Chapter 35 Reunion (3)
“Now that I remember—”
As we left the training ground, Anastasia, who was pulling me along by my sleeve, spoke. I wonder what does the scene of a 28 yr old man being pulled around by a floating doll look like?
If it was a pretty guy like Souichi instead of me, it’d probably be okay but in my case……..how should I say this, even I myself can’t imagine it at all. Feels like it’d be painful (mentally).
“Before that, could you let go of my arm?”(renji)
When I said that, the loli queen of fairies let go of my hand with an embarrassed look. Was there even any reason to get embarrassed here?
Ignoring her weird reaction, I shook my right arm, that was being pulled, a few times. My upper arm feels really tired now. But I don’t know what Anastasia thought of my action, she pointed her small palm towards me with a smile. And in that cute little palm, suddenly very dangerous looking green magical energy began to gather….Why!?
“I don’t really get it, but it was only a joke!”(renji)
“That; the fact that you don’t get it is what’s pissing me off right now.”(fairy)
“It was just a joke.”
Since her cold stare was too scary, I raised my both hands in surrender.
After a few moments had passed, she simply gave a fed up sigh. No, wait, who could understand the situation right now?
While feeling that this was somewhat unreasonable, I began walking back towards my room. Anastasia, as if normal, flew and landed on my right shoulder. If I said that it felt heavy right now again, I’ll definitely get shot with that previous magic. Not to mention she excels in perfectly controlling the power of her magic to cause just enough pain without actually injuring the opponent.
“So, what were you going to say back then?”(renji)
“Weren’t you going to say something to me?”
When I asked again, she struck her hands together as if finally remembering. As usual, she forgets everything when she gets angry.
“What is this promise Faf was talking about?”(fairy) (T/N: Faf is short for Fafnir. A nickname used by some of them, not Renji though.)
“Oh that, it’s just a promise I made with Eru.”(renji)
Now that I recall, Anastasia didn’t know about it did she? Actually, there are very few who know about it even among us. Well, a promise with someone is not something you go around telling others anyway. I doubt Eru herself told anyone else about it either.
“it’s a secret.”(renji)
“…….it just feels disgusting when a man says that, you know.”(fairy)
“As usual, you’ve got a sharp tongue as well, oh queen.”
“Only towards you, Renji.”
“Well, isn’t that an honour.”
When I replied to her frivolous talk in the same manner, she gave a sigh again.
“They say, you let go of some happiness everytime you sigh, you know?”(renji)
“Yuuko and the others have already taught me that as well.”
“Then don’t sigh so much.”
“I just can’t help it, seriously.”
Though she says that, she actually seems to be pretty happy.
“But still, isn’t it unfair that Faf knows it yet I don’t?”(fairy)
“Well, it’s like that. Good men have a lot of secrets.”(renji)
“You have really bad taste, seriously.”
“…….I’m pretty sure you’re far worse than me.”
You’ll make me cry! You’ll really make a mature man cry, you know! Goddamnit!
While enjoying such useless banter, we walked through the corridor and reached my room much faster than I thought. As I casually opened the door, a tall black armour was standing in the centre of my room. In the very centre of the colourfully decorated room stood a knight in black so tall that I had to raise my head to look at him fully. But, I was already used to this kind of bizzare scenes as well.
At the same time as I opened the door, the demonic looking knight’s helm turned towards me as well. But the eyes–no, the head that should be inside that helm was non-existent. A full black armour that empty on the inside. That was the phantom knight, KNIGHT. (T/N: since the black knight is named literally KNIGHT, I’m going to put his name in full caps to avoid confusion with other knights.)
The souls of countless knights that had lingering attachments to this world and could not pass on accumulated together giving birth to this immortal knight. It’s the first monster contracted by Yui-chan.
“Oh, so you guys were here.”(renji)
Sitting on the chair, as if being constantly protected by the knight; the small white girl spoke in a small voice. White hair and red eyes. In the words of our world, she was an albino. One of the 13 who was summoned with us, Hiyuu Yui.
Seeing a more mature expression on her face than of those in my memories, I felt a bit happy inside. I wonder if this what a father feels when he sees his daughter grow up.
