I want to thank Regine V***** and Alicia P********** for your generous donations! I’m still on a semi-hiatus, but I felt guilty and I just could not ignore your feelings, jut like Aria (You’ll find out later. *Wink*). Anyway, I’m sorry for keeping everyone waiting and I hope that everyone will continue to support my translations.
P.S. I want to apologize in advance if there are discrepancies and wrong grammar. I translated some in my sleep-deprived state.
“Aria, people are coming.”
Greed-sama suddenly said.
Checking the courtyard entrance with his words in mind, I saw several people speaking to each other at the other side of the door.
“Grrr, that head chef, telling us to pick up herbs at this time!”
“Well, do we have a choice? There are lots of piled up work in the kitchen because of the commotion caused by the demon beast.”
“He forgot to give instructions, okay? He only noticed it when he was about to prepare for tomorrow’s menu.”
“He should have at least reminded us while the sun was still up.”
When the door opened, four people composed of men and women came into the courtyard. Based on the content of their conversation, they’re most likely to be the kitchen staff.
I grabbed Greed-sama’s hand quickly and tried to hide ourselves in the shade of the garden shrubs, but since the head chef’s herb garden is in this direction, it is inevitable that we will be found out if we remain.
There’s no need for us to hide since we didn’t do anything wrong, but if it we are to be rumored to be alone together at such a time, if the story is became exaggerated—we’re going to be forced into a situation that I will never be able to evade.
If we were rumored to have spent the night together, we will have to get married straight away no matter if the rumor is true or not! As an indecent woman, my chances of getting married will be nil.
There will be many who will happily benefit to the marriage! That person, that person, that person, or that girl!
By the way, at this time, it was the King, the Prime Minister, Rufaga-sama, and my friend Belinda who crossed my mind.
Anyway, we must never be found out……!
While I was thinking that and trying to find a better place to hide, Greed-sama suddenly snaked his arm around my waist and said.
“We’re going to fly.”
There’s no more time to ask. The next moment, I was being held by Greed, flying in the sky!
It was a miracle that I didn’t scream out loud. Rather, it would be more correct to say that my voice did not leak out.
I saw the four kitchen staff entered the courtyard and go to the direction we were in. However, it seems that they didn’t see us floating in the dark night sky and proceeded into the garden without noticing anything.
Their figure became smaller and smaller. Gradually, we ascended while Greed-sama continued to hold me.
I was too scared that I clung to Greed-sama. [T/N: And Greed enjoyed it. *grins*]
Yes, its exasperating but I had to hug him! Because it’s only Greed-sama’s arm that is supporting me at such a high place. I did it out of fear.
“Aria, Aria, it’s alright. There’s no need to be scared.”
“Scary things are scary!”
When I looked below, I trembled at the darkness that spread before me. It felt like I was being sucked up, being pulled in by the darkness.
Also, my feet that is used to stepping on the ground has nothing to step into. That is also scary.
I unconsciously closed my eyes and pressed my face against Greed-sama’s chest. But I felt that I am still rising and rising with Greed-sama.
Hey, how high are you going to go!?
“G-Greed-sama, please no more than this……!”
I shrieked. You don’t have to go so high to hide from the kitchen staff, right?
I knew this. It’s not suited for me to ascend into the heavens. It is better for me to live a life crawling in the ground!
“Aria, it’s alright, so please open your eyes.”
Greed-sama said in a soothing voice, but I shook my head and continued to hug him.
It’s getting higher again than before!
“It’s fine. I won’t drop you.”
“That’s obvious. If you drop me, I’ll become a ghost and haunt you!”
“I don’t care if it’s any other woman, but I want the live you. It’s alright, Aria. Please believe me.”
Blow, I felt something warm on the top of my head.
Hmm? I’m not sure since my eyes were closed, but I felt that I was kissed in the head just now.
I opened my eyes involuntarily.
……Mysteriously, at this time, I felt my fear subside.
When I raised my face, my eyes met his warm blue-green eyes.
It was scary to look below. But I felt fine when I looked at his eyes…… Or so I thought.
“Aria, I will never drop you. Please believe me.”
I bobbed my head. I have a lot of problems with this guy, but I am absolutely convinced that he would not drop me.
“We’ll hit the barrier if we rise more than this, so we’ll end here. Aria, have some courage and look around.”
