“To think she would sleep…”
Cielle was startled about it since she didn´t expect Cecile would fall asleep that suddenly, but seeing how she was sleeping peacefully, she didn´t want to wake her up.
She didn´t move even the slightest as to not wake her up. Still hugging her, one hour soon went by.
It was a very abnormal feeling that Cielle felt. It felt like happiness, but at the same time, it was much more than that. It felt as if nothing else mattered anymore even, but even saying only this would be inaccurate.
Rather than that, it felt like all those things simply vanished from existence. It was as if they didn´t exist to begin with, and as such, whether it matters or not, something like that, was impossible to decide. That, because it didn´t exist. But only one thing existed, which was the very essence of Cecile, who she was holding.
It was an existence regarded above the level of a lover, or anything like that. It was as if Cecile was part of herself, half of her soul, and that she couldn´t do without her. That, she already knew herself, but it was the first time she felt it so clearly.
During this hour, it felt to her that it happened all very quickly, but at the same time, it was as if time had completely frozen and that moment would continue eternally. It was as if even time itself ceased to exist and brought reality to chaos.
Even though she had her time sense messed up, she somehow managed to figure that about one hour had passed. Even though she would prefer to continue in that position even if years were to pass, she still chose to get out the bath.
For her, it didn´t matter much, actually. Because she would forever be by her side.
“To think I would gain an insight like that… If I was manage to properly infuse it in my skills and train it until I control it, I don´t know how strong I would be able to become.”
What she felt during this one hour, had been actually because of her method of training her soul. Because of her feelings and of luck, it seems she was able to take a peek at the next level of mastery and have hints about the next steps necessary to make. It was a major insight, since it revealed the truth of a insanely powerful technique, something many would curse at her with envy if they were to know. Normally, one would start training right away, but she chose to not do so. Once she saw Cecile like that, she had immediately decided she would recover everything that was lost when they were transported to Lin Ner. Lin Ner´s mentality was: Desire power above anything. She definitely couldn´t do that now, since to properly fully comprehend and master it, it would have probably took at least ten years. Besides, as long as she stays with Cecile, without doubt, the same thing would happen again someday. She staying near her was for granted, and in this world that there were no dangers and they had time to spare indefinitely, it was as if she already had it in her grasp. Perhaps this is could have been wasted chance; she was able to feel that most of the reason it became like that was because they had come back to their previous world. It was not impossible that this chance would never come by again. But even so, she had confidence in her love.
It was nighttime already.
It was dark in the bathroom, as it lacked any type of light source. Through the gaps of the door, it was possible to see that the old man turned on the lights of the bedroom. Through a formation which used a fire and a wind infused stone, it was possible to produce light. It was situated inside a box made of a wooden framework firmly covered by cloth which light was able to go through. It was connected to the roof by a thin string and its height was so people would be able to reach for it when turning it on, though if the person was tall to a certain extent, it was necessary to be careful not to hit your head on it. Surprisingly, it was pretty complex to make and somewhat costly, but it lasted for years until the stones were completely exhausted, and with enough knowledge on magical formations, one would be able to exchange the empty stones with charged stones without damaging the formation. The bathroom lacked one of those, and it was understandable, since it was money wasted to buy it for a very small room which is used only to have baths. If one had no choice but to have a bath at night, most people would chose to take bath even in the dark rather than expending the extra money.
Carrying Cecile with her arms, she got out of the bathroom. Apparently, there was only one towel, so she had no choice but to use it to dry both of them. She did it in the bedroom because it would be too inconvenient in the bathroom due to its small size. Even though it was cold there, it was something minor to them. Since she felt that Cecile was deeply sleeping, Cielle wasn´t afraid of her waking up.
There was two sets of clothes lying in the bed. It was probably the old man´s daughter´s or grand-daughter´s old clothes he was lending to them. Perhaps their bedroom was the same. She was going to dress both of them in the clothes they were using before, so she thought it was very kind for the old man to lend clean clothes to them. Of course the clothes they were using were brand-new, and even if dirty, cleaning wouldn´t be a problem. Even so, she felt thankful about it.
