Two startled individuals, attempting to let go of each other’s hands, found their hands stuck together as if glued.
The light, drawing lines like thin threads, slowly traced patterns across the backs of their hands.
Three lines converged to form a triangle, and then another inverted triangle.
As the two triangles merged to create a star and intricate symbols filled the spaces between them, connecting to form a circle at their vertices, the held hands finally trembled and fell apart.
The two bewildered people stared down at the backs of their own hands.
A golden star drawn by a golden line adorned each of their right hands.
“…It’s the Hexastar.”
“A complete form frequently used in magic arrays.
Seeing it in person, it seems to resonate with magic.
Although it’s a magic array I’ve never seen before.”
Only then did Linus, who had been cleverly watching between the two, sharply scan their hands and surroundings with her keen eyes.
Her transparent brown irises brought Cordelia’s hand, possessed by Noah’s body, closer and examined it closely.
“It’s faint, but I can sense some magic.”
“The threads of magic are connected.
It’s within both of your fingers.”
Cordelia looked at her fingertips with a puzzled expression.
“I can’t see anything.”
“Of course not.
It’s something visible only to a wizard’s eye.
It’s better to conceal it since it’s noticeable.
Now, hold your hands out here.”
Noah and Cordelia both extended their hands simultaneously and from Linus’ fingertips, grasping their outstretched hands, a reddish light began to seep.
The form of the thread that had faintly appeared and was wrapped in light concealed its shape once again.
Unknowingly, Cordelia murmured.
“It seems that this is like the red thread of fate somehow.”
Even though the thread has disappeared, the mark of the connection between them remained on their hands.
Linus clicked her tongue lightly, as she mused to herself.
“I’m afraid I can’t get rid of this, either.
You’ll both have to wear gloves until it’s gone.”
Linus, who had been quietly muttering words that seemed to be related to magical theories, finally introduced herself to Noah with a surprised expression on his face.
“Right, I’m a bit late with the introduction.
I’m Linus Sandria.”
“Oh, so… are you a priest?”
Every priest, the moment they became affiliated with a temple, would discard their previous identity and family name, using the name of the temple as their surname.
As soon as Noah heard the name of the major temple she belonged to, he responded with caution, sizing up Linus, and Linus replied succinctly.
I won’t tell anyone, or she wouldn’t have come to me.”
Linus, who casually dispelled his unease, crossed her arms and let out a sigh.
“You two don’t know each other well, do you?”
While Cordelia spoke confidently, Noah hesitated for a moment.
Before Cordelia and Linus could find his silence odd, he preempted with a topic.
“Uh, speaking of magic…”
“I recently obtained a certain pendant.
It’s said to grant wishes…”
As Noah explained the rough details, Linus stared at him as if flabbergasted.
“Why on earth did you just accept something like that without a second thought? It looks suspicious at a glance!”
I didn’t know it was something like that.”
Besides Noah, who was apologizing sincerely, Cordelia pinched her chin and shook her head.
“A crystal pendant, you say? There wasn’t anything like that in the room.”
“Are you sure?”
As soon as I woke up, I looked around the room.
If there was something so noticeable, I would remember.”
“Maybe it’s just a kind of conduit…”
Linus’ expression as she listened to the conversation wasn’t very positive.
Cordelia spoke up from Noah’s side, saying that it doesn’t seem to be a curse.
“Perhaps, unexpectedly, a traditional approach might work?”
“A traditional approach?”
“Just look at fairy tales – there’s often the idea that a curse can be broken with a kiss, right?”
Against the backdrop of their questioning voices, Cordelia grabbed Noah’s arm and pulled him.
Looking at his surprised face, his elegant features, blue eyes, and distinct facial features, she thought to herself:
It’s my face, but it’s quite pretty.
“Should we give it a try?”
Even though it was a bit strange to be doing such a thing with a person who had her face, oh well.
As Cordelia playfully brought her face closer, Noah was startled.
“Wait, just a moment!”
He quickly raised his hand to block the approaching face.
It seemed that there were no reservations when it came to defending against his face.
Cordelia pouted with her lips puckered on his palm.
“Huh? Why? It’s not like your lips are going to wear out.”
Noah shook his head vehemently, facing Cordelia’s suggestion to give it a try.
He wiped his face which seemed to be getting redder and quietly responded.
“Well, I’ve never done something like that before…”
He didn’t necessarily dislike the idea of kissing the person in front of him, but he had his sense of modesty.
No matter what, shouldn’t he avoid such contact without genuine feelings involved?
In the midst of this, Noah met Cordelia’s flustered expression on his face.
It was then that he realized his words could have been slightly misunderstood.
“Uh, what I meant was…”
Not that Cordelia disliked it, but that she didn’t want to force anything in such a situation.
It would indeed be a bit forced then.”
