༺ Chaos (3) ༻
Renee’s body shuddered. It was an unconscious reaction to the sudden voice that she heard. Renee quickly wove divinity into her cane and hit the floor.
Together with the sound, the waves spread out and came back, reconciling information about the space inside Renee’s head.
‘…There’s no one?’
She heard a voice right in front of her, but the surroundings had not changed even a little bit. The voice did not belong to anyone.
Meanwhile, the voice echoed once again.
“Well, you see this alcohol? There’s only one thing you need to do. Just make enough money, so I can drink this ‘Vera’ every day.”
The voice chuckled and Renee’s face crumpled at the voice that was filled with bad intentions.
The voice was very young, but somewhat familiar.
Renee immediately knew whose voice it was, and her face became filled with shock.
It made her understand what the situation was.
She remembered the books that Vera had read to her in the library shortly after arriving in the Imperial Capital.
A Time Walker. An ancient species that shows others visions from a different time period.
The voice continued, as she had a strange confidence that this magic was involved.
“What’s with the half-hearted answer, you punk?!”
“Huh? A little louder! With more enthusiasm! Answer me like that!”
Renee’s face turned white at the voice that she heard. Her body flailed involuntarily as she scanned through her surroundings, but there was nothing to hold on to. The same stench still lingered in the air, and the sticky air stuck to her skin.
“Vera, Vera, Vera! Just live up to your name. Yeah? Let me drink this as the price of raising you up!”
There was rage in his voice. His voice was tinged with anger and bliss, and an indescribable malice.
Renee realized the moment in time that this vision was showing her.
It was the young Vera. It was showing the origin of Vera’s name.
It was showing her that Vera, the name of her love, was made from a sentence with such evil intentions.
The young Vera’s voice was filled with terror, despair, and pain. Renee felt pain as if her insides were being torn apart.
The sound of the clock’s second hand rang and accelerated. Her perception and thoughts became distorted. When the wobbling Renee regained her footing, she heard another voice.
“Boss… Tommy’s not coming.”
The little girl sounded like she was on the verge of tears. Then, the sound of a boy’s chilling voice followed.
“He must be dead.”
As expected, it was Vera’s voice. Renee felt her breath stuck in her throat.
She felt nothing in Vera’s voice as he talked about the death of someone that must have been close to him.
His voice was dry and cold.
“An idiot would die. Run away if you want to live. Didn’t I always tell you that?”
The cold, sneering voice pushed the girl into a corner.
“If you don’t want to die too, then run. If you keep sulking there, you’re the one who’s going to die tomorrow.”
Behind the voice was a ‘thump’ sound, and the ‘kyaa!’ scream of the girl followed, probably indicating that there had been an assault. Renee’s body trembled.
The world tilted again. Her perception was distorted.
She heard a moan from the man who had given Vera his name.
She could hear Vera’s voice. His voice sounded… delighted.
“You don’t have the tenacity and that’s why you’re going to die, you retard.”
Vera spoke with a little chuckle in his voice, followed by a ‘thud’ sound. Renee’s whole body stiffened.
‘…He killed him.’
She knew just by the sound. That was the sound of a person being crushed. Renee’s entire body stiffened.
The second hand moved.
“Ve-Vera… I’ve taken care of all the other divisions. So please, please, please let me liv…”
He was crushed.
The second hand kept ticking.
“Boss, I caught Pomil. This guy is communicating with another cartel…”
Another was crushed.
“…Yeah, this is refreshing.”
The second hand ticked again.
“Croden stole the drugs. Boss, puni…”
“…punish, yeah, I did.”
“Boss, boss? All this time, I’ve been fucking loyal to you…!”
“Yeah, you listened well, but you got greedy. You retard.”
The second hand ticked, a human broke, and the second hand ticked again.
Before she knew it, Renee was lying face down in the mud, dazed.
The sins Vera had once mentioned were now being revealed. The past of the Paladin, who had always been uncompromising and had always followed the light, was finally being exposed.
The second hand tilted.
“Marquis, I thought we had a deal.”
“Ve-Vera, hear me out for a second. Yeah?”
Once again, there was a shout, and someone terrified had all their bones broken.
