Chapter 123: My Gospel
「If I am the crown that leads the people, then you are the sword, Lugis. You are someone that is irreplaceable.」
Belfein’s main street. The road was almost scarce in the evening. If we dived a little further into the night, the street would be packed with mercenaries on their way home from work.
A moment of silence emerged. Matia entwined her eyes after professing those words in front of Lugis, who looked extremely confused.
“I knew that if I said these words, Lugis would be upset and stuck in thought. However, I had to profess them now.”
Lugis felt “lost” somehow. That was how Matia understood Lugis’ character.
Matia felt that his soul was trapped almost to the point of no return. She did not know the reason why. She did not know the circumstances. Nevertheless, those were irrelevant to Matia. What Matia wanted now was not to explore his past, but to understand his present. A thoughtful gesture to make up the missing part.
Just as Ann had a slight sense of Lugis’ nature, Matia had also begun to comprehend his essence, despite not knowing him that well.
「The crown and the sword have no meaning separately. Both of them show kingship. If one side steps down, the other side will also collapse.」
There were only two ways, whether they were together or whether they were off the beaten track. Yes, Matia shook her lips and brought her body closer to Lugis. On this very moment, Matia felt something itchy running down her spine.
This behavior did not suit her. Matia had never spoken such sweet words before. She always spoke with an unemotional, systematic and knowledgeable tone.
Especially for Lugis. She always spoke to him as if she were sprinkling poison. Even so, she was now spilling sweet words from her lips.
Shame. An unmistakable feeling of shame was now crushing Matia’s chest.
Of course, Matia believed that sometimes she had to sweet talk to others in order to accomplish something relevant. It was part of her work as Saint. Being benevolent to the other party was part of her calculation. “If that’s the case, then I shall do it as much as I can.”
However, her words right now were far from being a calculating sweet talk. Matia had opened her mouth without thinking carefully. She spit words as her emotions swayed. This unusual occurrence was Matia’s first experience as someone ordinary. Matia’s cheeks dyed red as if they were burn by the setting sun.
“Up until now, I have only spoken to people in words through the Saint’s mask. That’s why I thought that once I removed the mask, I would not be able to think of proper words.” Nonetheless, Matia spoke irrational words that came to her mind one after another in a surprising way.
「Ah, ahh…But, I still think that you shouldn’t be in a place like this. Anyway, it’s safer if I’m alone.」
Lugis painfully slipped his words through his throat. His tone seemed more like a shyness than an excuse, and Matia unknowingly distorted her lips.
「No, it’s much more dangerous if you are alone. You probably like rugged roads. Even during the chaos of Garoua Maria and Ghazalia. You have always been in danger you know.」
“So was his duel at Garoua Maria. And even his unreasonable solo action in Ghazalia. In any case, Lugis’ deeds are reckless and far from safe.”
「I see, rugged roads, huh…Perhaps. But, I always returned home safely, didn’t I?」
“Only you can say that you are safe”. Matia’s lips quivered. To be safe meant that one’s life was safe despite the deep wounds.
Matia believed in those words up until now.
“Even if Lugis makes a fool of himself, gets hurt, and becomes bloody, if it is for the sake of the Heraldic Order, then I see no problem whatsoever. I also felt the same way about myself. I was willing to die after making a great achievement in the final ending of Garoua Maria. I was about to die as a Martyr and Heroine. After dying, my people could even use my ashes to purify the land. I thought so before.”
Now it was different. Yes, Matia viewed it differently now.
「You are too dangerous. You can’t even recognize it. I’m sure that someone has pointed it out to you before…Do you remember being told that by someone else?」
Matia could not contain herself. Matia pulled Lugis’ shoulders while looking fixedly at him. Her gesture had a strangely powerful force.
「…Okay, I understand your advice. I’m grateful for the words. I know I did a bad move.」
Lugis nodded while responding to Matia. Then, he gently shook off Matia’s hand from his shoulders, and looked away with an awkward expression on his face.
“If you understand, then why are you pulling yourself away from me?” Matia sharpened her lips.
“He said he understood my words, but I don’t know. Even with all this talk, I can’t be sure that he will take good care of himself.”
Matia had doubts. After all, his actions taken at this city since arriving spoke differently. How easy it was for Matia to know about him when gathering information about his whereabouts. This fact made Matia feel even more anxious.
“Why is this person so insensitive to his existence? Not only does he disrespect himself, but he also seems to be blindly conscious that no one cares about him. Even though Caria and Filaret, and even the Elf Princess Eldith, were all concerned about his wellbeing.”
“And the same is true for the words I mentioned earlier.”
Matia knew that it was not the right time to ask these questions. She knew that both of them had to be ready to escape from Belfein as soon as possible. However…
「Lugis, I will say it again. Listen to me, and don’t forget it.」
“I placed both of my hands on his awkward face and turned his head to me. I could count the times I stared at Lugis’ face from the front, which was always looking distorted.”
Matia’s throat was about to be choked when she tried to release her words. The feeling of embarrassment came back to her heart. Matia’s lips opened several times before finding the right words to declare.
「I don’t know if you remember. But I do remember. You saved my life in Garoua Maria.」
That was an unwavering fact. Matia felt grateful and resentful at the same time. It was also true that such complex emotions were still swirling around in her heart.
「It’s the same for the Heraldic Order. You keep saving it. You saved both us. Without you, I would not be standing here today… In other words, you are my gospel.」
Matia knew that she had to declare those words. After all, he had the trouble to save them all.
「Do you understand, Lugis? I know it is easy for you to imagine that you have nothing in yourself. Most of us have felt that way at some point or another.」
Matia spoke slowly as if she chew on her words. Her body temperature increased, and the heat came out from her cheeks, her eyes and even her voice.
“I know these are not words that suit me. However, as the Saint, I have to perform well at such times too.”
「I didn’t say that you were nothing by choosing rugged roads. In fact, a rugged road is a path where you have to give your best in order to move forward… Lugis, why don’t you take pride in yourself?」
“But if you prefer a sweet road that comes with nothing at all, then feel free to say so.” However, there was only silence for a while.
However, this time, even in silence, Lugis did not look away, and stared attentively at Matia. The color in his eyes showed something else. His eyes were neither confused nor upset.
The sound of the hooves from a horse-carriage ran past them on the road at dusk.
Matia is the only one of the girls to “actually” explain Lugis’ worth as a person. Will he accept her words? …Btw, what does this horse-carriage mean? Please look forward to the next chapter 😉
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