――The battle with Hein-san ended.
Once Lastiara’s conscience returned, Hein-san felt he’d be at a disadvantage, and escaped.
Thanks to that, I’m still standing with both my feet on the ground. However, I’m staggering due to the headache and fatigue I’m feeling. And the chills won’t stop. If Lastiara’s awakening was a bit slower, then these two feet might have been cut off. Confusion and fear fills my head, and my usual thoughts aren’t return.
Seeing me in that state, Lastiara shouts.
「Sieg! Sieg, are you okay!?」
While holding down the arm that’s bending in a way it shouldn’t be, Lastiara walks to me.
「I’m fine. So calm down…… I’m worried about you more than me」
She’s forcing herself to walk with that arm. Just by seeing that loosely dangling arm, 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 chants her healing magic, and after her arm heals she confirms the situation.
「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. Hein-san was only saying things that made no sense, and then he left like that……」
「No sense? What kind of things did he say?」
「First, if Hein-san 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」
Having used healing magic on her arm, Lastiara uses that arm to scratch her head. She displayed a rare irritation.
「…… Umm, so, Lastiara do you acknowledge that you’re『Artificial』?」
It doesn’t look like Lastiara feels any discomfort with being called『Artificial』. And that was on my mind, so I try to confirm it.
「Didn’t I say it before. This body was made as Sain Tiara’s. That’s why, me being『Artificial』is a given. It’s not like I deny that」
Lastiara says 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 mental. The thoughts and emotions are『Artificial』」
「Mind is it―― thoughts and emotions are『Artificial』? Well, I am getting a bit influenced by my surroundings, but isn’t that everyone. I am me 」
「That’s true but……」
With Lastiara expressing herself in a firm tone, I can’t think of her mind as『Artificial』. However, I can’t ignore Hein-san’s words after 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 worry 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.
「That’s definitely what he said」
Lastiara once again repeats the word「Die」, and she points her gaze to the ground. And so, 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 give a quick nod. The darkness in Lastiara’s eyes grow. I felt that madness that had recently calmed down now build up. That Lastiara said a very, very quiet mutter.
「Really, why now…… It’s 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. With no basis she’s told she’ll「Die」, but to think about it this much…… It’s like, she has an idea of where it’s coming from.
Thinking of listening, I try to get closer to Lastiara.
However, before I can get close, she notices my approach, and in a panic she restarts 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 unrest disappeared, it’s as if that lengthy consideration from before never happened.
I’m hesitating…… Should I step into Hein-san’s and Lastiara’s circumstances. Or, should I follow her intentions, and act as if what Lastiara did before never happened.
While I’m having trouble finding an answer, Lastiara continues in a bright mood.
「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……」
Having said that, 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 on returning to her home in Whoseyards, and confirm this time irregularity.
「Do you want me to go to Whoseyards with you?」
「No, it’s fine it’s fine. It’s a family problem. Sorry about anything else that happened. The duels――, they were supposed to be entertainment……」
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 that 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 my family. Usually, it’d end in my complete victory so it’s fine. It should be clear with a single glance at our status right?」
Lastiara says there’s no problem, and tells me to check her status
True, just by looking at her status it’s a complete victory for her. Almost all of her numbers are better, there’s also a big difference in skills. If they fought normally, then it’d certainly end in Lastiara’s victory.
But, having fought in a non normal way just now―― It resulted in Lastiara’s loss.
If it was a one on one then it would’ve been Hein-san’s victory from the beginning. 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 Lastirara returns her words with an earnest expression.
「It’s fine, I won’t let my guard down again. That’s why, wait」
With that Lastiara goes under the magic door. I also follow and return home. And so, what is there is the wide living room, and the black haired girl Maria in the kitchen.
Maria was surprised that we returned so fast.
Well of course. Since entering the labyrinth, it hasn’t even been ten minutes yet.
「Hmm? You two, what happened? Isn’t that too fast?」
Interrupting her dishwashing in the kitchen, Maria moves towards us.
Lastiara answers as if nothing happened.
「Well~, I remembered I have some business back home. I’m going back to Whoseyards today. That’s why for today you two can play. You can hunt monsters, or go shopping」
While answering, Lastiara gets closer to the house window. In the end, she waves her hand, and immediately leaves.
