Feeling tightly bound like a rope, as if captured.
It seemed as if he had performed some kind of sorcery, but currently, his body was simply obedient under the divine blessing of Eora.
If that’s the case, it means that this is also something happening under the gods’ blessing.
Adandito, who was flustered, finally regained his composure and carefully observed Siara with his eyes.
With a face full of frowns, Siara bit her tongue and awkwardly smiled after making eye contact with Adandito.
It seemed like he was hiding something, but there was no room for understanding it.
His heart raced uncontrollably, even in the face of his feeble attempt to alleviate the situation with a forced smile.
So he just laughed.
The laughter he forced upon himself every day for the devotees was all he could do and his best effort.
In the meantime, Siara, who had made up her mind, slowly opened her mouth.
Between her slightly raised eyebrows, there was a faint hint of seriousness.
Adandito, too, waited anxiously for the continuation of the conversation.
He was so tense that his Adam’s apple trembled.
However, contrary to expectations, the words that came out were meaningless and frivolous.
“I ate earlier and went straight to bed.”
“And I’m hungry now.
I want a late-night snack.”
“…A late-night snack, you say?”
“And I’ll go to bed right after eating.”
“And from tomorrow morning, I want to have fried meat.
Oh, for dessert, it’ll be cake.
Take out all the vegetables.”
“Every day, I’ll eat like that and go to bed immediately.
I won’t move.
I won’t even take a walk.
I’ll just breathe.”
“Oh, I don’t want to cut my hair either.
It’s all so bothersome.
Since I’ll be lying down, bring my late-night snack to my room, okay?”
With those words, Siara abruptly turned her body.
At that moment, Adandito became confused, wondering if the gods were bestowing upon him a new kind of trial.
At the same time, without realizing it, he found himself lecturing as if it were something very familiar.
“If you live like that, your body will deteriorate in a few years.”
“I don’t care.
That’s how I’ll live.”
“Taking care of your health is the most basic thing.
When your lifestyle crumbles, a day crumbles, and when a day crumbles, a month crumbles…”
“Yeah, I can’t hear you.”
“Well, then let’s make a deal.
There must be a reason for this sudden change of heart.”
“Yeah, I’ve been working too long.
I need to rest now.”
“Resting includes taking a walk.
Do you really need to rest to such an extreme extent?”
“That’s my decision.
What business is it of yours?”
“Well, I… I am responsible for your…”
“What about me?”
Siara opened her eyes wide, looking at Adandito, as if she wouldn’t miss a single action he took.
However, Adandito couldn’t easily find the right words to say.
He feared that if he said in front of her, “In fact, you’re my fiancee, the gods said so,” he would immediately be met with a sarcastic remark.
So Adandito stumbled and faltered with his words.
“…Because I am your guardian.
I have the responsibility to take care of you since I escorted you to the temple.”
“I’m an adult, you know? I don’t need a guardian.
Besides, you and I have no relationship whatsoever.”
No relationship at all.
It was an undeniable truth.
Yet strangely, a sense of emptiness pierced a corner of Adandito’s heart, and without realizing it, he furrowed his brow.
Without even intending to capture his expression, he barely managed to speak.
Siara, there’s no relationship between you and me.”
“Well, but… Why do you look like that?”
After a brief hesitation, Adandito spoke up.
“…Nevertheless, there’s a desire within me to protect you.”
“I just want to.”
His serious gaze did not betray the sense of falsehood, but it ignited even more sparks of suspicion in Siara’s mind.
‘Adandito must remember me.’
That’s why he’s saying those things.
If the curse of the Demon King is not a joke, then there must be a reason for him to treat her well.
Despite knowing that there are many contradictions in her existence, Siara made a great effort to believe what she wanted to believe.
Until now, she pretended to be unaffected by the curse, but deep down, she was deeply anxious about what would happen if the curse was real.
Nobody, not even her parents, remembered her existence.
It was strange that she hadn’t disappeared from the world forever, that she didn’t experience amnesia.
Nevertheless, she tried to remain strong.
