“Repeat that for me.”
Lakis’ footstep delayed for a moment. Odin was quick to read the atmosphere and knew that he must beg for forgiveness right now so he prostrated before Lakis.
The crow flapping its wings in the sky clung to Lakis’ legs as it black feathers fluttered in the night sky.
“I’m sorry, Lakis-nim! This Odin was useless! I couldn’t get a single ruin’s fragment, so I stole…!”
“F***, not that…You, after you clean up this place, go to the warehouse and wait.”
Odin’s face was haggard, but he flapped his wings and staggered off to follow Lakis’ order.
Lakis’ expression was still crumpled as he moved to start following Yuri’s traces again.
—Eh, what the. So she isn’t going to stuff him?
And after a while, the bug mumbled as if it was disappointed. Yuri threw the man who intruded into the auction house over the wall of some mansion then she turned around and left.
It belonged to one of the great nobles of the East, the Salvatore family.
After climbing a tree to look over the situation, Lakis’ eyes narrowed.
‘Now that I think about it, that red-haired guy who met the blue-haired guy in front of the coffeehouse is Genos Sheldon. The one called the Guardian of the East.’
This was something he found out when he followed the guy last time and did some investigation.
There was a Crawford involved then a Sheldon followed and this time, it was a Salvatore.
As Lakis’ vice grip on the tree tightened, cracks began to appear from the area he was touching.
He couldn’t understand why those hateful bastards kept getting involved around Yuri.
—Lakis, isn’t it a secret that you went out? You better start hurrying back.
For now, once he heard what the bug said, Lakis set that aside for the future and turned around.
The sound of the mansion door opening rang out behind him and at the same time, he could heard the little sounds of people moving out.
‘Hah, ungrateful bastard.’
Even though Yuri let him live, that ungrateful twat sent people to catch her. Lakis clicked his tongue and thought, this is why you shouldn’t be charitable to people. He began to speed up in the direction of the house so that he could get there before Yuri arrived.
* * *
I focused my senses on the faint presence following me.
‘At this point, I guess I can say it wasn’t a miracle at all.’
I eventually clicked my tongue. The target of my admiration was Lakis who was behind me. Actually, for a while now, I’d known that Lakis was following me.
Of course, I didn’t know from the start. I first grew suspicious when Damon Salvatore first came into the building and the presence following him suddenly disappeared.
No, honestly, when I saw Lakis blocking me before I left the house, I had a slight suspicion that he might follow me secretly after I left. When I said I’d try to come back as soon as possible, Lakis looked like he had conceded but I sensed an almost instinctive sign of suspicion from him.
Well, wouldn’t it be funny if someone from the underworld believed what another person said at face value?
And so, as I left the house and headed to my destination, I checked back from time to time in a non-obvious manner. However, Lakis’ concealment was more than outstanding.
It was to the point that I only sensed his presence for the first time after I entered the auction house and looked around for a bit. But once I was aware of it, I could perceive the presence of someone following me, even if it was only faint.
I glanced at the movements behind me for a second then I sped up in a direction different from home. At that, the movement which was following my steps slowed down for a moment. Then it followed up in the direction I was moving instead of heading to the house.
When I reached a river that wasn’t too far from the house, I came to a stop. The ripples of the flowing water glistened in the moonlight. I pulled down my hood and the refreshing wind blew against my hair.
“The night view by the river is quite pretty. It would be better if I had someone to walk around with.”
My voice, which was neither loud nor soft, was carried by the night river and spread around. If anyone saw this, they might think some random woman was talking to herself.
But after a while, someone silently appeared behind me.
“…so you knew. That I was here.”
A mild whisper spread through the night air. I turned around and saw a man standing about four or five steps away from me.
The wind that scattered my hair flitted past Lakis’ frame.
“When did you notice?”
Lakis’ hair swayed slightly as it shimmered under the moonlight as if it was sprinkled with gold. Maybe it was because he suited the night so well. Him just standing there quietly made me feel like I was in a photo shoot.
“From the start.”
I lied through my teeth.
I actually knew in the middle but there was no need to say it as it is. Since I said I knew from the beginning then I figured that next time, Lakis wouldn’t rashly follow me.
“Come closer, Mr. Lakis.”
At that, Lakis who had been staring at my face as if he was trying to gauge my mood, slowly narrowed our distance.
