Hierian bit his lips tightly.
‘Why did Dianel suddenly…?’
He thought he didn’t care and would just leave quietly, but it seemed that was not the case.
Even so, if it were the usual Hierian, he would have chased him away or treated him carelessly and sent him off.
But strangely, his body trembled uncontrollably.
Extreme stress surged through him, and fear engulfed his body, making it difficult for him to even breathe properly.
Moreover, he might lose someone precious.
That fear filled his entire being.
Even Izaya’s voice was barely audible.
Instead, vivid memories of what he experienced as a child came flooding back as if he were experiencing them now.
‘Who cares if he’s getting his limbs chopped off? He’s a mage, after all.
Let him heal himself.’
‘Did you hear? He called that babysitter ‘Mom.’ You should have treated her better! That’s why you’re in trouble with the prince!’
‘You can’t even tell who that babysitter is? Whether you’re clever about it or act cute, do something to receive a favor.
Who likes a complainer?’
‘He does despicable things.
And his parents who raised him died because they couldn’t control their magic.
I don’t know who’s to blame.’
Giggling, the voices that spoke freely, knowing Hierian was there, still sounded haunting.
He thought he had forgotten them all, but it seemed that was not the case.
Tears welled up in the corners of Hierian’s eyes.
Now he was an administrator, the leader of all magicians, and he was respected.
So he thought he would be fine, but perhaps he wasn’t.
Hierian forgot his embarrassment and blurted out the words he had suppressed deep inside, as if in pain.
The words, uttered as if groaning, resonated clearly in Izaya’s ears.
Quietly, Izaya took out candy and handed it to Hierian.
It was a candy with a heart carved in red dye.
Hierian hesitated but put it in his mouth.
“Just until I finish eating.”
“…It’s a secret.”
As Izaya handed Hierian a handkerchief, he trembled, not just crouching down.
When the candy completely melted and the handkerchief was soaked with tears, Hierian spoke.
“Tell him to come back.”
Hierian didn’t have the composure to face Dianel as usual.
Izaya, who heard his answer, silently got up from her seat.
Facing her, Hierian spoke again.
His voice was unusually subdued and melancholic.
“And now, I’m going to close the top floor.
You too, Izaya.”
At that moment, warning lights flashed, and the magicians guarding the top floor hurriedly left their positions.
Gradually, Hierian’s magic began to emit light, covering his surroundings.
After confirming that all the magicians had disappeared, Izaya bowed her head toward Hierian.
Only after Izaya completely disappeared did Hierian open his mouth.
“I can’t trust anyone.
I don’t trust anyone.”
He let his true feelings show for a moment and realized how much he had lost.
So he decided not to create something he wanted to protect anymore.
But why did such a person suddenly appear? And so quickly.
However, he couldn’t easily give up.
Excuses were just excuses, but in fact, he wanted it that way.
That fact saddened him deeply, and once again, a gloominess settled in his gray eyes.
* * *
How long had I slept? It was difficult to guess the passage of time.
My half-asleep mind felt foggy.
I looked around drowsily, and my tired eyes landed on a new card placed on the bedside table.
“VIP membership card?”
Seeing this, it seemed that they didn’t plan to keep me here all the time.
If they didn’t intend to send me away, there was no reason to keep their promise.
Cautiously, I picked up the card, feeling its smooth texture firmly in my hand.
Just as I absentmindedly fiddled with the card, a loud sound of a door opening disrupted the moment.
I wondered how many layers of locks were set in place.
The sound, which never seemed to become familiar no matter how many times I heard it, creased my brow.
It was then that Hierian unexpectedly extended his hand toward me.
“Let’s go somewhere else.”
“We have a place to go.”
I glanced down at his fern-like hand.
Although it looked incredibly cute, its actions were unbelievably cunning.
I furrowed my brow and retorted bluntly.
“Why should I?”
At that moment, Hierian’s expression became a mix of laughter and tears.
I stared at his face for a long while.
‘He’s just like the Hierian from when he was an adult.’
Whenever he spoke difficult words, he would make that kind of expression.
Was he trying to say something like that now?
‘What on earth is going on?’
I opened my mouth, unable to shake off the uneasiness.
“…Where are we going?”
“To an off-limits area for non-administrators.”
“If I go in there, won’t I be unable to come out?”
With an exasperated expression, he raised his head when I skeptically questioned him.
“I’ll hide there for a moment.”
“Hiding for a moment? Just tell me straight.”
There were times when I had been deceived by Hierian.
He had no right to confine me here, and now he suddenly wanted to go to the restricted area for non-administrators.
“Why should I obey you so willingly?”
I had considered Hierian as my friend.
I thought he felt the same way.
But even if he had lost his memory, he shouldn’t treat me so recklessly.
‘I thought he was a nice kid, but he was just a nerd.’
On top of that, because he was young, he even cried a lot on his own.
