Chapter – 74, Kageha, Lilia and Solnada
The next day, after parting with Crono, Kageha and Lilia went to a high-class inn as instructed to recover from their fatigue.
Their excursion, which started with exiting the royal capital, was filled with silence. Lilia was unable to converse with Kageha because of her blade-like presence. She was like a puppet, her only goal being to complete the tasks assigned to her.
The two, dressed in garments that travelers usually wore, were running faster than a carriage could ever manage to traverse.
Although Kageha was taking Lilia into consideration, Lilia’s stamina was reaching its limits.
She had no choice but to appeal to Kageha, who was running ahead. “I’d like to take a break, if you don’t mind.”
“Hmm? Oh, I’m so sorry. I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I didn’t observe your situation. Hmm… Well, let’s rest in the shade of this tree. Is that okay?” Kageha suggested to Lilia jovially and stopped.
Lilia, who was completely out of breath, was taken aback by the way Kageha acted outside of Crono’s presence.
“What happened? Is something the matter? You look like you’ve been bitten by a raccoon.” Kageha lowered her mask and asked Lilia playfully.
“Huh… Kageha, are you really so…… easy to talk to?” Lilia was not familiar at all with the Kageha in front of her. She was used to seeing a stern, cold blooded woman.
“I don’t know if I’d describe myself as approachable but… We are both loyal to Crono-sama. Thus, it’s only logical that we unite and serve Crono-sama to the best of our ability, right?”
“…So you’re suggesting we get along?”
Lilia followed Kageha, who talked eloquently as she headed for the shade of the nearest tree.
“I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with interpreting it that way. I’ve not even introduced myself yet, have I?”
The two of them talked about each other genially, nestled in the shade of the tree located off the beaten path.
“I am Kageha. I became Crono-sama’s shadow just a while before you met me. My favorite color is black. My least favorite color is white. I consider my hair as my treasure. How about you…?” She introduced herself proudly, all the while stroking her black hair.
“Your hair is indeed very beautiful. I am Lilia. My treasure is this sword. My favorite colors are black… and peach, I think. The only things I can do are… cooking, laundry, and other… housework.”
“Mhm. Pleasure to meet you, Lilia.”
Lilia was relieved to see how friendly Kageha was, having her expectations betrayed in a good way.
“Thank god you’re so easy to talk to. I’ve felt stifled since yesterday…”
“Ahaha. I was thinking about something yesterday, concentrating all my energy on it. The Lord told me to get along, but I didn’t. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Lilia was relieved to see Kageha smiling so cheerfully. Her smile was so big that it was visible even through the mask.
A question arose in Lilia’s mind, seeing her act so light heartedly.
“…Why are you so quiet in front of Crono-sama?”
Kageha’s face morphed with distress as she mulled over the question that Lilia threw at her.
“…you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
Suddenly, Kageha began to groan, holding her chest. Of course, Lilia started to get nervous over the situation.
“Are you okay? Are you sick?”
“Damn! I knew it. It’s here…” With a feverish look on her face, Kageha said confessionally.
“In the presence of the Lord, or at the thought of him… my heart inexplicably becomes painful, and my face and body become hot!”
She recollected an event that happened in her travels with Crono.
“Did you know that dragons and griffins don’t do any muscle training?”
She remembered watching Crono ramble in a self satisfied voice.
“Agh! That’s such a cool fact! …This is what I’m talking about. When I see his body or his face, or hear his voice…! My heart bursts with pain… I can’t even look at him in the eye…”
“…Oh.” Lilia stared at the suffering Kageha with cold eyes. Her eyes contained pent up resentment from being so worried for Kageha.
“Ugh… Oh! Perhaps I’m being attacked by the mighty power within the Lord. The feeling that I’m feeling right now… is it awe, longing, or maybe… even fright..?”
‘…No, you announced it was cool before, so you’re definitely not feeling fright.’, Lilia thought calmly, suppressing the desire to punch her.
“Could it be that… you were deliberately making a stoic face out of embarrassment?”
“It’s not that I was embarrassed. I just didn’t want you to see me in an unflattering light.”
“…I’m sorry, but I cannot help you. You have to take care of it yourself.”
“What?” Lilia’s unexpected response caught Kageha by surprise.
“From the way you’re talking, I’m guessing you know what… causes…?”
“ Please tell me.”
Fearing that her condition might interfere with their mission, she pressured Lilia.
“Hey Lilia, can you tell me something, anything you know, about my problem? I can’t go on like this… I just can’t go on being this way…” A weak expression took over her face, which would be unimaginable to anyone who knew her, because of her usual stern demeanor.
“I have been saved repeatedly till now by the Lord’s kindness, mercy, good looks, intelligence, and thoughtfulness. I don’t want to bother him for a matter such as this…” Even Lilia felt sorry for Kageha, who was oddly elaborate in her praise of Crono.
“No? Not at all?! How can you be so sure?”
Lilia could not give an answer, although it was also quite charming to see Kageha, with her fine, healthy brown skin, feeling disappointed and overwhelmed.
Lilia felt concern for her new friend, but she wanted her to realize it herself. She didn’t want to be mean to her.
“What are you laughing at…? Do you have a taste for..? Contrary to your appearance, you’re one hell of a frightening person…”
Unlike Lerga, who was like a sister to her, Kageha was purely a friend.
‘…Yes. Anyway, what have you been thinking about so deeply during our journey?”
Although Lilia made a very blatant attempt to divert the topic, Kageha still switched gears quickly and donned her customary cold face.
“…Oh, umm, take a look at this.” Kageha took out a leather bag from her pocket which contained all the funds that Crono had entrusted to her.
“Isn’t that the money given by Master Crono…? Isn’t that too much?”
“It says, ‘Use …… for shopping.’ This is quite a lot, isn’t it? …I suspect that this is a test for us.”
“I’d like to say that you’re reading too much into it, but it’s true that the funds given to us are quite extravagant.” Lilia agreed.
When I said extravagant, I meant enough for seven or eight people. It was quite unnecessary for just two people.
“I’ve been wondering why the Lord was so concerned about the Sword Saint.”
“…He didn’t want the money.”
“You know how strong the Lord is. Such a petty amount can be taken from any scoundrel, considering his transcendent strength.”
” Indeed… Now that you mention it…” Kageha stood up and continued to speculate.
“Even if you don’t value it too much, your ability to block out the Lord’s presence is far more superior than mine. It should be easy for you to sneak in without being detected. Therefore……”
“…… Don’t tell me you’re after the Cursed Wetlands! Which demon is it? The [Swamp Demon], or maybe some other demon?”
Since she and Crono had met in the vicinity of the Cursed Wetlands, she thought that there was some connection lingering between them.
“I’m aware that this is an urgent request, but I’m sure the Lord… saw through it. I’m not sure why you have interest in the Cursed Wetlands, though.” Lilia said.
Respect for Crono bubbled in Kageha again when she listened to Lilia.
“But what are we going to do with the given money……?” Lilia asked.
She failed to see the point of having so much funding. Was it to be used for information gathering?
“Perhaps the Lord is simply testing our ability to effectively use money. But I would like the Lord to be satisfied with our performance. Actually, to be honest…”
Kageha gave a mysterious gap, before announcing,
“I want to be complimented by the Lord…” Kageha confessed in a whisper, unconsciously bashful.
Lilia felt helpless once again. “….Right. So?”
“Well, um, I’m afraid, so… I’ll take care of one of the tasks the Lord has assigned for you. How about it?