However, the morning of the next day.
Today would be the same as always I believed―― and yet, I was betrayed.
I hear Master and Lastiara-san talking.
「――……Then! If you think that, then will Sieg help me? Like Hein said, someplace far, will you go on a journey with me?」
That is, like an act in some love story, I could do nothing but raise a cramped laugh.
Lastiara-san appealed to Master. That appearance is like a heroine in a story, beautiful, and tragic―― A very cowardly conversation.
Cowardly. Yes, it’s cowardly.
Their words leak out into the corridor outside of the room.
「Lastiara-san……, you said you’d only look……! Why……!?」
Lastiara-san said that she would support my love at the time when it was only us two.
But, the reality that is shown before me is ruthless.
There’s no doubt, Master’s current heroine is Lastiara-san, and I’m a minor role.
The world of Master and Lastiara-san, and my world. Leaning on the door that separates those two worlds, a tear falls.
That tear fell along my cheek, and before it could hit the ground it became a flame and disappeared.
Disappeared in a black black flame.
――But in the end, Master was unable to respond to Lastiara-san’s plea.
Unable to grasp Lastiara-san’s mental instability, she ran before he could answer. With that result, I felt some relief. However, I can’t afford to stay relieved, I resolved myself and open the door. And there, is Master with a face as if it was the end of the world.
「Maria, did you hear…… ?」
I answer without lying, and continue to confirm Master’s intent.
「Umm, then Lastiara-san……」
「She left. Just like you heard」
Master weakly points towards the window.
「Is this fine, Master……」
「The problem is too big…… At least, I can’t separate from the labyrinth right now……」
The moment I heard those words of resignation, my rampaging heart felt at ease.
Of course, that doesn’t show on the surface, and then I go on to confirm what happens next.
「Then, if the new Tiara-san comes, and if you think of her as Lastiara-san, 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」
Then, my at ease heart becomes delighted.
In order to not let Master see my ugly delight, I desperately harden my expression.
「At least, I can’t think of her as a companion……」
However, in place of losing Lastiara-san, I cross the limits of my restraint.
「I see…… Thank goodness, really, thank goodness……」
The peace I felt from the bottom of my heart spilled, and cold words came out.
「Th, thank goodness…… ?」
Master makes an amazed face when he sees my smile.
I think「I’ve done it」, however, I Instead decide that this is a good opportunity. Having been left behind by Lastiara-san, and if it’s the now weakened Master, then I might be able to pull out the words I wanted to hear. It’s a chance to completely change the situation.
Even my『Eye』whose specialty is in measuring opportunities, is saying that it can be done if it’s now.
Lastiara-san did something similar. Then even I――
「Because, I thought Master might have liked Lastiara」
Hearing those words, Master’s eyes go wide.
As if his thoughts couldn’t catch up to the sudden words. Thanks to my『Eye』, I am able to pick up on that panic. And so, with those disorganized thoughts of his, he’d probably only be able to answer with a single line.
For Master who couldn’t stop Lastiara-san, even if his mouth was torn open he wouldn’t be able to answer「Like」. Even if he did, he won’t say it. It’s not that he can’t say it, but he won’t say it because it’d go against his character.
If he「Liked」Lastiara-san, then there’s no way he would ignore her「Help」――Ignoring her「Help」was because he「Doesn’t like」her―― so is my reasoning. That’s the type of person Master is.
And so, if he says the words「Don’t like」even once, then that would become a reality. It is Master who is skilled at deceiving himself. If he says「Don’t like」and believes his words, then he would certainly give up on everything.
If it’s the Master I know, then he will give up before the mighty power that is a country. Fearing the risk, he will surely pick the passive option. I understood that, and continue my words.
「Well of course, Lastiara has her strange points but……. being that beautiful, that strong, and bright. A bit mischievous, but deep down she thinks of her companions. It may be dream like, but she is the ideal person to search the labyrinth with. She resembled Master a lot, so you get along very well――」
I see Master’s face warp.
But, that’s necessary. For the farewell that’s to come, it must be done.
That’s why, I ask this for Master’s sake.
「――and that Lastaira-san, I thought Master liked her. But, am I wrong? Is that the case?」
As if coercing him, I press for an answer.
Having lost his words, his thoughts become hectic. Recalling the past and the present, he desperately searches for an answer.
Now, please hurry and say it.
Say it, I don’t like Lastiara-san.
Just as always, please suppress your emotions with reason.
