I reached my hand out gently and pulled up Leah, who was on my back. She may be a succubus, but she seems to possess the stamina of an ordinary child. After playing around in the wild crowd and dancing with me, she fell asleep on my back. I carried her back toward our home. I didn’t think it was a very good idea to wake her, so I decided to head back first.
‘I don’t feel safe leaving Leah home alone. It appears that my journey for today ends here.’
I knelt down in front of Leah’s bed and gave her a kiss on her small face before leaving the room. When I descended the stairs, I noticed Veirya wasn’t sitting at the table. I was slightly surprised, as normally, she always sat at the table. I pulled the door open to see her standing in the courtyard. I didn’t tidy up the courtyard. The broken water fountain and flower garden with yellow soil were evidently somewhat barren. I heard lively laughter and shouts from the street. The sound that came to me through the damaged courtyard and cold moon appeared particularly far away. It was as though we were separated by an immeasurable distance and time as if the noise outside had nothing to do with us. What we had was this damaged courtyard and the building without a single flame for light.
When you compare the two circumstances, this place truly seems barren and lonely, as well as freezing cold at night.
A bright light and flame suddenly came from inside. What immediately followed resembled a whistle that could cause the air to tremble. This was the moment where the Fire Torch Festival reached its peak. All of the puppets had been lit up. Next was the cheerful dance between couples around the fire, expressing love and friendship for each other. After holding their loved one’s hands and dancing around the warm fire was an incomparable warm embrace and food.
‘However, I have nothing now.’
I stood next to Veirya.
‘If you don’t do anything in this cold winter air, it won’t be long before you can’t feel your hands and feet. Further, I didn’t eat lunch or dinner; consequently, my hands and feet are now genuinely frozen numb.’
Veirya didn’t give any reaction. She was cold as the snow and moon. Her demeanour deterred me from approaching her. But then she walked up to my side, looked at the flame and asked, “What are they doing over there?”
“Everybody will burn the puppets with a fire torch in their hand, and then dance around the bonfire, praying for god’s blessings, so that they can be together forever in the future. Additionally, they can get god to heed their prayers, which is a wish to have a good harvest the next year. You can consider it their hope for the future as the year comes to an end.”
“Is that right…?”
Veirya responded with a gentle nod. Standing next to me, she extended her hand out to me. She looked at me with her clear blue eyes. I was caught with surprise. I looked at her. She titled her head with puzzlement, and then asked, “Didn’t you say we have to dance? You said couples could be together forever if they danced. Do we have to dance next to the fire for it to work?”
“No… I’m just confused as to why you’d want to dance with me.”
I looked Veirya with surprise. Her delicate face looked radiant under the moon light. Despite having no life in her expression, her blue eyes contrasted with the flame representing bliss and happiness in the distance. However, the flame was cold as ice. She extended her hand toward me while keeping her eyes fixed on me. Her face was void of any emotion. She just wanted to dance with me. I couldn’t see what she was thinking in her heart beneath her military uniform and cape, despite her being right in front of me.
“Why can’t I dance with you?”
Veirya’s expression didn’t change at all. However, her voice contained uncertainty when she asked me the question I had no means of answering. I hesitated for a moment then grabbed hold of her hand. I softly replied, “Let’s dance, then. But, I don’t know how to dance.”
“I can’t dance, either.”
“Hmm? What are we dancing then?”
“I don’t know.”
The two of us started to move our feet around, drawing a squiggly circle on the ground. I held Veirya’s hands, but I couldn’t feel any warmth, and I didn’t have the courage to hook an arm around her waist. She was the same. She followed my footsteps as we turned. Her gaze was intently focused on my face. I looked at her diffidently. My eyes couldn’t focus. I’d look at her face for two or three seconds, and then look away.
Veirya’s gaze on my face plucked at my heartstrings, and I wanted to say something, but never did.
I then felt as though I kicked something. Coincidentally, we were switching steps. I took a wrong step and tripped toward Veirya. She lingered, but didn’t move away. Instead, she puffed her chest out, causing me to bump into the breasts that once made contact with Leah.
Her faint scent enveloped me in that instant. It stimulated my nerves and mind, making my brain go blank.
Veirya didn’t let go. She kept a hold of my hand. I just sniffed in and relished her warmth.
Veirya didn’t stop dancing. She looked at me from overhead for a moment then asked, “Can you stand?”
“Sorry!! Sorry!! Sorry!!”
I quickly lifted my head and away instinctively pushed her. She didn’t show any anger or emotion in her gaze. She just looked at me. She didn’t think I did anything wrong. She just thought I tripped.
She looked at me feeling confused. Then she titled her head and asked, “Do you want to continue, then?”
‘I don’t know if it’s because I just breathed in her most warm and fragrant scent, but I completely can’t meet with her eyes now. As see as I saw her, my heartbeat would rapidly speed up. This is the first time I felt Veirya was too pretty.’
“No… No… Umm… I’m a little tired…”
I quickly waved my hands and backed off. I had never lost my composure to this degree before.
‘What’s wrong with me? I was just hit with a breast burial technique. Could I have fallen for Veirya? No way. No way. Could my route be conquered so easily?!’
‘No way. No way. I’m a rational man. It’s just my hormones acting up. I’ll be fine once I calm down. I’ll be calm once I calm down.’
“Are you sure you’re all right?”
Veirya walked up to me and inquired with confusion. She looked at me and as if she understood something, she asked, “Is it because of this?”
Veirya went right up to my lips and murmured her question.
I didn’t feel any joy. What I felt was fright that nearly instantly killed me. Veirya looked at me even more puzzled. She leaned her face in toward me. The tip of her nose gently touched mine. Her ice-cold skin was on the tip of my nose. I felt her ice-cold lips slowly approaching. I felt her breaths tease my lips, making them go numb…
“You want… this, right…?”
I froze in place. My mind was completely blank. I opened my trembling lips. I didn’t resist. I just waited for that kiss.
‘Perhaps… This was what I wanted.’
Veirya’s cold lips made contact with my lips…
Just as I was about to shout out, I suddenly heard the door swing open. I turned my head to look in the direction of the sound. A girl with silver hair whipped her hair and came in. I looked at the individual coming in. She looked the exact same as the one right next to me. I lingered for a moment, and then asked, “Angelina, right? D-Do… you have business here?”
“What are you saying?!! I’m Veirya!!”
The woman at the door revealed an angry look for the first time. She pointed at the woman next to me and shouted, “What are you trying to do?!!”
“Oh, boy. Have I been exposed?”
The woman next to me revealed a proud smile. She pushed me away with a smile and let go of my hand in a fashion similar to a young girl that just successfully pulled a prank. She looked at me with a smile, “What do you think? Have you developed feelings? Veirya is a pretty woman. If you like her, court her. Oh, right, if you have feelings for me, I won’t rule out the possibility as her mother. What would’ve happened if I we kissed just now?”
“Get away from my property!! Traitor!!”
Veirya drew her sword and charged over. Angelina shoved me away, and then drew her sword to block Veirya’s attack. She then hopped away and laughed as she ran out of the door.
Veirya huffed and puffed with anger, but didn’t chase her. Instead, she turned to face me and grabbed my collar with one hand. She kicked me into the building without a word prior, and then loudly shut the door.
“You are not to run around!! You’re my property! I forbid you from talking to that woman!!”