“Flavio, I can’t believe you’re going down to look at the stupid treasure of yours again! Do you seriously have to go day after day after day?”
“My dear Maria, surely after all this time you know I must go and see my dear Eldenex every day. It’ll miss me if I don’t!”
“Arrgh! I don’t understand how you can look at that thing so much! We found it long ago, what’s the point in seeing it so much? It’s a pretty hunk of junk that gets annoying to look at after the first few times!”
“But Maria, Eldenex is what brought us together! Without it how could we ever share our love today?”
“Yeah, and that’s the only thing it was ever good for. *sigh* Just leave, Flavio, make sure you are back by teatime, I’ll be inviting Margaret and her husband today, so I don’t want to be alone.”
“Of course, dear, I’ll be as quick as possible.”
I landed a peck on her forehead.
“I’ll tell Eldenex you said hello.”
Maria, oh Maria, how I love you. She’s the perfect person, and I was lucky enough to be the man to marry her. Truly, she made my time as an adventurer shine. If it weren’t for Eldenex, we would have never met. I was with my adventuring party, and we were on a quest to rid Moldabor’s Second Dungeon from a tribe of Arch Goblins. Maria was with her own party at the time, and we ended up banding together to take down a Troll Chieftain. Both of our parties were secretly aiming for the treasure fabled to be in the deepest part of the dungeon, Eldenex. Our drives to acquire that treasure is what sparked our romance, and so I pay my respects every day to the thing that changed my life forever.
I truly could not comprehend it. Maria just simply lost appreciation for poor little Eldenex. But how? It has the most lustrous shine, and it just radiates greatness. When I was an adventurer, I pocketed my own fair share of treasure, I was a Rogue after all, but they all paled in comparison to Eldenex.
“I hate going through this damned labyrinth every day.”
I muttered my greeting to this place once again. When I offered Eldenex to the church many moons ago, I hadn’t expected that the action would cause so much trouble in my life. I figured they would display the treasure in a hall or gallery, but they stashed it down here! The Rogue in me itched to explore every unit of this place, but I had to restrain myself. This labyrinth spawned a massive ten floors, and if I spend any more time here than I need to, Maria will make sure I won’t wake up in the morning.
Finally! I reached my precious Eldenex! I embraced it and showered it with affection as I always did. And I was staring at it lovingly in my han-
Huh? Where’d it go?!
I point my eyes at some thief girl.
“Hello, Sir Flavio. Nice trinket y-you’ve got here.”
Eldenex no! This girl, she threatened poor Eldenex! This was going to be a problem…
Surprisingly, being carried like a princess was entertaining. A bit humiliating, especially since I was carried by a girl at least half my size, but still fun. Though, we’re running from a giant golden snake right now, so I probably should be more focused on directing Miss Thief and not musing on the fact that Maria must have enjoyed when I carried her down Eldenex’s Altar. Ah! The three X’s, that’s a safe spot! I addressed Miss Thief…
Guiding Miss Thief through this labyrinth made me slowly learn more about her. It seemed she was quite resolute in her goals, especially for one of her age. She seemed young, and a bit nervous about doing this. Sure, she threatened me with apparent death and the destruction of my dear Eldenex, but she didn’t seem too bad of a person. She never tied me up or yelled at me. I couldn’t sense much malevolent desire from her. For a thief, she was actually quite noble and polite. She apologized and even thanked me earnestly for my assistance, even if it was forced.
It was only after escaping from a giant crab did I realize who she really was. Her hood had flown off, and I found her to be the silver-haired Hero that had appeared with the New Heroes! Silver hair is seen as a message from the goddess the Church worships. I’m not particularly religious, but usually the silver-haired patrons cause great, prosperous changes to the country. The nobles had been discussing about her because it was the first appearance of one since the tragic death of the Pope’s Daughter. I wonder what the goddess’s intentions were. However, the Hero was from another world, so there may not even be a connection at all.
But that’s not important. The important news is that I got her to agree to a dress! Yes! As soon as her face was revealed, I knew I needed to make tailor a dress for her. There are many men and women I’ve said “yes!” to, but she may be one of the best. Plus, if word gets around that a silver-haired patron wears a dress of mine, business will boom! She’ll get to show off her beauty to her world!
I got a sort of reluctant aura when I mentioned her showcasing my dress. Overall, the girl seemed reserved. I won’t force her to do anything, I’m not that mean, but I’ll encourage her to show herself when the time comes.
The girl had gotten what she needed to and left. I let her know of my knowledge of her position. There were many things I did not know about her, but I hoped to see her again. I knew not of her circumstances nor her motivations, but she clearly had a reason to break into the vault. As an ex-Rogue, I could respect that. There weren’t many people, even adults, who had her will. Though, it is unfortunate that I never caught her name…
I looked at the sky. Oh dear. It was well past teatime. I feared Maria may remove my head from my body when I return...
After recovering from Maria, I spent the next few days pondering my interactions with that girl. Of all things, why did my mind go back to her? She supposedly punctured the Pope and ran off, but I couldn’t help but worry for her. I had a feeling this country was about to delve into chaos.
“My dear Maria.”
“I think we should move to Hasavanef.”
“Whoa, what’s all this about?”
“It’s just, I met a girl the other day. She was exceptionally strong willed, and it just had me thinking. I may be an aging man, but there’s still more to do with my life. I figured we could relocate our tailoring shop there. Maybe in a small village.”
“…Flavio, she made you think yourself a parent, didn’t she? I realize that you wanted a child. I did too, but you have to accept that we can’t. You need to stop using Eldenex as a substitute.”
“My dear Maria, I’m not daft. I know our situation. But I feel we gave up too early. What if we were to adopt a child? Teach them to tailor like we can. Tell them stories about our adventures. I feel as if no one around us truly listens to our passions. The girl was not much different, but the difference with her is that she let me speak. I felt like she was absorbing at least a little information and was learning from me. The girl even promised she would wear a dress I tailored.”
“Flavio, honey, if you need to talk to someone you know I’m always here, right?”
“Of course. That’s why I’m talking to you right now. That’s why I’ve always talked to you. But if someone were to change their understanding of life from us. Grow from us. Love us and respect us so that we can reciprocate their feelings. Maria, if we can see someone develop as an individual and be proud of what they do, then I’ll be happy. Maria, we both want this. I know you do, you’re just hesitant. We still have time. Let’s take Eldenex and our shop and let’s settle away in the calm forests of Hasavanef. With all this stuff with the Church, I feel we may die earlier than intended.”
“What happened to ‘beautifying the world’?”
“I’m done with that. Sure, I’ll tailor and such, but I’ve realized that people are beautiful in their own ways. But not as beautiful as you, Maria. So, let’s fulfill ourselves and make this love more beautiful than Eldenex itself.”
I held Maria’s hand.
“…Always with the damn treasure, huh?”
“You know me, Maria, I’m a treasure-loving man. I’ve got the best one right here.”
I kissed her. She returned it.
“…Alright, fine. Let’s do it. Go fetch Eldenex. We should leave as soon as possible.”
“I’ll be back soon.”
As I walked outside, I looked up at the sky. It was silver, and it was shining. It seemed more beautiful than usual.