After getting both of them dressed up, Cielle leaned Cecile on the bed and covered her with a blanket that was on the bed folded. In order to empty the bath section, she opened the little hole situated in the wall, at the height of the floor. It was tightly shut, but with some effort, even a child would be able to open it up. This hole connected to a pipe which led to a barrel where there were many water stones. The pipes were visible from outside, and it gave a very city like feeling when seeing them. This setup was made so that not only one would be able to get rid of the water, but also let the merchants which own the stones to gain a few extra gains. Even though they didn´t pay much mind about security against theft of stones, since only those which have a permit can participate in the arcane stone trade, stealing them would only let you economize the money for when you exchange a empty stone for a charged one. Not only it is considered a crime, but also it would make oneself an enemy of the merchant guild and be dealt with. For such little gain, it was too much risk.
After finishing things up, she went downstairs to check how the old man was doing.
“I´m about to finish it here. I know you are hungry, but don´t be impatient; just wait a bit more. I will call you when its ready.” Said the old man while still cooking. He was cooking some kind of soup. A nice smell came from it, which made Cielle look forward to it.
“I understand.” Said while leaving the kitchen. There was no reason to be an annoyance to the old man, nor was there anything to talk to him that couldn´t be postponed to when they have dinner.
Without anything to do, she went upstairs once again. She decided to lie in the bed next to Cecile, which was sleeping soundly. Maybe she could end up sleeping too. It has been many years since the last time she slept, so it would be very fortunate if she managed to do so. After turning off the lights, she got on the bed and peacefully closed her eyes.
In the end, she couldn´t sleep at all. But even so, she wasn´t disappointed at all. It was plentiful for her just to be near Cecile. Just sharing the same bed was a bliss. Because of their positions in the Nan temple, they didn´t have much time together anymore. This half of a day was the longest period she could be together with Cecile when comparing to how it was before.
How they were sharing their bed also reminded Cielle of when they first came to the world of Liv Ner. Because of all it was happening, and because of how they had nowhere to sleep but the floor, it was a hard time to get to sleep. At that time, they used to sleep together. Only that way were they able to calm their anxiety and sleep. She felt as if she was brought back to that time. It was a period of transition, and they faced many hardships adapting. Although elder Limati, the one who had brought them to the temple, was capable of conversation by reading their emotions and essence of their thoughts and manipulating them to form messages, it was still very imprecise. They only had each other to rely as only them could understand each other. But those still were treasured memories to Cielle. She cared about them very much and wouldn´t exchange them for anything.
While lying next to Cecile, she was reminiscing those moments. It felt as if she was dreaming.
“Hey, you girls” Dinner is ready!” Shouted the old man from downstairs.
“Yes, we are coming!”
Even with their loud voices, Cecile didn´t give the slightest hint of waking up. Although she felt it was a waste to wake her up, she would probably have wanted to have dinner as well, so she woke her up regardless.
Cielle had to spend two minutes continuously trying to wake her up. The old man was already wondering whether he should call them again.
“Wake up, milady. Wake up, milady. Wake up, milady.” Cielle repeated herself while shaking Cecile.
“Cielle.”Said Cecile in a somewhat monotone voice.
“Yes, milady?” Asked Cielle curiously.
“Did I fall asleep?”
“Yes, milady. You fell asleep during the bath.”
“I see… How weird.” Cecile was smiling. It was a very nice smile,
“How weird indeed, milady.”Said Cielle while smiling back.
“The mister finished preparing dinner. We should head down now milady.” Calmly explained Cielle.
“Yes, let´s go. I feel hungry right now.”
“Me too, milady.”
As experts of their level, which could be said to not need to eat or drink in order to keep living, of course there was no way for them to feel hunger. Specially because it has been many years since they had eaten anything at all. Although they had come back to their old bodies, it would have been easy to simply nourish them with their power. Even so, it could be said they indeed were feeling hunger. It was not one that longed for nutrients though.
