Extra: LOVE~ LOVE~ LOVE~
The sound of footsteps…
When he heard it, Grisia immediately extended his sensing. Nowadays, he didn’t extend his sensing very far, and pretty much kept it to only three to five meters around him. If he didn’t do that, it would be too taxing, and he wouldn’t be able to keep it up for the many hours required. Although he now limited his public appearances as much as possible, it was still rather challenging.
Grisia turned, smiling at the person approaching. He wasn’t expecting the person not to even slow down upon reaching him, or that they would burrow directly into his embrace.
Stunned for a moment, Grisia then gently placed his hand on the person’s shoulder.
“Cleric Ludia, may the God of Light forever bless you. Have the God of Light’s murmurings reminded you to come forth and discuss the God of Light’s benevolence with Sun, or might there be some other matter?”
Ludia raised her head from Grisia’s embrace and pouted. “Uncle, don’t speak in such a formal and verbose manner!”
“Fine, I’ll stop.” Grisia extended his hand to pat the girl’s head and purposely asked, “What’s the matter? Is Elaro bullying you?”
Ludia giggled. “Brother would never bully me! Truly, he was very worried about you this time.”
“I was only a little delayed. Ludia, in the future, you’ll have to watch over Elaro more for me.” Grisia sighed. “I never thought that child would be so impulsive. This time, he went way overboard!”
After he finished speaking, he felt it was rather amusing. He had never thought that he would one day say someone had gone overboard. In the past, it was always Lesus calling him out on it.
Ludia immediately spoke up on her brother’s behalf. “Brother was just too worried about you!”
“Worry leads to panic.” Grisia shook his head. “If something like this happens again in the future, help me stop that brat.”
Ludia fell silent. Sensing this, Grisia could only face upwards and sigh. He had forgotten that, compared to Elaro, Ludia had been even younger when she had come to the Holy Temple. Perhaps she already thought of him as her… “father”?
Grisia rubbed Ludia’s fine, pale green hair. “If I had married earlier, it wouldn’t have been strange if I had a daughter your age.”
Ludia’s expression froze. She smiled with difficulty and said, “That would be terrible. The daughter standing next to you looks just like a younger sister. No one would believe us to be father and daughter!”
Grisia’s head hurt as he said, “I don’t know either what’s going on with my face. It’s probably because of the facial masks… Cough! Charlotte has complained about it to me several times, saying that she looks like my mom. I told her it’s nothing so serious. At most, it’d just be an older sister and a younger brother… and then she bit me several times.”
Ludia smiled widely, but then she saw Grisia look toward the door. Her smile dimmed a bit, and she hurriedly asked, “Are you going to see Auntie Charlotte right now?”
The matter between him and Charlotte was already a publicly known secret. Grisia wasn’t surprised that she knew about it and helplessly said, “Yes. If I don’t see her soon, she might storm the Holy Temple to bite me.”
“Can I help?”
“Help? Are you going to help her bite me?” Grisia joked.
“No!” Ludia’s face flushed red, as she realized that her words just now could easily be misinterpreted. She hurriedly clarified, “I mean, help looking after Charsia and the like!”
“It’s not a problem. I want to see Charsia again, too.”
“Oh…” Ludia was somewhat disappointed. She nodded. “That’s true. You must miss her a lot!”
Grisia smiled and said, “I’ll be taking my leave now.”
Grisia turned and left. The strange thing was, his sensing told him that Ludia still stood in her original spot, looking in his direction. It wasn’t until he had left for some time and had already reached the gates that she stepped away and departed.
Young girls were so difficult to understand. However, Charlotte had been even more difficult than Ludia back then… Grisia shook his head and sighed. When he walked out of the gates of the Holy Temple, the two guards by each side immediately saluted him, and they also let out a huge breath.
Grisia greeted them back and did not think it strange. With as imposing a person as Lesus Judgment standing by the gates, anyone would immediately feel the pressure in the air triple.
“Brother Judgment Knight, Sun has made you wait too long. Please follow Sun this way.”
Lesus turned around. He wasn’t wearing his usual black robes but rather dark, informal clothes. This was already a huge improvement. It had taken Grisia a long time before Lesus had been willing to change out of the Judgment Knight’s black robes, and he even had to use the reason that it would scare Charsia.
With the weather being so hot, Grisia himself was also only wearing a simple, informal outfit.