Now, hurry. Now, now, now.「I don’t like」just those words――
「Ha? Haa, haha, hahaa, hahahaha…… Hahahaa, hahahahahahaa――!」
Master laughed. And at the same time,
For only an instant the color of my vision inverted, the world warped.
A sudden change in his expression that seemed as if he was possessed, and he wore a refreshing smile with no indecision.
Master continues laughing. And in that laugh, I also saw anger.
Suddenly my『Eye』aches. I press it down in bewilderment.
My『Eye』, never foresaw this response. Why is he smiling, why is he angry, I have no idea.
Even with my prided『Eye』seeing it, I don’t understand a thing.
Master certainly was a person my『Eye』could grasp. But, not to this extent…….
「Wh, what’s the matter, Master?」
Because of that uncharacteristic laughter, I timidly ask.
「Hahaa…… No, it’s just a little strange…… That’s right, Maria. I don’t like Lastiara. There’s no mistaking it」
「eh, Eh? Is, is that so……」
I heard the words I desired of「Don’t like」. But, having been given that answer so quickly instead worried me.
My expectation, was an answer with more anguish that was supposed to be given after having piled up compromise after compromise. However, what was there was a refreshing smile.
「More importantly, I heard something interesting. Lastiara and I are similar」
Without caring about my trembling, Master joyfully speaks.
In contrast, I could only answer without pretenses. I had no leeway to choose my words.
「……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」
Having heard my honest feelings, Master once again laughs. This time it was a dry laughter.
「I see. Similar at our base」
I don’t know the reason for laugh.
Certainly, Master has a difficult personality that’s hard to understand. On top of his indecisiveness and sense of values, his thought process is unique, he’s a person that ordinary people can’t hope to understand.
But, this is strange. Until now, if I used my『Eye』, I was able to understand a little.
However, right now I have no idea. This is just like, he became another person.
During my panic, Master quickly moves.
「Maria, I’m going out for a bit. I’ll return by noon」
「Eh, eh…… ? Master, where are you――!」
When I tried to restrain him, Master had already left the house.
With those movements filled with confidence, he leaves from the window just like Lastiara-san. I could only see him off.
My thoughts unable to catch up, I couldn’t move a step.
My stretched out hand slowly descends, and I sit on a chair in the living room.
「Ju, just what is going on…… 」
I am unable to handle the fact that I couldn’t understand all of Master’s feelings, and my body trembles.
I was unable to understand a person’s feelings――and it was the feelings of the person I love that I couldn’t understand. For that to discourage me this much, I didn’t think it was something so freighting. This never happened once in my life.
The advantage I have over others, is that I have the skill『Insight』. It’s thanks to that, that something like this has never happened before. Even for Master who easily deceives himself, and even that Lastiara-san, I was never unable to understand a single thing about what they were thinking.
「C, could it be, again……? Because of this『Eye』……?」
A memory of the past is resurrected.
The village, ■■, I remember that it’s because of my skill『Insight’s』judgement that they burned.
Wait, ■■? eh, Eh?
Huh, ■■? The words don’t come out? No, I can’t remember?
What was it I lost……?
「N, no, calm down……. First I need to calm down…… 」
With my experience, I try to regain my calm.
Even at the time in my birthplace, even at the time of the war, even at the time I became a slave, losing my composure was never a good thing. With repeated deep breaths, I reorganize my cloudy thoughts.
This is the first time that I didn’t understand Master’s thoughts at all. However, to begin with, that’s the type of thing human relationships are. Always knowing everything is what’s strange.
That’s right. This skill『Insight』is strange. But, for now I’ll put the anger I have towards this『Eye』on hold.
What’s more important is to be calm. Before anything else, I have to predict Master’s actions.
Master said「Don’t like」about Lastiara-san. However, it’s there that all the madness began. Laughing at a clear『Something』, getting angry at a clear『Something』.
But, I don’t know what that『Something』is. Not me and not Master himself knows.
Calmly, I gather the fragments of information I’ve gained until now.
Not only today’s conversation between Master and Lastiara-san, I put together the information from before, and search for the primary cause. ――And, I realize.
Alty-san said it.「Those two won’t change」 「But their surroundings won’t permit that」. It must’ve referred to this situation. I have no other ideas of what it could be.
In other words, with the assistance of the surroundings, Master was changed.
What I think of, are the knights of Whoseyards. With the cutting edge magic tools and medicine of a large country, then it’s not impossible.
Master was changed through inhumane means, I realize that, laugh at the disappointing to myself, the anger, he went to help Lastiara-san?
