As the evening wind blew, Ed looked to his left and right, wary of seeing Cesar’s shadow.
It wasn’t very deep in the night, but without any street lights the road was quite dark.
Upon confirming that his surroundings were clear, he slipped out of the street and walked in search of a remote place.
Lil was a mess, like a monkey who fell asleep while climbing a tree, but she somehow remained attached to his back.
Strangely, she assumed a sleeping position that wasn’t only uncomfortable for the person being hoisted up but also painful for the one carrying her.
Nonetheless, Ed didn’t have time to correct Lil’s posture, because…
“Ugh… Captain, don’t do that…”
Lil’s breath kept pouring into his ear.
Ed moved his neck convulsively, attempting to avoid the tingling breeze.
However, his range of motion was limited and in the end, he still got tickled in some kind of way.
Ed shrugged and twitched the nape of his neck.
“Ah… not there, just a little more up… Yes, oh…”
Every time Lil exhaled, Ed opened his mouth like a fish.
Eventually, a strange moan escaped his lips.
Ed strolled around like a drunk who didn’t know where he was going.
The alley he intended to go to had long since vanished.
At the same time, a gloomy voice pierced his ears like an awl.
“Are you enjoying yourself”
Startled, he almost dropped Lil.
It felt like his heart was about to stop.
Out of nowhere Lil changed her posture and it suddenly became hard to breathe.
He belatedly noticed that she was clutching his chest.
After gasping for air Ed mustered up his response.
“Who are you”
Lil clamped her arm around his neck.
As she was pressing his throat, Ed couldn’t reply that it was him.
The only thing he managed to do was open his mouth but not a single sound came out.
Lil obviously knew how to effectively strangle a person.
At the same time when his throat was forcefully squeezed, his tongue was pressed up and unable to move.
“Where are you taking me”
The struggling Ed raised his limp finger and pointed toward the sea.
White foam occasionally spread through the darkness in the distance.
When Lil lifted her head and finally let go of his neck after confirming it, Ed coughed and breathed heavily as if he’d been brought to life.
“What’s in the sea”
“Cough! What do you mean”
You’d better run, I can’t feel enough wind.”
“Captain, are you out of your mind”
“I told you to run.”
– Click –
A cold muzzle pressed hard on the tender skin between Ed’s chin and throat.
At the same time, Lil’s forearm tightened around his neck again.
“Who’s your Captain”
Terrified, Ed rolled his eyes sideways and glanced at the face resting on his shoulder.
‘This isn’t looking good.’
Ed stammered as he looked at Lil.
“…Hey, is this loaded Are you kidding me..”
Ed, holding on to her one leg, started running with a limp.
It was impossible to run properly due to his injury, so he had no other choice but to run like this.
‘It seems that Liloa has completely lost her mind.
She must’ve gone too far.’
When Ed accelerated shortly after, the muzzle aimed at him shook dangerously but eventually fell off his skin.
As soon as he was released, Lil held his shoulders and raised her upper body, her towering form made him stagger unsteadily.
While he was bewildered by his changed centre of gravity, the pleasant sound of breathing mixed with a hum came from above his head.
Even though he was struggling with keeping his balance, Ed found the sound that pierced his ears enticing.
It was a pleasure to hear it for the first time.
Feeling a little proud because he’d never seen Lil enjoy something before, he asked her.
“Do you like it”
She appeared to be in a good mood, excited even.
Her calves shook like she was kicking the stirrups, probably imagining that she was riding a horse.
“Gust of wind!”
‘She thinks I’m a real horse.’
Ed knew that Lil once had a horse named ‘Koud Bhan’ which was named after the wind.
Lil loved the speed that goes as fast as the gust of wind.
In fact, she loved it so much that her laughter, sounding like that of a child’s, flowed around and echoed through the quiet area.
Ed began to estimate how painful it would be if he ran any faster than this.
‘Should I just re-do the stitches later It won’t be long before we reach the sea, anyway.’
By nature, human beings are greedy for the backing of reason, so Ed made a reckless decision and started running faster even though he was in pain.
Lil staggered from the sudden acceleration and fell over his shoulders.
Her cold, soft earlobe brushed against his as Lil murmured incomprehensible words while holding his neck firmly.
Ed, who only understood a few words among everything she said, shrugged and continued to run straight to the sea.
After a while, he reached the white sandy beach, grabbed his stomach and collapsed right after putting Lil down.
