༺ Land of Fighters (2) ༻
The next morning in Theresa’s laboratory.
Renee told Theresa what had happened the day before, and Theresa asked her.
“…And, that’s it?”
“What? Yes! I was about to go to sleep, but I keep thinking about it, so it’s a really big deal for me.”
Renee’s face was very flushed. The smile on her face was bigger than ever, and her face was overflowing with happiness.
But the look on Theresa’s face as she watched her was beyond disbelief.
Naturally, it was due to the question in her mind as she listened to her story.
Didn’t you say you’d seduce him? Didn’t you say that Vera made the first move? But then, why did you part ways in embarrassment without saying a word? Why didn’t you act as boldly as you have done all along?
Many thoughts ran through her mind.
Of course, I did say that it was wrong to seduce him with her body, but… still, isn’t it weird to take back what you already said?
Renee wasn’t the only problem.
‘I told him to be a child, but he turned out to be a brat…’
Clearly, what she wanted to convey to Vera was about innocent desire, so why did he understand it in a way that he became a brat?
Theresa sighed. She gently closed her eyes.
‘…I don’t even know what to do at this point.’
Sixty years after receiving the Stigma of Love, Theresa, who had taught many people to be successful in love, felt a ‘wall’ for the first time in her life.
Time flew by quickly.
The next two weeks became a period where the strange tension between Vera and Renee took on a different turn.
It wasn’t as if progress or deeper connections had been made.
However, even amidst that, there was undoubtedly a sweet tension that emerged whenever their skin brushed against each other or when they engaged in conversation.
Their voices trembled even when just talking about everyday matters.
Even though they were just holding hands for guidance, an intense heat was transmitted between them as if being burned.
Even though time had passed, he could still feel her lips from that day.
Today was no different.
The two who went out to greet the twins who were about to arrive at the Academy stood in silence, their fingers interlocked.
It had been ten minutes already. Ten minutes of standing still in silence at the entrance of the Academy.
Vera felt very distressed.
Of course, it was because he was conscious of Renee.
The situation was grim. He couldn’t even look at Renee because he was feeling extremely embarrassed. This was the gravest situation he had faced ever since he had been with Renee.
Vera slowly turned his gaze towards Renee, thinking that it couldn’t continue like this.
Shortly after, his body flinched.
His expression hardened, and his gaze went back to the front. In his head, he clearly recalled the shape of Renee’s lips from that brief glance.
It wasn’t simply just the shape of her lips.
The kisses they shared at the Imperial Ball or the ambiguous kisses she initiated two weeks ago—all those sensations were vividly coming back to him.
At this moment, Vera, in a rather profane way, thought that it was fortunate that Renee was blind.
He was aware that his face was blushing deeply. If Renee ever saw him like that, she would surely call him a ‘blockhead’ once again.
There was a light breeze blowing, but for some reason, he felt like he was inside a steamer in the middle of summer.
Even though his superhuman body was unaffected by heat and cold, sweat trickled down his back in response to what he was feeling.
“…Where are they?”
Renee suddenly asked.
While Vera felt his heart thumping and exploding, he turned away as he answered because he was not used to being flustered.
“According to the letter I got the day before, they should be arriving soon… I hope they didn’t get lost.”
At Vera’s words, Renee looked up at the sky as she reminisced with an awkward smile.
‘He’s being shy.’
She enjoyed the tremor in Vera’s voice. She was trying hard and somehow managed to bring down her upturned lips.
If I keep being conscious of Vera like this, I won’t be able to hide my expression.
So, Renee brought up the twins to change the subject.
“I’m worried. Isn’t this the first time they left the Holy Kingdom?”
“Yes. They’ve been in the Holy Kingdom since they were born.”
“They must be so excited to see what’s outside.”
“Maybe they had a few drinks the night before and overslept.”
“…I’d like to say that there’s no way, but I can’t deny that.”
A chuckle escaped both of their mouths at the same time.
“Hmm, if that really happened, they should be scolded. Rohan only teaches weird things…”
“There’s no need for you to do that. I’ll teach them a lesson.”
“I’ll leave it to you, then.”
Renee’s efforts paid off.
The mood softened slightly, and they became more relaxed and started to talk about other things.
They talked about the fun they had in the Academy, or the Professor in [Introduction to Advanced Swordsmanship], who was still afraid of Vera, even though it was nearly the time to leave. They had fun talking about such trivial things.
They talked for a while until they heard two footsteps in the distance.
It wasn’t only because Renee had heightened senses.
It was a sound that anyone could hear because it was so loud.
Renee tilted her head and turned to Vera.
“Is that Krek and Marek?”
Vera did not answer. He was flustered by the sight before him.
Vera made a stunned sound as he stared at the two, big figures approaching them.
The brown-haired men approaching them with their backs against the sun were indeed the twins. However, their appearance was very peculiar.
First, their clothes.
They wore iron plates all over their body, making it look like they were wearing armor.
