༺ First Name (2) ༻
Thump. It felt like her heart was sinking.
Renee stopped walking, feeling no strength in her feet.
Her mind cooled down as if she were splashed by icy water.
She opened her mouth and uttered in a feeble tone.
Her shoulders drooped.
She needed to make a bright expression and pretend that she was fine. She needed to say that she was just joking.
However, at this moment, she couldn’t do so at all.
Vera panicked upon seeing Renee, who abruptly stopped walking and had a sullen look on her face.
When Vera realized Renee was in a bad mood because of him, he inwardly cursed himself.
His mouth quickly began to weave words that could comfort Renee.
“… What I wanted to say was… I’m not worthy of such honor. I thought it would be shameful to dare to do something like that…”
Vera gave an uncharacteristically long excuse. However, soon the realization that this wasn’t a clear answer dawned on him, and in the end, he bit his lips.
“… I apologize.”
“No, I requested that too thoughtlessly.”
“That’s not true. There’s nothing Saint can’t request from me.”
Renee had a few thoughts when she heard those words.
If that’s the case, then why are you refusing to listen to my request?
If I’m requesting something from you, then you should just listen to it.
A prickly expression flickered across Renee’s face.
In the midst of this, Vera, who always respected her, appeared hateful in her eyes. However, she was in such a state because her self-pride was hurt.
Renee’s anger subsided.
“… Then you should just call me by my name.”
She uttered spitefully.
Vera flinched upon seeing Renee’s expression.
The look on Renee’s face, who turned to him and raised her head, was an expression he had never seen before.
Her brows furrowed, and she pursed her lips.
She looked towards the sky because she couldn’t assess his height and as a result raised her head too high. But Vera instinctively knew that she was staring at him.
“Call me by my name.”
Those words resounded once more.
Vera was at a loss for what to do upon seeing her behaving like this, and eventually apologized.
“… I apologize.”
“Are you doing something that you need to apologize for?”
“… I apologize.”
“You don’t have to do anything that you feel sorry about.”
Tremble. Vera shuddered.
Vera couldn’t utter a reply because Renee, who had never shown this kind of appearance, was suddenly admonishing him.
When Vera was in a pickle, not knowing what to say or how to answer, Renee opened her mouth again.
“Fine. If Sir Knight feels so burdened, I’ll say it first. After I do it, Sir Knight will have to do it as well. You get it?”
“Are you going to apologize again this time?”
Vera’s eyes trembled in trepidation.
Vera, who was looking at Renee with quivering eyes, felt her grip around his hand tighten. He then bowed his head and said.
“… I will obey your command.”
“Good. Then I will do it. Ve….”
This time, Renee was the one who became speechless.
Renee was about to call Vera by his name, but the moment she realized what she was doing, her face turned red and her mouth remained shut.
Just now, I was about to call Vera by his name.
Badump. Badump. Her heart began pounding.
She belatedly became aware of what she was trying to do.
She made a lot of unreasonable demands because she was momentarily furious.
She was pushing Vera, who couldn’t even think of going against her words.
This realization pricked Renee’s conscience.
The realization that she was harassing Vera because of her own greed pricked her conscience. At the same time, her heart fluttered at the thought that she was about to call Vera by name.
Renee closed her eyes tightly.
She wanted to turn back time.
Renee wanted to have the power to turn back time rather than this useless power. Not much.
Just five minutes would suffice. She prayed to the Heavens to go back in time by five minutes.
I’m willing to give away everything. Please, change my powers.
… Of course, that didn’t change anything. There is no point crying over spilled milk.
A sense of frustration rose within her.
Then Renee, whose body gradually trembled more and more, came up with an idea that was akin to self-justification.
‘If it’s like that…!’
She needed to do it now. She would never get a chance like this.
Indeed, it was better than nothing.
It was her own fault that she ended up in such a situation. However, if she didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, that stickler of a man would never call her by her name.
In addition, it would only make her restless.
Just two phonemes. All she had to do was utter two phonemes ‘Ve’’Ra’.
How difficult is that!
However, it turned out to be quite arduous.
Her face was flushed in heat. Her heart was pounding so wildly that her chest ached.
A name made up of barely two phonemes and four letters was too embarrassing for her to say out loud. So she couldn’t continue.
The grip around Vera’s hand grew stronger.
She began to worry about how her appearance looked right now.
Renee, who hesitated for a long time, unable to say her words, immediately took a deep breath and controlled her emotions.
“Saint, if you feel troubled, you don’t have to….”
Why are you disturbing me when I’m trying to concentrate?
Renee gave Vera a stern look.
Huff, huff. Renee, who had been taking deep breaths, felt her heart calmed down a little. She then stretched out her hand holding the cane and reached out to Vera.
“Give me your hand.”
Tap. Behind, the sound of the cane falling to the floor resounded. Then Renee felt Vera clasping her hand.
Renee now held both of Vera’s hands.
She couldn’t take it anymore.
She held both of his hands, and now she had to speak.
It was just a coercive argument without logic or anything, but it wasn’t important to Renee now.
