――The battle with Hein-san ended.
With Lastiara conscious again, Hein-san escaped knowing he’d be at a disadvantage.
Thanks to that, I still have both my legs. However, the headache and fatigue I have causes me to stagger, and the chills I feel won’t stop. If Lastiara woke up even a little later, then both my legs might’ve been missing by now. The confusion and fear from that fills my head.
Lastiara shouts once she sees my condition.
「Sieg! Sieg, are you okay!?」
While holding down an arm that’s bending in a way it shouldn’t, Lastiara walks to me.
「I’m fine. Calm down…… I’m more worried about you」
She’s forcing herself to walk. From that dangling arm alone I can tell she’s far more injured than me.
「I’m…… ouch! This, it’s completely broken. ――Holy magic《Cure All》. ……and what about Hein?」
Lastiara asked about the situation after fixing her fractured arm with restoration magic
「If it’s about Hein-san, I somehow managed to repel him」
「I see, thank goodness…… But, aah, what was Hein doing……!」
For the time being the danger passed, and Lastiara is also safe. But following that, she began losing her temper at this disastrous scene.
「I also don’t know. Nothing Hein-san said made sense, and after that, he just left……」
「Didn’t make sense? What kind of things did he say?」
「To start, if he won then we’d have to leave the Allied Nations」
Lastiara frowns when she hears the contents of his reward.
「After that, he said Lastiara is『Artificial』……」
「I’m『Artificial』? Isn’t that a given. Why’d he say something like that at this point」
Lastiara uses the arm she healed to scratch her head. She shows a rarely seen irritation.
「…… Umm, Lastiara, do you acknowledge that you’re『Artificial』?」
It doesn’t look like Lastiara feels any discomfort with being called『Artificial』. Curious about it, I try confirming it.
「Didn’t I say so before. This body was made as Saint Tiara’s. That’s why, me being『Artificial』is a given. It’s not like I deny that」
Lastiara said she’s『Artificial』. But compared to when Hein-san said『Artificial』, the nuance in it felt different.
「No, I don’t think that’s what Hein-san meant when he said『Artificial』. Not about the body, something more about the mind. The thoughts and emotions are『Artificial』」
「Mind ―― my thoughts and emotions are『Artificial』? Well, I do get a bit influenced by my surroundings, but doesn’t that apply to everyone. I am me 」
「That’s true but……」
With the way Lastiara is firmly expressing herself, I can’t imagine her mind being 『Artificial』. However, I can’t ignore Hein-san’s words with how desperate he was. An inexpressible unease builds up in the bottom of my stomach.
And so, I convey the thing among Hein-san’s words that worries me the most.
「And at the end, he said at this rate Lastiara will die……」
「I’ll die…… ?」
After hearing the word「Die」, Lastiara shows a befuddled look.
「He certainly said that」
Lastiara once again repeats the word「Die」, and she moves her gaze to the ground. And then, she mutters as if registering those words.
「That Hein, said that?」
Lastiara slowly moves her downward face back to me.
All I could do was lightly nod. The darkness in Lastiara’s eyes grows. The madness I thought had recently calmed down has now once again built up. In that state, Lastiara makes a very, very quiet mutter.
「Really, why now…… Just a bit more……, but it is something Hein would do……」
――A mutter, with her hand on her forehead she broods over it.
She’s acting strange. Hearing you’ll「Die」and still being able to stay calm might be strange, but even more than that, something is strange about Lastiara. She was told she would「Die」 with no basis, but to think about it this much…… It’s like, she has an idea of where it’s coming from.
I try to get closer in order to listen to Lastiara.
However, before I can get close, she notices my approach and in a panic she reopens the conversation.
「Ah, aahh, sorry Sieg. I was just a bit surprised. It’s nothing. No, that Hein really said some strange things all of a sudden」
Lastiara already returned to her usual expression.
Her agitation abruptly disappeared, it’s as if that lengthy consideration from before never happened.
I hesitate…… Should I step into Hein-san and Lastiara’s circumstances. Or, should I follow her will and act as if what Lastiara just did never happened.
As I’m having trouble finding an answer, Lastiara cheerfully continues.
「Anyways! The problem is the method that idiot Hein used. Once I get back to Whoseyards, I’ll have to have a talk with Hein about his recklessness……」
With those words, Lastiara moves to the《Connection》. With the way things are we’ll have to give up on our search for today. She’s probably planning to return to her home in Whoseyards and confirm what happened.
「Do you want me to go to Whoseyards with you?」
「No, it’s fine it’s fine. It’s a family problem. Sorry about what happened. The duels――, they were supposed to be something fun……」
Lastiara said I don’t have to go along since it’s about her family, but even then my worries remain.
「But, Lastiara. There’s a chance Hein-san will attack like last time, so wouldn’t it be better for me to go along?」
「No, I let my guard down before because it was family. It’d normally end in my complete victory so don’t worry. A single glance at my status should make it obvious right?」
Lastiara said that it wouldn’t be a problem with her status.
Certainly, according to their statuses it’d end in her complete victory. Almost all of her numbers are better, there’s also a big difference in their skills. If they fought normally, then it’d definitely end in Lastiara’s victory.
But, a fight that wasn’t normal just occured ―― and It resulted in Lastiara’s loss.
If it was a one on one then it would’ve ended in Hein-san’s victory from the very start. Even if it was because Lastiara let her guard down, Hein-san still managed to defeat Lastiara
I still can’t get rid of my worries, and it’s then that Lastirara replies with an earnest expression.
「It’s fine, I won’t let my guard down again. That’s why, wait」
With that Lastiara goes through the magic door. I also follow after her and return home. And so, what awaits me on the other side is a wide living room, and the black haired girl Maria in the kitchen.
Maria was surprised that we returned so fast.
Of course she’d be. It hasn’t even been ten minutes since we entered the labyrinth.
「Huh? What happened to you two? Wasn’t that too fast?」
Maria stops washing the dishes and moves to us.
Lastiara answers as if nothing happened.
「Well~, I remembered I have some business back home. I’m going back to Whoseyards today. You two can have fun for today. You can hunt monsters, or even go shopping」
As she answers, Lastiara gets closer to the house window. And in the end, she waves her hand and leaves.
「See you later!」
She wasted no time.
Maria was confused at Lastiara’s behavior, and she asked me if something happened. I could only say that it was nothing important.
I don’t want Maria to worry.
If possible I don’t want any drama to happen.
With the noisy person gone the inside of the house became quiet. After that, Maria asks about our plans from here.