That possibility is high. No, if that isn’t so ,then I’d have no idea what other reason he’d have to leave at this timing.
To go out by himself at this timing, there’s no reason other than to rescue Lastiara-san. If, he was going to the labyrinth then he’d open a magic door.
In other words, the answer is――
Without talking to me at all, leaving me behind, Master went to Lastriara-san――?
「N, no……, just that is……」
My body does not stop trembling with the answer I arrived at.
It’s too similar to the mistake I made in my birthplace.
It’s exactly the same as that time……. I’ll lose all my important things again…….
Unable to bear, I bolt out of the house and move in the direction of Whoseyards. However, a single man stood in the way, and I stop.
This is the third time I meet with this man.
The encounter at the slave market, the second encounter at the bar with Alty-san, and this third chance meeting.
The skill『Insight』rings an alarm. It yells out that the man in front of me is dangerous.
The man with sharp features approaches as the corners of his mouth rise upwards.
「We meet again」
With a smile affixed on him, the man called out to me.
「I, I’m in a hurry……. Please move aside…… 」
Believing I shouldn’t get close to this man, I give a short response. However, the man returns his words with no care at all.
「I thought it was about time. So I came to check it out」
I don’t know what that man is saying. However, I do understand that he’s thinking of nothing good. Deciding not to deal with him, I try to pass by his side.
However, the man’s words stop my steps.
「Don’t you want to hear about the people in Whoseyards? Although I’m like this, I’m one of Whoseyards really important knights. My bond with my Lord Lastiara and Brother Sieg is deep. If you want, I can even give you advice?」
「You……, are a knight of Whoseyards……?」
A knight of Whoseyards―― The enemies I suspect to have mislead Master.
「Aah, that’s right」
I feel the blood rush to my head. A feeling as if I need to hit something, and I find the target that is the Whoseyards knight, and it overflows.
「You, you all, what did you do to Master!? Master’s condition is strange! It’s because he was influenced by Whoseyards, that he became strange!!」
I shout using all my strength. But, the man nonchalantly receives it, and returns calm words.
「Well, what we did is to the Lord―― Lastiara Whoseyards only. As for Brother Sieg, nothing’s been done」
「Lies! I know you’re trying to use Master! For that, you placed magic on Master didn’t you!? In order to control him!」
「Really, nothing was placed. I’m not lying, shouldn’t the young lady also know」
Saying that, the man points at his own eye. With a similar skill, it seems the man saw through my own skill『Insight』. And so, he says to judge the truth with that『Eye』.
However, the judgement of that truth was already done. I know that the man wasn’t lying.
But, even though I know, I no longer know what I can trust in.
While biting my lips, I ask for the reason of Master’s condition.
「Then, why is Master, in that condition……! 」
「I can’t say since I personally didn’t see, but even then there are things that I know」
「…… Please say it」
「In the end of the day, one way or another Brother Sieg can’t abandon anyone. Even if there’s pain, hesitation, or numerous mistakes―― in the end he can’t abandon anyone who moved his emotions. That’s the type of person that Siegfried Visitor is」
The man in front of me, easily answered.
Master is going to help because he’s kind. He states that’s all there is to it.
I didn’t want to acknowledge it. Is it because I wanted to monopolise that kindness, or is it because of some other reason.
「…… That might be so. It’s true that he has that part. But, more than that, Master is a coward, indecisive, and a pitiful person! That’s why, he would never go to help Lastaira-san!!」
「Certainly. That’s true. I also well aware of that」
The man nods after hearing my evaluation of Master. He doesn’t try to deny it.
Like that, he continues agreeing with my words.
「It’s because he’s a coward that he is frightened by the labyrinth, it’s because he’s indecisive that his companions get injured, there’s nothing else to say. He’s simply a boy whose specialty is going in the labyrinth. That is Brother Sieg. At first he was more cruel. There was no way he’d make a country his enemy to save a person」
「R, right? Then――」
Using the man’s words, I try to push my own opinions through.
However, that’s interrupted by the man’s unpleasant smile.
「Hahaa. Then, isn’t Brother Sieg putting in the effort to change? Becoming stronger in order to make a better outcome, isn’t he doing his best?」
Wrong―― but I can’t deny it.
The confidence in that, no longer remained.
What, what if it’s as the man says?
If Master becomes any stronger than this, together with Lastiara-san they’d attain heights that I can’t reach. With the little amount of flame magic I learned I’d be left behind.
No, that’s wrong. Was I already left behind……?
In reality I’m alone at the house. All by myself, left behind.
