Chapter 4: Childhood (4)


“The Demon King has appeared? Do you really believe that?”


“I'm not saying I believed it, I'm just saying I've heard the news.”



The Demon King.


The word indeed carried an ominous feeling.



“I heard about a mercenary group that entered the city a few days ago, and it seems the movements of the monsters are unusual.”


“Well, if you think about it that way, everything will look to you that way.
Let's have some drinks instead of talking nonsense that doesn't whet our appetites.”


Their conversation cuts off just like that.



I also turned my attention away from the Demon King news.
And instead, I drifted into memories, recalling the stories about the Demon King and the brave heroes that Sien once told me.



I remembered Sien's sparkling eyes as she spoke about those stories, and it reminded me of how cute she was at that time.



The next day, I went for a walk with Sien.



We sat under the shade of a large tree, enjoying the sky and spending time together.



I was playing the flute with a leaf in my mouth.



Sien really loved that sound, so I usually played it.


“Are you okay with your work?”


Sien asked.
And to her question, I stopped playing and answered.


“It's manageable.
By the way, when do you plan to leave the orphanage?”


“About a year from now.
It would be too burdensome to rely on Bell right now.”



“I'm okay.”



“I don't like it.
I don't want to be a burden to you.”



“You are a burden in one way or another.”



“What? You…!”


In response to my prank, Sien reached out with both of her hands and rushed toward me to pinch me.



As I blocked her hand, smiles bloomed on our lips, and soon we stopped in entangled postures.


I grabbed both of Sien's wrists, pressed her against my chest, and held her in my arms.
Her arms became ensnared in the tangle, preventing her from breaking free.



“Let me go, Bell.”


Sien said.








We enjoyed the gentle breeze brushing against us.


Come to think of it, I never thought that we would be so deeply connected like this.



A beggar from a slum and a daughter from a wealthy family crossed paths and arrived at this very moment.


There were hardships,  but we helped each other stay connected.



Even in difficult times, having each other made us feel at ease, and we knew it would be the same in the future.


I sincerely believed that.


All I needed was Sien.


So, I wanted to make sure that she felt the same way as me.



While enjoying the peaceful silence, I spoke quietly.








“I love you.”




It was the first time I had said those words to her.


It was a word that demanded bravery from both of us.



Sien immediately turned her head and looked at me.



I didn't avert my gaze from her either.
I gathered all my courage once again.



She was the only one I had ever entrusted my deepest feelings to.



“…I said I love you.”


Tears welled up in her eyes again.



Her delayed response, accompanied by the act of wiping away her tears, conveyed her resolution.


“…It's obvious, isn't it?”


“Why cry over something so obvious?”


“It’s not that.”



“Well, I-”



“-I love you too, Bell.”


When I confirmed that she had the same feelings as me, I felt like our familiar relationship was getting even more closer.



Her face was flushed, and I was sure mine was too.


“…Those words can't be taken back.”


I continued speaking.


I wanted to make her completely mine.


Sien didn't hesitate.


“I won't take it back, Bell.”


And then, she smiled more brightly.









I turned 17, while Sien was now 15 years old.


Now we talked more frequently about our future.


Sien seemed pleased with the fact that we were going to be a couple.



'Couples hug each other.' or 'Couples don't pay attention to other members of the opposite sex.' 



She started educating me according to her own tastes.



I found her so adorable and cute, that I always listened to her requests.


…However, despite our harmonious atmosphere, the rumors circulating around us became increasingly ominous.


For me, who was working at a tavern, news came quickly.



If I just listened for a moment, I could find out what people were talking about.


In just one day, a village was turned into ruins.


Stories of different types of monsters being hunted.
And magical forests and animals decaying.
As a result, the number of monsters increased exponentially.


These were the rumors that were making everyone feel uneasy.



And as I listened to those rumors, the story of the appearance of the Demon King gradually became more realistic.


Nevertheless, in my heart, I thought it was a story that had nothing to do with me.


I dispelled the discomfort with a single sigh.


It was not something that I, who was working at a tavern in the city, should care about.



It was a matter to be resolved by the high-ranking people who handles the country's work.



Even if the Demon King led an army and launched an invasion, all I needed was Sien.



I was busy just dreaming of a future with her.


That was how I spent my every day.




But, one day, with a tremendous noise, the ground shook and trembled.


Silence fell over the bustling tavern where I was working.


One by one, people left the tavern to figure out the situation.



I did the same.


“…What is that?”



And as soon as I stepped out of the tavern, I could see it—a pillar of light visible in the distance on the horizon.



A towering pillar of light illuminated the dark night sky.


Along with the others, I climbed to the rooftop of a building to gaze at the spectacle.


Something was beginning.




“It's appearing over there too…!”


