Coming of age
“Is it a hallucination”
Trying to drown him wasn’t enough, now it was showing him hallucinations.
Starting small and getting bigger…….
Lloyd was startled and uttered a swear word.
Because he saw himself reflected in the metal decoration.
It was after Aria mentioned the color of his eyes the other day.
Every time he sees himself in the mirror, he has a habit of checking his eyes first.
It’s not a faded silver-gray color like Grand Duke Valentine’s, but it’s not as black as before, it’s more of a dark gray color.
That was Lloyd’s current eye color.
‘…… It’s back to black again.’
It wasn’t just that.
As Aria grew up, Lloyd himself had grown up too.
His jawline was stiffer, his neck and bones were thicker, and his eye level was much higher than in his memory.
He had grown noticeably.
It made him feel awkward.
“It’s a pretty specific hallucination.”
Then Aria asked.
Or, something in the form of her who claims that today is her coming-of-age ceremony, asked.
“Come here, it’s crooked.”
Approaching him without hesitation, she reached out and straightened Lloyd’s tie.
Lloyd couldn’t bear to shake off her hand.
If it had been something else disguised as Aria, he would have noticed right away.
But this was just Aria.
Appearance, voice, atmosphere, scent, energy, everything…….
It seemed that she would grow up like this as Aria grew older.
“What are you”
Unknowingly, he frowned at the unpleasantly close-to-reality hallucination and asked so,
Then Aria folded her eyes nicely and answered without hesitation.
She smiled brightly and took Lloyd’s hand, kissed it over the white glove.
The pink lipstick marks came out on the back of his hand like a print.
Lloyd lost his words for a moment and looked down at the back of his own hand.
Her lips marks were clear.
“The back of your ear is red.”
“Your reaction today is cute.”
Aria, who burst into a small laugh, grabbed his hand and led him into the middle of the banquet room.
And she danced a dance she had just learned a while ago.
As if she had danced with him countless times, matching his tempo.
‘If it’s Aria’s coming-of-age ceremony…… then six years later.’
He was afraid every moment.
As he had seen in his dream, one day God’s malice will run wild and devour the Grand Duchy.
Aria, who periodically purifies God’s malice, for Lloyd and Tristan, might someday come to a limit.
There is no way that her body can’t help but be burdened with the purification process.
She was already a weak person.
Would he lose her forever because of his greed to live
Lloyd whispered softly and grabbed her hand.
Vincent’s words that they were poison to each other were still engraved in his heart vividly.
So now, this moment was like a miracle.
The fact that he was not contaminated with malice and that they have safely reached adulthood.
Even if it’s just a hallucination.
“After I finished my coming-of-age ceremony safely, I was able to watch your coming-of-age ceremony”
Aria tilted her head as if asking what Lloyd was talking about.
Lloyd laughed bitterly.
“If I’m possessed with God’s feelings right now…”
At the same time, he was sure.
“Then this feeling is hope.”
This is the fleeting and ephemeral hope he holds.
A ray of light that he could embrace because Aria came to him.
The difference between hope and despair made him even more anxious and distressed.
“The future that hope shows…”
Lloyd wrapped his arms around Aria’s cheeks.
And he gently stroked his finger to confirm her presence.
Aria said, shaking her eyelashes.
Lloyd engraved the jewel-like eyes into his memory.
“Are you sick or hurt”
“What are you talking about We saw each other yesterday too.”
“I’m glad you look healthy.”
“That’s not something I really want to hear at my coming-of-age ceremony…”
Aria muttered in a sulky voice.
Lloyd looked down at her and answered without giving much thoughts.
Because it’s a hallucination anyway.
“It’s just that you’re so bright…”
This moment, which was nothing more than hope, was so dazzling that it was impossible to capture it all with just a few words of appreciation.
He doesn’t think any rhetoric can describe Aria who has grown up safely.
Then Aria, who had rolled her eyes back and forth with a blushing face, closed her eyes tightly.
Her face slowly moved closer.
To the point where he can feel her warm breath.
Startled, Lloyd reflexively covered his mouth and took a step back.
Aria asked, lifting her closed eyelids.
“This… I never thought about it.”
“… you never thought about it”
She looked hurt.