「Th, that’s…… You don’t know that. I didn’t see that…… 」
「That’s true. It’s the limits of the young lady relying on her『Eye』. You couldn’t understand a thing about Brother Sieg」
Master is trying to change? But, because I depended on the skill『Insight』, I didn’t notice that? Because of this『Eye』, I made a mistake again? Before I knew it, Master’s heart became strong, and he obtained the will to fight against the mighty wall that is Whoseyards? Then, Master’s angry at Whoseyards, and he’s going to save Lastiara-san?
「Now, young lady. There’s no more time. Because tomorrow, Brother Sieg is going to help the Lord. And, with his growth, he will splendidly help the Lord」
Ah, aah……, he will surely save her…….
Master is strong. His mentality matches his age, but when it comes to ability he’s like the heroes of old.
He will surely save Lastiara-san in a dramatic fashion, and he will continue moving forward.
「If it’s like that, then it’s like『Sieg (hero)』and『Lastiara (Heroine)』were bound by a fated bond. That’s right, bound by a fated bond……. 」
The two tied by a fated bond, as the story’s hero and heroine, they will proceed to the next stage.
And, I will probably be there.
As nothing but a minor role in the previous chapter, will I have my debut in the next stage.
No. Surely not. For a character with no role whatsoever, it’s normal for them to vanish.
「Aah, but, the young lady has nothing. Not able to understand Brother Sieg, not a single bond, not even the power to follow him」
That’s right. I have nothing.
I don’t have the perfectness that Lastiara-san has. I don’t have any beauty. My personality isn’t good. I’m not the lady of a good house, I don’t have a past of having connections to other countries. Neither talent, nor strength.
For me who has nothing, there is no way I can remain by Master’s side. I’ll be left behind.
「What the little lady has left, is the one sidedly established promise of master and servant. And, Brother Sieg might have doubts towards that promise」
I know it even if it isn’t said. It’s because I know, that I seek a different connection.
I seek power.
The thing that Master wishes for the most, I want it no matter the sacrifice.
With repeated shallow breaths, I reply to the man before me.
「I, it’s……, it’s still fine. If it’s magic, if it’s magic then I can get stronger……」
In order to not have those words crushed, I show the possibility I have.
However, the man mercilessly continues his words.
「Do you think, that magician’s stronger than you won’t appear from now on?」
The man crushed my possibility. He enjoyable thrusts the reality before me.
I couldn’t deny that.
As time passes, Master’s acquaintances increase. And so, it’s not impossible that a magician that exceeds me to appear within them. If that’s the case, then I ――
「But, Master said staying here is fine! It’s fine as long as I cook, he said so――！」
「Don’t you already know? That was pity. It was said out of sympathy wasn’t it? Cooking is not important to him. He himself triumphs in it, and there are any number of replacements」
I know that that role was given in consideration of me.
My cooking, is not necessary to Master.
Inside of my heart, tears spill.
「S, still! Master still didn’t say, where he went to! I didn’t hear it! I still didn’t hear, that he went to Lastiara-san……!!」
I didn’t want to acknowledge the reality. And so, I bet on that sliver of hope.
「Is it really fine being that optimistic?」
「I didn’t hear I didn’t hear! I didn’t hear that Master went to Lastiara-san! Tomorrow, it will be just the two of us again! The two of us will continue the labyrinth search again!」
Seeing me stubbornly continue to shake my head, the man shrugs his shoulders in an amazed manner, turning his back he leaves his parting words.
「Believing in that is fine. However, if it goes bad, maybe he’ll leave this house? Think carefully, young lady……」
Leaving that behind, the man departs.
Those last words, represented the current me.
Because I’ve always been excluded. And today, I’m also at the house by myself.
Unable to follow, leave this house. That is everything.
The dread I once felt when I became a slave revives.
I’ll lose ■■ again.
Just like when I lost ■■, ■■, and ■■, I’ll lose Master.
That fear spreads to all my limbs, and my knees touch the ground.
And so, standing up with a hazy coincounce, I begin walking like a ghost.
I walk through the town of Valt, in order to find Master. I check the places Master goes to. The bar, the church, and each store he visits to gather items for the labyrinth.
But, he was nowhere.
In other words, Master left for a place that isn’t Valt.
I move my legs while holding down my nausea. At any rate, I wanted to meet him.
I hate being by myself. I absolutely hate it. I’m sick of it.
Repeating that in my head, I meet with a familiar face. While walking through the road, a red headed girl appears like a heat haze from the middle of nowhere.
