Moreover, even the bitterness of my past anger was completely forgotten, thanks to the medicine I took.
In the end, I reluctantly accepted the candy that Hierian offered me, frowning deeply.
The candy was sweet and delicious.
As the sweet flavor filled my mouth, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of happiness.
Hierian seemed to notice that my mood was quickly improving and brought over a stew that he had pushed to the side.
You should eat.”
Without thinking, I accepted the spoon he offered me, but my mind was lost in thought.
‘Was he always this gentle?’
However, there was no way to confirm it.
Hierian simply sat there, swinging his feet and looking at me.
In the end, I obediently ate the stew.
I was so hungry that the stew quickly disappeared from my bowl.
At that moment, Hierian cleared the dishes and whispered to me,
Now that you’ve finished eating, you should rest.”
…Is this how you treat a child?
Strangely enough, as soon as I heard his words, drowsiness washed over me.
In that fleeting moment of drowsiness, he asked me,
“Who are you?”
At that moment, my mouth moved on its own.
“…My name is Siara Le Astita.”
“Is that your real name?”
“Then how did you manage to enter the restricted area where only authorized personnel are allowed?”
“…Izaya told me to open the door, so I did, and it opened.”
“It opened just because you opened it? But you’re not a magician.”
I’m a noble with Astita’s power.”
I don’t know why my mouth was speaking on its own, but that’s what I wanted to say.
I wonder if the medicine I took earlier had this effect as well.
Despite my bewildered state of mind, my eyes calmly fixed on Hierian.
After a brief silence, Hierian spoke up.
“So, you’re just an ordinary noble? You have nothing else to say to me?”
Nothing else to say.
I wish I could tell him to leave me alone, but once again, my mouth moved on its own.
“…I hate you.”
At that moment, tears flowed down my cheeks beyond my control.
Hierian, with a pale complexion, looked at me and finally spoke.
“Alright, I understand.
You can truly rest now.”
As his words ended, I fell into a deep sleep, completely surrendering to exhaustion.
* * *
‘It was a dream.’
It felt like Hierian had done something wrong to me before I fell asleep, but as soon as I woke up, my mind was dizzy and I couldn’t remember it clearly.
As I recalled the events before falling asleep in a hazy state of mind, I heard a cautious whisper next to me.
“Are you okay?”
It was Hierian.
The moment I saw him, the dark memories gradually became clearer.
Hierian was the person I was closest to among the main characters who participated in the expedition.
I even helped him heal after he collapsed this time.
But not only did he imprison me in the mage tower, but he also fed me strange things and tested me with magic.
And now he was asking if I was okay?
I couldn’t control my sudden surge of anger and spoke to Hierian in a cold tone.
Get out of my sight.
I don’t want to see you anymore.”
My words seemed to shock Hierian, and he hesitated to respond.
Then, in a muffled voice, he whispered.
“I was worried about you…”
“Worried? Is that supposed to make up for what you did to me?”
“Of course, you should be sorry.”
“Yes, I’m very sorry…”
Of course, he should be very sorry! I wanted to retort with that, but I bit my tongue.
It was because Hierian, who had bowed his head, was shedding large tears.
‘I should be crying, not you.’
It was absurd, but maybe it was because of his youthful appearance.
It felt like scolding a child, so I couldn’t ask him any further.
Hierian raised his hand and wiped his eyes, but his sleeve was soon soaked with tears.
Then, after a while, he burst into tears.
“Hmph, hmph, hmph, hmph!”
His face turned bright red as he cried.
Until then, I had been observing how to handle this situation, but I couldn’t help but speak.
“What are you crying about?”
It made me feel like I had done something bad.
It was you who did something terrible to me.
But Hierian didn’t stop crying.
On the contrary, his crying only grew louder.
In the midst of it all, he continued to sob and offer his excuses.
It’s not that I meant to cry, uh, suddenly… I’m just too sad, hmp.”
Hierian, crying over such a trivial thing? The guy who used to laugh heartily even when covered in blood?
Was it because his body was weakening that his mental age seemed to regress as well? Or was it advanced psychological warfare?
Putting aside all these thoughts, it was disheartening to see a six-year-old child crying in front of me.
I felt like a terrible adult who made a child cry.
In the end, I comforted him.
“Don’t cry, it’s noisy.”
“Hmp, uh, okay!”
As he said that, his crying grew louder.
His face turned bright red, and he seemed to be gasping for breath.
‘How can I calm him down?’
Letting out a deep sigh, Hierian suddenly slapped his cheek and shouted.
“Sh, shut up! Don’t cry, you can’t cry!”
“Hey! What are you doing?”
“I keep crying, I deserve a slap!”
“What nonsense is this? Are you hitting yourself because of that?”
“But the tears won’t stop, uh… hmp, hmpp!”
This is driving me crazy.
What if Izaya takes revenge on me later for making Hierian cry? I didn’t know how far this situation would escalate.
