“You must be burdened by the price.
Well, let’s do this then.
Dia, this secret bear is non-refundable.
Use it first, then when you get a little bigger, you can pass it on to another child.
You can think of it as borrowing it for a little while.”
The thought that I was just borrowing it rather than owning it completely made me feel a little more comfortable.
I clutched my ticklish heat, contemplated a little more, and decided.
I’ll follow my feelings.
I’ll take it.”
Only then did the Little Bear smile brightly.
“Great! Then I’ll lend it to you! But you decide the password.
Choose a meaningful, easy-to-remember number.
Make sure it’s four digits.”
If one normally thought of a four-digit number it would be their birthday.
But I didn’t know my birthday, whether it was in my previous life or now.
I looked back at the Big Bear and Little Bear.
“Okay, we won’t watch you.”
The two bears turned around as if understanding my gaze as I didn’t want them to look.
‘That’s not what I meant.’
I was scratching my head as I set the password.
The day I first met the two bears.
It was a meaningful date for me.
I’ll put this in your room then.”
“Yes, thank you.”
But I don’t think my expression was very good.
As the Little Bear soon shook his head, approached me, and bowed down.
He then asked, looking into my eyes.
“You don’t like it?”
I like it.
It’s really, really good.”
“If that’s true, won’t you smile? I want you to smile all the time.
Like this, bright.”
The Little Bear smiled with both hands stretching the ends of his mouth sideways.
‘What a fool.’
But… I liked it.
After meeting the two bears, a joy that was deeply embedded in my heart grew and spread throughout my entire body.
I hugged the Little Bear.
The Little Bear smiled before hugging me back.
“Father, look at this! Dia is hugging me tight! Ouch!”
The Little Bear could only brag for a moment before the Big Bear took me right away.
“That was the first time!”
The Little Bear grumbled.
I blinked in embarrassment and laughed.
“Dia, your laugh is pretty too!”
The Little Bear praised me, and the Big Bear nodded and agreed.
I kept smiling and clasped my arms around the Big Bear’s neck.
Unlike the teddy bear which boasted a softness that seemingly melts, the Bear’s arms were hard.
But I liked it.
The two Bear’s arms.
I laughed heartily and fully embraced the warmth of the two bears.
On the day that I slept with the secret teddy bear by my side, I thought I would have a good dream.
Or at least I wouldn’t have any nightmares.
But I was wrong.
[I can’t believe such an incompetent and stupid bitch like you is the warrior!]
[You useless piece of shit!]
[You can’t even do this? You should just die!]
I hated the whip.
I disdained it.
I was scared– No.
Terrified of the pain it inflicted as it tore my flesh.
The feeling of isolation as the beatings wore my body out only grew day by day.
But still, I was not allowed to make a single sound.
The Cardinal stepped on me as though I was just dust.
I wanted to die.
But, I couldn’t
I was the Warrior.
I had the duty of defeating the Demon Lord.
I had to prevent even more innocents from becoming victims.
I wanted to see the people smile brightly.
For this reason, I endured and threw my pride away.
But there was also another reason.
My eyes opened.
My sight was blurred and out of focus but I could see Big Bear and Little Bear looking down at me with worried faces.
The Little Bear asked urgently,
“Father, why is she so hot?”
“Find the priest.
“Dia, just wait a bit!”
The Little Bear disappeared in the blink of an eye.
The Big Bear wiped my forehead with a cloth with a nervous look.
Soon, there was a cold feeling.
I groaned out a sigh, and this time Big Bear wiped my entire face with a cloth.
It was an extremely cautious touch as if he was worried that something wrong might occur at any moment.
It was so sweet that it made my tears flow.
So, I was finally able to gather the courage to say it out loud.
“The truth is… about me…”
I didn’t even know what I was talking about because my thoughts were all tangled up like a string of thread.
Still, words came flowing out from top to bottom.
“I hate living.”
“I hate living.
I want to leave.
I even thought of all the reasons I would die for, but…The truth is…”
I wanted to live.
I wanted to live a normal life like everyone else.
I wanted to have pleasant conversations, not heavy silence.
I wanted to smile as I faced others.
I wanted to exchange affection with sincerity.
That’s how I wanted to live.
“Just like everyone else, in a normal, happy way… Just like that… But…”
I couldn’t say anymore.
As soon as the words that had been embedded in my soul came out, I lost the power to make a sound.
I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.
A Big Bear’s scream was faintly heard before I plunged deep into the darkness.
“…you have to go.”
“I know, but Dia…”
Out of nowhere, I heard voices in the dark.
It was Big Bear, as well as the voice of a strange man.
‘Who is it…?’
I didn’t have the energy to think anymore as I was pushed back into the water like I was falling off a cliff.
It was only a long time after that I could get out.
I knew I had closed my eyes for a very long time, but somehow my eyelids weren’t heavy.
My sight was blurred, but it became clear after a few blinks.
‘Where am I?’
Everything in the room, including the bed I was lying on was neat and luxurious.
‘I burst to death because of the Cardinal… How am I in an inn?’
When I raised my eyes, I saw a huge teddy bear.
It was the one from Little Bear.
The cruel memories of the past that tore apart my soul finally receded, as if running away.
I was now in the present.
The thought brought me warm joy.
‘…But, it’s strange.’
There was no one else in the bedroom but me.
A chilly shiver was sent down my spine.
‘Am I alone? Did… they leave me?”
