Chapter 6. Farewell (4)
After I left the temple, I wandered through the streets of the city. I wanted to leave it all behind and escape from the world.
When I began to lose strength in my legs from exhaustion, I sat at the fountain in the square and spent hours there fiddling with the necklace I had intended to give to Liza. I didn’t have the courage to see her face to face.
It wasn’t until darkness fell that I returned to the temple. I don’t know how much time I spent outside, but all the lights in the temple were already out.
Suddenly, I saw a silhouette loitering alone in the temple garden. The silhouette noticed me and immediately ran towards me.
The silhouette was Liza’s.
“You’re finally here. Where were you? I thought I wouldn’t see you.”
I had a bad feeling as soon as I saw her, so I avoided her gaze.
“Glad to see you are well.”
I deliberately treated her coldly.
“… Thank you. Who are you waiting for?”
“You, of course. There’s something I really want to talk to you about. I’m also curious to know how you’ve been. Let’s walk for a while and talk.”
We left the temple and headed for the woods we frequented as children. There, the moonlight dimly illuminated the path.
As we walked down the path together like in the past, I felt a distant attitude from Liza. She didn’t run into my arms as soon as she saw me. And now she didn’t hold my hand or stick to me. She wasn’t the Liza I knew.
Still, we talk about our lives.
“How are you doing in the workshop? Do you still work there?”
“Yes, I have achieved some recognition and now I can sell my works under my name.”
“Liza, what about you?”
“I’m doing fine. I entered the Eternia Academy Magic School. I have been lucky to be at the top of my class this semester.”
“… And I also fell in love with someone.”
“Sorry to mention this out of the blue. If you had been at the temple during the day, you might have met him. It was a pity I couldn’t introduce you to Elliott, my senior.”
“I had a good relationship with Elliott throughout the semester and decided to start dating him recently.”
I sensed it from the moment I saw the two of them arrive here and not let go of each other’s hand. It was a fact that I forcefully tried to deny and avoid.
“He must be a good guy.”
“Yes. Elliott came to see me shortly after I left the Temple of Acates and I was staying at the family mansion. We became closer when I found out he was at Eternia Academy. My senior stayed at the mansion and helped me a lot to prepare for the entrance exam.”
“Elliott has protected me because he knows what kind of person my uncle is. He’s the eldest son of the Felton Family, so even my uncle can’t mess with him. It’s thanks to him that I was able to come here.”
Duke Darren Felton, the Head of the Felton Family, currently held the position of Commander of the Imperial Knights. Elliott was the successor of a prestigious family that currently held the most power.
A position I’ll never reach. A person who lived in a world completely different from mine.
“I know you didn’t expect me to come here to say this, but I had to.”
The reason Liza waited for me until nightfall was to clear things up about our relationship.
“… Can you tell me why?”
“What do you mean…?”
“Why did you change your mind?”
It was a pathetic question, but I really wanted to know. If I listen to her reasons, I’ll come to understand even if it hurts now. My mother abandoned me without giving me a reason, for which I suffered a lot.
“… Do you need to know?”
“Yes, I need it.”
Liza thought for a while before speaking.
“I have thought a lot since then. It was my fault you almost died. You wouldn’t have been hurt if I hadn’t been hell-bent on us going in search of the fragments of the star.”
“You did your best to protect me, but it was useless and you were on the brink of death. Under normal circumstances, we would both have died. Luckily, the wraith retreated.”
“It was then that I realized the reality. If I held on to memories and feelings, I would get nowhere and we would both suffer. I thought about what would have happened if Elliott had been in your place. My senior would have driven off the wraith and stayed by my side until we found the fragments of the star. Elliott is strong and reliable enough to do that.”
“You don’t have what it takes to be by my side.”
Her answer was reasonable. I was an idiot. Deep down in my heart, I hoped that Liza would want to fight for our love no matter what adversities lay ahead. It was impossible that love could prevail despite distance, difference in status, wealth and talent.
Anyone in Liza’s position would have made the same decision.
I could only surpass that guy in the memories I shared with Liza. However, a bright future and a new world awaited Liza. As she flourished in that unique environment, she would meet more special people and have better experiences, which would lead to her childhood memories and attachments being replaced by new ones.
That was good for Liza. It hurt so much, but at least now I could accept it.
My role in Liza’s life was over.
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