Kalia’s house was a two-story mansion with a high ceiling. The ordinary two-story house with white walls, a red roof, and a small garden, was situated in a secluded place just outside the city.


By her fence stood a familiar middle-aged woman and her young daughter.
Both were sheltering from the sun under an old parasol and leaning against the wall chatting.
They were also very familiar with Kalia.




Kalia approached the two, who seemed to be waiting for her,  with unhurried steps.
McCanna looked up at the sound of Kalia calling. Her youngest daughter, Sage, who was holding her mother’s hand, also looked at the approaching Kalia.
Upon recognizing her, the child’s eyes widened and began shaking her mother’s hand wildly.
McCanna glanced down at her daughter confused, but still bowed to greet Kalia as she approached.


“Hello, Lia.
You must have gone for a walk.
I told you to take care of  yourself on a sunny day like this,” Mrs.
McCanna immediately addressed her concern and tilted the umbrella she was holding to cast a shadow over Kalia’s head.


When Kalia said it was okay, McCanna just smiled and continued to provide her shade. Sage, with her luscious brown hair tied up in a single, side ponytail, followed her mother, also greeting Kalia with a slight bend of her knee.


“Hello, I’m Sage.”


“Hi, Sage.”


The child’s eyes were brimming with curiosity as she gazed up at Kalia, her cheeks cutely stained red.


When Kalia made eye contact with her sparkling eyes, the child couldn’t hold back her curiosity and opened her mouth to ask, “That day! You’re the one who saved us, right?”


Kalia lowered her eyebrows as if embarrassed, and smiled.
“I don’t know.
Why do you think it’s me? Do you remember what happened that day?”


Then she gently stroked the child’s head.


“Well, I don’t remember everything, but I definitely saw you.
You brought us out of the woods with you! You comforted me, saying that everything was okay!”


At the excited child’s words, Kalia simply smiled and shrugged. The child’s eyes on Kalia seemed to twinkle even more than before.


“I definitely saw you.
Your pretty hair swayed right in front of my eyes! And I could definitely feel a round belly.
I have a really good memory!”


“Sage,” Mrs.
McCanna eventually stepped in when her daughter took a step closer to cling onto Kalia’s hems.


“Be polite.
If you keep doing that, you’ll trouble Lia.”


“Ah! Yes, I’m sorry.” Sage’s shoulder deflated as she took a step back.


Kalia hesitated for a moment, then opened the front door and said as she walked inside, “Would you like a cup of tea?”


Ironically, when the group went inside, it was Mrs.
McCannna who prepared the tea.
It was Mrs.
McCanna who was most familiar with her kitchen, so Kalia eventually sat on the couch with Sage, waiting for her to serve the tea.
Placing the freshly brewed tea on the tabe, Mrs.
McCanna carefully opened her mouth.


“She said she saw the fairy who saved her that day.
But, the more she explains, the more I think of a certain someone.
I originally thought it couldn’t be, but at some point, I was convinced that my guess might be right.”


Kalia drank tea that smelled like petals without saying a word.


“Thank you, and…” Mrs.
McCanna, who was sincerely expressing her gratitude, took a deep breath.
“Please don’t ever do that next time.”


At the emotions she heard in Mrs.McCanna’s words, Kalia paused, stopped her act and looked at Mrs.
McCanna. McCanna’s expression crumpled so strangely that Kalia didn’t know if she was crying or laughing.


“Of course, I’m happy that you found the children, but Lia, I don’t think I would have been entirely happy if something had gone wrong.
Lia, I don’t know who you were before you came here, but…” McCanna’s eyes turned to several swords that adorned the space above the fireplace.


In which world would a lady’s house have such dreadful decorations?


Various types of swords, shields and weapons could be seen hung around the house.
It was a hint that Lia was an extraordinary person, but Mrs.
McCanna didn’t dare guess her identity.
Unlike in rural regions such as Loa, she had heard that there were many knights of both genders in the large cities. Perhaps she was also a knight from the Capital but those were just her vague speculations.


“I’m sure you are a very strong and wonderful person,” she continued, “But… I don’t think you’re a person who values yourself.”




Without realizing it, Kalia’s face softened as if she was a child being scolded.


McCanna, whose wrinkled face was set determinedly and eyes were shining sternly, spoke to Kalia in a firm voice.
“Please cherish yourself more, Lia.”




