* * *
* * *
The water where Liarte and Michael stood was very shallow.
Right there the water only comes up to their ankles, but if they take a few more steps forward, the ground cuts to a sheer dropoff.
Hans, the spy, installed something in the short time the guards were getting replaced.
‘Maybe he came into the lake.’
Unlike the Water Awakeners, the average person could not enter and exit the depths of the lake within a short period of time.
At best, they would have gone as far as where Liarte and Michael are standing now.
Liarte looked down.
The bottom of the clear lake was covered with round black and white pebbles.
“What’s the matter?”
Michael approached her.
The water butterfly that Liarte made had already shattered after she lost control of it.
“No matter how hard I try to control it, the water around here won’t move.”
The flow of water was blocked as if it was caught in something.
When she looked closely, she saw a small rock in between the pebbles.
“It’s around here.”
She grabbed Michael’s hand and pulled him into the lake.
They felt a tension similar to a vortex.
“It’s definitely weird. It doesn’t just happen.”
Michael said as he examined the rock.
It wasn’t that difficult to observe the rock and its surroundings since the water was crystal-clear.
If you look very closely, you can see the scratches carved on the rock.
The water was constantly clogging up near the scratch.
“Shall we remove the rock, Liarte?”
“It may be a medium of Ancient Power. It’s a field that I don’t know much about, unlike the curse that was on your eyes. It’s dangerous, so let’s remember it for now and find another place.”
They certainly found a clue.
“Yes, I’ll do as you please.”
Michael gently put Liarte’s hair behind her ears, which had been blown sideways by the wind.
“There’s no problem if it’s Ancient Power or if there’ll be a fire incident. We can rebuild the buildings and we can evacuate the people in advance.”
Michael glimmered in the sun.
“So don’t be in a hurry. As long as we live, there will be plenty of opportunities to start over.”
Michael looked at her palms and the deep part of the forest beyond the lake.
Then he smiled graciously when his eyes met Liarte’s.
The two of them walked towards Carmen and Aaron, who did not even dip their feet in the water.
“Now let’s go somewhere else.”
Carmen stepped back like a cat as he answered Liarte when the water splashed his way.
“You don’t like the water?”
“I don’t hate water, but I don’t like big bodies of water like lakes and the sea.”
As he looked at the drops of water on his shoes, he took the lead and moved away from the lake.
It was a rare sight compared to the usual.
“Well, it runs the family? It’s the same for all of Birce.”
Liarte looked up at Michael, whom she was holding hands with.
“Michael, does hating water really run in your family?”
“….. It’s fine for me. Unlike my father and my grandfather, I think big bodies of water are fine.”
He glared at Aaron and Carmen who were smiling behind them.
“I see. If it’s too much, don’t force yourself.”
Liarte’s soft and cool hand touched Michael’s burning forehead.
“I’ll be upset if you get sick.”
Long ago, she thought that her heart would hurt more when she was shunned and ignored by her own relatives in Elheim.
“I’ll be careful. I’ll be very careful.”
Michael replied, looking into her eyes.
Liarte raised her hand and stroked his smooth hair.
Then, Aaron held out something in his hand.
His big hands were trembling while holding a yellow flower.
“Did you get that yourself?”
“It’s a very pretty flower that blooms from the heart of the lake, so I wanted to show it to you.”
“Thank you, Aaron.”
Liarte picked up the flower.
There was no place to put it in, and there were already two flowers on her ribbon..
As the wind blew, the unknown yellow flower on her hand shook a little.
* * *
Liarte and the three other people went to some of the places Hans had been to.
“He went to the Rose Garden too.”
It was a route between the places that he stayed in for a long time, so he probably touched this area as well. That was her judgment.
It was easy for her to know because she knew the future, but Hans rarely revealed his traces.
“What the hell did he do in the garden?”
“This time I looked for scratches, but I couldn’t find them.”
Michael replied by her side.
The same kind of yellow flower that Aaron gave her was blooming in the flower bed next to the fountain.
