Adandito somehow knew and responded with his characteristic benevolent smile.
“You will suit it well.
You have excellent taste.”
I nodded nervously at his words, feeling embarrassed about hiding the ring on my back.
“Oh, uh, thank you.”
“The Goddess’s Blessing Ring is essential for a healer.
I should have given it to you earlier, but I’m glad you have it now.”
He even knew that I was a healer.
As the priest official, he must have made an educated guess.
By taking care of this ring, I could avoid suspicion of being a demon.
‘If I were a demon, I wouldn’t dare to touch a relic.’
But is it really over just like this? He won’t ask any further questions?
As I looked at him with a puzzled expression, Adandito spoke again.
“But, Siara, I have a question that I’m curious about.”
Thinking that he came for a reason, I nodded my head.
“Yeah, go ahead, ask.”
“I can sense the power of a fairy from you.
And that means you are an imperial noble… By any chance, which family do you belong to?”
“Why do you ask?”
“That’s… never mind.”
Seeing his awkward expression, it seemed like he knew that there was no noble named Siara.
After all, nobles have their names recorded in the temple as soon as they are born, so there should be records to check.
‘But I wasn’t there.’
That meant the curse was true.
I asked, suppressing my trembling heart.
“Why, because my name isn’t there?”
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
I had anticipated it, but it was still bitter to hear it confirmed.
I pretended to be nonchalant while swallowing my dry saliva.
Getting rid of any suspicions immediately was the priority.
“Well, there’s no strict rule that it has to be a direct lineage.”
Everyone who could wield the power of the ancient race was a noble, but there were cases where it wasn’t recorded.
Cases where one is not recognized as a legitimate child because they were born as an illegitimate child.
Adandito seemed to have roughly understood as he didn’t ask any further.
It was a moment of awkward silence.
Suddenly, light flowed from the ring, and the fairy that had been asleep inside the gem began to stir.
Our gazes turned towards the ring as if wondering when this had happened.
“…How is this possible?”
A ring embedded with a gem that housed a sleeping fairy.
Moreover, the fairies fell asleep during the “Day of Judgment” and had never awakened since then.
But now, the fairy inside the ring had awakened.
‘It can’t be.’
I couldn’t even remember what had just happened.
My heart started pounding rapidly.
After that, as if possessed, I forgot about my escape plan and returned to my room.
* * *
Adandito stayed in his place even after Siara left for quite some time.
It was because the recent events hadn’t left his mind yet.
The fact that the fairies, who had all fallen asleep during the Day of Judgment, were now stirring was indescribably remarkable.
But more than that, what pleased Adandito was seeing Siara’s joyful expression.
The vivid image of Siara’s face, filled with delight as she witnessed the movement of the fairy inside the ring, was still fresh in his mind.
He wanted to decorate the ceiling with a painting depicting that exact expression and look at it constantly until he fell asleep.
‘But that wouldn’t be appropriate.
There’s a risk of someone who’s cleaning seeing her face.’
He didn’t want to show it to anyone else.
It was a sight he wanted to cherish all by himself.
As he realized this, an unfamiliar urge suddenly surged within him.
‘What if I keep it underground—’
Adandito gasped in a hurry at the sudden thought.
His heart was pounding like crazy, to the point where he had to tightly clench his fist to calm himself down.
It was an excessively worldly and decidedly abnormal desire.
Yet, the growing desire continued to extend its tendrils, lingering around Adandito.
In the end,
Adandito forcefully banged his head against the cold underground wall.
* * *
After calming down from the excitement of the fairy awakening, various thoughts came to my mind again.
One unexpected thing I learned from this incident was that the security in the temple was surprisingly thorough.
‘I can’t believe it.
As soon as I went to the vault, Adandito showed up.’
It was clear that he had a separate means of monitoring me.
‘How can I secretly escape from here?’
With that in mind, I wandered around the temple.
Today, I ended up in the worship hall.
Since the worship was over, the inside of the hall was quiet with no one around.
Although I’m not particularly religious, walking through the peaceful temple made me feel at ease.
The weather was nice, and the sunlight shining through the window bathed the temple in a serene light.
I sat down in an empty seat and gazed at the statue of the goddess for a while.
The sound of a bell echoed from somewhere, and dust floated in the air, illuminated by the warm-colored wood.
It was a perfect day to clear my mind.
“Ah, how nice.”
When buried in peace, immediate worries didn’t come to mind, neither did the curse of the demon king nor the way to escape from the temple.
