Chapter 83

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“Father…”

It wasn’t until I called out ‘Father’ that I realized what had happened.
I should have just faked it and run away.

“So it’s you after all, Elle…”

My surprised Father looked like he was going to cry as soon as he was sure it was me.
What about me, on the other hand?
I couldn’t stop my body from shaking.
I was terrified of my father, who had made me feel so safe before, and my whole body was rejecting him.

“Elle, it’s been a while…”
“Long time no see.”

Even my voice trembled.
It was inevitable that I would reflexively distance myself from my father as he slowly approached.
I’m sure my father understands why I’m keeping my distance, too. He just lowered his eyebrows and didn’t say anything.

“Elle, I…”
“Please don’t!”

I cut off my father’s words as he unsteadily reached out his hand towards me and shouted.
It was an apology anyway. I know that much. But I can’t forgive my father even if I hear his apology.
What came back to me were the memories of my father beating me. Not just once, but over and over again. The swollen cheek could be healed with magic. But the scars in my heart would not disappear.
You can’t just pretend that what was done to me didn’t happen.

“Elle, please listen to…”
“I asked you to stop. I have nothing to talk to you about.”

I hugged myself and stared at my father.
I’m not going to change my mind just because you look at me like I was punishing you.

“I, I just want you to retu…”

My father’s words were interrupted by the sound of thunder that struck nearby. The reason why we both had surprised expressions on our faces was because the lightning that had just struck us had been caused artificially, by magic.
Who could have done this…

“Elle…”

Someone other than my father called out my name.
It was a voice I had grown accustomed to hearing over the past few weeks.

“Jed…”

I called out the name of the person who had run towards me hurriedly.
I was relieved to see Jed, probably because he was the one person who wasn’t involved in my condemnation.

“Elle, are you okay?”
“I…”

I wanted to say that I was fine. But I couldn’t.
Jed, who must have noticed that I was acting strangely, stood protectively over me and glared at my father.
At that moment, the rain began to fall.

“Who are you?”
“It’s none of your business.”

Jed coldly fired back at my inquiring Father. Father’s dubious expression was probably due to the fact that his daughter was being protected by a strange man.
I want to get away. I want to get away from my father fast.
My trembling body was hugged even tighter.

“Elle, let’s get out of here.”
“Eh?”

Jed turns around, puled my arm and starts running.
I almost fell because of my sluggish reaction, but Jed quickly helped me up.

“Sorry, have I moved too fast?”
“N, no…”

No. It’s just that my legs are shaking, and I can’t move them properly.

“… I know you don’t like it, but just bear with me for a minute. You can complain later.”
“Eh, aaahh…!”

That’s all he said as he picked me up and started running. I was about to ask him to put me down, but then I saw my father running behind him, I cowered.

“Elle, wait! I beg you! Please wait!”

I don’t want to see my father anymore. I don’t want to hear his voice.
I clung to Jed as he held me in his arms, wanting something to cling to.
I was relieved to hear my father’s voice becoming more and more distant.

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