「See you later!」
She wasted no time after speaking.
Maria was confused at Lastiara’s behavior, and she asks me if something happened. I could only say that it was nothing important.
I don’t want to worry Maria.
If possible I don’t want any drama to happen.
With the noisy person gone the inside of the house had fallen silent. Afterwards, Maria try to ask of our plans from here.
With the noisy person gone the inside of the house had fallen silent. Afterwards, Maria tries to check our plans from here.
「I was called by Alty, but what are you going to do Master?」
「Called by Alty? Did she come here?」
「No, in the morning, she talked to me from the fire I turned on for the meal. It’s almost the promised time」
「That person, she goes wherever she wants. Un, it’s fine to go. I’ll be searching the labyrinth」
It seems like Alty used the kitchen fire to contact Maria. I reacknowledge Alty’s cheat like power and I refuse 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 exits, the house becomes even quieter.
Inside of that silence, while sitting on the living room table by myself, I try to calm myself. It affected me more than I thought. First, I have to subdue these feelings.
I take deep breaths.
After repeating these breaths for a while――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 other world it was lonely and painful, but before I knew it this solitude brings me peace. I’m amazed at my selfishness, but I believe that is what a human is.
Begging when they have nothing, troubled when they have it.
I am fully aware of my own inexperience.
The point is that I’m still a child. A child who’s doing their best.
If, if I was an adult, if I was able to, then I wouldn’t endlessly hide from Maria’s love. Even this time, I wouldn’t have let Lastiara go to Whoseyards alone. I wouldn’t put a gap between Alty and myself, I would’ve understood Hein-san’s desperate pleas, and I shouldn’t even have let Dia get injured that far.
However, everything, had passed.
I can’t deal with my inexperience. I can’t even consider choosing the best options.
Even now, I regret that I couldn’t go with Lastiara even if I had to force it. 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 a decision.
Then―― I have to become stronger
That’s what I arrived at.
Rather than regretting what passed, it’d be better to improve myself if only a little.
And so, I pass through《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 there’s no mistaking that it’d be more dangerous than with two people. Above all, if I continue the search without Lastiara, then I’d receive complaints later.
Therefore, I’ll go monster hunting.
Even if it’s a little I want to get stronger. I can’t settle the inexperience in my mind in a short period, but in this otherworld I can settle the problem of my strength in a short period. In that case, thinking about dealing with my body first is what naturally comes to mind.
In order to make the best choice―― and in order to not regret, then making use of this time to become stronger shouldn’t be a mistake.
In order to get stronger, I first choose to go hunting.
The level I can handle by myself would be the strongest monster on the twenty-first floor, the Fury.
But, it isn’t as if the Fury is the most efficient monster. The experience from a Fury is high, but in proportion their stamina is also high. Calculating the time and experience, then it isn’t the most efficient.
The ideal monster, is one that can be beaten with a single swing of my sword. After that, it’d be 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 at 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. The monsters there are endlessly able to be hunted, and the experience and magic stones continue amassing. ――I single mindedly continue killing the enemy
Because I can defeat the enemies in a single swing, the MP used is few. Thanks to the increase in max MP when leveling, the amount of MP naturally recovered also increased, and because of that I can continue hunting with semi permanent MP.
At times, Lastiara’s and Maria’s faces pop up. The face of Alty who wants her wish granted also appears. ――But my sword continues swinging.
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 hesitations, until it becomes dark, I continue……
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 was here, but unfortunately she’s not in the house. Since she went all the way to Whoseyards, she probably wouldn’t come back so fast. With that though, next is to search for Maria. However, Maria’s also not in the house. Learning a new magic must be difficult.
――Other than me, no one is here.
While thinking I might’ve came early, I look out the window.
The sun begins setting, and the beautiful evening glow flows into the house.
Driven by a mysterious sense of sadness, I exit the house.
In order to absorb the gained experience, I’ll use my remaining time to head to the church. The sooner I level up the better. Also, I have to liquidate the magic stones I collected. After that I can go shopping for a change of pace, in the end I’ll go visit Dia. I build my plan while walking, I go down a hill, and enter the town of Valt.
