“Y-You scared me.”
“I’m sorry if I surprised you.”
He was a man wearing a hoodie similar to me.
The man, who looked like a grandpa, was sitting next to me and staring at me.
“…Do you know me?”
“No, I’ve never seen you before.”
“But why are you looking at me like that?”
“Well, maybe I was amazed?”
Only then did I look around.
Come to think of it, I couldn’t see anyone else here except myself.
It must have been amazing to see me pray in a place where there were no people.
So I said roughly.
“….Yeah, it must be amazing for you.”
That grandpa couldn’t take his gaze off me.
Do I look really weird? Or maybe he was sent by the duke?
However, if the Duke had sent him, he wouldn’t say he didn’t know me.
But he just looked at me.
His gaze was warm and evoked a strange sensation, but on the contrary, it burdened me.
How burdensome it was for a stranger to look at me so intently.
I was about to stand up to avoid him, but then he greeted me.
“Ah! I haven’t introduced myself.”
Why do we even need to do that? It was our first time seeing each other and we didn’t know anything about each other.
“My name is Caleb.
The name means ‘dog’.
Such an interesting name, isn’t it?”
“Ah, yes…I’m Leona.”
“Ah! Your name is Leona! You have a very good name.”
That grandpa’s eyes were shining brightly.
That stare expressed as if he wanted something from me.
What the hell was he?
Was he a scammer? Or one of those beggars?
The way he was friendly to me was suspicious.
And even though he was an elder, I was gradually convinced that he was either a beggar or a scammer.
I leaned down and took a gold coin from my pocket, then gave it to him.
I hope he was a beggar.
I hope his gaze stayed at the gold coins.
“Buy something with this.
Then, I’ll be on my way.”
“Are you leaving already?”
“I- I’ve got something to take care of!”
Leona’s prayed for will surely come true.
Our God, Amadeus, will surely make it happen.”
Fortunately, the old man who received the gold coins seemed to be letting me go without any hassle.
Right after that, I hastily ran out of the temple.
‘I need to be careful of people.’
As expected, the world was full of thieves.
I couldn’t believe I was ripped off my gold coins in an instant.
Leona’s idea that the temple did not belong to people like us was accurate.
My steps became busier as my determination to not go to the temple again intensified.
After Leona left, Caleb looked down at the gold coins she had given him for a long time.
“I didn’t mean to get paid.”
Caleb smiled at the gold coins on his hand as if it was funny.
Caleb wasn’t actually interested in it even though everyone could see how shining the gold was.
Instead, he slowly got up from his seat while holding it tight.
“…It’ll be soon.”
At that time, several men came to approach him.
“I’m honored to see you, Caleb Benedict Samuel.”
“What is there to be honored? I always exist in this temple anyway.”
“The Emperor is coming soon.
You need to go to that place.
If you’re late…”
“A more precious person has come.”
“There’s not much time left to get ready.”
Caleb looked at the door, where she left, with a tender smile for a long time.
“What do you mean? What do you mean by get ready…?”
“You’ll find out later.
It’s God’s will.
We’ll see each other again.
She’s our….precious person.”
The gold coins in his hand slowly lost their light.
Only then did Caleb turn around.
When I came out, the warm sunshine hit me hard.
Perhaps because I just heard something close to a word of a blessing from that Caleb grandpa, the heavy burden in my heart disappeared.
Somehow, I think Rere will be okay.
“Shall we leave now?”
I felt like I could go anywhere now.
I was loaded with confidence.
After a few days of inspection, I was able to know that the downtown was not far from here.
There was even a system in the city that allowed you to rent carriages or boats to neighboring countries, so it was not difficult.
I turned around after I made up my mind.
However, I walked energetically without knowing that there was a person in front of me, and I almost fell down.
“Sorry, I’m sorry.”
I almost fell when I tried to move without checking if there was anyone in front of me.
Once again, the man didn’t answer.
I couldn’t see the man’s face because of my hoodie.
