Chapter 33. You, Me, And The Nameless Store III
I know I couldn’t keep my head facing down the whole time. However, the heat that was flushing through my cheeks wouldn’t calm itself down. As long as it was still flushed, I couldn’t afford to look up.
While I was distracted by my anxious self, what helped me to look back up was the panic of realizing that someone was coming out from the back of the store. If it wasn’t for that, I think I would have never looked up.
The first sensation that I felt as the world revealed itself to me other than the floor; was the feeling of déjà vu.
At first, I had thought that it would only be Namon that came back. Instead, Namon was behind a young man and moved along gently with a tray lined with drinks. Could it be that the person in front of him, the Master he had mentioned?
The young man that was holding a little beautiful blue box – which already looked like a jewel as itself; was probably about the same age as Kaid, or possibly younger. He has unique wavy silver hair and blue eyes. He then began staring at every one of us and, his blue eyes widened the moment it landed on Kaid. The young man continued to look straight at Kaid.
On the other hand, Kaid didn’t seem to be fazed by that act. Although, I could see from his shoulders that he tensed up.
The young man let out a very heavy sigh.
“Namon, you… Of all people that you invited in…”
Even though his disciple tilted his head questioningly at his remark, the young man maintained his attention towards Kaid.
“It seems that my disciple has inconvenienced you. I apologize for the troubles, Laius’s ruler, Lord Kaid Fallua,”
Earlier, Kaid had mentioned that the people in the shop might be acquaintances of mine, but it seemed that they were associated with him instead. The feeling of meeting him somewhere before must have been just my imagination. Simply because I have no memory of him, neither of any jewelry artisan nor a jewelry shop. Plus, he is too young to be involved with in the first place.
Most of the people that we dealt with are those who had years of experience in the field. In the case that they were to be around Kaid’s age, they must have been a child at that time. That means that they wouldn’t be out in the store then. Which in turn, would make it harder to have both of us meet. All the more if it was during that period.
Namon was wide-eyed upon hearing the revelation behind the identity of Kaid. He then quickly leveled the tray that was about to topple due to the shock. At the same time, seeing that the tray was about to tip over, Jasmine and Samua instinctively leaned over the glass case and had their hands outstretched to help support the tray. However, the tray that required three people to support; could not be returned or go forward as it was now, in a deadlock.
“As I thought, he was acquainted with you, isn’t he?”
I flinched in surprise when Kaid whispered softly in my ear. However, he did not mention anything further and held up the tray in between the three people that were stuck in a standstill.
“Thank you, Master!”
“I apologize, Master!”
“Th…ank y…ou, my Lo-rd?”
After getting three different reactions from one, Kaid took the tray from him with a hand and asked.
“Can I place it on top of the glass cases?”
“Ah! My apologies! You can put it on the table over there. Thank you!”
Namon tried to have Kaid hand over the tray back to him as he was the one to serve the drinks. However, he got blocked by the glass cases that he didn’t realize were there. He hurriedly slipped through the gap between them to get over. However, by that time, Kaid had already placed the tray onto the table that he had already decided upon.
Namon thanked him in blank amazement. He then took a step back and while keeping his eyes on Kaid, returned to stand in between Jasmine and Samua.
“The Laius’s Lord is quite friendly, isn’t he? He’s much easier than most of the noblemen out there, that’s for sure…”
“Right? Right?! Our Master is really kind, you know!”
“He constantly helps us so much to the point I feel guilty for letting him help…”
They might be thinking that they were talking discreetly and softly. However, their whole conversation could be heard clearly from our side. Kaid had a wry smile on his face but he didn’t have it shown to them. He probably wanted to pretend not to hear it for their sake.
With both of his hands finally freed, he then folded it in front of his chest and lightly leaned himself against the wall. And his eyes were fixated towards Namon’s mentor.
“Well then, it has been 15 years, hasn’t it?”
15 years. The years that went by were enough to astonish a child. It was thought that Namon’s mentor was slightly surprised at the time that had passed as well. In my case, it was not the years that passed that surprised me. 15 years ago, it held a special meaning. We are the ones who know the end of it all, the begging, and the unnamable feeling that is within us.
“…You remembered it?”
“You don’t need to keep speaking in such a mannerism. Besides, I remember everyone who had come for that business. Of course, there would be many changes towards a person after 15 years, but I’m good at remembering faces. Now then, you are Fennell Nion, right? Unless that name was an alias.”
I tried to search for any recollection of the name, Fennell Nion, within my memories. As expected, nothing came into my mind.
As I have already gone through my old memories as a form of preparing myself before going to the royal palace, it should have been easier for me to recall anything. But there wasn’t any name nor family name that resembled ‘Fennell Nion’. Even so, Kaid said that he is somewhat connected to me. I wondered if Fennell was more involved with my other family members instead. Both my mother and grandmother used to invite the jewelers directly to the house. However, I never remembered seeing them bringing their children along – not even children of their apprentices or menial workers.
Kaid had mentioned that he remembered his face. Which means he had seen him directly before. Could it be that Kaid was the one who interacted with him in my stead?
I was so engrossed in trying to search through my memories that I was startled by his glance. The young man was looking at me as intently as I was at him. On his face, I noticed the slight discomfort shown.