It was at that moment of shock that the closed-door opened silently.
It was the Little Bear who move very carefully as if not to wake me up.
As he looked up, his face which was filled with dark clouds, shone like the midsummer sun in an instant.
“Dia! You’re awake!”
My heart brightened too.
I wanted to laugh and answer loudly, but I couldn’t.
The sound that came out of my mouth was small and faint.
Both my lips and throat were scathing like a dry desert.
“Water, where’s the water?”
I managed to say a sentence.
The Little Bear ran away immediately and returned with a pitcher full of water and an empty cup.
He then carefully picked me up by the waist, poured water into the cup, and put it to my lips.
I did as the Little Bear said.
After drinking, I felt like I had drank an entire bottle.
“Are you okay?”
The Little Bear wiped my sweaty forehead with a wet towel.
It was a careful yet friendly touch like the Big Bear in my memory.
I laughed from the bottom of my heart.
Did I get sick?”
You’ve been bedridden for three days you know!”
“On the first night I thought you would sleep it off, but your fever went up! I thought something was gonna happen! I even called the priest, but they didn’t help at all.
They said it was a cold but that they couldn’t cure it with divine power.”
Divine power was the power that theoretically could heal all wounds and diseases.
However, there were areas or illnesses it didn’t, or rather, couldn’t treat due to individual differences.
In my case, it was colds and body aches.
‘I didn’t think it would be the same as my previous life.’
“I was really worried.
I, I thought something would go wrong…”
Tears welled up in the Little Bear’s eyes.
I was shocked again.
“I’m glad you recovered!”
The Little Bear clasped me in his arms and I wriggled my arms around the waist of Little Bear and patted him with my right hand on the back.
“I’m okay now so don’t cry.”
“No, I’m not crying.”
The Little Bear only released his hug after a long time.
He then went to the bathroom, washed his face clean, and came back.
“Where is the Count?”
“Father went somewhere else for a while.
He wanted to stay until you recovered, but something big happened.”
In truth, I was a little disappointed.
‘As expected of a child’s body.
I can’t believe I’m upset about this.’
I remembered the conversation I heard while sick.
A man told Big Bear he had to go.
And… Big Bear didn’t seem to want to go.
“Hydra, a seventh-class monster, appeared in two cities.
Hydra isn’t a strong species, but it’s tricky to deal with.
It does have eight mouths it can use to spray poison after all.
It’s hard to approach to catch without any casualties.
Of course, that won’t be the case when Father comes.”
The Little Bear explained in detail as if afraid I would be disappointed.
“My Grandmother used to be the one who handled the Hydra, but she passed away a long time ago.
Now that duty is passed onto Father.”
I was familiar with the Hydra so I could understand why Big Bear had to go personally.
But I was anxious.
“Hydra showed up in the city? Two of them?”
Hydras were originally lone wolves.
They were monsters that avoided places with people.
‘Is it a mutant?’
Monsters that behaved differently from their set patterns were usually called ‘Mutants’.
But it was strange.
‘Why are there still mutants?’
Mutations only appeared when the Demon Lord came to this world.
Since the Demon Lord has long gone, shouldn’t the mutants have disappeared?
‘I guess that isn’t the case.’
It showed up at the place we stopped by.
Do you remember the Tagus Teritory?”
The place where we had the chocolate eclairs.
The one with Silver Fork.”
‘Silver Fork’ was the most famous dessert shop in the Empire.
There were branches in various territories, and a week ago, we visited the one in the Tagus Territories.
There were so many delicious things that I saw for the first time in my two lives.
Everything was delicious, but I liked the chocolate eclair the most.
“Yes, that’s right.”
The Little Bear smiled and continued,
“Father left two days ago when he heard the news.
More than 10 people had already died in Tagus because of the Hydra.”
For a moment, a wave of grief and guilt shook me.
It was the warrior’s duty to protect the people from the monsters.
‘…No, I’m no longer the warrior.’
I still had the power of the warrior, but I had already completed my duty by defeating the Demon Lord in my past life.
The warrior’s duty…
I hated it to point of trembling in disgust.
‘I’m not going on the path of the warrior again! But… I can help a little bit.’
The Big Bear must be suffering.
“Hey, what if we go too?”
The Little Bear shook his head firmly.
“No, you’re still sick.
It’s also dangerous.”
It was true that I was still sick, so I focused on the other sentence.
“It’s not dangerous.
It’s been two days.
If you were the count, wouldn’t you have taken care of everything already?”
The Little Bear’s eyes shook.
I looked around and used my honest heart as bait.
“I miss the Count…”
“Yes! I miss him a lot!”
I waved my arms open.
“A lot! Lot! Lot!”
I emphasized it like this.
The Little Bear suddenly became a little sullen and asked me this question while looking at me.
“Do you like Father more than me…?”
This time, it was my eyes that shook.
The Little Bear pouted when I didn’t say anything and then turned his eyes to the side.
He looked like he was sulking.
‘I can’t believe he’s upset over this!’
He clearly looked like he was twenty but his heart was still that of a thirteen-year-old.
I’ll comfort you because I’m older.’
I clicked my tongue inside.
“I like both of you the same!”
It was a lie.
I liked the Big Bear better.
“But the Count is away for business right now.
Of course, I miss him.”
The Little Bear glanced at me, tilted his head, then opened his eyes.
As if pondering on whether or not what I was saying was true.
I sighed inwardly and added.
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