Even though it was just a hallucination anyway, the corner of his chest tingled.
“Lloyd, I’m an adult from today.”
Lloyd looked away for a moment, and he didn’t answer.
Aria was his salvation, his happiness, his hope, his miracle, his sweet dream.
She was never an object of lust.
And it wasn’t until after a while after he licked his lips that he answered.
“…that’s not going to happen.”
It was then.
Suddenly, a light appeared before his eyes in white, and a hand suddenly popped out and grabbed his cheek.
Startled, he widened his eyes.
In an instant, the hallucination was shattered, and the water overflowed all around.
– Lloyd, are you okay
Aria, who didn’t know how to swim, had thrown herself into the water without hesitation, and was right in front of him.
It was the real Aria.
No, that doesn’t really matter now.
He quickly grasped the situation and embraced her waist.
Up until now, it didn’t feel like a very desperate situation, but he only thought that he had to get out of there quickly.
He had no intention of putting Aria in danger.
‘Oh, damn it.’
But the light that was pulling his ankles was entangled like a leech and did not want to let go.
– Go up first.
I’ll follow you soon.
Lloyd quickly finished judging the situation and released Aria’s back.
He was now nothing but a stumbling block to Aria.
But Aria cut him off and refused, and she looked at his ankle.
The mass of light flickered and twinkled as Aria’s hand got closer.
As if welcoming her hand.
As if it had been waiting for a long time.
Lloyd unknowingly grabbed her wrist that was going to the ominous flickering light.
– It’s part of it, but it’s God’s feeling.
– I think it’s fine.
Aria said with certainty.
It was because she felt nostalgic energy for some reason, rather than being mysterious, terrifying.
It was wonderful because it was a part of God.
Lloyd didn’t let go of that leech-like thing, whether it was God’s feelings or something, because he was afraid that it would transfer to Aria.
– Trust me.
Her following words made him loosen the strength in his hands.
Aria stretched out her hand without hesitation.
And she finally reached it.
Aria blinked her eyes.
Until before, she had been underwater, but a wide, green meadow was spread out right in front of her.
Aria waved her hand as she looked at the lush landscape with bewilderment.
A cool breeze brushed against her face and she felt the thick scent of grass.
In fact, this was real and so vivid that she wondered if it was just a dream that she followed Lloyd into the water.
“I think I still hear.
The singing in my ears.”
Aria looked around in surprise.
This was definitely the Siren’s singing voice.
It wasn’t just an imitation, it was the Siren’s singing voice that definitely had magical powers.
‘A profound and elegant baritone voice.’
“Oh enchanting night.
Oh delightful memory,
Mad euphoria, sweet dream!”
‘Is there another siren’
So, was this place the true Atlantis, where the Sirens hide from the public eye
She walked in the direction of the song.
“Oh, delightful memory.”
Aria found a man standing on a cliff in full bloom, facing the sea.
“Oh, delightful memory.”
Aria asked the man who hummed while repeating the same phrase.
“What song is this”
Then he stopped his singing, glanced back at her, and replied with a soft smile.
“A song that calls you.”
She was the descendant of the Atlantis royal family she had seen in her dreams.
The boy, who was once a child and now looks more middle-aged, but was clearly the same person.
“The Siren’s… ancestor”
I’ve been called by that name for some time.”
The Prince grinned slightly with a guilty expression.
“I am the memory of the one you speak of.”
“Yes, I’m just a memory.
I don’t exist.”
“This is not Atlantis.”
Aria’s shoulders, which had been filled with unreasonable expectations, drooped.
If someone who died and was buried long ago is in front of her, it must be a dream or a fantasy.
‘Well, of course.’
Thinking about it, it doesn’t make any sense to say that the Sirens made a passage to their hiding place near the Imperial Palace.
Then the Prince spoke as if he had read her heart.
“I am the memory of the one who was the ‘first Siren’ containing ‘God’s Hope’.”
“You are the last remaining siren.”
Aria’s eyes, shocked, shook without mercy.
From the moment she discovered the wreckage of Atlantis through the conch pearl, she had a vague hope that the Sirens might live in hiding…….
“Because you’re the last, time went back the moment you died.”
That was God’s last arrangement.