I pass the hospital’s reception and head to the ward Dia is in.
The well ventilated hallway was now restored to the point that it could barely maintain its appearance as a hallway. Moving through that fascinating hallway, I enter Dia’s room.
Inside I find not only Dia, but three other unfamiliar faces as well.
「Dia, a visitor is here?」
The three unfamiliar men look as they call on Dia who’s sitting on his bed.
Those three wore priest like outfits. From『Observing』, their job is also priest. They wear clean and lightly colored garments, and something like a stole hanging in the front.
「Si, Sieg!? Wa, wait a moment」
I answer with extreme composure, and like that I exit to the hall.
My anger from before still hasn’t disappeared, but I am calm because of the skill『???』. It’d help if I don’t get anymore worked up.
After killing some time in the hall, the three priest exit, they greet me and then leave. After confirming that, I enter the sickroom for the second time.
「Sieg, it’s rare for you to come so early in the morning……」
Dia made a troubled face.
He probably didn’t want me to see that scene from before. Dia must also have a lot of circumstances. I vaguely felt it from the fact that he’s Lastiara’s acquaintance.
「Where those just now Whoseyards Priest?」
「Uuu…… Not Whoseyards, but something similar?」
「Don’t force yourself to say it if you don’t want to」
「……N, no, I’ll say it. …… Those people are priest from my country, they came after me」
Dia confesses. He most likely thinks it’s too late to hide now.
「I’m sorry I kept it hidden until now. I’m an important person from a certain country, and a runaway……」
So Dia’s the important person of a certain country…… As expected, he must’ve been born with some special circumstances. If not, then there would’ve been no explanation for how he crossed paths with the man made Lastiara.
Dia may be planning to reveal the truth to me, but I’ve already heard enough to agree with.
Unable to bear seeing Dia talking with a very apologetic face, I gently answer him.
「…… Is that so. But that doesn’t matter to me. No matter what, Dia is Dia」
In a deeply moved state, Dia gazes at me. He was probably ready to receive some criticism.
But honestly, that isn’t the problem right now. I quickly progress the conversation.
「Then, do you have to return to your own country right away?」
「No, usually that’d be so. But it’s not right now. I have to attend tomorrow’s Christmas ceremony. I have the duty as a certain religions reprasentative……」
I was surprised to learn that Dia is in a higher position than I thought. It can’t be helped, since the time we met he was worn out and close to starvation. As expected, first impressions are important.
I hold down the desire to hear more, and continue.
「Are you returning after attending? Is there something I can help with?」
「No, of course I’m not going back. Since I decided to make it big here. Also, I don’t want Sieg’s help in persuading the bunch. I don’t want to be a bother. I think I’ll be able to manage something for now」
Dia clearly expresses her will.
Very different from some other children. Her and me, if we were able to be this honest with our feelings, then reaching a decision would’ve been easy…… I think.
「Okay. But, I also want to help in whatever I can. If something happens then feel free to rely on me」
「Aah, Thanks Sieg」
The problematic topic of Dia had ended in a few seconds.
Of course, I don’t think this is everything Dia holds. But, I first have to fix the current problem.
――Now then, next is to talk about Lastiara.
「Then, sorry for something so important, but there’s something I want you to hear」
「Something to hear? Aah, I’ll listen to as much as you want」
I get right down to business.
Unlike Lastiara and I, Dia doesn’t get driven mad through external influences, and he doesn’t put in his personal feelings like Maria. Above all, he’s my most trusted companion in this other word.
「Aah, it’s about Lastiara――」
I’m seeking advice from that Dia. That’s the goal of this visit.
I quickly explain the circumstances about Lastiara and Christmas. Dia quietly continues listening to that, and at the end he gives a big nod.
It’s not as if Dia doesn’t know anything about Christmas, and he easily accepts my words. And so, he began expressing his thoughts about Lastiara.
「Lastiara’s abnormality, is probably not just from her education. There has to be some type of spirit magic that’s being used. A person who’s been with her since childhood. If not, then she shouldn’t be that stubborn」
Dia explains that there’s a bad condition to her. It seems like Dia who’s well informed of holy magic has some ideas.
However, I can confirm Lastiara’s conditions on her status. At least I didn’t see any abnormal magic attached to her. If it were to be a skill that would fit that then it’d probably be『Body』and『Pseudo God’s Eyes』.
「If Lastiara has spirit magic attached to her, then can Dia cancel it?」
「No, I don’t think I can. If it’s a simple magic, then I would’ve noticed and displayed it when we met. I believe it’s a technique that’s etched deep into her flesh and blood. If it’s the people at the top of Whoseyards, then they’d do it without batting an eye」
Dia declares as if she’s seen it.