「I was called by Alty-san, but are you planning to do anything Master?」
「Alty? Did she come here?」
「No, in the morning, she talked to me through the fire I was using to make a meal. It’s almost the time we promised」
「That person, she goes wherever she wants. Un, it’s fine. I’ll be in the labyrinth」
It seems like Alty used the kitchen fire to contact Maria. I reacknowledged Alty’s cheat like power as I refused Maria’s invitation.
It’s most likely about the magic instruction from before. There’s no need for me to be there.
「Understood. Then, I’ll excuse myself」
「Aah, take care」
With Maria’s exit, the house became even quieter.
Inside this silence, I sit on a seat by the living room table and try to calm myself. It affected me more than I thought. First, I have to subdue these feelings.
I take deep breaths.
I repeat this for a while―― and at the end, I feel a strange sense of isolation.
It’s been a while since I’ve been alone.
Recently, there’s always been someone by my side.
When I came to this different world it was lonely and painful, but before I knew it, this solitude now brings me peace. I’m amazed at my own selfishness, but I believe that this is what being a human is.
Begging when they have nothing, troubled when they have it.
I am fully aware of my own immaturity.
The point is that I’m still a child. A child who’s doing his best.
If, if I was an adult, if I was able to, then I wouldn’t endlessly run away from Maria’s love. What just happened too, I wouldn’t have let Lastiara go to Whoseyards alone. I wouldn’t put a distance between Alty and myself, I would’ve understood Hein-san’s desperate pleas, and I wouldn’t have let Dia get injured.
However, everything, had already passed.
I couldn’t handle it because of my immaturity. I don’t think, I made the correct choice by any means.
Even now I regret not having forced myself to go with Lastiara. At the same time, I worry whether I as an outsider can step into her personal matters.
Aah, it’s so simple. It’s just that I don’t have the strength to make the decision.
In that case ―― I have to become stronger
That’s the answer I arrived at.
Rather than regretting what passed, it’d be better to improve myself if only a little.
And so, I pass through the《Connection》 and return to the twentieth floor alone. Of course I’m not thinking of reclaiming the depths by myself. It’s not that I think my ability isn’t good enough, but it’ll be more dangerous than with two people. Above all, if I continue the search without Lastiara, then I’d only receive her complaints later.
Therefore, I’ll go monster hunting.
Even if it’s a little, I want to get stronger. I can’t deal with the immaturity in my mind in such a short period of time, but in this different world, I can settle the issue of my strength in a short period of time. In that case, thinking about dealing with my body first is what naturally came to mind.
In order to be able to make the best choice ―― and in order to not regret, making use of this time to become stronger can’t be a mistake.
And in order to get stronger, I decided to go hunting.
The level I can handle by myself is the strongest monster on the twenty-first floor, the Fury.
But that doesn’t mean the Fury is the most efficient monster. The experience from a Fury is high, but accordingly their stamina is also high. Calculating the time and experience together, then it isn’t the most efficient.
The ideal monster is one that can be beaten with a single swing of my sword. There’s also a need to consider the time to search for the enemy, and also the numbers that are grouped together. Lastly, it’d be best if the irregularities are few.
Through my experience of farming in games in my original world, I search for the most suitable solution. I recall all the monsters I’ve fought until now and deduce the floor that best meets my conditions, after deciding on the one with the best balance, I head to the fifteenth floor.
As expected, the fifteenth floor is ideal to hunt in. It’s there that I endlessly hunt, and continue gathering experience and magic stones. ―― I single mindedly continue killing the enemy
Because I can defeat the enemies in a single swing, the MP I use is few. Thanks to the increase in max MP when leveling, the amount of MP that is naturally recovered also increased, and because of that I can continue hunting with semi permanent MP.
At times, Lastiara and Maria’s faces pop up. The face of Alty who wants her wish granted also appears. ―― But I continues swinging my sword.
I have to『Return』to my original world.
In order to『Return』, the best I could do now is hunt. While telling myself that, for the first time in a while, I felt like I was leveling up in a game.
In order to cut through my worries and doubts, I continue hunting until dark……
I returned home after finishing the labyrinth hunt.
Today I was able to gain an amount of experience I never gained before. Naturally, I fulfilled the requirements to level up. I thought of having Lastiara do the level up if she were here, but unfortunately she isn’t in the house. Since she went all the way to Whoseyards she probably won’t come back anytime soon. After that I search for Maria. However, Maria’s also not in the house. Learning a new magic must be difficult.
―― I’m the only one here.
Thinking I might’ve come early, I look out the window.
The beautiful evening glow of the setting sun flows into the house.
Driven by a mysterious sense of sadness, I exit the house.
I’ll use my remaining time to head to the church in order to process the experience I accumulated. The sooner I level up the better. Also, I have to exchange the magic stones I collected. After that I can go shopping for a change of pace, in the end I can go and visit Dia. As I build my plan, I go down a hill and enter the town of Valt.
I walk alone through Valt’s main road that is illuminated by the evening glow, and once again, I’m attacked by that mysterious sense of sadness. The ends of the main road are decorated by gems glow a faint red. That faint lights shake my heart. As if running from that sadness I quicken my pace and arrive at the church.
Lucklily, when I enter the church I find a priest performing an aria for the citizens.
I’m can’t tell if he’s in the middle of the prayer or if he just started, but for now I take a seat at the edge of the bench behind him and start praying like he is.
It’s a peaceful period of time.
At times I open my status to check if I leveled up, then return to my prayer once I confirm that I didn’t.
Leveling up in the church is much longer than with Lastiara.
After checking my status, I pass the time gazing at the church’s stained glass. The stained glass with a woman with wings spread out is too dazzling, as a test I try『Observing』it. And then, I was shocked when I found out that it was all made of gems.
As I’m passing the time observing things in the church, the priest bows and ends his aria. The people in the surroundings follow his lead and also bow, then they sporadically get up and begin leaving, while still on my seat, I check my status.
Name : Aikawa Kanami HP345/372 MP221/653-200 Class : None
Strength7.82 Vitality8.02 Dexterity9.35 Agility12.01 Intelligence11.72 Potential7.00
Experience : 20235/35000
I managed to level up, but now I’m not sure what I should do with my bonus points
Up until now I thought the only thing I needed was HP and MP, but now I think it’d be fine to use it elsewhere.
Stamina is needed for prolonged battles, and firepower is needed to defeat monsters.
If I don’t think over it too deeply, then it’d be strength and magic that are connected to firepower.
