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A note from dotturndot

I really appreciate that you people actually read this (web)novel of mine. Whenever I look at the (only) statistic(s) I have on Royal road, which is the number of people reading each chapter, I feel glad the effort that went into this story wasn't wasted. Thank you for your support thus far!

Will was walking with Louise, side by side, concealment barrier at it's maximum. People that passed by, didn't even notice their presence. One of them almost bumped into Will even though the person was looking straight at them.

The sky was glowing orange with altocumulus clouds tinted red; The streets enshrouded by long, stretching shadows. The shadow of the bell tower that stood in the centre between the outer sect and inner sect loomed over them.

Louise leaned against Will, and she circled her hands around his.

Will sighed and smiled slightly. His fingers weaved into hers as they continued walking. Louise who noticed that started flailing their hands up and down erratically.

After a bit, she finally calmed down. "What do you think will be the outcome of the two?" Louise asked Will. 'Hopefully, that lecture does something good. Humph!'

"I'm not too sure," Will was a little skeptical. This was what Louise talked about with Curtis?

Louise noticed Will's odd response. It wasn't the first time she had seen that.

"Anything wrong?" Louise felt her heart sink a little.

"No," Will slowly paused, "I just have a bad feeling about this."

Louise didn't reply. She knew Will was strange, but he had become even strange-er ever since he met Curtis. He would almost never act on his own accord to skimp guard duty. This was one of the first times he had left her side to check on Curtis.

Who was Curtis exactly?

Louise was just about to wallow in depression when Will suddenly took her by the arm. Her heart skipped a beat.

'A princess carry?'

'What's this? Will is actually taking the initiative today?'

Louise blushed for the first time in days. In this position, she was so close, so close to that delicate face of his.

"Wha..What's this," Louise said shakily.

Will peeked at Louise without saying anything. His smile crooked a little sideways.

Louise could smell the deep, cool frosty scent wafting off him.

'Oh God, please make this moment last forever.'

Clinging to his embrace, Louise leaned herself closer to Will and shut her eyes.

"Let's go."

Will kicked off the ground and leapt, and from building to building, the two zipped through the sky.

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"Croissant," Ruth looked over to the counter, at the glass display. All sorts of pastries were arranged and sorted. She was practically drooling inside her mind despite not showing anything outwardly.

Jean's Kitchen.

It was a restaurant that overlooked the yellow spider lily field Ellis visited with Louise the other day, the place where the thugs first attacked. This restaurant also had a branch back in their hometown.

Ellis, Ruth and Curtis didn't grow up in the capital, Haital, but in an Earldom that was part of Haital Kingdom's sub-region. Their childhood started there, Nessy Earldom, named after the famous pillar guardian that inhabited the place. Till today, nobody knew where it hid or when it would appear again. It was said to be a dinosaur-like creature. Rumours say the last time it was found, it was at the peak of the geoprimal-class.

Creatures in the world can be divided into different classes depending on their strengths. From weakest to strongest it would be, tyrant-class, true tyrant-class, geoprimal-class, geo-class and leviathan-class.

At current, the coined term 'leviathan-class' had only ever been given to swarms, and the highest know rank ever to be given for a single creature was a lesser geo-class. So a peak geoprimal-class creature could be said as absurdly strong. Most people still believe that Nessy, as they call the Pillar Guardian, still lurks somewhere in Nessy Earldom, possibly deep within the mines.

Nessy Earldom was a gryostone mine dependent region, with the main economy centred around selling gryostones, metals and 'seafood'. The pillar was about one-sixth the size of Haital Kingdom and most of it was undeveloped, left to nature. 30 percent of the pillar covered the area of a humongous lake, where 'seafood' would be caught and sold. However so, there was a rich, abundant cave system there which people would go to and from to excavate minerals and gryostones. Similar to Cobalt Kingdom, the place had become a source of mana crystal. Except that it wasn't all that big of a scale.

However, it was also a mine for the infamous Angel Tears, an extremely rare type of gryostone. This was what lead to the development of Nessy Earldom in its initial stages. Now, Angels Tears were almost gone entirely from the mines.

So having lived in a decent town, Jean's kitchen was a place they would go when they were in their young teens.

Ellis was holding a fusion crystal in her hand while Curtis explained the magic improvements of her sword. The fusion crystal Ellis was holding was a prototype of {Sub-wind magic} Curtis created a few months ago. Ellis would practice the controls of the spell whenever she had time. Now having a gist of how to put the spell to use, the real thing would be utilizing it in conjunction with her sword techniques.

Ellis just kept nodding.

The waiter came over, pulling a cart. She skillfully arranged the food ordered on the table. A big platter of meat, potato fries, vegetable slices, fish balls, seaweed and a bubbling hotpot of clam-soy broth. Each of the three was given a soup bowl, a plate, cutleries, and a cup of lemoned water.

No alcohol. Just plain water. Curtis' cup had warm water while the Ellis and Ruth opted for cold water. He had a slight fever coming on.

Ruth said she would get a croissant as a dessert later.

Curtis asked if Ellis would want anything extra. She said no. Usually, she would agree with pudding and ice cream. That would be her normal choice wherever they ate here. She was acting different today.