Illuminated by the evening glow I walk alone through Valt’s main road, and I’m attacked by that mysterious sadness once again. The ends of the main road decorated by the gems, glow a faint red. That faint light shakes my heart. As if to run from that sadness I quicken my pace, and arrive at the church.
When I enter the church, a priest was conveniently performing an aria, he’s in the middle of praying for the citizens.
I’m not sure 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 give a prayer following after him.
It was a peaceful period of time.
At times I open my status while wondering if I leveled up, then I return to the prayer once I confirm I didn’t level up.
The leveling up in the church is remarkable longer when compared to Lastiara.
After confirming my status, I pass the time by gazing at the church’s stained glass. The stained glass with a woman with wings spread out is too dazzlingly, as a test I try『Observing』it. And then, I was shocked when I found out that it was all made of gems.
While spending time observing things in the church like this, with a bow the priest finishes his aria. Matching that the people in the surroundings who were praying also bowing, then they sporadically get up and begin leaving, while still on the 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 confirm that I leveled up, and then I was at a loss as to what to do with my bonus points
Until now what I felt was needed was HP and MP and that’s what I used my points on, but I now think it’d be fine to use it elsewhere.
Stamina, it’s the ability needed for prolonged battles. And to defeat monsters I’d also need firepower.
Without thinking too much 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’d rise that much. Would my other statuses also go up by 0.30, I’ll test it with the next bonus points. Next I’ll put it in strength, I want to see if there’s some kind of rule.
After finishing my thoughts, and while happy of getting stronger with my level up, I get up from my seat.
And so, as I go to leave the church, my feet come to a stop.
――A knight I recognize is at the side of the door.
That is something noticed by《Dimension》.
It’s fortunate that I’ve been more cautious and strengthened《Dimension》after the battle with Hein-san. Thanks to 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 knights 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 the church’s entrance, and try searching for another exit with《Dimension》. And then, Palinchlon who’s outside begins moving.
The church’s door opens, and a tall man appears inside the church.
As always he’s nothing like a knight, he wore clothes that’s like the formal clothes of a merchant. The only reason Palinchlon can even be called a knight, is thanks to the sword hanging at his waist.
With his muddy brown hair shaking, 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 surely waiting for me outside the church. The 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 knights, it has a lot of free time」
I deal with Palinchlon in a stern tone. Even though I use honorifics with the other knights I came in contact with, for some reason I don’t feel like doing it when it comes to Palinchlon.
「Hmm, my tailing was found out…… Brother, you also hold quite an impressive perception ability. I was surprised when Brother’s power suddenly swelled up, so I came in」
Palinchlon said also. In other words, the possibility of him holding a skill like《Dimension》is high. This times ambush, and last times tailing, he must’ve been using 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? Then, I won’t be an opponent. Since I’m competing with that oldman Hopes for the lowest position」
In a joking manner Palinchlon shrugs his shoulders.
However, I don’t lessen my vigilance. While keeping a fixed distance, I『Observe』his each and every action.
Offensive Ability2. An iron sword with no points worth mentioning.
Other than this iron sword he doesn’t have any gear to fight.
Palinchlon notices I strengthen my vigilance and『Observed』his equipment, and 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 a crude thing I took from the knight lodgings around here」
「This morning, with a gentle atmosphere like now, I was attacked…..」
「Hahaa, I know I know. Hein right? It’s because I knew, that I came to see」
While laughing, Palinchlon sits down on the edge of a nearby bench.
There are no other presences in the surroundings. The priest also went deeper inside having completed his job. Even though it’s unnatural, only Palinchlon and me are inside of the church.
「If you know, then you can take a guess. My trust in the knights has plummeted. I’d like it if you don’t enter a distance your sword can reach」
「I got it, I won’t move in. I promise. ……That’s why, let’s talk?」
Saying that, Palinchlon leaves his sword on the ground to show he has no will to fight.
That obedient attitude, conversely made it look more suspicious. Even without a sword he has other means to fight.
However, to have gone this far, as a person it would be an injustice to not even talk. And including Hein-san’s matter, there are things I want to hear from the people of Whoseyards. With no choice, I sit on the other end of the bench Palinchlon is on.
「If it’s just talking then I don’t mind……」
「Thanks. If I wasn’t able to talk with you here, then I’d be troubled」
As if to say「What a relief」, Palinchlon continues the conversation.