Name : Aikawa Kanami HP345/372 MP221/657-200 Class : None
Strength7.82 Vitality8.02 Dexterity9.35 Agility12.02 Intelligence11.73 Magic30.08 Potential7.00
Experience : 20235/35000
My magic went up by 0.30, and although it’s a little my MP also went up.
I was expecting it to go up by 1.00, but it doesn’t look like it’ll rise that much. Would my other statuses also go up by 0.30, I’ll test it with the next bonus point. Next I’ll put it into strength, I want to see if there’s some kind of rule.
After finishing my thoughts, and while happy that I got stronger with my level up, I get up from my seat.
And as I’m about to leave the church, my legs stop.
―― A knight I recognize is at the other side of the door.
It was something I noticed through 《Dimension》.
Luckily I was more cautious after the battle with Hein-san and strengthened《Dimension》. It’s thanks to that that I was able to notice him before I stepped outside.
Name : Palinchlon Legacy HP311/312 MP42/62 Class : Knight
Strength7.90 Vitality9.87 Dexterity11.89 Agility5.67 Intelligence7.34 Magic4.78 Potential1.80
Innate Skills : Observant1.45
Acquired Skills : Swordsmanship1.89 Holy Magic1.23 Taijutsu1.87 Cursed Arts0.54
That knight’s name is Palinchlon Legacy.
Digging through my memories, I remember that Palinchlon is the one I met at the slave market. The aloof type of man who deludes others.
I give up on exiting through the church’s entrance and try searching for another exit through 《Dimension》. But it’s then that Palinchlon moves.
The church door is opened, and a tall man enters.
As always he looks nothing like a knight, the clothes he has on looks like the formal clothes of a merchant. The only reason Palinchlon can even be called a knight is because of the sword hanging at his waist.
With his muddy brown hair swaying, Palinchlon approaches me.
「Yaa, what a coincidence. Brother Sieg」(TL: He says Sieg no Nii-san, and I don’t know how else to translate this)
And so, he greets me while disguising it as a coincidence.
However, I knew that it wasn’t a coincidence. He was definitely waiting for me outside the church. The only reason he entered is because I spread out《Dimension》to look for another exit.
「Aah, what a coincidence. Are you stalking again? That jobs called knight, it sure has a lot of free time」
I responded to Palinchlon in a stern tone. Although I used honorifics with the other knights I met, for some reason I don’t feel like doing it when it comes to Palinchlon.
「Hmm, so you knew I was tailing…… Brother, you also hold quite an impressive perception ability. I came in because Brother’s magic power suddenly swelled」
Palinchlon said also. In other words, the possibility of him holding a skill like《Dimension》is high. This time, and that last time, the times I met him must’ve been because he used that magic. It’s probably connected to that skill『Cursed Arts』.
It’s a genre of magic I’ve never heard of during all my information gathering until now.
「And what business do you have. Do you also want a duel?」
「Oioi, how dangerous. I just came to talk a bit. Didn’t Brother repel Sera, Ragne, and Hein, those three? In that case I won’t be an opponent. Since I’m competing with oldman Hopes for the lowest position」
Palinchlon shrugs his shoulders in a joking manner.
However, I don’t lower my guard. While keeping a fixed distance, I『Observe』each and every one of his actions.
Offensive Ability2. An iron sword with nothing worth mentioning.
He has no other combat equipment other than that iron sword.
Palinchlon notices that I strengthened my guard and『Observed』his equipment, so he tries to soften the mood with a light tone.
「Really, I’m serious. I just came to talk for a bit. This sword too, it’s just a crude thing I took from the knight lodgings around here」
「This morning, I was attacked by someone with a gentle atmosphere…..」
「Hahaa, I know I know. Hein right? It’s because I know, that I came to see」
With a laugh, Palinchlon sits down on the edge of a nearby bench.
There are no other presences in the surroundings. Having finished his job the priest already went deeper into the church. Although unnatural, only Palinchlon and I are left inside of the church.
「If you know, then you can already guess. My trust in the knights has plummeted. I’d prefer it if you don’t come within a distance that your sword can reach」
「I got it, I won’t get any closer. Promise…… so, let’s talk?」
Saying that, Palinchlon places his sword on the ground to show he has no intention to fight.
That obedience conversely made him look more suspicious. Even without a sword, he still has other means to fight.
However, to have gone this far, as a person it would be an injustice to not even talk after this. And including Hein-san’s matter, there are things I want to hear from someone of Whoseyards directly. With no choice, I sit on the other end of the bench Palinchlon is on.
「If it’s only talking……」
「Thanks. I’d be troubled if I couldn’t talk with you here」
As if saying「What a relief」, Palinchlon continues the conversation.
「How about it? Did you already beat all the『Celestial Knights』other than me?」
And so, an unexpected question came out.
「No, not everyone. The ones I did are…… Radiant-san, Hopes-san, Ragne-chan, and Hein-san, those four」
There’s no need to lie so I answered with the truth. Palinchlon could easily find out if he really wanted to.
「Unun, I see」
It looks like Palinchlon is happy that I defeated his own companions.
「Next is my question. Why did Hein-san do something like that, do you know?」
「Aah, I know」
Palinchlon promptly answered.
I didn’t think he’d answer honestly, so it was a bit of a surprise.
Palinchlon smiles when he sees my surprise.
「Don’t be surprised. Brother Seig is answering truthfully, so I’m also answering truthfully」
「……Tell me already」
「That’s fine. I’ll give a simple answer. That is―― because I, incited him. Throughout these past few days, while feigning ignorance, I kept teasing him with things like 「Aah, it looks like Sieg-kun’s having fun together with the Lord. It’s like, she’s a normal girl」and「Being deceived since her birth, and to disappear after grasping a small happiness…… .Even if it’s for the country, I can’t help but feel sorry」, and he splendidly went half-mad. And just like that, he went to help the Lord. Hahaa, I really did it」
Palinchlon answered with a laugh. It was a laugh like that of an innocent child after a successful prank. The gap in that smile and what was said dumbfounded me.
「I have a reputation for inciting. The magic I acquired too, a lot of it deals with things related to the mind」
「Wh, why, something like that……」
「It looked interesting. And I also wanted the country Whoseyards to lose something. Well, it’s mostly a hobby though」
Palinchlon laughs. I lose my words.
This is the first time I’ve ever talked with a human with such pure malice, I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s terrifying that there’s a person who makes others go mad in such a carefree manner.
While I’m still dumbfounded, Palichlon continues.
「Next is my question. Hey, Brother, to the Lord―― to Lastiara, do you want to help her?」
H, help Lastiara?
That means, Lastiara is in a situation where she needs help?