Ruth ate normally. Stuffing food in her mouth slowly, and she would be in a sort of dazed state. Which was her normal eating habit.

Ellis was a little more unusual. She was acting just like Ruth, from her eating speed and the brief occasions of blankly ogling a piece of fish meat.

Curtis was dozing off every few seconds, trying to keep himself awake. It wasn't that deep into the night yet but fatigue was catching up to him, and fast.

"What's wrong?" Curtis noticed Ellis' incongruence. "If anything, I'm here to listen."

Ellis shook her head fervently, quickly stuffing the fish slice she had been staring at into her mouth. "After the meal," Ellis only replied like that in a muffled manner.

Ruth could kind of and kind of not tell the situation. There was more than one reason behind Ellis' behaviour, she thought. Just that nobody could guess it all.

Curtis wondered if maybe it was about what Louise said. Remembering that, he smiled wryly.

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A little while ago.

Curtis and Ruth were climbing up the stairs of Croquel lodging. And before they entered, they saw Will, standing just beside the door to his room.

"Louise wants to talk with you," his composure was calm, his voice was sincere.

"You are?" Ruth was rather surprised at the appearance of a white-haired guy.

"I'm going to take that as an affirmation to exposing your identity," Curtis gloated, after that, "Ruth, this is Will, the princess's bodyguard."

"Bodyguard?" Ruth looked at Will, wearing light armour, knee pads and shoulder pads. She felt that it was more of an aesthetic choice than for protection.

"So then..."

"Louise wants to talk with you, alone," Will managed a shrug when interrupting Curtis, causing Ruth to feel, relieved yet confused. So Curtis and Will wasn't a stranger to stranger relation?

"Why?"

"Not sure." Will shrugged again. "She just told me to not listen, or, is expecting me to listen.."

"Ruth."

"I'll wait here."

Will let Curtis in, then shut the door.

With nothing to do, Ruth stared a conversation with Will. About his history with Curtis and Louise, to get to know him better. "So, are you going to eavesdrop?" Ruth grasped the earlier hint in his words.

"Maybe," Will leaned against the door, his right ear touching the wood at zero distance. Ruth wanted to laugh.

When Curtis entered the room, he saw Louise staring out through the window. She still wore that same red dress since morning. Besides that, the teacups which he drank coffee and tea with Ruth were still left on the table with the scum dried into a precipitate. The leftover coffee aroma scenting the room nicely.

"Good to see you again Curtis, take a seat," Louise said as she turned to face him, gesturing using her hand.

"Where's Ellis?"

"She's in the washroom, having a change of clothes."

Curtis instinctively looked to the mini toilet in the room, seeing the door closed.

"Not there, I meant to the public washroom," Louise exclaimed.

'He looks alright, so what's the reason behind Ellis's worry?'

"Wait," Curtis wrinkled his eyebrow, realizing something off, "How did you get in?"

Louise stuttered.

Curtis had told them to wait for him outside Croquel after their trip. Ellis didn't take the spare key, which meant there was only one other method...

"You know, if I didn't break in, attention would all be directed at us right?" Louise pointed out.

She wasn't wrong about that part. Maybe Curtis should have given Ellis the spare key... That said, braking in was still a no go! A crime!

"Will entered from the window and unlocked the door from the inside," Louise added, sounding displeased.

"That's still an offence.."

Louise scoffed it off. "The main thing I want to talk to you about today is your relationship with Ellis. No matter your past, you shouldn't let it hinder you."

"Excuse me?" Curtis felt it was a little sudden. The shift in topic was too sudden. Weren't they talking about illegal acts just now?

"Your loss of memory should have been caused by a trauma that happened in the past," Louise vaguely interpreted, "That was Will's opinion. And I felt that it was the most practical explanation myself. Else, if your memories were completely sealed, you shouldn't be able to still use magic deftly."

"So it's clear that my memories are lost.. I had a past?" Curtis was now, ready to affirm this theory about himself.

"I'm not ideally sure, but I believe Will has a clue," Louise suspected, "He said a spell to delete memories permanently would be a possibility but considering your circumstances, we could rule that out of the equation."

"And today's talk was supposed to be?"

"When time allows, I'll try to persuade Will to spill out the beans of your past which I myself know nothing about," Louise finally took a seat. "Just know that you shouldn't let your past affect the way you act towards Ellis."

What did this mean? Curtis had no idea.

"You know how serious it is to not have ever kissed your lover?!" Louise grunted, "I'll point it out vaguely, something Will told me about. Don't let your culture of life back then affect your actions, get that?"

Culture of the life back then? No, Curtis didn't get that.

Louise understood why Curtis was confused. Which confirmed one thing. His memory was definitely lost.

"Go on the offensive! Initiate your attack!" Louise started blabbering, making Curtis shudder in questioning himself even further. 'Did Louise go insane or...' "You have to be the one to go for that first kiss!"

Hearing that, Curtis realized something. He wasn't the one that took the initiative when it came to love, but Ellis. Ellis was the one to move their relationship forward, every time.

"..."

Shouldn't it be him?

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Thank you! I'm a snail!


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