Upon closer inspection, it looked almost like an Iris Flower.
“Is that an Iris Flower?”
Carmen said curiously.
“It’s a little different from the Iris Flower.”
Liarte shook her head.
She remembered it because she saw it in the book of plants several times while she was painting.
“The Iris Flower has a white pattern on the outside of the petals. But this one is yellow and a little longer.”
Carmen looked at the hard-working Liarte with a cute look.
“You must know a lot about flowers, Lili.”
“That’s all I read about in Merlin’s book.”
“But thanks to you, I could see that this flower isn’t an Iris. Actually, it’s still hard to tell.”
The worried Liarte answered.
“The Iris Flower usually grows on flat land. It doesn’t grow around bodies of water like this flower.”
“You want me to tell you the difference?”
Carmen laughed hard because it was a straightforward but sincere question.
Their light conversation about flowers soon turned into another topic.
The next place was the small mansion behind the Main Building.
It was where Aaron was locked up, where Liarte collapsed during the heavy rain.
Maybe he remembered it, but Aaron stopped moving.
Lairte stood next to Aaron.
“It’s okay, Aaron.”
The sky was clear.
It was a fine day without rain.
“I forgive you, Aaron. So please forgive yourself.”
“I’ll forgive myself but I won’t ever forget it, so I won’t make the same mistake again.”
Aaron showed tears in his big frame.
“It’ll be alright. You apologized, so that’s enough for me.”
The core of her heart melted into the yellow flower that Aaron gave her with trembling hands.
Aaron had tears in his eyes.
“Please call me Liarte. You can speak informally like Carmen does.”
The reason Liarte used her honorifics for Carmen and Aaron was due to her personality.
The two of them had higher titles and were the elders of Birce.
Perhaps because she had lived in the hierarchical society of Elheim for a long time, her honorifics had not yet been corrected.
Aaron stared blankly at Liarte, as if he were dreaming.
Liarte said once again.
“Please call me by my name instead of Benefactor.”
She said very carefully.
She read the expression on his face and his heart, fearful of being hurt once again.
“Thank you for your forgiveness.”
Aaron bowed his head.
He didn’t seem to be willing to use informal speech just yet.
“Thank you for apologizing.”
“It’s only natural when we do something wrong.”
Aaron replied to Liarte’s unexpected remark.
“There are people in the world who don’t even apologize.” (tl/n: damn)
She remembered her twin Lian for a moment, who was reaching out to come here in an obedient manner.
Come to think of it, she had never wondered about Elheim’s news when she came to Birce.
There were times when she thought about her past life, but didn’t bother about how they live now.
They were more worthless than other people.
The next place was Aaron’s room inside the main building.
It was well managed, but unlike before when it felt empty, she felt the warmth of the people living here.
Suddenly, an ornament came into Liarte’s view.
It was an item that they didn’t pay attention to when they were looking for the spy who had fed Aaron the Black Powder.
Before they knew it, time had flowed from noon to early afternoon.
Liarte stood with Michael in front of a small river and watched the flowing water.
The only clues they found were the scratches on the rock in the lake.
“Liarte, do you see the stream?”
“I can see it well.”
“Originally, it was faster to come straight through to the river from the building. But the spy turned around and went through the side road.”
A medium hidden to start a fire.
What did Hans had in common in the places he’s been in?
A yellow color came into Liarte’s sight while listening to Michael.
Like a brooch on a ribbon, the flowers were like the yellow flowers from earlier.
‘Wait a minute.’
It looks like an Iris Flower, but it’s a different kind.
Flowers that only grow at the water’s edge.
Liarte suddenly realized.
There was water everywhere Hans walked around.
The decorations in the lake and the river by Aaron’s room. There was a pond on the side of the road where Hans used to go to avoid the river.
He was wandering around places with stagnant water.
Liarte caught Michael’s attention.
“It’s the water.”
“You mean the places where the spy roamed? I was thinking the same thing just now.”
There was only one place to hide the medium that could cause the fire.
It was underwater.
* * *
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