“Since we’re outside anyways, let’s take a walk before going back.
It’s night and there’s no other people around so we don’t have to worry about people’s gazes, right?”
When I readily took his hand first, Lakis’ eyes narrowed.
“You’re not angry.”
“That doesn’t mean you can follow me secretly like this again.”
In the first place, my boiling point was much higher than other people so even though Lakis followed me this time, I didn’t get angry nor did my mood drop to a freezing point. Besides, I knew Lakis acted like this because he was worried about me…
Above all, there was also a time where I thought about following Lakis too. Of course, I ended up not putting it into action because it was too annoying.
“If we were to reverse this, would you like for me to follow you in secret?”
Still, I figured he could put himself in my shoes and asked. At that, Lakis’ face stiffened.
“The idea of you following me is so…”
He used the hand I wasn’t holding to cover his face as if he was surprised. But somehow, this was not the reaction I expected.
‘Wait, why is he acting shy?’
On top of that, the glimpse of Lakis I could see between his hand showed that his expression was nothing like someone who was imagining something unpleasant. Rather, he looked like he was seeing something so cute that he couldn’t help but want to take a bite…
“But it’s dangerous so don’t.”
Just when my gaze was about to turn cold, Lakis suddenly turned to me with a serious look on his face and said that. So in other words, as long as it wasn’t dangerous, it was okay for me to follow him. That seemed to be what he was saying.
No, judging from the reaction he had just now, it wasn’t just ‘okay’, it was more than welcome.
I already knew this before but Lakis’ common sense was different from ordinary people.
‘Like I thought, I shouldn’t have expected ‘putting himself in my shoes’ to have any effect.’
“Anyway, Mr. Lakis…if you do this again, I’ll be angry.”
I simply spoke straightforwardly.
“Also, there was someone with me earlier. Don’t kill him.”
I said that because I guessed Lakis must have seen Damon Salvatore and as expected, he flinched.
“Don’t cripple him either.”
Still, my suspicions didn’t lessen so I added that firmly.
“I am not so weak that I need you to protect me, Mr. Lakis. No matter who it is, if there’s something I need to deal with later, I can do it myself. Do you understand what I mean?”
Honestly, even if this didn’t happen today, I’d been wanting to say this at some point.
Lakis looked at me without saying anything for a while. Then he slowly parted his lips.
“I understand what you mean.”
It was a simple answer. For now, I was satisfied with that.
Lakis and I did not go straight home, instead we spent some time walking by the river. The weather was perfectly refreshing and the houses around were lit here and there so the night view by the river was not too bad.
What Lakis said on the way back from the coffeehouse not long ago was right. If I were to have a relationship, I wanted to have a romance as ordinary as other people.
“It’s my first time walking with you at night.”
“You talk as if you’ve walked with someone else before.”
I said it in passing but when I heard Lakis’ reply, I unconsciously came to a stop. I suddenly felt like he’d hit the nail on the head so I inadvertently looked up at the person beside me.
Then our eyes met.
Lakis’ eyes crinkled as he smiled.
“Ah, did I get it right?”
He was giving a pretty smile but seeing that, somehow my back felt a little cold. For some reason, I felt like a dark aura was seeping out of Lakis.
“No. It’s probably just your imagination.”
Oddly enough, I felt like someone who mistakenly brought up their ex-boyfriend in front of their current boyfriend so I reflexively made an excuse. But even I couldn’t understand why I made such an excuse and I soon frowned. Shouldn’t I just be honest?
It didn’t even happen now, it was in my previous life. On top of that, it wasn’t even with someone I was dating. It was just a little flirting, we ate dinner, watched a movie and since the weather was good, we took a walk.
No wait, even if it was someone I was dating, is there a problem? But why did I make excuses as if I was watching Lakis’ mood?
Lakis looked down at my frowning face then he tilted his head slightly.
“Hmm, is that so? I guess it’s just me.”
Lakis didn’t question me more about that. Maybe he didn’t want to press on since he did just follow me secretly and he didn’t want to quibble with me over this. Or maybe he saw that my mood was a little worse than before so he let it go. Or maybe he saw my reaction and decided to just believe what I said.
Whichever it was, since Lakis wasn’t digging in anymore about this, my mood recovered a little.