「How about it? Did you already beat all the『Celestial Knights』other than me?」
And so, a question out of my expectations came out.
「No, not everyone. The ones I did…… Radiant-san, Hopes-san, Ragne-chan, Hein-san, those four」
There’s no need to lie, so I answer with the truth. It’s something that Palinchlon could find out if her really wanted to.
「Unun, I see」
It looked like Palinchlon was 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 answered in a flash.
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,「Aah, it looks like Sieg-kun having fun together with the Lord. It’s like, a normal girl is laughing」and「Being deceived since her birth, and to disappear after grasping a small happiness…… .Even if it’s for the county I can’t help but feel sorry」and I continued teasing like that, and he splendidly became half-crazed. And so, just like that, he went to help the Lord. Hahaa, I did it」
Palinchlon answered while laughing. It was with an innocence as if a small kid was laughing after a successful prank. The gap in that 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 spirit like things」
「Wh, why, that type of thing……」
「It looked interesting. And I wanted the country Whoseyards to lose something, that’s also part of it. Well, most if it is a hobby though」
Palinchlon laughs. And so, 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 feel like helping her?」
H, help Lastiara?
That means, Lastiara is in a situation where I have to help her?
Palinchlon’s words, are like a narcotic or a poison similar to it. To me, Palichlon’s closer to a demon who spews venom.
Cautious of that spirit magic he mentioned before I check my status. However, there is no abnormality in my status. This is simply, Palinchlon’s speaking skills.
Even thought it’s just talking, for my head to hurt this much……
「Help, what do you mean by that?」
「Hmm, didn’t you here from Hein? Aah, it can’t be helped if you didn’t hear. I’ll explain it. This is a service. Whoseyards secret and the Lord’s secret, I’ll carefully explain it. Aah, it can’t be helped」
Shamelessly, Palinchlon repeats it can’t be helped as he progresses the conversation.
「Let’s keep it simple. Lastiara Whoseyards is――the『Sacrifice』for Christmas. The vessel for the 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 speaks of 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.
Is it fine like this, and……
「Is that true……?」
「I didn’t say any lies. Well, the one who has to decide is Brother Sieg」
I have no reason to believe that. A liar won’t say they’re lying.
But, when I compare it to the conversation between Lastiara and Hein-san, it’s consistent.
「Explain it with more details」
If possible I wanted him to say it’s a lie. In order to find inconsistencies I urge him to talk in more detail.
「That’s fine. I’ll talk as much as you want. Since Brother Sieg has those qualifications」
The ends of Panlichlon’s mouth bend, and he slides a little bit closer.
That smile, it’s like a spider in delight having caught it’s prey. Neither a mammal or reptile with blood flowing through them, but a smile 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? Since birth, it took three years to reach that size」(TL: ジュエルクルス, maybe it’s jewel cross?)
In an even lighter tone, he reveals that Lastiara isn’t human.
However, I knew that. The person herself said it.
The age of three years surprised me, but I vaguely felt something like that. The imbalance in her mind and body is clear. It’s something that explain the immaturity in her mind.
But, I try to confirming it for now.
「Lastiara herself said she’s sixteen years old」
「Aah, her body is sixteen years old. If she honestly answered with three years then it’d confuse you, so she must’ve chose the body’s age」
During the festival, Lastiara did add「More or less」at the end.
Then the inside must be like Palinchlon said. I can’t find any big contradiction.
「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 speaks with both arms spread in an enjoyable manner. 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 formulas remain in the blood. In that case, they thought that the formula for Saint Tiara’s personality, might still be in that blood. …… really, they were very persistent, those people」
I felt no respect in 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, 『Magic Curz』, Lastiara’s mission, is to drink that saints blood and to surrender her body. The blood that flows in that body is packed with formulas in order to receive her. 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, Saint Tiara can only be my enemy.
「Saint Tiara’s resurrection is also prophesied in the Levan Faith’s scriptures. That’s this year. Whoseyards is taking actions to follow that. And, Whoseyards citizens are also anticipating the prophecy. This year’s Christmas will be different from usual. And so, 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 that 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 to not have any, maybe. Lastiara’s life, all of it has been planned for her, and it may be her fate to continue by adjusting herself」
「Continuing to adjust….. Fate……」
Those words pulled at something. When I hear adjust, then even I――
「Is everything part of Whoseyards’s plan?」
「It looks like all of that is for Whoseyards’s plan?」
Without minding the change in my expression, Palinchlon continues.
