A False Confession
Since Cabel hadn’t stirred so far despite my movements with the blanket, my actions had become a little too bold.
I guess that was the reason for my demise.
I stuttered and fumbled in embarrassment, but I couldn’t escape from his gaze.
Although, he didn’t seem to be glaring at me this time.
It felt like he was just staring at me for a moment.
His eyes that were still heavy with slumber were seriously bad for my heart.
This is really distressing.
His weary eyes became relaxed, and when combined with the slightly reddened edges of his eyes, he gave off a soft impression.
His usual blunt, lethargic, and rather inhuman image was completely gone, and now only a hazy drowsiness was present on his face.
…Oh, it’s dangerous for my heart.
A very honest physiological reaction took over my body.
A fever was about to rise on my face, making me even more embarrassed, so I struggled and stuttered, trying to spit out something, anything.
“Sor—I’m so sorry.
It’s just that the morning breeze was a little cold, but, uh…..
So, I need to bring one more now….”
During my reluctant speech I tried to shift my body away, but I was caught on the arm of the chair by a hand that held onto me.
The exact location was my arm, but rather than holding it, he was simply placing his hand around it, but nevertheless, the hot energy I felt through my clothes made me tremble.
The warmth of a person who has just woken up is lethal.
Cabel remained silent.
I slowly lowered my eyes to avoid his gaze, and found myself focusing on his blanket.
I had the sudden thought that blankets will always be a nuisance for me, when I heard Cabel’s low voice.
Still thickly coated with sleep, his voice came out small and soft, but we were so close that I was able to hear it fairly well.
More than fairly well, I could hear him perfectly clear.
“The breathing… ”
I was focusing on him intently before I realized it, listening carefully as his voice got smaller and smaller.
Breath? Did my breathing… bother you? Am I, am I breathing heavily even now? Am I inhaling too intensely?
I was momentarily ashamed and held my breath, but that only made him frown slightly.
His gaze, which had been directed at the blanket, slowly came up and focused on me.
Then Cabel seemed to try to say something, but suddenly closed his mouth tightly instead.
Once again, his expression turned displeased.
I didn’t seem to be understanding what he was saying.
He got lost in thought for a while, as if he was struggling to find the right words in his drowsy state.
He finally softened his eyes and spoke, a hazy voice ringing so softly in my ear that it gave me chills.
“… farther away from me.”
He let out a brief sigh.
Oh, did you get used to it?
There was no other reaction from him.
So, if I put together what Cabel said just now… It seems like he woke up because he couldn’t hear breathing.
Had he gotten used to the sound of my breathing…?
As I thought this far, the hand gripping my arm loosened, and Cabel’s arm slackened, making his upper body start to drop forward.
I managed to put enough strength in my hand to catch him, but my heartbeat became so fast and erratic.
I felt like my heart was in deep peril just now.
So really, I have to run back right now—
Suddenly his head fell on my shoulder.
Cabel fell asleep just like that.
And I hardened in front of him like a statue made of plaster.
I was stuck there for a long time in the position where I had paused, unable to finish arranging his blanket.
I couldn’t tell if this tingling sensation came from my arm or my heart.
* * * * * * *
The morning sky broke exceptionally wide and clear.
It was completely blue and clear of clouds, as if all the particles in the sky were swept away by the overnight rain.
It made it seem like the rainfall at dawn was merely an illusion.
And on such a clean, clear, refreshing morning, I was a zombie.
Next to me, Lily stared at me, not bothering to disguise her dubious expression.
“……you said you were going to save the Duke, so why are you the one coming back looking dead?”
Lily was looking at me with such a profound expression, but I could only smile ambiguously in return.
Lily waved her hands in front of me a couple of times, testing to see if I was lucid or not before unleashing an outpour of questions.
Asking me if I had helped the Duke sleep until morning, or if I had only just returned to the barracks…
To these questions, I had to express denial.
I came back to the barracks in the early morning, but I couldn’t get a wink of sleep in because I just missed the right timing.
But I had to lie to Lily saying that I slept a bit, or else she’d be worrying all day.
But other than that, I really spoke the truth.
I was able to return to the barracks at dawn and lay down.
It was because Cabel, who fell asleep leaning on my shoulder, woke up within an hour.
It was about four o’clock in the morning, when the rain had just begun to stop.
As Cabel woke up, I wondered if he would be able grasp the situation immediately.
He looked at me right in front of him, then down at my arm he was holding… he groaned briefly and apologized.
And I think I said thank you, but in actuality I didn’t really hear what Cabel was saying.
As soon as my arm was released, my legs collapsed underneath me and I fell to the floor.
My arms, my legs… my whole body was numb.
Cabel was looking down at me with an unfamiliar expression, but really the worst thing about this situation was the unsteady beating of my heart, leaving me unable to answer anything.
As soon as I had feeling back in my legs again, I immediately made a run for the barracks.
