༺ Fear (2) ༻
The next day, in Renee’s bedroom.
While hiding behind the door, Aisha watched Renee nurse Vera with a worried look on her face.
Renee’s face was filled with exhaustion. There were dark circles under her eyes from her lack of sleep, and her head was constantly bobbing up and down.
Worried that she was about to collapse, Aisha knocked on the door, unable to stand by and watch any longer.
The white divinity that Renee exuded disappeared. Her head turned toward Aisha.
Aisha cautiously approached Renee and uttered her words in a concerned tone.
“Are you okay, Renee? You look very tired.”
She was asking if she had enough rest.
At those words, Renee replied with a small smile.
“I’m fine. I’m still perfectly fine, aren’t I?
She answered with a quick flick of her arm.
It was an action taken to alleviate Aisha’s worry and because he couldn’t comfortably fall asleep while Vera was lying unconscious like this.
Renee spoke while stammering, she then placed her hand on top of Aisha’s head. She stroked her head as gently as she spoke to her.
“I’m fine, why don’t you go see Mr. Dovan? He seems to be having a hard time.”
Dovan knew that the words he told Vera might have something to do with his current condition, and he felt guilty about it.
At times like these, having Aisha around would be comforting.
Hearing what Renee said, Aisha answered with a defeated tone.
“Come on then, go. I’m fine.”
Aisha looked at Renee, who was weakly smiling, then turned around and went out of the room.
When the door closed with a noise, the smile disappeared from Renee’s face.
Suddenly, her hand was already on the bed, searching for Vera’s with a fumbling movement.
With a snap, their fingers touched. Then their hands intertwined and a white divinity covered them.
Renee lowered her head and put her forehead on their overlapping hands.
What was entangled in her long breath was a sense of relief and deep sadness.
Suddenly, Renee’s fingertips began to tremble.
It was because she remembered what had happened.
There was no relief that Vera had returned.
Imagine her surprise when Vera returned after being carried by Norn late in the day in such a condition.
Her heart sank at his cold and lifeless state, as if he would stop breathing at any moment.
After that, Renee hadn’t been able to leave Vera’s side, unable to calm down.
She was afraid that if she was absent for just a moment, his condition would worsen and he would die.
If she wasn’t holding Vera’s hand, her anxiety would soar, and she couldn’t think straight. Only by feeling the warmth and pulse from his hand could she suppress her rising anxiety.
She called his name.
She called his name, hoping that he would wake up and say that he was sorry, but he remained silent.
He needed to wake up and reassure her while holding her hand and walking together.
No answer came back.
While Renee felt the warmth from Vera’s cold skin, she started muttering while grinding her teeth.
“…You said you would stay by my side.”
That you will always be there for me, to always protect me.
“You said you would be with me.”
You said you will help me to overcome despair until I find the answer.
Why aren’t you waking up?
Renee’s eyes turned red, and tears began to gather.
Renee’s tears fell on Vera’s cold hands and scattered.
Two more days passed, and Vera was still asleep.
Renee was still sitting by his bedside, treating him.
As the white divinity that had been running began to show signs of wearing out, Renee felt a sudden surge of anxiety at the sight of it running out.
It was due to the thought that if she had used up all of her divinity, Vera might die.
In reality, his physical recovery was already finished. It was only a matter of regaining consciousness, but Renee, who had been pushing herself without sleeping for the past few days, did not realize that.
Despite the warnings of others who were concerned for her, Rene stubbornly persisted, and now she was trembling half-conscious with anxiety.
The sense of unease inside Renee began to grow stronger.
She began to imagine herself left alone in a dark world.
Renee’s lips quivered at that thought, and she fumbled to place her hand on Vera’s chest.
With that thought, she drew all the divinity inside of her, calling forth her power while longing for Vera to wake up.
It was only then that Renee finally recalled the fact that had been lingering in her mind.
The power of the Gods could never be used for her own benefit. It was not something that could be used to satisfy her own greedy desires.
In reality, it was because there was nothing left to heal on Vera’s body, but Renee, whose judgment was clouded, despaired, thinking that the gods had abandoned her.
Tears began to well up in Renee’s eyes.
Renee got up from her seat and buried her head in Vera’s chest, sobbing.
Vera must not disappear. She had to wake him up.
Renee squeezed out her divinity again.
She created a feeble mist that could hardly even be called light and shoved it into Vera.
She could hear a faint heartbeat as she buried her head in his chest.
Renee squeezed out everything she had, hoping that the heartbeat wouldn’t stop. Eventually, Renee collapsed from exhaustion.
A stuffy weight.
It was the first thing Vera felt when he came to his senses.
Vera slowly opened his eyes and realized the identity of the weight he felt on his chest.
It was Renee.
He could see her leaning her body with a pale face as if she had collapsed on top of his body.
While looking at Renee, Vera trembled at the mark left on Renee’s cheek.
It was there. Upon closer inspection, her eyes were all red.
Slowly, his outstretched hand brushed Renee’s cheek.
