Chapter 29 - The Ceremony
As Venio sat on the floor eating the fruit, he wrapped the blanket around her shoulder and hugged her tightly again. Laila seemed to have gotten a little used to his hugs now, or maybe she just really liked the cave a lot.
The five-colored fireflies began to fall asleep one by one.
“It seems to be floating in the night sky.”
It seemed that the moon was also nearby. Laila felt a bit more relieved. She could tell that Venio was intentionally not speaking about what he said earlier.
When night fell, which was going to be soon, Laila had to give him an answer about the limited-term engagement. But with everything she was experiencing in a place like this, she didn’t feel as frightened at the thought of it as before.
Venio was looking up at the ceiling with her, and looked back at Laila involuntarily when he answered, but his gaze was caught by her calm expression. Her profile, which was without a trace of a smile, nor the slightest bit of coldness, caught his eye.
She gave off a light that was not completely white, but seemed rather lonely. Although it looked white and warm, it reminded him of a bare cliff in winter. But she was a woman, who was shining like a light in a quiet place.
Venio felt a bit strange.
“Okay, then. Shall we go to the next place, Laila?” He asked in a tone that seemed both like a question and a statement, as he slowly moved his gaze away.
Laila sensed that there was something different and turned to look at him. Then, she nodded her head.
‘I wonder what he’s thinking.”
Wanting to read her expression, Venio held Laila and began to walk again. In the late night, they walked only in sparsely populated places before finally sitting down by a quiet stream where the sound of the market could be heard in the distance.
It was not as dazzling as the lakeside in the daytime, nor as mysterious as the cave just before.
“When you have a lot to think about and can’t avoid thinking, this is a good place to come to,” said Venio with a subtle smile on his face. His tone was a little light, but he was serious. Laila sat next to him without a word, watching the rippling water.
The moon was reflected in the water. Suddenly, Laila opened her mouth.
“When I was little, I made a wish.”
It was like a whisper, but Venio heard it clearly.
“What was your wish?”
“I wished someone would hold my hand.”
Actually, she thought it wouldn’t be scary if someone held her hand when she died. So, it would be nice if someone, especially someone in her family, would hold her hands.
“I See. Did that happen?”
She didn’t say no, but Venio was able to read Laila’s answer in her silence.
The wind picked up. Venio reached out his hand, telling himself that this was only a respectful gesture. A broad warmth enveloped Laila’s hand.
Laila’s breath stopped for a moment as she heard Venio say, “Your wish is granted.”
Laila froze and looked at a loss for what to do. She seemed like she was about to cry, but she didn’t. She thought that if she shed tears, the warmth he was giving her would go away.
She just held her breath and lowered her eyes a little. Venio was gazing at her without even being aware of it.
As time passed in silence, Laila grew concerned about Venio. She made up her mind. It had been an act of great courage for her to approach him, but now, she wanted to be brave for him.
She was determined to spend the remaining time she had left with the precious one who was giving her this love, even if it was just pretend. A moment later, she opened her mouth.
“I will accept the one-month engagement. Also, I’ll make sure that Nevira Bedelium doesn’t trouble you even after the month.”
Venio’s expression, which was about to brighten, grew suspicious.
“I have a way.”
Maybe 3 weeks. In three weeks, he would no longer need Laila. It was a bit dangerous, but Laila believed she could do it. If it was fortunate that Nevira Bedelium was a character in the book, <For a Happy Ending>.
After finishing the job in three weeks, she would leave. Then, there will be no need to remove her wretched body from his house, so he wouldn’t have to deal with something troublesome, and her family also wouldn’t have to be offended by it. Then she would be able to leave in peace.
And after that…
“But, hold my hand once everything is over.”
‘like now,’ she thought.
“Okay, I will,” Venio promised with an expression that was full of questions. But at that moment, he didn’t feel it was the right time to ask her.
“Thank you,” Laila whispered with a gentle expression.
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