There was no point in being afraid and worrying because nothing would change.
But all of that could be false.
Siara didn’t want to miss even the slightest possibility.
Even if it was a faint glimmer of hope, she had to hold onto it.
With that thought in mind, she forced a sly smile and looked at Adandito.
“Actually, you’re itching to lecture me, aren’t you?”
Adandito, who had indeed felt that way, flinched.
Siara quickly caught his reaction and smirked.
“You can do it, lecture me.”
“Is that really okay?”
“Sure, go ahead and speak your mind.
Do whatever you want.
I’ll listen without saying anything.”
Is it okay to do that? For example, the idea that a sane person would live like that.
‘But that wouldn’t be right.’
Originally, he didn’t care, but should he say such things to someone he would be together with for a long time? Moreover, if he said those words to someone fragile, he might never look at him again.
Adandito bit his lip in self-restraint.
At that moment, Siara provoked him once again.
“If it were you, you would probably say that if someone just eats and sleeps, they’re not human, but a beast.”
Adandito stiffened his body and looked at Siara.
It was a fearful gaze as if she had read his mind.
Confirming his suspicions further, Siara asked,
“How can I say such things…?”
You can do it.
“How could I say such things to Lady Siara?”
With that, Adandito tightly sealed his lips.
His expression was quite serious, and Siara’s expression also froze, looking somewhat disturbed.
‘Is the curse really true? Then why is he treating me so well? He even said he would give me a golden nugget worth its weight in gold.’
It was a situation where she wouldn’t be surprised if she was mistaken for a demon and captured to be killed.
Even if he thought she was just an ordinary human, she couldn’t understand why he would give her a golden nugget the size of a castle.
Finally giving up on her roundabout questioning, Siara asked Adandito softly.
“…Is the gold being prepared well?”
It will be prepared as soon as possible.”
“Could it be that you’re the one preparing it?”
“Of course, it’s being prepared at the temple.”
“Why are you preparing it?”
“Because you want it, Lady Siara.”
“I’m the one who wants it, so you’re preparing it? For something that costs a fortune?”
Adandito hesitated for a moment, then tilted his head.
“It’s not something that costs a fortune.”
“It’s not a big deal for me—”
“Okay, I got it.
It’s too complicated, so be quiet for a moment.”
Siara touched her forehead.
After all, to the high priest who represents the majority of the continent’s people as followers of the Eora faith, a meager amount of gold would be nothing.
‘What’s going on? Why are you treating me so well when you don’t owe me anything?’
No matter how much she thinks about it, she can’t find an answer.
She vented her frustrating inner thoughts, which felt like a narrow vision.
“Ah… I’m going crazy.”
“Why is that?”
“Forget it, it’s nothing.”
Since then, Siara mumbled something in a foreign language to herself and swiftly returned to her bedroom.
A strange sentence slipped out of her mouth.
“Was the curse real?”
As the door closed ominously, Adandito furrowed his brow.
He pondered Siara’s words deeply and stared at the room she’d entered for what seemed like an eternity.
* * *
The conversation I had with Adandito was the worst in many ways.
I had hoped for some resolution, but it only made my head more complicated.
‘So, he really can’t remember me?’
Disgusting images that appeared before him like a panorama flashed in my mind.
Devouring meat with a bowl, various things… As I recalled them, they all seemed like incriminating evidence.
A normal person would have been shocked and stared back, but Adandito’s expression was so nonchalant that it only confused me more.
‘Why does he react so casually, confusing people? The reward was supposed to be given by the Empire, so why does he claim he’ll give it?’
Among all the lingering doubts, I suddenly thought of my family.
It was a part I had been avoiding thinking about all this time.
‘Have my family forgotten about me too?’
The family I had to separate from as soon as I was selected for the expedition three years ago.
How heartbreaking it was to part with them, and now they might not remember me at all.
‘Mom must be so sad…’
No, if she doesn’t remember me, maybe she’s not sad either.
I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
Trying to calm my melancholic heart, I looked out the window, but instead of feeling better, anger suddenly welled up.
