Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: ShadowDog
* * *
“Arachne, are you hurt?”
“We’re good too.”
Yuri, Odin, Leo, and Siren had headed to the hideout first.
“But what the hell was that at the end?”
“Right?! The ruler of the East or whatever he’s called; that guy on the stage suddenly melted.”
“That’s true but I’m talking about you, gum-sticker.”
“Yes, you were hiding so well, why the fuck did you suddenly pop out?”
Odin, who had transformed back to human, looked at Siren and clicked his tongue.
“You already knew you were going nude with your feather loss, did you have a death wish or something?”
“What? Feather loss? Nude? Are you done talking?”
Siren’s face flushed red.
And she was even angrier because Odin wasn’t completely wrong. Singing a song containing the power of the ruins resulted in Siren losing all her precious feathers which she cherished like gold.
So her normally beautiful form was nowhere to be found and right now, Siren’s wings simply looked awkward and riddled with patches.
Of course, her feathers would grow back over time, but the mental blow was undeniably heavy.
“Odin, we got this done easily thanks to Siren, you’re being too harsh.”
Yuri usually didn’t get involved when the two of them were bickering, but she stepped in today.
Because Siren was almost tearing up over the loss of her precious wings and she seemed pitiful. Besides, it was true that Siren was a huge help today.
“Thanks, Siren. We were able to finish everything without hurting anyone because of your help. Sure enough, that prediction that said you should be at my side today must have been correct.”
“N-Not at all. I can sacrifice my face and wings for you as many times as you want!”
Odin unhappily watched Siren cling to Yuri. But he only clicked his tongue one more time; he didn’t try to pull her away like usual.
“That aside, I know we brought these guys with us for now but what do we do with them?”
Odin glanced to the side and said.
Sitting there, were the heretics they had helped to escape earlier. They were hiding in a corner and trembling among themselves.
“True. We can’t keep them here.”
“Shouldn’t we vacate this place too? We made all that noise so won’t we get tracked down in the East?”
“Krng, this, this is my house though.”
Yuri also turned to look at the people they had rescued. Some of them were mutants who had emerged naturally instead of mutations caused by a ruin’s fragment.
One of them uttered in a voice mixed with sobs.
“I want to go home…”
Then again, there must be a normal person who had a home to go back to among them too.
“What do we do?” (Siren)
“Let ‘em go. They said they want to go home.” (Odin)
“Kng, outside, dangerous.” (Leo)
“I know but whatever happens after is not our responsibility.” (Odin)
“I want to help them as much as I can too but…” (Siren)
Even if they just let them go now, they could already see another issue forming because people would notice them when they went home.
Most of all, after what happened today, there was no way of knowing whether these people would be able to keep living in the East in the future. After all, there was no guarantee that the Central Council wouldn’t try to pursue the people who had escaped from the execution. Furthermore, since they were already branded as mutants, they might have to face this sort of awful thing again afterward.
Honestly, meddling that far was none of Yuri’s business but…
“This place is smaller than I expected, y’know.”
Right then, a familiar low voice was heard at the entrance of the monastery.
Yuri turned to look and sure enough, a familiar man appeared in her sight.
Siren recognized Lakis too and her eyes went wide.
She had forgotten about it for a bit due to Odin’s comments about her wings, but Lakis was the one who suddenly appeared in the clock tower and threw her out.
But the moment her eyes met Lakis’ eyes, Siren unwittingly got spooked and shriveled again.
“Mr. Lakis, what are you doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Ms. Yuri is here so I came here.”
Lakis spoke if that was the most obvious thing in the world then he approached Yuri to check her condition.
“Hm, good, you didn’t get hurt.”
Yuri wasn’t surprised by Lakis’ sudden appearance. For some reason, she felt like he would be nearby.
“Mr. Lakis, you were in the square earlier, right?”
When Yuri asked that question, Siren, who was behind her, rapidly nodded her head.
Yuri didn’t see it but when she recalled the last things she saw before she left the platform, she was strangely more convinced about her guess.
“The last thing that happened, did it have something to do with you, Mr. Lakis?”
In a way, it was a sharp question.
There was Dominic Crawford who melted on stage with a changed appearance and Kalian, who appeared just in time to deal with the situation.
Lakis calmly replied to Yuri’s question in a voice that almost seemed lazy.
“I don’t know. I’m not quite sure what you are talking about.”
“Ah, and I thought you didn’t get hurt at all.”
Right then, Lakis found the nick left by the flying bullet. His brows furrowed.
