Chapter 10

 

Translator: Rae

***

 

“But… I’m really asking just in case… You’re an adult, right?”

 

“… Of course, it’s already so obvious.”

 

“In Idelberg, even minors can get married as long as the parents give them consent, right? Which part that you said is so obvious?”

 

“I said I’m obviously an adult!”

 

Helen shouted and her face turned red.

 

It’s been a while since she became an adult. Five years have passed since then.

 

Her coming-in-age ceremony was not even a common one, but she clearly remembered her 20th birthday.

 

“I-I’m 25 years old.”

 

“Twenty five….”

 

Based on his assumption, Helen was only about fifteen at most.

 

But he didn’t mean that she looked girly.

 

“You’re so tiny. You said you’re a woman who comes from foreign country, right? Are people in that country normally this small?”

 

“….”

 

Helen stubbornly closed her mouth.

 

He was right. She was particularly small.

 

Edith was a head taller than her.

 

“Your hands and feet are too small. Perhaps your feet are even smaller than mine?”

 

The man fidgeted with Helen’s hand curiously.

 

Helen had a small appearance. She already knew that she was quite small compared to others.

 

“I’m not that small….”

 

“In your country?”

 

Helen nodded unconsciously to the man’s innocent question.

 

Strange. She didn’t want to look unappealing to the man.

 

“I see.”

 

He didn’t care about that. Whether the people in her country were small or not, it was just astonishing that the woman in front of him was just half his height.

 

The man held Helen’s hand, entwined their fingers together, and fidgeted with her nails for a while.

 

It was too soft and small compared to his own hand, he thought it would break even if he held it with just a little bit of pressure.

 

She said she was twenty five years old. That thought made the man pause for a moment.

 

It seemed that his body was too big for her.

 

‘I’m not over 40 years old, right….’

 

Suddenly, he had a doubt.

 

“Stop fiddling and e-eat the cookies.”

 

Helen pulled her hand out of the man’s hold coyly.

 

It was too late when she realized that he had been fiddling with her hand for a while complaining about her being small.

 

“Ah.”

 

When Helen pulled her hand away, the man exclaimed in disappointment.

 

‘I can’t believe he made this expression when I took my hand away from him.’

 

Helen’s heart pounded again.

 

“I’ll let you hold it when you’re done eating….”

 

Helen was typically a weak-hearted person.

 

Even back when she was confined in the palace, her necessities and demand for meals were unreliable, but she sometimes handed out bread if there were birds coming through the window.

 

“You have to come again.” was an unreliable promise which she made with the birds back then.

 

So she thought it was the same this time.

 

She was just helping this poor man. It didn’t mean anything.

 

So she reminded herself.

 

“Yes, I’ll eat it.”

 

The man shoved the cookies Helen gave into his mouth at once.

 

“Huh…?”

 

The cookie was broken in just one bite which was shocking to her, although the original size of the cookie was as big as Helen’s face.

 

It was sprinkled with chocolate chips, and when it was eaten, it tasted dry and hard to swallow.

 

But he still put it in his mouth at once.

 

“Like this?”

 

And the man held Helen’s hand which was still holding cookies.

 

The man’s mouth looked cute as there were a lot of cookie crumbs scattered across it.

 

“Can you hold a cookie with one hand?”

 

Helen tapped the man on his mouth to shake off the crumbs.

 

The man didn’t even seem to have a single clue of what she was doing.

 

“You have cookie powder on your face. Brush it off.”

 

This time, he cleaned around his mouth with his hands.

 

Seeing him being so obedient made her feel like she actually had a big son.

 

“Can I hold your hand?”

 

The man, who kept obsessing over her hands, seemed suspicious.

 

“…You’re weird today. As if you are anxious…”

 

“I’m fine.”

 

He said he was fine just like it was his habit.

 

Even when he didn’t look fine at all.

 

Helen had no intention of pushing furthermore. She instinctively knew that she would not be able to solve it even when she knew about it.

