༺ End of the Midnight Sun (2) ༻
Three more days passed.
Renee still did not want to go to the Holy Kingdom, and Vera was still following her.
So, if one wonders if there is any progress in their relationship, you can answer, ‘It seems that they are getting closer’.
Vera’s head turned toward Renee.
Just two steps away. By her side, not behind.
Yes. Vera no longer follows her. Now Vera was walking right by her side.
It wasn’t a change that was caused by any dramatic event.
Just one day, Renee suddenly said to close the distance.
– You can come near me.
Those were the words she said while walking two days ago.
After that, she made remarks such as ‘If you follow me like that, people around you will look at you strangely’ and ‘I can’t hear you well because you are far away’ but Vera never cared about other people.
The fact that Renee had allowed him to be by her side filled his heart with immense joy, and he couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
A day after standing by Renee’s side with an elated heart, Vera became busy glancing at Renee because he was still unfamiliar with her.
Her gaze lingered in the air. Like the first snow of winter, her white hair reflected the sun’s rays as she walked, creating a dazzling radiance. The blue eyes facing the air still had a light that captured the souls of people.
A beauty that could instill awe.
Her beauty was such a sight that even when her gaze was turned toward the air, it was wrapped in marvel.
However, when asked if Vera was in love with her, Vera would certainly shake his head in denial.
Vera thought that the way he felt about her appearance was definitely different from love or lust.
… In a way, it seemed to be a natural thing to do.
Throughout his life, Vera was moved by her nobility, and the emotion she evoked from him was nothing more than pure admiration.
That admiration was a feeling that had not changed for a single moment in these four years, and there was no reason for it to change to another emotion just by looking at her appearance now.
Besides, apart from those minor issues, she’s only 14 years old and was still a child.
Vera never harbored such a vile taste for young children.
Suddenly, in Vera’s head, the words she had said to him in the previous life came to mind.
When asked if she was sure that everyone who saw her felt love for her, she answered that she was just stating the truth.
Vera recalled those words and smiled.
‘You were wrong.’
He doesn’t know about other people, but at least he wasn’t romantically attracted to her.
He felt pleased when he realized that the woman who acted as if she knew everything was wrong about this.
Renee kept speaking while Vera was in the midst of a cheerful mood.
“The weather is good.”
“The breeze is also cool.”
“The next time are you going to answer ‘That’s right’ again?”
Renee heaved a deep sigh when she heard that clichéd answer.
“You don’t have to speak formally. I’m not as great as sir knight thinks.”
“The Saint is great enough for me.”
Renee felt suffocated for some reason and kept her mouth shut.
It was because of Vera’s attitude.
She was really grateful to him for treating her with kindness. However, whenever he treats her with such excessive reverence, the conversation doesn’t last long.
No matter what she says, the only reply she receives is ‘Thank you’ or ‘That’s right’. And when she jokes around, she would only receive ‘I apologize’ in response. So how can she keep the conversation going?
‘He is way too serious.’
The Vera Renee saw was a person who embodied the concept of ‘No Fallacy’.
It can be said that his ‘Seriousness’ is a good aspect to have, but it further enhances the discomfort of their awkward relationship.
Renee sighed a little at the thought that occurred to her. Suddenly, she felt the conversation from three days ago flashing through her mind.
Her cheeks burned with heat.
The heat was born out of shame.
For some reason, that day her nerves were extremely sharp, and as such, in annoyance, she spoke harshly to Vera, who had done nothing wrong.
I immediately apologized on the spot, but… Of course, I was still concerned.
He was the one who consoled her, even though she lashed out at him without any warning. And even if he doesn’t care, me being mindful about it isn’t necessarily wrong.
That’s why she allowed Vera to stand by her side.
It isn’t because he has been following her silently for more than a week and even received her tantrum, rather she felt sorry for making him follow her and was emotionally reluctant.
Renee’s cheeks flushed with a deeper shade of red at the thought that came to her mind.
Vera’s words continued.
“We have arrived at your home.”
What are you spacing out for!? Only after hearing Vera’s words did Renee realize that she had returned home after walking through her daily route.
Their footsteps halted and their farewell was brief.
Renee, with a slightly hesitant expression on her face, pursed her lips a few times before finally speaking out.
“Then please go home safely.”
“Yes, have a good night.”
Shortly after she finished speaking, Renee disappeared behind the door.
Vera looked at the closed door for a moment, then took a short breath and turned around.
After walking for a while, the moment Renee’s house disappeared from Vera’s field of vision, Norn approached him.
“Are things going well?”
How’s the progress on persuading the Saint?
Upon hearing that, Vera nodded slightly, remembering his relationship with her over the past few days.
“Yes, fortunately, she seems to be opening her heart little by little.”
The past few days flashed through his mind.
Renee still didn’t talk about the Holy Kingdom or her stigma. However, apart from that, they were gradually getting closer, and her attitude toward him was becoming mellowed.
If I keep doing this, maybe one day I can open her heart.
Maybe she’ll be able to make up her own mind.
Vera remembered that thought and added in his mind.
“She’s still young, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer until she makes up her mind.”
Norn said so while looking at Vera, who made a rare soft expression, and raised a small smile.
“By the way, she’s only fourteen years old. She’s the same age as when Vera first came to the Holy Kingdom. Do the both of you have anything in common?”
Vera frowned. Norn, who chuckled once more, then changed his complexion slightly and spoke to Vera in a hushed tone.
His voice also grew serious.
It’s because he got a new piece of information today.
“Sir Vera, it’s good to be considerate of the Saint, but… we don’t have as much time as I previously thought.”
Vera’s gaze turned to Norn. Norn looked at his face and spoke to him with a calm expression.