I shake of what pulled 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, while the citizens are rejoicing she will be made public on Christmas. The story after that, will be one of heroes. With that miraculous power they 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 ring throughout the continent, and while displaying that miraculous power everywhere they will triumphantly return to the home country of Whoseyards. Biding their 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 Whoseyards’s overwhelming victory! Amazing, it is a true hero!』――Hahaa, a wonderful story isn’t it? This, has already been decided」(TL: the hero that’s been used so far has been great person[eiyuu] not brave person[yuusha])
In a profound manner, as if reciting the life of a certain hero, Palinchlon speaks 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 began 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 maybe that she was brought up to admire epics because she will be a hero.
If those are the circumstances, then…… it feels very bad……
「Planning a humans life like that, is strange…… it’s definitely strange……」
I reflexively muttered in my displeasure.
Then, in a remarkably loud voice Palichlon agreed. And so, with that vigour, he invites me.
「That’s why, Brother Sieg! Let’s save her, Lastiara!」
With a smile covering his face, Palinchlon proposes to me with overflowing goodwill.
It was too terrifying to bear. A proposal with such good will 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, he desires chaos……
「I want Brother Sieg to obstruct the revival of Saint Tiara. To be more specific, the big festival of『Saint Tiara’s Christmas』the day after tomorrow, 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, and I don’t even have the time.
「If I did that then I’d only be caught. Even with good intentions, I’d just be 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 drove them away countless times while uninjured 」
「If the country has their eyes on me, then as a criminal it’d be difficult to move. It’ll also have a large influence on my everyday life」
「In that case, run out of the country. You’ll be safe if you run to country that 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 shelter as many as they can」
「Being sheltered, or running, even the idea is ridiculous. That type of thing――」
「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.
The parts of me I don’t want prodded, he does it with a smile.
Having it so accurately pointed out causes my face to warp. I had no choice but to recognize my narrow-mindedness.
「Aah, yeah. That’s right……」
There’s no point in objecting.
That’s right. Everyone wants to protect themselves.
While I’m ashamed, Palinchlon looks at me with disappointment.
「……Nnn, I wasn’t able to lure you in well this time. It was easy at that slave time, could it be my Lord isn’t to your taste? No, conversely could it be that there was something special about that slave?」
And now, he’s accurately guessing at the parts of my heart that no one else knows.
「It’s a problem of the degree. At that time it simply ended with money, but this time it’s different. As you said, I’m not that pleased with Lastiara」
Palinchlon who hears my bluff, observes me with a sticky gaze.
A gaze that sees through my lies. After looking at me for sometime, Palinchlon answers with a smile.
「Hahaa, well to suddenly have the resolve to make the country your enemy is also something absurd. I won’t force you. I’ll just make Hein lose his mind by himself, it’s fine to even call this a great success. There’s no need to get greedy here. But――」
On the surface of his words it looks like he gave up.
「――if it’s you then you can do it」
However, even now, Palinchlon is looking at 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」
With that, Palichlon waves his hands to me and leaves the church.
It was an unexpected 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 don’t know his true intentions, but I could only see him off without a word. I’ve gained the minimum information needed. I don’t think I’d gain much more information by stopping him.
And so, Palinchlon leaves, and I let out a deep breath inside the quiet church.
After a deep breath, 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 Die.
I head straight home, to search for Lastiara.
However, Lastiara was not there.
No matter how much I searched……
Only Maria is here.
Maria worried about my state and came closer.
A brave gesture. However, not knowing if that courage came from love, made it difficult for me to deal with.
「…… Master, did something happen?」
I’m wavering if I should tell Maria about Lastiara.
From what I saw, the two get along. Although Lastiara pushes away Maria’s cold words many times, 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 only waited 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 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 I’m only able to drag out harmless words.
「On Christmas day, let’s play again」
「…… Yes. Of course, that’s fine」
With my deception, Maria meekly nodded her head.
