Senia smiled brightly after Carr curled his pinky around her and shook it once. There was a light blush hanging on her white skin. Even though it was a small and trivial matter, but she couldn’t help but thank him for indulging her. Carr just quietly smiled at her.
However, she would deeply regret the promise later on.
The two stayed in the city a little longer than they originally planned because Senia needed to calm the town’s atmosphere after the monsters’ attack. There were many priests who could use a light divine miracle, so Senia just had to treat those who were seriously wounded then spent most of her time to attend the scheduled prayer.
People’s anxiety subsides with the knowledge that the saint of the sun’s god was staying in the city and doing miracles. An attack by monsters that happened without warning. A demon who controlled it but hadn’t been caught. This was enough to unrest the people even though there was no significant damage because of Carr’s quick thinking and precise judgement. However, Senia knew well why the people needed her to stay in the city for longer although it took a toll on her.
While Senia was performing her duties as a saint in the town, Carr would always follow her around. Sometimes he would stay close like her personal guard and at other times, he would stay in the shadow, watching her from afar. When Senia wandered to the private residency of the people, Carr would watch her surroundings. When Senia entered the temple, he would sit on a bench outside and spent time quietly.
Senia wanted him to be more independent, but Carr refused as he had no intention of doing so. After all, only Senia trusted him and so he didn’t plan to leave her alone. And recently, sitting alone was not as boring as it used to be.
“Oh, you’re here again today. I’m glad I didn’t walk in vain. You’ve been travelling for a long time, haven’t you? What monsters have you caught before?”
After the incident, the captain of the guard came to Carr and ask for various defence measures also Dan came around to talk to him whenever he had time. At first, Carr wasn’t keen to talk but now he spent a lot of time talking with others. It was a development that he would never think would ever happen, after all, he didn’t trust people.
“You mean the scent of the Sadrans has the effect of repelling the harpies?”
Today, it was the captain of the guard that came to visit him first. He was very interested in Carr’s monster hunting knowledge. While mercenaries usually hired a lot as an escort or for security works, Carr only hunted monsters, so he had many experiences.
“Yes. I hate the scent of that flower. In highland villages where there are frequent territorial conflicts with harpies over territory, they prefer to use flowers called Sadran rather than window walls, so it’s good to squeeze the nectar. Ah, they are also good for perfume.”
“I see. We need to gather it in advance and grow it here.”
“Anything else you like to know?”?
“Oh, I have everything I want to ask you today, but I have a message for you today.” The captain took a letter out of his pocket. It was a simple paper that was folded in half, there was no seal on it.
“The woman I met on the street this morning asked me to give it to you, Sir Carr.”
“To me?” Carr frowned as he took the letter and opened it.
The captain watched Carr hesitation as he opened the note and wondered if it was bad news, “Did something happen? What’s wrong?”
“No, I expected it…. But I can’t read the letter.”
Literacy was rare, especially in those in the rural villages. After all, only people who lived and trade in the big city had the skills.
“Well, if you don’t mind, I can read it for you.” The captain said carefully.
“Please.” Carr nodded and handed the letter back. He leaned back, enjoying the morning sun while waiting for the letter to be read.
The captain looked at Carr for a moment, wondering where all his power and experience came from when Carr looked like any normal person right now as he basked under the sun. He couldn’t help but respect Carr, he is still awed by his performance during the fight.
Carr who noticed the stare, turned his head toward the captain, raising his brow slightly.
“Ah right.” The captain cleared his throat and started reading the letter, “I’m interested in you. Tonight at 8.00 p.m., please come to the Chrysanthemum Inn. Alone. That’s what the letter said.”
The captain flushed slightly, clearing his throat after reading the content of the note. “Hmm. This… She’s a passionate one. I’m sorry that I had to read it.”
To call a man you’re interested in an inn, alone, at night. Anyone would know the real message behind it.
The captain looked up from the note, curious to see Carr’s reaction about the sudden propositioned from an unknown girl.
“…. I don’t know what this is.” Carr murmured to himself while scratching his cheek expressionlessly.
“Wait? What? Isn’t it obvious?”
“The nature of the meeting is not written down, so it doesn’t seem to be an important thing. I don’t think I have to go.”
“Oh, no… but that’s….”
The captain of the guard was embarrassed, not sure how he should explain the subtle meaning behind the note and thoughtfully grabbed Carr’s shoulder.
“I think, as a man, you should go there. Even if your decision might change later.”’