「Then, right now, can we only give up in canceling it…..」
「But, they should dispel it before the ceremony for Saint Taira’s descent. Not on their lives would they think of attaching spirit magic to a body of a great person of the past」
「Before the ceremony, is it……」
Then the idea is, to take Lastiara right before the ceremony. If that’s not possible, then I’d have to somehow get the help of someone who has a method to dispel it.
「So, what’s Sieg going to do? I’ll cooperate with you. My health already recuperated」
After listening to me, Dia asks me for my wish. In addition, he also offered his full support. Even with his own circumstances, if it’s for a friend then he spares no effort to help. I know full well how kindhearted Dia is.
But unfortunately, the answer to「What I’m going to do」, is something I still don’t have. To be more precise the skill『???』stole that answer.
「…… Dia, it’s a strange question, but is it fine?」
「If it’s Dia―― no, what would someone normally do? Should they go help in this situation?」
Without disguising it, I ask.
I can no longer trust my own judgement.
All of that, I can’t think of it as anything but being controlled by the skill『???』.
「Ha, haa? If it’s me?」
「Aah, even with other duties that should be prioritized, should I still go help Lastiara……?」
Dia was surprised, it looked like he was looking at something strange.
However, after a short pause, he returns the answer with a serious expression.
「Le, let’s see…… even if I had other things I should prioritize, if it’s someone irreplaceable to me then I’d go to help. Aah, I’d surely go. But, that’s me. I’m not sure if it’s normal or not」
Dia asserted as he looked at me with a passionate gaze. As compassionate a person as ever.
If it’s Dia then he’d go help. But, he doesn’t know if that’s normal or not……
I’ve gained more footing for my decision, but it’s still not enough.
Can’t be helped. I’ll have to be open about it.
「Then, what if―― this is just a what if. If I liked Lastiara, then should I go help her」
「Like I said, if I like Lastiara, then should I help her?」
「Eh, wait a second. Si, Sieg likes Lastiara?」
Dia suddenly became flustered, and he tries confirming it.
Certainly, to suddenly get this scenario thrown on would definitely be a surprise.
「No, I don’t like her. But, if, if that’s so then I’d like you to answer」
「Is, is that so. If…… this is a what if. …… Then, wouldn’t you go help her? If you like her, no matter what other priorities you have, I think it’d be normal to always help. Well, that’s if you like her. It’s only a what if you like her!」
Dia answered with no hesitation.
As expected, if I like her then I’d go help. That’s why, the skill『???』negated my emotions. Since going to the cathedral to help her is connected to my life or death.
「Got it. Then, I decided to help Lastiara」
I confirmed that my thoughts and Dia’s views were in agreement, and I make my decision.
「Thank you, Dia. I’ll be going to the Whoseyards cathedral for a bit」
I stand up without hesitation.
No, I wasn’t hesitating since the beginning, I may have already known the answer.
Abandoning the person you like isn’t normal. Rescuing the person I like, traveling through the labyrinth, returning to my family―― it’s clear that it’s the best choice.
「Wait, Sieg! A, all of a sudden! Going now is pointless! Didn’t I say that the spirit magic won’t be solved until right before the ceremony! Even if you forcefully help her, there’s the possibility that Lastiara will resist, and that Hein person was worried about lots of stuff! Instead of helping, she might end up saying she’ll definitely go to the ceremony because of the magic’s influence, can you somehow wait Sieg!?」
That’s why Hein-san was willing to do what he said in order to take Lastiara out of the country. If I rescue her now, then there’s the danger that she’d resists.
I make a foolish face as if just remembered that, and Dia lets out a sigh of relief.
And so, as if it can’t be helped, he lets out a murmur and continues his words.
「I clearly understand that Sieg really wants to rescue Lastiara. I understand…… so please wait Sieg」
Dia tells me to not act. And he continues.
「――I’ll rescue Lastiara」
She declares with a resolution not inferior to mine.
「If it’s me then I can be by the ceremony until it’s finished. I’ll aim for the moment the ceremony’s finishing and they loosen their guard, then I’ll use magic to destroy the cathedral――and I’ll get close to Lastiara to listen to her true feelings. If Lastiara wants to run away, then we’ll immediately run to Sieg」
What a bold and reckless plan. However, it’s true that it’s only at that moment that the spirit magic attached to Lastiara will be removed.
「If it’s a success, Lastiara and I would be chased from Whoseyards…… We’d immediately run to the southern marine country of Griad, and then we can all search the labyrinth again」
Dia indifferently continues. However, I don’t understand the reason he’d go that far.
Dia and Lastiara’s relationship must be deeper than I thought.
