I pretended not to know anything and waved my hand towards him. It was an awkward movement, like a rusty machine creaking.
“Ahahaha, I, I suddenly have something urgent to attend to. I’ll take my leave now.”
The cat looked at me as if asking what it meant. However, without looking back, I turned around.
And I ran with all my might. Running for a while, just as the fresh breeze brushed against my cheek and my breath reached its limit.
‘Now, it won’t chase after me, right?’
With a faint sense of hope, I turned my head. But… right behind me, the cat was casually flicking its ears.
Why does the cat’s gruff meow sound like a death sentence?
With this, it became clear that this cat wasn’t an ordinary cat. It purposely chased after me.
Unconsciously, I brushed my arms with my hands. In response, the cat blinked at me, then gracefully walked towards me. It was just a small cat, but its movements felt like those of a large predator.
They say your body freezes when faced with a predator. That was how I felt in my current situation.
The cat was just licking its paws as if nothing happened, but to me, its nonchalant actions felt like a warning.
‘Now do you know who I am?’
If I make a wrong move, it could be the end. What should I do?
One mountain after another would ignite in an instant, and the soaring horse would leap down and crash into the ground—Dianel. He possessed the strongest combat power among the extermination troops.
‘Moreover, he didn’t like me!’
He may have lost his memory, but his frustrations were similar. At least he was a nominal ally.
He was a man with incredible abilities as much as his dirty personality, and he might just eliminate me because he didn’t like me.
‘But what can I do?’
I tried my best to stay calm and looked around. However, I couldn’t spot a single ant as if sensing the unusual atmosphere. The sky was clear, white clouds were drifting, and I was alone.
‘Adandito! Please appear, just please.’
I clenched my fists tightly as if sending telepathic signals. But there was no response.
‘I guess there’s no choice. For now, I have to retreat.’
I quickly scanned the surroundings. Just in time, I saw a group of priests running from a distance.
‘No matter how powerful Dianel is, he can’t act recklessly in the temple.’
Nonchalantly, I walked toward where the group of priests was. The cat followed me. At that moment, I belatedly noticed Adandito leaving the building.
He recognized me first and approached me.
“Siara, why are you here?”
It was the most joyful moment so far. I happily greeted him and shook his hand.
“Adandito! Over here!”
As Adandito’s gaze fell upon the cat, a terrifying golden divine power emanated from around him. The divine power enveloped the surroundings like a hazy mist, obscuring the view.
At first glance, it looked like a ray of sunlight, but in reality, it was a powerful barrier.
A shield-like barrier that could even withstand the tremendous attacks of the Demon King.
‘Moreover, the effect of the barrier is amplified here in the sanctuary, so we can rest assured.’
Furthermore, priests stood in a row around him. By this point, even Dianel wouldn’t dare to make a move recklessly.
With a satisfied smile, Adandito warned Dianel in a low tone.
“What is happening here?”
The cat didn’t respond. It simply stared at us with its bright red eyes for a while, then yawned as if losing interest.
Then it turned around, swaying its tail as it walked away. But before leaving, it briefly glanced back at us.
‘Is it telling us to follow?’
Adandito seemed to have the same thought as me and furrowed his brows.
“What’s with this and that….”
As soon as he said that, the cat’s footsteps abruptly stopped. It glanced back at me, then resumed walking. Finally realizing something, Adandito narrowed his eyes and looked at me.
“Siara, I’ll be back in a moment.”
If the two of them could disappear together, I would be more than happy.
“Yes, be careful and come back safely.”
No, don’t come back at all. I smirked, hiding my joyous inner thoughts.
* * *
Dianel moved his steps gracefully. Adandito, who followed behind, also remained silent.
Finally reaching a dim corner, Adandito cast a spell. Thin, delicate golden threads, as if created by the sunlight itself, proliferated and covered the surroundings in an instant. A dazzling golden sphere, blinding as a son-in-law, was created. Only then did Dianel stretch out, returning to his original form.
His soft beige fur became a smoothly combed back, and on his slightly angular forehead, thick beige eyebrows took their place. Below them, sharp, shining red eyes seemed indifferent. Only his captivating red lips stood out.
As Dianel was about to turn his head, uncomfortable with the transformation process, Adandito, who had remained silent all along, quietly handed his coat to Dianel.
“Speak only about the matter at hand.”