It didn't stop at just one.


With each tremor of the ground, a new pillar of light emerged from the sky.




Then the third one followed.
As all the pillars were far away from the city, I found myself somewhat bewildered, staring at them.





And then came the deafening explosion.


Everyone lowered their posture in response to the immense sound, their faces filled with confusion.


But what caught our attention was the sight before us—unlike the other pillars, this one was too close.




This time, the pillar was shining down upon Sien's orphanage.


People murmured among themselves.


in the direction of the orphanage, right…?”


My heart grew cold, and the color drained from my face.


After confirming the direction, I started running straight away.



All I could think about was the possibility of Sien being in danger due to this unknown phenomenon.


Without taking a moment's rest, I sprinted through the city, paying no attention to the people I collided with.


As I ran, I could see the orphanage in the distance.




A large number of people gathered around the fading shining pillar, their voices filled with confusion.



“What the hell is this…!”



“Could the rumors have been true?”


People were buzzing about what they saw.



Judging by the atmosphere, it didn't look like anyone was hurt or dead.



Relieved, I pushed through the crowd and made my way forward.





And then, I saw Sien.


Her body was shining brightly.



Radiating purity and nobility beyond anyone else, she shone beautifully.







From the moment Sien looked at me, the light gradually faded.



She looked at me and let out a sigh of relief, but she still looked confused.



I stepped in front of her, who was sitting on her knees.



Holding both of her hands, I asked anxiously.



“…Are you okay? Is your body…?”



“I don't know either, what's going on…


Sien cautiously showed me the back of her hand.


On the back of her hand, a new symbol was engraved.



It was a familiar symbol.



It was a symbol symbolizing 'Hea', the god that Sien believed in.



“…Why is this…


While looking at the sign questionably, someone shouted in the crowd.



“…She was chosen by Hea-sama…!”



“Chosen…? Wait, does that mean she's a Saintess…?”


“Could it be true that the Demon King has appeared?”





Unexpectedly, the title was bestowed upon Sien in an instant.


My mind couldn't process it properly.


The mere fact that she was given the noble title of a saint made me anxious for some reason.


'If she was called a saint, doesn't that mean she is destined to fight the Demon king?'


My eyes meet Sien's.



Without saying a word, we both felt the same uneasiness.


Things were taking a twisted and wrong turn.


Without saying a word, I grabbed the back of Sien's hand and started wiping off the symbol with the collar.


And before people spread any more strange rumors, I shouted.


“What saintess…! Everyone doesn't talk nonsense…! It's ridiculous!”


Sien, looking increasingly anxious, sought refuge in my embrace.


I continued to check the symbol and rubbed at it with my clothes, but it wouldn't disappear.


“Fuck…what is this…!”



A swear word came out of my mouth in fear of unknown cause.



I'm scared…”



“It's okay, Sien.
It will be fine.
It will disappear soon.
Don't worry.”


I rubbed the back of her hand harder and harder…



…But the symbol remained the same.



'Why wouldn't it go away? It should disappear.'



There was no reason for Sien to become a saint.


In my impatience, I put strength into my hands and began to roughly push the back of Sien's soft hand.



Even so, Sien didn't say anything, closing her eyes tightly, she just endured the pain.



However, my attempts were quickly interrupted.





Sounds of approaching footsteps echoed from somewhere.


It was a familiar sound to my ears, having lived in the slums.



Those were soldiers.



With a glimmer of hope, I looked down at Sien's hand.








The symbol hadn't disappeared at all.


“Young man, step aside, please.
We need to verify something.”


A voice resonated from behind.


I couldn't easily turn my head.


I could only meet Sien's gaze.


Her trembling hand, held tightly in mine, couldn't stand up.


Unable to move, a heavy hand rested on my shoulders.


“Let go, you bastards!”


I protested, but numerous arms from behind me forcefully separated me from Sien.


“Just a moment! Just give us a moment!”


The armored figures restraining me pleaded roughly.


Soon, a priest passed by my side.


His attire—robes, hat, and staff—indicated that he wasn't an ordinary priest.


But I didn't step back.
I shouted, “Hey you bastard, don't you dare approach Sien!”


Desperation and anxiety overwhelmed me.


I couldn't stand the terrible feeling that Sien was pulling away from me.



“What did you say to the bishop…!”


A fist swung at me from the side.


I clenched my fists in response, but…





At the bishop's words, everyone froze in place.


He wasn't even looking at me.



With his gaze fixed solely on Sien, he remained motionless.


Sien quickly hid her hand, but it was already too late.


The bishop kneeled down in front of Sien and spoke.


“I greet the Holy saintess.”


Following his lead, the numerous soldiers who had accompanied the bishop also kneeled.


I could only helplessly watch the scene unfold.

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