It happened a long time ago.
Not only was Old Moran not old when it happened, he was in the middle of his youth.
Sixteen-year-old Moran. He was a handsome man with delicate, silver hair and strong eyes and nose. This was when he was a child of n.o.bility and attended the Elenoire Academy.
He was serious in his studies and was always at the top of his cla.s.s. He would read books alone and gave off a certain air that made it difficult for others to talk to him.
He was very obstinate, with a tendency to look down on others and he was also quick to anger, but his good looks made him popular with girls. Which of course, meant that he was most hated by the other male students. And because of all those reasons, he did not have a single person he could call a friend.
One day during recess, he was seen staring at something instead of reading his beloved books.
His silver hair flew in the wind as his sharp eyes looked intently at a single woman.
At 16, the young Moran had discovered what it was to be in love.
He was looking at her with a hard expression, but inside, his heart was thumping.
The woman who had caught Moran’s eye was finally notified about his pa.s.sionate stare from a friend, and she finally saw him. Her expression suggested that she was not pleased by the attention, and he quickly ran from the spot. Other girls may have been glad of Moran’s pa.s.sionate stare, but this woman was not moved by such things.
The girl’s name was Harp Helan. As her name suggested, she had a beautiful voice. She was an arresting woman with short, red hair. Always smiling, like she was enjoying herself, and her large eyes shone brightly as if they endlessly saw things that drew her interest. She disliked being in large crowds and preferred to be alone and do as she pleased. In other words, she too was a little eccentric. It is not certain if that was what drew Moran in, but he was unmistakably in love with her.
His feelings grew as the days went on. But his feelings were not conveyed. His legs would not allow him to act. And there were no signs of her turning back to notice his presence.
Moran lived idly for days. His distance to her was not closing.
While the days went by, he was slowly able to see the relationships she had with those around her. Generally speaking, she did not have any friends that she was especially close with, but there was one place that she would always visit at least once every two days.
Moran felt a sense of guilt at his own actions but followed her anyway. It is something that has been a constant throughout the ages, that people are moved to foolish action once the fire in their heart has been lit.
The place that she regularly visited was an underground storehouse that was full of old books. It was a dusty place with library books that were almost never read. They were the types of books that even an avid reader like Moran would not have touched.
“You came nari! Harp came nari! Hurry up and take a seat nari!”
There was a man in the corner of the storehouse, and he was reading a book by candlelight. He was the one that Harp had been coming to see.
And Moran knew him as well. He was in the same year, the same cla.s.s. How could he forget?
His name was Petel, and he always ended his words with nari! He was quite peculiar. He had a thin frame and was short in stature, his eyes drooped and he had a large nose and mouth. He could hardly be considered a handsome man.
Before Moran knew it, he had fallen in love with this land. Perhaps this could be the end to his journey… He had become tired of this long road.
A peddler just happened to be walking by, and Moran asked him the name of this land.
“Here? This is Helan territory…”
So this was Helan territory… Moran’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. It was a strange coincidence. He regretted immensely that he had not come to such a beautiful land sooner. And he recalled his old friends. He recalled the one he had loved.
He recalled what she had been worried about. Her resolve to protect this beautiful Helan territory.
On this day, Moran decided to live a second life.
He decided that he would protect the peace of this land. For her, for the wish of she who he had loved. For she who was no longer here. It was much too late to be granted forgiveness. But he had finally found a way to live that he felt was right in his heart.
After that, Moran used his talents to gain the occupation of librarian at the Helan mansion.
And for decades since, he dedicated himself to researching a way to defeat the curse that would likely come, no, that would surely come.
Were Petel and Harp in that kind of a relationship then!? Moran felt like the ground was crumbling beneath his feet. After all, this man named Petel was incredibly eccentric, even more so than Moran.
When did this happen!?
Moran cursed his lack of action. Maybe things would have been different if he had acted first. He was bitter. And that emotion turned into anger.
He angrily stormed in while the two were chatting away happily.
The two were given a nasty shock. No one was supposed to come down to this underground storehouse, and yet the famous Moran from the Academy had stormed in with a furious expression. It was no wonder they were astonished.
This is was the moment that all three finally knew of each other. And from then on, it did not take long for the three of them to become good friends. Once Moran discovered that Petel and Harp were not lovers, he quickly started to see Petel in a more favorable light.
“So what is it? What are you two been doing together in this underground storehouse?”
Moran asked one day. Harp and Petel looked at each other’s faces and hesitated to answer. This annoyed Moran even further. He was incredibly jealous that the two shared a secret that he was not a part of.
The two of them had started to understand that Moran had a short temper, and they decided to share their secret as proof of their friendship.
“Harp Helan. As my name suggests, my family is from the Helan territories.”
“Ahh, n.o.bles form those borderlands. I heard about that.”
“Borderlands? How rude. Well, I suppose it is true. But it’s a great place. It’s rich with nature and the flowers are so beautiful. You couldn’t taste such luxury as playing a field of flowers in the imperial capital, could you?”
“Hmph. I wouldn’t call something like that a luxury. Luxury is precious stones and metals.”
“You really don’t get it.”
“Both of you don’t get it nari! Luxury is having books nari!”
All three of them had their own idea of luxury.
Harp said this wasn’t important, and tried to continue her story. Moran looked at her with a pa.s.sionate stare. He was interested in what she was saying, but he was more interested in her. Petel seemed oblivious to this as he sat next to him, reading a book as if this had nothing to do with him.
“We can debate about this another time. First, about what I and Petel have been researching. It all started from a legend pa.s.sed down in the Helan family.”
“Legend? Hmph. You still have things like that?”
Moran mocked her a little. It was a habit for him to look down on others. He was also quite a logical thinker, he disliked old myths and legends immensely. They were always so vague and unclear, and that is what bothered him about them.
However, Harp was quite insensitive to the feelings of others, and she was not bothered by Moran’s off-putting att.i.tude.
“Yes, an old legend that’s been pa.s.sed down. My now dead grandmother told it to me from when I was very young, it was very important.”
“What was it?”
Harp took in a deep breath. It was so important, that she did not want to start light-heartedly. Moran was a good friend. So she would tell him. This was right.