“You’ve grown. Did you get taller?”(renji)
“Ye, Yes. Only…..a little, though.”(yui)
“Even your hair is longer now. You look more mature, Yui-chan.”
When I said that, she hid her face blushing in embarrassment. I wonder what he thought about seeing Yui-chan like that but KNIGHT stood in front of her as if to hide her behind him. Since he was really big, he did hide her perfectly.
Like a small animal, her actions really are very cute. So cute that it felt like a waste that she was hidden by KNIGHT. I think, she is now 16 yrs old. Since she is the youngest of us all, her growth is much more apparent.
Her height has grown, and her body is not childish now either. Even her plain, unstyled hair were now properly tied at two ends in braids. Back then, she was just tall enough to reach above my waist but now she almost reached my chest. As she fidgeted in embarrassment, she didn’t seem just cute but also very womanly as well. With high class clothes she was wearing right now, she really looked like a some noble girl.
Since it was weird to talk while standing, I sat down on the chair directly opposite to Yui-chan. I still had an image of her looking frail and pale faced inside my head, but now she truly looked like a girl of her age. Even her pure white albino hair that I wasn’t used to seeing back then, now simply feel normally beautiful. It must be thanks to me being acquainted with silver haired women like Mururu or Astraera. While I was observing Yui-chan, Anastasia , once again, hit my head. She tried stabbing my eyes with her tiny fingers. For a queen, she sure has bad manners.
“Wait, it doesn’t even make any sense this time.”(renji)
“Staring at a girl like that, are you a pervert?”(fairy)
“I’m not staring. I’m simply happy to see how Yui-chan has grown.”
“But your gaze especially feels like a pervert’s.”
As we began quarrelling, the black knight released some overpowering pressure silently. With its height, and being an actual phantom, it felt really weird. Or rather, seeing magical energy come out from the joints in the armour like flames looked actually pretty scary.
I know that fire won’t actually spread but seeing a human figure burn right in front of you is definitely scary. It seems Anastasia felt the same as she quickly shut her mouth.
“Umm, please don’t fight……”(yui)
“No no, we aren’t fighting at all. This is, well, that, right Renji?”(fairy)
“We’re just messing around, Yui-chan. So please, hold KNIGHT back a bit.”(renji)
The blue flames of magical energy indicates that he’s entering battle mode. It’s probably not serious but the pressure it gives off is too much. I feel like my life will get cut short just by being close to it.
Since it’s a phantom of knights, it’s battle skills are in a completely different level. At the same level as Souichi with his cheat, maybe even stronger. Obviously, I’m confident that I’ll lose to him in a one on one. Even if Anastasia was to help me, in the current situation, she’ll get smashed before she could even try using some magic, and then I’ll be slowly cooked to death by it. Well, I’m sure he is still just trying to threaten and is not serious.
“Ah, KNIGHT-san, it’s fine now.”(yui)
When she said that, KNIGHT took a step back. The pressure also instantly disappeared and the blue flames also vanished. He sure is a loyal to her. I ended up smiling seeing the usual KNIGHT. He really doesn’t change at all. I don’t know whether I’m feeling happy about it or just feeling really nostalgic.
“fuu, that was scary.”(fairy)
“It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s my fault for teasing Renji too much. Yui isn’t at fault.”(fairy)
Anastasia flew to Yui-chan’s side. And, as if it was her usual spot, flew and sat on KNIGHT’s shoulder. That contrast between white and black was really beautiful to look at as usual as well.
“Well, it had been quite some time, so I ended up frolicking a bit too much I guess.”(fairy)
“fufu, Ana had been lonely for not getting to meet Renji-san for so long, weren’t you?”(yui)
“No way. I simply thought that he might have gone and died somewhere on the road. Why would I be worried about the likes of him? I’m not kidding, you know?”(fairy)
Why the hell are you looking at me for approval? For the time being, I just averted my gaze while scratching my cheeks.
“Eh, wait, what’s with that reaction!?”(fairy)
When I tried to act as if I was embarrassed, you get embarrassed as well eh? While enjoying seeing Anastasia’s expected reaction in my mind, I kept silent. As I expected, now she started to make meaningless excuses. I don’t think the situation actually required any excuses from your side though.