Realizing it sounds like an abnormal devotion, Dia answers in an embarrassed manner.
「Well, I’m already living on the run. It’d be reliable if someone like Lastiara becomes my companion in that」
「But if you rescue Lastiara, your enemies will increase. They’d also be bigger enemies. Even if you make the country your enemy, are you still resolved to rescue Lastiara?」
「――Resolve? If it’s resolve then I have it. If it’s a companion that Sieg wants to save that much, then it’s naturally someone I also want to save. This much is fine. Our labyrinth search, hasn’t it just begun?」
An immediate reply together with a grin.
Dia also has dreams of the labyrinth, even understanding that his obstacles to that dream would increase, he’s still going to rescue Lastiara.
From Dia’s overwhelming tolerance, I once again confirm my own intolerance.
I’m embarrassed of my own inability to act.
Dia’s existence is dazzling. And so, I thought that I also want to be like Dia.
That’s why, I try copying Dia and answer with a smile.
「Thank you, Dia…… But Dia doesn’t have to go that far. I’ll do it」
「Aah, since it’s my job to kidnap Lastiara. I’ll jump in right before the ceremony ends, and take Lastiara away. I”ll be the main culprit. There’s no need for Dia to that」
Just like Dia, I give a confident answer without hesitating.
Dia who hears reacts as if to say「As expected, it’s Sieg」and doesn’t oppose. Same as ever, it seems he holds an excessive belief in me.
A lot happened, but I finally solidified my plan.
There’s still time remaining, so I try hearing as much information of the cathedral as I can.
Nevertheless, Dia also isn’t too knowledgeable of the cathedral. As a guest of honor, he only knew the minimum amount needed for the ceremony. However, having that information or not makes a large difference.
It lets me learn of the timing to jump in, and the place to jump to.
But from Dia’s expression, it doesn’t look like he’ll let me do it alone. I’ve already warned him that I don’t need any unreasonable cooperation, but tomorrow, I’m not sure how unreasonable Dia is going to be.
With Dia’s same as always straightforwardness, a bitter smile spills out.
If I was as straightforward as Dia, then it might have been possible to reach a different conclusion. I can’t help but regret it.
However, now I can only do what I can.
Like this, after exchanging information with Dia, I immediately leave the hospital and head to the national border.
In order to look at the cathedral of Lastiara’s ceremony――
That giant solmen building, is one of the symbols for Whoseyards ceremony.
And so, it is also Whoseyards’s public institution that serves the important purpose of unifying the organizations.
When I heard of cathedral, I imagined something like a large western church, but the real thing is completely different. If I were to express it in words, it’d be appropriate to say it’s a fort.
A size of about three Tokyo Domes, enclosed by a man made river, the inner part has tall conifers enclosed with an iron fence. A wall of water trees and iron, the insides were not visible.
And in the middle of that tall enclosing, an even larger building towered over.
That is truly a fortress. To get into the wall, you’d have to use the huge iron bridge to cross the man-made river.
There is only a single drawbridge. In other words, there is only one exit and entrance.
That giant drawbridge has a width of about fifty meters, is always spanned across the river. I heard it’s a custom to not lift the drawbridge, so there’s no need to worry about forcefully having to cross the river.
…… There’s no need to worry, but conversely, the drawbridge is filled with bodyguards.
There are several dozen knights always guarding the bridge. On top of that, a giant gate is positioned at the end of the bride and there is elevated ground on both sides of the gate. On that is a small cabin near the bridge that the knights are stationed at. No matter what happens they won’t let a suspicious person pass by.
Whether to invade from the main gate, or to cross the river and fences……. I hesitate.
With my hand on my chin, I make many simulations of tomorrows raid, and I capture a peculiar presence with《Dimension》. It’s easy to figure out whose body that high temperature belongs to.
「Do your best, Sieg」
The guardian Alty lets her voice out from behind.
「Alty…… Do you need something?」
「I know the situation. That’s why I came to check on it」
With eyes that seem to see through everything, Alty talks to me.
She might’ve heard the story from Dia or Maria. Or perhaps, she eavesdropped with that cheat like power. Furthermore, it seems like she has something to say to me.
「That is, why are you trying to save Lastiara. If it is about love, then I am ready to lend you a hand」
As usual, she’s a person who likes love talks.
She always tries to tie things to love. But today, she hit the mark.
I think for a bit, and shake my head.
「Right now I’m not acting on something as praiseworthy as love. It’s a simpler reason」
That type of thing―― had already disappeared.
The reason can’t be on something I don’t have. It’s probably impolite to Lastiara, but I can’t agree with it. That’s why, if I were to say it now, it’s something much simpler.
