TPCP – 80

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Unfortunately, the dormitory where Elisha grew up was under construction. It was the smallest building among the dormitories.

Even though they were abandoned by their families, most of the noble girls would marry by arrangement when they became adults.

Therefore, each annex was surrounded by a high, gray-walled, sharp fence.

‘Long time no see.’

She suddenly had the impulse to go inside. She opened the front door and entered.

Elisha carefully examined the interior of the building. Then, she went out into the garden, staring at the tall gate.

“Is something the matter?”

“No, just, when I was young… … . I used to look at the monastery’s fence often. There’s a higher wall outside this fence nonetheless. So I imagined the world beyond.”

“You must have been young then.”

“I was a bit odd, I didn’t want to leave the monastery. I thought the world outside was infested with sinister devils and bandits… … . Because Rosaria told me… … . I thought it was hell beyond these boundaries.”

“She wasn’t wrong. Because there are actually devils and bandits.”

Elisha agreed.

“After some time passed— after being captured by Jacob, I often thought of this gate. That place, which sometimes felt like a stuffy prison, was also a wall that protected me. The world outside the fence might have very well been hell.”

“Do you still feel that way?”

Elisha shook her head slightly.

“Today, Nora is escorting me. It is safe now.”

“I see. Then, if the threats you feared as a child appear, I will continue to protect you from them from now on.”

Elisha beamed a little.

“Thank you, Nora. I must have disappointed you these days, but you still said such a thing.”

Nora’s expression clouded over at her words. Then, Elisha felt a slight tingling on the back of her neck.

“Elisha.”

She jumped out of her seat. Lucerne was calling her.

“What are you doing there?”

“There were some circumstances.”

“Come out.”

But when she went to the door, she realized the door was locked. The monastery doors often broke down like this. This is because the door was defaulted to lock from the outside for the safety of the girls.

“I think the door is broken because the hinges are old. I can’t get out.”

Lucerne was watching her from outside the fence.

“Come over here.”

He told her to come up to the fence near him.

‘I feel like I’m back in my childhood.’

When she was having fun, she hummed and ran around the fence while imagining the world out there.

And now, at the end of the fence, was Lucerne.

“Shadow,”

Lucerne whispered.

“Ah!”

Suddenly, Elisha was caught up in the shadows in an instant. It stroked and licked her cheek.

“I think this guy likes you,”

mumbled Lucerne rather dumbfounded. Her body was on top of the fence, but her feet did not touch the sharp ends of the pointed wall. Because of the shadow, her whole body was floating in the air.

“Come here.”

He held out his arm. Elisha blinked.

A world beyond the fence that she had imagined as a child was unfolding. By coincidence— so haphazardly…

Plop. The shadow deposited her and she landed on the floor in Lucerne’s arms.

“What?”

he asked as he looked at Elisha, who was speechless.

“No, it’s different from the hell I imagined.”

“What are you talking about?”

Then, there was a slamming cacophony at the door but Nora eventually gave up and climbed over her barrier on her own. Even though it was a tall wall, she got over it swiftly as if she had wings.

In Lucerne’s arms, and she replied in a tight, suppressed voice,

“It’s nothing.”

Elisha briefly recalled the old memories of her past life. Among the flashes of memory and the detailed memories, was a memory that passed like a flash of light. But for some reason she only now remembered it clearly.

She had been hugged like this by Lucerne before.

***

One day in the future that had disappeared.

It was a day when the yearly hunting festival was held on the duke’s estate. There, behind the duke’s mansion was a small spring that led to the forest. The fountain was mysteriously clear and clean all year round.

With so much money in the household that it was rotting, they had a sorcerer plant many flowers in the spring. Inside, blossoms were always swaying, catching the attention and marvel of the passersby.

One of the festival’s events was a competition where men on large teams played a game of kicking a ball with a long stick called ‘rofen.’ It was only during the annual contest when the lakeside was quiet. Elisha took advantage of the absence of people and went to see the place.

Because she earned the ire of people when a ugly woman like her was present.

On days when there were no nobles, the household’s employees visited the spring. So today was the only day of the year that Elisha could go to see it, finally absent of nobles and servants.

Then she found someone. The moment she spotted him, the hair stood up on her body. Beside Jacob and Marco, he was the person Elisha feared the most.

His name was Zain. He had previously done something akin to courting her before her face was ruined.

The problem was that he was a very distant relative of Carola’s. After she became a hideous woman with burns on her face. He became the laughing stock of the knights.

‘How shameful to be rejected by such an ugly bitch!’

After that, Zain was anxious to torment her whenever he saw her. So Elisha hid from him.

“Ah!”

Splash—Then her foot slipped and she fell into the spring.

A buzzing sound echoed over her head. It was frivolous laughter.

“So I told that bitch… … .”

It seemed the knights were drinking. She trembled, and she hid in the water with only her head sticking out. It was not long before the men passed by.

‘Uh, huh?’

Elisha felt empty and searched her pocket. Her ancient gold coin was gone.

‘It’s precious.’

When she was imprisoned in Marco’s mansion and Lucerne had saved her, he had given her that ancient gold coin.

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