Snow happily welcomed me when I barged into her room. While preparing tea with unskilled movements she constantly peeks at me to gauge my mood.
From beginning to end, Snow’s smile doesn’t break. However, because of what was said on the night of the ball, I was unable to bring myself to break it. It’s because Snow wants to 「Take it easy」 that she’s acting so coquettish. Once I realized that, my heart turned cold.
As Snow searches for a topic and eventually shows me the muffler she knit before. Bringing out other knitting and sewing tools, she tries talking about her hobby.
There are a lot of things I want to say, but first, there’s something important I have to confirm.
Resolving myself, I cut straight to the point.
After hearing that, Snow makes the same expression as Lowen.
「I’ll hold myself back as much as I can. Snow, I want you to use your full strength to destroy the 『Bracelet』」
The moment she heard 『Bracelet』, her expression collapsed.
For a moment the inside of the room turns silent as we stare at each other…… finally Snow averts her eyes and mutters.
「…… N, no」
She denied it with a trembling voice.
She even suggested destroying it when we first met, I held onto the faint hope that she would help because of that. However, that hope was cut down, and Snow continues shaking her head.
「You can’t……! You absolutely can’t……!!」
With her eyes pointed to the ground, she shakes her head just like a kid.
I wanted to be wrong, but the worries I had about Snow were proven right.
「That’s……! That’s impossible after having come to this point……! If that 『Bracelet』 is destroyed, you will definitely leave 『Epic Seeker』 ! You’ll leave Lauravia! I can’t imagine a life without Kanami! That’s, only that’s impossible……!!」
「That’s……! That’s unreasonable after having come to this point……! If that 『Bracelet』 is destroyed, you will definitely leave 『Epic Seeker』 ! You’ll leave Lauravia! I can’t imagine a life without Kanami! I, I don’t want that……!!」
Snow’s true feelings overpowered me.
They were desperate. For someone as lazy as Snow to become this desperate.
That alone caused me to lose my words.
「He, hey, Kanami……. Isn’t the current situation fine? You aren’t lacking anything are you? Status, honor, money, safety, you have it all don’t you? Is there anything else you need? I’m begging you, please stop…… please……」
A crooked smile appears on her face as she begs me to reconsider.
「Snow, it can’t stay as it currently is. The 『Truth』 is missing. ….. And maybe, that 『Truth』 is something far more important than my life. That’s why, I will destroy the 『Bracelet』」
I answered with the words I prepared beforehand.
「Ehehe……」, Snow forces a laugh at my immediate reply and continues her persuasion.
「I, I’ll become a good wife so……! I’ll definitely become a good wife! So, stay like this, Kanami! I’m fine with this Kanami! Let’s be deceived together forever! Please, Kanami! Here we have a world where everyone can become 『Happy』!?」
「…… Aah, I think we’ll be 『Happy』. It looks like that’s what’ll happen, but that’s impossible. Snow, didn’t you also just say it, 『Be Deceived』. Knowing that I’m being deceived, that isn’t something I can simply accept. Because, I can’t afford to 『Mistake my own wish』……!!」
Using Reaper’s words that helped me return to the correct path, I try to appeal to Snow.
「Even then, I still want to be deceived……. Always, always, I want to be deceived forever. That’s why, Kanami let’s be deceived together……. Please……」
「I’m sorry. I can’t do that」
I calmly shake my head. Snow sees my resolve and her expression changes.
「…… Th, then! Wait a little more! Win in the 『Fighting Tournament』, that way you’ll become a 『True hero』 and be able to save me! Only until then ―― 」
「That’s also wrong, Snow. No matter how much you yell, such a convenient 『Hero』 won’t come. …… It won’t」
I hear the term 『Hero』, and I convey to her the answer I reached last night.
『E, eh? Wo, won’t come……?』
「I won’t become some 『Hero』. Because I know that path is wrong……. That’s why, the hero you wish for Snow, it won’t appear……」
It might’ve been better to tell her this after my memories returned. However, right now I couldn’t help but admonish her. If possible, I want Snow to realize her true wish before the 『Fighting Tournament』 begins.
「U, uu…… u, UUUu……」
At last, tears fall from the corner of Snow’s eyes.
My heart aches. However, I maintain my cool.
