PDM Chapter 46
“Stop looking. Her face will wear out.”
“I thought it’s Izenne again,” Rin shrugged and responded slyly. At that moment, silence swept around like a current. Sensing the severe atmosphere around Takan, Rin hesitated. “What’s the matter?”
I couldn’t see Takan’s face because I was behind him. What kind of expression did he make for Rin to react like that?
Before I could ask, Takan swung his sword violently over Rin’s chest and moved past him.
“Take this. As I said in the letter, I will be indebted to you one day.”
Rin took the sword by surprise and turned back to him, his expression now sober.
“Anyway, the room I used to share with you is probably empty, isn’t it?” Takan looked and touched the weapons on display and spoke harshly.
Rin’s eyebrows furrowed for a moment before he finally remembered. He said, “I was looking forward to seeing you again after ten years, but you’re still the same as when you were young.”
Rin clicked his tongue in discontent as he hung the sword where it was displaced. Then, he took a warm breath and wiped the sword’s surface with his sleeve until it shone.
After repeating the action until he was satisfied, Rin suddenly asked Takan a question. “So, aren’t you going to tell me why?”
Tarkan tapped the sharp iron helmet with his hand until it made a sound before stopping. Then, with a deep sigh, he ruffled his hair as if finding the question difficult to answer.
Rin frowned when he heard Takan’s hoarse voice.
The fact that I left the duke’s residence with the Takan’s help would put him in danger. Maybe, no, definitely.
Kyle would try to find us because we deceived him. From the looks of it, Rin and Takan had known each other for a long time.
I’m sure he’s thinking about it. Those who knew our whereabouts and those who helped us would be questioned. Rin might get in trouble if we tell him the truth.
I had to come up with a plausible excuse for the hesitant Takan. I put the earrings back in my jacket pocket and turned to them.
But at that moment, Rin’s eyes shifted from Takan to me. His sharp, insightful gaze focused on me. Rin looked like he had come to a conclusion, but he didn’t say anything.
Instead, he casually dusted off the robes on the wall and said, “Aha, could it be?”
At his words, Takan looked at Rin. Rin carelessly rubbed the ends of the robes on the wall. “Is she your lover? Did you run away for love?”
Takan looked at me with a grimace.
“Are you crazy? She’s like a little sister–”
“Then I will give you this robe as a present. I can’t stand still now that you have a lover.”
Takan’s eyes twitched, yet his face remained stern. Then, a moment later, he shook his head. “That’s not it. Our relationship–”
“It’s made of fabric from the north, so it won’t wear out quickly.”
Takan swallowed his words and slowly closed his mouth.
Rin smiled and held back his laughter, his reaction reminding me of an uncle teasing his nephew. He snorted as he continued straightening the wrinkle-free robe.
“So, when did you meet her? You’re a man who treated women like they didn’t exist.”
Takan scratched his head as he looked in the air in contemplation. He must have decided that we needed a robe and was trying to find a plausible answer.
You don’t have to lie.
We could buy as many as we liked with the jewels I had with me. As I was about to stop him, Takan furrowed his brows and said, “…about last year?”
“Where did you meet?”
Seemingly caught off guard, Takan’s face clouded with embarrassment.
Rin’s eyes widened in an exaggeratedly surprised expression. His lips curled up.
“Is this the same Takan who couldn’t even go to the bathroom without me?”
“What…” Takan’s eyes widened. He glanced at me and whispered a low warning to Rin. The tip of his ear, visible through the light blue hair, was red. “Why are you talking about that now?”
“When you left the orphanage and had nowhere to go, I put you to sleep and dressed you, and you followed me around like a duckling.”
“Is that snout of yours still out of control?”
“Haha!” Rin burst out laughing when he saw how fed up Takan looked.
With a gentle smile, Rin patted him on the shoulder and walked past Takan.
“Let’s eat together. It’s been a long time since we last did.”
Then, Rin turned to me. Takan glared at him, but Rin grinned as he stared at my head to my toe.
“You should change your clothes first.”
Behind the store was a modest space that could fit two people. Takan really seemed to live here before because he moved around with ease.
Rin served food on the small table that only reached his hip.
I ate simple bread and soup and then changed into the outfit Rin gave me. It was an inexpensive white shirt and navy pants that made a loud rustling sound every time I moved, but at least it was better than the oversized clothes.
I offered to pay Rin, but he refused, saying he could not accept it from Takan’s guest.
Contrary to my first impression of him, Rin was a man of many words and kindness. He held onto Takan as he babbled on, asking him how he had been doing. Takan merely covered his ears as if he didn’t want to hear it.
I felt at peace, contradictory to the situation that someone might be chasing us. I listened half-heartedly to Rin and Takan’s conversation and wandered through the forest alone with my jumbled thoughts.
As I took in the lush greenery and breathed in the fresh air, the unfamiliar forest and store felt somehow familiar.
After walking for a long time, the sound of footsteps cutting through the bushes suddenly broke the silence. I turned around to see Takan approaching me, his hands in the pockets of his trousers.
“Sorry. He’s a very talkative person and can get crazy at times.”
“Is he still someone you can trust?”
Seeing that Tarkan brought me here, Rin was sure to be a trustworthy person. Takan made a mysterious expression and immediately shook his head as if he had no choice but to admit it.
He frowned slightly as if embarrassed. “Yes, well. He’s like a father who took care of me when I was young.”
“I see,” I replied dryly, tilting my head and looking at the sky.
The sun shone through the leaves swaying in the breeze. After basking in it for a while, I realized I was enjoying it for the first time in a long time. Ah, I used to love the sun.
I closed my eyes to avoid the glare of the sun. A moment later, I felt Takan move from behind me to stand next to me.
“After a night, we’ll head to Quetray Forest,” he said. “I got information from people I wouldn’t exactly call colleagues.”
Takan raised his hand to his shoulder and hesitated. After a while, his hand hovered over my face like a shield. My furrowed brows relaxed.
“We’ll go through the forest and find the inn where the guide lives.”
Memories I had long buried resurfaced as I stared at Takan’s hand. When I was young, my brother blocked the light with his body to protect me, who had always liked the sun.
Just like this.
When I remembered my brother through Takan, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Are you listening?” Takan asked, disgruntled.
Unable to hold back my laughter, I asked, “Don’t you think it’s weird?”
He stared at me for a moment. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t you think I’m doing something meaningless?”
His hand, which had been blocking the sun, trembled. A bright light shone through the gaps between his fingers.
“It would seem reckless and pointless. Others might think that I am delusional.”
“But I must go.”
At least then, I wouldn’t have to think of Kyle and my child.
Instead of saying those words, I engraved them on my heart.
Then I opened my eyes and pushed Takan’s hand away.
I took out one of the earrings I kept in my pocket and held it out to Takan. I wanted to give him all of the jewelry I brought with me, but the forest guide might ask for money, so I had to keep some of it for now.
The teardrop-shaped sapphire earrings sparkled in the sunlight, and Takan’s gaze slid down with suspicion.
“Take it, Takan. It’s small, but I want to make it up to you.”
Takan was momentarily at a loss for words and looked blankly at my hand. He smirked. “Does it look like I’m helping Madam because I was hoping for something?”
“No. But, regardless of your reason, it doesn’t change the fact that you helped me.”
“You can buy weapons with this. I want to thank you, but this is all I have,” I shrugged and tapped my pants pockets with my hands to make sure they were empty.
Takan made a face. I wasn’t sure if he was smiling or grimacing.
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