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Located south of Palcemith, in the center of the continent of Yugena, and blessed with a temperate climate, was the Republic of Sahana.
Historically, it had begun as a trading post between nations and grew into a republic.
Five years ago, Lutora had spent a year abroad in Sahana as a foreign exchange student. In the house of his host, a wealthy merchant, lived the trader’s daughter who was three years older than Lutora.
Fiona Legley had been sixteen at that time.
A charming girl with a beautiful smile, she was Lutora’s first love.
Lutora, thirteen at the time, invited her to tea every day in a bid for her attention. Sitting around the table, they shared many tales. The stories she had enjoyed the most were those of Palcemith, Lutora’s birthplace. While voicing her wish to travel there someday, not once did she ask Lutora to; “Show me around when I visit”.
In the Legley mansion, along with the Legley couple who managed the business, lived a young man in the prime of his life. Fiona’s uncle was calm, courteous, and treated Lutora, a foreigner, with kindness. The reports Lutora had written after his sojourn ended, having returned to Palcemith, had been praised considerably due to his influence. He had learnt much from him about the Republic and the cultures that were unique to Sahana.
A disease ailed him.
It was an incurable illness he had been suffering from since childhood, an illness that caused one to suffer pain far worse than death in the final stages.
Even Lutora, who had witnessed his seizure’s many times, could do nothing but freeze in horror at seeing his bitter anguish.
On the other hand, Fiona held worries typical of girls her age.
She had fallen in love, hiding her feelings, that could never come to fruition, deep in her heart.
“You see, I’ll be getting married once I turn seventeen.”
The betrothal to a wealthy merchant twice her age, a man whose face she had never seen had been decided at birth.
As Lutora hung his head, she patted it with the familiarity of a sister consoling her brother. Fiona cast her eyes downward, resigned to her fate. She gave out a small laugh.
“I wanted us to always stay together. If we could stay together in this house. Just that, would have been great…”
Thinking back on those words, they clearly pointed to one person.
The one who had always been by her side, and even if she didn’t get married, it still wouldn’t have been possible for her to marry him. Such a partner, the time she had left with him was limited, her uncle, so close and yet so far.
Thus she lost her life.
Even before her beloved uncle. Before she turned seventeen.
On her bedside was a glass vial that had a flower with round petals submerged in a pale purple liquid.
Lutora could never forget the Legley couple breaking down and crying, mumbling “Why Suimo, Fiona?”
Lutora returned to the kingdom and worked hard with the Crown Prince, Sigurd, and the others, he joined the Royal Knights where his father served as Commander. His conversations with the prodigy Morino grew, and at long last Lutora turned eighteen and became an adult.
As if brought to their side by Fate, a beautiful girl appeared before the Crown Prince’s comrades. Nasha Laturi. The holy maiden brought from the village of Cofone to the capital to become the Sacrificial Priestess, an offering for the ancient dragon Kharis.
As he watched her, a girl who looked straight ahead without bending to her bleak future, resolute despite the unreasonable duties given to her. Before he knew it, love had once again bloomed in the heart he had already given away. Even when she chose Crown Prince Vikram, his feelings of wanting to assist her remained unchanged.
To save Nasha, Lutora began investigating his clear enemies— the Shrine and the evil Prime Minister Anderheim. Once again coming across the existence of Sumio, Lutora’s heart was thrown into turmoil.
The gears of destiny loudly clanked against one another and began to turn.
And then Lutora met Malacia.
Possessing the ability to use healing magic; Malacia was appointed the Head Priest at a young age, having caught Prime Minister Anderheim’s eye.
Lutora’s first impression was that he was quite simply a shady man.
A man with white hair and pale skin. His eyes, hidden behind his unwavering smile, were as red as the evening sky. His youthful good looks combined with his slender frame, made it impossible to tell that he was at least ten years older than Lutora.
Even when Morino interrogated him about the secrets of Suimo, Malacia had nonchalantly dodged the questions. He even treated Lutora, who had entered the Shrine to investigate, with the same tenderness he would bestow upon the children without choosing favorites.
As he adapted to life at the Shrine, the children who adored him seemed to grow cuter by the day, and the Temple Knights began to look up to him.
The reasons for refining Suimo, that generations of Head Priests had passed down, was horrifying. And while the act of selling it to other nations couldn’t be called ethical, at the end of the day it was a misdeed intended to save someone from suffering. If Lutora and the others hadn’t investigated, the holy acts of rescue that Malacia had performed would’ve been buried in obscurity. A secret he would’ve taken to the grave.
Furthermore, when Lutora had been terribly hurt by the abuse Nasha, the one he loved, had flung at him because of the incident with Melia. Malacia had stayed with him throughout the night, running his fingers through Lutora’s hair, wiping away the tears that welled up in his eyes, and holding him close. Without shaking off Lutora’s arms as they nervously wrapped around him, Malacia passed the night snuggled close to him as he skillfully warmed Lutora’s frozen heart.
Once Lutora had become aware of his feelings, they only grew, like a snowball rolling down a slope.
He wanted Malacia to think of him as someone special and to rely on him. He wanted to share his feelings with Malacia.
He didn’t think he was hated.
If that were the case, he wouldn’t have used the excuse of being tired to sleep in the room of a man who was on the Crown Prince’s side.
It was torture akin to a slow, painful death, but the sleeping face of his loved one in his arms gave him enough joy to make up for it.
He didn’t know much about his past yet.
He knew that long ago Malacia had been an orphan that was raised in the slums.
And Amy had told him of how Malacia used his body to protect the Shrine.
This was the first time he knew what it was like to seethe in rage.
He didn’t wish for Malacia to go through that ever again. No, he would never let him go through that again.
Even though he had decided that.
“The Head Priest’s mouth turned out to be smaller than I thought.”
“Use your tongue too, it’ll make me feel good. …Kuku, the kids watching will sure be frightened.”
As Lutora finally reached the end of the frustrating duty of guarding the Crown Prince and his fiancee who lacked self-awareness, and was at long last set to return to the castle. A knight had stopped him to inform him that Malacia had been led away by slave traders. It was an unimaginable occurrence.
He was thankful that he was wearing an armet, through which his face couldn’t be seen.
Handing over the reigns of the carriage that the Crown Prince was in to the soldier who had relayed the information, Lutora ran about the increasingly deserted circus grounds searching for Malacia.
And what he witnessed upon arrival was…
Amongst the numerous tents on the grounds, one such tent, made of dark cloth, was propped up some distance away from the main tent.
Thinking he had heard Malacia’s voice, He peered through the gaps into the tent. Unfolding in front of his eyes was an unbelievable scene.
In the center of the tent was a large bed with three men on top.
Two muscular men pinned down the thin body that Lutora was very familiar with. His hair was grabbed, and the man, whose lips were shoved against their penises, raised his voice out of the pain of his throat being thrust against it.
The mitre had already been taken off his white silk-like hair, and his Dalmatic, a symbol of the clergy was about to be taken off.
There was no doubting it.
It was Lutora’s beloved Malacia.
Lutora pulled out his favourite dagger from the holder strapped to his waist.
Unfazed, he rushed inside the dim tent.
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