Palinchlon’s words are like a narcotic, or some other poison similar to it. To me, Palinchlon’s closer to a demon spewing venom.
Cautious of that mental magic he mentioned before, I check my status. However, there is no abnormality in my status, this is simply Palinchlon’s speaking skills.
Even though it’s just talking, for my head to hurt this much……
「Help, what do you mean by that?」
「Hmm, didn’t you hear from Hein? Aah, it can’t be helped if you didn’t hear. I’ll explain it. As a service. Whoseyards secret and the Lord’s secret, I’ll carefully explain it. Aah, it can’t be helped」
Palinchlon shamelessly repeated it can’t be helped.
「Let’s keep it simple. Lastiara Whoseyards is ―― the『Sacrifice』for Christmas. The vessel for Saint Tiara to descend on, it’s for that reason that she was made. Well, if that type of thing descends, then naturally Lastiara’s ego would disappear. In short, the day after tomorrow, she’ll die」
And so, he easily mentioned Lastiara’s death.
My heartbeat uncomfortably quickens. That throbbing, I heard it once before.
Right now, I’m the same as that time in the slave market. Incited in the same way.
Palinchlon speaks of the misfortunate girl, and with a faint smile, he incites me.
As if saying, is it fine to leave it like this……
「Is that true……?」
「I didn’t lie. Well, the one who has to decide that is Brother Sieg」
I have no reason to believe that. A liar won’t say they’re lying.
But comparing it to the conversation between Lastiara and Hein-san, it’s consistent.
「Explain it in more detail」
If possible I want him to say it’s a lie. And in order to find any inconsistency I urge him to talk in more detail.
「That’s fine. I’ll talk as much as you want. Since Brother Sieg has the qualification」
The ends of Panlichlon’s mouth bend, and he slides a bit closer.
That smile, it’s like a spider in delight at having caught it’s prey. A smile unlike a mammal or reptile with blood flowing through them, but one as cold as an insect
「First, we’ll assume Lastiara isn’t human. She didn’t come from a human’s stomach, and she’s not a proper living creature. A『Magic Stone Human』made by mixing human flesh and gems. We call it『Jewel Cruz』. Did you know? Even with that size, she’s just a three year old brat 」
In an even lighter tone, he revealed that Lastiara isn’t human.
However, I knew that. The person herself said so.
Being three years old surprised me, but I vaguely felt it. The imbalance in her mind and body is obvious, and this explains the immaturity in her mind.
But, for now I’ll try confirming it.
「Lastiara herself said she’s sixteen years old」
「Aah, her body is sixteen years old. If she answered honestly and said three years then it’d only confuse you, so she must’ve chosen to use the body’s age」
During the festival, Lastiara did add「More or less」at the end.
Then it must be like Palinchlon said. I couldn’t find any contradictions.
「Aah. Then why, why did Whoseyards make that『Body』of『Jewel Cruz』……, that is, in order to resurrect a great person from the past 」
Palinchlon cheerfully speaks with both his arms spread. Every single word erodes my heart.
「In the cathedral the blood of a saint from the past has been completely preserved. It seems like there was a lot of trial and error in order to bring the ancestor of magic, Saint Tiara, to this world once more. It’s there that they had their eyes on the blood of magicians. Many magic arts remain in the blood. In that case, they thought that the art for Saint Tiara’s personality might still be in that blood. …… really, they were very persistent, those people」
I felt no respect from Palinchlon towards the saint. Of course, I’m also the same.
From the way this is going, then that means, that blood ――
「In other words, the 『Jewel Cruz』, Lastiara’s mission, is to drink that saints blood and surrender her body. The blood that flows in that body is packed with arts meant to receive her. She was born in order to be a receptacle for her resurrection ―― No, she was born in order to die」
―― is blood meant to kill Lastiara.
At this point, I can only see Saint Tiara as my enemy.
「Saint Tiara’s resurrection is also prophesied in the Revan Faith’s scriptures. And that year is now. Whoseyards is moving in order to follow that. And Whoseyards’ citizens are also anticipating the prophecy. This year’s Christmas will be different from usual. Christmas is the day after tomorrow, and what’s left of the Lord’s life is little. Hahahaa. Now now, what will you do? What will you do Brother Sieg」
Panlichlon’s explanation coils around me, and while waiting for my answer, his eyes also begin coiling around me.
「…… Does Lastiara know all of this?」
「They should’ve at least explained that she’ll become one with the Saint Tiara. It may be ambiguous, but she probably vaguely felt she’d disappear. The one in charge of her education is Hein so I don’t know the details, but it’d certainly be easy to brainwash the newly born Lord」
Palinchlon holds back a laugh while hinting to the possibility of brainwashing.
Lastiara must’ve accepted it as natural that she’d become Saint Tiara. If she didn’t, then she wouldn’t have been able to search the labyrinth so carefreely. If she had normal feelings, she likely would have escaped as soon as possible. Like Hein-san said, not here but somewhere far away.
「Does Lastiara not hold any doubts in undertaking the ceremony?」
「To be precise, she adjusted herself to not have any, maybe. Lastiara’s life, all of it has been planned for her, and it may be her fate to continue on by adjusting herself」
「Continuing to adjust….. Fate……」
Those words pulled at something. When I hear adjust, then even I――
「It looks like everything is for Whoseyards’ plan?」
Without minding the change in my expression, Palinchlon continued.
I shake off the things that are pulling on me and refocus on the conversation.
「Plan? What type of plan?」
「Aah, a good question. It’s a fun, fun plan, so I’ll have to teach you about it. The plan’s like this.『Lastiara will happily accept the ceremony, and turn into Saint Tiara. And so, as the citizens are rejoicing, she will be revealed on Christmas day. The story after that will be one of heroes. With that miraculous power she’ll reclaim the untrodden labyrinth, expand the『Correct Path』, and she’ll inherit the title of strongest from Glen. By the way the person in question, Glen is also cooperating. And in the future she will gain victory in the『Fighting Tournament』, her name will resound throughout the continent, and while displaying that miraculous power everywhere, she will triumphantly return to the home country of Whoseyards. Biding her time, she will participate in the war to the country’s north as the supreme commander at the front lines where the Saint will become a living legend. Though the authority of that power they hold, the war will end in Whoseyards’ overwhelming victory! Amazing, it is a true hero!』――Hahaa, a wonderful story isn’t it? It’s already been decided」
In a profound manner, as if reciting the life of a certain hero, Palinchlon spoke of Lastiara’s future. That plan, is the same as the epics she likes.
If it’s Lastiara then she might enjoy it, but I notice that it’s too convenient. I begin suspecting if her hobbies and likes were artificially made.