“I really don’t like this…”
It was hard to tell whether he was talking to himself or talking to Yuri, or to the third person who made this scratch.
Lakis relaxed his hold on her hand which he had unconsciously gripped tight and asked.
“Is there any other one?”
“I only got injured there.”
Yuri pulled her arm out of Lakis’ grip.
“Odin, go to Ms. Anne-Marie’s first.”
Yuri turned to Odin and said.
Hearing that, Odin, who had been uncomfortably shrinking away from Lakis, was delighted.
“I-I should, right?”
“Mn, she’s probably still worrying about us.”
“Alright, I’ll be back soon!”
Odin instantly turned into a crow and flew away. Siren watched him go like he was a traitor.
Lakis glanced to the side and his eyes swept over the area.
“How do you plan on dealing with these people?”
“I’m thinking about it.”
Yuri replied with a slight frown when Lakis asked after nodding to them.
At that, Lakis tilted his head and quietly looked into Yuri’s eyes.
“Hmm, I think I can handle it.”
Hearing the whisper over her ears, Yuri looked up at Lakis.
“I hate troublesome things but since it is for you, Ms. Yuri…”
A sweet smile filled her sight.
* * *
In the end, the praying ceremony was canceled.
Because neither the organizers, the Central Council, nor the people of the East were in the mood to participate in the event. The events that took place during the purification ceremony were just that shocking, so it made sense.
“Seriously, I was so worried!”
Anne-Marie, who was waiting restlessly at home, saw Yuri and ran over immediately.
In the first place, even if it was called a purification ceremony, its true essence was that of an execution ground, and Hestia was not allowed to see that since she was a young child, so the both of them did not attend the praying ceremony.
Most of all, there were rumors that heretics would be brought out during the purification ceremony and she had to be more careful so that Hestia would not hear such nonsense.
However, Anne-Marie kept keeping an eye on the plaza because she was worried about Yuri and Odin ever since they left the house. Hence, she heard the stories about the heretics who suddenly appeared, creating chaos, as well as the news about the fake Dominic Crawford getting arrested by Kalian.
So naturally, Anne-Marie was nervous and agitated while waiting for them.
“That hurts, Ms. Anne-Marie.”
“Bear with it even if it hurts. What if it scars?”
Currently, Anne-Marie was treating Yuri’s gun wound, which was more of a scratch.
Her skin was a little torn up but as expected, her self-healing was still not kicking in.
Initially, Yuri didn’t plan to show Anne-Marie her injury. However, Lakis sent her to see Anne-Marie with such a firm attitude, and it eventually ended up like this.
“But I’m glad this is just it. Do you know how worried I was at home?”
After the treatment was over, Yuri pulled down her sleeve and glanced at Anne-Marie. Her eyes were a little red.
“Thanks, Anne-Marie. I got back safely since you were worried about me.”
Yuri said to her since she was grateful for Anne-Marie’s concern.
Right then, she heard the door of the room opening.
Hestia, who had been snooping at the door for a while now, poked her head in through the crack of the open door.
“Um, can I come in?”
From the way she was pursing her lips, it seems there was something she wanted to ask Yuri.
Upon seeing that face, Yuri suddenly remembered something and dug through her pocket.
“Leo wanted me to give you this.”
Hearing that name from Yuri’s mouth made Hestia’s eyes widen.
Hestia quickly walked over and stood in front of Yuri. Yuri then handed Hestia a note.
Once she opened the folded paper, Hestia teared up. Yuri already knew what was written on it as well.
[Let’s play together again.]
The candy wrapper with crooked writing on it was something Leo gave Yuri before they separated at the hideout.
“I-Is Leo okay now?”
“He’s not hurt?”
“He…doesn’t hate me?”
“Why would he hate you?”
“He got caught because of me. He must have been so scared too…”
Hestia was sniffing as she spoke, but Yuri had a hard time sympathizing with that.
‘I doubt it. I mean, he was even sleeping peacefully when they carried him to the platform…’
Yuri then spoke to comfort Hestia.
“If he hated you, he wouldn’t have asked me to give you this. And don’t worry, Leo is completely fine; he’s not injured at all.”
At that, Hestia nodded with tears dripping down her face.
And the next moment, Yuri flinched, and her body stiffened.
Because Hestia suddenly reached forward and hugged her.
“Thank you, Unni.”
Eventually, she burst into tears and Yuri’s chest got soaked because Hestia’s face was buried in her chest.
Anne-Marie smiled warmly while watching the both of them.
And after a while, Yuri raised her hand awkwardly and patted Hestia’s back.