“You have to go without fail. It wasn’t a gentlemanly manner to ignore a woman’s courage and she was quite a beauty too.”
“I understand what you’re trying to say, but does it matter?”
Carr blinked a few times and, in the end, was convinced by the captain’s words. After all the man had a sterner face than during the monster meeting a few days ago. There’s also the fact that in terms of how to conduct social experience and anything touch ordinary life, Carr was completely incompetent, so it seemed he didn’t have anything to lose from following the other man’s advice.
“Well, if you say so. I’ll go and check out the situation.”
“That’s good. This is the fantasy of every man. Hm. To be honest, I’m quite jealous.”
“Why are you jealous of Sir Carr?”
“Oh, damn. Get up, get up. Hello, saint!”
Senia, who came out of the prayer, was standing next to them with a smile which surprised the captain who quickly got up and gave her a stiff salute. He was nervous that their whole conversation was heard by the saint.
Senia greeted the two in silence, looking at both before she opened her mouth again.
“It seemed you two have been talking in a friendly way, so I didn’t want to interrupt from afar, but it makes me curious what you’re jealous of, captain?”
“Well, that’s… hahaha. It’s just such an honour and blessing for us to be able to escort the saint. I was jealous of Sir Carr because of that.”
“Oh? Was it something like that?”
Carr shrugged his shoulder, not sure how to explain it to Senia but he could show her the letter. However, seeing how anxious and sweaty the guard was, he wondered if he should just keep it to himself.
Senia could easily see that the two were lying, but she decided not to ask more and smiled her usual pretty smile.
“Well, thank you for your words. We will continue to work hard and spread God’s grace.”
“Hmm. Well, even now the sun’s god blessing was still powerful. It would have been nice if the moon’s saint is also here. It’s a pity that you have to leave immediately.”
“Perhaps next time we will be able to meet again.”
The captain couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling that he was able to talk to the saint. The gentle voice, the beautiful smile akin to an angel and her benevolence to save the people, it just likes how she was rumoured to be. He felt like he was blessed just by standing next to the saint.
Soon the captain turned around, returning to his afternoon patrol, after saying his goodbye one last time to Senia and Carr.
“Shall we go down now? Oh, if you have any personal business you can go anytime, Sir Carr. I’m not in any danger when I’m in the inn. I feel bad that you can’t do anything because you keep looking after me.” Senia looked up at Carr, smiling gently. It was a bright smile that no different from the usual one that she showed during her duties. The smile made her look exactly like that night after the monster incident.
It made his heart skipped a beat.
After dinner, Carr came out of the hallway, ready to go out. Senia was unlikely to suspect that he ran away even if he disappeared, but he thought it would be right to tell her where he was heading.
The door to her room opened slightly after Carr knocked once. She held a book in her right hand as her eyes travelled on Carr’s body, taking in his outfit.
“Oh, are you going out?”
Carr nodded once and he watched as Senia’s smile bloomed beautifully. She was happy that Carr was going to go out to do his own thing.
“Then, please enjoy yourself.”’ Senia said cheerfully, wanting to ease Carr’s uneasiness regarding leaving her alone. “Be careful.”
Carr paused slightly at the send-off. It was the first time someone had said that to him, and it made his heart beat a bit faster than before. It was something he couldn’t express in detail.
Whether it’s a family or a couple, there must be people who had these conversations every day. However, Carr didn’t know how to respond to this situation. He wanted to reach toward Senia, at her smile. If he watched her for a moment longer, he wouldn’t be able to hold back from kissing her.
Carr took a deep breath, nodded his head again and forced himself to turn around and walk away from Senia. Every step he took was heavy, it felt like he left something behind. He shook his head gently and sighed deeply as he stepped out of the inn.
The night air filled his lungs and despite taking a deep breath of it, the lump on his chest still stayed. For a moment, he wondered if he should return but then he remembered Senia’s smile upon knowing he was going out to take time for himself.
It will be a quick one.
Carr decided as he started to make his way to the Chrysanthemum Inn. The air outside the inn was gloomy and as he entered the airdropped a few degrees. Carr looked around the hall, uneasy about the strange situation.
Usually, at this time of night, people who just finished their work late and other customers would fill in the tables in the tavern, but the room was empty. There was no customer, no late-night workers. It almost felt like the inn wasn’t even open with how they only gently lit the place.
Is there no guest?