It’s not that Lastiara wants to become a hero for her admiration of epics, but instead that she was brought up to admire epics because she will become a hero.
If those are the circumstances, then…… it feels bad……
「Planning a human’s life like that, it’s strange…… it’s definitely strange……」
I reflexively muttered in my displeasure.
Then in a remarkably loud voice, Palichlon agreed. And with that vigour he invites me.
「That’s why, Brother Sieg! Let’s save her, Lastiara!」
With a smile covering his face, Palinchlon made a proposal to me with overflowing goodwill.
It was too terrifying to bear. A proposal with such goodwill coming from that Panlinchlon who overflows with malice, it’s scary.
「So that’s how you want to incite me…… ! What do you want…..!」
「What do I want? Of course, I want to help people. To grant my Lord, a true human life. I, want to save her from that monstrous saint!」
Panlichlon answered with sparkling eyes.
I understand. He genuinely thinks that Lastiara’s fate is uninteresting. It’d be boring for it to go as planned.
Helping Lastiara is interesting.
That’s all. Aah, that’s all. How easy to understand, what he desires is chaos……
「I want Brother Sieg to obstruct the revival of Saint Tiara. To be more specific, the big festival of 『Saint Tiara’s Christmas』, I want you to destroy it」
Destroy ―― That’s what Palinchlon invited me to.
However, I don’t nod. That path is contrary to my objective.
It’s true that I felt anger when I heard of Lastiara’s circumstances. But, what I can do is limited. I don’t have that leeway nor do I have the time.
「If I did that then I’d only be caught. Even if it’s done with good intentions, I’d only end up as a criminal」
「Is that so? If it’s Brother Sieg then you definitely won’t be caught. You have enough strength, even if it’s just to run away. This country’s『Celestial Knights』are the strongest fighting power, and you’ve already driven them away countless times uninjured 」
「If the country has their eyes on me, then as a criminal it’d be difficult to move. It’ll have a huge impact on my everyday life」
「In that case, run away from the country. You’ll be safe if you move to a country Whoseyards can’t reach」
「I’m a simple labyrinth searcher with no relatives. I don’t want to part from here, even if it’s to get away」
「I don’t think it’d be a problem if it’s the two countries to the south. Valt too, it’s not as if they get along with Whoseyards. If it’s someone as strong as you, then they’d happily shelter you」
「Being sheltered, or running, even the idea is ridiculous. That type of thing is ――」
「Aah. In other words, you want to help, but because you don’t want to endanger yourself, you won’t help?」
A nasty smile rises on Palinchlon.
With that smile, he easily pokes at the parts of me I don’t want touched.
Having it so accurately pointed out causes my face to warp. I was forced to recognize my own narrow-mindedness.
「Aah, yeah. That’s right……」
There’s no point in objecting.
That’s right. Everyone wants to protect themselves.
As I’m feeling ashamed, Palinchlon looks at me with disappointment.
「……Nnn, I wasn’t able to lure you in well this time. It was easy as that time with the slave, could it be, my Lord isn’t to your taste? No, could it instead be that there was something special about that slave?」
And now, he accurately guessed the secrets in my heart.
「It’s a problem of the degree. At that time it simply ended with money, but this time it’s different. And as you said, I’m not that pleased with Lastiara」
Palinchlon observed me with a sticky gaze as he listened to my bluff.
A gaze that sees through my lies. After looking at me for some time, Palinchlon answers with a smile.
「Hahaa, well to suddenly have the resolve to make the country your enemy is also absurd. I won’t force you. I’ll just make Hein lose his mind by himself, that’ll be enough to call it a great success. There’s no need to get greedy here. But ――」
On the surface, his words made it look like he gave up.
「―― I believe that you can do it」
However, even now, Palinchlon sees me as prey caught in his web.
With those last words, Palinchlon stands.
「Now then, it’s about time I disappear. My creed is to operate behind the scenes」
Like that, Palinchlon waves his hand and leaves the church.
It was an unexpectedly quick end. I thought he’d be more persistent.
Or maybe, he thought that I’d move on my own after saying that much.
I could only silently see him off without knowing his true intentions. I’ve gained the minimum information needed, and I don’t think I’d gain much more if I were to stop him.
And so, with Palinchlon gone, I let out a deep breath inside the silent church.
After that my feet drag my lead like body back home.
At any rate my body is heavy. In proportion, my feelings are also heavy.
Because of that heaviness, I wasn’t able to go shopping or even visit Dia.
I head straight home to search for Lastiara.
However, Lastiara isn’t there.
No matter how much I search……
Only Maria is here.
Maria worries about my condition and comes closer.
A brave gesture. However, not knowing if that courage came from love or not only made it difficult for me to deal with.
「…… Master, did something happen?」
I hesitate on whether I should tell Maria about Lastiara.
From what I saw, the two get along. Although there are many times where Lastiara has to bursh away Maria’s cold words, I see it as communication between friends.
Maria must know about Lastiara. When the two were alone, they might have had a conversation like the one from before.
「No, The day after tomorrow Lastiara……」
「Day after tomorrow? What about Lastiara-san?」
Maria simply waits for my words.『Day After Tomorrow』and『Christmas』hold no special meaning.
It looks like she doesn’t know anything, just like me from before. I’m not sure if I should tell her the details.
Maria and Lastiara are friends. If they’re friends, then isn’t it best for her to hear it directly from Lastiara. And the information I have, I didn’t even hear it from Lastiara herself. It’s hearsay from Hein-san and Palinchlon.
No, that’s an excuse.
But, my mind is heavy. I’m too exhausted to explain.
Like the time I met Maria in the slave market, I only feel heavy, the words trying to come out of my mouth withdraw, and all I can do is spit out harmless words.
「On Christmas day, let’s play again」
「…… Yes. Of course」
Maria meekly nods her head to my deception.
Her eyes continue piercing straight through me.
Most likely, Maria is pretending to be deceived. Understanding my intention, she doesn’t probe too deeply. There are many times where she pulls back out of consideration of me. If that’s because of love, then I want to run away right now.
Dragging away my even heavier body, I escape into my room.
Various pieces of information are swirling through my head, it makes me sick. In order to shake it off, I cover myself in my blanket.
That day ―― Even at dinner, even as the night passed, Lastiara didn’t return.
And so, early morning on the day before Christmas.
It’s morning, but I can hear the distant voices of people. It seems like the country is becoming energetic with Christmas reaching its climax.
In order to appease my dry throat, I get out of bed and drag my lead like body to the living room.