As they went down stairs, the nice smell became more noticeable. The old man was waiting for them in the kitchen, already sat down. The table was big enough just for everyone´s bowls and the pan full of reddish soup not be cramped up.
“Sorry for the wait. My sister was sleeping and it took a long time to wake her up.” Said Cielle in an apologetic tone.
“I´m not responsible for not being able to wake up easily.”Said Cecile since she felt like Cielle was putting the blame on her.
“It´s fine. Now, you girls sit down and serve yourselves. You must be hungry.”
“It looks delicious. I can´t wait to eat it.”Said Cecile in a good mood while sitting down.
“Thank you for preparing dinner for us, mister.”Thanked Cielle gratefully.
“Thank you.”Thanked Cecile as well.
“Haha, no need to thank me, just eat to your heart´s content. I´m not a cooker, but I can brag about my cooking skills.”Said the old man in response in a tone that seemed a bit out of character from his serious personality he seemed to have. He was probably happy for Cecile praising the food he prepared.
Using a ladle, both of them filled their bowls. Only after they finished doing it that the old man filled his own. Without hesitation, both of them started eating.
It was ponale soup, having as its base ingredient a small red fruit called ponale, which is the reason for the name. It was both sweet and sour, and it also gave the soup the red color. In there was also calan roots, desli fruits, some meat and fried eggs cut in pieces. A calan root was a root which was hollow inside. It was spicy, and gave the soup a spicy taste, which complemented with the faint sweetness and sourness from the ponale fruits very nicely. Because of how well the taste diluted in the soup, even if one were to eat it when eating the soup, it wouldn´t feel overly spicy. As for desli fruits, it was a fruit with no real taste, but had a firm texture. When boiled, its texture became really nice. It was perfect for soups because of how it absorbed the taste from the soup. One way or another, both the meat and the fried eggs seemed to fit the soup too. Neither Cielle nor Cecile could identify the meat, but its tenderness was really good.
It couldn´t be said to be more than an ordinary dish. It was tasty, but couldn´t equal the level of top quality dishes. But to Cecile and Cielle, even this simple soup was equal to a feast, and its taste akin to a delicacy. It made the old man very satisfied how they were eating well.
“Now that I think about it, we didn´t introduce ourselves. My name is Jandarl Clir, and yours?”
Because of how he was ashamed of himself before, it was understandable that he forgot something like that. Rather, when he told Cielle and Cecile to take a bath while he was preparing dinner, possibly, he was hurrying them away more than actually being considerate because of that.
“My name is Cielle Diles.”
“I´m Cecile Diles.”
There was no reason for Cielle to lie about her name. It was very unlikely for someone to recognize Cecile´s true identity through her name. Cecile naturally matched Cielle´s surname, since she was acting as her sister.
“You are stepsisters, right?”
“That´s correct. I´m the older sister.”Explained Cielle “My real mother died when she gave me birth. After that, father married sister´s mother. She wasn´t my real mother, but she was very kind to me…” Cielle´s voice became gloomy bit by bit as if she was remembering how she would never meet them again. Again, Cecile accompanied Cielle´s acting and put up a sad face. Internally, she was sighing on how Cielle had teased her by saying she was the older sister on purpose. Although it was normal for her to tease Cecile from time to time, since coming to this world, the number of times increased significantly. It was probably because of how peaceful this world was that she got to be this laidback.
“I´m sorry, I made you remember some bad memories, right?”Said Jandarl in an apologetic tone.
“Don´t worry, Jandarl. I still have my dear sister, so it´s fine.”Said Cielle while putting her hand in Cecile´s shoulder. She was smiling, but Cecile felt a very slight hint of sadness in her tone, which was not acting. She had no bases to prove what she felt, it was only her intuition that came after being together with Cielle for so many years. But even so, she had no doubts about it. It might be that she was remembering her parents, and her past memories. Back there in Lin Ner, they were too busy to mind too much these kind of things. She must have completely forgot about it. But by coming back to this world, it was fated that she would remember these things. Cecile didn´t remember many things about this world even if she put effort on it, but she remembered the things related to Cielle. She was dear to Cecile after all. Although how she apparently didn´t know about her parent´s death, Cecile knew very well how bad her past was…
She should have already got through it, but remembering it again should still be unpleasant.
