Chapter 7 – Talkative Girl in the Deep Forest (2)
I’d never seen it before, but I was sure of it. Even in the deep darkness, that blonde hair that shined like sunlight was something only an elf could have. On top of that, the unbelievable beauty and subtle smell of forget-me-nots. There was no doubt.
Even so, my eyes continued to scan Saya’s figure. From head to toe, every time I looked at it, I had to swallow my saliva without realizing it. As the time spent staring at it increased, Saya nervously clasped her hands together and then carefully opened her mouth.
“I wonder if you can’t remember? It’s been a while since I saw you…”
Saya, who had bitten her lips, blurted out her words without confidence. The corners of his lips barely pushed up, forming an awkward smile.
“Saya. Do you remember? I was sitting in your back seat.”
“I can’t talk and I’m always quiet so I might not remember… Why is that…”
“What the other kids called a dumb bitch…”
It wasn’t until my timid self-introduction turned into self-torture that I hurriedly nodded. Then Saya let out a breath as if relieved.
“Really? Thank goodness. I thought you didn’t remember.”
“Not at all. How could I forget it? I’m just surprised. I never thought we’d see each other like this again.”
“As expected…You didn’t expect it. It wasn’t a nuisance, right?
“No! Not at all. I just…”
I hurriedly waved my hand. In the meantime, I’ve been looking for Saya from time to time, but I couldn’t figure out what to do after I ran into it. After thinking a bit, I sneakily opened the door to the dormitory.
“Do you want to come in and talk? It’s better than standing outside.”
“Then I’d appreciate it… But is that okay? Weren’t you just wary of someone else coming in?”
This time it was my turn to blurt out. From common sense, it made sense for Saya to be vigilant, just like the other intruders.
However, the very existence of elves was already beyond common sense. I felt like my head hurt more if I tried to reason more here.
“Come in first. It’s cold outside.”
Even after I got inside, I couldn’t speak for a long time. Still, being an elf was awkward, so I couldn’t open my mouth easily. Saya also kept her lips tightly shut, waiting for my reaction. Between the hem of the skirt where he was sitting, the white skin kept showing up.
Maybe that’s why I couldn’t help but stare at her even though I knew it was rude. The elf’s appearance, which he had never seen before, was too beautiful to blend into the collapsing room. Seeing this, it seems impossible to deny that elves are a superior species to humans.
But why is such an elf in my room right now? Even considering the specificity of the situation, there were many parts that I did not understand. There were only a couple of things to ask.
“Buy it over there.”
“Are you an elf after all?”
First of all, I threw a question to turn doubt into certainty. Saya pricked up her ears in surprise, then nodded timidly.
“Yeah. That’s right. Even though it’s only half…But it’s still an elf.”
“What does that mean? Does that mean it’s not pureblood?”
“My dad is an elf. My mom is a human. So it’s hard to see him as a pure elf, but he’s right.”
“So you’re in the land of humans? Not the land of the elves?”
“That’s still… Hard to answer.”
Was it a rude question? Saya’s complexion darkened slightly. But it was a story that could never be overlooked.
“I’m sorry if I offended you. But I felt I had to ask. The elves went to their lands to avoid the dragons. But why didn’t you go?”
“I didn’t know. The dragons were coming.”
“But elves knew that much earlier than humans did.”
“I didn’t tell my mother and me about that. My mother is human and I’m half an elf. Even if I’m a half-elf, as long as I’m outside their land, I’m no different from an outsider to the elves.”
“Oh, I see.”
Despite the fact that it was a sad story, Saya’s attitude was calm. It was as if it was natural for her to be treated like that.
Could that situation have affected Saya’s timid personality? As someone who had been in a similar position, she felt a bit of a sense of identity.
“Then, where have you been all this time? It doesn’t seem like you were hiding inside the academy.”
“It didn’t look safe there. It smelled too much. So I stayed on the beach most of the time. Nobody came there.”
“You’ve been out all this time? Then what about the food?”
“That was fine. You can eat the leaves.”
“Yes. I can survive even if I only eat one leaf a day.”
Is that really possible? I heard my suspicions, but looking back, I had never seen Saya go to a restaurant. If so, she would have been seen under the mask for a long time. It seemed that only now the minor questions were being answered one by one.
So, I’ve been alone for two months, eating only leaves.
I looked at Saya once again, chewing on the wonder. True to her words, she did not think that her body was thinner or her face was emaciated compared to two months ago. Rather, she seemed to have become healthier because she had been without interference from others.
But for some reason, I could sense a clear hunger in her actions. Could that be the scent of solitude that she yearned for the existence of others? Or if it was really pure hunger, I don’t know.
Either way, compassion arose. It was a feeling I hadn’t felt in the past two months.
“Are you really okay?”
“Yes I’m fine.”
Saya answered and hugged her lap. It must have been a bit chilly in the room with the stove turned off. Perhaps it was an illusion, a growling sound came from inside the crouched arms.
At that moment, my hand was already pointing towards the food storage.
“Buy it over there. You know.”
“Would you like some bread? I haven’t had dinner yet.”
The carefully served bread wasn’t hot, but it wasn’t cold either. The lukewarm warmth seemed to represent clumsy goodwill.
“Are you sure you can’t eat?”
“It’s not like that. My mother bought me bread once when I was little. She’s been my enemy for so long I can’t remember…”
Although Saya hesitated a little, she accepted the piece of bread. She must not have been that hot, but judging from her twitching hand, she must have been uncomfortable with the warmth of others she hadn’t felt in a long time.