「Hee. If it’s possible, can I hear that simple reason?」
「There’s something I don’t like. Since I don’t like it doing as it wants, I’m going to remove Lastiara’s shackles. That’s all」
In point…… Other world’s, skills, magics, countries, cultures, those things doing as they like irritates me. I can’t help but be annoyed.
That’s why, I oppose the skill『???』. I’ll save Lastiara. And then, we’ll be able to search the labyrinth together with Maria and Dia. That’s all
「Muu, I don’t really understand……, if you say it isn’t love like that, then it’d be difficult for someone like me who lives for love to help」
「It’d be fine if you didn’t do anything. If Alty’s existence is discovered, our position with our allies will be in danger. If you want to help, then it should be inside the labyrinth not in the town」
「Fumu, okay. I also don’t want to do anything disadvantageous to Maria. I’ll just watch this time」
It’s good that Alty easily understands. And so, with a gentle expression, she adds words.
「However, I’ll be troubled if you die. If you think it’s dangerous, make a fire. If there’s a fire then I can at least help. I’ll be on standby tomorrow, so it’s fine whenever」
After showing her openness to cooperating, Alty turns back.
「Thanks for the help, Alty」
「No need for thanks. Since we are cooperating」
With that answer Alty’s voice―― trembles.
Not a negative emotion like sadness, but a tremble that comes from joy. It was small, but she certainly smiled.
「Fufufu, just a little more…… A little more……」
And so, with an ominous smile, she disappears.
I thought it was a bit strange, but I don’t have the time to investigate that. I renew my emotions, and move to the next location.
First, I go to the town to buy the tools and weapons that I’ll be using tomorrow. And then, after resupplying my『Items』, I head to the library. I look for lots of books on Whoseyards’s Christmas. However, I was unable to obtain any notable information that I didn’t already know,. With no choice, I then search for books relating to magic.
The possibility of a battle tomorrow is high. And a battle with many people at that.
For that reason I have to search for examples of magic.
Of course, it’s not as if I’ll obtain those magics just from finding them. But even then, I search for books on magic. And so, I memorize the details of several magics.
Why am I doing that.
――That is, in order to make magic.
Previously, Maria and Franruhle said magic can’t be made. At that time, I didn’t strongly object before the two. However, in reality, I have already worked out many magics.
Magic《Dimension Gladiator》, Magic《Dimension Multiple》, Magic《Ice Arrow》, Magic《Di Snow》, Magic《Ice Flamberge》――Although they’re extensions of what I already use, I managed to work out five.
Maria said making magic is something from a fairytale.
It seems like making magic is a fairytale like thing that only a『Fraction Of People』like heroes can do.
However, I constantly think about it. This place, is just like a fairytale.
After thoroughly reading a sufficient amount of books, I exit the library.
While walking through the town, I plan out new magics.
「I’m, surely part of that『Fraction of People』. ――Magic《Dimension》, Magic《Freeze》」
With a small mutter, I mix the two activated magics.
The only problem left is the image. It’s for that reason that I looked up various magics.
Making a magic from zero is difficult. But, it’s different if there’s already established image. This was already proved. I carefully knead my magic, and bring it closer to the image.
If possible I wanted to take my time carefully practicing inside the house, but it’s best to have as much practice time as possible.
As a result, the path I walked on had frozen over a little. At first it was a miniscule amount of freezing that wouldn’t be noticed without staring. However, by the time I reached home, small icicles sprung forth from my footsteps.
――Just a little more, before I finish this fiendish freezing magic.
After returning home, the first thing I’m worried about is Maria. Acting on impulse, I progressed the plans to abduct Lastriara, and neglected her.
「…… Welcome back, Master」
However, contrary to expectations, Maria is the same as always.
The same dinner preparations as always, and with a casual conversation we have our meal together.
I was about to investigate Maria’s mental state, but I stop.
If possible, I’d like to put off Maria’s problem until Lastiara returns. It’s better to not aggravate the situation here, I calmly think.
Different from Lastiara’s problem, Maria’s problem isn’t one that’d immediately result in a dead person. There is a clear difference in the level of urgency. What I have to do now, is focus on the Lastiara kidnapping strategy.
And so, it becomes night.
I seclude myself in my room, and continue practicing the magic from before. Endlessly.
Until my MP is cut off, I continue that trial and error. Until my eyelids drop and I fall asleep, I continue.
――I’ll definitely save Lastiara.
Along with that vow, I lose conscience.
I wake up before the sun rises, and confirm my condition. My body is as usual, but my tension keeps me wide awake.
I plan to leave as the sun rises.
From what I heard from Dia, the ceremony will end within the morning, it seems that Saint Tiara will be revealed to the people by noon. Thus, I have to start the strategy from early morning.
