Even if we did occasionally pass by a waterfall on the mountain road, I was too busy marching, and above all too tired, to have time to look around.
With my eyes twinkling, Elvin smiled softly and said that if the hike ended early, it would be okay to take a rest and do some sightseeing.
Since we’re at the western border where I won’t be able to come back again, no, actually, where I don’t want to come back again, it’d be good to go and see the sights while I’m here.
Even though the natural scenery is as beautiful as it is rough, there are few tourists who are prepared to take this arduous road.
That’s why the lord had built a villa here in the first place……
“Since the Priestess came out for this mission and suffered a lot, I hope that you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty.
Well, of course the hike will continue to be difficult.”
Ever since I confessed that I was suffering from guilt, Elvin spoke to me in such a gentle, affectionate voice that it made me feel like he was taking care of me.
Inwardly grateful that the pounding sound of my heart couldn’t be heard from outside, I stared at Elvin and looked at him for a long time…… Only when he tilted his head slightly puzzled did I suddenly understand, and I smiled.
I must confess today.
* * * * * * *
The previous dinner that was held at the villa had been so splendid because we’d had cooking utensils.
So, I hadn’t been expecting much this time around,* but the cooks really outdid themselves, and the food came out better than I’d anticipated.
[tl/n:* I’m guessing they lost the utensils in the fire ? I’m not completely sure what she means here.]
They hunted in the mountains, so there was no shortage of meat.
But the most surprising thing was that alcohol was brought out.
I’d refrained from drinking as much as possible during the campaign, but after receiving the letter of surrender, I saw some soldiers drinking every night.
I’d vaguely speculated to myself over whether or not they’d brought it with them in their luggage since the very beginning.
Although many bags were destroyed during the surprise attack, it is said that many more were brought ever since the time when we’d stayed in Vios for a day.
So the drinking party began.
As during the previous dinner, elaborate food was placed on a table spread out wide, and wine bottles were lined up in between.
The smell of alcohol rapidly permeated the hall.
The place where the base camp had been set up this time was, as Elviniraz said, a valley beautiful enough to be a tourist attraction.
We arrived before the sun went down, so I was able to go see the nearby waterfall.
I was lost in admiration of the beautiful view from above, looking down from the hill right next to the waterfall.
As the sun gradually went down, the soft glow of the sunset spread over the sky, and the water that received its unique, warm light sparkled and glittered as it flowed down the waterfall.
Everything felt like a fantasy.
I’d spent nearly two hours admiring the scene, instantly feeling regretful once it became too dark to see our surroundings.
However, a few torches were set on high and illuminated the night view.
A wind blew occasionally, swaying the trees and making their shadows dance on the ground amongst the thick grass.
The sound of the waterfall could also be heard from the distance, adding harmoniously to the scene.
Our previous banquet had ended with just a table put up outside in front of the villa and people drifting around, but this time a tent was set up as well, giving it a more festive atmosphere.
Everyone laughed happily, saying that we just had to enjoy the magnificent scenery for a few more days and then we’d be back in the empire before we knew it.
But I alone was unable to join the merriment.
I think I’m going to vomit.”
“……Just, why don’t you just enjoy the party today?”
Just before the hike, I’d told Lily that I was going to confess today.
Since Elvin told me we were going to have dinner tonight, I told her that I’d confess while the atmosphere was lively.
But now that the moment has arrived, my hands trembled, my eyes lost focus, and my stomach twisted.
The stress has thrown my body into a state of crisis.
I have never confessed to anyone before, so I don’t know where my confidence came from when I made the decision.
It is said that the ignorant are brave, and it’s a wise observation regarding this situation.
“What if I continue to procrastinate like this and can’t confess to the end?”
“You’ll confess before that.”
“But won’t I be just as nervous tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow?”
‘So what?’ Lily’s mouth hadn’t opened, but I definitely seemed to hear those words.
I’ve been nervous for a while now, so Lily has continuously been cheering me up and offering advice, encouraging me to just enjoy dinner today and confess tomorrow, or telling me to wait until the last day so that I couldn’t avoid it.
But I felt so frustrated that I couldn’t hold myself to anything.
“Ughhh……oh I’m so nervous that my stomach hurts.
I want to puke.
“…..if you can’t decide, shall I just call him for you?”
“Ahhh, no! “
That’s too much! When I yelled, I could feel the people around me staring in confusion.
Feeling embarrassed by their gazes, I banged my head on the table and made a sobbing sound, and Lily looked at me as if she was dying to run away.
Even though I knew I was bothering her, I was still too nervous, and too nauseous, to confess.
—With my eyes weeping, I suddenly saw Elvin leave the tent.
