Then, Anne-Marie gave a light chuckle and added.
“To be honest, I’m thinking about quitting the clinic.”
I was a little surprised.
Anne-Marie quitting the clinic? That didn’t happen in the novel at all. There were times where I got a similar feeling, but this was the first time I really felt that the original story was trying to leave main track in Anne-Marie’s hands. Of course, the story already went off track when I helped Lakis, but I thought the rest of the story would flow in a similar manner…
I guess I took it too lightly.
“I actually fainted from overexertion not long ago.”
And Anne-Marie’s next words startled me.
“Ah, it wasn’t that serious, don’t worry. It was just one time in front of my house…”
Anne-Marie explained to me, looking a little sheepish as she did so. As if she made a big deal out of something that wasn’t much. However, there was no way collapsing from overexertion was a minor issue.
“I think it’s because you have a lot of work at the clinic and you kept pushing myself. Did you get checked up?”
“Yes, they said I was fine.”
Anne-Marie gave a bright smile as if thanking me for worrying about her. Then she seemed to think about something, and her smile faded.
“But you know, I’m worried about Hestia, so I want to start taking care of my body, at least now…that’s why I’m leaning towards quitting the clinic if possible.”
I was beginning to understand what Anne-Marie was thinking. If something bad happened to her, Hestia would end up without a single relative and that sudden fainting spell made her blood run cold. Even before, she had casually told me about how she was spending less and less time with Hestia.
“I see…well, chose what makes you comfortable and I hope it works out best for you, Ms. Anne-Marie.”
And when I said that, Anne-Marie once again smiled beautifully like a freshly blossomed flower.
“Thank you, Ms. Yuri. If it’s okay with you, would you like to go home together?”
Like that, we made a promise for later and went our separate ways.
* * *
A crow cried out by the window.
Lakis went to where the sound came from and opened the window. Then he found a black feather sitting on the window frame. On it was a message Odin sent to Lakis, using a crow. Just like when he sent messages to Yuri, the feather was engraved with tiny, faint letters that were difficult to see with the human eye.
However, Lakis was naturally beyond the classification of human so it was easy for him to see it.
‘Looks like he’s doing his job well.’
After confirming the contents, Lakis’ lips curved in a crooked smile. Of course, he still didn’t like the crow Odin, but apart from that, he had to admit the guy was quite useful.
Right then, he heard the sound of the door opening from behind him. Lakis squeezed the feather tight and it turned into black smoke, disappearing without a trace. Then he went to greet Yuri.
“Mr. Lakis, let’s have a talk.”
Yuri said as soon as she saw Lakis. Before coming home, Yuri felt she needed to address what happened yesterday. Of course, it was true she was taken in by Lakis’ beauty but she thought it was unfair of Lakis to take the chance to solve his curiosity like that.
After she called him, she could feel Lakis promptly studying her face. After a brief pause, he began walking to Yuri again. But as he drew closer than necessary for some reason, Yuri opened her mouth to tell him to stop there.
However, Lakis acted faster that she could speak. Before she knew it, he was right before her, and his blonde hair shook before eyes. At the same time, he took her hand without any hesitation and wove their fingers together.
A low voice reverberated deeply past her ears.
Yuri’s lips unconsciously parted when she saw the light blue eyes looking down at her.
“Rather than anger…”
As she looked into Lakis’ eyes up-close, the words in her head seemed to fade away. She suddenly felt the distance between them was too small and took a step back to create some space. But Lakis moved just as much, rendering it useless.
“Mr. Lakis, what happened yesterday…”
And before Yuri finished what she was going to say, Lakis apologized first. He looked down at Yuri and whispered in a voice filled with sincerity.
“I was wrong. Please don’t be angry.”
He spoke as if trying to appease her and as she looking into the eyes facing her, she somehow felt speechless.
