|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2003 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 889 words|
“…I see. So that’s what happened.”
For him, the three hundred years I lived were like a short moment. Yet he looked jealous of all the experiences I had, things no one here in Dragon’s Nest even thought possible. But when I neared the end of my story, when my lies were revealed and my relationship with them got weird, he quickly started to look bored.
“…So now I don’t know what to do…”
“Then just talk to them. They’re your friends, right?”
Tiamat interrupted before I could finish. I turned to him, and saw he was stifling a bored yawn.
“Why is it so hard to make a choice? It’s not like there are other options aside from talking. Unless you talk to them, you’ll never move forward, be it through amending your relationship or breaking up for good. You should’ve realized how easy this is a long time ago.”
Yes, he was right, I already knew what I was supposed to do. But I lacked the courage and motivation to actually do it. I thought he would get annoyed at my lack of determination, but instead he pointed to the night sky above. I followed his movement, looking up, finally noticing the starry sky I had paid no attention to before.
I exclaimed without realizing. I had been lying on the ground there for a while, but I had not noticed how beautiful the stars looked since my mind was filled with other thoughts. Tiamat was pointing to a specific star, shining more brightly than the others. The sky surrounding it was black, empty, no other stars daring to approach, like that star governed them all. That star had a name, Night Guide Estrella, the most beautiful and largest star in the sky.
“Three hundred years ago, when we first met, there was something I told you. You, who possess strength unthinkable for a human, will eventually live alone, falling into isolation. Just like Estrella, high up in the sky, shining better than others, but turning them away due to how blinding it is. Do you remember how you replied back then?”
Those were distant memories now. I had come here to Dragon’s Nest to get stronger, and I continued sparring with Tiamat for a long time. Back then I believed my strength was the only way to save the world, so I gave my words almost no thought.
“…I said I didn’t mind. That even if I became alone like that star, I would carry out my duty and conviction.”
I smiled grimly. I was so foolish, and I could still remember what was going through my mind back then. I spoke because I wanted to believe that, even though I was afraid of actually ending that way. Without friends, lacking something important to really make me human, I thought I would get rewarded by defeating the Demon King. But people only approached me lured by my power, or they feared me as someone dangerous, that was all I got. There were a few others who just watched from a distance, not getting involved at all, but either way, I had not even a single friend.
“But now you finally found people you can call friends.”
“Yeah, Karin and the others let me into their group, treating me like their friend.”
I was so happy when that happened. I had always been alone before that, but then they granted me an invaluable regular life. I would work hard every day, and then when I got home they would be waiting for me. We would sit to eat together, talking about trifling things that happened that day. I was truly happy with them, I felt like I had finally become human, thanks to them.
Thinking back on all that made me start tearing up, so I rolled up hiding my face between my thighs. I did not want to lose them. Even if they hated me, I would never hold a grudge against them. I wanted to be friends with them forever.
“Listen Estrella. Those girls are worrying about this, just as much as you are. But if you keep wasting time here, they’ll leave this place soon enough. Unlike you, they can’t live for centuries.”
I gasped hearing that. Somehow my naive mind had believed they would stay here waiting without condition.
“What’ll it be then? Though you only really have one option. You might’ve lost your edge, but you’re still the hero of old. Try to regain your old determination.”
I was still terrified, but having Tiamat, who knew both my old and new selves, pushing me forward, I was able to stand up. My knees were shaking like crazy. Not even my first battle had made me this nervous, but that made me realize how comical that made the current situation, so I could only laugh at myself.
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“You’re looking better already, that’s good.”
“Thanks to you. I’ll be on my way now, Tiamat.”
Seeing me off, Tiamat lifted his empty cup. Slowly, I walked back into the temple and searched for one room, the one where Karin and the others were in now, obviously. I forced down the impulse to run away, and took one step after another forward, finally moving forward.