Cherry never thought that she would ever be granted such a chance of finding the founder of her beloved kingdom’s grave, let alone finding the remains of the Great Sage like this.
‘Should I… pay respect?’
All the while she was wondering what would be an appropriate thing to do, Serein was looking around since this throne room, despite being neatly set up, it’s closer to that of a storage room with all of these opened chests filled with riches, ranging from gold coins, various jewelries, and even some magical devices.
‘But I can’t find any books’
Nor could she find any bookshelves among these treasures.
“Shiny things! Brother and Ceva-chi would like it very very much~! Can we bring them back to the surface, little human?”
Pam sounded very excited as he asked that, however, instead of giving any sort of confirmation or voicing any rejection, the pale adventurer glanced at the mage that was deep in thoughts instead.
“Ask the pink human, Pam-min~ After all, this place is technically hers now.”
“Whoa! Really? All of these?!”
Green pair of eyes sparkled with fascination, all the while the mentioned princess merely arched a brow upon that declaration. To which, Serein then shrugged about.
“As much as I want to say: ‘finders-keepers’, I’d rather not add some random curses to my list of problems, really.”
“Hoo…” Cherry hummed, “Although you don’t really portray yourself like a greedy person, I had thought that you’d reward yourself with some items from this place.”
The mage stared at the adventurer in disbelief.
“Are you really not going to take anything? At all?”
However, this time, Serein turned to her fully with a bright grin. It looked ominous rather than blissful as it came from someone who hadn’t even been smiling other than when they’re talking with the two hatchlings.
Holding back her shivers, Cherry stilled as she waited for the young adventurer to open her mouth and tell the meaning behind that bright smile.
“I never said that I wouldn’t risk it for something now, did I~?”
But for some reason, her guide sounded more dangerous that way. Cherry could only sweatdrop, not really wishing to be around when Serein started with another shenanigan she had come up with.
“Oooh~ Little human! You’re going to take things as well? Rob it clean??”
Pam was liking the idea. He wanted to gift his brothers all of these sparkly things they found, though he didn’t know yet how exactly he would do that. As long as he got the permission, he’ll make sure not to leave any speck behind.
Having strong instincts and knowing that he attracted good luck, he felt that it would be such a waste if he’s not making good use of these shining shimmering items.
However, before he could even ask for another permission from the supposedly new owner, they were all surprised when another voice chimed in.
“Only those who paid the price shall be rewarded their share of spoils.”
Almost snapping their heads to see where the booming voice came from, neither of the three expected to see the skull which was sitting gloriously on the throne to actually move, let alone stand up and walk towards them.
“Fear not, seekers, for I welcome you with open arms in my lair.”
Speaking softly, the moving skull was soon enshrouded in a gleaming smoke screen which later revealed a gorgeous lady with short pink hair emanating the aura of a ruler as she walked even closer to the three of them.
“…The Grand Sage-min…”
Gulping audibly, Cherry went to her knees almost instantaneously to pay respect to her ancestor, who was also her role model as a mage herself.
All the while, Serein stood her ground, face lightly scrunched as she’s more focused on what this unknown being just said, wariness creeping into her mind like a shadow.
‘Is this a test? A trap?’
After all, there’s no magic or alchemy done by mortals that could cross the bridge between life and death. So, did this make ‘The Great Sage’ a demon’s follower or something since her skeleton just came back to life?
So many questions entered her mind at that moment, and Serein maintained her distance and had her dagger within reach in case she needed to fend for her life for the nth time in the span of 2 days she’s been here.
With how much she’s already losing blood and being trashed around, she honestly felt like reliving her rookie years as Min Suhyun.
Not to mention, this only solidified her speculation of how this place was not simply a speck of her own imagination or chaste of dreams, and instead, it is now a new reality she needed to survive in.
‘I’ve nearly died for like… 2 times already. I need to be more careful.’
Of course, she did not count the times when she deliberately hurt herself or let herself become injured in a more controllable situation–
She was talking about when she was about to be joyfully mauled by Aidou and when those stone warriors wildly aimed their weapons at them like savages.
“Whoa! A shapeshifter! So cool!”
All the while she was in her own headspace, Pam actually left her side and jumped onto the Great Sage’s shoulder. Which, to his delight and everyone’s shock, he actually landed on her.
Still, Cherry reached out, fearing that something would happen to the young hatchling for disrespecting the pioneer of her glorious Kingdom.
Neither of the two humans was expecting the Great Sage to chuckle softly instead as she reached out to the small head and rubbed it gently.
“At least my coat is warm, isn’t it?”
This time, the young wyrm nodded eagerly with a big grin as he added to the comment with his own chirps–
“And fluffy too!”
This has resulted in another soft chortle escaping the reddish lips of the grand lady.
“I like it quite a lot as well. It is my favorite coat, actually.”
As the Sage’s gaze softened, the two humans soon noticed that not only her demeanor changed, but her speech pattern also became friendlier and easier to understand.
It was only then that Serein gathered enough courage to bluntly ask what was on her mind.
“Are you a Licht?”
Snapping her head at her guide’s direction, Cherry had her eyes opened wide in shock upon the heavy accusation.
