Aria belatedly covered her mouth and looked into Lloyd’s eyes.
She had done it without thinking at all, but when she was about to wait for his reaction, she was terrified.
‘You deserve to be angry.’
Aria was determined not to be hurt no matter what kind of abusive language she heard.
Although it didn’t have much of an effect.
Aria closed her eyes tightly at Lloyd’s call.
“What is it”
The boy wrapped his hand around her cheek and pulled her closer.
To keep her from turning away and avoiding his gaze.
Lloyd’s face was right in front of her.
Until his breath touches her.
A minority race that puts magic into songs, Siren.
At one time, it was treated as a legendary ghost, but known outside the world as the Cortez family.
Lloyd covered his mouth and muttered again.
“It was you.”
The one who cured his mother’s disease.
“But, how have you been able to hide your voice until now”
“Count Cortez doesn’t know anything.
Otherwise, he won’t sell you to Valentine.”
Aria knew that he, of course, would blame herself.
‘Have you lied to me all this time How could you deceive me like that’
She thought he would say so.
But, far from expelling her out of the Grand Duke’s castle for deceiving him, Lloyd was saying a completely different thing.
‘I …….I think you’re worried for me.’
Aria blankly blinked her eyes.
“If the Count has a daughter who has inherited the Siren’s powers, there’s no way he can let you go.
It’s obvious that they’ll pursue you to the ends of the world and try to arrest you.”
Because he asked what had happened without rebuking Aria.
She had no choice but to explain her circumstances in a slow voice.
“Since I was born, I’ve been drinking the potion my mother gave me.
When I drink it, I can’t make a sound…”
Aria’s mother hid her daughter’s Siren abilities in order to protect her daughter, and the Count, who felt ashamed of it, hid her existence.
So she’s been living as a ghost.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard of such a potion.
Is there any left”
Aria shook her head.
“Any potion is bound to have side effects.
If you thought of anything, tell me.”
“I don’t know.
I just drank steadily what my mother gave me.”
She actually knew what ingredients went into potions.
Sophia was knowledgeable about the miscellaneous medicinal herbs and gave Aria her knowledge, albeit briefly.
‘But if I reveal it in detail, it will only come out that my current condition is nothing more than time-limited.’
Aria pretended she didn’t know anything, and he narrowed the gap between his brows dissatisfied.
But he didn’t ask any more.
Aria hesitated for a moment, then she opened her mouth.
“Aren’t you mad”
Then Lloyd responded with frustration.
Your desperate efforts to survive”
“The one who didn’t notice it sooner is the idiot.
You didn’t do anything wrong.
His rough thumb wiped away the tears from her eyes.
“So, don’t be intimidated.”
She never dreamed that he would say that.
She couldn’t even fathom how deep this boy’s understanding was.
It seemed that he would understand even if Aria was openly revealing all the sins and shame she had committed in her past life.
He seemed to embrace her to the bottom.
‘Even though we met again, you saved me.’
Aria’s throat was choked and she couldn’t say anything, and her mouth couldn’t even move.
‘Everything you say and do always comes with a deep meaning.’
She was saved by him today, and she can really do anything for him.
Raw, unorganized words were floating around in her head.
But after a long time passed, the words she brought out were,
“We’ve learned each other’s secrets one by one.”
It was something completely different from what she was thinking.
Lloyd let go of her cheek and stepped back.
“Yes, we’ll find out more.”
It was a meaningful word.
It seemed to imply that Valentine’s secret didn’t end there.
So, Aria answered without hesitation.
“Then it’s my turn to tell you.
Lloyd didn’t do anything wrong.”
Lloyd’s face shook like a ripple on a stone thrown into the lake.
The shaky eyes were revealed between the trembling eyelids.
‘A look I’ve never seen before.’
It was as if she had secretly looked at his real face, which was hidden between the hard shells that were layered on top of each other.
The shimmering black eyes grew darker and watery.
But he never shed any tears.
“Who do you think you are to say that.”