Maria’s eyes continuously pierce straight through me.
Most likely, Maria is pretending to be deceived. Understanding my intention, she doesn’t probe to deep. There are many times she pulls back after consideration of me. If that’s because of love, then I want to run away right now.
While dragging my even heavier body, I escape into the bedroom.
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 diner, even as night passed, Lastiara didn’t return.
And so, the next day. The day before Christmas, that early morning.
It’s still morning, but I’m able to hear the distant voices of people. The country has become energetic as Christmas reaches its climax.
In order to appease my dry throat, I get out of bed and drag my lead like body to the living room.
While walking down the hall, it’s when I open the door to the living room. At that time, a girl was squirming her way in and trespassing through the window.
It’s Lastiara, she didn’t even come when I waited last night.
When our eyes meet, 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 fluster she enters the living room, and walks to the storage
While trying to calm my heart, I gaze at Lastiara. It seems, like she’s fishing from some morning bread. With some 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 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.
While calmly gazing, I ask the most important question.
「Tomorrow, to that Saint Tiara person, umm, …..you will surrender your body?」
Even after hearing that Lastiara’s state doesn’t change.
That unparalleled beautiful face had no change whatsoever.
「Un. That’s the plan」
And so, she nods with 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 calm I had left, and return my words.
「If it’s done….. If it’s done, then I heard that Lastiara 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. That it was a lie, I wanted her to answer me with a laugh. If she did that, then I’d be relieved, and we could continue are 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 suddenly have Saint Tiara as a companion, I looked forward to seeing what face Sieg would have」
「Looked forward……, at that time, you won’t even be there…… !」
A voice as if was wringed out.
I can’t help it that Lastiara 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 be Sieg’s companion. You don’t have to worry about it」
Guessing my irritation, Lastiara says that it won’t be an obstacle to the labyrinth search. That’s why, its fine not to worry about it. That off the mark statement, caused by irritation to further grow.
「Your wrong! Don’t say that type of thing! If you become Saint Tiara, then I heard that you’ll lose your conscious, and disappear! Do you actually understand that!?」
I couldn’t endure, and in the end I raised my voice.
「Seems like it. I know」
Lastiara wards it off with no problem.
「Seems like….. ! Are you 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 that I’m going to become that hero, then there’s no problem. There’s no reason to resist. If anything it’s an honour」
Hearing that blind faith, causes me to recall Hein-san’s words.
It’s certainly a mad faith towards Saint Taira, one that I couldn’t think possible unless made.
「That, isn’t it something you were taught? If you normally think about disappearing, then you should have more resistance. Looking at your state, I can’t think of it as anything but brainwashing…… !」
「…… Un, that might be true. I know, I know that I’m biased. 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’s brainwashing.
There was no hesitation.
She clearly expressed her own will. I was able to see a bit of her true self.
I’m baffled. Because I didn’t know where the boundary is.
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 really fine with that? Really?」
Lastiara firmly receives those words and goes to give me a straight answer――
「Of course, it’s fine. I was born as Saint Tiara’s vessel, and raised as Saint Tiara’s vessel. My meaning to life, is surely…… to become Saint Tiara…… That’s why, that, is」
――but, a shadow appears on Lastiara’s face.
「That is……, me…… ?」
Lastiara showed an uneasy face.
What she’s saying, and what she’s worrying about. Before, something similar happened.
That time at the bar when trying to recruit me too, her thoughts kept changing as she spoke.
She quickly lost her self confidence while talking. Her instability continues appearing and disappearing―― That is Lastiara.
「That is like me……」
With her eyes wandering around, Lastiara’a mutters with no confidence.
When I saw that state, I was convinced.
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!? Wavering, hesitating, what is right, you don’t even understand 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 face appeared 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! That can only be something wonderful!!」
Lastiara laughs with insanity in her eyes.
It was a change as if she was possessed, and then,
「It can only be won…… derful……」
She once again weakens.
「Lo, look, you have no confidence right!? You’re afraid of being sacrificed!」
「――I’m not afraid. It’s not like death is something terrifying. Sieg should know from seeing my fights in the labyrinth? I’m not so weak, that I’d cower from just that!!」
Then she suddenly becomes strong.
