Author: arnlian

“Saintess?”

 

I did not know that I would ever meet Aina here, so I was perplexed inside.

 

‘It’s a little uncomfortable.’

 

Since we didn’t part well, I wasn’t happy about this meeting.

 

‘By the way, you said you were living in the Imperial Palace, did you return to the temple now?’

 

Aina, who was running towards me, stopped for a moment.

 

Hesitating and moxibustion, Aina slowly approached with her lips gently parted.

 

“I’m sorry about that day!”

 

Aina bowed her head.

 

“I am deeply reflecting on my reckless remarks to the Duke. I will apologize to the Duke as well.”

 

She lifted her head and wiggled her fingers and looked into my eyes.

 

“Can’t you stop getting angry?”

“I’m sorry for being too harsh. I know you said that because you were worried, but it made me sad. I’m sorry.”

 

Aina’s face was in full bloom at my dull apology.

 

“Are you forgiving me?”

“It was reconciliation, not forgiveness.”

 

Aina didn’t commit a mortal sin, it was just a quarrel, but the word forgiveness was not appropriate.

 

“Ria-nim…!”

 

Wondering what on earth touched her, Aina hugged me tightly.

 

Sera and Kanae flinched at the excessive contact.

 

With her dagger pulled out halfway, Sera was ready to attack Aina. I secretly gave a sign with a gaze telling her not to do that, but she did not lower her vigilance.

 

Aina asked carefully whether she knew about it or not.

 

“We, well then, are we friends now?”

“Friend?”

“Ria-nim saved me, we went to a cafe together, we talked, we fought and reconciled, so we are friends now, right?”

 

Aina was very excited. Like a child making friends for the first time.

 

‘Oh right. Aina has no friends.’

 

Aina had no same-sex friends.

 

Fabian, her only friend, may have grown apart by now, as he began to respect her at a distance when she became a Saintess.

 

‘She was lonely.’

 

Nathan was by my side, but what about Aina?

 

There were only people consecrating her around Aina.

 

What if I was in Aina’s situation? I would want to throw it all away and run away.

 

“There are conditions.”

 

Her face was full of tension as she swallowed dry saliva.

 

“If you stop using honorifics, I will become your friend.”

“But.”

“Of course, I will also speak comfortably.”

 

Aina insisted on keeping a low profile because I was her guardian angel.

 

A non-horizontal relationship cannot be a healthy relationship.

 

I got used to Aina’s humble attitude, so I might look down at her without realizing it, because of that Aina will always take a hint of me and would likely keep a low profile for the rest of her life.

 

At this point, it might be better to talk about it with each other.

 

“How about it? Can you do it?”

“I can do it well. No, I can do it!”

“Great. We’re friends from today.”

“Kyaa!”

 

Aina, who screamed happily, hugged me and spun around.

 

‘I’ve felt this before, but why is she so strong?’

 

Aina, who held me until she was satisfied, changed her target and turned her head to Nathan.

 

“Nathan-nim, you look dignified today.”

 

Nathan, who regained his self-esteem at Aina’s words, stretched out his shrunken chest.

 

“This generation Saintess have very good eyesight.”

“Haha, thank you. Ria-nim, no. Ria is here to see Aaron-nim, are you, oh no. Right?”

 

Aina struggled several times because it was awkward for her to speak casually. Contrary to her, I had no hesitation.

 

“Yup.”

 

I didn’t come here with an appointment, but Aaron said I could come when I wanted to, so I wouldn’t be blocked at the door, right?

 

I asked, following Aina, who took the lead.

 

“Are you fully back to the temple now?”

“Yeah. I’ll be here forever…. Oh my! Did you know I was in the Imperial Palace?”

“Sir Dillian told me.”

“Ah…. The duke….”

 

Aina, who had been muttering tremblingly unconsciously, quickly captured her emotions.

 

Aina, who had managed to suppress her negative emotions, asked cautiously.

 

“Wasn’t the duke’s curse run wild or something?”

“After he met me, he ran into Runaways twice.”

 

It was not a secret, and I had no reason to hide it, so I told the truth.

 

“But how…?”

“How can I be alive? That’s because I put the curse to sleep.”

 

Aina’s chin opened as if it was about to fall.

 

“Did you press it with your power?”

“Yup. According to sir Dillian and the people around him, no one but me has succeeded. Can’t you?”

“That can’t be possible! If possible, I wouldn’t have to suffer this hardship….”

“Hardship? What kind of hardship?”

 

Confused, Aina waved her hand.

 

“Ah, nothing. Anyway, I can’t. I’ll never be able to do it. I can’t, even if I wake up after I die.”

“How do you know if you don’t even try it?”

“No. I saw the future. I never will.”

 

Aina shook her head in denial several times.

 

How can the terrible curse that even the mighty Saintess give up on it, only could be calmed down in my hands?

 

“Aina, you ask me why I’m here earlier, right?”