“We should occasionally relax, too!” Grisia patted Lesus’s back and said, “We’re already about to retire!”
Lesus glanced at him and said with understanding, “Only because your teacher hasn’t been returning very often lately, right?”
Grisia laughed awkwardly for a moment.
The two of them walked along the streets, just like the past twenty years, side by side.
“Come to think of it, you really wouldn’t replace Hungri, would you?”
Lesus simply said, “What do you think?”
“You don’t mean it.”
“…” Lesus turned his head to look at Grisia. “You think I would joke about it?”
Grisia smiled lightly. “You’re only angry that Hungri keeps making mistakes and disappointed that he can’t achieve your standards. But you’re even more worried that he’ll be criticized, so you would rather warn him first through wanting to ‘replace him,’ so that he wouldn’t rashly commit a mistake. Aren’t I right, Knight-Captain Judgment?”
Lesus did not deny it.
“When you become protective, you don’t lose to me at all. It’s just that you’d always give the child a beating first before taking on all of his burdens.”
Lesus said imperturbably, “The only reason you don’t hit him is because Elaro has never done anything so wrong that you would hit him.”
“Of course. My foresight has always been the best! First, I chose an omnipotent vice-captain, and then I chose an omnipotent student whom I never have to worry about. Of course, I wouldn’t need to hit him… Except this time, I really wanted to beat him to death!”
Grisia stared at Lesus’s face. The latter immediately let his smile drop. He knew that his smiles had never been pleasant to look at…
“You know, your smiles are much more natural now.”
Lesus calmly said, “That’s because you can’t see.”
Grisia came to a sudden realization. “Oh! No wonder I didn’t feel frightened!”
The two of them stopped walking. Grisia looked at the small garden and smiled. “It seems like Charsia’s handicraft has improved even more, but it’s still all lavender flowers and violets. They’re all purple, I take it?”
Lesus gave a “yeah” and said, “Some are darker and some are lighter, but they’re all purple.”
The little girl rushed out. She had been waiting by the window for a long time already.
Grisia lifted Charsia up and laughed. “My little darling is growing heavier and heavier, and her face is so chubby, too. Has she been eating too much lately?”
Charsia pouted and protested, “I only ate a little bit more…”
Grisia pinched her cheeks. Charsia had always had a goose-egg shaped face with plump cheeks. Grisia always enjoyed pinching his daughter’s cheeks.
Charsia was also very used to it, and she treated it as an exchange—she liked grabbing her papa’s long hair.
Charlotte smiled as she looked at father and daughter. She greeted Lesus. “Judgment Knight, come on in. Don’t pay attention to their nonsense.”
“You can just call me Lesus,” Lesus said, like always. However, he knew that it wouldn’t result in anything. The Judgment Knight’s image always made it hard for others to approach him. There weren’t many who dared to directly address him as Lesus.
However, people often called Hungri directly by his name. It could be because he was still a Twelve Holy Knight in-training, but with Hungri’s personality, even when he became an official Knight-Captain, the situation probably wouldn’t change much. Lesus sat down by the side of the table, pondering whether this was good or bad.
Charlotte called out to the two people outside who were currently playing with the flowers and plants, “Charsia, come over and help with dinner preparations.”
“Okay!” Charsia answered and hurried into the kitchen with her mother.
Grisia entered and sat by Lesus’s side.
“You’ll stay tonight, won’t you?” Lesus said, “As usual, I’ll sleep in the guest room.”
Grisia hesitated momentarily. Although he heard the sounds of Charlotte and Charsia having fun in the kitchen, his heart nice and warm, he still clenched his teeth and said, “No, Roland didn’t come with me. I can’t!”
“I had been wondering about that.” Lesus slowly said, “You didn’t ask him?”
It wouldn’t be strange if he hadn’t. After all, during mission this time, “that kind of thing” had happened, so it would be normal if Grisia didn’t want to have Roland come over. That was why Lesus hadn’t asked anything when he didn’t see Roland.
“I did ask him, but he was unwilling to come.” Grisia shook his head and fell silent for a moment. “What happened this time scared him, but it was really entirely my fault—”
“It was the ‘Demon King’s’ fault!” Lesus interrupted him flatly.
Grisia stilled and then corrected himself jokingly. “Okay, it was the Demon King’s fault. If it weren’t for the Demon King, Roland wouldn’t—sigh! After this occurrence, he might never be willing to come here with me anymore. Come on, wouldn’t that mean I’ll never be able to stay overnight ever again? Without Roland around, I don’t know what can be done if I lose control!”