「I’ve found my true wish. I still can’t remember a single thing, but there’s no doubt that it’s my wish. I will take back my memories ―― the 『Truth』. And I won’t let anyone play with another’s heart again. …… So I hope that you don’t mistake your own path, Snow. I want to grant not the Walker House’s wish, but Snow’s wish」
Once again it’s Reaper’s words, but I straightforwardly told Snow.
Snow falls to her knees. She covers her face with both her hands on the ground.
「Ah, aaAah, Kanami…… My Kanami is……」
「You’re wrong. I don’t belong to you……」
I only reply that it’s wrong. And then with her head hanging down, tears spill along with a dry laugh.
「―― Ha, Hahaa. Hahahahaha. …… Really, it’s useless. It’s useless as long as it’s me」
「You might like the 『Hero that is me』, but I can’t come to like 『the heroic me』……. Snow, you and I being together, it might’ve been impossible from the start……」
Not wanting to cause any further misunderstandings, I bluntly reject her.
Snow hears that and pouts.
「…… Kanami hates me. …… He’s telling me to marry Elmillad」
「I didn’t say that……! You have to decide your marriage on your own. That isn’t something I can decide……!」
It isn’t something someone can force, and it isn’t something that can be done unwillingly.
And marrying because it’s 「Easy」 is also wrong.
「Bu, but! Kanami will decide! That’s what Palinchlon said!? He said that the only one who can guide me is Kanami! He said it……, so why……」
「Don’t do it because someone tells you. Think for yourself, and believe in what you decide on」
Hoping that she finds her own wish just like Reaper, I tell her to 「Decide for herself」.
「I, I can’t do something like that……. That’s too hard……」
However, my hope wasn’t granted.
After hearing my words, Snow’s expression fills with despair just like Lowen.
And then, she continues in a frail tone.
「Palinchlon……. Kanami threw me away……. And, as always, no one will save me. No one, no one will save me! uaAah, UUu……!!」
「Not noone! Search for your own wish and save yourself! You have the strength to do that Snow! It’s fine for you to live as you want Snow!!」
Like Reaper and me, I wanted her to find her own path using her own power.
「…… Something like that, I can’t」
However, without even giving it a moment of thought, Snow gave up.
I tell her to not give up, but Snow indifferently answers.
「…… No. Because, just becoming a bit frantic, makes me like this. There’s no way I can live in earnest. It’s because I earnestly wanted Kanami, that being thrown away made me this sad? I’m sad enough that I want to die? I knew it, I shouldn’t have been earnest. It would’ve been better if I wasn’t…… If I’m earnest it’ll only hurt more……!!」
She continues her complaints with a vacant expression.
And then, in an attempt to get me to reconsider, she calls my name and approaches me.
「Kanami……. It hurts, Kanami……. Hey, do something……」
Snow reaches out and clings onto me.
Witnessing such a feeble figure shocks me.
「I don’t want to do anything anymore. I don’t want to decide anything. I don’t want to think about anything……. Please, Kanami……」
I misjudged Snow.
Her mind was far weaker than what I imagined. If she doesn’t have anything to cling onto, the girl named Snow Walker wouldn’t be able to so much as walk.
But even with that said, if I were to lend a hand here, Snow would not change.
The same events would repeat. Her heart would only further weaken.
That’s why, I part from Snow. To a place that Snow’s hands can’t reach, and I take a deep breath to calm myself. And then, I convey my final words.
「…… I decided on my own path. So, I’d be happy if you decided your own path too, Snow」
I turn back. And with my back still turned, I open the door and leave the room.
I hear my name called behind me.
I hear Snow’s quivering voice, but I can’t afford to turn back here. The reason Snow has weakened this much is because I spoiled her. Because of me, Snow has expectations of a hope that doesn’t exist, and the obvious result, her heart had broken.
If I spoil Snow anymore, she would no longer be able to decide on anything herself ever again. If the time where I extend my hand out to her ever comes again, it will be when she comes to a decision through her own strength.
With a heartrending grief, I leave Snow behind in the room.
I silently walk around 『Epic Seeker』 while thinking. With this there’s no longer anyone here that can break my 『Bracelet』. Not even the strongest member of 『Epic Seeker』 Wolzak-san would be able to scratch me.
I have to search for someone else.
But luckily, searching now will be easy. Thankfully people from all around the world who are confident in their ability are gathering here today.
The Allied Nations’ 『Fighting Tournament』 ―― I have no other choice but to go to the giant moving theater 『Valfula』.
