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1567-chapter-111

“I don’t know what to do. I’m so nervous.”

Phileal frequently stopped as they walked, unlike himself. Anais waited silently each time he stopped. Their eyes met and his obvious anxiety made her speak.

“Are you scared?”

“Yes, I’m scared. And my heart hurts.”

“Why does it hurt?”

“I don’t want to remember certain things, but my memories keep changing. It feels like my knowledge and emotions are merging and distorting. Even though I know it’s not true, I can’t stop thinking that way.”

Anais partially understood Phileal’s vague explanation but not entirely.

“Tell me more. Speaking about it might ease your burden.”

Phileal nodded and relaxed his grip on the bouquet of flowers he was holding.

“My mother sent me on an errand for the last time. When I returned home, I saw my father had killed her. I ran straight to the temple of death and offered everything I had. Then I brought my father and sacrificed him to the god of death.”

Watching his expression darken and his eyes redden, Anais held her words.

“I think my mother sent me away that day to protect me. My father had been off since that morning.”

“What was he like?”

“He was usually violent, but that morning, it was worse.”

Anais let go of his hand and faced him. They were at the edge of the hill leading to the cemetery, yet to reach his mother’s grave.

“Did you get hit too?”

“I was hit a lot. I… It was better that I took the hits, so I would often provoke my father more. If he hit me, he wouldn’t hit my mother.”

It was the first time Anais had seen Phileal tremble. His usual composure was gone, and his voice quivered as she herself became more calm.

“I really thought if I completed the errand my mother sent me on, it would calm my father down. He hit my mother and me because he needed money for gambling.”

Anais seeing Phileal’s drooping shoulders, realizing her own eyes were just as tearful as his.

“I should have killed him sooner. I should have killed him much earlier.”

“Phileal.”

“That thought keeps haunting me. That my mother’s death was because I couldn’t kill him sooner. It feels like it’s all my fault. Am I foolish?”

“No.”

Phileal grasped Anais’s hand and brought it to his face. She did not remove her hand from his cheek but gently stroked it. His eyes moistened, and soon a single clear tear rolled down.

“It’s not your fault. You’re not to blame for any of it.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Are you sure it’s not my fault? If I hadn’t hesitated and had just killed my father…”

“No, Phileal. It’s not your fault.”

Sensing he sought comfort, she hugged him sincerely. He quietly nestled in her arms and eventually wet her shoulder.

After some time, they were ready to continue up the hill.

It took a while to reach the top, where the village could be seen below.

After reaching the top, the vast sea spread before them. The strong sea breeze whipped their hair around.

“You’ve had a tough climb up, Phileal.”

“Hehe.”

He regained his usual smile and placed the bouquet on his mother’s grave.

“I could come up here because I was with you. Thank you, Anais.”

“No need. But why did you ask me to come?”

“I felt like I would crumble if I came alone.”

Even with his puffy, tear-stained face, Phileal looked somewhat foolish. Anais felt he was like a cherished younger brother, and she wanted to pat his head.

“Bow your head.”

“Okay.”

He naturally bowed, and Anais stroked his hair. He seemed genuinely comforted by her touch as his expression softened.

“I’m so glad I met you, Anais.”

“That’s my line.”

They stayed there until sunset before heading back to the village.

* * *

“I no longer believe what you say.”

Kylian coldly spoke as he grabbed the Empress’s arm.

“What are you trying to do?”

“I don’t owe you an explanation.”

They were in Kylian’s room. High Priest Raviel was planning to purify the Empress’s body. If successful, the soul of Lillith Isadora would fall asleep, allowing the original soul to return.

“Your Majesty, please render the Empress unconscious.”

“That would mean my wife’s body…”

“I will take responsibility for her recovery.”

Kylian couldn’t trust the words of the High Priest of Life, but in this situation, he knew he had no other choice but to follow his advice.

“It would be better if you didn’t touch my body.”

The Empress threw a vase from the table to the floor. The water and flowers spilled out, shattering the vase with a loud crash.

“What are you doing?”

“What do you think?”

Holding a shard of broken glass to her neck, the Empress glared at them both.

“Bring Anais here.”

“You’re mad.”

