Along with the sound of a thud, rusty bars creaked as they came through.
“A bunch of friends who came out to play in secret?”
The blazing torches lit the space, which was the darkness itself.
The moment he saw a silver-haired man at the center of the group, Pietro’s back unknowingly stiffened.
It was not that he thought he might not see him again, but when his gaze met the snake-like insensitive red eyes, some terribly strange sensation began to run up his spine.
“Hey, did you hear that? He just called us friends.”
“Let’s pretend we didn’t hear that”.
“But Ivan, you told me to call you my friend…”
“When did I ever get an idiot as a friend?”
There was also that stupid brown-bear-like man standing among them.
For some reason, the atmosphere was not cheerful, and they all didn’t seem to be in the mood to chat.
None of them mattered except that one paladin, who stood far away with a torch and stared at him.
The noble who he wanted to tear and kill, who had been terribly annoying from the moment he first saw him.
However, in contrast to Pietro’s stare, the arrogant Duke Omerta did not seem to show much interest in him.
He was just casually looking at him, only to turn his insensitive gaze for a moment and talk to his friends.
“You did a good job, Galar. You caught him in time.”
“I know, I was laughing when I found out he left us all alone, but he did some surprisingly good work.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment. But…”
“What should we do now?”
There was a moment of silence.
In the midst of focusing all their attention on one man, Pietro suddenly wondered what these men were doing.
As expected, was it because they were all nobles?
Indeed, even if they were popular knights, there was no way that the young masters who grew up nicely would be talented in that way.
For some reason, thinking that it would be more interesting, Pietro gave a fishy smile.
It would be pretty good to see them trying to torture him and accidentally letting go of the rope in the process.….
“What do you mean, Ruve? You’ll go first.”
“Why is it me?”
“These a**holes are surprisingly delicate.”
“Hey! We’re not delicate.”
“I’m delicate, too. In fact, I have so much compassion that I can’t even kill a single bug.”
“I heard you used to be a torture officer.”
“That officer is not…You can just start, you dirty shameless jerk. Everyone knows that you are the least delicate among us.”
“I’m a married man, so I have to save myself the effort. I’m so hungry. I’m hungry because I’ve been nagging all day.”
“What did you bring to eat?… Oh, you brought a bottle of wine too!
“Cheer up, Ruve. We trust you! While you start, we’ll hold the food for you!
What were they doing?
Having seen their extremely cool mannerisms, Pietro lost his excitement while sitting idle.
At the same time, a strange sense of humiliation arose.
In this situation, that arrogant Duke’s attitude was getting on his nerves and making him angry.
He didn’t even look at him properly, as if he were an opponent that wasn’t worth paying attention to, and he was relaxed like on a picnic.….
How could he possibly provoke him?
“Wow, I think I’ll buy more of these! Molasses wine is the best after nagging!”
“Who made this sandwich? It’s delicious.”
“It was your trainee. He’s also my younger brother.”
“I could marry him.”
The provocation, which was barely loud enough, was buried in the shouts of those nobles.
Pietro, who was trying to calm himself down and growl louder this time, was soon distracted by an untimely, tingling chestnut hitting him, that snapped his forehead to the other side.
“Oh, my. I’m sorry. It’s a habit.”
“Well, it’s a bit crowded here, but let’s focus. I’m hungry, too.”
The man’s eye was covered with an eyepatch, and the other glittered as he spoke cheerfully.
Glaring at his face, Pietro gritted his molars, and soon smiled bitterly.
* * *
Since I came to Erendil, I have been sick from one thing or another, but this was the first time.
No, it seems to be the first time in my entire life that I have rested comfortably without any anxiety or stress.
Outside, it seemed to be known that I had not fully recovered yet, but in fact, I was no longer sick.
Perhaps because I was exhausted during the eventful festival, it took some time to fully recover my energy, but there was no reason to refuse a long break.
While I enjoyed pretending to be a patient, the Omerta family doctor Sergei visited me every day.
I didn’t have anything worth examining because I wasn’t sick, but instead, I discussed my annual sickness.
So, to this nobleman, whom Izek once called a quack, I seemed to have unintentionally shared my secret.
He looked at me with sparkling eyes, but the words he voluntarily confessed were quite pleasing.
“I’ve told you before, but in fact, your sacred core is very weak compared to others. It’s practically nothing.”
“It’s almost nothing…?”
“Yes. Even when compared to normal humans in the northern part of the country … Of course, having a weak core is not impossible, but considering your background, it was quite unexpected. It’s just my opinion, but I think your special ability is related to the problem.”
“Then is there something magical involved instead of sacred?”
“It would have been a big deal, if so. However, having been in an environment full of powerful priests without a sacred core, you must have suffered from unknown physical pain due to the reaction. Is that right?”
Oh, he got it right.
He was definitely not a quack.
While I was explaining my symptoms of the annual sickness so far, Sergei listened silently with a focused look.
Then, a long time later, he opened his mouth in a serious tone.
“Let’s see, since you suffered greatly at the age of 15, you’ve been sick twice a year, but ever since you came to the North, you have been sick more frequently. Is that right?
“Yes. Other than me, no one felt anything. My husband felt that I had a fever the other day, but I’m not sure if it’s because of that or other reasons.”
“You mean the time when I first examined you, right? There was a real fever, but overall, I think it’s all because of the changes in the environment.”
“Changes in the environment?”
“You don’t really understand. Romagna is a distinct sacred place, and your parents are the pinnacle of divinity. But even if you tried to hone and polish your abilities after staying with the divinity, the difference in innate quality cannot be helped. The amount and quality of the divinity that most people are born with are similar, but as usual, there are special lineages that stand out. Like the Omerta family.”
I didn’t disagree either.
After all, I saw how Ellenia had been.
In the original novel, I didn’t pay much attention because I had never analysed or treated this divinity separately, but the more I knew, the more profound it was.
“So the environmental changes you mentioned earlier…”
“Yes. It would have been a greater burden than you’ve ever experienced. It may be absurd to say this as a doctor, but the Omerta family has produced only the best paladins consistently since ancient times. There will be no family comparable in terms of purity and power, along with a unique power that is different from others.”
I definitely did a good job at getting married.
But why did he look so proud of me that I just couldn’t stand it?
Anyway, he seemed to be a sincere nobleman.
“So the closer I am to my husband, the worse it gets? Does my husband know about this?”
When asked seriously, the loyal doctor shook his head quickly with a puzzled look.
“Never! As long as you’re wearing it, you won’t get sick in the future.”
I blinked and looked down.
To be exact, I looked at the bracelet that I was still wearing.
The first gift Izek gave me, an heirloom that his ancestors made from the heart of a rock cave dragon.
Wait, come to think of it…
“When I first examined you, I wasn’t completely sure, so I couldn’t give him much advice, but after you ran away from home and came back, I looked closely at your core and provided some advice to the Duke just in case. Fortunately, he found the right item.”
“I heard it’s made out of the heart of a dragon. What special role does this bracelet play?”
“It completely blocks the contact of the divine. That’s why dragon hunting in the old days destroyed the hearts of dead dragons instead of making spoils. It’s pretty, but there’s nothing it can help with. It was struck by a holy sword when alive, but after death, it will not only seal the divinity of others but also the divinity of the wearer.… Of course, it would be useful for you.”
T/N: Happy New Year y’all!