“A group of dragonians is nearby. It’s good if they just pass by here, but… I think they know something because they are moving with a concrete goal in their sight.”
Information that a group of dragonians entered the Remeo Province and kept running for three days and nights without rest.
I don’t know how or to what extent they know, but they certainly didn’t come here without any information.
“… All right.”
Norn’s gaze turned to Vera.
An expression that seems to be deep in thought.
However, it was difficult to accurately guess what he was thinking just by his expression alone.
“I’ll take care of it. Sir Norn, just in case, could you send a request for support to the Holy Kingdom? A small number will do. It’s not good to attract attention for no reason.”
Having said that, Vera walked towards the outskirts of the village.
“I’ll return by dawn.”
The words he left behind ended there.
In the deep darkness of the forest, a vacant lot was present in the middle.
Vera settled down on a rock in the middle of the vacant lot and contemplated.
‘The dragonians are coming here.’
The fastest way through the small province called Remeo was this forest path, so there was no way they wouldn’t come here.
There’s only one reason to wait for them.
It’s to deal with them before they delve deeper into Renee’s existence.
‘If you think rationally….’
It was right to take her to the Holy Land without fighting them here.
The fact that a group of dragonians came to this place would mean that other groups would soon follow.
It doesn’t end there either. The Followers of the Night will also come. If there is a disturbance in blocking them, it will attract the attention of the other groups as well.
In other words, the number of enemies to be blocked will increase as time goes by.
Vera’s hand gripped the hilt of the sword.
He knew it. The judgment he was making now was like a decision made by a fool.
He was waiting for her, waiting for her to open her heart. It was a judgment he made based on his emotions.
However, ultimately, it was Vera’s belief in her integrity that led to such a judgment. It was because he believed in her strength.
If it was Renee, he believed that she would be able to stand up on her own and walk steadfastly in the midst of despair, so he thought he shouldn’t dare to ignore her will.
It was an emotion that was also connected with fear.
If he ignored her will and moved according to his own, wouldn’t it give birth to resentment?
Maybe this time, her light would turn her back on him.
It was because there was fear, an emotion Vera never felt before.
Vera felt his breath spur from the depths of his very being at that overwhelming thought.
‘… I need to calm down.’
I had to calm my mind.
I have been diligent so far. It has been all for this.
Of course, he didn’t just realize the fact that he was arrogant and ignorant. He also built up his strength steadily.
It became possible for him to use the divinity systematically, which he originally imbued in his fist.
He put more effort into growing his body than in the past.
In terms of the level of strength alone, it has already been raised to a level that can be compared with my previous life.
Vera closed his eyes and peeked into his own soul, wiping out the anxiety that came to him.
On top of the dark soul, the oath was engraved in his soul.
It was an oath written by his own will.
Vera carefully looked at the oath, then opened his eyes and turned his gaze forward.
At the end of his gaze, the dragonians were heading his way with hastened strides. Vera narrowed his eyes and focused his gaze on the approaching dragonians.
They are assertive enough to be seen clearly even in the dark.
Dark scales sprouted over their half-naked bodies. The eyes that glistened in the moonlight resembled those of reptiles.
An unfilial son who covets the power of his parent dragon.
After confirming that they were approaching, Vera got up from the rock he had been sitting on before and drew his sword.
‘… I just have to stop them.’
No matter if they number in hundreds or thousands, he was enough to stop them.
He wasn’t so weak that he couldn’t do it.
He still wielded the sword of a beast. It is a sword that is more suitable to take life instead of protecting it.
However, even such a sword was enough to buy her some time so that she could stand up on her own.
In the midst of contemplating, the dragonians stopped in front of the vacant lot.
Vera looked at the five figures that showed signs of vigilance toward him and unleashed the divinity that had been tightly suppressed inside.
It was the manifestation of the idea that there was no need to give them any moment of rest.
A brief confrontation. An ensuing silence.
Soon, a solemn voice resounded.
Divinity erupted from Vera’s body.
“From now on, all magic and magical spells that are to be cast within this realm are prohibited.”
Divinity tinged with gray swirled. Above the ashen divinity, a law was engraved in gold.
“In accordance with that law, everyone in the realm is compensated for their physical abilities equal to their lost magical prowess.”
A feeling of reinforcements surged over his body. The muscles of the whole body were awakened. Vera felt the overflowing power, and stared at the dragonians in front.
“However, those who break the rule shall pay the price and their heart will stop beating as a result of that.”
Dragonians, his enemies, stepped forward. Their eyes twitched.
They must have sensed something strange in the flow of the divinity that had been conjured.
He wished they weren’t stupid. Vera felt a little pity for them and recited the law.
“All these laws are enforced under the name of Lushan.”
The Sanctuary roared. Laws were put in place, and the phenomenon materialized.
Vera, who felt the energy build up in his body in accordance with the laws, raised his sword and leaned forward.
It was not a very favorable situation for Vera. As they are dragonians who possess the blood of dragons, hailed as the masters of magic, hence, the compensation they will receive in this space will be quite high.
That wasn’t reason enough for him to lose.
The dragonians on the far right charged in. Speed that lingered on the edge of cognition.
However, he was fast enough to counterattack.
Vera swung his sword in a short, controlled movement and instantly decapitated the approaching dragonian.
A cleaving sound echoed. And in the next moment, a head was sent flying in the air. The decapitated head and its splattered blood were falling to the dirt-covered ground.
Vera’s gaze turned forward.
They looked at him in panic while Vera stared at them and fixed his sword stance.
No matter how strong they became, it was meaningless in the end.
As always, for Vera, cleaving was something he was the most confident of.
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