I’ll use my remaining time to have a light breakfast.
But, standing over there, is Maria by herself.
I was shocked.
It didn’t look like Maria was panning to do anything. Yesterday evening as well, we managed to eat our meal without anything happening. Therefore, I didn’t think she’d show herself at this timing.
The plan was to bring back Lastiara before Maria awoke, but that had now failed from the very beginning.
With a blank look, Maria looks over here, and bit by bit her words spill out.
「As expected, you are going…… Master……」
It’s as if she understood everything.
I looked down on the effectiveness of Maria’s perception. My actions and thoughts must’ve been read, and she decided to wait at this time. Having come here I can’t afford to not say anything, I give her instructions.
「…… Aah, I’ll come back soon together with Lastiara. So, can Maria wait here?」
Maria received that with a blank look. Saying nothing at all.
While I thought it was strange, I continued the conversation.
「After coming back, we’re going to a different country. What will Maria――」
I change my mind as I was about to ask.
Asking like that, it’d be like saying it didn’t matter what Maria chose.
Considering her feelings, hearing a「Do?」here is too cruel hearted.
「――Let’s go together Maria. The three of us will escape」
Together, I clearly say it to Maria.
However, Maria’s expression doesn’t change. With that blank look, she moves her mouth.
「Escape……? Then, what should we do with this house…..?」
I didn’t think the topic of the house would come up here.
It was just a temporary house to me. I had no problem with throwing it away. However, Maria must be different.
「It’s unfortunate, but we’ll have to abandon this house. It’s a waste but……」
It was then, that Maria’s expression finally changed.
A face I’ve never seen her make. Not even during the time she was a slave.
She faced me with a face as if the world was coming to an end, and her body trembles.
I thought I was able to calmly tell her.
However, my response was in vain, and it further aggravated Maria.
「Please don’t go, Master…… I beg you, please don’t go…… !」
And so, Maria’s face warps as she pleas.
This is the first time she obstructed my actions.
「Maria…… Just, what is the problem….. ?」
「If you go, then I’ll never be able to reach again…… I’lll be left behind……」
Maria’s expression continues getting worse, at the end, it creates a bottomless madness like Lastiara once had.
「N, no, calm down, Maria. I said we would go together. I promise we’ll never leave you behind. There’s no way I would leave Maria behind right?」
「Your lying. Even if the three of us escape, I’m sure, I won’t be there…… Being there or not won’t change anything…… I don’t want that…… !」
A conversation like that time with Lastiara. Her words keep jumping all over, and I can’t catch up with them.
I’m convinced that Maria isn’t in a normal state, and I look for it’s origin.
But, during that time Maria continues talking.
「…… Why are you going to rescue Lastiara-san? You don’t even like her right?」
She question my favor to Lastiara.
In other words, is this the result of jealousy?
However, Maria’s character is calm and very patient. If felt unsettling that everything had exploded out at this point.
It might be because of my actions that the problematic love has exploded. However, even if it’s love, everyone has a small awareness for it. For it to become like this is strange.
「Why……, Isn’t Lastiara our companion? She’s an indispensable companion to search the labyrinth with from now on. There’s no way I can abandon her」
「The labyrinth search from now on? 『From now on』, until when!?」
Maria’s voice roughens, and she comes closer.
「Ca, calm down, Maria!」
「If you go, then you will surely rescue Lastiara-san! If that’s the case, then it will be the same again! I can’t go to the labyrinth’s depths! Isn’t it fine to not go! Living calmly in this house, isn’t just that fine!!」
And so, she spits out all the complaints that have built inside of her.
But, it’s not as if I don’t acknowledge them. That request, it has the same meaning as my goal to return home. In order to convey my intuitions, I once again try to sooth Maria.
「I can’t do that, Maria. I can’t stop myself from going into the depths of the labyrinth. And to go to the『Deepest Part』of the labyrinth, I have to stay in the allied nations……」
「That’s, just being greedy! Even without going deep, by earning money safely in the floors near the tenth, you can live an ordinary happiness! I think that’s fine! And like that wouldn’t it be fine without Lasitara-san!!」
It’s clearly, not the same Maria as usual. I resolved myself and approach her, and with both hands I grasp her shoulders. And so, with our eyes meeting I return the diverging conversation.
「Maria, this isn’t about that! It’s about rescuing Lastiara because if it stays like this then she will die! Is Maria fine with Lastiara dying!?」
Maria’s moist eyes open wide.
The persuasion I put my all into was effective, the strength I feel in my hands gradually fades.
And so, in a frail manner she casts her eyes down, and replies.