“Thank you. Then I’ll eat well.”
She was a burdensome thank you for the cold piece of bread. So politely bowing her head down, Saya carefully looked at the bread and asked.
And the next moment, Saya’s time stopped.
Not figuratively, but literally, it was as if time had stopped. Lips. Eight. Shoulder. All parts stopped just as they ate the bread. In the meantime, there is only one thing that moves. It was just her blue eyes that got bigger and bigger as time went on.
Soon, clear saliva flowed from Saya’s mouth. Only then did Saya part her lips and handed her just one word.
“No, it’s not that salty bread…”
Anyway, since salt is added, it might feel saltier than the leaves. While I was fidgeting, Saya swallowed what was in her mouth before she took another bite of the bread. But this time, the reaction was not so good.
“Should I buy it?”
Saya twitched her bread and shrugged her shoulders painfully. She even stumbled out her tears. I asked urgently, wondering if something was wrong.
“What’s wrong? What’s wrong?”
Saya finally opened her mouth and she gasped and retched. Seeing her far from common sense, I just stared at her in a daze. However, Saya couldn’t let go of her bread in her hand and her eyes lit up.
“But it’s delicious. It’s very salty and sweet.”
“It’s not that stimulating bread. It’s good if it’s delicious.”
“I want to eat more, but I’m so full. Can I still keep the leftovers?”
“Don’t overdo it. Then you won’t get burned.”
“So I’m just going to bite. This bread is so delicious.”
Saya looked excited and put her bread in her mouth once again. She showed her happy expression to the fullest, even smiling her eyes at what was so good. She couldn’t help but smile even at me looking at her.
I leaned my back against her wall and waited for Saya to finish her bread. No, I should say she waited until she was done washing. Looking at it, the time seemed to go by quite well. She may be mistaken, but she even felt calm.
Saya also glanced at me like that. She doesn’t like looking at people who eat it, so I wonder if it’s the same with elves. It wasn’t until I slightly averted my eyes that Saya took her lips off her bread.
“You’re good to me even in this situation.”
There was an innocence that even the ruined world could not pollute in his eyes. It’s embarrassing for someone like me to receive.
“It’s just a piece of bread. It’s nothing.”
“But you’ve been nice to me before. You save me when you’re being bullied. You don’t ignore me like others do.”
“Because that’s what I had to do then.”
“So, you’re saying you did it simply because you’re a nice person?”
“That’s absolutely not the case.”
If he told lies even with his unpierced mouth, his tongue might one day dry up. So I just answered honestly.
“I wanted to help because it was just you. Would that be enough?”
“Is that true?”
“Yes. I’m serious.”
Saya nodded her head as if deeply convinced. Then, suddenly, he grabbed my hand.
This was the first timeheheld hands with a woman other than Lena. That’s why it was warmer, and that’s why it felt softer.
It may be a little exaggerated, but I even felt the feeling of a hostess mixed with a man outside. The scent of pure immorality was the scent of forget-me-nots.
It feels like I have to make a confession somehow. Of course, Saya’s words were not confessions, but thanks.
“Thanks Lope. Everything.”
“It may not be a big deal to you, but it was all special to me. When you helped me, I felt like I had a friend for a while.”
“You don’t have to talk so grandiosely. Being friends is nothing…”
“But humans don’t really like verbal thanks, do they?”
At that moment, the handheheld suddenly began to heat up. At first, I thought it was because of my shyness, but it wasn’t a temperature that couldn’t be explained by that. It felt like my skin was burning as if I had placed a hot pot on the back of my hand.
“Should I buy it…?”
“I haven’t been on the beach all this time. I’ve been waiting for her mother there. She’s waiting for me to come pick me up.”
“She said she waited for mom?”
“Yeah. But Mama didn’t come. A twilight bird flew in instead. To deliver this to me.”
“What is that…!”
As soon as Saya finished speaking, an intense burning pain hit the back of her hand. But before I could scream, the pain had subsided and a wonderfully cold feeling ran through my hands. I then twisted my hand and pulled it out.
And, I found three patterns engraved on the back of my hand.
“The elves did not abandon the humans. Lope.”
Saya’s hand landed on the pattern that was cooling off with white smoke. On the back of her hand was a pattern identical to mine.
“The elves also wanted to protect humans somehow. But it was impossible to evacuate all of that many lives to the land of the elves. I mean.”
“Then what about this?”
“It’s like a pass issued to those few. With this you can cross over to the land of the elves. My dad didn’t forget me and his mom who left for the human world and sent it to me.”
Saya stroked the pattern on the back of my hand with a kind expression. There was still sadness in it that was not lacking.
“He sent me just four. My mother’s. Mine. And all four of my precious friends that I want to take to the land of the elves. Originally, my mother was supposed to come and hand it over to me… But my mother had been very sick for a long time. She I guess you couldn’t get over it.”
“That’s how I have to choose three people to go to the land of elves with me, but unfortunately I only have one friend. So I decided to give all of this to that friend. I’m sure that friend will have many precious people.”
“So you can choose, Lope.”
Saya carefully held my hand. On the back of her hand, those patterns were still shining bright blue. On top of that, Saya’s soft voice rested calmly.
“People who are more precious than anyone else in the world, who will survive to the end of the apocalypse with you.”