|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2401 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1181 words|
The sun had already set, and the sky was enshrouded by the darkness of night. Taverns and similar places would be open in a city at this time, but everything was completely dark here in the mountains where no one lived. Most of the animals living here were probably sleeping already, and I could only hear the buzzing of some insects. Under the starry sky, enveloped in silence, I lay down sprawled on the ground, my limbs stretched out.
(I wonder why things had to go this way…)
The same thoughts kept circling round and around in my mind. Nothing would change no matter how much I thought about it, but I still could not avoid it. This really showed me how important it was to learn to not cry over spilled milk.
I sighed for the umpteenth time, I had completely given up on counting the exact number. Just half a day before I was on such good terms with them, and I had never expected it would be so hard to look at them again. Even though fights with demons had sprouted everywhere in the world lately, I had thought at least my life would remain relatively peaceful. But somehow Tiamat said just one needless word and things ended like this, with me lying outside alone.
While Tiamat’s words had prompted all this, I did not blame him in the least. It was me who had been lying, and I had never told him to hide my identity. He was not responsible, it was all me.
(What should I do…)
I finally recalled what my original objective coming here was. I wanted those girls to get stronger, knowing that we would encounter more powerful demons soon, so I dragged them to this mountain so they could be prepared. So, going back home like this was out of the question. But that also meant I would have to train with them again…
(I can’t bring myself to meet them though.)
I sighed once again. When I finally had woken up, Karin and the others looked worried sick, but also very relieved that I had survived. Even if I had only spent a small portion of my life with them, I knew those were their honest feelings and no pretension. But I could not take the next step yet. Now I did not feel like moving anymore, my body felt heavy like it had turned to lead, even moving a finger felt troublesome.
“Hmm? It seems I’ve found a survivor lying on the ground here.”
Hearing that sudden voice, I opened my eyes and looked at the direction of the voice, seeing a man of delicate features standing nearby. He had white skin, white hair that grew down to his waist, long slit eyes, and lips with sharp contours. He was extremely handsome, and if he walked down a street all the women would surely turn his way. But on top of all that, there were two magnificent horns growing from his head. An uneducated person might mistake him for a demon, but there was something completely different to him compared to them. There was no malice in the air around him, or rather, he actually had a holy appearance. It was a similar aura to that of a dedicated priest.
“Oh…Tiamat. I haven’t seen you like that in a long time.”
I muttered that, lying still. He just lifted the corners of his lips into a grin. Without saying a word, he sat down next to me, producing a cup from somewhere and filling it with tea, the aroma of which he enjoyed for a moment. I wanted to be alone, so I felt slightly annoyed at Tiamat, getting so uncomfortably close without asking.
“…Why did you come?”
“I just wanted to make a clumsy lamb that ran away laugh.”
A lamb that ran away. He was referring to me. I had run away, not only from my duty as hero, but from my friends as well. But I also felt insulted like never before, my blood starting to boil. I knew he could tell I was getting angry, but his face remained calm. As annoying as that was, that simply strengthened his priest-like demeanor, so I turned my face away from him. He did not seem to notice or care, a gentle expression on his face as he spoke again.
“You’ve really gotten weaker, Estrella. I can hardly see the hero who once fought me to a standstill in you.”
“…Leave me alone.”
He probably already knew everything that happened inside the palace, there was no need to explain to him. And he also had to know what kind of relationship I had with those girls, even though he had only seen them once. Unlike the other dragons living in Dragon’s Nest, Tiamat was well informed about the rest of the world. He would get regular visits from dragons in human form, as well as other races, who would tell him what the outside world was like, and sometimes bring him the products of various civilizations. Just seeing how we acted should have given him an idea of what happened between us. So I could already guess why he had come here.
“You knew how to fight in the past, there were no doubts in you. In simpler words, you were a manifestation of a will to fight. The essence of battle incarnated into a human, an apostle of Gael God of War.”
“Where did that go? You were distracted, ran around barely counterattacking, and then didn’t even try to dodge my breath and almost died… I can hardly believe you’re the same person I knew back then.”
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He did not mean to insult me…probably. He was just stating facts, with a calm voice, he meant no ill will against me. But I could not stand hearing him talk like that.
“Shut up! Sometimes I don’t feel the best, and end up messing up! Is that really such a bad thing?!”
“I never said it was bad.”
I let my emotions overtake myself and yelled at him, but Tiamat did not seem bothered at all. He simply enjoyed his tea with his usual elegance.
“If I had to guess, your current appearance is tied to the reason why you aren’t feeling the best?”
“A conversation can’t go on if you stay silent. Nothing will get resolved by staying silent like that, so what do you think, won’t you talk to me?”
His eyes glistened slightly as he said that, as if he had found an interesting new toy. For him, all my worries were nothing more than some entertainment to break his regular routine. But I decided to take him up on his offer. I could use someone to talk with, I wanted to clear things up, explain everything to someone. I only became aware of those feelings now, so I poured my heart out, sometimes stuttering, but still converting everything that I had been through until now.