I found someone I can depend on, and I approach her with tears forming at the ends of my eyes.
Alty-san meets that with affectionate eyes.
「Maria-chan, are you okay?」
「Alty-san! Like this Master will, Master will――!」
「I know, Maria-chan. Calm down. It’ll be fine, so calm down……」
Alty-san strokes the head of my confused self.
Repeating that, little by little I begin calming down.
「Alty-san……. Master went off somewhere with Lastiara-san. And, I――」
「It’s still fine, Maria-chan. Just before, I met with Sieg」
「Wi, with Master……?」
With the name of my loved one coming out of a person I can trust, I felt a bit of relief.
「He’s still, not going anywhere. He’ll soon return home」
With a small amount of relief, the space in my heart increases. Those words of「Return home」, allowed my to regain some of my calm.
「However, from what I saw, whether Sieg is going to save Lastiara or not, I’m sorry but I couldn’t figure it out, You probably won’t find out until tomorrow」
「…… Tomorrow is it?」
I felt a discomfort. The sensation of the skill『Insight』discovering a contradiction.
However, not wanting to doubt Alty-san who I relied on, I don’t look into it. Above all, I no longer have confidence in my『Eye』.
What I can trust in right now, is only in Alty-san who moved for my sake until today.
「Aah, if he’s going to save Lastiara-san, then it has to be done tomorrow morning. That’s why, Maria-chan. Tomorrow morning, make sure to stay by Sieg’s side. And, confirm it. All of it」
Alty-san earnestly tells me of a way to understand Master’s feelings. She always does her best for my sake. And I don’t have it in me, to doubt that heart.
「I understand……, Tomorrow is it……」
「Aah, tomrrow……. Everything is after that. Then, let’s go back for now」
In the end Alty-san and I return home. And, after promising to meet again tomorrow, Alty-san leaves. As if saying there are still many things left to be done for the day, I couldn’t stop her.
I hold onto the hope Alty-san left me, and I wait for Master in the house with no one in it.
That self-important Whoseyards knight said that Master will save Lastiara-san, but we still don’t know that. Because Alty-san said she still didn’t understand, that means there’s hope left.
While thinking in agony, I practice my magic and cook.
And during that time, Master returns.
――He returned. Just as Alty-san said, he returned.
With a smile I go out to meet him.
As expected, that type of thing didn’t happen. With this we’ll return to a life of two. With such conviction, I meet Master.
And so, while the two of us have our meal, we talked for a bit. There was nothing strange.
The topic of Lastiara-san didn’t come up. Probably because of fear, I also subconsciously avoided mentioning it.
After having our meal, Master immediately returns to his room.
If there was anything strange, then it was that night.
When I approached Master’s room out of worry, I felt a cold leaking from a gap in the door. I concentrate my attention to the center of the room, and confirm the source.
I know the flow of that magic power.
It’s the same as when I practiced flame magic. Inside of his room, Master is practicing freezing magic. And, he’s creating a level of magic he never had before.
It’s because I did the same, that I understood that.
「Why, is he practicing magic right now……」
I wouldn’t mind if that was magic for the labyrinth.
In that case, tomorrow, Master would be able to pass through the labyrinth with that magic.
However, there is a possibility that that isn’t the case.
Tomorrow, is Master going to the labyrinth, or is he going to the cathedral.
I couldn’t help but worry, and that night, I couldn’t sleep.
Next to the room of Master practicing his freezing magic, I also continue practicing my flame magic.
「『Embers of judging flames, Mercy through staggering visions』――」
Over, and over, and over, and over―― I chant.
For some reason, it calmed me down.
My emotions are shaved off, amplified, and the bias it caused was very comforting.
I had a hunch something important was changed. But even then, I couldn’t stop, otherwise I’d be crushed by anxiety, because it’s unbearable.
Therefore, I mutter.
「『Budding Flames』,『Blood Spouting Flames』――」
I continue composing, and wait for morning.
「『Don’t go』,『Don’t abandon me』――,『I am』,『I am――……」
Inside my dim conscience, I continue paying the chant’s『Compensation』.
However, that wish――、the next day――
The morning of Christmas day.
Without saying anything to me, Master tried to leave.
In other words, it’s that…….
「As expected, you are going…… Master……」
In response to me stopping him, Master replies while trying to keep up his facade.
「…… Aah, I’ll come back soon together with Lastiara. So, can Maria wait here?」
I search for the truth in that. However, I couldn’t understand. I don’t know anymore.
I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.
You will come back? Really?