Huh? Bewildered, I half-raised from my seat, and turned to Lily to see if she had seen him, if this was my chance.
He didn’t even go out with anyone.
He really went out alone.
“Uh, wh—what should I do?”
My voice began to tremble like crazy.
My vision was so shaken that it must have looked like a pupil earthquake.
My lips became dry, but as I gulped down the water next to me, an unfamiliar bottle of wine caught my eye.
It seemed to be brought from Vios, with an unfamiliar language intricately written upon it.
Even the patterns around the lip were gorgeous, so it was obviously an expensive drink.
“I’ll just have one glass and go.”
To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of confessing while drunk, but I don’t think I can do it without borrowing the spirit of alcohol.
Lily seemed to have the same train of thought, looking at me absurdly when I suddenly reached for a drink, and then nodding her head as if telling me to go ahead.
I drink alcohol with Lily at the temple every now and then, and I empty enough bottles each time to know that my tolerance is not weak.
So, even if I had a glass, it wouldn’t affect me much, but I still wanted to feel the bitter taste.
Besides, if I were to feel any effects, I could just use alcohol as a funny excuse… Ah, but it’s really quite appalling.
Without pausing even to smell the wine properly, I quickly drained the glass.
Let’s go do it now.
When I got up from my seat, I could see Lily picking up the bottle to try it, too, but immediately frowned as soon as she smelled it.
And it was only then that I felt my esophagus burning, but I was already out of my mind from anxiety, so I just held my neck and walked out.
This is too much.
My footsteps were wobbly.
As I took a step out of the tent, my body began teetering enough to threaten the tent itself, so I grabbed at a support wildly and held on.
What is this? I couldn’t have gotten drunk after having one drink, but maybe I was too nervous.
I now felt that the alcohol from Vios was toxic.
Its scent was so poisonously pungent that it still lingered on the tip of my nose.
My throat and stomach were also affected, burning as if on fire.
My head had also reached its breaking point, but right before it split completely it was suddenly better in an instant.
No, rather than getting better, it was that I’d spotted a familiar silhouette from afar, so my nerves were focused on that.
I was convinced by the height and overall stature.
Feeling thankful that he was just under the shade of the tree, I strode forward.
Oh, my legs are about to give out again.
Just how many degrees can they bend before snapping?
And as if he felt my presence, I could feel Elvin turning his body and looking at me.
It’s a pity that I can’t see his face properly.
He’s not only quite far from the torch light, but also standing under a tree in shadow.
But then again, maybe it’s fortunate that I can’t see him now.
An intense heat rose to my cheeks.
I stuttered as I called out to him.
In fact, in the countless times I’d practiced this in my head, I’d planned to call him, ‘Sir Elvin,’ but in this moment I have no desire to call him by that title.
In fact, I deliberately avoided it because I thought my heart would burst and I’d fall dead to the ground right now if I called him that.
“I’ve really struggled with this a lot.”
“I’ve deliberated so many times whether or not I should do this…”
This wasn’t the plan.
I wanted to talk with him a lot before I confess.
Have a normal conversation, and then ease into my confession when the mood became somewhat relaxed… Damn it.
There’s no point in thinking that way.
My mind went blank and I couldn’t think of anything else.
If I attempt to start a conversation with him now, the only thing that would come out of my mouth would be that the bull depicted on the bottle of wine I just drank is now running around the field.*
[tl/n:* Did she have absinthe or something? Idk if this sentence is confusing, but just in case, she’s saying she’s basically only capable of nonsense.]
So, I finally forced it out.
“I like you.”
At the same time, a breeze blew through.
My hair fluttered, scattering over my face and obstructing my view.
I grabbed at it roughly and pushed it aside, even though I couldn’t see anything in the dark anyway.
I couldn’t help feeling a bit relieved now that the words were finally out, so I said it once more in case my voice had been drowned out by the wind.
“I think I’ve fallen for you.”
And the answer finally came; one that I thought was quite natural.
“…it’s just, I like everything.”
Your smile, your kindness, even how coolly handsome you appear as a knight…… one by one I listed these reasons for liking him, but it turned into gibberish alarmingly fast.
Somehow, my eyes were spinning.
That one glass of alcohol was much stronger than I thought.
A lot more.
“…I don’t understand.”
How can he express his rejection like this? ‘I feel a bit hurt….,’ I thought to myself as my body staggered forward.
At the same moment I was experiencing my first time blacking out from a single shot, I suddenly felt a great sense of difference from him, who caught me in alarm when I collapsed.
His voice was lower, his height was slightly taller, and his physique was completely different.
Now that it’s visible, even the color of his hair appears different reflected in the moonlight.
…..Oh my god.
He’s someone else.
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