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Chapter 1: The Little Prince ①

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“1000 years, what a waste of a life.”

Staggering along a damp, musty cobblestone corridor, it seemed I had almost forgotten how to walk after such a prolonged imprisonment. Yet, surprisingly, the human mind remembers well. However, it’s extremely difficult to walk with chains binding my hands.

“Hey, since we’ve come this far, I’m not going to run. Can’t you remove these annoying restraints? And my hair, it’s grown so long and bothersome.”
“…Just walk.”

In response to my reasonable request, the man walking ahead of me responded with a muffled, grumpy voice. His lanky frame seemed twice my size, clad entirely in black attire, with a sinister mask featuring a beak that concealed his expression. This “thing,” which thoroughly obliterated its own individuality, was the gloomy jailer in charge of my release process.

“Forgive me, it’s been a while since I’ve been outside, so I’m a bit talkative. Besides, these cursed chains make walking difficult.”

Despite my attempts to continue the conversation, the words I throw out are never returned. Instead, he traces a sign in the air with his fingertips, lighting up the torches evenly spaced along the corridor. What a trick, but it’s not helpful at all – the crucial issue, the chains, remain unresolved.

“…Your consideration is truly overwhelming.”

Swallowing the urge to retort, I offer insincere thanks. Speaking out won’t change anything, after all. Yet, the skill to light all the torches along the corridor with a simple gesture is an impressive piece of ‘magic’.

––––Magic. Yes, magic. Ah, that’s right. There is magic in the outside world.

“I wonder how much progress this world has made during my absence.”
“…Who knows.”

Rarely responding, the man in black stops in the middle of the corridor, extending his palm as if there’s a wall before him. Indeed, there must be something there, invisible to me. I can faintly sense the flow of magical energy seeping through the gap.

“Having served your 1000-year sentence, repent for your sins and return to the embrace of our God who watches over us.”
“God, huh…”

Delivering the typical, dispassionate farewell line as if it’s routine, he gestures in the air. The space outlined in white gradually opens, letting in a cold breeze and a blinding light. The brightness is painfully intense for my eyes, accustomed to the darkness of the prison.

“…What’s the hold-up? Get moving.”
“Don’t rush me; I’m savoring the moment.”

Struggling against the unruly wind and my hair, I step closer to the door, one foot at a time. It’s a fierce gale, and the air touching my skin is chillingly cold. Where am I being exiled to? Gradually adapting to the light, I slowly open my eyes, but what awaits me beyond the door is completely unexpected.

“…Wait, what is this?”
“Move along.”
“Are you telling me to die?”

Beyond the fully opened door, there’s no sight of the ground. Only the stars shining close enough to touch and countless clouds spread below.

“There’s no earth in sight; how high up are we? This isn’t a height a human could survive falling from.”
“Move along.”
“No, listen to me…”

The man in black, unfazed by my protests, blocks any retreat with his absurdly large body, leaving only the open sky ahead as the only path.

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“Quick, get going!”
“Hey, wait! Are you deaf or is your brain filled with mold? How can you expect me to just accept such an unreasonable situation so calmly? Hey, wait, don’t push! I’m going to fall, I’m falling, aaaaah!!?”

I desperately tried to negotiate, but it was futile to speak to someone who had no intention of listening from the start. Unfairly using his physical advantage, he pushed me towards the exit, and eventually, I was kicked off into the vast sky with this small body.

“Never come back.”
“Damn it, treat me with more respect!”

As I glared at the guard looking down on me from beyond the door that unnaturally cut through the starry sky, I plummeted through the clouds in just a few moments. I firmly etched his image in my memory.

“…Remember this, and you better remember too. I’ll definitely repay this debt someday…!”

In the midst of a fall, the distance to the ground unknown, I spat out a curse, using the burning flame in my heart as a light.

“It’s so cold!”

Snow, snow, and more snow, enough to reach up to my knees. But the sky kept sending down more snow as if it wasn’t enough already. Or rather, it was a blizzard. With my soaking wet loafers, I waded through the piled snow, clutching my school bag and walking around desperately.

I didn’t know where to go; I didn’t even know where I was. My head had been in complete chaos since a while ago.

“What should I do…?! I was at the station just a moment ago…!”

My phone, operated with fingers close to freezing, couldn’t catch any signal. The map app was useless. I remembered waiting for my usual train at the station platform, so why am I in a place like the Antarctic or the Arctic now?

“Is anyone there?! Can anyone hear me?! Please help!”

Shouting into the blizzard was useless; no response came back. Every human figure and voice was blocked by the snow.

The cardigan I wore over my uniform was practically meaningless. I was gradually losing sensation in my hands and feet.

“I can’t go on… Why is this happening to me…!”

Eventually, my feet tangled and I collapsed onto the snow. I had no energy left to get up. If I had known this would happen, I should have eaten the cake in the fridge instead of saving it.

“Ugh… Mom, Dad… Grandma, Grandpa… Please forgive me for going ahead of you…”


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Just when I was resigned to freezing to death, something crashed in front of me with a tremendous noise.

“Wha… What?! What’s happening now?!”
“Ah, sorry about that. I didn’t think there’d be anyone here.”

The impact sent snow flying over me, shocking me back to reality as I spat out the snow that got into my mouth. The one who spoke to me was a girl with a somewhat mature air about her.

“A clumsy landing, but a success nonetheless… Damn, that 1000-year gap really hurts. But that jailer, if it weren’t for me, he’d have definitely died.”

She apologized and then began muttering to herself, ignoring me completely. With long eyelashes, double eyelids, a well-defined face, and skin as white as porcelain, she looked just like a doll. Her hair, twice as long as her height and silvery-white, blended seamlessly with the snow. If not for the strange clothes and heavy-looking chains wrapped around her, she’d be a perfect model for a fashion magazine.

“Hey, do you know where this place is?”
“Huh? Oh, right! I was lost, it’s so cold!”
“You’re quite noisy, aren’t you? And you’re not a local, huh? Then I have no business with you, sorry for the trouble.”
“Oh no, it’s fine… Wait, no, that’s not it, wait!”
“You really are noisy.”

Despite her trying to leave alone in the blizzard, I grabbed her shoulder to stop her. Her clothing was even thinner than mine, and the heavily coiled chains looked incredibly heavy.

“You’re lost, little girl? If it’s okay with you, I can help you look for your mom!”
“Do you really think it’s the time to worry about others? …Sigh, ‘Light the way, fire guide.'”

As she chanted something and snapped her fingers, a small ball of fire appeared between us.

It was about the size of a ping pong ball, yet it radiated a gentle warmth that slowly seeped into the core of my body, feeling as if I was sitting in front of a fireplace.

“Excuse my abbreviated incantation, but this should provide enough warmth for now.”
“Eh? What? What’s this, a fire orb? Is this magic?”

The fire orb that appeared before us wasn’t hanging from any thread, and despite being jostled by the wind, it showed no sign of extinguishing.

It was a mysterious flame, without any discernible trick or mechanism — it seemed almost like… magic.

“…Who are you, exactly?”
“I’m Laika Garakuchika. Despite appearances, I’m a wizard. But you don’t need to remember that; our association will be brief.”
“A wizard…?”

Magic, something that belongs in fairy tales, I knew that.

But the floating fire orb, so fantastical and radiating warmth even amidst the snow, was inexplicable by any logic I knew.

That’s why I was sure that “this world” and “the world where I used to live” were different…

“Well, now that I’ve introduced myself, let me hear your name.”
“I am…”

(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)

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This was the beginning of my story, Momose Kaguya, and my meeting with the master — and the tale that leads to our eventual farewell.


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