Then I quickly lay down and pulled the blanket over my head.
I felt like I was about to burst.
I earnestly wished for sleep to rid me of my consciousness…
To my dismay, I was unable to sleep until the very end. Until the moment when the sun took over the sky.
So, that’s why I’m left in this state.
But honestly, missing sleep for a day doesn’t automatically turn someone into a zombie.
I had tried so many times to make myself sleep, but the result was only this half-ruined state.
But still, after seeing off the knights going out on reconnaissance, I can go back and rest until they return.
So I kept telling myself I just had to keep my eyes open for a moment.
I’ve failed to sleep over and over again, but I’m sure I’ll be able to this time…
Hoping this with all my heart, I left the barracks with Lily.
Since the Nickel Knights had previously scouted this mountain the other day, they lead the reconnaissance in the front with only half of the Paladin Knights following.
Tirak, the Nickel Knights’ Vice-Leader, has been issuing a code of conduct to the knights in a loud voice since early in the morning.
The view of the neat indigo uniforms became more clear as we got closer and closer.
But where is Cabel? With the sudden question popping into my head, I automatically began looking around, and I found Cabel just arriving.
A long black cloak swayed along with his steps.
His neatly arranged jet-black hair was gently ruffled by the breeze.
Although there were still traces of exhaustion lingering around his eyes, the level of improvement was remarkable.
His face was much more human than yesterday.
I felt proud for some reason, and tried to grab Lily’s attention, seizing her arm and shaking it, when I suddenly met Cabel’s eye.
His gaze wasn’t a coincidence.
That is, I was caught pointing at him with my index finger, so I extended my hand politely and smiled at him.
“Look at that magnificent personage.
Isn’t it as radiant as a blossoming flower?”
It seems like you really might be sick? Are you deranged from lack of sleep?”
An improvisation requires cooperation in order to succeed, but this was too obvious a failure.
I cast my eyes away from Lily, who was treating me like a complete mental patient, and risked a glance at Cabel.
He was looking at me now like he always does, as if he was seeing the strangest person.
But somehow it felt a little different this time.
I mean, it felt like… a very subtle sympathy, like he was empathizing with someone who also couldn’t sleep properly… No, I’ll really feel like a sick person if I get that kind of attention from you, right?
Fortunately, Cabel didn’t respond to the incident and just looked at me with a subtle expression before walking to where the Nickel Knights stood.
In the meantime I had to placate Lily, who was seriously worried that I was losing it.
Disregarding me, Lily made a production of feeling my forehead to test the credibility of my words.
It was obvious that this was a performance of concern to tease me about my mental state.
“Lily, I said I’m really fine? I just wasn’t able to sleep much.”
“……are you sick somewhere, Priestess Renesha?”
As I spoke and intercepted Lily’s arm reaching out to my forehead, a soft voice intervened.
I turned my head to see Elvinraz.
He, too, was wearing the armor of the Paladins as if he was going out on the search this morning, but he was still very dazzling.
The armor of white and yellow gold glistened in the morning sun.
But outshining everything else, his face was by far the most brilliant.
“Your complexion doesn’t look so good.
Are you not feeling any better?”
I thought I had seen him quite often enough by now, but when I faced him in front of me again, my system was stuck buffering for a moment.
The graphics of his face are seriously too good.
There are two of such dangerously handsome people here, so I always had to keep my heart on guard.
Meanwhile, Elvin was persistent, offering to get medicine from a medical technician.
When he didn’t receive an answer from me he shook his head concernedly.
He seemed to think I had a cold, since the heavy overnight rain made the weather a little chilly.
“I’m not sick.
It’s just that I couldn’t sleep….
I have a little time until the knights return, so once I rest I’ll be perfectly fine.”
“But… in case it’s a cold, wouldn’t it be better to be careful before it spreads throughout your body?”
I couldn’t help feeling a bit strange from Elvin’s unfamiliar behavior, cautiously softening both his eyes and his tone.
I looked up at him with wide eyes, taking in the worried face of gold in front of me… At the same time, I had a brief realization: I felt better.
“I’ll take a rest! I’ll feel better in no time, so you really don’t have to worry about the divine power.”
For the first time, I smiled brightly, feeling extraordinary gratitude for my high divine power.
I’ve been told before that I worry too much, but if Elvin, who can see divine power, is expressing concern, then I think my condition must not be very good right now.
But I will definitely recover soon with Elviniraz’s concern, whose face alone was my magic remedy.
So, that’s why I smiled… But meanwhile, Elviniraz’s face became strangely stiff.
Just a moment ago, he was expressing concern for me with drooping eyes, but for some reason now, he had an uncomfortable expression, like someone who had gotten caught.
The situation wasn’t any particular inconvenience to me, but it seems I may have struck a nerve of his and made him feel awkward.
After making a strange expression for a while, Elvin finally pulled the corners of his mouth up into a smile.
His answer fell drily, “Yes, I see.”
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