Had anyone else from her kingdom heard of this blasphemous question, Serein’s head would’ve been guaranteed to be on a silver platter by now.
And yet, staring at the hardened expression of the older, added with all of the craziness that she had heard from the same person that had been saving her life numerous times–
The baffled mage jumped to her feet almost immediately as she too made a stance, ready to fight or defend at any given call.
Despite having a possibility to be related to this being in front of her, Serein had opened her eyes to the potential untold history of the tragic past.
And so, Cherry chose to trust this stranger’s judgment.
She chose to trust someone who’s shielding her even at this very moment instead of being docile in front of a distant relative whose intentions were unknown.
Lowering her body slightly with her hand ready to reach for her weapon, Serein’s pupils slanted in wariness as the unknown existence moved.
Granted, all the Sage did was reach out to Pam before stretching her palm to return the young hatchling to his current caretaker. However, it didn’t shake the suspicion in her eyes as she still heavily focused on each and every move that was made whilst the adventurer took the chirpy wyrm from the Sage’s hand before then passing him towards the mage behind her.
“I am no Licht, nor am I involved in any type of demonic magic.”
The sage spoke slowly and with perfect articulation. She did not take another step, as if patiently waiting for their reply.
Serein felt like she shouldn’t be surprised for someone as smart as the infamous Great Sage to figure out the unsaid questions in her tone. However, she still couldn’t shake the unsettling feeling of her charming smile.
Well, at least now she knows where the princess got her endearing points from
‘The apple doesn’t fall far from its tree, I guess’ She mused without lowering her guard down.
Though, to give an empty response–
‘Why would I ever do that?’
She knew that this trait of hers always brought her trouble for being too forward. Then again, taunting your enemy was actually a decent strategy in a way… right?
In any case, there’s no going back to the moment she opened her mouth–
“Of course not. The infamous Grand Sage is widely known for her tale of eliminating the dark entities from our delicate continent. There’s no way someone as prestigious as you would’ve been involved with dark magic. It simply wouldn’t make sense, now would it?”
–now, she could only pursue this childish taunt or fall out of grace, and probably out of life as well.
Well, to be honest, she was preparing herself to be humiliated since this person in front of her was known to be the genius of the century since she was but a little girl. Serein never really expected the unknown being to bite her bait.
Although… It seemed like her taunting has unknowingly opened a pandora box full of peril–
A frown now tainted the ethereal beauty, as her voice once again boomed in that confiscated place like the first time the skull speaks up.
“I am not the one responsible for the disappearance of your race, bambino. Dark magic… I was not the one who’s responsible for them, especially now that I am nothing more than a piece of consciousness of what I used to be.” she sighed, as if tired from this interaction.
“I’m not even alive anymore.”
Her voice might not be too cynical, but it was firm and filled with hidden vexation towards someone.
Though, unfortunately, no one but the Sage herself could explain to whom her anger was pointed. The two humans could only realize that they’re not in immediate danger when the raging entity seemed like she’s controlling herself before she could lunge at these innocent ones.
Turning around, she did, and only then did Pam find himself able to move and hide under Cherry’s hair, behind her nape.
“U-Umm– S-She’s scary, pink human. Are we going to be okay?”
With a soft whimper, that young wyrm questioned the highly alert mage who found herself frozen in place as well.
Meanwhile, with Serein, the young adventurer noticed something else at that split of the moment. Other than anger, that hazel pair of eyes caught the sight of–
There’s repentance and what might even be shame in that deep pair of rose irises, just a moment before the owner turned away. In fact, Serein was sure that she would have missed that detail had she not been this cautious towards her.
‘Disappearance of my race, she said?’
But wasn’t Serein a human? And humans… still exist. So what was she talking about?
‘No. Actually, Aidou said something similar previously as well..’
A query of whether she knew what she had become.
In a matter of fact, Aidou, the tyrant ruler of the Blasphemos Woodland, also said other things she couldn’t comprehend.
‘–Smells like nature, felt similar to an ancient being, bearing the curse of a broken oath, and one whose fate bends.’
In all honesty, Serein was not paying that much attention firsthand– because, you know, she nearly got killed–
Either way, she heard and remembered bits of it because it sounded important.
Which, since it’s actually being brought up just now, her curiosity shot up to the roof once again.
“You said that you have nothing to do with the disappearance of my race. Then, you supposedly know what happened to them?”
Asking with a pressing expression, she attempted to lure the Sage with another bait since she seemed to hold back more information, and since it came from such an important person, who could tell if one day that information can save her life, right?
However, instead of feeling rather accomplished with this, Serein and the other two felt utter dread as the air dropped a few degrees colder the moment they watched her gorgeous smile flatten in that instant, followed by a fury that visibly corrupted her eyes.
Soon enough, they could hear the cold chilling sound of the outrageous consciousness.
“My rage and deepest regret lie towards those disgraceful worms that dare take advantage of mana. They’re vermin; mutts that deserve to be fed to the mongrels.”
–Unlike the theatrical entries and smiles she had shown them earlier. This time, they could feel her genuine feelings overflowing. Raw feelings of potent wrath.
Author Note: Heyya folks! Anemic Bunnicula here~! Here goes another update for the week. Hope you all would enjoy it, and I’ll see you again in the next chapter, Chao~!