Lucia pulled me into her embrace as soon as I got up, ignoring the stench and foul water dripping off me. In a coarse voice, she shouted, “Why did you have to jump down, idiot?! It’s just a walking bird!! We can just take another one if you lose it!! Why did you jump?!! You scared me to death!”
I didn’t want to hug Lucia and smear her with the filth on me. Nevertheless, she didn’t care. She grabbed my arm and forced it to her chest. Feeling somewhat awkward, I warned, “Hey… Lucia… I’m dirty and smelly right n-”
“I don’t care!” Lucia harshly cut me off. She tightened her arms around me and quietly sniffled: “Don’t do that. I was so worried something would happen to you. You’re the only person to ever tell me you love me. I’ve already prepared so much. I’ve prepared myself to be a bride. Don’t make my joy be for naught… I gave you my love. Don’t leave without giving me anything.”
“I won’t let that happen. We chose him together, so he’s important to me. That’s why I wanted to bring him back up.”
“… Idiot. We could just choose another one.”
Lucia’s heart was set aflutter. She gently snuggled up on my chest and blissfully shut her eyes, but the people around, who were watching us, rendered me awkward. Understandably, nobody wanted to approach me when I was stinky and covered in filth. The rancid stench dispersed into the surroundings, but if I didn’t respond, people wouldn’t think well of Lucia.
“Umm… umm… Madam, Sir… we have prepared stuff for you to wash. Our detergents can get rid of the smell. As for clothing… we only have this sort of clothing that we wear… If you need… we can send someone to your place and ask them to bring your clothes over.”
“There’s no need to go through so much trouble. Just give us your clothes.”
The person in charge feared Lucia to an extent. He was afraid Lucia would shut down the place, if not massacre everyone. Lucia appeared to be held in the same regard as Veirya. Veirya was the Queen’s weapon for murder in humanity’s lands, while Lucia had killed her fair share of elves. Lucia ignored them and quietly opined, “Let’s go wash up first. While I don’t mind, you can’t stand the smell, can you?”
Lucia released me then wiped the black and green filth coursing down my face. She then led me by my hand. The elves didn’t wash in hot water. A group of people led us to the river. They took our clothes and poured a peculiar green liquid in before bowing and leaving. Only when there was just Lucia and I did I realise that I was going to bath with Lucia…
Lucia shyly and warily removed her clothes and tossed it to the ground. She covered her flat chest and turned around. Timid, she requested, “I’m all right at night… but during the day… I feel embarrassed… umm… umm… Travor, can you turn around?”
I didn’t think there was any need to worry about being embarrassed as I didn’t realise that Lucia was a girl when she was nude…
The two of us undressed, and then got into the water. The water was freezing. As soon as my foot entered the water, my cells told me to pull out. However, I took in a deep breath to sit down in the water. Lucia sat down and leaned on my back. Her body was my only source of warmth. Lucia handed me a small bottle from behind. Inside was a liquid of a crushed plant, but I could still see the leaves of the plant.
“This is a quality detergent we love. It can swiftly remove any smells or filth from your body and leaves a nice scent on you.”
I responded to Lucia’s simple explanation with a small nod then carefully scrubbed my body in the freezing water to get my body to adapt to the temperature. Lucia and I lathered on the liquid. While we were soon to be married and slept together already, it was still quite embarrassing to face each other nude during the day. That said, I didn’t pay Lucia’s feelings any attention.
I was focused on Queen Sisi. Queen Sisi was currently down in the sewers with a mischief of rodents and foul-smelling water. I needed to find an opportunity to rescue her, but I didn’t have a post-rescue plan…
I poured a little of the contents out and left quite a bit. Lucia didn’t know what I did because she had her back to me. I furtively hid the remainder in the mud by the river. I figured Queen Sisi would need it.
“Don’t… do that again.” Lucia scared me when she suddenly spoke. She didn’t notice my startled reaction and continued, “I was scared, scared that you would leave. To tell the truth, we’ve tested you many times, Travor. At the start, I didn’t quite believe you, but I do now, so I’m willing to be with you. However, however… I’m scared… I’m afraid you’ll leave… You’re the first one to be in a romantic relationship with me. I don’t want you to leave so soon. I cherish you, so don’t leave me, okay?”
“… I won’t.”
It was all a farce. There was no question I would eventually leave. Lucia might’ve thought that I was unaware of their tests, but I knew all along. Lucia was the one who was in the dark. She was naïve and kind. She loved me sincerely with everything she had purely because I told her I loved her. Unfortunately for her, I would inevitably leave. I was about two days away from leaving. I knew my lie would break Lucia’s heart, but I had no choice.
“I’m glad to hear that…”
Swish! A warm sensation penetrated from my back to my heart.. She didn’t feel warm just because the water was too cold…
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