At The End Of The Hidden Greenery - Chapter 3
Translator and Editor: Effe and Yonnee
She couldn’t forget the memories of that day.
It was wondrous to find out which part of the temple had a hole where a single person could escape through, where a dark robe could be found to hide her appearance, and the reason why the escorts who were always attached to her suddenly became friendly. Then, everything that flowed like water was just so strange…
The Crown Prince, who had changed his dark black hair to the more common brown in some way, quickly changed his attitude and acted like a commoner.
Her heart was pounding again as he took off his splendid clothing and became like an ordinary young man from the village.
As she went outside, Jiwoo felt refreshed. As an ordinary person, not Akarna, she escaped the stuffy temple for the first time.
When the Crown Prince went into the bar without hesitation and ordered a grilled sausage and dark-colored beer, it frankly brought tears to her eyes.
In the temple, she was forced to live a frugal life, so she was forced to eat a small amount of food, but she was originally a present-day human on Earth who had chicken delivered and drank beer on days when there were good things.
The meat was dripping in fat and the dark liquor tasted really good.
It has been a long time since she could describe the feeling of heavy chewy food with juices and a pungent scent going down her throat, which could only be described as exhilaration.
Jiwoo savored the food with an excited face, but she soon heard a light chuckle.
The crown prince rested his chin on his hand and smiled.
“I didn’t know our Akarna could drink so well.”
“Well… Is it okay to say something like that…?”
“What? Ah, the word Akarna? It’s okay. Akarna is not only a temple Akarna, but also a slang term for a lovely lover.”
The crown prince smiled as he reassured Jiwoo, who was looking around in surprise.
In addition, he has a face like a young man in the mountains, when he grumpily responds to the knights who say he’ll say all sorts of cheesy things when he comes to such a place.
Maybe it was because she was drunk after a while, Jiwoo’s heart raced even when he looked like that.
After that day, the times he went out with the crown prince increased more and more. This is because it was easier once the door was opened.
Besides that, this experience was much more effective in letting Jiwoo learn more words than teaching her the letters and words in a classroom setting.
She felt a lot better as she got along with the crown prince, and although the time he spent with him increased, there was no sign of opposition from the temple.
Sometimes, she went to the market and had fun.
While looking at cheap items, she also received a gift from the crown prince.
The necklace made of pure blue stones resembled the sky of that day. A clear sky without a single cloud.
It was like receiving a gift from the memories they had together on such a good day.
If she carries it with her, she may lose it or break it, so Jiwoo kept it hidden in her bedroom.
One day, she learned how to ride a horse instead of learning the language from the crown prince, and for the first time, she rushed through the grasslands of this country. It was scary at first, but she soon got used to it.
She started to feel more relaxed enough to enjoy the cheerful sound of horses’ galloping, the rapidly changing scenery, and even the wind that would scatter her hair.
“How is it? Isn’t it beautiful?”
In the distance, a large windmill was spinning over a vast farmhouse.
Red and blue colored roofs and wide curved rivers passed by, and large tower-shaped grain silos were lined up in a row.
The scene of white clouds floating in the deep blue sky was like a scene from a fairy tale.
Looking down on that part of civilization from a high hill, the crown prince introduced her to the country he would rule over.
Four distinct seasons, fertile land, abundant resources and wise people.
The empire had developed independently and was the subject of envy and obedience by other countries.
Then, there was the holy city where the voice of God could reach, and this was also within the empire.
The Akarna also came down through the empire. Therefore, the empire was not lacking to be called the land blessed by the gods.
“But the Empire wasn’t such a prosperous land from the beginning.”
“As the Akarna, you clean up the land eroded by miasma, right?”
A land that was eroded by the dark energy that the beasts left behind.
It had once been a barren land where crops could not be planted and other facilities could not be built.
When humans lived in such a place for a long time, they became ill.
