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Chapter 335 - Promised Night (2)

    Chapter 335 - Promised Night (2)

    The sun set as always. However, the forest was more turbulent than usual.

    It was because the news of the 'festival' had spread throughout the forest as Elvenheim invited each species. Although it might seem strange to hold a festival a few days after a big battle, that was only from the viewpoint of a human. The residents of the Great Forest were accustomed to the food chain and accepted the invitation with pleasure.

    The ents moved in a rare manner, while the dryads sang happily. Joyful songs, musical instruments, and cheerful voices rang out through the forest.

    In particular, the square of the world tree, where the main guests were gathered, was very lively.

    "Now! Let's have a toast for our friend, Theodore Miller, who has come from a faraway place!" Alucard raised a wooden cup and shouted in a loud voice. "Cheers!"

    Theodore smiled as he raised his cup in accordance with everyone else. In fact, the act of toasting wasn't part of the elves' customs. However, they followed along after seeing him and Veronica bump cups a few times. That's why the people sitting here were becoming drunk much faster than usual. It was natural that they would lose their pace when drinking alcohol according to the pace of others.

    The sudden development of bad habits caused Theodore to feel awkward.

    "Hiccup."

    The worst victim was sitting on his left.

    "Ellenoa, aren't you drinking too much?"

    "Ah... Not yet, still okay. Hiccup."

    "You don't look okay..."

    Her skin was red, and her tongue was twisted. However, she looked at Theodore with a clear focus. He didn't know if she was completely drunk, but it should be fine if she said so. Additionally, his drinking partner wasn't just Ellenoa.

    "Hey, there are still more bottles, gorgeous young man!"

    "Alisa, why are you calling me that? You look much younger than me."

    High elf Alisa looked like a human in her late teens, and she chuckled at the words. Every woman, no matter the species, liked being told they looked young. However, high elves lived for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Alisa held a bottle to her lips and said, "What? Are you not accepting my cup?"

    "No." Theodore lost his escape route and drank another cup of alcohol.

    Then Lumia appeared next to him with another bottle. This was called facing a mountain after another mountain. Theodore had initially thought Lumia had a mature and reliable style, so he couldn't help feeling betrayed.

    Lumia looked a little apologetic but still offered him the bottle sweetly. "Please share a cup with me for your troubles."

    "...I understand." Theodore drank more than the average person at this party and felt his face burn up. It was because the alcohol from the elves was much stronger than he had thought. By now, he had already drunk a few bottles worth of alcohol. He tried to refuse, but six individuals kept trying to share a cup with him. Of course, the effect of the drinks quickly faded. However, Veronica was a little different.

    "Come on, look inside." She sat on Theodore's right and lifted the bottle with a frown after discovering that inside was empty. Fortunately, she didn't seem to be angry.

    "This one still has a bit left."

    "Ah, thank you."

    High elf Titania sat next to Veronica and filled up the cup in front of her. Despite having met for the first time a short while ago, they liked each other after trusting each other with their backs during the fight. The two women drank in a relaxed atmosphere.

    The sound of singing and musical instruments stimulated their ears, and the atmosphere was good. A few hours flowed by.

    "Ah." Ellenoa's cup fell over. It was proof that her vision was blurry.

    Theodore realized it was time to stop her and opened his mouth, "You have drunk enough. Stop now."

    Ellenoa looked up at him with a funny expression and asked with an excited voice, "Are you worried?"

    Theodore nodded, ignoring his pounding heart. "Yes, I am worried."

    "Then do you want to get some fresh air? Just like last time."

    "That..." Theodore hesitated after being invited by Ellenoa.

    Veronica laughed, pushing at his shoulder. She made a knowing smile, causing Ellenoa to blush.

    "Go. It isn't too late in the night," Veronica told them.

    "...Sigh, then let's go."

    "Ah, yes."

    Theodore held out his hand to Ellenoa, who rose from her seat and left the area with him. The high elves were either too drunk to know they had gone or left them alone. Veronica hummed as she looked at their backs before picking up a fruit. "Bah."

    Only Titania was sober enough to read the mood and asked Veronica a question without hesitation, "Veronica."

    "Huh?"

    "I don't know much about the relationship between men and women, but... are you really okay with not following them?"

    "Ah, really! You should pretend not to know!" Veronica suddenly yelled, causing the other high elves to look at her with surprise.

    Veronica coughed a few times before closing her eyes for a moment. She seemed to be suppressing the feelings that were caused by Titania's words. Titania waited with an expressionless face. Then Veronica opened her eyes. "Well, didn't she seriously like the kid first?"

    "Hrmm."

