‘How naive.’


Those words hurt more than mockery.
In addition to his already weakened body, his mind had been deteriorating, questioning whether it was okay to continue like this. 

Hearing Adandito’s blunt remark, Hierian bit his lip and asked cautiously, 

“Naive? Ha, really? How big is the age difference between you and me?”

But even murmuring like that felt childish.
Hierian pressed his lips tightly, lost in thought.
Unlike usual, his deep gray eyes carried a solemn glimmer.

“Why did your attitude suddenly change?”

When they left the Astita temple in search of Siara, Adandito seemed just as angry as Hierian.
But now, his attitude had suddenly shifted, and he spoke with a disdainful tone.

Hierian didn’t trust those pretending to be virtuous priests.
Still, he had considered the possibility that Adandito might be different, but it seemed he was mistaken.
He lowered his long eyelashes as if he were feeling gloomy, then clenched his fist.
His ashen eyes were filled with determination.

‘Now that you’ve changed your mind, it’s clear you’ve had suspicious thoughts.’

It was late at night.
When Adandito’s strength waned, Hierian’s grew stronger.

‘I should follow him.’

He hid in the shadows and began to pursue Adandito.

* * *

Late at night, even after parting ways with Hierian, Adandito couldn’t escape deep contemplation.
His aimless footsteps finally led him to the garden, where he came to a stop.

His large hand plucked a sunflower.

Siara, Hierian, Dianel, Siara, Hierian, Dianel… Each time he pondered a name, a petal was plucked.
But his thoughts didn’t cease, and soon all the sunflower petals vanished.

He gazed at the scattered yellow leaves on the ground, lost in thought.

‘What makes these leaves different from me?’


No matter how hard he tried to stand out in Siara’s eyes, Siara never regarded Adandito as anything more than a sunflower in a field.
A flower that may be by her side and useful, but one that wouldn’t matter even if it withered.
It saddened him.
He wanted to be something more to her, but the path seemed elusive.

Sigh…

Around that time, a strong wind blew, revealing several flowers hidden among the tall sunflowers.

Upon noticing the previously concealed flowers, Adandito realized that more flowers hadn’t caught his eye.

He soon realized that his thoughts were mistaken.

There were countless sunflowers in the field.
How many sunflowers had caught Siara’s attention? And how few sunflowers had been plucked by her hand? 

Even if Siara had indeed spoken to him about his piano playing, it hadn’t yet become a reality.
He couldn’t wander until he obtained Siara’s permission.

Adandito’s determined gaze turned towards Siara’s darkened bedroom.
At that moment, repressed desires surged within him.

‘What would you do if there were only one flower in the garden?’

If he covered his eyes, bound his hands and feet, and whispered that only one flower had a sweet fragrance, wouldn’t she also live thinking the same way?

There were many secret and undisclosed spaces in the temple.
Some were hidden sanctuaries that only the High Priest could enter.
Hierian had already confined Siara and received forgiveness.
There was no law stating that he couldn’t be involved.

Desires continued to grow, nurturing fantasies.
Whether it was a figment of his imagination or a real scene, an unknown spectacle unfolded before Adandito’s eyes.

It was the secret garden of the temple.
One of the sacred sanctuaries that only the High Priest could access.
Adandito was taken aback and looked around, only to discover a structure that was different from usual.

A golden arch completely covered the garden.
It was tightly woven like a cage.
The wind caused the landscape bell hanging at the top of the arch to emit a faint chime.
It was a sweet melody, like a bird singing.

However, despite the bright and beautiful scene, the person living in the circle was not happy.
She appeared to be sulking all day, burying her swollen face in the blanket.
As soon as she sensed his presence, she quickly turned her head away.

Adandito unknowingly called out her name.
It felt familiar.

“Piasse.”


He stepped into the boundary and knelt in front of the sleeping Piasse.

“Why aren’t you eating?”

Piasse didn’t respond.
Her body revealed beneath her unique hair of pink and purple, seemed frail and thin.

Adandito sat her up against the headboard and placed a tray in front of her.
Instead of handing her the spoon, he scooped up the food himself and brought it to her mouth.

“Please eat.”

“…”

“Should I teach you how to chew like last time?”