Only like this was a difficult child, nothing more and nothing less.
As I opened my eyes and glared at him, Hierian mumbled.
“I’m not lying, not this time.”
His eyes narrowed as if he wanted me to believe him.
But crying wasn’t going to get him off the hook.
I wasn’t going to let him get away with it.
I opened my mouth firmly.
“Tell me why.”
Hierian hesitated, then spoke.
“He might take you away, so I’m scared.”
“Why would you think that?”
“…Well, Dianel always took away what was precious to me.”
“Toys, friends, even babysitter.
He took them all away.”
He grimaced as he said that.
He intentionally furrowed his brow to keep from crying.
Seeing that, my heart weakened.
I felt like I knew why he was acting like that.
‘Hierian had a difficult time with Dianel when he was a child.
And becoming a child now made him even more vulnerable.’
If that’s the case, maybe I should trust him once more, just this one last time.
Besides, going to the restricted area beyond this boundary might be better than staying in this suffocating room.
“Fine, but this is the last time.”
I stood up and embraced Hierian.
Then he widened his eyes and looked at me.
“…Why are you hugging me? You hate me.”
A teardrop, like a dewdrop, rolled down from his large gray eyes.
“I don’t like seeing you cry.”
“No, well, it’s cute.”
Hierian, who seemed to be in a better mood by now, smiled brightly.
Seeing him seeking praise, I patted his head a couple of times and said,
How could an adult maintain their composure against a crying child?
“That’s not fair.”
I played with his hair as I spoke.
“Change of heart in ten seconds.
Open the door quickly.”
“W-Wait! I’ll open it soon!”
The noisy sound subsided, and the door opened.
Despite that, Hierian, with a hint of unease, clung tightly to the hem of my clothes and glanced around several times.
I paid no attention and took a step forward.
Eventually, we approached the restricted area, pressing against each other.
In front of the restricted area for non-administrators.
Hierian, with a worried expression, muttered, “Will it open?” Nevertheless, he took me inside.
The door easily let me pass as it did last time.
Hierian’s gaze upon me was intriguing.
* * *
Izaya stood in front of the teleporter with a calm expression, awaiting the arrival of an esteemed guest at the mausoleum.
Before long, the teleporter flickered, and Dianel, wearing a strange expression, appeared.
Izaya greeted Dianel and bowed his head.
“You have come.”
“Where is Hierian?”
Izaya’s eyebrows slightly furrowed, but she quickly returned with an unaffected face.
“He’s been away for a while.”
“I don’t have much time, so I wish he would come quickly.”
“…Hierian said he has no intention of meeting his Highness.”
Izaya didn’t reply further.
With a cold expression, Dianel grumbled irritably.
“He has become quite a stubborn child.”
Dianel’s behavior of displaying impudence was not something that happened only once or twice, but today, Izaya’s brows furrowed.
Perhaps it was because he had inadvertently caught a glimpse of his noble owner’s true feelings, like the sky.
Izaya couldn’t hold back and spoke up.
“Don’t you have any intention to apologize?”
With just one sentence, Izaya anticipated all possible outcomes.
She was prepared to endure blame from Hierian for speaking those words, even if Dianel grabbed her by the collar.
However, unexpectedly, Dianel only retorted in a weary voice,
“I am someone who lacks sincerity, so no one believes my words are sincere.”
Upon hearing those words, which sounded like he had considered offering an apology, Izaya sealed her lips.
Then, Dianel handed her something.
“Deliver this to him.”
Dianel vanished using the teleporter, leaving Izaya to look down at what was in her hands.
It was a gift box containing premium alsatian candy sold at the famous bakery in Imperial Capital.
Izaya handed it over to Hierian, but he didn’t even touch the box and set it on fire.
Then, he immediately headed for the restricted area.
Hierian added a brief remark.
“I’ll be out there, spending time with Siara.
So, please prepare what she needs.”
* * *
After Hierian brought me to the restricted area for non-administrators, he tried to spend as much time inside as possible.
However, that didn’t mean he just wandered around like me.
He was busy with his duties as an administrator, such as maintaining the magical pillar.
I, on the other hand, idly wandered around, occasionally getting in his way.
But after a day or two, I was free, with nothing to do.
Hierian did bring coloring books and some interesting things to read, but it was not enough to alleviate my boredom.
‘Ah, I’m bored.’
How long am I supposed to stay here? I’m in a hurry to go out and check things.
I lay on the grassy hill and absentmindedly stared at the sky with drifting clouds.
Books I had read were scattered around.
Then, Hierian, who was hanging from the pillar, suddenly spoke up.
Perhaps since the only thing to do after coming here was to talk to him, we quickly became close.
“Siara, are you hungry?”
“I’m always hungry.”
“Then, let’s eat this together.”
He jumped down from the pillar and took out a magic pouch from his pocket.
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