Eventually, I looked up and met the man’s eyes.
And for a moment, my body stiffened.
It was Luca who was blocking my way.
At first, I wasn’t sure, but when he looked at me with sorrowful eyes, I could tell he was Luca.
“I really don’t understand you.”
“…Luca? Why are you here?”
Now it was as clear as a day that he was Luca.
“’Because I’m worried about you.”
“…Worried about what? Just in case I don’t leave the child? Don’t worry, I’m leaving now.
I was about to depart…”
At that time, Luca leaned over and made eye contact with me.
He was looking at me affectionately with his golden eyes that didn’t match his black hair.
His gaze made me uneasy.
Why are you so sweet? Why are you looking at me like that?
It’s a foul to be this sweet with a face that looked just like the Duke.
What am I supposed to do?
I tried to avoid him because his gaze made me uncomfortable.
But no matter how much I turned my head away, Luca still continuously looked at me for a long time.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I finally saw you after three days, and your face is the same as it was three days ago.”
That made me extremely irritated.
“What are you talking about? I’ve never seen you.
Three days ago, especially! If you’re here because of the Duke’s order, you’d better leave now before I tell you to get lost.”
But he didn’t even move when I said something harsh.
Instead, he just made an expression as if he understood my heart.
“No, I saw it.
You looked like you wanted to cry then, and you also looked like you wanted to cry today.
You pretended to be strong.”
He, who was saying something incomprehensible, put his big hand over my head.
I tried to shake off his hand roughly, but as soon as our hands touched, my hidden feelings burst out.
“What are you doing…!”
“What am I doing? I’m covering your eyes so you can cry.
You won’t be seen by anyone.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.
Why would I cry?”
“I’m worried about you.
My heart feels heavy.
I’m angry because of what the duke has done to you.
It’s just that you look complicated right now.”
“Let go of me.
Who the hell are you? Why are you comforting me? The Duke must take me as a joke…”
I shook off his hand fiercely, but his hand was way stronger.
And Luca’s voice was stronger than that hand.
“…You’re just like Rere.
You’re pretending to be strong on the outside so you don’t show your weaknesses.”
“What do you know about me?”
“I don’t know much.
But at least I know you are not okay right now.”
I brushed off his hand when he said something ridiculous.
However, tears suddenly flowed down.
I bit my lips and tried to hold it in, but my tears kept flowing.
I didn’t even understand why I’m crying in front of this man and why this man was comforting me.
Nevertheless, my tears did not stop flowing as if I hoped someone would ask me if I was okay.
“…But why? You’re on his side, right? Just why…did he order you to keep an eye on me? No, why would you show up here?”
“No, he doesn’t know where I am or what I’m doing.”
“He doesn’t know, huh? Who believes that crap?”
“I told you so, I’m not lying.”
I was unable to shoot back since I realized that everything Luca said so far was true.
“So don’t worry.
I won’t report your whereabouts or your activities.”
Perhaps his words comforted me.
Neither Leona nor I had ever expressed our hearts to anyone.
My icy heart began to melt with comfort that I had never received.
On the other hand, I was also nervous.
What if that guy found me?
It was terrible to think of it, but funny enough, I couldn’t leave this place.
It was so heavy as if I had left part of my childhood in the duke’s mansion.
I felt like I abandoned myself there.
It overlapped with my childhood.
Maybe that was why I was extremely concerned about Rere.
The ridiculous prayer to god earlier might have been a prayer to console myself.
No, that was correct.
When I said I didn’t want to hurt Rere, it was my method to strengthen myself.
In the end, I calmed myself down after shedding these ridiculous tears.
My hysterical emotion seemed to have been swept away along with the tears, and at one point, my heart was at ease.
Only then did Luca know I was okay, so he put his hand down.
After a long time, I looked at him.
“What the hell are you?”
“Well, I’m not sure.
But it’s the same question as the last one.”
Smiling, he leaned down and matched our gaze.
“You’re not crying anymore.”
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