Immediately, Cecile gently grasped the hand it was on her shoulders and looked at Cielle in a kind and reassuring way. A smile appeared in her face.
Being completely deceived, there was no way for Jandarl to discern between the truth and lies. To him, it was all about their nonexistent tragedy Cielle made up, but in her face, there was a real smile.
“Don´t worry elder sister, we will make it through. We lost many things, but instead, we should think of it as a new start.” Cecile said it in a way that matched all the acting, but what she said had the hidden meaning which was to console Cielle.
“I know, I know…And this little sister is just too cute.”Said Cielle while patting Cecile´s head.
They kept eating the soup until there was none left. For the rest of the talk, Cielle mostly asked things about the city, saying as an excuse that because she had come to a city only once and didn´t knew very well about some things. Jandarl gladly answered her questions.
After they finished eating dinner, Jandarl told them that they should go sleep and went to finish organizing some things about the store. They didn´t really have anything to do, so they had no objections against that, and so both of them went to their bedrooms to sleep. As Cecile saw the bed again, she remembered one thing she used to do when she was a child.
She immediately jumped in direction to the bed as if she were about to dive in it.
Unfortunately, compared to the soft beds of royalty, this bed was a very ordinary one and was somewhat firm.
Since the people that took care of her kept scolding her, saying she was too old to be doing such unrefined things, eventually, she stopped doing it. Now that she had her freedom, remembering this memory, she couldn´t help but try it out.
“Milady, if you keep doing something like that, the bed will break. I don´t think it is sturdy enough to resist.” Said Cielle sincerely.
“I understand…”Said Cecile in a somewhat disappointed tone. Even though it lacked the softness, because for some reason she still felt it was nice to do it, she was willing to do it every time before they were going to sleep. Perhaps as a symbol of their actual life style. If the experts from the temple were to look at her demeanor right now, it would be unknown whether they would laugh or cry.
Both were lied down on the bed next to each other with the blanket to the neck. Cecile wanted to sleep in the side that was next to the wall as she never got to sleep near a wall in her entire life time, but Cielle ended up snatching it away from her. She didn´t particularly mind and happily ceded it to her. Sleeping after having a good meal is very pleasant and the blanket was fluffy and warm. It was very comfortable to them.
But even so, they couldn´t get to sleep.
“Milady, have you slept yet?”
“No, not at all. Even when seriously focusing on it, I just can´t get to sleep.” Said Cecile in an annoyed tone. Her first time sleeping after so long was very nice to her, but even though she managed to sleep once, she couldn´t get to sleep again.
“Perhaps we need to stop thinking in order to sleep, after all, one is unconscious when sleeping. When milady fell asleep back then, I guess it was that what happened.” Proposed Cielle while thinking back at that time Cecile fell asleep in her embrace.
“Yes, maybe. It still is too difficult though… Even if it was so many years, to think we would forget how to sleep.”
“On that moment at dinnertime… Thank you.”
“Yes, well… Sisters need to help each other in times of difficulty.” said Cecile jokingly.
“But to be able to notice my deepest thoughts… This cute little sister cares a lot about me, doesn´t she?” Said Cielle in a happy tone.
“Well, after so many years knowing you, it becoming kind of an intuition is only natural. I would be able to guess more or less your intentions.” Explained Cecile.
“How scary, this sister´s comparable to mindreading intuition. Have this sister always been reading my mind during all this time?”Said Cielle while acting shocked.
“If my intuition is comparable to mindreading, isn´t your intuition mindreading itself?” Dissatisfied with Cielle´s sudden and incredible statements, she immediately retorted.