「…… Lastiara is a good person. ……I do not want her to die」
「Right? I have to rescue Lastiara……, because she is our companion……」
I can see that the strength had left Maria’s body.
Alright. With this, Maria will finally calm――
「――Companion…… ? Because she is a companion? Just for that, Master will put his life on the line to go and rescue her?」
The instant I affirmed, a strange pressure emitted from Maria’s body.
It’s true identity is magic, and I take half a step back.
「Because she is a companion, that is that is……, a lie. It’s strange to put your own life on the line for just that reason. …… That’s right. It’s strange. Eeh, I understand. Master wants to show his good points!? To Lastiara! Master, wants to show off not to me but to Lastiara don’t you!? When that person wasn’t here, Master was showing off for me――!!」
Flames gush out of Maria’s body along with her shout.
I immediately back away and cross my arms, and protect my face from the flames. And so, from the gap in my arms, I see Maria creating a flame sword.
With the flame sword in one hand, slowly, Maria gets closer.
――It’ll be a fight.
Although I sensed it, I was unable to take out a sword from『Items』.
The reason is simple. I absolutely don’t want to have to choose to attack Maria with a weapon.
While developing my magic, I go to catch Maria barehanded.
「――Magic《Dimension Gladiator》, Magic《Freeze》!!」
I first weaknesses the flames in the room with《Freeze》to get closer to Maria.
To match those movements, Maria raised the flame sword and swung it down.
I dodge the flame sword, and try to grab her wrists. But, Maria’s『Eye』had predicted that.
Clad in flames she extends her other hand, conversely it’s my wrist that are captured, and she obstructs me.
Maria’s flames burn my skin, and my body stiffens.
Using the gap my stiffness created, Maria slashes upwards with her flame sword.
However, that only cuts through open space. Thanks to《Dimension Gladiator》, I was able to see the swords trajectory.
At the end of the day, Maria doesn’t stand a chance in close combat. That’s how different our values are. Using the strength of my status, I shake free from Maria’s hands, grip her wrists in return, and turn her around. Maria couldn’t keep up with my speed, and I move her arms to her back. Like that, I push Maria to the floor and『Observe』her to check her condition.
There’s no doubt.
Maria is not normal right now. It isn’t normal for confusion to build up this rapidly when living an ordinary life. I can only think of it as the effect of some magic or skill.
I think of a person who could do that.
And so, I shout while holding Maria down.
「Maria, listen well! Recently, have you met with that Palinchlon!?」
「Pa, Palinchlon―― ?」
「The knight that successfully bid on you in the slave market! If you saw him, he’s a bit taller than me, and dresses like a merchant, a suspicious guy!」
「That’s……! More than that…… !」
Even more flames burst out, it tries to burn me from the bottom, but I strengthen《Freeze》to endure it.
「Maria, was some kind of magic attached to you!? You have an unbelievable amount of confusion!」
While still stuck together, I pour all my magic to《Freeze》.
It’s fortunate that I spent all day yesterday practicing my freezing magic, my control of the cold is perfect. Maria’s flames weaken, and the heat in Maria’s body begins disapatting.
In a literal sense, I continue persuading her while cooling her head.
That method was far more effective than expected.
Along with the cold, Maria loses the strength in her body, and she calms down.
「That’s right, calm down….. Take deep breaths, and calm down……」
Although they are rough, Maria follows my instructions and continues taking deep breaths.
And so, when her body had completely cooled, it appeared like Maria had returned to her senses.
「Eh, eh…… ? Eh, huh…… ?」
「Are you fine, Maria…… Are you calm?」
Together with the lost heat, Maria’s confusion is also lost.
From that point, I began having suspicions about the origin of those flames.
In that case, the greatest suspect would be Alty who taught her.
However, I don’t see her using such an overbearing method for Maria. It’s too off the mark from assisting Maria’s love.
If there was some reason to aim for my life, then with Maria’s power, then I can see her trying to capture me with this. Unable to figure out Alty’s goal, I clench my teeth.
「S, sorry…… ! I, such a thing…… !」
With her sanity back, Maria apologizes with a pale face.
「It’s fine. I know that it’s because of the confusion that you said things you didn’t mean……」
Having said that I step away from on top of Maria, and I feel the morning sun coming in through the window. If it was a match of time for the Lastiara rescue plan, then it was only a hinderance. Perhaps, the culprit’s goal is to obstruct Lastiara’s rescue. However, I only thought of rescuing her yesterday, and the ones who know that are only Maria, Dia, and Alty.
Then, it can only be Alty….. ?
However, in that case the goals don’t match. To Lastiara, Alty shouldn’t have any resentment. At least, I wasn’t able to find any from her expression yesterday.
