༺ Divergence (3) ༻
An incomprehensible feeling swept across his entire body.
There was an unknown purpose in our encounter. There was something she wanted out of this.
And he could figure it out through the entity that took the shape of enmity inside that shack.
Vera, whose expression was dimmed by the flooding emotions, rose from his seat.
“…We’ll find out if we go there.”
He unintentionally tightened his grip on their entwined hands.
Renee was concerned upon feeling Vera’s strength and shaky voice, so she called him.
She hated to see Vera trembling. She loathed herself from the first round for making Vera shake this much.
Therefore, Renee added the next words.
“If that woman in there is using Vera, I’ll slap her cheek.”
A tinge of confusion became present in his gaze. Despite that, Renee continued to speak.
“Vera is my Vera. So bothering Vera is like bothering me, right? Even if it’s me from another timeline, I won’t forgive her no matter what.”
Her fighting aura was clearly visible over her grinning face.
Vera felt a smile emerge on his face as he watched her, and then he nodded.
“It’s very reassuring.”
“Just watch and learn.”
“Yes, I’ll keep your teaching in mind.”
“That’s great, then let’s go.”
Renee turned her head to the front. Vera followed suit and turned his gaze toward the shack.
The two took a step toward the truth.
The door opened along with a harrowing noise.
Vera looked on one side of the wall where Renee from the first round usually sat, and she was there, sitting with pig porridge on her lap.
He could feel the Oath blazing ferociously as he drew nearer.
It was vibrating wildly. Because there were two Renees, the Oath seemed to be confused because it couldn’t pinpoint its target properly.
At that time, she smiled brightly through her creased burn marks. She was a figure who could only be described as shameless.
“Ah, you’re here.”
Vera hardened his heart through gritted teeth and spoke with a stern expression.
“…You’re not the Dream Demon’s enmity.”
His remark was tinged with bitterness as he fully realized who she really was.
Renee from the first round paused when she heard that. Then, she smiled even brighter.
Her answer was ridiculously honest.
It led Vera to scrunch his face.
Why did you do that? Did you really approach me with ulterior motives?
Those questions arrived at the tip of his tongue, and yet he couldn’t bear to say it.
It was due to fear. The fear took hold of him since he thought he wouldn’t be able to handle it if that was indeed the truth.
As Vera’s words trailed off, Renee from the first round, whose lips quivered in an attempt to say something, decided to shut her mouth before putting on a slightly dejected smile.
“I’m sorry that I can’t tell you much.”
She stood up, fumbled her hand slowly along the wall and approached Vera.
He was within an arm’s reach.
She stopped at that distance, reached out for Vera’s cheek and said.
“But what I can tell you for sure is that I…”
In the midst of her words…
Just before her hand touched Vera’s cheek, the other Renee, who watched things unfold in the form of lights, slapped her hand away.
In a fit of rage, she snarled.
“Where do you think you’re touching?”
Renee from the first round was frozen. And so was Vera.
Among them, only Renee scoffed and complained further.
“Is skinship really that necessary if you’re just going to talk?”
I tried to listen quietly, but I can’t bear to remain still anymore.
That was what she thought when she blurted out those words.
She was unsure of the extent of their relationship during the previous round, but whatever the case, it was all in the past now.
It didn’t matter if she was her from the previous lapse. What mattered the most was he belonged to the current Renee.
Renee was a very possessive woman. A woman who never shares her possession with others.
“Let’s keep this strictly business, okay?”
Renee linked arms with Vera and said those with a smirk, making the other Renee twitch her lips.
Vera looked alternately at them, thinking that ‘something is wrong here’.
The atmosphere turned grave in an instant.
Renee, who couldn’t ease her anxiety, kept urging him.
“Gosh, there’s nothing worse than a clingy woman…right, Vera?”
Renee looked upset that he answered while looking away, so she tightened her grip on his arm.
It was when Vera, who sensed a danger, reflectively tried to come up with something.
“It’s not right to force your opinion on others.”
Renee from the first round softly spoke.
“From what I know, consideration is something that comes out of respect. A healthy relationship can be created through accepting and respecting each other’s differences. However…”
It was an intentional jab toward Renee.
Renee squinted her eyes and answered with a growl.
“…What are you trying to say?”
“I merely expressed my thoughts. Do you have a problem with it?”
The past Renee smoothly concluded her words with a mischievous smile.
While this was going on, Vera, who was listening to the talk, stared up at the air blankly.
He could feel the murderous energy filling up the space.
After a long time, the atmosphere came to a temporary calm.
Renee, who linked arms with him the whole time while glaring at Renee from the first round, murmured in dissatisfaction.
“How rude and cunning. How is it possible for someone to speak so obnoxiously? No, who do you even think you are to teach others?”
It was a murmur that was loud enough for everyone to hear.