 

He could only hear Helen munching her cookies for a while.

 

Crunch, crunch.

 

“I will bring milk as well next time. It’s a bit dry.”

 

“Yeah, but you don’t have to bring it if it’s heavy. I don’t mind.”

 

“…Are you going to eat now?”

 

“Yeah. I guess.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I also don’t know. I’m not hungry, but I still lived until now.”

 

“…You don’t know?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Poor guy.

 

Helen held his hand and patted the shoulder of the man who was leaning on her shoulder.

 

They were already attached to each other even though it looked like they were just hugging.

 

“Cheer up.”

 

The man nodded at her words which were filled with a hint of consolation.

 

Meanwhile Helen was struggling as the atmosphere became even heavier than before.

 

The man was quiet compared to usual. He seemed weak….

 

Helen spoke in a slightly brighter voice to lighten the mood.

 

“Shall I show what I brought?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Actually, the man was not interested.

 

Because he had never used anything like that before.

 

However, Helen looked cute when she spoke cheerfully, so he put on a thin smile on his face.

 

So she would think that him being gloomy was just a lie.

 

“Ta-da, a blanket. No matter how much I think about it, it’s too cold in the library.”

 

It wasn’t that cold.

 

The man has never felt cold in his entire life.

 

He didn’t feel cold even when white snow was falling outside and piled up high enough that people couldn’t walk around.

 

Because he didn’t know how it felt to be cold.

 

However, he thought it was cold because Helen felt so, and hot when she felt hot. He wanted it that way.

 

“Thank you.”

 

But the man smiled with his eyes curved upward.

 

And he tucked the blanket around his shoulder meanwhile the remaining three were used to cover Helen.

 

“There’s no point in doing this for me.”

 

“You must be colder than I am.”

 

“But….”

 

Helen looked down at herself. She was wearing the jacket Ellie had packed for her while saying it was early spring, and also the three blankets which were arranged by the man to cover her body.

 

She nearly had a fever.

 

But on the other hand, there was a man who barely wore a shirt.

 

It was clean, but she thought it was too thin.

 

“But it’s better if you have it. How can you not feel cold?”

 

The library was a place to keep books. It should’ve been in a place with low moisture, cool, and had better ventilation.

 

Rather, it was colder than outside.

 

Helen looked at the man curiously as he was covered with a blanket wrapped tightly over his shoulder which covered his shoulder, waist and knees so he could not take it off.

 

“All done.”

 

The man didn’t need a blanket, but he remained still because Helen preferred him to be like that.

 

He could smell Helen’s scent occasionally which helped him feel better.

 

“Thank you. For covering me.”

 

He showed his gratitude to her very often. As if it was the man’s habit.

 

He would say thank you whenever she did something for him.

 

The problem was that she felt a slight happiness when he said so.

 

“And then, this one.”

 

“What’s this?”

 

A round box sat on Helen’s hand.

 

Helen chuckled when she realized the man’s gaze and opened its lid.

 

There was a medicine inside, which seemed similar to a sticky gel. It has an unpleasant smell.

 

“It’s medicine. You were hurt yesterday.”

 

“Oh.”

 

The man acted as if he had forgotten it.

 

Helen asked back with a stunned expression.

 

“How can you forget that you were hurt? Did you not feel it was hurt?”

 

Helen put the box down and lifted his left arm.

 

His left arm, where she was sure it was the place he got injured, was flawless.

 

“Huh? Wasn’t it here?”

 

This time, Helen lifted up his right arm.

 

That side was flawless too.

 

If the wound had healed, there should’ve been a scar, but there was no scar either.

 

There was only one thing that could heal him like this.

 

If he ever received a sacred power.

 

The wound was severe, and it must have required tremendous power to heal such a severe wound.

 

Did a high-ranking priest have healed him…?

 

Why…?

 

The sudden question made Helen spaced out in her spot.

 

She had known one more thing. That he was not just a member of a small family.

 

The man hurriedly covered his wrist with his sleeve after pulling away his hand which was previously held by Helen.

