Part 3

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Volume 2 — Chapter 3: Witch or Saint?
Part 3

“Mister Mercenary, did I… did I say something wrong? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you angry…”

“I ain’t angry, I’m just like this. You can show off your good-naturedness all ya want, but I’m a murderin’ mercenary. I don’t wanna get dragged into the ‘good person’ make-believe game. I’m not guardin’ y’all outta any sorta kindheartedness of mine. I fully intend to get my payday. If ya understand, hurry on back to that priest of yours, Madam Saint. —And don’t ever, ever even think about approachin’ a fallen beast alone, in the middle of the night ’n with no one around, again. This ain’t a joke… you’d get eaten alive.”

The Saint stared at me with discs for eyes, never looking away.

Just like her hair, her eyes were tinged with the light scarlet of flower petals. Though her eyes always wavered anxiously, there was no emotion to be found in them.

“Hey, you even been keepin’ up?”

Her face suddenly broke into a wide grin.

She’s laughing. In this situation.

“W-what’s so funny?!”

“I’m sorry… it’s just that someone I know says the exact same things as you.”

“Someone ya know?”

Her shoulders shaking as she giggled, the Saint tucked her light scarlet hair behind her ears.

When she undid her triple-braid, her undulating hair gently coiled about her fingers.

“’Don’t approach a fallen beast alone’… you say that to make sure that I won’t meet with danger, right? Even though you make yourself out to be a villain…”

“Stop, idiot! I’ll seem like a good person if ya talk about me like that, won’t I?! That’d look bad!”

As I shout in a panic, the Saint stops giggling and breaks into full, side-holding laughter.

I felt that I had suffered a complete defeat.

My tail and ears slackened in exhaustion, and I put my face in my hands. Be it Zero or the Saint, I’m always ending up doing as some woman wishes. Even Albus, the kid that she is, seems to have me by the nose.

“…Do you… worry for me?”

“—! Like I said! If ya fall, then there’d only be more annoyances for me…!”

Again, the Saint laughed in amusement. Realizing that I was being teased, I turned away from the Saint.

I wasn’t going to spend any more thought on this Saint.

I sank my claws into the trunk of the tree, putting my weight on them.

“…Uh…”

“What.”

“—Zero asked me… where I learned to perform miracles.”

I looked over my shoulder at the Saint.

“Why did she… think I learned it from someone…?”

I opened my mouth, then closed it. There was movement by the campfire. A man’s voice, calling “Madam Saint,” over and over again.

“—Looks like the Father’s up. Lookin’ for you.”

Not noticing until now that his charge had crept out of bed made him a stupid priest.

“…My name is Faeria. Please call me Ria. Not ‘Saint’…”

“If he catches a lowly fallen beast callin’ a Saint by a nickname, the Father’d go mad.”

“Ah,” she grumbleed, and covered her face.

“You’re… right. I’ve made trouble again… I’m sorry… I… “

I sighed.

Why do I feel so guilty… damn it.

“Just go—Ria. The Father’s gonna storm in yellin’.”

The Saint’s—no, Ria’s—expression became cheerful again. “Good night,” she said happily, and quickly went back. Again, I sighed and looked up at the moon.

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