Before Noah could finish his sentence, Cordelia added casually.
Unlike Noah, who was unsure due to worries about the other person’s feelings, Cordelia was internally reflecting on how easily she had spoken.
But still, isn’t using this as a first kiss a bit much?
Reining in her runaway thoughts, Cordelia shook herself out of her conscience-driven hesitation.
“But come on, you’re twenty-four.
You’re telling me you haven’t kissed anyone with this face until now?!”
Noah subtly rolled his eyes, avoiding Cordelia’s gaze that seemed to question the feasibility of his statement.
“It just never really happened…”
“Wow, it’s like a completely different world with Cordelia.”
With a voice that seemed to express amusement, Cordelia turned her head like a rusty can, making creaking sounds.
Then, she locked eyes with Linus.
Upon Linus’ face, as she gazed at her, were imprinted the letters ‘rascal’ in such a prominent manner that cold sweat began to trickle down her spine.
Well, to be fair, she did have quite a bit of fun, didn’t she?
In front of the innocent junior who hadn’t even experienced a kiss, Cordelia felt a guilt that she had never felt before, dancing a guilt-ridden dance that she had never even heard of.
Oh, get a grip, self! Cordelia shouted inwardly, but her conscience had already started tap-dancing.
The situation was becoming increasingly absurd.
“…Is something really weird after all?”
It could be that way.”
Cordelia’s hat, perched on her head as she cheerfully replied, was slightly askew.
“Cordelia, your hat….”
As she took off the hat, the bangs that had been pinned down fell over her eyes once again.
Cordelia casually swept the bangs back with one hand, then pressed the hat down again.
It was as if it was a part of her body, so natural.
“Come to think of it, why do you grow your bangs like this? I was surprised at first.
It even seems uncomfortable to see, don’t you ever think of cutting it?”
“…It’s because I’m a bit self-conscious about showing my face.”
“Why! What a waste.”
“Wait a moment.”
Linus raised her index finger to her lips and gestured outside the alley.
Both pairs of eyes met a crowd of people in white clothes hurrying toward them from outside the alley, or more precisely, from this direction.
“It was definitely around this area!”
They were individuals dressed in the attire of temple officials.
As soon as Linus saw them, she openly clicked her tongue.
“Oh, darn it.
Should I have strengthened the barrier a bit more?”
As an institution that exclusively governed magic, the temples were also responsible for magical security in various regions.
So, when an unexpectedly strong magical response appeared, it was natural for them to respond.
The problem was that the individuals causing this were themselves.
“Now what do we do?”
Cutting through Cordelia’s whispering, Linus spoke sharply.
“We need to run.
Come on, let’s run the other way!”
Following Linus as she dashed forward, the two of them moved swiftly.
As they emerged from the alley, they found themselves in an area that might not be as bustling as the main street from before, but it still had a considerable number of people.
Trying not to lose sight of Linus’s chin, which rose above the waves of the crowd like a salmon, Cordelia moved on.
And from a distance, she spotted temple officials running toward them from a diagonal direction on the left.
Oh no, what should they do?
Just as she found herself involuntarily clutching her hand which was inadvertently revealing her sixth sense, someone firmly grabbed hold of Cordelia’s hand.
“Cordelia, Your Grace!”
At the moment she was about to pull her hand away from that grip, a soft whispering voice made Cordelia pause.
Along the touch that held her, Cordelia was gently pulled into the narrow alleyway.
Through a crack in the alley barely wide enough for a single person to pass, the temple officials passed by.
In the chill of the encounter, Cordelia clung tightly to the person, her eyes rolling in their sockets.
Gazing down at the crimson hood that was snugly fitted around her, Cordelia suddenly thought:
Wow, I’m smaller than I thought.
No, is this person just tall?
As she entertained this thought, she lifted her head slightly and found herself facing the person who was carrying her.
Cordelia stopped thinking as she tightly held onto the edge of his clothing as if Noah was silently telling her to wait a little longer.
The rhythmic beating of a heart and the sound of breaths being drawn and exhaled were audible from such a close distance.
Cordelia wasn’t overly self-conscious to the point of blushing, but it did feel strange to be in this situation where their eyes met.
Is this person perhaps thinking the same thing about her?
Amid these thoughts, Noah extended his hand toward Cordelia’s face.
Cordelia, who had flinched involuntarily, felt something that had been wrapped around her head move with his swift touch.
Ah, her hat was crooked.
Cordelia stretched out her hand and gently brushed aside the golden lock of hair that had fallen over Noah’s face.
It felt as if there was an illusion of a rustling sound in the air.
Despite his elegant appearance, this man’s fingertips were quite rough.
Was that also due to his occupation?
“I sense magical activity from over there!”
The distant clamor grew fainter along with a faint shout.
His breath grazed her skin, causing a pleasant sensation.
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