「Sorry, sorry, sorry, Master…..」
During the time I spend reasoning, Maria continues apologizing.
For now, I have to calm her down.
「It’s really fine, you don’t have to apologize. More importantly is you body fine? From what I saw the confusion should have already died down……」
I check on Maria while patting her head.
「Yes……, right now I’m sane. I’m really sorry, I……」
Maria acted as if she didn’t know what just happened. However, the memories remain, and the things she did, at any rate she continues apologizing.
She’s calming down. Like this I can at least leave her home. But――although it’s a hunch, I have a bad premonition.
However, I don’t have the time to talk to Maria. The sun had already started rising.
If I miss this timing, then Lastiara will be in danger.
My unease doesn’t stop, and I can only choose.
Probably, from now on, this will be a choice I’ll always regret――
「――Maria, I’ll be bringing Lastiara back now. It should be over quickly」
「Y, yes. If that is what Master decided, then of course I will obey…..」
Maria was obedient.
It’s because of that confusion that she acted like she did.
「Until we return, Maria should wait in this house. We’ll definitely come back soon」
In truth, I want to entrust her to someone reliable. However, I can’t think of any suitable person.
I thought of having her wait at the bar, but at this point Maria is stronger than the manager.
With no other choice, I have Maria wait at the house.
Lastiara’s rescue will probably be a blitzkrieg. It should be fine since it won’t be long.
「Yes, I understand…… I will wait here……, for you two……」
I can certainly feel intelligence in Maria’s eyes. The madness from before isn’t there.
With this it’s fine―― it should be. I’m also worried about Maria, but Lastiara could die at any moment. Because of the level of urgency, I can only choose Lastiara.
「Then, I’m off. Maria」
「…… Yes, take care. Master」
Although reluctant, I turn my back to Maria and begin running.
I jump from the house and head to Whoseyards.
At the time of parting, I shake off Maria’s face that comes to mind and keep running.
I immediately take out large stole from『Items』, and wrap it around my neck concealing up to my nose. It’s probably pointless, but I want to hide my features as much as possible. The people who know will know, but the people who don’t won’t learn. That’s the idea.
And so, as the morning glow illuminates the town of Valt, I cross the national border and enter Whoseyards.
Even though it’s so early, many people are walking around in Whoseyards. Those people, are probably the ones who will participate in today’s Christmas ceremony. In a hurry, everyone heads to the cathedral.
Because of the week long pre festival, each and every person has reached max tension. From parents with their children to elderly couples, everyone is anticipating the Christmas in the cathedral.
I apologize in my heart to this, and run through the main street.
And so, the distant cathedral entered my view.
In the direction ahead, I felt a strangely dense magic rise up.
It was not from the cathedral. But outside of it.
Buried in the crowd of people, in the center of the main street stood a single man.
The man’s name is Hein Helvelshine―― A knight with short gold hair fluttering in the wind.
I can’t ignore that.
Among the numerous knights I expect, I’m unable to ignore this person.
I slowly drop my running speed, and step towards Hein-san.
Before I knew it, the crowd of people on the main street had parted.
The people in the surroundings where keeping away from the atmosphere created by us.
Hein-san was mostly the same from the last time we met. But, he is strangely dirty. Cut here and there, his clothes are torn, covered in filth, and his hem is worn out.
Only two of the rings on his fingers remained. One of his swords is also missing.
I didn’t even have to look at his status, I understood that he was wounded all over.
The wounded Hein speaks as I get closer.
「You’ve finally come, boy……」
Hein-san was waiting for me.
Today, at this timing, he was convinced that I would pass here.
What meaning that can have―― there are two.
In order to not let me pass. Or perhaps, the opposite.
Of course, I was convinced of what reason Hein-san waited.
Until this day, he is the only one that I know of that wanted Lastiara to leave this country. That’s why, I unhesitatingly get closer, and go to meet Hein-san.
To this Hein-san meets me with a gentle smile.
The same as before, a smile pretty enough to make me tremble. Why, because it felt like the shadow of death loomed over that face.
The knight Helvelshine has the resolution to die.
That is the weight I feel from him. And that magic dims――
「――Let’s talk while moving」
After confirming it, Hein-san shows me his defenceless back as he walks towards the cathedral.
I follow that back. And I had no thoughts of attacking it.
His expression, appearance, action, all of that could only stand for one thing. I’m convinced he is cooperating.
Hein-san asks while walking.
「Having reached this point, our methods are limited. Do you understand that boy?」
「Umm……, during the ceremony, I heard that all of Lastiara’s bonds will disappear. I thought of aiming at that point」
Being next to the cooperating Hein-san, I explain my plan with no lies.