I ended up staring at someone whom I had never met before. Regardless of if it isn’t the first time, it is impolite to stare too much at someone. Before I could apologize for my rudeness, the young man let out a sigh and placed the blue box on the glass. Perhaps because it was placed so gently, there was hardly a sound.
“It’s my real name. I don’t have any sins for me to be using aliases…”
“Well, I suppose you don’t.”
Not many people are capable of switching their tone of voice on the spot whenever they please. However, Fennell could easily change his tone to one that he probably usually uses.
Both of them have the look and voice that was anything but smiling. Fennell’s gaze that once shifted away flowed back towards me. I was feeling slightly conflicted when he was staring intently at me. However, that itself made me feel even more ashamed for doing the same thing towards him earlier.
“Pleased to meet you. My name is Shirley Hince.”
Fennell introduced himself after I had presented myself with a simple and agreeable greeting. Even after that, Fennell continued to stare at me. I look up at him, wondering at his gradually growing suspicious look.
“…Pardon for my rudeness but have we met somewhere before?”
“…No. Ever since I was born and for 15 years, I had never traveled out of Laius.”
For a moment he was taken aback by my statement, but he decided not to pursue the matter.
I was grateful that he didn’t press on further, but I couldn’t let his words go unheard. I pondered to myself once again if I had met him before. I went through my memory repeatedly, but the name still didn’t ring a bell to me, and it was difficult to remember his face. Plus, it is unusual for Kaid to be able to recognize the appearance of a child that he met 15 years ago in the first place.
Despite this, I couldn’t just let it slide as long as Kaid continued to claim that the young man was somehow related to me.
The moment Fennell’s eyes shifted away from me, I tried to assemble the information in my head. A boy. A child. A jeweler. The capital. I went around within my memories while relying on what I know. I still don’t remember his name, his face, or even the color of his hair.
Although not having much to pinpoint him being in my memories, something flashed through my mind. But, before I could delve further into that portion of my memory, I ended up getting distracted by a voice that shouted out.
It was Jasmine who had enough of the prickly and tense atmosphere. Her face suddenly turned pale, and she hurriedly rushed in to approach us.
“I apologize for interrupting your talk. But I’m really sorry! I wanted to stop by to enquire about a few things and My Lord was forced to accompany us. So… That’s why… I’m sorry for the trouble! We will leave!”
Kaid and Fennell were lost at words by Jasmine’s sudden deep bow that looked as if she was going to break herself into two. They had probably been taken aback by her intensity. Both stopped whatever they were doing after witnessing the desperation of the young lady. On the other hand, Jasmine was about to lose her mind worrying about how the two of them took her statement.
Seeing the desperation, Kaid became flustered and was about to say something. Instead, it was Fennell who managed to utter first.
“No…I’m grateful for you helping my disciple out. Thank you for your help. Thank you.”
“N-No… It’s fine. Instead, I’m sorry for forcing you to say it out loud! But, even so, I’m glad! I was really worried about that.”
Jasmine’s face lit up with a wide smile and Fennell seemed to be smiling faintly at her. He was grateful just as he had said earlier. That made me think that even if I don’t know much about him, I’m sure he is not a bad person.
Namon then moved away from Samua’s side, whose shoulders slump at the sudden relaxation of the atmosphere, to take his place beside his mentor.
“Erm, Master…? Are you perhaps acquainted with Laius’s Lord?”
Namon peeked through sheepishly as he asked his mentor the question. Although Fennell didn’t answer anything, since he wasn’t facing him, his questions were considered answered. I’m not sure how deep their relationship are as mentor-mentee but I’m confident that they aren’t on bad terms. However, seeing that Namon was unaware of it, it might be that Fennell didn’t want to answer it – especially in front of us, who are from Laius itself.
But for some reason, as soon as Fennell’s eyes met mine, he had a very strange look on his face. He looked at me as if he were looking at something strange, and then it changed into an expression as if he couldn’t believe it.
“We’ve met once, 15 years ago.”
Fennell finally responded after moments of silence had passed by. Namon wasn’t surprised at the short answer that was given as he was used to being provided minimal information from his mentor. Namon wanted to speak up and asked something but instead, he got cut off by Fennell. So, he swallowed back his words.
“He was the man who broke my vows and wishes.”
Those words that threaded quietly, felt heavier as it spoke.
The nonchalance held by the voice had darkened the atmosphere around the room. However, both Kaid and Fennell weren’t fazed by it.
At that moment, it occurred to me. Could this be what had transcribed over the 15 years? I don’t know if there’s something that happened between the two of them. I don’t even know whether I’m somehow related to their strife or not. However, what I’m sure of was that if it was 15 years ago, it would have been possible for them to create the same tense atmosphere of this intensity.
They suffered. Like many of those who were involved with Laius 15 years ago were hurt. I may not ever realize how deep their scar was or what among countless possible reasons that had caused them those suffering. But I know it was something that couldn’t be spoken so easily in the first place. no matter how it may be told. All the more when it was a scar that they had within them even after 15 years until today.
Those years that I’m unable to move away from, some people managed to keep on going. And today, I may be witnessing that being set in motion once again.
Deep down, I wished that the people’s scars would just disappear without leaving a single trace behind. Wished that it would heal, vanish over time, and all the pain would vanish where in the end, everyone could attain their happiness. However, I know. I know that it is both unfair and unreasonable for me to hope for such a thing. That’s because I had wallowed in my own shell for so long and it was only recently that I finally was able to start to pave myself forward.
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