༺ Convergence (2) ༻
After Vera finished his explanation and caught his breath, Miller murmured to himself and stroked his chin, processing what he had just heard.
Miller pondered for a moment, then nodded and voiced his understanding.
“…So, in conclusion, you’ll go to the Cradle of the Dead to find out the truth, right? And that’s why you want to find a way to get there?”
“Yes. Do you know any way to get there?”
Miller looked at Vera and Renee alternately with a sunken expression, then answered after making up his mind.
“Let’s go together.”
Renee tilted her head, unable to understand what Miller meant.
Sensing Renee’s perplexed expression, Miller crossed his arms and added an explanation.
“First of all, the ‘crown’.”
“I don’t know what that is. You spoke as if the future me knew about it, but my current self has no idea what it is.”
Miller added more intuitive words upon seeing Renee’s still confused expression.
He made a fist with his hand and extended it forward with his finger stretched out.
“If you think about it carefully, it makes sense. Through a series of events, I will learn about the ‘crown’ like the future me that Orgus showed you.”
Then, he unfolded his second finger and added.
“Furthermore, since I was the one who kept the ‘crown,’ it implies that I was the only person capable of handling it in the future. If you could have handled it yourself, you wouldn’t have entrusted it to me. So, you have to take me with you to learn more about the crown.”
Renee and Vera looked surprised.
Miller had pointed out something that they hadn’t considered.
Vera nodded and continued to think.
‘…In the last round, the Saint revealed to only Professor Miller that she was not dead.’
Looking back at the conversation he overheard in the grimoire, the fact that Miller, out of all people, had the ‘crown’ had many implications.
‘Miller was the only one who could handle the crown. Moreover, he’s the only one who could keep it. That was why the Saint revealed her identity only to Miller during the last round, even though she was pretending to be dead.’
Vera looked at Miller with admiration in his eyes.
Perhaps his position as a professor wasn’t for nothing. Miller had a clear understanding of what he needed to do, even with the rough explanation.
‘He’ll be useful.’
He will become a big help on our journey. Moreover, he seems unlikely to betray us.
From what I have seen in the grimoire, he will be a great help to Renee until the end.
Vera tilted his head toward Renee and enthusiastically expressed his mind.
“I think it is a good offer, Saint.”
“Yes. I think so, too.”
After responding to Vera, she turned her head towards Miller and spoke with a smile.
“Can you help us, then?”
Considering the dangerous nature of the journey, the words were offered in the form of a favor.
Miller answered with a big grin.
“I am grateful. Ah, don’t be pressured. It’s a good thing for me, too.”
“It’s an accomplishment, isn’t it? Also, the ‘crown’ is a new artifact that has never been seen before in history, so I’m very interested as a scholar.”
He did not say it out of politeness but because it was exactly what he thought.
A huge movement, a conspiracy, and the deeply entangled ancient species, all centered around Vera.
Miller, a diehard follower who devoted his life to sorcery, chuckled as he felt his heart pounding at the unknown that lay before him.
Across from him, Renee smiled awkwardly and nodded.
A slight worry started to form in her head.
I’m grateful for that, but is this guy in the right mind?
She was worried about that.
Renee still could not understand Miller’s excitement about jumping into something dangerous.
Their conversation proceeded quickly after that.
They discussed the schedule for their journey to the Cradle and the fact that the Guardian Apostles would join them.
Upon hearing this, Miller said that he would prepare for the journey to the Cradle, then left Vera with despairing words.
— Ah, by the way, regarding fixing Sir Vera’s awareness, we have to finish that as well. Let’s schedule the next step a month from now. If we do it in too short of intervals, there could be aftereffects that influence your base personality.
After leaving the lab, they made their way to the classroom.
Renee spoke to Vera with a grin on her face.
“I can’t wait for the month to be over!”
Her cheeks were flushed. She was thrilled at the thought of teasing Vera.
Vera flinched and looked at Renee with narrowed eyes.
“This isn’t a joke, Saint…”
“I know. I didn’t say it was. I just wanted you to quickly retrieve your distorted memories.”
Why did it feel like you were teasing me just now while you were tapping your cane?
Unable to bring himself to say anything, Vera walked alongside Renee, keeping his lips tightly shut.
In this quiet atmosphere, Renee sensed that Vera was lost for words and added.
“Are you sulking, Vera?”
“I would never.”
Vera felt his fist clench involuntarily.
“…I am not a child.”
What does she see me as?
He felt resentful.
However, Renee, who was obsessed with teasing Vera, realized that it was the perfect timing to tease him, so she continued with a big nod.
“Of course, because Vera is the King… pfft…! King of the Slums!”
Can I hit her just one time?
Vera subconsciously thought, but he then cleared his mind and calmed himself down. Then, he talked gently to Renee.