Renee wanted to cover her ears. She did not want to hear anything anymore. She was scared. She was scared of Vera’s coldness, the emptiness in his voice, and the fact that she could do nothing but listen to it as it continued on.
Hugging her body with trembling movements, she closed her eyes tightly.
Renee felt uncomfortable, and she lifted her head.
At some point, Vera’s voice turned to that of an adult.
Certainly, Vera came to the Holy Kingdom when he was fourteen, but the voice that she was hearing now was the one she had always heard.
What’s going on? Wasn’t she seeing the past? But why was she hearing Vera’s adult voice now?
As goosebumps rose on her body at the thought, something even more bizarre happened.
The second hand turned back.
She heard a bizarre sound ringing in her ears. She could tell that it was a human voice, but she had no idea what it meant.
After that, she heard a familiar voice.
“—–, it’s Vera’s territory. You should avoid this place…”
…It was Rohan’s voice.
“What? Oh, please! —–! Am I really going to get killed by His Holiness!?”
Rohan’s voice sounded like he was pleading with someone.
Who was it? She could not distinguish by the noise.
Renee’s expression hardened.
What was happening? What was this phenomenon?
The only person Rohan would show such respect to would be His Holiness, but it wasn’t his Holiness who was speaking to him now. Renee was confused.
“Ah, seriously! I don’t know! I really don’t know what to do! I warned you!”
After the shout, Renee heard a beeping noise that took the form of laughter.
The second hand moved again.
This time, she heard a cough. At that, Renee felt all of the thoughts she had been having just before scatter away at the sound.
It was because what she heard was Vera’s cough. It was a sound that was in pain and was tinged with death.
The voice was muffled, but she immediately knew that it was Vera.
Renee’s expression crumpled, and she was shocked at the words that followed.
The muffled voice was because Vera was talking to the same person that Rohan was talking to earlier.
As she felt confused, the second hand moved again.
Vera let out a chuckle. What was so absurd? He was speaking in such a sarcastic tone.
His voice was cold.
“— —– —-.”
There was anger.
His voice was somewhat chilly.
“— – ——–. — — — —–, — —–.”
There was sarcasm. There was fear.
His voice was lukewarm.
At that, Renee’s body stiffened.
She felt something in his voice. It was a blatant form of sadness he had never shown her before. It was fear.
It was remorse.
The second hand moved faster. Her sense of perception was all over the place as she repeatedly struggled to find her footing. Her breathing stopped, then she took another breath. Her entire body’s senses sharpened.
At the end of it, Vera’s voice rang out again.
This time, a static noise interrupted the middle, making the words almost unrecognizable.
But even so, the emotion in the voice was engraved in Renee’s heart like a mark.
His voice was strained, as if he was going to stop breathing at any moment.
His voice was hotter than ever before. She felt like it was a rage that could burn down the whole world, yet it also felt like the scream of a monster burning itself.
The emotion conveyed in Vera’s voice at that moment was one of regret. It was sadness, it was despair, it was heartbreak. The words were like a scream, like a sound that could be cut off at any moment.
It was the voice of someone who spoke of loss.
Tears ran down Renee’s face. The tears that were flowing down her cheeks were clear, unlike the mud in the slums.
It was an incomprehensible situation.
Why was she hearing his adult voice, and why did Vera sound like he was dying? Who was Vera talking to, and who was Rohan talking to?
None of it made sense, but there was one emotion that did. It was the sadness that continued to grow inside Renee.
It was because Vera, who had always spoken of regret and the light, was having his life vaguely shown.
She had only seen bits and pieces, so she couldn’t say she understood him completely, but it made her even sadder.
It must have been a life that did not end this way.
Vera’s past that made her shiver in anger, whether it was the past or the future, was more devastating.
Renee was saddened about it.
She then realized that the tragedy in her life was just one of many tragedies.
That she was not the only one who experienced tragedies.
That everyone in the world has their own tragedies, and that they suffer, regret, and rise amidst those tragedies.
…That Vera rose up with that.
Her distorted perception became stable once again. The world that had stopped, started moving once more.
Rohan’s voice overlapped shorter and shorter.
She could hear the sound of muddy water falling down.
As all of this was happening, Renee heard a strange voice that seemed to be speaking directly into her mind.
As the voice ended, the world moved again.
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