“Listen to me… ugh…!”

The Empress tried to say more but suddenly staggered as if disconnected from her body.

“Kylian… remember…my words.”

She collapsed to the floor after speaking. Kylian rushed to check on her. Aside from a cut from the glass, there were no other visible injuries.

“We’ll purify now.”

“Start with treating her.”

“Yes.”

High Priest Raviel watched Kylian carefully move Anais to the bed and then started treating her injuries. After a deep sigh, he began the purification process.

* * *

Anais and Phileal returned back to the village. Due to their status as a married couple, they were assigned the same room. Anais knew well that he was a priest, and Phileal had no intention of doing anything she disliked, so sharing the room wasn’t too uncomfortable.

Above all, Anais did not want to be alone. Being alone only deepened her longing for Kylian that it was difficult even to breathe.

She found peace just from Phileal talking to her. Moreover, she was haunted by the same dream every night.

In her dreams, Kylian appeared, and she desperately confessed to him, only to be rejected each time. She had not yet recovered from the shock of that rainy day. Each morning, Phileal’s reassurance calmed her.

“Sleep on the bed.”

“I’ll pull the couch over.”

“Stop fussing and sleep on the bed with me. I trust you, Phileal.”

Phileal smiled happily at her words of trust and headed to the bed. As Anais tapped the bedsheet, he slipped under the covers with a happy smile.

“I felt somewhat healed today.”

“I’m glad to hear that.”

Phileal’s voice made Anais feel sleepy. Perhaps due to the amount of walking they had done that day, she drifted off to sleep quite quickly.

But she soon realized something was odd in her sleep.

It seemed like a dream, a terrible one at that.

“Why isn’t she waking up?”

“She will wake up soon.”

Kylian’s voice sounded urgent. Anais wanted to wake up, suspecting it was another dream involving him. There was the sound of rain, but she couldn’t see anything, making this dream feel different from the last.

“Let’s try purifying again.”

Warmth began to flow through her body, and Anais felt her strength returning, allowing her to open her eyes.

“Anais!”

She knew she needed to wake from this horrifying dream. As she was startled when Kylian approached, she sat up and quickly got out of bed.

“Anais.”

Kylian froze in place, shocked by her expression.

“No.”

Anais was devastated as her nightmare morphed into something even worse.

“I don’t want this.”

She said this and backed away hesitantly. It was dreadful, worse than being rejected in a dream.

“Anais, I was wrong. I didn’t recognize you.”

Kylian was crying and apologizing.

Anais felt her heart pounding painfully in her chest, clearly a lucid dream.

“I feel the same as the wife.”

“Ah…”

“I was foolish.”

As he stepped closer, Anais felt a deep sense of embarrassment from her subconscious and backed away just as much. She could feel the door behind her with her back, and her whole body ached.

But that pain seemed trivial compared to the overwhelming fear that swept over her.

A shameless dream. It was clear that even in her dreams, she hoped Kylian would accept her.

“Ugh…”

“Wife.”

Nausea surged. She was disgusted with herself.

She opened the door and started to run. Her body was vividly in pain as ever. The pain confirmed this was still a dream. She was disgusted by her selfishness, wanting comfort in a dream by deluding herself this way.

Despite having no place by his side, her subconscious yearned to believe that being next to him was where she belonged.

“Wife!”

Kylian was following her. But she was running away like someone out of their mind. She didn’t get tired despite her breath catching in her throat. She wished for the vision of Kylian to disappear before her eyes.

Then it hit her. On the dreams she had woken up from, they were broken by Phileal’s voice.

“Phileal!”

“Anais!”

“Phileal! Phileal…!”

She called out to him as she ran, hoping to hear his voice. Each time she called, he would tell her it was okay and wake her from the dream.

“Where are you, Phileal…!”

But this time was different. The dream did not break, and the pain deepened.

“Anais! Stop!”

As she ran out of the palace, she stopped abruptly at an artificial lake built for boating.

“Anais!”

“Hah…”

She couldn’t think of anything. If only she could wake up from this dream.

She felt like she could do anything.

Splash, she didn’t hesitate and jumped into the water.

“Anais!”

Leaving behind Kylian’s screaming cry.

 

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