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, right now we’re just moving 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!」
With my last confirmation, Lastiara answered with a smile. ――She displays 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 probably not bend.
I understand since we were associated for some time. When Lastiara has this expression she won’t back down. 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, she had an expression as if barely clinging on.
I though her emotions would once again waver. However, something’s strange.
「――……Then! If you think that, then will Sieg 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 of dependence.
It’s my first time seeing Lastiara with such a weak expression. Seeing that girlishness appropriate for her age, causes me to open my eyes wide in shock.
It’s like a child I thought. 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』. Only that is a must. 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 asks more questions after seeing my hesitation.
「Will you make all the knights of the Allied Nations, of the country Whoseyards your enemy? Will you break tomorrow’s ceremony? Even with a big big risk to bear, will you still help me?」
All of these questions didn’t sound like questions, but pleas.
「Hey, will Sieg be the『Hero(Protagonist)』in my story?」
I see a small child crying.
Here, there is a single girl crying. It’s true that she is 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 should even be able to persuade her.
My chance to persuade, this timing―― This is my only chance.
I can’t answer that.
My objective to『Return』, and her pleas differ too much.
Rebukes, morals, duties, selfishness, various things within my body are playing tug of war and none of them let up. Lastiara’s face clouds when she sees me unable to act.
Lastiara’s pleas were only a moment―― a moment similar to a falling star. And with that moment, 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 Sieg doesn’t have that time. Sieg is doing his best by himself」
…… 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 Sieg is a『Candidate』, I won’t force you. And you don’t have that duty or obligation」
While answering, Lastiara throws the leftover bread into her mouth.
Aah, the same as always. The same instability, unable to stay calm, slightly off behavior, immediately changing 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 there’s a situation that I’ll end up crushing Saint Tiara’s conscious. Really, what will happen~. I’m also quite strong~」
An optimistic, forward facing, and enjoyable smile, Lastiara talks about tomorrow.
She no longer listens to my words.
Having finishing her remaining breakfast, Lastiara gets up from her seat.
「Thanks for the meal. I have things to arrange for tomorrow, so I’ll be going. 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 give her my greetings」
「Let me say a bit more――!」
As if to say the talks were finished, Lastiara shows her back. And so, like that she gives me her goodbye.
「Tomorrow night, I think I’ll come, so wait until then…… Bye bye……」
And Lastiara leaves the house.
I hesitate if I should fight to stop her, I reach my hand in『Items』. However, in my hesitation, Lastaira had already departed. I am left in the house alone.
Where these words Lastiara’s last…… ?
With those thoughts, I try to crush all the unbearable feelings in me.
At that time, I hear the sound of the door.
Maria stood on the other side of the door. With a dark and serious expression similar to me, she looks over. From her state, I can guess that she heard our conversation.
「Maria, did you hear…… ?」
Maria confirms it.
Having seen us talking in a way different from how we usually do must’ve made it hard to enter the living room, and like that she only listened.
「Umm, then Lastiara-san……」
「She left. Just like you heard」
I point to where the frail Lastiara left.
「Is this fine, Master……」
「The problem is too big…… At least, I can’t separate 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 a nothing more than a student, the problem is too big for me.
「Then, if the new Tiara-san comes, and if you think of her as Lastiara, will you continue the labyrinth search as you have?」
「That isn’t Lastiara, it’s a different person. It’s 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 may be fine to call the Tiara inside Lastiara my enemy.
「At least, I can’t think of her as a companion……」
「At least, I can’t think of her as a companion……」
「I see…… Thank goodness, really, thank goodness……」
Returned an extremely clear voice.
No sign of sadness or anger, in Maria’s words was relief from the bottom of her heart.
「Th, thank goodness…… ?」
I don’t know the reason for that relief.
I thought Maria would be more sad from parting with Lastiara since they got along. However, it’s the complete opposite. And so, 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 heads on the verge of going pure white. Just two days ago, it’s the same thing Alty told me. I couldn’t immediately understand the meaning in those words.
While I’m Still dumbfounded, Maria continues.
「Well of course, Lastiara has her strange points but――」
I understand the words she’s saying, but I don’t understand their meaning. I was confused from the unexpected answer. Various questions fly 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 the word can’t express it, it’s unrealistic. A beautiful girl that I didn’t even see in the television of my world.
