The girl was surprised and stopped for a moment, as if she had read my thoughts. I could hear her too.
[Oh, I thought you didn’t know!]
The girl looked rather disappointed.
‘Are you really a Macul?’
[Yes, how did you know when I’m this pretty?]
The girl pouted. She really had become pretty.
Rather, she had transformed completely. I couldn’t believe that the bean sprout had turned into such a pretty girl.
‘I’m the same. I’ve changed too.’
[You’re very sharp, as expected.]
‘I am Ancia now.’
[The goddess’ friend is Laontel! Ancia hadn’t become the goddess’ friend. So you are Laontel.]
She spoke firmly.
‘Did Serphania send you over?’
[Yes, I’m a piece of her light. My name is Shell!]
Macul weren’t just demons, it was also a part of Ser’s power.
‘I thought Macul were born in high places.’
[No! I just took rest momentarily at the door of darkness!]
[When the seal of the Goddess was broken, I came back to my original form! Thank you.]
Shell smiled widely and flitted her wings again. Seeing her laugh like that, I felt sure that Ser was okay too.
Shell, who was dancing around merrily, suddenly flinched and fell to the ground. Her expression turned grim once again.
[Today, I’m here to deliver Serphania’s message.]
As Shell moved around, a line followed along her movements, creating a sparkling space of light. Ser’s voice sounded from the space she created.
[Ancia, how does it feel to be abandoned? You were so committed to him but the Crown Prince didn’t even recognize you.]
‘As expected, she’s the one who did this to me.’
I was able to know all the languages of the world thanks to her blessing, but the ability disappeared so suddenly. The goddess was the only one who was capable of doing it.
[Who would’ve done that?]
Ser laughed. I didn’t know she could laugh like this.
[You must be disappointed by the Crown Prince. He didn’t recognize you when your face changed. The love you believed in was really this shallow!]
‘Why did you do this?’
[Laontel, what are you mad at me? I did it for you.]
Do you think the Crown Prince would continue to love you even if you were ugly, mute and illiterate? There’s no way he’ll like you the way he used to now that you’ve lost the power of light and aren’t worth anything to him.]
[He’ll throw you away even when he finds out you’re the real Ancia. He’ll forget you and meet another beautiful girl. In the end, he’ll forget you!]
Ser laughed as if she was having the time of her life, but her laugh sent a chill down my spine.
I wanted to refute it, but I couldn’t say anything.
Would Blake be happy to find out that I was Ancia? What if he didn’t like me anymore?
I felt afraid and insecure, and an ominous feeling grew in my heart. Ser whispered,
[Laontel, I’ll give you one last chance as my friend.]
[Yes, a chance to get everything back.]
From beyond the space of light, a white sword appeared.
I took the sword. The blade of the sword was engraved with a twisted stain-like pattern. It was similar to damascus steel, usually called as the devil’s sword.
[Stab Blake with this sword.]
I was taken aback and dropped the sword.
[If you wet the sword with the Crown Prince’s blood, I will give you back what’s yours. Your beautiful body, your voice, your language ability, the power of light, you can have everything back!]
I picked up the sword that had fallen to the ground.
[Yes, die! He’s gonna die! Eliminate the Crown Prince and come back to me, Laontel.]
Listening to Ser ramble crazily, I put the white sword back into the space.
At that moment, her laughter stopped.
‘I don’t need it.’
[Are you going to live in this body forever?]
I couldn’t kill him to get my body back. I didn’t even need to think about it. But the sword didn’t enter the space.
[Haha, your body won’t last that long anyway.]
[Your body won’t last a day over 100 days for sure.]
100 days…A fit of coughing took over me before I could realize what Ser meant. I put my hand over my mouth, trying to control it, but the coughs didn’t stop.
It felt as if my throat was scorched and my lungs were being torn apart. I couldn’t stand up straight, and just fell on the floor.
The coughs finally stopped over time, but my throat still hurt. I looked at my hand, and saw a spot of blood on my palm.
Ser wasn’t lying.
[Laontel, I’ll give you another chance. Kill the Crown Prince!]
The sword came back to my hands. The white sword was now dyed red with my blood. Looking at the red blood, I suddenly recalled Baekhan’s words.
“Since you’re so kind, you will save a lot of people. But you won’t be able to save yourself.”
“The moment of choice will come soon. I can see you burning in the white light.”
This was the moment of choice Baekhan had warned me about.
[Killing the Crown Prince will bring you back to your original state! Stab the crown prince with that sword right now!]
I put the sword back, ignoring Ser’s words.
‘I told you I didn’t need it.’
[Are you saying you’re going to die instead of the Crown Prince? Are you stupid? Were you always this stupid? The Crown Prince won’t recognize you! Even if he knew who you were, he’d throw you away! And you’re going to give up your life because of him?]
As Ser said, I may have made a foolish choice. Even if that was true, I didn’t regret it.
If I had the chance to save Blake, there was nothing I wouldn’t do.
‘Yes. So go away.’
I pushed the sword back into the space.
[You’re going to regret it!]
Soon Ser’s voice disappeared along with the space she had made.
[Huh? huh…W-wait for me!]
Shell also entered the space. Soon, it disappeared completely.
The moment of choice was over. I couldn’t turn back time, but I didn’t regret it.
I wiped the blood off from the floor and my hands.
Fortunately, my clothes were clean. As soon as I finished, a wave of sleepiness hit me. My body ached even if I only moved slightly. Soon, I fell asleep.
The next day, I went to bed early. Fortunately, I didn’t feel any pain. Then, I heard a sound from outside the tents.
What was going on?
While I got up, Blake entered my room.
“Are you up already?”
He spoke softly. He must have been surprised when I cried suddenly before, so he was being considerate now.
“Did you wake up because of the noise outside?”
I shook my head.
“We’re going to return back to the palace. It’ll be a bit noisy, so hang in there.”
He said he won’t go back to the palace, but he changed his mind in a day. Edon must have convinced him.
“Did you recall any letters?”
I shook my head again.
Since I rejected Ser’s offer last night, I wouldn’t be able to talk or write ever again.
“Where do you live?”
“You don’t remember?”
In this world, my only home was the imperial palace where Blake and I were staying.
“What about your family?”
“What’s your name?”
I remained silent. I couldn’t talk or write, but it wasn’t just because of that.
Ser said Blake would abandon me if he knew I was Ancia.
I was terrified that her words would really come true, but it was not because of that.
Blake had stayed in the valley of chaos for more than three months. I remembered Edon saying that Blake was still looking for me.
Seven years had passed since I disappeared into the door of darkness.
During that time, Blake must’ve been in so much pain.
I wouldn’t live long anyway. I might not even be alive by the end of this year. It was better to just leave Blake’s life entirely.
“You don’t know anything. Have you lost your memory?”
I nodded. It would be better to pretend that I didn’t remember anything than tell a lie.
At that moment, Blake came closer to me.
“Lies. You remembered me yesterday.”
He looked at me as if he knew everything about me.
“Did you really forget? Or do you simply not want to tell me?”
His appearance had changed a lot so I felt unfamiliar and awkward, and for some reason, my face turned red and I couldn’t look straight at him.
Seeing me avoid his gaze, he only laughed.
“Then I’ll have to name you.”
I nodded quickly.
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