Ed was so startled that he almost removed his hand.
‘Come to think of it, the blanket covering her mouth is being pressed down by my hand… Those intense eyes conveyed only one meaning… ‘Let go’.’
But Ed spoke to her calmly.
“From what I’ve seen, you have a very bad cold right now.
You must have heard what I just said to the gunner.
In fact, I’m actually a warrior trying to save all of the Bell Rock from the clutches of the flu.
It’s hard for me to fight it alone.
So for the time being, stay still and keep quiet, understand”
“Well, do you understand or not”
Her bright blue eyes remained fierce without even a moment of flinching.
Ed, on the other hand, eventually faltered.
Without realising it, he lowered his voice and asked cautiously.
“…Are you getting angry”
With Lil nodding slowly within a limited angle, Ed bit his lip in response.
‘It was great hearing her compliments moments ago, but now everything is messed up again.
What a shame.
But… this is nothing compared to the disaster that would ensue if Liloa is discovered… Shit.
I can’t think of anything to do.
Marenzio will eventually stop thinking and try to come to the bedside again.
It’s only a matter of time before she’s identified as a woman… I can’t let that brute see her in this state…’
Ed shook his head to get back to his senses.
Meanwhile, Marenzio complained, ending his confusion earlier than expected.
“The artillery deck is destroyed and the bow side is in pieces.
If we continue like this, you don’t have to worry about the cold anymore as we all will be thrown overboard by the wind coming through the ship’s holes.
And given the amount of water we scooped out today alone, the Bell Rock could even sink before that…”
Ed hurriedly turned his head to Marenzio, who was approaching once again.
“Don’t come any closer!”
Not wanting to pass this opportunity, Lil twisted her face from under Ed’s hand.
When he confirmed she was getting angry, his resolve softened unknowingly.
Lil freed herself by pushing Ed’s back, which was lying on top of her, away.
Ed, focused on Marenzio, lost his sense of support and slid from the bed to the floor.
Lil then quickly pushed off the pile of blankets that had wrapped her.
They all landed on Ed, who was still on the floor, rendering him unable to get up immediately and he ended up crawling on the floor for a while.
“Didn’t you say that same thing yesterday, Marenzio”
Hearing her voice, Ed’s breath got caught in his throat.
It was a gentle voice, one that made you feel like you were walking on clouds.
Her voice wasn’t thick even when she was Lil Schweiz, but this was on a completely different level of thinness.
His heart sank heavily in frustration as he tried to raise his upper body.
‘I need to shut her mouth… No, I should cover her face first!’
“…Huh You seem to be fine, Captain.”
“Don’t mind the crazy doctor.
He already started acting weird before you came in.”
Marenzio muttered something incoherent and sat down on the chair next to the bed.
Ed opened his mouth wide, unable to hide his astonishment.
‘No, it’s Marenzio who is the insane one.
He can’t possibly keep a straight face after seeing her like this.
How can he remain calm when he sees a woman wrapped in only some thin fabric with her long wet hair hanging down’
Marenzio calmy crossed his legs and wiped the dirt off his boot with his fingertips.
Ed stood there, speechless at the incomprehensible sight.
Of course, neither of them cared about Ed.
“I first left it like that because I didn’t expect the rain.
I initially thought that we could just repair the holes while we were sailing.
But Jericho predicted the reaction of the borrowed crew and that was no feast.
He figured that one complaint becomes two and two becomes three… That’s normally how mutiny starts, isn’t it Anyway, Jericho is a smart guy.
The moment the rain started, the complaints indeed came flying in.
Then I haven’t even talked about the wind… It’s a mess.”
“Anyway, it’s fine to just hang on for now, but the rain has caused part of the hull to fall off, so we’ll have to do some maintenance.”
“The schedule will be significantly delayed… Well, it can’t be helped.”
– – – – – – – end of flashback – – – – – – –
Ed’s blank expression now wasn’t much different from back then.
He blinked after staring at the sky for a while.
‘After observing for the past ten days, it appears that everyone is still seeing her as Lil Schweiz and not as Liloa.
Nobody treats her any different too.
Also the way she conducts herself didn’t change.
The Captain is still respected as the Captain, and she treats her sailors in the same manner.’