I took my eyes off Greed-sama and looked around. I could see the top of the main tower below my foot. The top part is the banquet hall. We are above the main tower. [T/N: Ugh.]
“You can see the whole castle very well from here.”
What he said was true. When I looked around, I can see the well-illuminated castle walls and the main gate. There are also horse-drawn carriages, a stable and a wide park on the left of the main gate.
Behind it, there’s the Palace where the royalty and the state guests, like Greed-sama and the others, reside, but behind it is the North building and next to the Palace is the East building where the dining hall is located. And on the west side was the servants’ quarters where I live. Everything was illuminated by vigil lights.
“Please also look at the town.”
Following Greed-sama’s instruction, I saw the town beyond the castle at the foot of the hill shrouded by darkness.
The castle is equipped with a good deal of magical lamps, making it bright even at night, however it was dark there at night because the townspeople rarely possess magical tools. Only a few streetlights can be mostly seen in a corner where the nobles live.
Looking at the sky, countless stars are sparkling.
“It looks like the earth and the sky are connected……”
I muttered without noticing.
But it really did look like that. There is no boundary in the darkness that extends from the sky to the foot of the hill, and the lights in the city is like the light of a star.
When I was looking at it, I fell into a strange illusion.
It looks like the castle of Schwarze, illuminated by the pale light, is the only thing that is floating in the night sky, and everything else seems to fade into the starry sky……
The wind blew into my cheek while I was mesmerized.
“Ah……” Greed-sama said. “Just now, the spirit of the wind stroked your cheek. Did you feel it?”
I touched my cheek unconsciously.
“Indeed, I felt the wind on my cheek just now, but it was the spirit…..?”
“The spirit had……”
Certainly, it had a different feel from the normal wind; it rather felt unnatural. So that was the spirit, huh……
So he’s really close to the spirits. For the first time in my life, I felt their existence first hand!
“Come to think of it, you can see the spirits, right, Greed-sama?”
I glanced at Greed-sama.
“Yes, I can.”
“I’m just a little bit curious, but in your eyes, how does the world look like……?”
Aside from seeing spirits, Greed-sama can use magic. That’s why I’m sure that even though we look at the same things, we have different perception, I suddenly thought.
Greed-sama’s eyes wandered for a moment, and gave me a slightly troubled smile.
“For me, the world is chaotic, noisy and looked so distant. In the past.”
Greed-sama then gazed into the distance, looking at the horizon.
“The world is here and I am in it, talking about a lot of things, but it felt like I am detached from it. I’m near it but also far from it. The world—means nothing to me. It’s just there. For me, the world is just a colorless container filled with various things like myself.”
Greed-sama’s eyes, like a doll’s glassy eyes, did not reflect any emotions.
“I’ve always thought of it like that. I am a defective human being. I lack many things…… Many people say that I have everything. Magical powers, the spirits and an attractive appearance. But Aria, I’m empty. I do not feel anything. Like a cup with a hole in it wherein nothing is left no matter how much water is poured in it, the things that I have means nothing to me. It is the same as not having anything.”
Emptiness. That word remained in my head. And at the same time, Greed-sama’s personal life which I heard from Renas before the invasion of the demon’s happened, crossed my mind. The child who is said to have been blessed with excessive spirit protection—the protection from all kinds of spirits—since birth.
However, Greed-sama’s parents could not accept that. For them who do not have magic, his invisible powers brought them nothing but fear.
Scared of the mysterious powers that brought destruction every time he cried when he was still a baby, his parents were afraid of him and couldn’t get close to him. It resulted to child neglect. They stopped concerning themselves with Greed-sama. It was the spirits who brought up the newly born Greed-sama in behalf of his parents.
“Greed’s parents were relieved and happy that the spirits took over on taking care of him and only gave him meals. But they have not thought of it. Being cared for by the spirits who can sense his will before showing his intention—has a harmful effect.”
Renas-sama’s words came to mind.
The spirits are sensitive to Greed-sama’s emotions. Thus Greed-sama does not express or verbalize his emotions, much less to express his intentions.
Emotions grow when you interact with other people. But Greed-sama, who wasn’t able to get in touch with other people, did not know that. There was no need for him to feel in front of the spirits.