“Ah, milady, how could I be your maid if I couldn´t even do something as basic as predicting your actions? True servants mustn´t bother the master with something as simple as accomplishing master´s will. Something like that is the core of the nature of a true servant, and doing it is like breathing. If I were to have the need to ask about your wishes, it would sully my image as milady´s maid, and thus milady´s honor as well. If I were to do such, milady, how could I face you?” Cielle´s exaggerated and unreasonable excuse made Cecile laugh a little. Seeing that, Cielle started to laugh as well.
Cielle was happy because of how Cecile cared about her. Although she had already known it, having the person herself confirm it to her was delightful.
Even though they were being very lively with their laughs, they weren´t worried about startling Jandarl. Because of the path of the style they trained focused on, making sounds audible to only themselves and soundless to others wasn´t really a challenge, though in larger scales, the same couldn´t be said.
Eventually, they stopped with their laughs.
“Back then, you were remembering about what happened in your past, right?”
“Yes, you are correct.”
“I know you already got over it, and it´s not like I am doubting your endurance, but…I´d like to say that everything is fine, ok? Ah, I´m just that much of an worrywart.”
“Hehe… While I remembered a few bad memories, I also remembered milady´s gallant figure when she saved me.”
“Gallant, you say…” At that time in the past, because of what she did, she was told off by her father and pretty much all her private tutors and servants close to the family. She literally destroyed a noble house herself with her personal royal guards. Since she was royalty, and that was just a meager noble house, this by itself wasn´t much of an issue, but because she did it for the sake of some commoner girl, it made the nobles be up in arms with that, as to their eyes, it was an unreasonable act. She grinned a bit when she remembered how her father looked like he was about to faint when she recruited that commoner girl to her royal guard.
“Yes, milady was very cool.” Said Cielle with a smile. Cecile couldn´t help but sigh.
“…Well, we should go sleep soon. If we keep talking, we will be awake the whole night.”
“Understood, milady. Good night.”
“Good night.”Cecile wondered how many years has it been since the last time she said good night to someone. If Cielle didn´t say it, she wouldn´t have remembered at all. Like when they were bathing, this certain experiences left a deep impression on her. They were finally back to the old peaceful life style they barely remembered of. She was looking forward to the next day.
While attempting to sleep, Cecile thought about her mother. When she first came to this world, she didn´t consider much meeting with her mother. It could be said that rather than wanting to meet her, she was curious about her old memories. Being of the few she managed to remember at that time many related to her mother, it became somewhat of an point to start from. After countless years away from her dear mother, it wasn´t weird for her feeling of affection to fade away. It couldn´t be helped that she didn´t yearn to meet her that much, which became to the point of putting off her meeting to go on an adventure. That, even though they would be using the fact of them being thought as dead so that people there would not annoy them. But after remembering some of the feelings she had lost at Lin Ner, she started to be more interested in it. She used to love her mother very much; she was the only parent love she received, since her father didn´t mind her much, busying himself with the kingdom matters.
“If I were to meet mother, I guess I would become very happy…” Cecile thought.
She still wanted to go on an adventure before going back to her home. It would be very annoying to deal with the people there when she would want to go on an adventure, and of course, if she were to go forcefully, they would be troublesome during her journey. In such case, she would be able to seal their memories about her being there easily, so she wouldn´t have problems going on an adventure if she were to choose to go back home. But she didn´t want to mind control them. It wouldn´t cause any harm to them, but it felt to her as if she was betraying their trust. Normally, it wouldn´t be a problem, since she herself had betrayed her comrades a few times, and had been betrayed many. Although he didn´t remember much about the people at the castle, and she mostly had memories of how bothersome they were, even so, they took care of her well and truly doted on her. She wanted to regain the capability of casually trusting others, and doing something like that would contradict it.
“Before becoming an adventurer, I will secretly meet her.” Decided Cecile.
One way or another, both Cecile and Cielle were able to sleep. Maybe because they´ve just had dinner before going to sleep, or maybe it was because they felt safe when near each other, and in this peaceful world they used to live in.