「that strong, and bright――」
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, similar to me.
If saying her personality is bright then it is. If you take off instability and madness, then she has a very forward facing bright personality. With that brightness she pulls people together, 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 may be fine to say she’s playing the villain.
「it may be dream-like, but she is 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 in her nature. That’s why, she has more enthusiasm towards adventure then anyone else, and she is more fitting to search the labyrinth than anyone else.
「she resembled Master a lot, so you got along very well――」
I got along with Lastiara.
Even now I’m taking a careful stance, since I can’t die no matter what. If it wasn’t for that, then just like Lastiara, then I might’ve taking the dream-like state of someone who likes games. Even though what comes out of my mouth is the opposite, I’m able to understand what Lastiara is saying very well.
「――and that Lastaira-san, I thought Master liked her. But, am I wrong? That the case isn’t it?」
――That Lastaira, I liked her?
If I think of the labyrinth search as my top priority, then it’d be appropriate to cut away Lastiara. That’s what I originally planned. And, that’s what I just did.
But, in the end I chased after her as if not knowing when to give up.
Is that because I like Lastiara?
If I think about it, being together with such a beautiful girl, as a man not thinking anything about it is strange. Is it because our meeting was bad, 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 while desperately thinking if there was something I could do.
Then that means…… that means, in other words.
As Maria said, I like Lastia――
【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, 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.
That is something I figured out from my 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 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 an instant I thought that this was what activated it, but it’s different from before. I wasn’t in enough confusion that they were out of control. In fact I was trying to organize the situation so that I could give an answer.
In that case, the other condition.
The second condition, does it 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 you can just exchange without permission!
There’s no excuse……!!
The flames of anger begin boiling up. With the long awaited calm I obtained from the skill『???』coming to nothing, I felt anger from the bottom of my heart.
However, even with that never before felt anger the skill『???』didn’t activate.
I should need calmness now more than before, but even then the skill『???』didn’t activate.
Aah, so it’s like that. Thinking of a childish『Love』is out, but an angry enough to kill someone is safe. It’s truly something laughable…!!
「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.
Well then, of course I’d be late in noticing my feelings. It’s natural since I didn’t have proper emotions. Because the seeds of emotions were torn from their roots.
Lastiara and I, our meeting was the worst.
A bitter smile, I laugh because of my surplus anger, and after laughing my calm returns.
「Hahaa…… No, it’s a bit strange…… That’s right, Maria. I don’t like Lastiara. There’s no mistaking it」
「eh, Eh? Is, is that so……」
Maria was surprised by my answer. It seems it was out of expectations. In order to confirm that truth, she immediately looks at my face. However, it’s futile no matter how much she looks.
Because, that thing has already disappeared.
「More importantly, I heard something interesting. Lastiara and I are similar」
Maria’s skill『Insight』is really useful.
Since she could recognize something even an adult can’t.
「……Ye, yes, I can’t explain it well, but the base is similar. From what I see, the two of you are an『Artificial』like existence with nothing wasted」
An accurate point, and my dry laugh came out.
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 up my thoughts. It’s as Maria said, we resemble each other.
「I see. Similar at our base」
Maria is frightened as I continue laughing.
Even with that『Perception』, it doesn’t look like she’s able to see through the current change in my thoughts.
That’s how strange the skill『???』is. In other words, Lastiara and I have about the same amount of instability.
If it’s now, I feel like I’d be able to understand Lastiara’s feelings a bit.
It’s likely that Lastiara knows that the ceremony is strange, but her emotions aren’t following 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 favor Lastiara, my emotions don’t follow through. And so, the foundation that’s left in my heart is only to go to the『Deepest Part』of the labyrinth.
That’s 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, the anger towards the skill『???』won’t permit that.
「Maria, I’m going out for a bit. I’ll return by noon」
「Eh, eh…… ? Master, where are you――!」
Leaving the confused Maria behind, I exit through the window. There isn’t much time.
――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 on acting towards my favor of Lastiara. But, if I lose that favor itself, I don’t have confidence that I’ll be able to act on my own accord. I know what I have to do, and I want someone to confirm that.
And in order to confirm that, Maria isn’t fit. She would put too many personal feelings in it.
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.