It happened the moment I opened the living room door. A girl is in the middle of trespassing by squirming her way in through the window.
It’s Lastiara. She didn’t even come when I waited for her last night.
Our eyes meet and she waves her hand in surprise.
「Ahh. Go, good morning~, Sieg…..」
「A, aah, good morning」
Lastiara too, she probably didn’t think she’d meet me at this timing.
In a panic she enters the living room and walks to the storage
While trying to calm my heart, I gaze at Lastiara. It looks like she’s searching for some bread for breakfast, and with bread in hand she moves to the living room table.
I also move to the same table and call out to Lastiara who’s stuffing her cheeks with the bread.
「Lastiara, there’s something I want to talk about…..」
「Mu, mumuu. Talk? That’s fine」
「It’s about Christmas tomorrow」
In a light mood Lastiara urges my next words.
With a calm gaze, I ask the most important question.
「Tomorrow, to that Saint Tiara person, umm, ….. will you surrender your body?」
Even after hearing that, Lastiara’s state didn’t change.
There was no change whatsoever in that unparalled beautiful face.
「Un. That’s the plan」
And so, she nodded in the same light tone as always.
My face warps. The emotions I thought I understood break apart.
But even then, I keep up the little composure I had left and return my words.
「I heard….. I heard that if it’s done, you will disappear」
「Ah, so you did hear. Was it Hein who told you?」
「If you’re not denying it, then it’s true?」
I wished she denied it. I wanted her to tell me it was a lie. If she did that, then I’d be relieved, and we could continue our labyrinth search tomorrow in the same way as always.
「I thought of surprising you, so I tried keeping it secretー」
「Surprise me, it’s not something as simple as that…… !」
「To have Saint Tiara as your companion all of a sudden, I was looking forward to seeing what face you’d have」
「Looking forward……, but at that time, you won’t even be there…… !」
It was as if I was wringing out my voice.
I can’t help it, the fact that Lastiara is speaking in the same way as usual irritates me.
「It’s fine it’s fine, Saint Tiara is also me. Even when I become a saint, I’ll still be Sieg’s companion. You don’t have to worry about it」
Lastiara perceived my irritation and said that it wouldn’t be a nuisance to the labyrinth search. That’s why, you don’t have to worry about it. That off the mark statement only caused my irritation to increase.
「You’re wrong! Don’t say something like that! If you become Saint Tiara, you’ll lose yourself and disappear! Do you actually understand that!?」
Unable to endure it, I ended up raising my voice.
「Seems like it. I know」
Lastiara easily wards it off.
「Seems like….. ! Are you really fine with that」
「It’s fine――. My reason for living is to become one with Saint Tiara. I respect Saint Tiara. I think she’s a wonderful hero who saved many people, her life, and her story, I love it all. If I’m told I’m going to become that hero, then there’s no problem at all. There’s no reason to resist it. If anything it’s an honour」
Hearing that blind faith, causes me to remeber Hein-san’s words.
It’s certainly a mad faith towards Saint Taira, one that I couldn’t think possible unless it was made.
「That, isn’t that because of the way you were taught? If you normally think about disappearing, then you’d have more resistance. When I look at your state, I can’t think of it as anything but brainwashing…… !」
「…… Un, that might be true. I know, I know that I’ve been twistet. But, that’s who I am. Whether it’s teaching or brainwashing, that’s who I am. It’s everything I lived as until now, will Sieg also deny it as『Artificial』or『Forgery』? To me, this is who I am, will you deny that?」
Lastiara is saying that she doesn’t mind if it was taught or if it was brainwashing.
There was no hesitation in her words.
She clearly expressed her own will, and I was able to see a bit of her true self.
I’m baffled. Because I don’t know where the boundary lies.
As Hein-san said, the『Artificially Made Lastiara』and the『Real Lastiara』, I can’t see the boundary between them. That’s why, I can’t just deny her decision.
If I deny the『Artificially Made Lastiara』, then I might even deny what the『Real Lastiara』that’s been there since birth. That’s why, in desperation I could only manage to let out trembling words.
「Ar, are you fine with that? Really?」
Lastiara resolutely receives those words and gives me a straightforward answer ――
「Of course, it’s fine. I was born as Saint Tiara’s vessel, and raised as Saint Tiara’s vessel. The meaning to my life, is surely…… to become Saint Tiara…… Because, that, is」
―― but, a shadow appears on Lastiara’s face.
「That is……, me…… ?」
Unease shows on her face.
She’s unsure of what she’s saying. Something similar happened before.
It was at that time at the bar when she was trying to recruit me, her thoughts kept changing as she spoke.
She quickly lost her self confidence while talking. Like an unstable stagnant sky, she repeatedly clears and clouds up ―― That is Lastiara.
「That is like me……」
Lastiara muttered without confidence as her eyes wandered around.
Looking at that state convinced me.
This『Artificially Made Lastiara』and『Real Lastiara』are eating away at each other, that is the true identity of the instability I’ve always felt.
「Like, so you don’t even understand it yourself!? Wavering, hesitating, what is right, you don’t even know do you!?」
I thought it was a chance to make Lastiara reconsider, so I fire my words in rapid succession.
However, the next instant, a bright expression appears on Lastiara.
「――Fu, fufuu, fufufuu. That’s not it. I’ll become Saint Tiara. Those heart thumping adventures, conquering mighty enemies, going through various meetings and partings, I’ll become the hero everyone yearns for. That hero! Of course that’ll be wonderful!!」
Lastiara laughs with insanity in her eyes.
It was a change as if she was possessed, and then,
「Of course that’ll be won…… derful……」
Her tone once again weakened.
「Lo, look, you aren’t confident right!? You’re afraid of being sacrificed!」
「――I’m not afraid. It’s not like death is something terrifying. You should know from seeing my fights in the labyrinth shouldn’t you? I’m not weak enough that I’d cower over something like this!!」
Then it suddenly strengthened.
I more or less understood the condition for her sudden changes. When I try to deny tomorrow’s ceremony, the Lastiara inside, the『Artificially Made Lastiara』comes out.
However, at this rate we’ll only go in circles.
This must be the『Result Of Continual Adjustment』that Palinchlon spoke of. Most likely, it’s pointless no matter how many times we repeat this――I can’t persuade Lastiara.
That’s how it is.
Therefore, I could only repeat the same words.
「…… Are you really. ……Are you really fine with that?」
「It’s my own problem, Sieg. Everyone in the cathedral, everyone in Whoseyards, they’re all waiting for Saint Tiara. This body is packed with everyone’s hopes!」
Lastiara answered with a smile. ――She showed her own will.