「After coming back, we’re going to a different country. What will Maria――」
Hearing escape to a different country, I remember Lastiiara-san’s words「Someplace far, will you go on a journey with me?」
If I don’t stop Master here, the two of them might go to a different country.
Leaving me behind, the two of them――
「――Let’s go together Maria. The three of us will escape」
Is it a plan for two, or a plan for three. I don’t know
Not knowing anything I repeat the only thing I do know.
「Escape……? Then, what should we do with this house…..?」
What will become of this house.
Those words, made it sound like we’d never return.
And it’s the house Master entrusted to me.
「It’s unfortunate, but we’ll have to abandon this house. It’s a waste but……」
However, Master decided to「Abandon」it.
Living a modest happiness in this house is my dream.
That dream was crushed―― and a fragment of that crushed dream, converts into a black flame.
In this one night, the bottom of my heart filled with black flames.
While trembling those black flames spill from my mouth.
「Please don’t go, Master…… I beg you, please don’t go…… !」
「Maria…… Just, what is the problem….. ?」
「If you go, then I’ll never be able to reach again…… I’lll be left behind……」
「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…… !」
I don’t believe those kind words.
Because, Master told a lie.
He’s going to save Lastiara-san without saying anything.
I like him but――! No, it’s because I like him, that I can’t believe him――!
「…… Why are you going to rescue Lastiara-san? You don’t even like her right?」
「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」
No. I don’t want to hear what’s going to be said.
I want to go back.
I want to return to the time that it was only Master and me――!
「The labyrinth search from now on? From now on, until when!?」
「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!!」
I brandish my selfish opinion.
The heat from the black flames at the bottom of my stomach, causes my true feelings to overflow from my throat.
「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!!」
「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!?」
Master grasps my shoulders, and asks about Lastiara-san’s death.
I recall the kind Lastiara-san who supported my love, and for a bit, I come to my senses.
「…… Lastiara-san is a good person. ……I don’t want her to die」
「Right? I have to rescue Lastiara……, because she is our companion……」
For an instant strength exits my body. That is, for the time that Lastiara-san treated me kindly. However, I remember the words of Lastiara-san from the day before, and the strength that exited comes swelling back.
Yes, she’s a companion. ――But, yesterday, she tried to steal my Master. With a cowardly method, she tried to become something more than a companion.
Master and Lastiara-san are companions? There’s no way I can believe that……!
「――Companion…… ? Because she’s a companion? Just for that, Master will put his life on the line to go and rescue her?」
Of course that’s a lie. It’s because they can’t be companions, that something like yesterday happened.
「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――!!」
The fact that he told a lie, caused the black flames inside of me to burn brighter.
And so, finally, the black flames became real black flames as they begin leaking from my body. I didn’t even use magic, but the magic in my body changed to flames. But, that doesn’t matter.
I’m already convinced.
Master is a liar. While hiding everything, he’s going to leave me behind.
Then, there’s only one thing I can do. Only one.
I create a flame sword, and slowly approach Master.
「――Magic《Dimension Gradient》, Magic《Freeze》!!」
Master yelled. And, a troublesome cold, tries to erase my flames.
I won’t let them be erased. These flames are flames obtained because they are necessary for Master.
A flame meant to cut the legs of Master who’s trying to leave me behind.
Towards the approaching Master, I swing the flame sword.
With Masters abnormal kinetic vision he dodges it with a paper thin difference, and he tries to grab my hands. A common response. My skill『Insight』, can no longer grasp Master’s insides. But, if it’s a common tactic then it can predict it.
I instead grab the hands that tried to capture me in return, and so, I burn those hands with flames.
Master’s body freezes at the heat. In that opening, I once again swing the flame sword.
However, it disappointingly cuts through air.
Master’s magic power swells. And so, our eyes meet.
It was only an instant, but they were serious eyes. An expression the same as when battling in the labyrinth.
At the moment my spine froze, and everything was decided.
With both hands captured, they’re brought to my back, and in that way I’m pushed to the floor.
「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…… !」
Who cares about that. My current top priority is seizing Master.
「Maria, was some kind of magic attached to you!? You have an unbelievable amount of confusion!」
That should be asked of Master. The one who was brainwashed by magic is Master.
The words I tried to reply, are stopped by a magic cold that is transmitted through my back.
As I’m spewing flames from my body, Master is also spewing cold from his body. And to those flames―― the black flames inside of my heart, the cold cools them down.
My whole body becomes cold.
That cold sealed the source of my strength that is the root of my flames.