‘What kind of hardships have I endured in the past three years!’
To think that all those hardships might have been in vain, that I, as a person, might have been erased from the world.
There was a stark difference between knowing something in my head and facing it in reality.
I suddenly became fearful, frustrated, and indignant.
And I started to wonder how I would survive from now on.
I had a lot on my mind.
Fortunately, my powers remained intact, so I could make a living as a healer.
I could, but it was a bit too dangerous to continue like this.
‘A healer is such a rare commodity.
If I join a party anywhere, I might be caught by strange people and dragged into trouble.’
It was a useful ability, but as a healer with almost zero attack power, I was desirable prey for slave traders.
The healers who were caught in such a way would use excessive power, depleting their lifespan while continuing to heal, ultimately meeting a tragic death.
Until now, I had been free from such dangers due to my noble status as a court lady.
But if everyone stopped remembering me, I couldn’t afford to feel secure anymore.
‘However, I can’t stay in the temple all the time either.
Adandito, that guy definitely has some ulterior motive.’
He wasn’t someone who treated people with pure kindness.
Having witnessed various human affairs bound by the constraints of the temple since childhood, he was closer to contempt for people.
‘That guy doesn’t even remember me, yet he fulfills rude requests? There’s definitely an ulterior motive.’
It would be too late to act once something happened while being careless.
So if there were any suspicious signs, I had to act first.
As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I immediately packed my belongings.
Then suddenly, his words came to mind.
‘Feel free to take anything you like.’
He had said that while showing me the temple’s vault.
At that time, I didn’t know what his ulterior motive was, so I ignored it.
However, there was something particularly tempting among them.
It was the “Blessing of Eora,” a ring that housed a sleeping fairy within a pink crystal, maximizing the power of a healer.
I used to have one of my own, but it got damaged during my expedition.
Above all, this ring here seemed to be of a higher grade than the one I used to have.
‘Yes, let’s just take that.
He said to take it with my own hands, so he can’t blame me.’
I set my determination towards the vault.
Stealthily, the dawn of a new day was approaching.
* * *
Adandito couldn’t sleep, so eventually he came out to his home office in the early morning.
He had hoped to cool his head while looking at the dreary piles of documents.
However, even after reading numerous papers, his mind remained disarrayed.
It was all due to the mess inside his head, being the only person responsible for it.
At that moment, he remembered the image of Siara, who stood in the center of the office’s golden fountain.
The fountain had the function to project the image of the desired subject.
She was walking confidently toward the direction of the vault without any hesitation.
With her petite and slender body inherited from the fairy lineage, her golden hair cascading like wings, and her vibrant emerald eyes.
Adandito watched her as if enchanted.
Siara entered the vault and took out only one gem among the countless jewels.
‘The Blessing of Eora.’
It was a relic that enhanced the power of healers.
Upon seeing her grasp the ring, Adandito immediately stood up from his seat.
* * *
“Whoo-hoo-hoo, mission accomplished.”
I looked down at the ring hidden in my sleeve with a satisfied expression.
Compared to the other magnificent jewels, it appeared ordinary, but it was actually a top-grade ring containing the immense power of a slumbering fairy within its pink gemstone.
‘This should be sufficient for several years.’
The Blessing of Eora allowed healers to protect themselves by borrowing the power of the sleeping fairy within the ring.
During the process of healing, healers often had to endure the wounds or curses intended for the ones they were healing, but the slumbering fairy took on that responsibility instead.
That’s why I prepared twenty rings before embarking on the expedition.
However, in the end, all the rings were shattered and unusable.
Nevertheless, the curses and intensity of healing were so strong that even with just one ring of this caliber, I could use it for several years if I continued my life as a healer.
‘I won’t have to worry about making a living for a while.’
With a sense of accomplishment, I walked away from the vault.
However, somehow Adandito was guarding the front of the vault.
I quickly hid the ring behind me and greeted him,
It seems the thief has a guilty conscience, just as the saying goes.
An awkward smile formed on my lips.
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