 

Helen came out of her thoughts with a somewhat anxious look on her face.

 

“Do I look like a monster?”

 

“…Excuse me?”

 

“Right. I think I’m a monster.”

 

“Why do you think so? Rather than a monster, you seem normal….”

 

And handsome.

 

Helen suddenly realized what she was trying to say and swallowed it back.

 

When he realized Helen’s hesitation, the man avoided her gaze.

 

“I know I’m weird. I’m not like others.”

 

Because she couldn’t find his injury anywhere.

 

Rather, she was convinced.

 

Even if he bled severely because of a knife, get a large burn on his arm, kicked the desk and got a large bruise on his foot, or even if he lost his arms while dealing with assassins.

 

The next day, he would be unscathed.

 

With those horrible words in his arm.

 

[Do not let yourself get caught by others. Do not leave the library.]

 

Each time, she was suspicious whether he was a normal person or not.

 

“You must think I’m weird, too.”

 

The man let go of Helen’s hand first.

 

Huh…?

 

The red eyes of the offended man shut slowly.

 

He was afraid she would leave, but he didn’t have the courage to look at Helen either.

 

Helen was a little bewildered when she found out why the man seemed so anxious.

 

Mon…ster…?

 

To her, the man didn’t even look like a monster.

 

He looked too humane to be a monster, had a very beautiful appearance, and a strong physique.

 

And on top of that, he had a personality, right?

 

Helen finally stopped hesitating and grabbed the man’s hand.

 

“You are not a monster.”

 

“….”

 

“I don’t think you’re a monster. You’re the same as me.”

 

The man slowly opened his eyes at Helen’s words.

 

“Do you really think so?”

 

“Yes. I’ve seen countless people who look like you.”

 

“Like me….”

 

But they were not as handsome as him.

 

Humans with eyes, nose, and mouth overflowed the entire world.

 

So they had a great amount of resemblance with each other.

 

“Am I a human being? What if I turned out to be a ghost, a vampire, or even a zombie….?”

 

“What book did you read?”

 

“I’ve read all the books in this library.”

 

“…Wow… I envy you for that.”

 

Helen let out a guileless exclamation.

 

Her ridiculous expression caused the man to burst into a small laugh.

 

He seemed to like books so much until this time that he even forgot to comfort himself.

 

The man tucked Helen’s hair to the back of her ears, which was disheveled because she had to bring all of those things earlier while watching Helen with sparkling eyes.

 

It was a friendly and attentive gesture.

 

“You said you came to the library for books… I’m glad you like books. I almost didn’t expect it.”

 

“I know.”

 

There were days when she thought it might have been better not to come to the library.

 

On the first day.

 

It was because she thought he was strange.

 

Such a thought was still valid, but the meaning changed slightly.

 

Helen felt indebted to the man who needed her and asked for her help.

 

She somehow could relate to him in a certain way.

 

‘If only I had the kind of person like myself….’

 

“You will never be ghosts or other things like that.”

 

“How can you be so sure?”

 

“It was said that ghosts couldn’t hold hands like this, and you never tried to drink my blood if you were a vampire. And zombies….”

 

He once said that he came back to life.

 

Perhaps it fit him the best.

 

“But you bled. Zombies were said to have no blood because they were already dead.”

 

Helen finished speaking with a small smile.

 

He looked at her with his distinctive crimson eyes while listening to her words.

 

His gaze was so heated that his eyes seemed to be burning.

 

However, if she were to avoid it, he might close his eyes again and avoid her.

 

He was similar to a kid, as he needed attentive care.

 

The man, who had not opened his mouth for a while, finally opened his mouth with a hoarse voice.

 

“Are you not scared of me?”

 

At first, she was scared. Because he put a sword on her neck. But….

 

“Now I’m not.”

 

The man’s eyes trembled slightly. But shortly after, he seemed relieved and held Helen’s hand firmly.

 

It was a desperate touch as if he didn’t want it to slip out from his grasp.