Vera thought while acting like that.
‘…How long has it been?’
He clearly remembered being in the camp of the Third Kingdoms’ army just before he collapsed.
However, the current place was Renee’s bedroom.
The only thing he could see right now was Renee, who had clearly been crying.
Vera’s eyebrows lowered while he continued thinking. He then slowly lifted Renee’s head and raised her up.
Careful as to not wake her up, Vera got up from the bed and laid Renee right back down on the bed, covering her with a blanket. He then checked his condition.
It wasn’t merely ‘fine.’ In fact, his body was in the best condition it had been in for a while.
Vera’s gaze turned to Rene.
Looking at the circumstances, it was probably Renee who cured him.
Vera’s face darkened at the thought that he had caused her so much trouble, and immediately left the room.
In order to learn the details of everything that had happened since then, he set out to find Norn.
It wasn’t long before he found Norn at the entrance of the women’s main house.
As Norn saw Vera coming through the front door, he shouted with a bright face.
“Shh, the Saint is sleeping.”
Norn flinched and nodded at Vera’s softly spoken words as he placed his index finger in front of his mouth.
Vera looked at the muffled Norn and then asked in a low voice.
He was asking about what had happened after he had collapsed.
At that, Norn nodded, and then explained.
From pulling him out of the dirt and bringing him here, to Renee’s treatment, and the situation of the Federation, in which the Third Kingdom suddenly went silent.
After hearing all of this, Vera let out a short sigh and lowered his head.
It had been three days since he collapsed.
Realizing that the power’s recoil was far worse than he thought, Vera let out a sad sigh and nodded.
“You must have been troubled because of me.”
“No. It’s a relief that you have awakened.”
As Norn continued speaking, Vera saw dark circles under Norn’s eyes. He bowed his head slightly.
“I’m sorry that I have made you worried.”
“It’s nothing, the Saint was far more worried than me.”
He said with a laugh.
As his heart was finally able to calm down, Norn continued with a slightly grumbling tone.
“The Saint suffered greatly. She must have been very tired from not sleeping for days and taking care of you. When I told her to take a break, she didn’t seem to listen…”
“…Is that so?”
Vera’s gaze turned back to the women’s quarters he had just left. His heart felt heavy. Even though he tried to protect her, it seemed like he caused her to worry due to his actions.
It was a feeling that could only be described as guilt.
Vera’s complexion clouded as his thought came to mind.
Renee’s cry burst out from inside the main house.
It was a loud, tearing cry.
Vera, trembling, left Norn with those words and went back into the women’s main house.
“I will go see her.”
There was a sense of impatience as he walked.
Renee, who was lying on the bed, realized that the warmth she had been holding on to had disappeared, so she sat up and groped her surroundings.
Her fingertips touched the rough texture of the blanket.
Suddenly, Renee felt her heart sink with a ‘thump’.
Vera was gone.
He had disappeared in the short time that she had lost consciousness.
Stammered words, she swept the bed and walls with her hands, her head darting around in different directions.
There was nothing. Vera was nowhere to be found.
In her panic, Renee’s hand missed the bed, and she fell to the ground with a loud thud.
There was a loud noise.
Even when her body was in shock, Renee continued to stumble all over the floor.
“Vera? Where are you?”
There was a sob in her voice. Even as she crawled, she couldn’t find Vera.
She felt a nagging feeling of unease.
Renee felt her guts turn inside out.
She felt Vera disappear from her world.
Her mind went blank.
Fear invaded her entire body.
Without realizing it, Renee screamed.
She was left alone in a world without Vera. She was unable to take a step in a world of darkness.
Renee’s eyes turned red.
This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening.
She couldn’t live without Vera. She couldn’t move.
In the midst of such anxiety, her whole body shook with fear.
She heard the door slam open.
Vera’s voice rang out.
Renee’s head snapped up.
Surprised, she took a deep breath and raised her body up. She then staggered toward the direction where Vera’s voice was heard.
And then, ’thump.’
Renee felt her body collide with something.
Then something landed on her shoulder, a large hand.
Renee knew at once.
It was Vera’s hand.
“Yes, Saint. I’m here.”
It was Vera’s voice.
Renee felt her body go limp as the emotion that had been engulfing her body disappeared as soon as the sensation was transmitted.
Her body was about to collapse.
Vera supported it.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt anywhere?”
Hearing the worry-filled voice, Renee felt the tears that had been gathering at the corners of her eyes flow down.
Her arms wrapped around Vera’s waist.
She buried her head in Vera’s chest.
As she felt the relief of being held, Vera spoke to her, and then she burst into tears.
In the midst of it all, other emotions began to surface.
The human heart was so fickle, and as soon as Renee regained her composure at the thought of Vera being alive, the struggles she had endured until now passed fleetingly.
She resented the fact that he had made her so miserable.
Renee clenched her teeth and spoke with a choked voice.
“Why… why did you do that?”
The words were filled with resentment.
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