There was no sign of the inn’s owner either and by the time all the red alarms in his mind went off, there was already a presence on the stairs that leading up to the second floor.
“…. You came.”
Carr turned his head toward the familiar voice. The person who walked down at a leisure pace from the second floor was the woman called the saint of the moon that he met a few days ago.
“Sit down.” She ordered as she moved to sit down on one of the empty tables. Her dark hair and icy look seemed to glow under the dim-lit room, giving her an even more mysterious atmosphere.
“What are you doing?”
Is this woman called me because she knew?
Carr swallowed his saliva, nervous as the woman looked at him with a bored and yet intense expression. He wondered if she saw his red eyes that night. No, if she knew about it, she would have confronted him immediately.
Carr calmed his breathing as he sat across her, trying to copy her detached acts.
“Are you the one that called me?”
“Yes. Do I need to introduce myself?” Lu twisted her finger at the tip of her black hair. It was a gesture that might seem charming in other’s eyes, but Carr only felt even more detached from her. Objectively in addition to the charming gesture, her clothes that show off her pale collarbone and upper chest made it made her looked better than the saint.
“Ah, he’s a man with a bad memory.” She sighed, “My name is Lu, a saint that was born with the blessing of the moon god, Lumar. You have seen me before, right? Call me whatever you want.”
“I have heard that the moon’s saint had left the village.”
“True. I didn’t want to get involved with the people, so I went out and sneaked back in afterwards. How about you? Why don’t you introduce yourself?” Lu rested her chin on her left hand while she right reached out slightly.
“Carr, I don’t have any particular identity to introduce myself.”
“No way. Being a saint’s escort is something to boast about for generations regardless of age and sex.”
“Why did you call me?” Carr cut her to the main point. He wanted to get out of this awkward situation as soon as possible.
“Just… I’m interested in you. Can’t I do that?” Lu spoke calmly, keeping her eyes on Carr.
“I was wondering what kind of man that escorts the saint of the sun god.”
Carr let out a relief sigh at her words. It seemed that she didn’t know about his real identity, which was a good thing. However, it was still burdensome for him to sit in front of the moon saint like this. He wanted to escape and returned to Senia’s side.
“If there’s nothing important you want to say, I will return now.”
“Doesn’t this conversation important?”
“Why?” Lu tilted her head slightly, causing a strand of her hair to move to the side, showing off a part of her pale skin. Carr quickly avoided his eyes away from her.
“I have no social skill and I don’t have anything to tell you.”
“I don’t care about your skill. It is not about communicating but to answer the question. Oh, how about an exchange?”
“What do you mean?”
“If you answer a question I ask, I will teach you what you want to know.”
This was the second woman that Carr had met who seemed to be interested in him. He never even had a conversation with the first woman he had seen.
“Don’t you want to know what the saint of the sun is like?” Lu quickly added when she noticed the hesitation on Carr’s face.
Carr paused with his mouth open and it was enough for Lu to know that she managed to catch the man off guard. The thought that she had found the tail to keep Carr interested is something that made her smile faintly.
“There’s no way a healthy man like you doesn’t care about her. Isn’t that right? The flower on the walls of the temple, the angels on the clouds, in the end, you will want to have them if you are within reach. That’s what desire is.”
Curiosity seized Carr’s heart and to tell the truth he wanted to know more about Senia. Arte didn’t tell him much and he could not ask about her to tell him. All he ever told was about the duties of the saint and how much she was such a kind person, however, the moon’s saint seemed to know something different.
“…. According to the question. If it’s difficult I can’t answer them.”
“Sure.” She shrugged, “This will be a long night, I’ll get us something to drink.” She got up and disappeared into the inner door behind the bar and returned with a bottle of wine and two glasses.
Despite her icy look and gaze, Lu’s beauty was something like the night sky. It was subtle and gloomy but there was a charm in that, very different to Senia’s beauty that seemed to shine bright just like the sun. It almost looked like the two reflected both sun and moon in their beauty. The sun always shone brightly everywhere, whereas the moon softly showed its presence while blending into the darkness.
“We don’t have to worry about anyone else coming.” Lu said, snapping Carr from his thought, “I signed a contract to use this place by myself for a few days.” She explained as she opened the cork and poured each glass with the red liquid.
“Then, who are you? Why are you escorting her? You’re not a priest, nor a paladin nor a famous knight. So, tell me.” Lu asked after taking a sip of the wine.
From the first question alone, Carr found himself in a difficult situation and there was no way out for him to escape.