The disease that slowly turns the body black and then spreads miasma to the surroundings at the moment of death. Therefore, being afflicted with the disease was like a sentence to be banished from the human world and to die in loneliness.
It was no exaggeration to say that the borders of the country consisted of the land eroded by miasma.
The garrison of the frontier protected the people in the fight against the beasts rather than human invaders.
However, the Akarna is not affected by the miasma.
Rather, she was able to heal the sick and purify the land stained with miasma. It was thanks to the Akarna that the empire was able to expand its territory when other places were threatened by the beasts.
In an empire with such strong conditions, it was a natural order for many countries to bow their heads.
“It is said that in the past, most of the land was barren. The soldiers of the Empire drove out the beasts that threatened people, and the saints purified the land polluted by it. That long history made the Empire it is today.”
As the crown prince said this, he seemed to be proud of the ancestors who made this land, the imperial family where he was born, and the people.
His pride for his country was etched on his hard and strong cheeks, but this expression disappeared quickly as he showed a worried expression.
“But… the land polluted with miasma is getting bigger and bigger. If you let your guard down just a little bit, the beasts can come to overwhelm you. What do you think of the act of saving the suffering and increasing the land on which they can live in peace?”
Jiwoo was a little surprised because she didn’t know he would ask for an opinion.
Jiwoo pondered for a long time, not wanting to give the impression that she was taking it lightly. It was easy to judge when she remembered what the temple was asking her to do.
Sick people kissed the hem of her clothes in tears as she healed them.
It was difficult to drive the miasma out of the ground, but she felt proud when she received the crops that were experimentally grown in the first year on the purified land as a gift.
She thought it would be difficult, but… looking back, it was worthwhile.
“I think it’s the right thing to do.”
“Yes…But there are still many people in this land who can’t accept that help.”
“Have they not received help yet?”
“No, they don’t accept it. These races don’t even want to believe in divine power, and the alchemists on the outer wall think that it’s blasphemy to use divine power.”
The crown prince looked at the distant horizon and said so.
She didn’t really understand it well. Jiwoo had never seen a beast with her own two eyes. However, she had seen some paintings of them, and the appearance of those monstrous people looked exactly as they were described, and how terrible those who were affected by the miasma turned into.
It was because she couldn’t think of any reason to forcibly refuse to save them from that.
“You also don’t understand, do you?”
Jiwoo thought briefly about the religions that existed on Earth.
As in the world in which Jiwoo originally lived, if the reality of divine power was not visible, the atheist’s cause was justified. Even Jiwoo didn’t believe in gods. But here, the temple really healed the sick and drove out the beast.
So she didn’t understand.
“Well. If you don’t have first-hand experience of God’s miracles yourself, it would be more rational to not believe. No one has the right to violate people’s freedom.”
“…You sometimes say surprising things. Is it because you’re the Akarna?”
The crown prince was startled, and soon he smiled lightly and spoke.
“I want to make this world a little bit better place to live, not just the empire. You might say it’s stupid, but I think you want to save them too. They look different from us and they have a different worldview from us, but they are also people who have to live and coexist in this land.”
The light of the sun shone on his straight forehead and the bridge of his nose. A gentle breeze ruffled his hair. There was a scent of warm sunlight coming from somewhere.
“I think that’s cool too.”
The Crown Prince held out his hand.
“Then will you help me?”
The wind swept through the wide meadow and his hair once more. That cool and refreshing wind stirred even in her heart.
She doesn’t know when. She must have been in love with him since then. But it was definitely from then on that she became aware of the love that had taken root in her heart.
She was unable to attach her heart to this world and the temple, but because of the crown prince, she was able to love this world. And so she dedicated herself and strived to the best that she could.
As her heart followed him and was rewarded, she even cried uncontrollably. She was happy.
Although the Akarna’s duties were difficult, it was much more rewarding considering that it was the process of creating a future with him.
But who could ever guess that she would be betrayed so horribly?
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