Next, what they were carrying.
How should I explain it?
It was a brown bundle the size of an adult male that looked like it was made from animal skin and was ‘writhing’. Even from this distance, Vera could tell that something alive was in it.
But the most striking thing was their expressions.
Both twins had the exact same expression, as if they were ‘on the verge of tears’.
What the hell is going on here?
Why do they look like that?
While Vera was stunned at what he saw, the twins, who were now standing in front of them, abruptly spoke.
“Krek… was tricked.”
“Marek… was scammed.”
The look on Renee’s face disappeared.
Vera was the same, then he closed his eyes tightly. His head was hurting.
Vera immediately knew what they meant.
I think they were forced to buy something on their way here.
Here’s what really happened.
When they first set out on their journey, they were so excited and decided to stop at villages along the way to look around.
They stopped by each village and bought items that were introduced to them as local specialties.
However, those so-called specialties were all lies. Every person they met on their way to the Academy turned out to be a scammer, and the two of them realized this only through the innkeeper they met the day before they arrived here.
In Theresa’s laboratory.
Vera grabbed his aching head and asked the twins.
“The armor… okay, I can understand that you got scammed. But, what is that?”
Vera pointed toward the bundle. The last time he looked in it, it was slime. When he asked them why they bought a slime of that size, Krek’s face turned red, and Marek answered with a sullen face.
“Marek bought it because they said it was an adult’s toy.”
“The merchant said that it was a rare creature. But it’s not rare at all.”
Veins popped in Vera’s forehead. Marek, who did not notice his expression, sighed deeply and continued speaking.
“I used it once, then it broke.”
An impulsive remark escaped Vera’s lips.
Vera rose to his feet in rage, then tried hard to calm himself down. He knew fully well that they were not people who would listen even if he beat them up again.
Vera, who felt great relief for leaving Renee behind, spoke with a sigh.
“…Don’t spend your money on useless things.”
It could happen. It was within his expectations. He just needed to prevent this from happening again.
With that in mind, they continued.
“Krek reflected on his actions.”
“Marek, too. I’ll buy a really rare item next time.”
A nonsense answer.
A tendon popped on Vera’s forehead.
His fists were also clenched.
The two of them, who realized it a little too late, flinched.
Marek fidgeted and swallowed hard as Vera looked at him like he was about to burst at any moment.
“Calm down, Vera. We also bought a gift for you.”
Marek thought that the reason why Vera was angry was because they only bought stuff for themselves. So if they gave him the gift they had bought, Vera would surely be delighted.
Marek rummaged through his stuff and found it, then he picked it up and handed it to Vera.
In a small bottle the size of a thumb was a suspicious purple liquid.
A look of disbelief crossed Vera’s face.
“…What is this?”
Marek spoke with a bright face upon seeing Vera’s anger dissipate.
“It’s a powerful potion. I tried it once, and it’s amazing. This one is the real deal.”
At that, Krek nodded.
“That is amazing. That’s the best. We bought five of them.”
What followed was a short silence.
Soon after, Vera stood up from where he was sitting.
The twins’ heads turned toward Vera at the same time.
The twins’ bodies jerked back. It was all because of Vera, who had the most vicious expression they had ever seen.
As Krek was about to say something to calm Vera down…
Vera struck them both with the hilt of the Holy Sword.
Fortunately, the Holy Sword deemed it as the ‘right thing to do’.
A little while later, after giving them a few ‘lessons’, Vera took Renee to Theresa’s room, and she comforted them.
“Hmm… that could happen! Those scammers will definitely receive divine punishment! Cheer up, both of you!”
Since Renee didn’t know what the twins had bought, it was the best comfort she could offer.
The twins made uplifted expressions with their bruised faces at Renee’s words and enthusiastically agreed with her.
“That’s right. Scammers are bad people.”
“You’re so nice, Saint. You’re different from Vera.”
“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”
Vera glared at the twins.
The twins flinched once again. Theresa, who was watching them from a distance, sighed deeply.
She was worried.
Of course, they wouldn’t be in danger because they were very powerful, but she couldn’t help but be worried that they could get themselves in trouble.
She originally called the twins, thinking that Vera would be able to lead them. However, even that assumption was now uncertain.
A displeased expression appeared on Theresa’s face.
That guy, who she thought was somewhat mature, had turned into a brat. What should she do about this?
As she continued to ponder about it, she contemplated on the group that was going to the Cradle of the Dead.
To be honest, his mental age is similar to those guys, so I can’t leave it to him.
Would they listen to Hela?
As Theresa continued to ruminate over it, she remembered Norn, the most grown-up among them, and decided to give him a word later.
A long sigh escaped Theresa’s mouth.
‘…I feel sorry for him.’
Norn was known for doing his job quietly, so he might be able to do something about this. But in the midst of it, guilt arose in Theresa’s mind, wondering if she had caused him more trouble.