And Yui-chan’s gaze as she looked at Anastasia warmingly was charming as well. As usual, Anastasia is really amusing.
When I called her name in a voice as soft and sweet as possible, she ended up going completely silent in an instant.
“Wait, I’m not going to get embarrassed by just that much, I’m not a child!!”(fairy)
The next moment, the palm she aimed towards me was caught in a flash by KNIGHT’s arm. Yui-chan’s gaze turned from a warm one to a worried one. Or rather, she is starting to get flustered by the sudden changes in the situation.
“Let me go, KNIGHT. It’ll be fine, I won’t kill him.”(fairy)
“Don’t say such violent things with a smile, oh queen.”(renji)
“Should whip you properly, you oaf?”(fairy)
“Waa, please don’t let go of her, KNIGHT-san. Ana as well, you should get used to Renji-san’s personality by now……”(yui)
Since KNIGHT was holding Anastasia back, I had lots of freedom but Yui-chan’s words gave me the most damage unexpectedly. Must be due to having woken up from a big injury buit by body seemed to be swaying doubtfully suddenly. Seeing me like that, Yui-chan got even more flustered. She’s really so cute. I feel like a doting parent, somehow.
“Leaving that aside, Yui-chan–“(renji)
“What do you mean ‘that’!?! How dare you treat a maiden’s purity so trivially!?”(fairy)
Who the hell is a maiden? You’re older than me goddamnit.
“Renji-san as well, don’t tease Ana too much.”(yui)
“Her reactions were so amusing, I just couldn’t help myself.”(renji)
But wait, since fairies are all female, maybe she actually is a maiden?
While I was thinking of something stupid like that, Anastasia was rampaging with a red face. Seeing Yui-chan’s expression who didn’t really understand the situation much, I ended up feeling a bit guilty. I really should stop with these kinds of jokes in front of Yui-chan and Aya I think.
“Sorry, sorry. I’ll listen to anything you have to say later so forgive me for now.”(renji)
“How dare you speak of this so lightly?! I’m not going to forgive you, idiot!”(fairy)
“Are you sure?”
“I’ll listen to anything okay? Anything, I mean it.”
Well, since it’s Anastasia…….at least in front of Yui-chan, she won’t say anything too reckless. Probably. For the time being, I’ll just retreat to wherever Yui-chan is anytime Anastasia brings this up later. But if she still demanded me something weird…….well, I’ll think about it at that time. Let’s leave that for later.
Since Anastasia finally calmed down, I sighed in relief. Well, I was the one totally at fault though. But some fault lies in Anastasia as well for giving such amusing reactions on being teased, in my opinion.
“Somehow, you seem really energetic, Renji-san.”(yui)
“Well, I can’t keep on sleeping all the time, after all.”(renji)
When I said that, Yui-chan started giggling. Her hair swayed as she laughed and her increase in height made me once again realize of how much time had truly passed.
“It’s nice to see you energetic as well, Yui-chan.”(renji)
“KNIGHT as well, thanks for always protecting Yui-chan.”
When I said that, KNIGHT gave a silent nod. The helm and armour struck each other to give off a dry sound. His figure of answering with just gestures since he couldn’t talk really looked cool as usual. But since I have a habit of constantly talk, I can never be like him. One day, I want to become a man that can actually talk with just his actions. Well, I won’t become one most probably. I’ll probably get laughed at for trying to act cool.
“By the way, Yui-chan, do you know where Ermenhilde is?”(renji)
“Yeah, neither Utano-san nor Aya are telling me anything. Of course, Anastasia isn’t either.”
“What do you mean ‘of course’……..mouu.”(fairy)
Ignoring Anastasia who was puffing her cheeks in displeasure, I looked towards Yui-chan. But it seems she didn’t know anything as she shook her head. I looked at KNIGHT as well but he also silently shook his head. It felt a bit surreal.
“Well, just give up. You have been invited by Yuuko at night, right? Just get her to tell you then.”(fairy)
“So it seems. Well, at least I got to move my body around.”(renji)
Just when I said, I leaked a yawn.