Her eyes, which had been dim and melancholic, suddenly regained some life and turned towards Adandito.
Just that look alone was enough to make Adandito’s heart skip a beat.
But Piasse, in her cool tone, simply retorted.

“Go away.”

Adandito clenched and unclenched his fists several times before speaking.

“…It seems you still have much to learn.”

A mysterious smile played on Adandito’s lips as he said this.

“Oh!”

Adandito woke up.
Or rather, he wasn’t sure if he had been asleep in the first place.
His mind was dizzy.
He had been momentarily disoriented, then startled as he found a small body nestled in his embrace.

“Ung…”

Siara, who had been awakened abruptly, furrowed her brows and mumbled incomprehensible words, then promptly fell back into slumber.
Adandito watched as she pulled up the fallen blanket and turned her body swiftly.

“Why am I here…”


He was certain he had been looking at sunflowers in the garden.
His head had been filled with various thoughts, and he had suddenly confronted repressed desires.
Then, he had been engulfed in a sudden fantasy before opening his eyes to the present.

Boldly, without the permission of the room’s owner, he had intruded into her bedroom.
Along with the guilt of breaking the taboo, his heart raced with anticipation.

The consequences of not seeking permission were strangely sweet.
He held Siara in his arms and could watch her sleeping form.
It was different from lurking around the terrace every day.

The places touched by her skin burned, and the scent lingered at the tip of his nose.

And yet, Siara slept peacefully, oblivious to it all.
The sound of her breath, her hair visible from behind, the exposed nape of her neck.
Only he could witness these sights and feel the atmosphere.
It was all so lovely that he couldn’t bear it.

Thump, thump, thump.
With the pounding of his heart, desire surged forward like a flood.

‘I want her.’

‘I desire her.’

‘I want to do as my heart pleases.’

Adandito barely contained the boiling desire within his clenched fists.
His bones seemed to ache as his tightly clenched fists turned pale.
With a distant, splitting sound, Adandito opened his eyes.

Thoughts became words, and words turned into action.
That’s why those who serve the gods must have pure thoughts from the start.
But with his thoughts distorted, he had seen strange illusions and ended up here, in Siara’s bedroom, like a delusional patient.
It was all sinful.

As if in a dream, Adandito knelt before Siara and bowed his head.

The situation felt familiar, though puzzling.

“…I’m sorry.”

“…”

“I apologize, Lady Siara.”

On a moonlit night, even in the dim light, Siara’s golden hair shimmered as if blinding.
As Adandito sought forgiveness, he couldn’t control his racing heart, which thudded loudly.
It was beating so forcefully that he grew anxious, fearing that Siara might wake up.


In the end, Adandito fled from Siara’s bedroom.
The black shadow that had followed him closely all along hesitated and moved away.

Siara’s empty bedroom.

The shadow at the edge of the bed is distorted and contorted.

It was Hierian.
He had been chasing after Adandito since his time in the garden.

Flower viewing at night, what a unique taste.
As he pondered this thought, Adandito lost his balance and staggered before closing his eyes.
It was unclear whether he fell asleep or not.
His posture was odd as he repeatedly mumbled someone’s name.

‘…Piasse.’

“Piasse?” 

If it was Piasse, she was the woman who appeared in the dream Hierian had previously.
Is it possible that Adandito also had the same dream as Hierian about that woman?

Lost in thought, Hierian remained still, while Adandito slowly moved his steps.
Hierian carefully concealed his presence and followed Adandito from behind.
Soon after, he witnessed him opening Siara’s bedroom and pulling an image stone.

‘I knew it, you sneaky bastard.’

If Siara saw Adandito’s behavior, it was clear that Siara would keep her distance from him.

For Hierian, it was an excellent opportunity.
He barely contained his suppressed laughter when suddenly Adandito abruptly embraced Siara.

“…!”

Hierian barely swallowed the scream that was about to burst out.
If Adandito hadn’t regained his composure and pulled away from Siara right after embracing her, if he hadn’t immediately apologized to Siara, Hierian would have been the one to separate him from Siara.

However, Adandito apologized and left.
His departure seemed quite poignant as if it would have been enough to console Siara, who had a weak heart. 

So Hierian shattered the image stone on the spot and instead stared at Adandito, who fled to his room with a strange look in his eyes.

‘Surely, he said ‘Piasse,’ didn’t he?’

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