“-Only a few people know your face anyway. Even if you’re Rudbihi, you can say that they’ve used you thoroughly.”
“You must have forgotten everything I’ve done.”
I heard Shale’s low laughter. Somehow, it was like an outrageous laugh.
“-Hey, it’s not like you. Be yourself. That’s a hundred times better.”
“What do you mean by being myself?”
“-I’m telling you to be as shameless as when you first called me. Don’t you remember? You could have brought up your words nicely. ‘Do you have any clothes for me to wear? I will pay for it.’”
An unsarcastically shrill voice came from the communication stone. He’s copying me. Embarrassed, I glared at the communication stone.
“Do you want to die?”
“-Yes, that’s how you should be. When I first saw you, I thought there was no one as shameless as you.”
“If you’re going to keep talking about that, we can stop talking now.”
“-Hey, I even told you the latest news too!”
“Yes, thank you for that.”
Then Shale laughed again.
“-Do you know why I took your offer?”
“It’s because of your mother’s keepsake.”
“Yes, that’s right. But do you know why I kept working with you even after I got it?”
“Umm, I don’t know. Did you think there was nothing to lose?”
The communication was longer than I thought, so I leaned slightly on the chair.
“-You looked in a dangerous situation, so I was worried.”
“I already saw the worst thing you could ever see on the underground, but you looked really in a dangerous situation. That’s why I reached out my hand.”
I lightly tapped the communication stone as if Shale was next to me.
“I can’t believe it, really.”
“-Contact me if you need anything. I know you’ll never do it if I don’t tell you, but still.”
“I know. I’ll ask Ian if he needs anything.”
I stopped Shale from speaking further and disconnected from the communication stone. The communication stone, which continued to glow softly, became dark again.
Emperor Valery Ahibara Kashinev. Somehow it’s unfamiliar. It didn’t even stick well to my mouth either. But the image of him ascending the throne would have been more handsome and suited him better than anyone else.
Delkian seemed to have supported him casually this time too. He looked like a person who didn’t have greed. Indeed, he was a person who treated me like a sibling in the neighborhood, so he must have felt sorry for his younger brother. Come to think of it, he seemed like a very warm person too.
Shale told me to come back casually, but it touched my heart that I’m now a person from a completely different world. If I hadn’t changed the original story, I would have already died, and Valery would have been connected with Blake Ariandel.
It is said that Blake Ariandel went on a long journey alone after being free. This was a story I heard from Ian only later. She went so far as to say that she would come to find me when she returned someday.
I heard Amaterin calling outside. Looking at the turned-off communication stone, I, lost in my thoughts, got up, opened the door, and went outside.
Now the season is passing through winter and spring and heading toward summer. It’s still chilly at night and in the morning, but it’s much warmer, and the smell of grass has become stronger compared to winter, when it snows frequently, and typhoons blow.
“(Why? What’s going on?)”
I’m sure they want to eat fruit together outside. I thought Amaterin called me because the call was getting longer. Unlike the people here, she’s very friendly and always likes doing something together. Sometimes I looked at Kuren, but Kuren was just a good man as long as Amaterin was happy. He wanted me to hang out with Amaterin, and I was grateful for that. That would be great as long as it’s not her insistence to connect me with Ian.
“(Someone came to see you again.)”
Amaterine pointed behind me.
I turned back with no preparation for the unexpected news.
And I hardened without even realizing it.
“The terrain here is pretty high. I thought it was a small hill, but climbing up is quite hard. If I knew this would happen, I’d leave my heels behind.”
Trembling off her elegant dress, the familiar woman folded her parasol. Behind her was a man who served as her secretary and aide.
“…Juri del Chartero.”
I called her full name as if possessed. She grinned as if we had just met yesterday.
“It’s been a while since I exported wine, but I haven’t come to Riwendel yet. I’ve been asked to come, and I really like it. It’s like an island with a castle in winter.”
Juri took a few steps closer to me. Right in front of my nose, she laughed again.
“We decided to be friends, but then you ran away after giving all kinds of help?”
“I thought Lady Carbella would ask me for help at least once.”
Not Lady Ariandel, not Blake, but my real name came out of her mouth. Before I could even flinch, Juri held out her hand to me. A thin, elegant white lace wrapped around her delicate hand.
“Long time no see, my friend.”
I couldn’t help but gasp at the words. It must have been that I was taking advantage of them. Then, why is everyone like this?
When I couldn’t reach her hand, Juri put her hand forward even more. Reluctantly, I held her hand. As I was about to say something, Juri turned her head to the side.
“I know roughly what you want to say. I could see how hesitant you were even from the communication stone. Even if I look at it like this, If I set my mind to it, I can figure out the situation with Chartero information power.”
“Well, it’s unfortunate, but thanks to you, most of the political opponents of Chartero were swept away, and I thought it was a good thing. Was I virtuous? Putting my hand on my chest and thinking about it, I wasn’t really like that. First of all, it was me who asked to be your friend. So…”
I still couldn’t say anything. Above all, her appearance and everything she said sounded embarrassing. She didn’t have to be stained together to defend me. Nonetheless, she was willing to do so.
“How have you been?”
Juri gave strength to the hand I held as if she wanted an answer. I let out a laugh. After briefly shaking her hand a couple of times like a handshake, I let it go.
“As you can see.”
“I think your face has become a little brighter. You seem to have lost more weight. Is it because I haven’t seen you in a long time?”
“Perhaps. Juri now and then is still pretty.”
After Juri was recognized as the successor of her family, she said that she had been preparing diligently until now.
I wondered if it was necessary to pass through a huge landmass separated by sea to come here, but I decided just to admit it. That they just came to see me.
Juri pretended to be easy-going but seemed somewhat surprised to see the house I lived in. With questions such as “There must be a separate place for you to stay, right? or ‘Is this like a villa where you stay for a while?” None of the questions gave her a yes answer.
“(Renia, is she really your friend?)”
Amaterine, who was behind, crept up. I nodded to her asking me.
“(Everyone in the land below must be pretty and handsome.)”
I laughed a little at Amaterin’s frankness.
“What is she saying?”
Juri hadn’t yet spoken the common language of the continent. She didn’t have time to learn it because of her work, so she left people in charge and came here in a hurry. I helped her interpret in the middle.
“She asked if you’re really my friend. So I answered yes. She’s also saying that everyone in the empire must be handsome and pretty.”
“That’s a really nice question.”
I introduced Juri to Kurin and Amaterin, so we had quite a conversation after returning home. Although I was close to becoming a translator in the middle and delivering it.
Juri couldn’t stay longer. She said it took more than a week to get to this place because she had been running low on teleportation stones, so she couldn’t use them to go except for a few times. She said she had to leave right now to get back to work.
Teleportation stone is a very expensive and hard-to-get item. Still, Ian also came here with a teleportation stone, so of course, I thought Juri came that way. But she came by boat… I admired her
It was so expensive and hard to get, but Ian also came to Lee Dong-seokOf course, I thought Juri came like that. But she came by boat… I admired her fighting spirit.
“I hope to see you in the empire next time.”
Juri looked sad and seemed to want me to go back to the empire, just like Ian and Shale did. Hearing her being sad like that, I felt like a spell had been cast on me.
“If I have a chance.”
Juri asked as she prepared to go back. “Aren’t you curious about the man who became emperor? Don’t you miss him at all?”
I sent her off with a smile instead of an answer.