Lovers Beyond The Mirror - Chapter 13
Translator and Editor: Effe and Nabi
Chapter 13 – Desert Bride (8)
Chiarin, who had shaken off her thoughts while calling out Helaim’s name in her heart, gently grabbed Seriana’s hand and opened her mouth.
“Warriors are waiting with a palanquin for Ranua to ride.”
“…What about Kudra?”
“It is said that he is already on the red path. He is waiting for Ranua.”
…Vaisha was waiting.
At those words, Seriana’s feet finally began to move.
As per Chaitun tradition, she could not see his face while preparing for the wedding. Perhaps, it was aware of that tradition. In the meantime, the mirror did not reflect him even after a full moon had risen.
So, she missed him.
She was surprised that in that brief moment, she could long for him so deeply.
Seriana patted at her chest, which started to beat faster and faster with one hand. Even though she only remembered his face, her heart was beating so fast that she was afraid that it would explode when she saw his face in person.
‘If this moment is a dream… What should I do?’
She was scared and afraid.
Still, her feet did not stop.
Her longing was greater than her fear. Even though she was scared, her love was stronger. She wanted to see him as soon as possible. She wanted to see his dark hair, his amber eyes…
As she left the gates of the palace, four warriors greeted her, bending their knees and bowing their heads.
It was the warriors that were specially selected for today to bear the palanquin.
The palanquin was a little different from what she knew.
The red palanquin, which was large enough for two or three people to sit with their hips together, had no cover. Instead, there was a rug boasting a colorful pattern on the seat where Seriana would sit.
And, another thing different from normal palanquins was the palanquins’ build. It was to prevent the warriors from walking on the red path, and the four poles that stretched out on either side seemed to be twice as long as usual.
As she sat in the middle of the palanquin, the maids arranged the hem and veil of her robe. The veil on her head was so large that it reached her knees as she sat on the palanquin.
Perhaps, the rear part reached the bottom of the palanquin.
After confirming that she was seated, the warriors put on their shoulder straps and hung the palanquin on it. Even though there was no other signal, the four people who stably lifted the palanquin began to move as if they had one body.
Seriana, on the path of the palanquin carrying her, as on the day she first arrived at the oasis, it started to rain flowers.
The people of Chaitun, who could not find a seat at the place where the ceremony was held, shouted Ranua and blessed their marriage.
How much further had she moved…?
Finally, she was able to find Vaisha’s figure standing in front of the red path and the stairs leading up to the altar at the end of the path.
Like her, dressed in a red vest and red trousers, tightly embroidered with gold thread, Vaisha had a few strands of his hair in sparse braids, the ends of which were adorned with gold feathers.
Standing at the end of the road that was neither far nor near, his figure was clearly reflected through the hazy veil.
The moment Seriana’s self-talk was scattered at the tip of her tongue, the palanquin, which had stopped in front of the red path for a moment, began to move again.
The cheers of the people were no longer heard.
The people watching their goddess moving on the noble road cheered with sparkling eyes.
If she moved a little more, she could stand next to him…
Seriana couldn’t even blink her eyes, just staring at Vaisha. However, at that moment, things happened.
There was a sound of unknown origin.
No, before that, it seemed as if the sound of something breaking had been heard.
Seriana swallowed her scream as she felt her own body slide sharply forward. Watching the red path slowly approaching as if time passed slowly, she felt goosebumps all over her body.
Meanwhile, Chiarin’s voice rang in her ears, telling her not to step on the red path.
Like this… Is it the end?
Can’t she stand by Vaisha’s side? Can’t she be his only wife?
Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes as the happiness that had barely reached her was shattering into pieces of despair.
As always, happiness was not hers.
Everything like this… Is it over?
Resignation was familiar, and giving up was her life. Greed was a luxury, and she was not allowed to do anything but dream the impossible.
But then, she met Vaisha and got the chance.
She didn’t want it to end like this.
With that thought, Seriana clenched her teeth and reached out and grabbed the edge of the palanquin. Time, which seemed only slow, found its place in an instant and the screams and sighs from all around her seemed to take away the strength of her grasp, though she did not give up.
She couldn’t give up.
It was fortunate that the floor of the palanquin was wide.
Seriana tightened her grip on the edge and squeezed her legs.
‘Don’t step on the red path.’
She somehow had to hold on.
She couldn’t even think of what happened after that. Right now, all she could think about was that she shouldn’t touch that red path.
Seriana tightly closed her eyes.
Even while she was hanging, she thought it was fortunate that she had usually imitated Vaisha and drew a bow.
She was able to increase her arm strength a bit thanks to the daily imitation.
If it weren’t for that, she wouldn’t have been able to survive like this.
But she only bought a very brief time.
As evidence of that, her hands and arms, which had given a lot of strength, trembled more and more, and her body began to slide down little by little.
‘Someone, please… Help me!’
The broken palanquin was tilted to one side. The warriors holding on to the three intact palanquin legs tried to balance themselves. However, the broken corner of the palanquin lost its center and reached the red path.
And, Seriana’s hand, which was holding the edge, slid.
In the end, she ran out of power.
Seriana tightly closed her eyes.
Now, her body would touch the floor. Her white veil will pour down on the red path. Then, she would become an unholy woman who bought the wrath of the Gods, and she will never be able to be with Vaisha again…
She felt like she was going to cry.
At that moment, a miracle happened.
Others might laugh at how grandiose it was when they heard it, though it was like a miracle for Seriana.
“It seems that Hellaim put his hands to see Ranua standing next to me quickly.”
She didn’t feel the hard, cold floor.
A warm, hard arm wrapped around her body, which she believed would touch the floor. Feeling that sensation, Seriana slowly opened her eyes as she heard Vaisha’s voice coming from very close.
