|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
When I first died, I didn’t die immediately so I had time for contemplation.
I think that it might just be my life flashing right before my eyes, but I remember that a lot of things went through my mind. Even then, there was still nothing I ever regretted more than failing to protect the girl.
I smell the scent of wood. It felt quite nostalgic to me. Maybe because all I’ve felt lately was the cold of stone.
With this in my mind, I slowly wake up.
I don’t feel the usual prison’s cold sensation. It seems like she’s sitting on something warm.
Surprised by this, I check my surroundings and find myself in a room packed with bookshelves.
It was about 10 square meters wide. There are bookshelves placed, naturally, along the wall and some almost dividing the room.
Being here means that the girl was likely moved to this room. However, why move her now? All I can think about is that something changed with that incident.
Just to make sure of her safety, I search my surroundings.
However, the room isn’t that wide so I immediately found her. At the same time, I was lost for words.
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Her once golden blond hair lost its color and is now pure white. Likely because of an injury, her neck and limbs are wrapped in bandages. I can’t see it over her clothes, but even her torso seems wrapped up as well.
From the sharp sensation I’ve grown used to feeling, I can guess that those are from knife wounds.
In that state, she’s reading a thin book on the floor.
Only the sounds of flipping pages echo inside the room.
Her dead-looking eyes and complete silence may even make people mistake her for a machine.
I could only squeeze a gasp. Right now, she’s like a doll. Her fragility, making it seem as though touching her would make her crumble, only adds a transient beauty. However, these fresh wounds and this painful scenery is just another proof that I failed her once again.
My promise to protect her the next time was broken before I could even noticed. The voices in my head starts cursing me once again.
I feel like going insane.
From the bottom of my heart, I just wanted to die.
But if I ever go mad, if I ever die; that would mean the next time her life is in danger, there would be no one to protect her.
The fact that her wounds aren’t healed only means that the man has deemed caring her a lower priority now. It’s that man we’re talking about, if anything ever happens, he probably would just kill her.
That’s why as unreliable as I am, even though she might only see me as undependable, when the time comes that the man decides to get rid of her, I need to protect her.
First, her heart. The only things I can do are make barriers, search the surroundings, and sing; so I can only pray that with my songs, I may be able to distract her from the pain even for a bit.
And if her now empty eyes would direct even just a bit of anger at my inability to help her before everything happened, then maybe she can still start over as a person.
Believing this, I began to sing a peaceful song with the softest and quietest voice I can muster in the middle of this silence.
But being severely shaken after seeing her current state, my voice greatly trembles and I can barely sing the song.
Pathetic. Right now, I can’t even do the only thing I can.
Still, maybe with this she would show anger at my pathetic state.
Thinking so, I look at her. Her eyes are wide in shock, and from the edge of her jewel blue eyes, tears are streaming down.
And then, she faintly smiles and slowly opens her mouth to speak.
Her voice was clear as a bell and pleasant to the ears.
However, I don’t understand a word she’s saying. And just when she tries to communicate with me.
All I understand is that she isn’t angry and that she’s trying to ask something.
『…… Sorry, I don’t know.』
Though I can barely speak through my grief, I somehow managed to reply.
I don’t even know if she would notice that our languages are different. Still, I can’t just ignore her.
After blinking twice she immediately nods, seemingly noticing something and reaches out for me.
As her small thin fingers touch me, my every being instantly goes inside her.
It’s my usual state of inhabiting her and there’s no doubt that it’s extremely comforting, but I don’t understand her intent.
In the first place, what does she even see me as?
What does she think of her situation? There’s a lot I don’t know. But after talking to her the first time, I feel that she’s a lot more mature than how she looks.
Different from the empty prison, this room is full of books. And in this room full of books, she reads endlessly.
But it doesn’t seem like she already understands all the letters, since she’s mostly reading books with fewer words per page.
Still, considering that she has never seen letters before, I say she’s rather intelligent.
She’s much more smarter compared to me at the very least, seeing that I haven’t even learned a single word in the years we’ve been together.
Perhaps that may be the reason why, after reading the book by herself, she points her finger at something and slowly starts to speak.
She might be trying to teach me the letters and words.
To help her with her studies, and most importantly, to prevent my earlier mistake from happening again, I decided to accept her kindness. Rather, I can’t really speak up even if I wanted to decline.
Seeing that she’s doing this for me, she herself properly recognizes my existence and understands that I have my own consciousness. Moreover, she might have even realized that I speak a different language.
She really is a bright child. When I was her age, I wasn’t even in primary school. Worse, I probably couldn’t even read letters that age.
I likely couldn’t stay behaved and would just immediately run out to play outside.