「That’s why, I’ll undergo the ceremony」
「Even then, I’ll still deny the ceremony」
I also display my will, and I meet Lastiara’s glare.
However, no matter how long we glare, her will would not bend.
I understand since we were associated for some time. Lastiara won’t back down when she has this expression. While cloaked in madness, she will maintain her will until the brink of death.
Silence descends as we glare at each other.
The one to break this silence is Lastiara.
In a complete turn from her firm expression, it now looks like she is barely clinging on.
I though her emotions would fluxate again. However, something’s strange.
「――……Then! If you think that, then will you help me? Like Hein said, someplace far, will you go on a journey with me?」
The corners of Lastiara’s eyes drop, and she looks at me with upturned eyes.
It’s my first time seeing Lastiara with such a frail expression. Seeing that girlishness appropriate for her age causes me to open my eyes wide in shock.
She was acting like a child. And so, I had hopes, that the current Lastiara isn’t the artificial one but the『Real Lastiara』. However, a question I couldn’t answer came out.
――「Will you go on a journey with me?」
I have to reach the depths of the labyrinth in order to『Return』. That is the only thing I must do. It’s my reason for living, and my objective in this world.
And yet, to leave these Allied Nations, there’s no way I can go on a journey with the two of us.
Lastiara sees my hesitation and asks more questions.
「Will you make all the knights of the Allied Nations, of the country Whoseyards your enemy? Will you break tomorrow’s ceremony? Even bearing that big risk, will you still help me?」
Those questions didn’t sound like questions, but pleas.
「Hey, will Sieg be the『Hero(Protagonist)』in my story?」
I see a small child crying.
Right in front of me, there is a single girl crying. She truly is just wishing for help.
There’s no mistake. This isn’t the artificial, but the voice of the『Real Lastiara』.
If I properly answer this voice, then the real Lastiara would be pulled out, we’ll be able to have a real conversation. We’ll be able to communicate our intentions, and I might even be able to persuade her.
If I want to persuade her ―― this is my only chance.
I couldn’t answer.
My objective to『Return』, and her pleas are in the oppposite direction.
Rebukes, morals, duties, selfishness, various things within my body are playing tug of war and none of them are letting up. Lastiara’s face clouds when she sees me unable to act.
Lastiara’s pleas lasted only for a moment―― a moment similar to that of a falling star. And with that moment gone, the chance for my voice to reach her has ended.
Lastiara returns to her usual cheerful expression, and she laughs it off as usual.
「…… Ha, Hahaa! I’m joking. You don’t actually have to do that. I know that you don’t have the spare time. You also have a lof of things to do」
…… I couldn’t answer.
It can no longer reach. Hein’s advice comes to nothing, and I wasn’t able to say a thing.
「Since you’re a 『Candidate』, I won’t force you. You don’t have any duty or obligation」
Lastiara throws the leftover bread into her mouth as she answers.
Aah, the same as always. The same unstable, slightly off behavior that immediately changes what she says. The same Lastiara as always.
「Wa, wait, Lastiara, we still didn’t fin……――」
「Also, one way or another things will end up fine. Maybe I’ll end up crushing Saint Tiara’s conscious. Really, what will happen~. I’m also quite strong~」
An optimistic, forward facing, and cheerful smile, Lastiara talks about tomorrow.
She no longer listens to my words.
Having finishing her breakfast, Lastiara gets up from her seat.
「Thanks for the meal. I need to prepare things for tomorrow, so I’ll be going first. I, don’t think I’ll be able to help with the Labrynth search today, you can go play with Maria-chan. Also, while your at if say hi for me」
「There’s still things I want to ――!」
As if saying that’s the end, Lastiara turns her back. And then, she says her goodbye.
「I think I’ll come tomorrow night, so wait until then…… Bye bye……」
And Lastiara leaves the house.
Not sure if I should fight to stop her, I reach my hand in『Items』. However, in as I was hesitating, Lastaira had already departed. I was left alone in the house.
Were these Lastiara’s last words…… ?
I try to crush the unbearable feelings inside of me.
At that moment, I hear the sound of the door.
Maria is standing on the other side of the door. With a dark and serious expression similar to me, she watches. From her state, I can guess that she heard our conversation.
「Maria, did you hear…… ?」
Maria confirmed it.
Having seen us talking in a manner that is different from how we usually do must’ve made it hard for her to enter the living room, and as a result she only listened.
「Umm, then Lastiara-san……」
「She left. Just like you heard」
I point to where the frail Lastiara left.
「Is that fine, Master……」
「The problem is too big…… At least, I can’t be away from the labyrinth right now……」
And so, I honestly tell her that it’s too much for me to handle.
If I were to summarize the situation in a single line, that’s all it’d be. As nothing more than a student, this problem is too big for me.
「Then, if the new Tiara-san were to come, would you think of her as Lastiara, and continue the labyrinth search as you have?」
「That isn’t Lastiara, it’s a different person. It’d be impossible to continue as usual」
A person I have no attachment to, I can’t treat her like Lastiara. Rather, if it’s truly as the conversation went, then it’d probably be fitting to call the Tiara inside Lastiara my enemy.
「At least, I wouldn’t be able to think of her as a companion……」
Maria listened to what I said,
「I see…… Thank goodness, really, thank goodness……」
And returned an extremely clear voice.
There was no sign of sadness or anger, only a solace from the bottom of her heart was found in Maria’s words.
「Th, thank goodness…… ?」
I don’t know the reason for that relief.
Since they got along I thought Maria would be sad about having to part with Lastiara. However, it’s the complete opposite. And in the same way as Alty, Maria informs me.
「Because, I thought Master might have liked Lastiara」
I like Lastiara ―― she readily informed me.
My head’s on the verge of blanking out. It’s the same thing Alty told me just two days ago. I couldn’t immediately comprehend the meaning in those words.
While I’m still dumbfounded, Maria continues.
「Well of course, Lastiara has her strange points but――」
I understand what she’s saying, but I don’t understand the meaning of her words. I was confused from the unexpected answer. Various questions begin flying through my head.
Speaking of love, wasn’t that Maria?
Why, is she suddenly telling me this?
It makes no sense.
「being that beautiful――」
Aah, it’s true that Lastiara is beautiful. Beautiful enough that words can’t express it, it’s unrealistic. A beautiful girl that is incomparable to the ones I saw in the television of my world.
「that strong, and cheerful――」
I’m convinced that when it comes to the body she’s stronger than anyone. A cheat like existence. She also has a lot of skills like me.