After Priest Lyell came to the village, after becoming friends with Renas-sama and Milly-sama, Greed-sama began to live like a human being. However, the effect still deeply ingrained in him. He felt nothing.
—If only Greed-sama’s parents had courage. If only they had raised him properly. If only he decided not to get involved with the temple that was searching for the hero candidate. If only Greed-sama is not a hero candidate…… And if only he didn’t had the 【Spirit Protection】.
“I exist because of some reason, and I wouldn’t have been born without that reason.”
He would have grown up into an ordinary young man, and would not have said such sad things. People believed that those who receive 【Spirit Protection】 are rare, special, and very fortunate. I was no exception. But now, I don’t think those who have 【Spirit Protection】 are very fortunate at all. 【Spirit Protection】 is a blessing. But at the same time, it is also an unseen misfortune. It just felt like that.
Even if the spirits threw Greed-sama’s fate out of kilter, it was also the spirits who raised and protected him. Perhaps that is exactly the true nature of 【Spirit Protection】.
At the same time that this blessed person was granted with powers, he was also given a heavy fate—a double-edged sword-like divine protection.
“Mr. Greed … Did you not think it would be good if you weren’t born with 【Spirit Protection】? Do you think it would have altered your destiny……?”
I curiously asked. Although I heard a lot from Renas-sama, I had never heard from Greed-sama himself about what he thought.
Greed-sama silently shook his head.
“No. It’s pointless to think about what you don’t have when you were born. Besides…… Because of the 【Spirit Protection】, I don’t feel empty. What I am today was also all because of me. Please also think about it. Am I the only one who have 【Spirit Protection】? How about the other generations of heroes? Are they all like me……? Probably not. Then, is it because the relationship with our parents is poor? Then all of us must be orphans.”
Greed-sama cast his glass-like eyes into the sky.
“Aria, I cannot choose my parents nor the place where I was born. However, how I had lived and how I had interacted with others, I had chosen them myself. It wasn’t because of how I was born or raised, nor it was due to the protection of the spirits, but it was because it is only I myself who owns my heart.”
I shook my head, negating his words . . . But for some reason, the words were stuck in my throat.
“It was also the same even when I became the Hero—until I met you.”
Greed-sama said then turned to look at me. Unlike the glass-like eyes earlier, his eyes now were swirling with emotions.
“Aria, countless people continue to live beneath our feet and over there in the darkness, right?”
That’s right. The lives of the citizens who lived beneath us and on the of Schwarze are at stake.
“But before, it was just a fact for me. There are many lives under this moonlight, and that each of them have their own life and personality, but it also felt as if it were a distant thing like the world. As the Hero, it is my duty to protect these people. Just that. I didn’t care.”
His arms around my waist tightened.
When I looked up, what I saw was—Greed-sama looking down at me with a soft and gentle expression. When our eyes met, Geed-sama said with a smile—and in a very endearing manner.
“But the moment I met you, everything has changed to something meaningful. I was able to understand that everyone around me are leading a life. The moment I met you, the world—had color.”
“Aria, this world is warped and unreasonable, not a kind world at all. One day, you will come to know that. But…… I am grateful to have met you and be with you. I am grateful to this world.”
I could not really understand what he said. However, I realized that Greed’s feelings towards me are extremely profound.
But-But our feelings are not in accord with each other. It’s because I did not deal with Greed-sama’s feelings.
—Guilty feeling. That was the true cause of my chest discomfort.
When I didn’t continue with my words, Greed-sama suddenly turned his eyes towards me and told me kindly.
“They’ll leave the courtyard soon. Shall we return?”
Slowly, slowly, we descended. As Greed-sama have said, the courtyard is quiet.
Greed-sama landed gently at the corner where the flowers were planted. As soon as I stepped on the ground, I furtively slipped out of Greed-sama’s arm.
At that moment, I noticed something in my hand.
I’ve been holding the purple flower for a while now. Even while were flying into the sky, when I was clinging onto him because of fear, I’ve held it in my hand.
After staring at the purple flower for a while, I raised my face.
…….I was a coward. Even though you’ve been expressing your feelings sincerely, all I did was run away.
I need to settle this. For myself, but most of all, for yourself. Because this is all I can do for now.
I stared at Greed’s eyes, and when I realized it—I was saying:
“Greed-sama, I-I—I can’t marry you.”