Part of the reason why we are so much different may also be due to her own nature. But there is no doubt that it’s also because if she’s not this talented here, she can’t survive. Considering that, her excellence only makes me feel depressed.
After reading books and teaching me, I wondered what else she needs to do; when suddenly I sense a person approaching.
Using detection to examine it closely, it doesn’t seem like *that* man is heading to this room, it was a different person.
To make sure that I don’t make the same mistake for the third time, I focus myself to protect her immediately in case anything ever happens.
After the visitor stopped in front of the door, without even knocking it, he swiftly entered the room.
It was a butler with a mask-like expressionless face that looked a few years older than that man.
It was extremely eerie when paired with his formal attire, and he held a tray on his hand as well.
He roughly placed it on the ground and stood with his back to the door, arms crossed and all. He says something to the girl. Judging from his tone, it might be something on the lines of 「Eat」.
On the tray are a hard-looking bread and some thin soup. Still, because it’s been a while since I’ve seen a meal that actually looked like food, I was deeply moved.
Even so, it is a shabby meal. And since the man didn’t come, I’m now certain that the girl’s value has dropped to some extent. However, rather than getting rid of her, he might have told her study.
Another curious thing I’ve noticed is a black ball-like thing on the tray that the girl actively ignored. It doesn’t seem to be food. If anything, it’s likely to be some kind of medicine.
The girl approaches the tray, not even giving a glance to the mask-faced butler, tears the bread into smaller pieces, and dips it in the soup.
She eats the now soft bread, however, I can’t say it’s delicious in any way.
Furthermore, likely due to her not eating any proper food up until now, she has difficulty swallowing the food. As the bread goes through her throat, I feel it getting stuck a few times, leaving me uncomfortable.
Still, it’s a thousand times better than getting your veins cut open and force-fed with some mysterious liquid.
As the bread and soup are finished, I thought that mealtime was now over. However, the girl stares at the black ball with a serious gaze.
By how she’s acting, she probably doesn’t want to eat it. However, it doesn’t seem like the mask-faced butler would allow that.
He kept staring at her since she started eating until now, it’s really uncomfortable. He’s most likely here to observe her.
Resigning herself, the girl swallows the medicine.
At that moment, the area near the stomach began to feel hot and that heat started to spread throughout her body.
From the way it feels, I’m sure that this heat is magic power. However, it’s going berserk and the amount of magic is no joke. I can probably compare it to being injected more blood than what the veins need.
If you don’t hurry and circulate the magic power, it’ll end up pooling somewhere; and from that location, your body will most likely begin to break.
Examining it closely, it seems that to do deal with this overflowing magic power, she even directs its flow to every single strand of her hair.
This might be what caused her hair to turn white.
If by any chance someone who doesn’t have an affinity with magic was to swallow this medicine, there’s no doubt that they would die.
However, I regularly circulate her magic power for her. Maybe thanks to that, even though she’s in pain, she was able to endure it.
However, I’m sure that it’ll be much easier for her from now on. After all, only this much magic power is not that difficult for me to control.
Since she’s closing her eyes to bear the pain, I quickly seize control of the magic power.
Maybe because she’s feeling something unusual, she resisted it at first but then she immediately leaves it all to me.
After directing the flow, I noticed that this magic power is easier to control compared to the girl’s magic power. Perhaps it’s because the magic power from the medicine was not under anyone’s control?
Maybe because the magic power is just injected from the outside, but it gradually evaporates and disappears if I just continue to circulate it.
It’s a bit of a waste for it to just disappear. If I can make it mine, it might be useful for us in the future.
If possible, I’d like to increase the girl’s magic power so that she can also defend herself; however, to ensure her safety I’ll try it on myself first.
Since I only need to force the medicine’s magic power through the tube connecting to my soul, it shouldn’t be that hard.
When I did it all at once, it felt weird, it was like my soul would crack or something, so I slowly direct the magic power. As a result, even though there isn’t that dramatic of an increase, I feel that my magic power increased.
Some of the berserk magic power was probably used up in the process.
Before I was aware of it, the mask-faced butler left and the girl is sitting there puzzled.
After that, reading time starts again.
For a while, I float around thinking that I might distract her from reading when she suddenly closes her book and started restlessly searching for something.
And when she saw me, she stopped and stared at me seemingly wanting to say something.
As I was wondering about what she might want to say, the girl started speaking.
It sounded similar, but not exactly like Japanese. It looks like she was mimicking my singing.
So in other words, is she telling me to sing? Well, singing is practically my only entertainment here. So if she asks me to, I absolutely will.
Thinking so, I began singing and the girl delightedly starts to dance. Without her shackles, her dance was now free from its chains, and when it was paired with her snow-white hair, she was reminiscent of a dancing fairy from a fairy tale.
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