Rather, the boy was angry.
Lloyd revealed this in a voice that seemed to tighten his chest severely.
“What are you… what do you know”
As if he could never forgive himself.
Aria wanted to tell him that if he wants to cry, he can cry.
‘I want to hug you.’
But Lloyd turned his back on his pride because he thought he should never cry.
“I had a nightmare.
A very scary dream.”
“Hold my hand and let’s sleep.”
She lowered her eyebrows as if in fear.
Then, reaching out as if asking for his hand, she looked up carefully at Lloyd.
“I won’t try to sneak up on you again.”
Lloyd noticed her intentions and pointed it out at short notice.
But Aria pretended she didn’t hear anything, she ignored it lightly, and she stared at him.
She opened her eyes as wide as she could, and she looked at him with twinkling eagerness.
“A very scary looking monster ate me.”
Then Lloyd sighed as he couldn’t win, and grabbed her hand.
Aria’s hand was covered with one of his.
“I’ll just hold your hand and sleep.”
Eventually, they happened to be lying side by side on the bed.
‘Anyway, would it have been a relief for him’
When one is in a bad mood and depressed, a person’s warmth helps.
‘Just being next to each other without saying anything.’
Aria closed her eyes and wiggled her fingers as she couldn’t sleep.
The rings on their left hands made a sound from each other’s touching hands.
Aria said, as if she had suddenly remembered.
“You made the wedding ring an artifact for nothing.”
“It doesn’t matter.
You can call me whenever you need my help.”
“Yes, then call me anytime too.
I’ll run to you.”
Lloyd responded when he had heard something he hadn’t thought of.
‘You must have thought of me as something to be protected.’
Because she can’t speak and her body is weak.
The boy burst into laughter and was speechless, but he answered meekly.
Lloyd caught her.
To be precise, she openly revealed her abilities.
She thought so.
‘Lloyd found out that I had cured Sabina’s disease.’
Her plans to keep Lloyd from feeling indebted were completely thwarted.
Aria decided that she would be shameless now that it has already happened.
‘Let’s stop the Valentine’s incident openly.’
Now there was nothing to fuss about.
‘As long as I don’t get caught.’
It couldn’t be helped that he had caught her ability.
Because she had to treat Lloyd.
In fact, in order to prevent the future Valentine’s incident, it was only a matter of time before her powers were discovered.
But she couldn’t have any unavoidable circumstances to reveal her personal feelings.
‘That’s the Maginot Line*.’
Aria made up her mind.
She should never get caught liking Lloyd.
The next morning, as soon as Aria opened her eyes, she held out a box to Lloyd.
“What is this”
“Tears of Mermaids.”
He opened the box without a word.
It contained a pair of tiny pearl earrings that were barely noticeable.
“It’s a wedding present.”
Tears of Mermaids.
An artifact that reflects the effect of the Siren’s song.
In fact, to her surprise, one of the Sirens made it themselves.
In other words, the Siren made her own shackles to control her own power.
If asked why she did that, it was in order to sincerely confess to her lover.
For you, I would even give up my life.
“A token of love.”
Lloyd blushed in embarrassment.
It was the first reaction for the first time he had ever heard of such an unfamiliar sound.
“I’m not saying I love Lloyd.”
“It’s a sign that I’ll never do anything that would harm Lloyd and I’ll be absolutely on Lloyd’s side.”
“I’m afraid you’ll find me suspicious.”
Lloyd answered, wiping his disheveled bangs, seemingly regaining his composure.
“I know even without this.
You must repay your benefactor for the favor.”
It was a bit sarcastic.
“Still, accept it.
It’s a token.”
The boy looked down at the pearl earrings without a word.
“I didn’t have my ears pierced…”
But he meekly packed the box into his chest.
It meant accepting the gift.
Aria wondered if the Tears of Mermaids had finally found their place.
‘He will never abuse it.’
She was sure.
Lloyd would never, ever do that.
*) Maginot Line: A line that can’t be crossed.