“I know you’re just following your beliefs but I think it’s wrong to put yourself at risk no matter how strong you are or how good your beliefs are. Of course… Thanks to you, our children were able to come back safely.
I’m very grateful but don’t do that in the future.”


McCanna, who had been talking passionately, paused for a moment and took a deep breath to rein in  her emotions.
She looked at Kalia with trembling eyes.
Complex emotions were entangled and swirling in the depths of her eyes.


“I’m really, really angry… But thank you so much.”


Tears eventually welled up in Mrs.
McCanna’s eyes.


“When I heard that you had saved Sage with your full-term body, my first thought was just: Thank you.
Thank you, thank you for saving her.
On behalf of my family, who was unable to do anything.
Thank you for bringing my Sage back safely.”


At the sound of her mother’s tearful voice, little Sage tightly clasped her mother’s trembling hands in her own small ones and made an apologetic face.


McCanna smiled through her tears and hugged her daughter’s head, giving her head a kiss.


“I’m so sorry.
Despite you being in a dangerous situation where you could’ve been hurt, I was just glad my child was safe.
I’m sure there are people who don’t want you to get hurt or want you to get out of the way in the face of danger….but all I thought was that my child was safe.”


“Ma’am, that’s natural.”


“No, it’s not natural,” Mrs.
McCanna smiled strangely, profound and mysterious1, and looked at Kalia.


“I don’t want to take you for granted, Lia.”


In a single sentence, Kalia could feel Mrs.
McCanna’s sincerity.


Her thank you and her sorry.


As much as she is sorry, Kalia felt sorry too.


‘Please cherish yourself.’ Kalia recalled Mrs.
McCanna’s words but somehow didn’t hate it strangely.


She was too well-meaning and sincerely sad to hurt Kalia’s pride.
Kalia could feel that she was truly sorry for her.


‘Please cherish yourself.’ Her words echoed in Kalia’s mind.


‘Didn’t I?’


‘Do I not cherish myself?’


Suddenly, a stinging yet touching rush of emotions surged to one side of Kalia’s chest.


She had never thought of herself as precious or valuable.2


When faced with danger, she instinctively thought, ‘Is there something I can do? Can I stand it? Is that what I should do?’


She had lived with only these kinds of thoughts, so even when she went to save the children, she naturally thought it was something she should do.
thought it naturally was her job. To protect someone, to protect something, she lived without fear to defend herself.
She grew up with this type of mindset so the idea of cherishing herself gave her a strange, almost itchy, tickling feeling.


“It’s funny to say this now, but I hope you don’t get hurt, Lia.” Mrs.
McCanna reached out and held Kalia’s hand.


“I hope you safely give birth to a healthy child and live a happy and pleasant life with him.
For that to happen, the mother must be timid and scared.


McCanna’s warm hands gently covered Kalia’s scarred ones.


“It’s only when the mother is safe that she can protect her child when something happens.
Only when a mother is scared will she be more cautious and timid as to not hurt her child.”


“…It’s hard to be a mother.”


“It’s not difficult at all.
Love yourself as much as you love your child.
There are a lot of people who cherish you, Lia.
I will pray for you and the baby’s health and happiness every day.”  Mrs.
McCanna spoke sweetly with her tear-stained face, making Kalia laugh.


Something seemed to have jammed in her throat.


It was strange, but at that moment, scenes she long forgotten briefly crossed her mind.


Humming, standing in front of her, blocking and protecting her with her body, boldly proclaiming: ‘I’ll do my best!’


…..Allen’s trembling arms that had tightly hugged her and Humming, saying with a voice almost sobbing with relief: ‘I’m glad you’re back safely.’


McCanna, comforting her by saying, ‘Please cherish yourself.’


And another one.


A very old friend who had always been standing behind Kalia.
One she left behind on her own accord.


‘Go where you want to go.
It’s always been up to me to watch your back.
It’s okay to make a fuss… but try not to get hurt as much as possible, Kalia.’


Thinking back, his nervous worries had all been explicitly contained in his voice.


To her surprise, the thought of having people who cared about her warmed her heart.
Being a mother was such a good thing. It made her realize things she hadn’t realized before and made her want to work harder to live better.
The more precious the child was, the more precious she felt.
How much more joy will there be when this child is born?


Kalia was now eagerly looking forward to and unbearably waiting for that moment.


And that moment came a little earlier than Kalia had expected.

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