Dianel smiled mischievously, half-covered in Adandito’s coat.
“I said it.”
“Haah, it seems we can’t communicate properly.”
After the transformation, Dianel changed into a tyrant or a mischief-maker. It was said that his mind became hazy, and he didn’t know what he was saying. Adandito was well aware of this fact and didn’t blame Dianel unnecessarily.
As a result, they fell into silence. Adandito observed Dianel, and Dianel waited for his senses to return.
However, Dianel’s patience immediately wore thin after the transformation, and he let out the words he wanted to say without hesitation.
“I want her.”
Adandito frowned deeply.
“People are not possessions.”
“Then why do you have her?”
“I’m not possessing it. I’m just protecting her temporarily.”
“I can do a better job than you. So hand her over to me, huh?”
Unable to hold back, Adandito roughly struck Dianel’s head with a flick of his hand.
With the sound of a rough impact, Dianel’s head turned in the opposite direction. His tasteless eyes gradually returned to their original state, and his smiling lips, which had been teasingly curved, stiffened abruptly. Slowly returning to his usual cold expression, Adandito opened his mouth.
“Are you back in your senses?”
Dianel scratched his itchy ears a few times and glared at Adandito with a fierce gaze.
“Come to think of it, you. You’re no longer a comrade or anything. Can I kill you?”
“I share the same thought.”
Sharp gazes clashed in the air as if tearing each other apart. With the common enemy of the Demon King gone, the world no longer needed heroes. Adandito realized this fact frighteningly and invoked his sacred power to its fullest extent.
Sharp claws instantly extended from Dianel’s fingertips. They were weapons stronger and tougher than diamonds, capable of swiftly severing the enemy’s life.
Dianel was the first to take a step. As he leaped forward with force, Adandito hid his body within the emanating radiance of sacred power.
Instinctively, Dianel located Adandito’s position within the hazy golden mist and swung his hand through the space.
A bright red trail flew towards Adandito but was once again blocked by the thread-like sacred power. Adandito twisted his smile and whispered.
“It seems you’ve forgotten where this is.”
“Yeah, seems like it.”
Dianel shrugged his shoulders and stepped back. The hands that had sprouted sharp claws had now been neatly refined and transformed into clean hands.
While no one in the world could defeat Dianel based on raw power alone, this was a temple.
Even if he were to dispose of Adandito right now, hundreds of high priests stood behind him, supported by the power of the gods. Moreover, the majority of imperial citizens were followers of the god Eora.
Although the subjugation was over, they were still intertwined in a delicate relationship. It would be better not to cause any further trouble.
Therefore, Dianel gracefully admitted his defeat.
“I was hasty. I apologize.”
“…Is that another excuse for your mistake after transformation?”
“Yeah, as you know, I’m not in my right mind after the transformation.”
With a smile that was too enchanting to be considered an admission of wrongdoing, Dianel laughed. Adandito remained silent. Dianel had behaved like this not just once or twice.
Instead of further explanations, Dianel spoke his mind.
“By the way. I hear Hierian is nowhere to be seen.”
Hierian was the mage who had accompanied them on the subjugation.
He had become the Archmage, gaining the wisdom of the sages at the youngest age in history and inheriting the position of the Mage Tower before reaching adulthood. But even more remarkable than all of that was the fact that he was the administrator of the magical pillar connecting the land and the sky. This meant that he was responsible for managing the magical power of the entire world.
Being in such an important position, Hierian rarely left the magical pillar except for special occasions. The longest absence he had since becoming the administrator was when he was selected to join the subjugation force and ventured into the Forest of Evil.
Even during Hierian’s absence, the mages of the Mage Tower had desperately prevented the dispersal of magical power. So by now, Hierian would be fully occupied with maintenance work on the magical pillar.
But for the administrator himself to suddenly be absent, it was unbelievable. Adandito stiffened at the thought.
“Have you tried contacting the Mage Tower?”
“Yeah, they said they didn’t know where Hierian went and asked us to come and see.”
Dianel seemed indifferent as he spoke as if it was not a matter of great concern. Sensing that it didn’t matter to him whether they found Hierian or not, Adandito grabbed him.
“Very well. Let’s go to the Mage Tower together.”
Seizing the opportunity to pull him out of the temple, Adandito firmly took hold of Dianel, as if a good reason had emerged to bring him out of the temple.