“I think that being a King is much better than being a crybaby.”
Unintentionally expressing his true feelings, Vera suddenly turned his head towards Renee upon immediately comprehending the weight of his just-spoken words.
Her face started to get a little flushed.
Renee instantly realized that the ‘crybaby’ that Vera was talking about was when she fell on the floor and bawled her eyes out when she got drunk for the first time. Her body trembled with shame as she thought that she had lost.
Renee thought for a while.
If I don’t say anything now, I’ll really lose. It’ll be admitting to what he said.
Pushing aside her rising shame, she forced herself to put on a nonchalant face and spoke.
“You even know how to talk back, huh?”
She meant ‘you know how to make jokes’, or that ‘that was kind of funny’.
It actually wasn’t funny, but she thought she had to do it to hold out.
However, it didn’t work on Vera.
Renee was not good at hiding her facial expressions and emotions.
It was obvious why her body was trembling, and her face started blushing.
Realizing that her reaction was not so bad, Vera felt a sudden rush of excitement.
It happened unconsciously as he realized that it was the first time he fought back after being tormented all this time.
Shortly afterwards, Vera, who wasn’t sure if it was justice or not, pouted his lips and said.
“…What are you talking about?”
He tried to hide the excitement in his voice by lowering it, but it did not work on Renee.
She held her hands even tighter, and her competitive spirit was burning on the inside.
She challenged herself.
To rebel against Vera.
The self-centered Renee, who liked teasing but hated getting teased, moved her cane as she made sure to pay him back one day for this humiliation.
She tapped the ground aggressively, conveying exactly how she felt.
How disgraceful can people be?
If there was someone conducting research on that topic, they would find a clear answer in the ongoing situation.
It was Renee and Vera’s fight.
In the [Practical Gastronomy] class, they were tasting and studying different ingredients and spices, and Renee spoke while eating shark eggs.
“Wow! I can really taste the aura of a ‘King’. Since sharks are the ‘King’ of the sea, it’s a perfect analogy, right?”
She said, emphasizing the word ‘King’.
It was her way of getting back at him for making fun of her.
This was all fueled by the thought that it was Vera who had brought it upon himself.
Observing Renee’s lips curl into a grin, Vera, with the memory of her bursting into tears fresh in his mind, savored the shark eggs and shared his sentiment.
“Yes, it truly brings ‘tears’ to my eyes.”
It was his counterattack, and at the same time, it was his way of saying that he would no longer put up with it.
Renee’s face flushed red. However, it did not mean that she had lost.
She squinted her eyes and picked on Vera, and he retorted back, and it continued like that.
“Well, I’m not sure about ‘tears,’ but it certainly has the aura of a ‘King’.”
“I feel as though I am on the verge of shedding ‘tears’. The aura of a ‘King’ is beyond me. After all, I have always believed that it is not the shark, but the whale that is king of the seas.”
Surprisingly, the conversation was between a woman on the cusp of nineteen and a twenty-three year old adult.
They say that love tends to make people childish, and this phrase seemed perfectly fitting for this situation.
They were fond of each other, so they tried not to hurt each other.
However, because they also had grievances towards each other, they couldn’t help but express them somehow.
The childish bickering was the result of the interaction between their complex feelings.
One corner of Vera’s mouth lifted up.
Vera regretted it.
It wasn’t regret for teasing Renee.
It was a regret for not doing it until now, and just being one-sidedly tormented all this time.
Meanwhile, Renee spoke.
“Do fish shed tears, too? I’m not sure.”
“We might not know if fish shed tears, but after eating that, I might. But, I won’t. It’s very disgraceful for a knight to shed tears.”
Renee clenched her fist.
Vera could tell from the trembling end of the spoon that Renee was seething.
Meanwhile, the two were getting attention from the other students in the class. The noble ladies, who once angered Renee for speaking affectionately to Vera, started making a fuss.
“Oh, it’s a lover’s quarrel!”
“Sir Vera is so cute…”
“Right? I thought he was very stern, but he has that side too.”
They were whispering so they wouldn’t be heard.
But Vera, who had superhuman abilities, and Renee, who had heightened senses after losing her sight, heard it all.
A snicker escaped Renee’s mouth.
Vera’s body stiffened, breaking out in a cold sweat as he watched Renee’s reaction carefully.
His instinct told him that it was okay to reveal each other’s dark past when it was just the two of them, but these outside provocations were dangerous.
His insight was correct.
Renee, the embodiment of jealousy and possessiveness, could not contain her anger at their comments.
She wanted to lash out at them, but she held herself back.
Refusing to stoop to such levels, Renee asked a question to the innocent Vera.
“Do you like it?”
Vera slowly lowered his eyes.
Vera was a quick-witted person who knew when it was time to be mischievous and when it wasn’t.