Not only was the shock caused by running painful, but also the shortness of breath and his abdominal muscles hurt.
Still breathing heavily, Ed lifted his shirt.
Fortunately, his bandage was clean meaning the sutures didn’t burst.
He smiled and looked at Lil.
‘The knots were made very meticulously.
It must’ve been a few years since she last embroidered, but she still seems to be familiar with the technique.
Well, it isn’t unreasonable, when she was growing up, she must’ve done it enough times to do it with her eyes closed at this point.’
Ed tried to breathe as evenly as possible.
As if she’d fallen asleep again, Lil lay down on the sand with her eyes closed.
She rubbed her nape from time to time, as though the soft sand was itchy.
Ed crawled up to her.
Because the island itself was hidden, there was no lighthouse on the shore, so all the light came from a few windows of the closest houses.
However, Ed was satisfied nonetheless, the light was enough to have a good look at her.
When Lil remained silent, only the sound of the waves crashing on shore could be heard.
Ed gently touched her cheek and thought that her blush was rather cute despite the fact that it was on the face of a man.
Ed suddenly shouted.
He shouted near her ear, but still, she didn’t respond.
Ed first took the gun that was in Lil’s hand, then he leaned in a bit more and positioned his lips directly in front of her ear and shouted again.
“Now I’ll take your clothes off!”
Once again, Lil remained motionless.
Ed, who braced himself for a surprise punch from her, soon relaxed.
He got up and put his ear under Lil’s nose to check for regular breathing.
Upon taking a closer look, her heavy, drooping eyelids showed no signs of movement.
Reassured, Ed slowly lowered his hand.
His fingertips that went over Lil’s lips, chin, and neck landed on the collar of her shirt and touched the first button.
Ed swallowed his dry saliva while lightly gripping the button using his thumb and index finger.
Even though opening a button was normally inaudible, to Ed it sounded like thunder, making him constantly glancing up at her.
Lil didn’t budge, but Ed didn’t take his eyes off her when he loosened another one of her buttons.
‘There are so many buttons on her shirt, is it to completely hide her necklace’
Whereas the first one was difficult, the next two were relatively easy.
He then slipped his hand through the gap of her shirt, which fell below her collarbone and soon reached what he had searched for with his fingertips.
Ed enjoyed the feeling of mystery that engulfed his whole body as soon as he came into contact with the jewel and drew the breath that he’d been holding unconsciously.
The jewel was small and light, so Ed was able to lift it using only his thumb and index finger.
Then, looking for the knot, he turned the necklace string around and found the knot entangled with Lil’s hair, making it difficult to unravel.
After struggling for a while, Ed finally had the untied necklace in his palm.
When his eyes drifted back to Lil, she was suddenly in the form of a sleeping woman.
He couldn’t tell when and how she changed because it was his perception of her that had changed.
His former view was blocked, and now his new one saw her in her normal appearance, although he couldn’t pinpoint the turning point.
Because he had no time to lose, Ed picked up the jewel and illuminated it using the nearest light.
‘It’s a shame to be observing it in this kind of light.
I wish I had access to one of the microscopes at Mondovi or from the Admiral’s office.
I can’t help but show some deference to the gods’ majestic and marvellous works.’
While constantly mumbling to himself, Ed studied the inside of the crystal.
It looked like there were air bubbles inside.
‘No, maybe it just looks like that…’
No matter how many times he turned it over it was impossible to observe it in greater detail.
Following his first analyses, Ed hung it over his neck.
He raised his hands and placed them in front of him, but it seems that nothing had changed.
He turned his palms and stretched his ten fingers.
Still, there was nothing to see but his rough and calloused hands.
Upset, Ed peeked down at the most important place.
He vividly felt the presence of what god had gifted him without having to touch it.
He then placed both his hands on his chest and touched his face.
His breasts, face, and hair length was also the same.
Ed became a little desperate and turned his head to the sea.
The water that used to be green was now very dark.
‘It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to see the reflection of my face in the water.’
Ed started to roll his head.
‘Contrary to popular beliefs, artefacts weren’t made with magic.
The reason they remained intact was because they were infused with the power of the gods.’
It’s said that there’s no difference between magic and divine power, but as a scholar, Ed made a strict distinction between the two.
‘So, which god has left behind such a strange power’
Before looking down at Lil, Ed rummaged through all the vast mythology he had ever read seeking for an explanation how this could have happened.
However, Lil was already peering up at him, expressionless.
– – – – –