    "She can only stay with Theodore for a night, while I will be with him for the rest of my life."

    Veronica placed the fruit in her mouth. Then she chewed on it before spitting it out.

    Spit! "What is this charcoal-like taste?"

    The fruit that she had placed in her mouth tasted like fish that had been grilled over a campfire. Titania, who had been watching the entire process, tilted her body and filled Veronica's empty glass.

    "Humans should know that we elves hate liars."

    "Huh? Then?"

    "Your lie just now... Yes, it is cute."

    "W-What are you saying?!"

    Titania giggled at Veronica's confused reaction and raised her cup.

    The joyous night of celebration passed by.

    *     *     *

    On the other hand, Theodore walked behind Ellenoa. He got to know Elvenheim's geography while preparing for this battle, but he had no knowledge of where the high elves were staying. Therefore, Ellenoa led the way, and he had to follow. However, Theodore soon had to grab onto Ellenoa.

    "Ah."

    "Ellenoa!"

    Her body had stumbled over stones. Fortunately, his hands were faster. Ellenoa's hot body temperature and smell were conveyed to Theodore as he held her. Ellenoa leaned on Theodore and whispered into his ears, "I can't walk anymore... Theodore, I'm sorry, but can you please take me to my room?"

    It was a lethal temptation, whether she intended it or not.

    "Of course."

    "Huhu, please." Her smile was seductive despite her drunkenness.

    Theodore shook off his thoughts and started moving. He was nervous about Ellenoa's breathing on his back and her skin sticking to his, but he somehow endured it. Theodore walked for a few more minutes in the direction she pointed and saw a wooden knot covered with an illusion.

    'Is this really Ellenoa's bedroom?' Theodore stopped at the sudden thought.

    Then Ellenoa whispered to him, "What's wrong?"

    "Oh, nothing."

    As he stepped into it, the bleak knot changed to another space. Theodore had experienced a tree knot used as a space door several times. It was something that even White Tower Master Orta had failed to reproduce.

    "Is this Ellenoa's bedroom?"

    "Today..."

    "Huh?"

    Ellenoa fell to the ground without responding to Theodore's question. Theodore turned to her and froze like a stone statue. His reaction was natural.

    "Theodore." She gazed at Theodore with clear eyes, with no signs of drunkenness at all. "Do you remember the promise that night?"

    She didn't need to explain what was promised.

    "Yes."

    "Then can I think of this ring as the answer?"

    Ellenoa held up the finger with the flower ring. Unlike the elves who were born in the Great Forest and never left, she had once lived among in the human world. She had pored over the books about civilizations that humans had written, so it wouldn't be strange if she remembered some customs. A ring on the left hand was a symbol of marriage.

    "...Ellenoa."

    This couldn't be avoided anymore. He shouldn't avoid it. Turning his back on her courage and determination would be the worst betrayal. Theodore calmed his heart and spoke the words he hadn't been able to say previously.

    "I like you." He wouldn't hesitate if that was all. "However, I don't think I am suitable to be your mate."

    He couldn't make a high elf, who lived for thousands of years, happy. The present Theodore was too lacking. No, it wasn't merely a matter of time. For Theodore who always experienced all types of situations, being involved with humans or elves was a bad choice. He couldn't come up with an answer despite many years of suffering. Theodore scolded himself for being indecisive and making her wait.

    "Me too." However, her voice was filled with warmth as she held his hands. "I am the same, Theodore."

    Ellenoa opened her eyes, revealing the slight glittering of tears.

    She grabbed Theodore's hands and confessed her feelings in an affectionate voice, "It might be because I am Mitra's Saintess or maybe it's because of the power of a high elf, but I can see it. Theodore is going to do great things in the future. I can't hold onto you greedily."

    "Ellenoa..."

    "I know that, but we have this place. Do you know? This alcohol is unusually strong. I've never once drunk it. I showed weakness in order to take advantage of your kindness and have tonight."

    Did she seem ugly? Theodore shook his head. No, 'ugly' would be applied to people who betrayed their friends for riches or power. A pretty girl using cute tricks to gain someone's affection wasn't ugly. Ellenoa laughed despite shedding tears.

    "Theodore, if so..." Her slender fingers moved to the edge of the veil on her shoulders as she spoke in a voice that made him melt. "Let me have tonight."

    Her clothing fell to the ground.  Then Theodore couldn't think anymore. No, he didn't want to think. From here on out, his brilliant mind wasn't a problem.

    Theodore stepped forward and touched Ellenoa's shoulder. The cold breeze touched her skin along with his warm touch. The shadows of the two people overlapped on the bed as the long night began.

    It was the end of the festival.
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