Chapter 5. Farewell (3)
It was not heaven, nor hell, nor at the foot of the cliff where I woke up. It was in the Infirmary of the Temple of Acates, where warm sunlight streamed through the window.
There was no one else in the other sick beds, I was the only one lying here. By the window, a nun was watering the flowerpots.
I told the nun.
“How… did I get here?”
The nun turned her gaze to me in surprise. When our eyes met, the nun opened her mouth after a brief silence.
“Wait a minute.”
The nun left. A moment later, nun Dolores, who had cared for me since I was a child, Priestess Azena and Abbess Yulan entered.
As soon as Dolores saw that I had regained consciousness, she ran to me, squeezed my hands and spoke in a tearful voice.
“You’ve woken up… I thought you’d never open your eyes again. From now on, don’t commit any recklessness.”
“Thank heavens you woke up. You’ve no idea how worried we were. Goddess Acates took care of you.”
This was followed by some rebukes. I could sense that it was motivated by affection, not anger over the trouble I had caused. I bowed my head and accepted their rebukes.
I was an orphan with nothing special. I was so grateful that they cared so much about me that it didn’t bother me in the slightest.
When they felt it was enough, they told me the whole story of what had happened after I lost consciousness.
As soon as it was discovered that we had disappeared, the Temple of Acates contacted the Pascal Family. Then several priests followed our traces with members of the Pascal Family.
When we were found, I was lying on the ground like a corpse.
“I heard that Liza resorted to all means to save you.”
Liza had used all the herbs in the area and healing magic to forcibly reanimate my lifeless body. What amazed priests and members of the Pascal Family was that Liza was able to do alone what even high-level mages could only have done with the combined forces of many.
The Wraith had writhed in agony after it drank my blood and fled.
It was said that it was common for wraiths to drink the blood of their prey, so no one knew for sure why it had such a reaction to drinking my blood.
“All I can think of is that you received the grace of the goddess.”
Nun Dolores added.
“On special days we prepare food with holy water, that could be the reason.”
Since the only attacks that affected the wraiths were those related to the divine, it could only be because the divine power had somehow mixed with my blood.
“What about Liza?”
When I asked about Liza, they all hesitated to answer. I could tell how the atmosphere suddenly turned serious. They seemed reluctant to talk about it.
“Liza left for the Eternia Academy entrance exam.”
“Didn’t she have to prepare first to enter the academy next year?”
Eternia Academy normally admitted students from the age of 17. Liza and I were 15. Even if you take into account the preparation period needed to enter the academy, it was too early.
Dolores stared at me with regret and said.
“A lot happened to Liza while you were unconscious.”
Liza was no longer allowed to stay at the Temple of Acates due to the serious trouble caused. So the Pascal Family had decided.
“I heard that Liza would stay at the family estate and enter the academy early.”
This news was like a bolt from the blue for me. The Pascal Family seemed determined to completely separate Liza and me. It was hard to accept the unexpected parting.
Two weeks later, I had fully recovered and resumed my daily life. It was thanks to the attentive care of the nuns.
I missed Liza so much, but now I had to become truly independent. Liza wouldn’t come back just because I wanted it. There wasn’t much time left before I would have to leave the temple, so I had to learn to fend for myself.
I went back to work and gradually began to be recognized in the workshop. I also began to receive regular pay, although it wasn’t much. I spent most of the day in the workshop, only going to the Lorail Pavilion to sleep.
After a few months like this, I got an official position as an apprentice. From then on, I could also make my own works and sell them to jewelry stores.
Time passed without further news until one day, I received a letter from Liza.
Contrary to what I expected, she only wrote briefly about her current situation.
In it, Liza said that she had heard that I had regained consciousness and not to worry about her.
She passed the academy entrance exam in first place. There was a senior student from the academy who had been helping her a lot, even with her magic training. It was written that they had become close and trusted each other.
The letter ended by saying that once the summer vacations arrived, she would visit the Temple of Acates.
I was happy to receive Liza’s letter, but it left me with an inexplicable emptiness after I read it.
Liza used to treat me warmly, but in this letter I felt she was distant.
To try to shake off the discomfort, I repeated to myself that she had written little because she was busy or closely watched.
I immediately wrote and sent a response. But winter passed, the year passed, I turned 16, the spring flowers bloomed, and I didn’t receive another letter.
A corner of my heart felt empty, so I focused on improving my metalworking skills to forget about it.
As the summer came, the number of people looking for my works increased because I had become quite skilled. Although I was not rich, I managed to earn enough to stand on my own two feet. I could leave the temple without worry when the time came.
One day, nun Dolores stopped me on the way to the workshop and said,
“Liza finished the first semester, she will come to visit us next week.”
It made my heart race. Just the thought that I would be reunited with Liza filled me with excitement.
The next day, I dedicated myself to making a necklace for Liza. The necklace was inspired by Liza’s favorite flower, Elcanto.
Then I just waited for the time to fly by.
Finally, the day came when Liza would arrive. That day I didn’t go to the workshop to welcome Liza in the front garden.
In the distance, a splendidly decorated carriage approached the temple. The nuns and priests waiting for Liza waved their hands in welcome. I was just watching from further back.
The main gate opened and the carriage entered the temple garden. The first person to get out was a rather handsome man. He was tall, and his clothes were elegant. His every action exuded the dignity of a noble. Some of the nuns couldn’t help but admire him.
Then a woman took the man’s hand and stepped down.
It was Liza. She had become dazzlingly beautiful. Her body gestures and facial expressions exuded charm. With her pretty hairstyle, flawless features and silvery silk dress, she seemed to be from another dimension.
Liza and the man greeted those who welcomed them with cheerful faces. The solemn temple became as lively as if it were a festive place.
It was the moment of reunion I had longed for, but I was embarrassed to approach her now. I had my best clothes on, but it was just a sloppy overalls from the workshop. My palms and fingernails were covered with black grease stains that wouldn’t come off no matter how much I washed them.
Suddenly, I noticed that as Liza and the man greeted the others, they were holding hands.
I was in shock. It was as if a dagger had been plunged into my heart. With the necklace in my hand, I left in silence.