“Do you trust Roland more than you trust yourself?”
“Of course. If Roland has ever hurt anyone, it’s because he was forced to! He has never hurt anyone out of his own volition.”
“Isn’t your loss of control also the same?” It only took one sentence from Lesus to make Grisia unable to retort.
“You should stay by their side, Grisia.” Lesus said disapprovingly, “As a husband and a father, you should take responsibility and stay by your wife and child’s side. You shouldn’t let the two of them stay by themselves out here.”
“As long as the dark element is not stabilized, I won’t stay even a day by their sides. This is something that I had sworn a long time ago!”
Grisia grew agitated, but Lesus instead raised his index finger to his mouth and shushed him. Only then did Grisia discover that the laughter from the kitchen had stopped… Damn!
He had actually given them a scare. Grisia lowered his head, feeling incomparably remorseful. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for sounds of dishes clinking and pots clanking to start again. Only then did he forgive himself a little, and he softly mumbled, “I can’t! Lesus, I can’t ever harm them, not even a single hair!”
Lesus said calmly, “You won’t hurt them, Grisia. Even when you had completely become the Demon King, you never harmed Charlotte, so don’t even mention it now.”
Head still lowered, he knew that the other was merely comforting him, but Grisia felt himself relaxing a lot. He couldn’t help smiling. “When the words come from you, they always feel especially believable. You really are naturally convincing.”
“That’s because I always speak the truth.” Lesus said indifferently, “Don’t change the subject. Stay. Even if something really happens, I will stop you.”
Grisia didn’t quite smile. “Do you think that I can’t harm Charlotte and Charsia, but would let myself harm you?”
Lesus smiled faintly. “You can try. The person who gets injured first won’t necessarily be me.”
“Mommy, Uncle Lesus smiled!”
Apparently, dinner was finally ready. The two females held the dishes and were standing by the kitchen door. Charsia stood by her mother’s side and had tableware in her hands.
“He did! It’s scary, right?” Grisia continued the thread of conversation.
At the same time, Grisia and Lesus both stood up and walked over to take the items out of their hands. Charsia obediently placed the tableware on the table.
“Don’t say it’s scary!” Charlotte shook her head. “You’re way too impolite, Grisia.”
Unconvinced, Grisia said, “If I’m too polite, everyone tells me to shut up.”
“Your God of Light rambling nonsense isn’t politeness!”
“You actually dared to say the God of Light rambles and speaks nonsense. He will punish you…”
“I’m talking about you!” While speaking, Charlotte’s hands hadn’t stopped working. She stuffed the beef and vegetables into the bread and threw it on Grisia’s plate.
Grisia smiled as he picked it up to eat. “Your cooking is delicious, like always.”
Charlotte’s face grew red. “Of course! Just eat it already!”
“Papa, have a gherkin!” Charsia was busy promoting it. “Uncle, have some too! Charsia grew it herself!”
“It tastes great.” Lesus’s praise made Charsia so happy, she was beaming. She knew that this uncle, whom she had known since she was a baby, never spoke anything untrue.
“Grisia… will you stay tonight?” Charlotte couldn’t help asking softly.
Usually, he would stay, but something so dire had happened this time. She knew his personality well and was afraid that he would be even more unwilling to visit now. Moreover, the fact that Roland hadn’t come with him was very strange, but she didn’t dare ask too much about it. She only hoped that Grisia could quickly forget what had happened.
When he heard Charlotte’s words, the utensils in Grisia’s hands jolted. Grisia lowered his gaze and kept silent…
“Uncle, will you stay, too?” Charsia happily said, “Tell me a story!”
Grisia raised his head and stared at the Judgment Knight suspiciously. “How come I never knew that you know how to tell stories?”
“I borrowed a few storybooks from Cloud.” Lesus explained very calmly, “I prepared some this time, too. I’ll stay the night and read them to Charsia.”
Charsia hurriedly asked, “Uncle, what story is it?”
“It’s by your favorite Princess Ann. It’s an adventure story she personally wrote.”
With his young daughter eagerly waiting for her bedtime story, and Charlotte who nearly didn’t dare to look at him, Grisia hesitated over his decision. He looked toward Lesus, who was completely unruffled, as if he weren’t the least bit worried that anything would happen.
“…Yes, I will.”
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