‘Oh, this is weird…’
Yuri felt suspicious when she saw Lakis like this. As she looked at his face, she didn’t feel like saying anything more. Of course, she wasn’t angry in the first place, but she felt like she should at least say something.
Was it because he looked like drenched puppy?
Eventually, the words Yuri said were very different from what she initially planned.
“Don’t do it again.”
Anyways, it looked like Lakis was seriously reflecting…so she figured she could leave it alone at this point.
At Yuri’s words, Lakis’ eyes curved in a soft smile to show he understood. Then he lifted her hand and pressed his lips to the back of her hand. The series of actions were so natural that Yuri didn’t even think of shaking him off.
Soon, a sweet whisper coiled around her ears.
“I missed you, Ms. Yuri.”
Yuri unconsciously held her breath.
‘Wow, how can someone talk like this?’
It was so sweet, as if his voice was made in sugar or honey. For some reason today, she felt like she had grown speechless in front of Lakis quite a few times. This feeling felt somehow dangerous for her heart, so Yuri unconsciously shook off his hand.
Once she separated from the body touching hers, her mind calmed down again. But it only lasted a moment because right after, Lakis touched her face and her heart softened again.
“Mr. Lakis…you’re too close.”
At Yuri’s words, Lakis tilted his head. Then a corner of his lips curved, and he whispered in a lazy, almost ticklish voice.
“I want to be even closer though.”
At this point, Yuri had no choice but to admit it. Lakis had a very great talent for captivating people. And his beauty trap was more effective on her than she thought. If Lakis knew what she was thinking, he would be very satisfied.
“Are you usually like this with anyone?”
Then Yuri asked unconsciously. At that, Lakis looked at her like he’d just heard something unexpected, then he soon said the same words she’d said not too long ago.
“No. I’m only like this with you.”
Yuri was once again speechless. The sweet voice felt a little ticklish as it dug into her ears.
So she changed the subject, spun around and walked away. Lakis chuckled under his breath and followed after Yuri.
* * *
On her day off from the coffeehouse, Yuri told Lakis she had an appointment so she would be getting back late then she went out in the afternoon. After which, she stopped by Leo’s hideout to change her clothing.
“I-I’m sorry! I’m trying really hard! It’s definitely not because I can’t but Odin has hidden himself so well.”
Once she saw Yuri, Siren urgently made an excuse. Ever since Yuri made a request, she had been manipulating her bird to look for Odin. However, she was yet to get any outstanding results.
“Please look a little harder. I’ll also look for him myself.”
Yuri said, after nodding to show she understood.
However, Siren was crestfallen because she felt she had disappointed Yuri.
“Yuri! Me too! Me too!”
Right then, Leo butt in and arrogantly asked to be involved in looking for Odin.
“Me, direction, good! Siren, bad!”
“What the? A mere watchdog is looking down on me?”
Naturally, Siren blew her top.
“I know you’re good at directions too, Leo. But you don’t have to help this time. It might be dangerous.”
However, Yuri stroked Leo’s head and refused. There was the fact that he was caught by slave traders looking for mutants last time, and above all, Leo stood out when he moved around so it was dangerous.
With Yuri’s refusal, it was Leo’s turn to be crestfallen and his ears drooped down.
“Hmph, I’m enough help for Arachne, OK?”
Siren turned up her nose and laughed.
“What, keep glaring at me. What’re you gonna do?”
Yuri ignored the two of them snarling at each other and began to change her clothes.
Siren was shocked and covered Leo’s eyes with her wings.
“Arachne, you-! It’s not just two of us here, this watchdog’s here too. Why’re you just tossing your clothes?”
“Even in the lab, I changed in front of others, who cares.”
“Is this the lab? You…! Don’t tell me you do this at home t-too…”
Upon hearing Yuri speak calmly, Siren spoke with disbelief.
 He says he’s good at navigating/searching while Siren can’t.
PS: Sorry if I used mutant/variant interchangeably. When I see the word, I reflexively think variant so that’s what I type.