The unexpected question left me speechless for a moment.
The unforeseen words were even sharp as my lips trembled, and I covered my mouth. Meanwhile, Eden hurriedly calmed me while glancing around just in case anyone heard.
“It’s okay. That’s enough of an answer.”
A sudden sense of shame came over me at those words. Whatever he was thinking, I wanted to tell him it wasn’t.
“…You think I’ll stay? Why?”
Even though he didn’t do anything wrong, I asked back as if I was scolding him. I thought I knew what the words meant from those black eyes that were looking at me.
On second thought, the tone in which Raniero confessed that he seemed to like me was too exciting for me as if that was a pleasure. For a moment, I even thought that he might not be affected if he saw Seraphina.
I was terribly ashamed.
What made me so excited about playing house with him?
What kind of confidence did I have…?
Nonetheless, even in the midst of blaming myself, the anticipation still didn’t disappear. As Eden clasped my confused shoulders, I soon came to my senses in a flash and peered up at him with a blank expression.
“I understand if you choose to stay. The environment there might be better for you than it’s for me here. I’m not criticizing you, absolutely not.”
His words didn’t ease my shame, but I nodded.
Eden let go of my shoulders.
“I don’t think it’s good to keep in touch for too long. Let’s split up for now.”
He, who backed off first, easily turned his back. Seeing that, I tugged on his sleeve as if to grab something I shouldn’t have let go of, and Eden glanced down at me curiously.
Hesitated, I slowly opened my mouth.
“Ev-even if I decide to stay here… I’ll gladly cooperate if you need my help for you to return.”
The hem of his clothes slipped right out of my hands as I finished my words, and Eden nodded his head nonchalantly and really left.
After standing still for a while alone, I opened my cloak and covered myself like someone who had done something terrible and took a quick step.
I thought back to how I knelt at the Emperor’s feet, how he drugged me and drove me to the hunting grounds, and how he deliberately tripped me up at the ball. Still… those things felt far away like it was a long time ago, and his face begging for a kiss in the flower garden, along with the white petals in the clothes, were vividly close instead.
At the same time, the fact that I read the original book felt much more distant than the first day of being possessed here.
I recalled the Eden question again.
‘If he sees Seraphina and doesn’t feel anything…’
I had to conclude that it couldn’t be the case.
It was safe since unnecessary expectations would just entice me to bet on big risks… but I shouldn’t cross over here. I didn’t want to gamble with my life. Wasn’t that why I also wanted to check if Seraphina was in the temple?
‘…But, isn’t it dangerous to run away? Where will I live, and what am I going to do when I leave Actilus? An attempt to cross the borders of the world and return to where I originally lived? Wouldn’t it be dangerous?’
Crossing the temple, I stopped my steps.
When I thought that way, every choice seemed risky. I tried to catch my breath and put my cloak back on, trying not to think about anything.
This was now my reality.
Unlike in the past, when I was a reader, I had no choice but to interpret the situation with a narrow perspective. I couldn’t judge anything, especially since Raniero was different from what I had ‘read’ in those good old days.
Would Raniero, who has changed, continue to care for me like this, or would he shove me away the moment he saw Seraphina? If I crossed the barrier called Seraphina, would that be the end?
Could I guarantee he wouldn’t get tired of me over time?
…If I knew, I could’ve answered Eden’s question.
˚ ·: * ✧ * :· ˚
Even Raniero, who declared that he would eat with the provisions he brought, was treated by the temple for the first dinner.
The food they provided was simple, clean food. Unfortunately, although their attitude of sincerity was evident, I couldn’t eat well because of anxiety, so in the end, I had no choice but to leave the food even though I knew it was rude.
Raniero, who was sitting next to me, glanced down at my plate. Nevertheless, I turned a blind eye to his gaze.
After dinner, he and I were given a simple but neat and warm room. It must have been the best room. There were two small beds facing each other against the wall. Since all members of the temple were single, so, of course, there was no such thing as a couple’s bedroom.
I was relieved internally since being close to him made me feel a bit complicated.
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Comments for chapter "Chapter 101"
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