 

I clenched my fist.

 

“I came to kill the Darkness. Only by removing it can the curse of sir Dillian be lifted.”

 

Surprisingly, Aina was surprised that she didn’t know I could move on my own, and then nodded her head.

 

“Ria’s power will be enough.”

“Is that so?”

“Of course. You’re the loved one.”

 

Having said that, Aina’s gaze turned to my head.

 

“I’ve never seen a butterfly follow only one person like this.”

 

As expected, Aina also can see the butterflies.

 

As she said, the butterflies did not leave my surroundings.

 

“Aaron-nim will be in the greenhouse. He always spends time there with the butterflies during this time.”

“Where should I go for the greenhouse?”

“I happen to have something to do there too, so let’s go together.”

 

Aina, who put her hand on the doorknob of the greenhouse, looked behind me and opened her mouth.

 

“Oh, you two can’t come in here.”

“What do you mean…!”

 

I stopped Sera and Kanae who were furious.

 

“Kanae, Sera. Wait for me here.”

“… Yes.”

 

Nathan, who flew to the side of the two calm people, waved his hand.

 

“Ria, I’m going to greet them for a while too.”

“To whom?”

“All the faces I haven’t seen in a long time have gathered here.”

 

Nathan looked back constantly as if he was in a hurry.

 

“I might be late because I was caught by something unexpected. But, I’ll be back, so you too just talk comfortably.”

“Yeah, I got it.”

 

Nathan, who was preparing to take off from Sera’s shoulder, asked Kanae and Sera, who were waiting at the door.

 

“You too, don’t just stand still here, how about going with me?”

“That would be nice. Go ahead. I heard there was so much to see in the Great Temple. Take a look around.”

 

When I joined and urged them, the two reluctantly nodded their heads.

 

“… Miss, I’ll come to pick you up when the time is right.”

“Ria-nim, be careful….”

 

The two continued to look back as they followed Nathan.

 

It was a look of hope as if wanting me to hold on to them and not go, but I ignored it and waved my hand.

 

As Kanae and Sera moved along with Nathan, Aina, who saw that only the two of us were left, opened the door without hesitation.

 

“Ria-nim, I was waiting for you.”

 

As soon as the door opened, I squinted at the bright face that greeted me.

 

The sunlight that passed through the greenhouse glass poured down over his shining face, making my eyes shiver.

 

“… You knew I was coming.”

“Yes, I noticed it the moment Ria-nim entered the temple.”

 

Aaron raised his hand to his chest, and the butterfly sat and flapped its wings.

 

“This kid told me.”

 

When I heard that some butterflies were going inside, it seemed like they went to report to Aaron.

 

“Aina is also here.”

 

Aina quietly greets with her eyes. Aaron, who smiled at that greeting, paved the way.

 

“The story is going to be long, so come here.”

 

Aaron, carrying butterflies on his shoulders, led us to an outdoor table.

 

I forcibly put up with my eyes spinning in the splendidly decorated greenhouse and stared straight ahead.

 

‘I’m here to tell him something important. Stay alert.’

 

Just as I was watching Aaron brewing tea with skillful hands, I heard a voice above my head.

 

“I thought you were coming to be my talking companion, but when I look into Ria-nim’s eyes, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

 

I slowly raised my head as I touched the teacup and picked a word. When our eyes met, a soft smile appeared on Aaron’s lips.

 

“You have decided.”

“That’s right. I didn’t come here to chat. The Darkness. I will cooperate in getting rid of him.”

 

Aaron’s face bloomed like a flower at my determined expression.

 

It must have seemed that he was worried that I would reject him, but at first glance, I could see relief passing by.

 

“I will be with you. It is my mission to protect the Empire from evil.”

 

When Aina joined in, my heart was reassured.

 

There is nothing to be afraid of if two people who compete for 1st and 2nd place by divine power are together.

 

Having a common purpose of removing the Darkness, we exchanged information with each other.

 

“I found this in the temple library not long after I parted with Ria-nim.”

 

What he brought before me was a very old document.

 

“It is a bibliography left by the first Saintess.”

 

The first Saintess, and bibliography. Just hearing this word made me feel like there was some great information.

 

“First of all, as I said before, the Darkness is an evil curse. And to know the beginning of that curse, we must go back a thousand years.”

 

Aaron, who opened the book, pointed to a section. Aina sneakily bites into the texts written in the ancient language.

 

“It is said that a small lump appeared in the northern land a thousand years ago. As for the region, that’s where Wilhelm is now.”

 

Unlike Aina, who listened to Aaron because she could not read the letter, I fixed my gaze on the book.

 

[This fist-sized mass was a creature I had never seen in my life. The soft, black rubber ball-like ‘that’ was very small and insignificant, and was often harassed by wild beasts.]

 

‘Why can I read this…? I’ve never seen this letter before….’

 

I gulped down at the exact content Aaron was reading.

 

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