༺ Apostle of Love (2) ༻
“She is coming.”
On the day the Apostle of Love returned to the Holy Kingdom, Renee, who was waiting for her at the main gate of the Grand Hall, felt her body stiffen at Vera’s words.
Two Apostles she had never met before. Naturally, she was drawn to the idea of meeting one of them.
Just like Renee, Vera was feeling unusual as well, but for different reasons.
Vera, who was hoping that this Apostle would be normal, opened his mouth and narrowed his eyes to assess the person walking from afar.
So he could tell Renee how the Apostle of Love looks like.
“… She looks like an old woman.”
The first feature of hers he noticed was her old age, and the passage of time her body went through that was recognizable from a glance.
The next thing he saw was.
“Her appearance seems quite bland. Her hair is white and tied up, while her waist is slightly bent. Her robes don’t have any wrinkles, so she probably prefers to stay neat and tidy.”
He deduced as such by examining her outward features as much as possible, Renee nodded her head and engraved his words in her mind.
“Do I look alright now?”
Do I look all right now? To her question, Vera glanced at Renee and answered nonchalantly.
“You look beautiful.”
Startled, Renee’s body trembled.
“I was merely stating the truth.”
Renee’s mouth shut tight. Renee could feel a burning sensation in her head due to the words she had just heard.
He must have said it without much thought, but for some reason, it sounded a bit different.
Her mind was confused. She thought that by going to the Holy Kingdom, the pounding in her chest would stop, but it seemed to be getting worse.
It would have been better if it was like this only when they were together. Even when they weren’t together, like when she was with Hela in the accommodation, when she was washing her hands, or when she was getting ready for bed, Vera’s image would constantly cross her mind.
His voice, the warmth of his hand, the conversations she had with him. Her mind kept drawing in those thoughts.
Thoughts that she has no control over.
Even when she had to concentrate on her training—whether it was in divine art, law, or other disciplines—thoughts of Vera kept flooding her mind, making it difficult for her to focus.
‘Why am I like this?’
As Renee kept thinking about her symptoms.
Vargo uttered that word.
Renee raised her head, which had been lowered, and looked to the front. The Apostle of Love, she must have arrived. Realizing that, her body stiffened due to the rising tension.
Just as Renee began biting her lips, she heard someone speak.
“Yes, Your Holiness seems to be getting old.”
“You’re one to say that.”
“Hehe, I’m not as old as Your Holiness. Take your words back.”
A friendly banter.
Vera, who was holding Renee’s hand and watching him, widened his eyes at the conversation he was hearing.
Isn’t it surprising that the eccentric old man is standing still even after someone teased him?
A scene no one could have imagined.
What on earth did the Apostle of Love do to earn Vargo’s respect?
At the question came to him, Vera’s expression distorted.
The Apostle of Love, who was in the midst of a conversation with Vargo, looked behind him and examined Vera’s expression.
Her eyes slightly narrowed.
Immediately after that, Vargo turned around and said, ‘Ah.’ He then turned slightly to the side and spoke to Renee.
“Saint, please greet her. This is Theresa, the Apostle of Love.”
In response to Vargo’s words, Renee bowed her head and greeted them.
Renee was just as surprised as Vera. It was truly astonishing that Vargo, a person who never respected anyone other than himself, was treating someone other than him with respect.
As Renee, who had looked embarrassed due to the thought that had just crossed her mind, bowed her head, Theresa suddenly approached Renee, grabbed her hand, and slowly raised Renee’s bent torso. She then spoke.
“Nice to meet you, Saint. You don’t have to be so polite.”
Theresa spoke with a gentle tone while looking at Renee’s face. She then continued speaking.
“You really are a sweet girl. If you grow up a little bit, you can win the hearts of all the men in the world.”
She said so and laughed.
Renee let out an awkward laugh as well upon hearing her compliment, then turned her gaze towards Vera.
This time, as well, she reacted unconsciously.
Theresa blinked her eyes, seeing Renee’s strange reaction. She then looked in the direction of where Renee’s gaze was directed to and discovered Vera. Seeing this, she said, “Ah.”
“You’re the Apostle of Oath. I heard a lot about you. You must have been a troublemaker, weren’t you?”
“… That’s ridiculous.”
Vera responded as such, his brows furrowing upon hearing that. He then bowed.
“I’m Vera. Nice to meet you.”
“Yes, nice to meet you too.”
Vera heard the sound of laughter ringing in his ears and wondered why she would say that on their first meeting.
Theresa looked at Vera, who was bowing his head, then turned her gaze towards Renee again. She squinted her eyes and smiled.
Theresa looked at Vera again and uttered some words in a mischievous tone.
“You look quite handsome for an Apostle.”
“Well, what do you think?”
Theresa said so and looked at Renee’s expression.
Upon feeling her gaze, Renee flinched and began paying more attention to Vera.
Theresa knew at a glance what that reaction meant.
The smile on Theresa’s lips widened. She would only smile when she was in a good mood.
This vacation looked like it was going to be fun.
Renee, who greeted Theresa and entered the conference room of the Grand Hall, quietly settled down next to Vera.
Theresa wasn’t present, since she needed to discuss something with Vargo.
In that absolute silence, Renee recalled what Theresa said.
– You look quite handsome.
Words that described Vera’s appearance. Those words lingered in her mind.
Come to think of it, Renee didn’t know what Vera looked like until now.