「That is fine. After that, is to aim at that time and carry off the girl. Otherwise, aim to take down the organizers. Either works」
「The organizers, acting prime minister Fedelt, as well as a single senate representative. If those two decide they cannot conclude the ceremony, then the Mistresses death will be averted. With guests and nobles from each country in attendance, then there is the chance that they would be forced to stop and alter their plans」
「So there’s also that method」
Having received another option at the very end perplexed me. I am thankful, but it’s true that it caused some hesitation.
「Please take it in mind as another option」
Hein-san notices my confusion and doesn’t force it on me.
And so, we reached right before the cathedral’s drawbridge.
We wait for a chance among the noisy citizens. Because as soon as the ceremony on Lastiara finishes, the real ceremony inside the cathedral would begin. The citizens who are participating in this look forward to the opening of the cathedrals gate.
I move my eyes to the cathedral.
Halfway through the drawbridge, there are numerous knights holding swords lined up on the wall. Moreover, further down on the elevated rest area, I can see a countless number of knights on standby.
Hein-san’s expression doesn’t change to this, he points his finger to the gate and beings explaining.
「From here we have to move through the main gate to get to the cathedral. I searched for other routes yesterday, but there was no difference in the defence. In that case, we should break through the easier path which is the front gate」
I don’t object to any of Hein-san’s words. To begin with, I have no idea about the interior, so if it isn’t through the front entrance then I’d end up completely lost. It’s no different from my plan.
「Understood. Let’s rescue Lastiara together, Hein-san」
I convey my intent to Hein-san.
However, having heard that, Hein-san makes a faint smile and shakes his head.
「That wrong, boy. The one who will be saving is you. Only you」
And so, with a sorrowful face, and a content tone, Hein-san answers.
「Only me…… ?」
「Do you remember what I said in the labyrinth? I also took part―― did I not say? That is the truth. The one who educated her, is none other than me. And so, although I realized I was wrong, I turned a blind eye to it and continued, I was unable to understand the girls heart until the end. The resolved『Lastiara』, nor the『Girl』seeking help, I was unable to understand either of them…… Therefore, I do not have the qualification」
I couldn’t understand what Hein-san meant by『Qualification』. It seems like Hein-san regrets having left Lastiara’s problem alone for so long although he knew of it.
「No, I believe, that qualifications are unrelated to this. If you say those things, then even I……」
I also don’t have the qualifications.
I was unable to answer Lastiara’s「Help」, and I lost my feelings for Lastiara. The current me, doesn’t have the confidence that Hein-san thinks I do.
「That is not the case. You have only stood here for a few days. Three years have passed for me. It’s about that difference. It really is, only about that diffefernce……」
While in self-deprecation, Hein-san quickened his pace forward.
Because of the difference in speed, I naturally found myself walking behind him.
That’s why, in order to catch up to that back, I also raise my pace.
At that time, I felt a strange magic while walking after Hein-san.
My《Dimension》had noticed that magic――it’s『Weight』surprised me. It’s weight, was as if Hein-san was scraping off his soul.
I didn’t understand how, but I understood that Hein-san was prepared to turn to forbidden magic for Lastiara’s sake. Something similar to a『Curse』, and I intuitively understood that there was some kind of『Compensation』to squeeze out that magic.
I don’t know why I thought that.
However, mysteriously, I felt nostalgic when I saw Hein-san’s back. I feel like I’ve felt that『Curse』somewhere before. Someone somewhere, paid a similar『Compensation』……
That strange nostalgia urges me, and I reach my hand out to Hein-san’s magic.
And so,『My Magic』and『Hein-san’s Magic』――『Dimension Attribute Magic』and『Magic from the Soul』come in contact.
――The scene in my eyes warps.
As if the dimension of the world is warping, in an instant the scenery is changed from hat of the main street
Hein-san is currently walking in Whoseyards’s main street. Under the clear sky, I can see the cathedral’s bridge a distance from here. There was no need to confirm it, right now we should’ve been walking by there. And yet, for an instant I saw Hein-san walking in a gloomy basement.
No, I still see that even now. As if two dimensions piled ontop of each other, I see Hein-san walking down the hall of a certain basement.
As if it was a daydream―― Like a revolving lantern of life. (Tl: revolving lantern = seeing life flash before your eyes, more or less)
Revolving lantern…… ? Hein-san’s…… ?
I understood that the reason I was pulled into here wasn’t because of the skill『???』, but the dimension magic《Dimension》. 《Dimension》is analysing the magic that is shaving off Hein-san’s soul.
That magic density is thick, a scene close to an eternity, becomes information and enters my head.
That is, the memories of the days spent with the girl Hein-san is off to rescue, and the memory of regret that is enough to curse the world.