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1623-chapter-71

Hana found herself constantly glancing around and checking her reflection. Before she knew it, she had tried on over ten dresses.

“…I thought you didn’t like it.”

Weed said after a while, telling Rutis to prepare for the banquet. He was probably concerned when Hana first chose a simple dress quickly from this wardrobe space when he first showed it to her.

“No, it’s not that, Weed. There are people waiting… I can’t keep them waiting too long while I choose a dress. Weed is waiting as well now.”

‘Of course, Weed would wait forever if needed.’

That thought crossed her mind for no reason. The word ‘waiting’ seemed to suit Weed perfectly. Even now, he was patiently waiting for her to choose a dress she liked. Perhaps he would stand there forever if she never decided to leave this place?

Hana chuckled at her own sentimental thoughts and continued browsing the dresses.

Just looking around seemed enjoyable enough. The first thing she wanted to do after her recovery was to dance and celebrate all night. Honestly, she was quite excited.

Weed was silent for a moment. Then, just as she was trying on another dress, he spoke up softly.

“I can wait, Hana.”

As she turned to look at Weed, he met her gaze steadily. What was he trying to say? There was no need for him to wait so long.

Don’t worry.

She reassured him lightly.

“Ah, still, I’ll choose quickly.”

“I can wait.”

When Hana raised her head and looked up at him again, Weed was quietly watching her from close by. She thought again. How well the word ‘waiting’ suited him.

Steadfast like his heart, he stood firm like a tree.

He repeated the same words solemnly. As if making a vow.

“Even if it takes forever, I can wait.”

Hana tilted her head. Had she really taken that long?

Looking back, he seemed quite eager every time she touched a dress, and when she playfully hooked a fluttering ribbon around her finger, he visibly perked up as if wanting to do something. Perhaps if there had been a jewelry box, the shoe rack he had mentioned before, or something else, she might have seen a different reaction.

That thought crossed her mind because it seemed like she could clearly see what he was thinking.

Ah, I get it.

Hana smiled to herself.

Weed was obviously eager now.

“Instead of waiting, Weed, would you choose some shoes and help me put them on?”

Was it as expected? He smiled very happily.

 

* * *

 

She had a dream—that same dream again. During those two weeks of drifting between life and death, Hana consistently had similar dreams—dreams where she felt good, then turned happy, and then suddenly shifted to sadness and regret.

‘…Could this be a dream shown by Void?’

Void often tampered with her memories, pulling up old ones or making her have strange dreams. Whether this was another such case or just her own imagination, she couldn’t tell.

Weed was in her dream. He was smiling. It was odd. She had seen him smile many times before, but she had never seen such a pure, unblemished smile. How could someone smile like that? It even made Hana feel better.

Yes, that was right.

Hana reaffirmed her recent thoughts. She liked his smile a lot.

She instantly understood why the priests of the World Tree had wanted and worked for something so fervently for such a long time. Though it was just a dream, Hana watched him contentedly for a long while. She wanted to capture that smile, knowing she might not see it again soon.

In the dream, Weed smiled, then at one point, suddenly broke down crying and continued to cry.

All Hana could do was watch him crying. It was painfully heart-wrenching, but she had no other option. In her mind, she comforted him countless times.

It’s okay. Don’t cry.

She once imagined such things.

Sitting in a kitchen corner watching the sunset, trembling in front of her parents, who were quarreling, staring blankly at the harsh fluorescent lights when she was hospitalized. Especially after her grandmother had passed away, amidst the loud mourning of others, she was unable to cry, only able to freeze up.

She had always wondered if she were to die, would there be anyone in the world to cry for her?

The answer came surprisingly quickly.

There was no one.

In that world, there was no one to mourn her death. Not a single person.

That was one reason why Hana had so readily decided to become a sacrifice. Weed had said that every time a life from another dimension faded in this place, he cried incessantly, day and night. She heard that he would not eat and drink and immerse himself in grief for at least a week.

So, she thought that was enough.

In her original world, her life might have been insignificant, but here, at least, someone would cry for her. Someone would mourn her death. That was comforting enough for her. That was why she thought she could be a sacrifice.

But who could have known he would make such an expression? Who could have known he would cry as if he couldn’t breathe, as if he was going to die? If she had known, she wouldn’t have carelessly said she would die. She wouldn’t have raised her voice, pretending it was for his sake.

Now, her feelings have changed. Even if she were to die, she wished he wouldn’t cry. Even if the whole world shed tears, she hoped Weed alone would not.

In the dream, Hana spoke to him endlessly.

Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Why are you crying? Why are you crying? You shouldn’t cry. You shouldn’t be the one crying.

Because…

“Hana. Hana.”

“Ah.”

“Were you tired?”

Hana opened her eyes. Golden eyes were immediately in front of her. Weed, dressed more splendidly than usual, was there.

“Wow!”

As soon as she opened her eyes, Hana forgot everything and was amazed.

Weed noted every single detail. What dress she would wear, how the earrings sparkled in her ears, which shoes she had to put on, which colored necklace adorned her neck, and even the tiny jewels on her fingers and toes before he briefly stepped away.

Thus, she found herself struggling with the elaborate banquet dress by herself. Even after she was dressed, Weed didn’t return for a long time, so while waiting for him, she sat at a table and eventually dozed off.

It was during this time that Weed returned and woke her up.

‘…Wow, it seems the wait was worth it.’

The people here, the forest race, never shied away from dressing up. They always wore at least a couple of accessories, so it wasn’t something out of the ordinary. However, Weed’s attire today was unusually dazzling and splendid. Even that wasn’t out of place for him.

There was something peculiar about his outfit today. It was the same color.

Hana nearly burst into laughter, which she tried hard to hold in. Weed was dressed in a ceremonial outfit that matched hers so closely they could have been considered a pair.

For instance, she was wearing a golden dress, and he also wore a jacket adorned with similar gold decorations around the shoulders and waist. Over it, he wore a cape. The black fabric of the cape, tinged with a hint of red, was embroidered with elaborate designs.

It seemed he had chosen gold and red to coordinate with her, and it suited him very well. The boutonniere pinned to his chest was, of course, also gold.

Weed had tied his long hair to one side, exposing his handsome ear. The ruby earring peeking through his teal hair also appeared to be a matched set with Hana’s, albeit adjusted for a man’s style, though not exactly the same.

 

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