Anyway, this was Mage Tower, and the magicians were Hierian’s ardent fans.
There was no choice but for me to embrace Hierian and try to calm him down.
“Shh, be good.
“Hmpp, I’m, I’m a bad person.”
Yes, that’s right.
He reflected on himself very quickly.
I swallowed the inner thoughts that were floating up like bubbles and continued to comfort him by patting his back.
If you made a mistake, you can correct it.”
“Hmm, yeah, I’ll correct it.”
“That’s right, that’s why stop crying.”
Hierian buried his face in my chest and nodded.
I continued to comfort him by patting his back.
‘Awww, my boy.’
Still, after all the hateful things I’d heard, I didn’t hate him.
The Hierian I knew wasn’t a bad person.
‘Sometimes, the things you memorize can be helpful.’
…I shouldn’t let my heart weaken like this, but as Hierian grew more vulnerable, my heart kept softening.
I let out a deep sigh and continued to comfort him.
As some time passed, Hierian’s breathing gradually became steady.
It seemed like he was about to fall asleep.
‘For now, I should put him to sleep.’
I decided to postpone the questions and concerns for later.
I carefully laid Hierian down on the bed.
Just when I thought he had fallen asleep, he opened his eyes and held onto the hem of my clothes, his sleepy gaze questioning me.
“…Don’t go anywhere, okay?”
“Yeah, so just sleep soundly.”
Before I could finish my sentence, Hierian closed his eyes.
Tears that had not yet been wiped away lingered at the corners of his eyes.
* * *
Adandito had been wearing a blank expression for several days.
The chief disciple, too, maintained a similar expression as he sat beside him.
Exhausted from repeating the same words hundreds of times, the chief disciple spoke with a weary voice.
“…High Priest, today is the day of the public ceremony.”
“After becoming the High Priest, everyone is waiting for you for the first ceremony.”
The chief disciple mustered all his strength and shouted.
Finally breaking his prolonged silence, Adandito spoke in a melancholic voice.
“…I am not qualified.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Rather than being a High Priest, I don’t even have the qualifications to wear the sacred garments.”
Adandito slumped his head.
With his towering height of two meters, he looked awkward hunching over.
However, his weakened spirit conveyed the message, “I can’t do anything.”
Reluctantly, the chief disciple spoke again.
“Please gather your strength.”
“I am not qualified—”
“If you are not qualified as the High Priest, can you even visit the Mausoleum again?”
“And didn’t they promise to send her back quickly?”
“…That may be true, but Hierian’s expression was concerning.”
“I thought you said he was famous for not being able to read minds.”
“This time he did.
The chief disciple, unable to comprehend what was being said, inwardly sighed.
However, Adandito still vividly remembered.
Hierian, who was pale and desperate, tried to take away Siara from him by any means necessary.
It was evident that Hierian, like himself, had hidden intentions.
But Adandito had no choice but to step back.
If he caused a disturbance in the mage tower, even if he was the High Priest, he knew he wouldn’t be able to return alive.
He wasn’t afraid of death, but he feared that his dear fiancee might be harmed.
A retreat for the sake of a greater advance.
Adandito pretended willingly to go along with Hierian’s words.
However, he didn’t know that a retreat could be so arduous.
“I won’t let things go as you please, Hierian.”
Siara was the woman entrusted to him.
In case of emergencies, he had thought that he would sacrifice even the Mausoleum and go to war.
* * *
Izaya stood in front of the bedroom, taking care of various things.
Although she was indifferent to everything else, her expression wasn’t particularly pleasant this time.
It was because she was worried about the woman inside the bedroom.
‘What could have happened to that woman?’
Hierian possessed exceptional skill in torture-related magic.
In particular, his ability to extract confessions was unmatched.
In the process, many lost their sanity.
And Hierian had said that he would personally interrogate Siara.
Izaya couldn’t feel good about the possibility that Siara might have been harmed.
The reason was unclear, but she believed it was due to Hierian’s actions.
It would be a sin to doubt his actions.
Izaya composed herself and lifted the barrier of the bedroom.
The 108-layer barrier, used for imprisoning magical prisoners, was released with a loud noise.
Finally, before entering, Izaya took a deep breath.
It was to remain unaffected by whatever scene unfolded inside.
Afterward, she returned to her usual indifferent expression and entered the bedroom.
Familiar sights gradually came into view.
Walls padded with cushions to prevent self-harm, hidden surveillance stones in the ceiling, and a massive bed that concealed torture devices when lifted.
Fortunately, it seemed the torture devices hadn’t been used, as the bed was intact.
Izaya walked calmly, still wearing her indifferent expression.
She prepared herself for the dreadful sights that would be unfolded on the bed.
But the moment she lifted the canopy, her expressionless face instantly changed.
Unbelievably, Hierian was sleeping beside Siara.
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