Chapter 1 - Part 1
Fortunately, there was silence around the hut.
Lelia gently knocked on the door.
After a while, the door opened a crack as if on alert.
Yesterday, that woman was a priestess.
Perhaps she had already seen the two of them through the window, as she opened the door without showing any sign of surprise. Seeing her attitude, Lelia hurriedly went inside as if she had been asked to come in.
As soon as she saw inside the hut, she was overcome with a strange sense of déjà vu. Her mother’s hut that she found as a child in the Imperial Castle. This place had a very similar atmosphere to it.
“Sit down,” the priestess said, pointing to the old wooden chair.
Lelia and Oscar sat side by side, and after a while the priestess appeared with a food cart.
“Thank you for saving me yesterday.”
The priestess bowed her head as she thanked them. It seemed that it was because of yesterday that she opened the door gently.
Lelia hesitated and carefully opened her mouth.
“… I have a few questions for you. Would that be okay?”
“First of all, my face… Please look straight at me.”
The priestess could not raise her head easily. Not knowing what to do, she hesitated, and became nervous as she looked at Lelia.
Lelia looked closely, staring at the priest by herself.
Maybe she cried a lot yesterday as her eyes were red and bloodshot. Her complexion was pale, and she felt sorry for her. Apart from that, in the light and on closer review they looked more alike. Only the clothes were different; the features were the same as those in the portrait.
If her eyes weren’t wrong, the woman was clearly her mother.
The same light, green eyes and red hair as her mother in the portrait strengthened her conviction. Suddenly, Lelia’s heart began to beat hard. It was time to ask more questions with confidence.
The priestess carefully opened her mouth and spoke. “I don’t dare to look directly at the faces of the royal family. I couldn’t help it when I was younger.”
“As I grew up, I didn’t know it was him at first. Thank you for saving my life like this.”
At the unexpected words, Lelia was puzzled. When she turned her head and looked at Oscar, he crumpled his eyebrows as if he noticed something.
“What…? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Didn’t you save me because you remembered me?”
Lelia opened her mouth, feeling like she was the only fool. She thought the priestess lost her memory, yet Lelia was the one being asked if she remembered. Then the priestess smiled slightly and spoke.
“I saw him once when I was a child at a temple. I once changed the clothes of the wounded Crown Prince.”
She looked at the priestess without even blinking her eyes.
A fragment of her memory that had been deep within her appeared.
It was when she rescued Kalix from the mountains where her arm was about to be cut off. She passed out as soon as she came down the mountain with Griffith and Kalix. When she woke up again, a female priest had changed her clothes.
She was discovered as a female, so she expected to be captured and killed by the emperor… Unexpectedly, the female priest kept her secret.
“I changed your clothes, and I was the only one who saw. No one else did, so calm down.”
After that day, she had little chance to see her face, but she clearly remembered what happened. In an instant, her eyes became blurred. The person who had a particularly calm voice….
At that time, she was so embarrassed that she couldn’t think of anything even when she saw the face of the priestess. There was only a fear of dying right away…
But that person… Lelia couldn’t believe it was her mother. It was the same face as her mom. At the time, she hadn’t even seen her mother’s portrait, so she probably wouldn’t have known.
Whether due to the guilt of not recognizing her or because of the welcome, tears began to flow down due to the various confusing emotions. Looking at Lelia, the female priest affectionately handed over a handkerchief.
At that time, Oscar’s hand appeared on her shoulder. As the cold and heavy hand sat comfortably on her shoulder, the feeling of nausea gradually calmed down. The female priest looked at the two of them, and she slowly opened her mouth and began her own story. First, she introduced herself as ‘Sena’.
“I used to be an alchemist. At some point I lost all my powers and became a wanderer. Then, by chance, I took the place of a deceased priest.”
Lelia stopped her crying and immersed herself in the story.
“A female priest ran away… She was unable to report, so I filled the position. I was a horse keeper, and she was nothing more than a chore worker.”
“There was a priest who always helped me when I was being bullied unknowingly. I respected him and came to follow him. However…”
Sena couldn’t keep up with her story for a moment, as she felt her emotions overflow, then continued again. The priest, whom she spoke of, was the man yesterday and the owner of this hut. The person whose one side of his face had turned black. The priest who Sena admired and followed as her mentor was kicked out of the temple after he became ill, she explained.