It was natural because she couldn’t see him, but considering Vera’s detailed explanation of everyone else’s appearance, he was the only person in the Holy Kingdom whose appearance Renee didn’t know.
Realizing that, Renee groaned unconsciously. ‘How should I ask this?’ Those types of thoughts occupied her mind.
… In fact, it was alright to ask that question, but Renee, who turned into a fool when dealing with matters concerning Vera, couldn’t think of it and began racking her brains to come up with excuses.
No, even if she had the option of asking that question, she still would have chosen to come up with excuses.
What if Vera thought of her as weird when she asked that question? What if he thought there was something wrong with her? Such worries arose.
Renee thought that she couldn’t think rationally around Vera.
There were many reasons for that, but the main reason was that Renee had never had a crush on someone of the opposite gender, so she was unaware that that feeling sprouted from romantic attraction.
The more she dwelled on that topic, the more she lowered her head while tightly closing her eyes.
It was around the time when Renee’s condition became so strange that it was visually noticeable.
“Lady Saint? What’s wrong?”
Vera asked as such.
Renee, who got startled by his words, raised her head in a flash and spat out a loud answer.
Similarly, the appearance was reminiscent of a roly-poly toy as her head moved to and from.
Renee flinched and answered as such while fiddling with her fingers. She then immediately thought, ‘How about I close my eyes and just ask!’. She pursed her lips and resolved as such.
“Yes, what is it?”
“What does Sir Knight look like?”
Stiffen. When Vera froze, Renee’s expression hardened even more.
After hearing those words, Vera realized he had never revealed his appearance to Renee until now. He realized he made a mistake.
How uncomfortable it must have been for her to spend every day with a faceless person.
Vera regretted his ridiculous mistake and apologized to Renee.
“I apologize. I couldn’t tell you because I was too careless.”
Renee felt a rush of embarrassment.
No, why is he reacting like that?
When Renee looked puzzled, Vera grabbed her hand and placed it on his cheek.
Caress. Renee, who got flustered by his touch, soon froze.
She kept stuttering. It was only after some time that Renee came to her senses.
She didn’t return to her senses completely. The feeling of his skin transmitted through her palm was still there.
Vera tilted his head slightly as he watched Renee slowly calming her breathing, then continued.
“You can touch my face however you like. If you have any questions, I will answer them.”
Vera said so because he recalled Renee’s action of stroking his face in his past life.
However, this also had the opposite effect.
Touch my face however you like.
At those words, Renee felt as if a fireball was swirling within her.
A word that was too stimulating for a girl in her prime.
Renee clenched her teeth and creaked like a broken machine, then finally came to her senses and nodded her head.
However I like. However I like. However I like.
Those words flooded her mind as she gulped.
Vera lowered his hand, which was on top of her palm. Then Renee felt his skin as she gently stroked Vera’s cheek.
It was a little rough, but at the same time it was warm and soft.
“That, uh… What color is your skin color, Vera?”
“I’m paler than most others. The reason is probably due to my childhood, where I lived in a neighborhood where there was little sunlight.”
Vera’s voice resonated with the movements of Renee’s palm.
She felt a spark down her spine.
White skin. Renee’s mind envisioned a person with soft cheeks and fair skin.
As she continued speaking, she moved her palm up a little, this time touching his eyelashes with the tip of her thumb.
Vera closed his eyes. His eyelashes tickled her thumbs as she stroked his eyelids.
Renee felt her body tremble again at that sensation, she then gulped and asked again.
“Hey, what color are your eyes?”
“I think it’s a color that resembles ashes. I’m sorry that I can’t give you a definitive answer because I haven’t looked into it in detail. I’ll check in detail when I return later today.”
“Oh, no! You don’t have to do that!”
Ashen color, it’s gray.
On the sloppy painting, slightly sharp ashen eyes were drawn.
It made such a sharp impression because Vera, whom Renee knew, seemed like a delinquent teenager.
It wasn’t intentional, but the resultant painting that was drawn in Renee’s mind was quite close to what Vera actually looked.
The thumb, which climbed over the upper eyelid, fumbled and brushed the eyebrows this time. Straight eyebrows. And the bangs hanging over those eyebrows.
“What color is your hair?”
Black hair and straight eyebrows were added to the picture in her head.
‘I thought he had blonde hair.’
This is a little surprising.
With that thought in mind, Renee swept Vera’s face, then brushed the bridge of his nose that was much higher and straighter than her own, and while tracing along the jawline to shape the picture in her head, she suddenly felt her hand freeze.
The last part I haven’t checked so far.
She froze at the thought of touching it.
Badump. Badump. Her heart began racing. Her throat, which had been parched, turned normal again.
Little by little, little by little, in slow motions, her thumb ran down his cheek.
The top of her palm was burning.
Renee didn’t know if it was Vera’s fever, or her own fever.
So, the thumb that was moving suddenly went into a hole.
She touched the lips.
Startle. Surprised, Renee lifted her hand that had been placed on Vera’s face and responded with a shout.
“Th-This should be enough!”
“Was it helpful?”
“Y-Yes. Yes! I think I know now! Thank you!”
Renee said so rapidly, then pursed her lips, clenched her fists, and then sat upright as her body seemed rather stiff in that posture.
Vera tilted his head upon seeing that scene. He then approached Renee and corrected her posture slightly.
Renee chose to remain silent, fearing that Vera would hear her thumping heartbeat.
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