「That’s right, calm down….. Take deep breaths, and calm down……」
I hear Master’s voice by my ear. Just as he says, I take deep breaths and calm my heart.
And so, I slowly regain my calm. The emotions that controlled my body die down.
「Eh, eh…… ? Eh, huh…… ?」
「Are you fine, Maria…… Are you calm?」
At the same time as I cooled down, I understood the situation.
The house is scorched all over, and I’m being held down by Master.
I pointed a flame sword at Master……? Wh, why……?
It shouldn’t even be possible to win in a one on one. Even if I do these things to Master there’s no way Master would like me. It didn’t have any meaning. Rather, it’d only make me hated. Why――!?
「S, sorry…… ! I, such a thing…… !」
「It’s fine. I know that it’s because of the confusion that you said things you didn’t mean……」
In an exhausted state Master moves to my side, and he began directing his attention outside.
――Ah, aah, don’t. Don’t.
With my head cooled, I realize I’ve done something that couldn’t be taken back. In front of Master, I spit out all of my hidden emotions.
The insides of my head become pure white, and I could only continue piling on words of apology.
「Sorry, sorry, sorry, Master…..」
I continue apologizing.
Please forgive me. Please don’t hate me. Please don’t go. Please stay with me.
With various feelings mixed in, I could only apologize.
「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……」
「Yes……, right now I’m sane. I’m really sorry, I……」
Master checks on my condition while stroking my head.
Aah, the palm of that hand is cold and feels good.
But, I can’t. I mustn’t give into that pleasure. I’ve done something that can’t be undone. I don’t know why that happened. But, I know that I have to apologize even more to Master.
「――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…..」
Thinking I can’t harm Master’s mood, I answer without thinking.
「Until we return, Maria should wait in this house. We’ll definitely come back soon」
「Yes, I understand…… I will wait here……, for you two……」
I’ll be hated if I don’t listen. That is the only thing spinning in my head.
If I’m hated, then we won’t be together. Just that is no good. If it’s like that, then I――
「Then, I’m off. Maria」
「…… Yes, take care. Master」
Honestly, I hate seeing him off like this……
But, I couldn’t stop him. I can’t expose any more of my disgraceful behavior.
Please don’t go. Please stay by my side for a little longer. Please don’t separate from me.
Please help me. Please help me please help me please help me.
Don’t leave me behind…….
――However, those feelings didn’t become words.
Without turning back even once, Master left.
He left to Whoseyards, to where Lastiara-san is.
He left me…….
I sit in a daze having been left behind.
Brandishing my emotions, I went in a frenzy.
A temper for the first time in a while. A disorder in my heart I couldn’t have imagined in the past.
The ugly feelings in the bottom of my heart overflowed, and I couldn’t stop them.
Like a nightmare I lost myself in.
I don’t know why I attacked Master.
I knew that nothing would be resolved with those things. But even then, the me at that time had terrifying thoughts.
Burn with flames―― If Master can’t move, then he will become only mine.
I, certainly thought that.
My true feelings, are just that repulsive.
The part of Master I can’t understand, I can’t even understand about myself.
Sitting at the center of the living room, I simply gaze at the air.
「Maria-chan, are you okay…… ? 」
Before I knew it, someone stood by my side.
Alty-san stood there as if it was natural.
As if spitting everything out, I cling onto the only person I can rely on.
「a, aAaah, A, Alty-san, I don’t understand anything anymore……. Please help. Please help me…… 」
「It’s okay, I’m here. Maria-chan has me」
Alty-san embraces me, and kindly whispers.
「But, but I! I tried to burn Master……! I thought of making him mine, and tried to burn him…… !!」
「I know, Maria-chan. I know those feelings」
「e, Eh…… ?」
「To want to make the person you like yours. To want to restrain them even through force. If you can’t obtain it then you’ll burn it yourself. I know well, those emotions are natural.」
She affirms it, and even says「that’s natural」.
But, that’s not what I wanted to be said.
「N, natural? No way, there’s no way that this is natural. That’s not it――」
I don’t want to be consoled.
I want to be told the reason for the situation that I can’t make sense of. Why did it become like this, what did I do, what is at fault and who should I blame, that’s what I want to know.
Because, I no longer know what’s strange. Rather――
「――I can no longer think of myself as anything but strange! I hate, I hate it! I don’t even know what is strange anymore! Help, someone, someone help me……!! 」
I’m going mad.
No, I might already be mad.
I don’t know since when I’ve been mad. I don’t know what I went mad from.