“It’s a disease that has been going on for a long time, and I couldn’t cure it with sacred power. So I started studying alchemy again…”
“But no matter how much I look, there’s no way…”
Lelia thought she might be able to help. For now, she thought it would be good to help her with her work and then let her take memory recovery pills. However…
“This morning, he died.”
At the unexpected remark, Lelia couldn’t say anything.
“They’ve already prepared all the procedures. At dawn, people came to collect his body.”
“Because I was a sinner, I couldn’t even attend and hid in the warehouse for a long time. In the end, I couldn’t see him off.”
Tears dripped down from Sena’s eyes. Lelia felt suffocated when she saw it.
“But thanks to you saving me, I was able to see him at least for the last time.”
“What are you going to do now?”
When Lelia managed to ask her the question, Senna wiped her tearful cheeks and she answered, “I’m going to clean up this cabin for a few days and leave for another place. It’s a relief to be able to thank you before that.”
Upon hearing that she was leaving, Lelia hurriedly reached out her hand and grabbed Sena’s hand that was holding her cup.
“Then before you became a priest? Before living a wanderers life? Where and how did you live?”
“… When I lost my alchemy skills, all my memories disappeared.”
Sena replied with a puzzled look. She didn’t understand why Lelia was looking at her with such desperate eyes. Is it because of their similar appearance? Sena also felt that Lelia looked like her. She just didn’t say it out loud.
When she heard the news that the Crown Prince of Auraria had died, Sena prayed that the girl who had disguised herself as the Crown Prince would be safe. But she couldn’t believe she was safe and actually here to help her.
Lelia burst into tears as if she was moved by her statement.
Sena was embarrassed and glanced at the man next to Lelia.
The man was stroking Lelia’s shoulder with an expressionless face. He looked like he didn’t know how to comfort her at all. Yet, his eyes were sharing her pain.
Sena remembered that the man was the small child next to Lelia back then. If it weren’t for the unique eye and hair color, she wouldn’t have recognized him. As such, the atmosphere of the man was the exact opposite from when he was young.
Lelia, who had been crying for a long time, stopped and grabbed Sena’s hand again.
“I’ll come back when you’re done organizing this hut. It will be difficult to leave easily because the boundaries are tight. I’ll help you… so don’t leave alone.”
At Lelia’s request, Sena blinked as if she didn’t understand.
In response, Lelia persuaded her by asking her to allow her to pay off her debts as a child. Sena nodded unexpectedly at such a determined and desperate attitude.
Thus, Lelia left the cabin only after being promised two or three more times. She felt heavy leaving the cabin. Lelia continued to look back.
After returning to the inn, Lelia cried for a long time.
When she came to her senses, she was crying in Oscar’s arms. The fact that she was hugging his waist hard and crying made her head dizzy. Lelia stopped and pushed Oscar away.
Oscar didn’t say anything. He just stared down at her.
She thought it was a relief that he didn’t ask anything. Lelia calmed her emotions down and opened her mouth.
“Oscar, please. I’m sure she’s my mother.”
“The Superion family has always missed my mother since she died. Everyone will be happy to know that she is alive. You have to take her to the Superion territory no matter what.”
“Let me take her to the Superion territory, Oscar.”
Lelia grabbed Oscar by the arm and begged. She begged again and again to let her family meet her mom.
Oscar looked calm, as if he had guessed this would happen. If he were to lead Lelia to the Hraesvelg Empire with his stubbornness… Lelia will be unhappy. He remembered the day he went to pick her up in the Imperial City of Auraria. Lelia cried while talking to herself that she wanted to run away.
Maybe in the future, but if he forcibly takes her like this, Lelia will cry and want to run away from him for the rest of her life. His head was dizzy for a moment. He frowned and his forehead wrinkled due to a throbbing pain.
“Oscar… Are you okay?”
Oscar turned to Lelia’s voice. So far, Lelia often showed a friendly attitude towards him. As time passed, it was clear that such friendliness would gradually disappear. Later, even if she spills her blood in front of him, he will continue to look at her with a nonchalant expression.
As he imagined it, it felt like his heart was being ripped apart.
“What about me?”
“After I let you go… What about me? What should I do?”
Oscar asked with empty eyes as if he had lost his way, and as if he had never had a place to go.
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed what you have read, do consider tipping us a little through: https://ko-fi.com/rainofsnow . Once we receive 7$, an advance chapter will be posted as a thank you. Don’t forget to mention the series that you’re supporting!