Vera, who was listening next to her, believed that if things continued as they were, it would result in another catastrophe, so he quickly tried to dissuade her.
“Saint, first of all, that is not what is important…”
“Then what’s important?!”
Vera, drenched in cold sweat, alternated between the two Renees before answering.
“…Shouldn’t we get out of here first?”
Renee’s face turned red.
She belatedly recalled what she was forgetting due to her exploding anger.
Vera thought that she, who had been making sharp judgments outside the shack, suddenly turned into a fool.
Renee coughed awkwardly.
She felt ashamed that she had reverted to her bad habit of flying into rage over anything involving Vera.
‘A-All of this…’
Is because of that sly woman.
Renee, who blamed the other her out of shame, glared crudely and said.
“…Forget it. Why don’t you explain why you summoned us here?”
We have to get out of here quickly.
I’ve started acting strange because of the Dream Demon’s hallucination.
…That was what she thought. Listening to her excuse, Renee from the first round answered with a smile.
“I wonder why you are asking me.”
A vein popped out Renee’s forehead, and Vera’s pupils began to shake violently.
Vera wanted this psychological warfare to end now, so he spoke to the past Renee with a desperate cry.
“Did you not make this grimoire, Renee?”
“…first round’s Saint.”
Quickly changing the way he addressed her at Renee’s urging, Vera thought, ‘What am I doing?’ as his sanity began to crumble, and waited for an answer with a bated breath.
Again, the answer returned in no time.
“I am terribly sorry, but there is nothing I can tell you.”
The answer that came back was in the form of a refusal.
Vera and Renee’s gazes were pinned on her simultaneously. Tapping her index finger on her festering lips, she elaborated further.
“I am a fool who knows nothing.”
She kept tapping her lips.
Her smile was still the same as ever.
Vera’s eyes narrowed.
He was trying to understand the meaning behind her words and actions.
Vera was soon able to infer one thing after observing her for a while.
A mystery in a form of contract that restricted one from disclosing a particular idea or do a specific action in exchange for an equivalent reward.
‘…There is a possibility.’
He knew best the principle of a covenant.
A covenant had a similar principle with his power, after all.
There was no way Vera didn’t know, so he continued to speculate about it.
What if there is a covenant bound to that enmity?
What if she borrowed the power of a covenant to create this series of events?
When he blurted out with this speculation in mind, Renee from the first round deepened her smile and added.
“I don’t know.”
It was the correct answer.
Vera’s expression crumpled.
‘What in the world…’
What was her reason behind all of this, to the point of laying her hands on such an object?
What the hell are you trying to achieve?
Vera, who was increasingly puzzled by the situation, had an awful grimace on his face, while Renee from the first round carried on as if nothing had happened.
“But you know, brother.”
“Brother already knows how to get out of here.”
She turned her head towards Vera, with a sly smile over the writhing burn marks.
“You already have the necessary preparation and are overflowing with the ability to use it. All you need to do is to realize it, brother.”
Renee from the first round stood up, fumbling along the wall, and headed for the door.
“We talked for quite a while. I’ll get something to eat, so please wait for a moment.”
She opened the door loud enough to produce noise.
The door closed.
“…What was that?”
In a room where only the both of them remained, Renee groaned in frustration.
She knew that there ought to be a reason why things had come to this, but she couldn’t think of one. Her frustration added up when the only person who knew about it returned the question to them.
“Do you have any ideas, Vera?”
“…I don’t know.”
Vera felt the same way.
He understood she had imposed the covenant herself, and he also understood that she wanted him to realize something.
However, her purpose remained vague.
Vera, who watched the closed door keenly while his thoughts were racing, opened his mouth soon after.
“But there are some things we can understand now.”
“Since we now know that she wasn’t just the Demon Dream’s enmity, we can now guess the true identity of this dream.”
Yes, his initial assumption was wrong.
“…We can conclude that this dream was not originally based on my memory.”
Renee’s eyes grew bigger upon listening to him.
Listening to him, that seemed to be the case.
If this was a hallucination created by Renee from the first round, if she wanted to convey something to Vera through it, and if she imposed the covenant herself.
“…The scene she’s trying to show must be from her own memory.”
“The best way to figure it out would be to watch her.”
It was to see the past scene in a vision that was made from her memory, so she could inform them without having to open her mouth.
“You’re saying that we should follow her, right?”
“…That’s highly likely.”
Renee swallowed hard and looked at the dark brown clusters of light.
Is getting darker.
Now, it became so cloudy that it was impossible to distinguish objects by color.
Renee, who was a little regretful about it, brushed off the surging emotions by holding his hand tighter and uttered.
“Let’s go. Let’s see what that sly woman is scheming.”
She got up from her seat, and Vera followed suit.
They cautiously opened the door and followed the footprints outside. The first thing they saw was…
“Saint, are you really sure that this is okay?”
…It was Miller who handed the pig porridge to her.
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