I can’t trust in anything. In the end, this『Eye』is of no use at all. ■■ you liar. If anything, I broke my important things. Because of that, I have nothing left.
I strongly, strongly shut my eyes, and my head hits the floor.
I hear a voice from far.
Because I don’t have anything anymore, I can no longer understand anything.
My conscience sinks. And like sludge I sink into the black world.
How far am I going to fall.
Until the bottom of those black flames…….
「If possible, I wanted it to end in the way Maria-chan most wished for. It would’ve been fine progressing slower. But, it’s no good. That was no good. I’m truly sorry」
But I’m not alone.
There is another person falling together with me.
Alty-san, is always with me. That’s the only thing I can trust in.
「The timing was too good. It can no longer be controlled. If it’s today, Lastiara won’t be able to move. In other words, today’s the only day you can fight Sieg one on one……」
While confirming each others heat, while mixing together, Alty-san and I fall to the black fires.
――Aah, I can be calm with Alty-san.
Only Alty-san won’t leave me behind. I can be confident of that.
「Today is the only day that『Alty (Past me)』and『Kanami (Hero riddled with wounds)』can be together alone…… 」
This is the affinity Alty-san spoke of. Close in life. The true meaning of being too close.
Therefore, Alty-san and me assimilate.
Our coincounceses mix, our flames burn together.
「Finally, my dearest wish will come true. My『Fulfillment of a Blighted Love』will, today, finally――」
A declarations of the beginning of the end.
And so, I understood the reason that Alty-san was always sad.
Mixing, melting together――At the end, I learn of her life.
That is the far too fruitless story of a『Blighted Love』…… ――
And so, I burn everything.
Aah, the house I wanted to protect is burning.
I burn all the bonds that restrict me.
Ethics, selfishness, the front and back, everything, it’s no longer needed and they’re changed to fuel.
While burning, Alty-san and me mix together, I understood what I had to do from here.
Because Alty-san is together with me. It’s because we’re the same, that she is so warm. That she thinks so seriously of me.
「I will fulfill Alty-san’s『Blighted Love』」
The fulfillment of an unobtained love. That’s is Alty-san’s only wish.
And so, now it is also my wish.
Assimilating with Alty-san, all my bonds are lost, and now I can finally be honest with that wish.
I hate it.
I hate being by myself. I hate being unhappy. I hate being in pain.
I don’t want to lose anything. I want to always be with my beloved.
Master. Master. I want Master――。
I want to become happy. I don’t want him to go anywhere.
Look at me.
Look only at me.
Live looking only at me.
Because I will also only live for Master’s sake, so I want Master to live only for my sake.
That is all to my simple wish.
At the end of those complex emotions, I finally learned my true desire.
For the sake of that dream, I am prepared to lose everything.
Like Alty-san from before, I won’t hesitate in burning everything.
It’s natural. The function of hesitation―― was used as fuel long ago.
While looking at those flaring up flames, the time finally arrives.
The one who stole the natural law of fire sorrowfully whispers「Sieg came」to me.
The lying Master Siegfried Visitor, makes an appearance from the bottom of the hill.
In place of ■■, the kind person chosen by the skill『Insight』.
My beloved returned home.
However, my beloved didn’t come back by himself.
As if it was natural, nuisances followed behind his back.
Lastiara-san is there.
The person I am jealous of more than anyone. A person that it would’ve been better if she wasn’t here.
Just with Lastiara-san being there, Master is drawn to that light. No matter how much she said she’d support me, the truth is that just being there would be a nuisance.
Unpleasant. Every single thing is unpleasant.
The kind dazzling Lastiara-san. The meddling knights of Whoseyards. The new companions among them. It can’t be helped, everyone is a nuisance.
It’s fine as just the two of us.
Master and me, it’s fine with only the two of us.
If we can live a modest, happy life as two, then that’s fine.
And that bunch that try to steal that meagre happiness of mine.
Must all be burned.
Today, I was left behind because of Lastiara-san.
That’s why, I must take him back.
From Lastiara-san, I’ll take Master back.
I’m the one who found Master first――！ That’s why――!!
「Give, Master, back…… 」
A piece of the blaze, leaks from my mouth.
Once it begins flowing out, it can no longer be stopped. The rest of the flames in my body rush out from the opening.
――Aah, I’ll burn everything with this blaze.
Only by doing that, will my blighted love be fulfilled…….
At the end, my『Eye』told me, that just like ■■ my important person will turn to ashes and disappear.
Even if Alty-san who knew of the ending sorrowfully laughs.
I, can no longer do anything but burn――
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