Then, she pursed her lips.
Vera never liked his name.
No, it would be right to say that he couldn’t bring himself to like it.
The name ‘Vera’ was born due to the fact that the leader of the beggars took the brand name of a cheap rum and gave it to him. It was to distinguish himself from others born without a name in the dirtiest alley of the slum.
For Vera, his name was akin to a stigma.
It was a stigma that made him realize he was from that bloody slum, and that he was a sinner who had committed numerous crimes, using that as an excuse.
Thus, Vera, who thought he would never love his name for the rest of his life, was flustered by the sudden sense of fulfillment he felt at this moment.
Renee, who called his name, sounded unfamiliar for some odd reason, even though it was a name he had heard countless times throughout his life.
The phoneme ‘Ve’ stuck out briefly, followed by the pronunciation of ‘Ra’.
When the two words were flawlessly joined together and spoken in a clear voice, it seemed to have an entirely different meaning altogether.
How should he describe this feeling?
His name, which Renee uttered through her lips, seemed to possess a transparent hue akin to an autumn sky.
For some reason, Vera felt like this was his salvation, as if the karma attached to that name was being washed away. He couldn’t react at all as he kept staring at Renee in a daze.
At this unexpected moment, a halo suddenly shone in an unexpected form.
The reason he felt like that was probably because Vera knew how noble Renee was. It might be because Vera believed that each of Renee’s words have a natural magnanimity and integrity engraved in them.
So, even when Renee uttered such a filthy name, it sounded pure.
Vera’s expression distorted when the sudden light illuminated his body, and the magnanimity that washed him away without a single warning. He then took a deep breath and controlled his expression.
Although Renee wouldn’t be able to see his expression, Vera still decided to do so.
“Now, Sir Knight… No, Vera as well, too.”
Renee, whose face was dyed in a shade of red, said so as she filled Vera’s field of vision.
“Ah, you have to remove the word ‘Saint’. Because I did it too… Yes, so just the name.”
Renee lowered her head.
Vera responded with a brief ‘Yes’ upon hearing Renee’s words and pursed his lips as he felt that the grip around his hands became tighter.
He couldn’t see anything but Renee’s face at this moment in time.
She was such an immature girl that it made him wonder how she became the Saint he met in his last life.
There were awkward moments when it was difficult to match this girl with the Saint he met because she seemed like a child.
However, at moments like this, when regret and guilt resurfaced in his mind, she instilled faith within him. The faith that he, too, can find hope.
Unknowingly, at one point in time, he began thinking that if he could follow this girl, he could finally live his ‘life.’ She was that noble of a person. If he kept following her, he had the faith that he could become at least half as noble as her.
‘To do that…’
To do so, he must protect Renee.
So that her light could stand and shine on the world, while filth and evil could never harm her.
Feeling the renewed determination and the soft warmth, Vera rolled his tongue and uttered the name he swore to protect.
Late at night, on the bed of a certain accommodation.
Renee was curled up inside a blanket. She couldn’t help but smile.
It was because she kept remembering about the events that transpired during the day.
That voice kept tickling her ears.
Renee kicked the blanket with her feet and twisted her body.
Her heart was beating excitedly as heat surged over her entire body.
The corners of her lips kept going up in elation as she recalled what she heard.
Renee, who was trembling while basking in this rising feeling, soon curled up again and fell into deep thought.
Acknowledging her feelings made her feel at ease.
She was no longer embarrassed when she admitted that her feelings for Vera were ‘love’.
Frustration still lingered. The palpitations had gotten worse. The imagination that suddenly flashed through her mind had now come to the point where it would be more appropriate to call it a delusion.
But she didn’t hate them.
It all fuelled her sense of elation.
Another delusion flashed through Renee’s while she was in the middle of contemplation.
At this rate, we may end up doing more than just holding hands.
Crossing our arms, resting my head on his shoulder, and more.
Flutter. The sheets fluttered.
Her head began heating up again at that thought.
Renee closed her eyes tightly and tried to calm down.
Madam Theresa said so.
The laws dictate one must always be calm.
It’s widely known that haste makes waste.
Renee took a deep breath and slowly began to wake up from her delusions.
She barely calmed her heart.
She could take her time and approach him little by little.
There was a lot of time. Because Vera said he would always stay by her side. And one day, they might be able to communicate.
Renee’s hand began squeezing the bedsheets.
Renee, while immersed in such thoughts, felt fortunate for being chosen as Saint for the first time in her life.
I’m glad that I was able to meet Vera and become someone who can be by his side. She thought as such.
She still didn’t see the Gods in a positive light. She still believed that this power was useless.
She still didn’t know why she was chosen as the Saint.
But even in the midst of that.
Renee closed her eyes, thinking that it was a relief that the person she met was Vera.
If I take my time and approach him slowly, we can get closer than now. She went to sleep with that thought in mind.
… Have I been too relaxed for the past three years?
With her relationship with Vera not really progressing at all, Renee celebrated her 17th and 18th birthdays.
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