༺ Hegrion (1) ༻
At the hotel’s annex, Jenny and Miller sat together at the far end of a room furnished with a huge table and several chairs.
The reason for this rather mismatched duo to be together was to obtain information about the Crown of Rebirth owned by Jenny.
Miller rubbed his chin as he stared ahead.
There was a transparent white crown at the end of his gaze.
‘I don’t get it at all.’
It was a dreadfully complex structure.
Miller’s eyes turned bloodshot because of it.
‘The base is divinity, and the layout uses the Power of Death… but the spell is incomprehensible. What’s all this stuff?’
It was puzzling.
Even Miller, who had an unrivaled knowledge about ancient artifacts due to his experience in deconstructing numerous artifacts, was puzzled by this crown.
He was here to figure out the crown’s basic skills before they got to Locrion. However, he grew even more frustrated when more questions came out instead.
‘How the hell did my future self deal with this?’
Given how things were going so far, his future self must have dealt with it, but he was unable to figure out how.
Putting aside the ownership transfer, it was hard to know the purpose of this object even when he looked at it directly.
He creased his forehead and shook his legs. Miller, who displayed a variety of restless behavior while thinking, soon sighed and put his annoyance aside.
‘…Right, doesn’t this object possess all nine of Ardain’s powers? It would be funny if it’s easy to solve.’
Perhaps his impatience to figure something out right away had narrowed his vision.
Miller quickly assessed his situation and composed himself.
Jenny, who was sitting quietly with the crown floating above her head, opened her mouth.
“…Are you done?”
The carefully asked question had a hint of boredom to it.
Her tone alone made it obvious that she wanted to get this over with.
It was only to be expected from Jenny.
She was playing with Aisha when she was suddenly dragged into doing this.
For that reason, Jenny only thought about finishing this up quickly to play with Aisha.
His face became even more pitiful.
“H-Huh? Sorry, but can you show it to me a little longer?”
He groveled to her like a debtor begging their creditor for just a bit more time.
As she looked at him, Jenny pouted and soon nodded.
Watching from Jenny’s arms, Annalise seemed amused by Miller’s servile attitude. So, she giggled and said to Jenny.
[Hey, kiddo. You can just leave. What’s that stupid sorcerer going to find out by watching more? Let’s not waste any more time and go outside.]
“This old hag is talking?”
Veins popped up Miller’s forehead.
“I don’t think that’s something an old woman who sat there rolling her eyes should say.”
Tuk, tuk. Annalise’s head bent strangely in Miller’s direction.
[This baby can talk back quite well, huh?]
“Why are you so proud of being an old hag? It’s such a weird brag… tch.”
The atmosphere turned sour in an instant.
Jenny glanced nervously between Miller and Annalise during the sudden change of mood. She then closed her eyes and gave Annalise a flick on the forehead.
“Fighting… is bad.”
[Hey! Why are you only hitting me! Do you think I’m easy?]
Jenny looked away after barely holding herself back from saying ‘yes’.
She feigned ignorance because she thought Annalise would be more upset if she told the truth.
“Anyway… it’s bad.”
I hit you because I was scared of hitting Miller.
Jenny didn’t have the courage to say that yet.
Jenny kept her gaze fixed in the air despite Annalise’s rants.
Looking at Jenny, Miller thought that Jenny was taking his side.
Miller’s eyes filled with emotions, while Annalise’s eyes burned with rage.
Jenny continued to play dumb and just looked the other way.
While Miller and Annalise fought, two others were in their own world.
Who else would it be? It was Vera and Renee.
“Saint, does the food suit your taste?”
“Yes, it was… delicious.”
A dessert shop in Eirene.
The two people chatting in a popular tourist spot looked the happiest in the world.
No, it wasn’t far from reality.
At that moment, the two of them felt as if they held all the happiness in the world in their hands.
“Here, have some.”
As Vera cut a piece of cake and placed it in front of Renee while speaking gently, Renee took a bite.
After swallowing the cake, she said.
“I just did what I had to.”
He answered very gently, as one would expect.
Even they were aware that it was a very embarrassing and cringe-worthy scene.
Fortunately, they had a very plausible excuse for such behavior.
“I’m sorry… it’s because my eyes are like this.”
“No, it doesn’t matter if you can’t see. I will stay by your side and serve as your eyes.”
They said this as part of a desperate attempt to justify themselves.
It was a sweet love that finally came true.
This vicious feeling was blocking their eyes and ears, blurring their thoughts, making them do shameful things that they would never have done with clear heads.
Plus, it made them feel happier than anything else in the world.
Renee slowly put her hand over Vera’s hand.
They didn’t say a word, but their overlapping hands soon entangled each other as if natural.
There were tingling emotions, and it felt like an electric current was running down their spines.