If I were to say if her personality is bright, then it is. Underneath that instability and madness, she has a very forward facing cheerful personality. She brings people together with that cheerfulness, and she’s a moodmaker who makes her companions smile.
「a bit mischievous, but deep down she thinks of her companions――」
There are many dangerous aspects about her. She likes thrills and she always wishes for dramatic developments.
But even then, she doesn’t thoughtlessly expose others to danger. If anything she gives plenty of advice. It’s hard to express it, but it might be fitting to say she’s playing the villain.
「it may be a dream like scenario, but she’s the ideal person to search the labyrinth with――」
It’s dream like because of the situation. In order to become a hero, Lastiara was made to like hero stories. That’s why she has more enthusiasm towards adventures than anyone else, and why she is more fitting to search the labyrinth than anyone else.
「she resembles Master a lot, so you got along very well――」
I got along with Lastiara.
Right now I’m being cautious because I can’t afford to die no matter what. If it wasn’t for that, then just like Lastiara, I might’ve though of this as a game. Even though what I say is opposite of that, I’m still able to understand what Lastiara is saying.
「――and that Lastaira-san, I thought Master liked her. But, am I wrong?」
―― Did I like, Lastiara?
Having the labyrinth search as my top priority, cutting away Lastiara would be the best option. That’s what I originally planned. And, that’s what I just did.
But in the end, I chased after her not knowing when to give up.
Is that because I like Lastiara?
If I think about it, for a man to be be together with such a beautiful girl, it’d be strange to not thinking of anything. Is it because the way we met was bad, or because the circumstances are bad, that I didn’t realize I was charmed?
But now that I think about it, I panicked when I was about to lose Lastiara. I moved out of desperation trying to think if there was something I could do.
Then that means…… that means, in other words.
As Maria said, I like Lasti――
【Skill『???』Is Out Of Control】
Emotions will be exchanged for metal stability
+1.00 correction to confusion has been added
And so, a calm washes over me and cools the heat in my body.
My heartbeat calms down, the jumbled thoughts in my head are put in order.
At the same time, from the throbbing of my heart I notice I lost『Something』.
The skill『???』arbitrarily exchanged an important『Something』for calmness.
And I can figure out what that is by using my now calm thoughts.
I know what that『Something』is. I can guess from what I was thinking before, it’s probably『Love』or『Affection』or something similar to that.
I understood that. I understood―― but, was that really something I didn’t want to believe enough in that it had to be quelled.
「Ha? Haa, haha, hahaa, hahahaha……」
A dry laugh comes out.
The conditions for the skill『???』that I know of are two.
The first is when my『Emotions Are Out Of Control』. For a moment I thought that it was this that activated it, but that’s wrong. I wasn’t in a state where my emotions were out of control. In fact, I was actually trying to organize the situation so that I could give an answer.
In that case, the other condition.
The second condition, did this have the same value as『A Time Of Dying』?
In other words, the skill『???』has judged that『Love』and『Affection』are a matter of life and death?
Is it saying that I’ll die if I embrace my love for Lastiara?
It’s true that it may be so. It may be so――But!
Even then it isn’t something that can just exchange without permission!
There’s no excuse for that……!!
The flames of anger begin boiling up. The composure I obtained from the skill『???』 becomes useless. I feel anger rising from the bottom of my heart.
However, even with such an anger, the skill 『???』doesn’t activate.
I need calmness now more than ever before, but even then the skill 『???』doesn’t activate.
Aah, so it’s like that. Thinking of a childish『Love』is out, but an anger enough to kill someone is safe. What a joke…!!
「Wh, what’s the matter, Master?」
After my laughter, I freeze, and Maria was confused.
But, I don’t care about that.
Now that I think about it, when I first met Lastiara, the skill『???』activated before and after. It also happened the second time we met.
Of course I didn’t notice how I felt. It’s natural since my emotions weren’t even normal, because tmy emotions were torn from the roots.
Lastiara and I, our meeting was the worst.
With a bitter smile, my anger causes me to laugh, I laugh so much that my composure returns.
「Hahaa…… No, it’s a bit strange…… That’s right, Maria. I don’t like Lastiara. There’s no doubt about it」
「eh, Eh? Is, is that so……」
Maria was surprised by my answer. It looks like she didn’t expect it. She looks at my face immediately in order to confirm if it’s true. However, it’s futile no matter how much she looks.
Because, that thing had already disappeared.
「More importantly, I heard something interesting. That Lastiara and I are similar」
Maria’s skill『Insight』is really useful.
Since she can recognize things even adults can’t.
「……Ye, yes, I can’t explain it well, but the base is similar. From what I can tell, the two of you are 『Artificial』like existences」
She accurately pointed it out, and a dry laugh escapes from me.
It’s enjoyable how accurate she is.
If Lastiara is『Artificial』as a product of her environment, then I’m『Artificial』from the way the skill『???』cleans my thoughts. It’s as Maria said, we resemble each other.
「I see. Similar at our base」
Maria is frightened by my continuous laughter.
Even with that『Insight』, it doesn’t look like she’s able to see through the current change in my thoughts.
That’s just how abnormal the skill『???』is. In other words, Lastiara and I have about the same amount of instability.
Right now, I feel like I can understand Lastiara’s feelings a bit.
It’s likely that Lastiara knows that the ceremony is strange, but her emotions don’t follow along with her. That’s why she prioritized the duty she was born with. At this point, undertaking the ceremony is the foundation of her heart.
Then, what about me?
I’m the same. Even though I understand that I like Lastiara, my emotions don’t follow through. And the foundation left in my heart is only to go to the『Deepest Part』of the labyrinth.
Is that why I, in the same way as Lastiara, am prioritizing my duty and going to the labyrinth?
―― As if I can go.
I can’t put on self important airs like Lastiara and turn a blind eye from my shortcomings. Above all, my anger towards the skill『???』won’t permit that.
「Maria, I’m going out for a bit. I’ll be back by noon」
「Eh, eh…… ? Master, where are you――!」
Leaving the confused Maria behind, I exit through the window. There isn’t much time left.
――I’m not going to the labyrinth. In that case, where am I going?
In order for the skill『???』to not activate, I bury my anger and think calmly.
I plan to act under the assumption that I have affection towards Lastiara. But if I were to lose that affection, then I’m not confidence I’d be acting on my own accord. I know what I have to do, and now I want someone to confirm that.
And Maria isn’t fit to confirm that. Her personal feelings would get in the way.
That’s why, I’m going to meet her.
Not a human as unstable as us, but a resolute companion that isn’t swayed by others.