“You shouldn’t really move so much after being bedridden for so long……..how about you go to sleep again?”(Ana) (T/N: I’m switching to ‘Ana’ from ‘fairy’ for Anastasia because that’s shorter :P)
“I guess I should do so. I’m out of stamina anyway.”(renji)
“Are…..are you okay?”(yui)
Her surprise and worry filled voice felt really pleasant to hear.
“Yui-chan, you’re the only one who worries for me like this.”(renji)
“What, didn’t you just say a while back that you weren’t worried about me at all?”
When I pointed that out, Anastasia groaned in a very unwomanly voice. Seriously, are fairies okay with this one as their Queen?
As I teased Anastasia like that, Yui-chan laughed happily.
“Yui-chan, you’ll be in the capital for sometime as well?”(renji)
“Yes. The fighting/battle tournament is close as well after all .”(yui)
Now that I remembered, it was already that time of the year. In this world, an year consists of only 9 months. Every year during the 8th month, i.e. at the start of winter, the biggest festival of Imnesia continent takes place. It’s more like the Olympics though. It’s full of dangerous things after all. Tournaments involving swords and spears and magic etc.
Since I didn’t have very good memories of that, I could only respond curtly like that.
“It seems Souichi-oniichan and the others will take part as well.”(yui)
“Oh right, I did hear something like that from him as well, I think…..”
But still, Souichi will take part as well. In the first year when we were summoned, Souichi and Masaki-chan had won their respective male and female tournaments. It’s already been 2 years from that. How nostalgic.
“Renji-san, will you take part as well?”(yui)
“I haven’t heard of anything like that, no.”(renji)
“You probably will. Or rather, That old man or Yuuko will make you, won’t they?”(ana)
“Don’t speak of such realistic things…..it’s a bad omen.”(renji)
The old man Anastasia spoke of—-O’brien-san, if it was him, he’ll definitely try to make me take part in it. Or rather, he’ll completely force me to. I owe that man more than my life so if he were to ask me……..yeah.
Oh please, no. I don’t want to stand out like that. Well, since Souichi is taking part as well, I’ll just hide in his shadow. A man who stayed hidden for a year and the handsome-looking Brave. It’s pretty obvious who’d gather the most attention.
For the time being, let’s not worry about it since I have yet to hear anything about me taking part, yet. It’s not good to worry too much.
“Well then, we should also go back now, Yui.”(ana)
“Ye, yes…..umm, then, see you later?”(yui)
When Anastasia said that, Yui-chan timidly spoke that as well.
“Yeah. I’ll be in the capital for some time as well. Why don’t we go out to play sometime?”(renji)
“Yes. I’ll be looking forward to it!”(yui)
Her smile was really too dazzling. It made me once again realize how much she had grown. Back then, she was more gloomy and would always be more reserved even when someone tried to invite her out like this. Seeing her become more mature like this, I felt warm inside my heart. As she briskly walked towards the door and opened it to leave, she turned around and gave a one last wave before leaving. It might seem childish considering she’s already 16, but that only made it look more cuter.
After her, KNIGHT, with Anastasia on his shoulder, bent slightly and left as well. Since he’s almost 2m in height, I guess it couldn’t be helped. I gave a short laugh.
After sending off Yui-chan, I lay down on my bed. Soon enough, I closed my eyes and fell into sleep.
While my eyes were closed, I remembered something from the past. Now that I think about it, back then Yui-chan used to call me [Onii-chan] as well. I wonder if she’d call me like that again. Complex feelings rose in my heart. I felt happy to see her grow yet at the same time, the fact that so much time had passed made me feel a bit sad. While thinking of that, my consciousness slowly began to fade away.
At the very end, only Fafnir’s words remained.
[Why do you obsess so much over Ermenhilde?]
Those are the same words that were spoken to me by Astraera and Shelfa as well, an year ago.
Dragon, Goddess, Demon King. Why do these beings surpassing humans always intrude inside my mind so easily? They have too much time on their hands.
……..But, I know the meaning behind their words as well. Ermenhilde. Eru. The one I was unable to protect. The one I truly wanted to protect.
I fell deep asleep. Hoping, that just for tonight, I don’t want to see any dreams.