The two only fixated on what they felt without even knowing whether such feelings came from the other person or themselves.
As the silence grew and turned into another awkwardness, the two carried on with other activities.
Vera sliced the cake and brought it closer to Renee’s mouth as she ate it.
Renee then offered food to Vera as well, but he flinched and declined it.
“Aren’t you going to eat, Vera?”
“No, I’m fine with just watching you eat…”
A blush appeared as he spoke.
Renee also blushed upon realizing what Vera was trying to say.
“The saltiness makes it taste good, though…”
“I’m really fine.”
However, Renee hadn’t even realized why Vera didn’t want to eat this cake.
No matter how much he loved Renee or how happy he was to feed her, Vera didn’t want to eat a cake that tasted like salt.
Of course, Vera would keep his feelings hidden, so Renee had no way of knowing.
Vera absentmindedly watched Renee eat the cake.
Renee must have felt the stare because her cheeks grew redder, and she immediately changed the topic.
“…Eirene is a very nice city.”
“Do you think so?”
“Yes. The coldness is a bit of a problem, but the commercial district is fully developed, and there are many memorable places…”
While speaking, Renee suddenly started laughing.
It just occurred to her that the words ‘there are many memorable places’ were solely her opinion, no matter how she spun it.
Vera quickly realized what she was laughing at and laughed along.
Then, he directed his gaze out the window.
There was a pure, white city covered by snowy fields and in the distance was Lake Tennern, where he had confessed.
It was a city with a climate completely different from the southern Holy Kingdom.
Therefore, it could be even more special to Renee.
As Vera looked at the city, he unknowingly blurted out.
“If I really find a way to cure your eyes, I want to come here again with you.”
I really want to show you this view again.
I want us to come here again, to the lake where I confessed to you, and the garden where we went on a walk together.
Vera, speaking with those thoughts in mind, soon trembled, feeling ashamed.
He felt like he should have never said those words.
“You should be sorry.”
Her reply made Vera panic more than ever.
Renee, who could thoroughly read him just from the sensation of their hands, soon giggled and said.
“Are we only going to come here?”
“We have to go everywhere.”
Renee turned her head to Vera and added.
“We’ll start from the place we first visited, the Great Woodlands. The forest must be lush green now that Aedrin has regrown again. So we should stop by there, right? Then we’ll go to Dovan’s blacksmith shop in the Federation of Kingdoms. It would be fun going there with Aisha…”
We’ll travel to the Empire for the festival and revisit the places we spent time together. We’ll visit the slums that have returned under the light. We’ll have a look around the classroom where we took classes together at the Academy. Then we’ll go to the Geinax Plains and the Cradle of the Dead.
Renee chirped like a bird, even thanking Maleus for opening his palace at the time.
Vera’s eyes grew slightly wider.
He tightened his grip on her hand.
Smiling at his gesture, Renee concluded with this remark.
“…Of course, we can talk about it when my eyes are cured.”
The hint of sadness felt in her laughter wasn’t just an illusion.
With that thought in mind, Vera quickly replied.
“I’m sure we can cure it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’ll make it happen, so there’s no if.”
“Didn’t you also say that when you took me to the Holy Kingdom? You said that you would put me in the most honorable position.”
“I will also keep my word for that.”
Renee made a small hum and smiled widely before adding.
“Let’s see how well you’ll do.”
Even though Renee uttered these words, there was another phrase she couldn’t bring herself to say.
The shy truth that she wanted to tell him.
It feels like I have already been put in the most honorable position.
When they returned to the hotel after spending a good time together, Norn greeted them with a somewhat troubled expression.
“Saint and Sir Vera.”
“W-We have a guest.”
Renee tilted her head.
Vera, as well, asked Norn with a face full of doubt.
“Does anyone know we’re here?”
They hadn’t stopped in any other villages since leaving the Cradle.
Also, didn’t they use false identities during the inspection?
No one should know their whereabouts.
Norn grimaced awkwardly at Vera’s question.
When Norn, who had been hesitating for a while, was about to open his mouth to explain more…
“Have you arrived?”
A dignified voice resonated across the hotel’s lobby.
The three heads turned to the source of that voice.
Norn’s face became even more troubled. Renee tilted her head, and Vera made a face of surprise.
It was due to the robust man coming down the stairs.
A pure white fur cloak symbolizing the northern snowfield draped over his shoulders, short white hair neatly combed back, and sharp green eyes shining beneath.
Vera sharpened his gaze and showed vigilance.
It was because he already knew who that man was.
In the tense atmosphere, Hegrion opened his mouth.
“Nice to meet you, Saint.”
His sharp green eyes briefly turned towards Renee.
Then, with a slow movement, they pierced through Vera.
“…And the Apostle of Oath.”