However, there’s someone I have to greet before I go there. I walk straight to the top of 『Epic Seeker』 and open the door.
「―― Maria, good morning」
With my best smile, I call out to the girl who I’m no longer sure is my sister.
Maria turns to me while sitting on top of her bed.
Just seeing that figure causes me to feel love. But, the possibility that this black haired girl isn’t my sister is high. No, she surely isn’t my sister. That’s what all the information I gathered indicates.
Therefore, the love I’m feeling right now, it’s something caused by this 『Bracelet』. After all, manipulating memories is what this thing specializes in.
Holding back the feelings that are welling up inside of me, I tell her that I’ll be gone for a bit.
「You probably already heard, but tomorrow is the 『Fighting Tournament』. I’ll appear in that as Lauravia’s representative」
「…… I heard. Then, I’ll wait here. As I can’t see I won’t be able to watch, I won’t be anything but a nuisance」
The origins of this blind girl interest me. For a moment I thought that it was a girl who is really good at acting that is cooperating with Palinchlon, but the 『Bracelet』 on her denies that possibility. This girl, she’s probably in the same situation as I am.
I’m not sure if I should destroy the girl’s 『Bracelet』. If I destroy it, the girl will probably remember her true self. I’d probably be able to gather new information with that, but that isn’t something I can do.
There’s no certainty that the girl before me has the same resolve as I do.
Can I bring myself to force that girl to remember a terrifying 『Unhappiness』.
This is the same as the problem with Reaper and the others. First I have to recover my own memories.
While still maintaining my smile, I inform Maria.
「Then, I’ll be gone for a few days. Maria」
「Eh, you’re leaving already……?」
「Un, some sudden business came up. Sorry」
「…… Then there isn’t any helping it. Take care, Nii-san」
Although Maria is reluctant to part with me, I’m not even sure if those are her true feelings. Without being able to think of an enjoyable topic, I leave the room.
My expression warps and I once again walk around 『Epic Seeker』.
I get the documents on the 『Fighting Tournament』 meant for the Guild Master from the other members. In them is the directions and information on the lodgings.
The lodgings are a first class room on some high class boat. A room with a great view on the highest floor.
I look through all the documents of the giant moving theater 『Valfula』, its strange structure surprises me.
I thought it was a single big ship, but that’s wrong. During the season of the 『Fighting Tournament』 the Allied Nations bring ships of their own with a size they can boast of. Of course ships meant for guarding are included, but there are also others with circuses, shows, restaurants, and other performances gathered.
There are more than ten ships dedicated to lodgings, and to add on to that the nobles from around the world also bring their own ships, so the total number is amazing.
It’s still the day before but all the ships are already chained together making it possible to walk between them. The fleet with the giant theater 『Valfula』 in the center should be the world’s largest fleet. And starting today, that fleet will be called 『Valfula』.
As I’m walking to that 『Valfula』, I feel a bit excited. However, it didn’t even take a single step before that excitement died. I, there was someone I could share my thoughts with, then that excitement probably wouldn’t have disappeared, but right now ―― there’s no one by my side.
All by myself, I walk north of Lauravia.
There was no way to avoid this feeling of loneliness. Just a while ago I thought I’d happily be going together with Snow, Lowen and Reaper to the 『Fighting Tournament』.
However, the reality was the complete opposite…… it’s a mess.
Together with my sense of loneliness, I felt pathetic. And then, I suddenly remember.
「Would that 『Siegfried Visitor』….., have done it better……?」
Having made it all the way here, I think about my past self. Giving himself the name of a 『Hero』 and resolutely challenging the labyrinth, he probably would’ve done better.
Settling the problems of Snow, Lowen, and Reaper, the four of them would be walking together right now.
「…… No, that’s wrong. I, 『Aikawa Kanami』 will do it!」
I shake my head.
『Siegfried Visitor』 may have been an amazing person who saved everyone, but the one here right now is me. I can’t rely on some phantom existence that isn’t here.
If I were to rely on an existence that isn’t here, I’ll only end up like Snow.
In order to show the correct path to Snow as well, I renew the strength in my body and head to 『Valfula』.
I’m sure they’ll be there. Right now, me and the two whose interests intersect.
The girls that I won’t be able to trust as long as I don’t have my memories, but that I will once I take them back ―― Lastiara Whoseyards and Diablo Sith.
I quicken my pace. Even a second faser, in order to take back the 『Truth』 ――