
She worded it vaguely. She meant amazing in different ways.
Theresa paused for a moment to ruminate on the cause of this disaster.
‘Did she mention Annie…’
It was a name she remembered.
She was the daughter of Theresa’s former disciple. A cheeky little girl who had been learning about men since she was little. Apparently, that little girl gave Renee a false hope.
Theresa felt her head begin to throb.
Yeah, she didn’t do a bad thing. How could she judge Renee’s actions and feelings as bad?
But she was still worried, and it made her head throb.
Theresa knew very well.
A relationship wasn’t built on desire alone.
It could only be perfected by connecting each other’s hearts and minds.
Theresa tried to sort out her worries and began to organize her words in her mind.
“Saint, may I ask you a question?”
“Why did Vera say that he can’t accept your feelings?”
Renee looked clueless, wondering why Theresa asked her that.
She paused for a moment, thinking that there had to be a reason for this question, before telling Theresa the words that she was tired of hearing from Vera.
“He said he was scared that I might become a bad person because he would taint me.”
In short, it all boiled down to those words.
Renee felt frustrated despite her understanding of what he said. It made her wonder if Vera didn’t trust her enough.
A sigh escaped Renee’s lips.
“I understand, but… I’m not a child, so why can’t he trust me even a little bit?”
Theresa sighed at Renee’s pitiful appearance.
‘So that’s it.’
It was fear.
At this moment, Theresa realized the root of Vera and Renee’s emotional disconnection.
One reason was that their hearts beat at different rates. Another reason was that they had different goals.
Even though they were moving in the same direction, they couldn’t see each other since they were either at different crossroads or traveling at different speeds.
Only then did Theresa feel a little relieved, putting on a smile before speaking again.
“Would you like to hear some advice from this old lady?”
Renee raised her head.
“Yes? Ah, yes.”
Theresa felt a smile escaping her mouth as she watched Renee’s serious expression and passionate attitude, and spoke softly.
“Just for one day, don’t do anything and talk about something else other than love.”
Renee tilted her head.
“It’s to see a human without being blinded by love.”
There were things that could only be seen from afar. There was something that was only visible through the fog.
“I understand both the Saint’s and his feelings. And I believe you’ll understand him as well.”
A first love is like a raging fire, easily blinded by the flames. Perhaps, what Renee needs to learn is how to escape the flames and see the other person from a new angle.
Regardless of what Theresa was trying to convey, Renee’s face was filled with questions as she couldn’t fathom what that meant, before nodding hesitantly.
While Theresa was chuckling at how well Renee followed her words, she suddenly thought of something else.
‘Maybe I should talk to that brat, too.’
She was thinking of Vera.
Not for Renee, not for their relationship, but for Vera. It was because she knew that those who were afraid to love must be hurting.
Theresa was reminded that it was time for her to fulfill her duty as the Apostle of Love.