Just as peace was seeping into my heart, a beige-furred cat appeared on the pedestal where the statue was placed.
The cat strolled around, swaying its tail, in front of the statue.
I asked, and the cat turned to look at me before leaping up gracefully onto the head of the statue.
Get down from there.”
The cat looked down at me and elegantly averted its gaze.
Its act of licking its fur on the statue seemed very natural.
Maybe it was a cat raised here in the temple.
‘Maybe it’s okay to just leave it be?’
The cat seemed uninterested in me, so it continued with its business, while I quietly observed it.
At that moment, once again, the wings of the fairy inside the ring fluttered slightly.
“It’s the fairy!”
This time, the movement of the wings was more pronounced, and sparkling dust fell from the ring.
Even though it was a small gem the size of a fingernail, it was incredibly beautiful, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
While staring blankly at it for a while, I felt a gaze from above.
When I raised my head, the cat sitting on the statue was silently looking down at me.
‘Cats find fairies fascinating too, huh?’
I reached out my hand and showed the ring to the cat.
“Look at this.
The fairy can fly.”
As I did that, the cat jumped down with a strange voice.
‘This cat is just as blunt as it sounds.’
Is it because it’s a cat raised in the temple? Then, I unintentionally became curious.
‘But wait, Adandito, didn’t he have a cat allergy?’
I’m pretty sure he did.
Even small and cute cats would trigger a reaction from him, not to mention wildcats and big cats.
Thanks to that, Adandito and Prince Dianel would often fight with each other.
‘Anyway, where did this cat come from?’
I calmly examined the cat.
It seemed quite comfortable in the temple.
It didn’t seem to be on guard against me either.
It seemed familiar with receiving care from humans.
‘Well, it wouldn’t be strange to have one or two cats roaming around this spacious temple.’
Adandito might have allergies, but among the other priests, there could be people who liked cats.
So there might be someone who took in a cat that happened to enter.
‘Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a cat.
During my time in the subjugation corps, I rarely had the opportunity to properly touch a cat because of Adandito, so I attracted a lot of attention when I did.
Even at that moment, the cat’s gaze was fixed on the ring.
Something was intriguing about the movement inside the gem.
I reached out my left hand and shook the ring in front of the cat’s eyes.
Isn’t it fascinating?”
“Hmm, not impressed?”
Unlike before, there was no response.
As I glanced at the fleeting cat, I realized its gaze was directed at me, not the ring.
It seemed to be asking, “What are you doing?” Feeling a bit awkward, I hid my hand behind me and swallowed my confusion.
“Well, if you’re not impressed, forget about it.”
I withdrew my hand and looked at the ring again.
The fairy had fallen asleep, but sparkling dust floated around its wings.
In a sullen mood, the cat gradually distanced itself from me.
It seemed to have lost interest in the ring.
The cat strolled towards the opposite side of the shrine.
I silently watched where the cat was going.
Suddenly, the cat sensed my gaze and turned its head to look at me.
“Why are you staring?”
When our eyes met, the cat quickly turned its head away.
Without a chance to catch it, the cat swiftly walked towards a corner of the shrine.
‘Where is it going?’
Driven by curiosity, I followed in the direction the cat disappeared.
However, as I turned the corner, there was no cat, only a long curtain hanging elegantly.
Perhaps there was a secret passage that only the cat could access.
Carefully lifting the thin curtain, a very small passage revealed itself beneath my feet.
It didn’t seem to have been there originally; it appeared to be a deliberately constructed pathway.
Someone had created a path specifically for the cat.
‘It must be one of the temple cats.’
If that’s the case, then there’s no need to worry any further.
As I was about to leave the shrine, Adandito blocked my path.
He was unusually tall, so all I could see was his broad chest.
He appeared to be drenched in sweat, perhaps from training.
It could have been an embarrassing sight, but after three years of being together, it didn’t elicit any special feelings.
Rather, I was curious about why he suddenly sought me out.
I looked at his well-defined, glistening chest muscles that didn’t seem to rest for a moment and asked,
Then Adandito hesitated, groping for words.
“Well, it’s just that…”
“Hasn’t a cat come here?”
It was a slow but serious question.
As I raised my head, a chilling coldness permeated the dazzling golden ring.
There was an immediate sense of frigidity that made me feel like could kill a cat in an instant.
I unconsciously covered the secret passage with my body and spoke.
“Oh, no, I haven’t seen a cat…”
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