“Where are you hurt?”
“That’s a relief.”
In the middle of the red path, it was a location quite far from the altar at the end of the road.
Nonetheless, Vaisha approached her faster than anyone else in a brief moment. He was holding Seriana’s body tight as she slid down the floor of the slanted palanquin.
“Put the palanquin away. It seems that Helaim wants me to bring Ranua myself.”
It was a dizzying incident that almost led to a significant accident, but was it because of the bright expression and Vaisha’s voice, who hugged Seriana’s body with a smiling face?
The expressions of the people who had been stiffened quickly began to dissipate.
Seriana had reached the red path and despaired that it would all be over. She looked up at Vaisha’s smiling face without even thinking of hiding her flushed face.
“Why don’t you turn your gaze a little bit? Even I would be ashamed to receive such passionate eyes.”
“What? Oh, I’m sorry…!”
“If you struggle, you will fall.”
Seriana, who was embarrassed to struggle with the fact that a single thin veil could not cover her reddened face, answered his next words by gently bowing her head. She thought she wanted to run and bang her head in any space where she could cover her face.
While she closed her eyes with embarrassment, Vaisha, who held her in his arms, moved steadily and reached the altar at the end of the red path.
Feeling that his movements had stopped, she slowly opened her eyes to find a clean stone shining particularly white in front of the altar.
Normally, she would have moved on a palanquin and set her feet on that stone. Although as she came down from Vaisha’s arms, he set her feet on the cold stone. Seriana met him, standing on the red path with bare feet just like him.
“From here on, we have to walk together.”
He, who had painted the back of his hand in red like hers, slowly extended his hand.
Seriana placed her hands on top of his outstretched hands and started going up towards the altar, stepping on the dotted stones like stairs.
On the high rectangular altar, incense for the Gods was smoking a long smoke toward the sky. And, in front of it was a small bowl filled with clean washed leaves and red dye, and two small round beads of waxy color were placed on the leaves.
Following Vaisha, she clasped her hands together, bowed her head a couple of times, and waited.
A woman draped in a dark red cloth appeared from the opposite side.
The woman, who appeared with age spots blooming and holding a staff in her wrinkled hands, pointed towards the sky and spat out a quick word that she couldn’t understand. As she sprinkled the grains of wheat from her pockets on Vaisha and Seriana, this time, she began to shed quick words towards the ground.
Even though Seriana had heard Chiarin explain the order and manner of the wedding several times, what she heard and what she experienced were completely different things.
Opening her eyes wide, she bit the flesh inside her mouth to catch the frantic movement of the old woman.
“Show the face of Ranua to Helaim.”
Seriana, who faced Vaisha as she heard the old woman’s voice, slightly bent her knees and bowed her head.
Vaisha, who was watching her, reached out his hand and removed the veil that was covering her face.
The moment her hidden figure under the veil was revealed to the world, everyone gathered there unknowingly started to admire and cheer. Ranua, who came down to the parched land and cared for the young people of Chaitun, must have been like that.
Everyone who grew up listening to the legend of the desert nodded.
The old woman standing opposite beckoned, and they moved closer to the front of the altar and stood there.
Then, the old woman dipped her thumb in the red dye inside the small bowl and drew short vertical lines on the foreheads of Vaisha and Seriana.
“The blessing of Ranua to you two…”
Perhaps, that was the old woman’s job, so she bowed her head and went down the road where she first appeared and hid herself.
Now, all that was left was the two of them.
Seriana and Vaisha, who picked up the waxy-colored bead from the leaf and placed it on the palm of their right hand, held out their palms to each other while holding their right wrist with their left hand.
When they swallowed the bead placed on the other’s hand without using their hands, the thin membrane shattered, and sweet stuff leaked out and filled their mouths.
It was wild honey made by desert bees.
Seriana, who had heard of it in advance, but did not know that honey could have such a deep flavor, opened her eyes and couldn’t hide her surprise.
All the ceremonies were finished.
She placed her hand on top of Vaisha’s outstretched hand, just like when she climbed the altar. And when she came down from the altar, stepping on the white stone, the red path she should have never reached greeted Seria.
Seriana, who felt the touch of the red path touching her sole, admired it slightly.
She ‘really’ became his wife…
Now, the seat next to him belonged only to her.
Seriana unknowingly grabbed Vaisha’s hand tightly.
What could explain this feeling she is feeling right now? Her heart swelled, and her breathing was rapid at that satisfaction.
The white flowers were raining again, though Seriana saw nothing but Vaisha.
While they couldn’t even remember how they had walked down the red path, Seriana and Vaisha returned to their respective rooms.
Although the banquet would begin soon, the two main characters were unable to attend the banquet.
“There is no official activity for the next three days.”
While she was changing her clothes, at Chiarin’s explanation, Seriana had no choice but to answer briefly, blushing her face.
It was because she understood what it meant to spend three days and three nights here with Vaisha in the Ranua’s room, while taking a break from official activities.
“Remember what I said before?”
“If Kudra tries to swallow you in one bite, tell him to stop.”
Seriana, dressed in a bathing suit, shouted at Chiarin’s cheerful voice as she clearly teased her. She then covered her face with her hands.
Even so, she couldn’t hide the red blush all the way to her ears. So, Chiarin began to add more laughter to her voice.
“As it is here, like in Rajen, you receive education about the first night in advance, right? As long as you do what you learned then, there will be no problems.”
At that moment, she didn’t even notice that Seriana’s body twitched.
It was because she had turned her head away to organize the clothes she wore to the wedding. So, she made the mistake of passing over Seriana’s voice, which answered by elongating the end, lightly because of her embarrassment.
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