Ed glanced at Cesar, who was talking to the helmsman next to the wheel.
‘Then what about his gaze towards Liloa Well, I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be difficult to predict.’
Ed recalled the moment when the relic’s effect disappeared.
‘No, it was never clear to me what kind of effect it had on people, so I can only say that whatever it does, is still effective on them… Liloa’s appearance changed the moment I told her that I would accept her as a human regardless of her gender.
But what’s unclear to me is what exactly triggered it, whether it was the whims of the necklace, the influence of the mermaid, or the will of a deity…’
Ed thought about a clue that didn’t even seemed like a clue at first.
‘Ecce tibi benedictio Formae*.
The mermaid conveyed Orsay’s protection on Liloa and prayed for the blessing of Forma, the goddess of beauty.
That would mean that the power of her necklace belongs to the latter.
But I’m not sure if I can find anything about this if I rummage through the legends related to Forma…’
As a result, Ed had been lost in such myths for several days.
But today, as he wandered through the endless history of the past, a voice brought him back to the present.
“That instrument looks strange.”
It was the only soft voice on this ship.
Ed lifted the hat he had draped over his face.
“It’s an instrument from the Western Continent.”
“The Western Continent Really What’s it called”
Without a hat, Ed had to squint his eyes against the sun.
‘Liloa still has the same appearance today.
She’s convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that she appears as a man, so she pays little attention to her clothes…’
Therefore, Ed saw a woman wearing only a shirt with no corset covering her torso every day.
It was, even after ten days, still difficult for him to get used to the sight of her walking in front of him in her sleep or outerwear clothes.
It was an experience that was more difficult than it was pleasant.
As it was never pleasant to be struggling against an urge.
Because of that, Ed had to impose upon himself strict discipline.
‘Liloa’s outfit is particularly thin today as well…’
He swallowed his saliva before answering.
Ed pushed the Surihe aside.
Lil leaned against the railing and looked down at the instrument.
As she moved her head, the baby hairs by her nape fluttered.
She has tied her hair up high these days, perhaps because of the hot weather.
Her exposed shoulder line was incredibly thin.
Even though she wore men’s shirts, she was unable to completely hide it.
Ed couldn’t help but be drawn to her every time she came in his line of sight.
It became so bad that he eventually started to understand Cesar’s dislike for her injuries.
‘It’s difficult to imagine bones similar to mine existing in that slender frame of hers.’
Lil tilted her head as her focus remained on the Surihe.
She had never been curious about the instrument, but now she couldn’t take her gaze away from it and even wanted to get a closer look.
“Have you been to the Western Continent”
“I just happened to obtain it.”
“Really You carry a unique musical instrument I’ve never seen before, so I wonder if this could be related to ancient times.”
Ed cleared his throat to calm himself down.
“The ancient times were thousands of years ago, so can any such instrument still be intact Anyway, what’s going on The Captain talked to me first.”
“…I have a question.”
“Are you familiar with ancient artefacts”
It was an unexpected question.
Ed tried to figure out her intentions but soon gave up.
‘Don’t tell me… you want to ask about the necklace’
“An artefact Are you asking if I know one or two artefacts”
“No, that’s not what I meant.
Haven’t you heard many old stories while coming and going Then you might have heard about strange artefacts roaming the world…”
“What do you mean by strange… artefacts It’s not like we haven’t encountered one or two strange occurrences on this voyage either… But you’re talking about artefacts Hm, there probably are still many which haven’t even been identified yet.”
“No… that, magi… an artefact that uses magic.”
Her voice shrank inaudibly like crumpled paper.
Leading Ed to almost ask, ‘You mean the one around your neck’.
But, he tightened his jaw muscles to prevent it.
‘It’s a subject that shouldn’t be brought up even as a joke.’
Ed’s strongest defence would be pretending to be unaware of the artefact’s existence.
Meanwhile, Lil sharpened her doubts like knives and stabbed Ed whenever she could.
However, it was the almost invincible shield that neutralised Lil’s daggers in the end.
Confessing what he knew here was equivalent to attempting to break the shield on his own.
‘We’re making great progress.
I can’t let her suspicions become reality.’
– – – – –
“Ecce tibi benedictio Formae.”= “Here is the blessing of forma for you.”