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Interlude: Days without Ain First Half

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Author: Himezaki Shiu Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Fire

※Ciel’s Perspective

After being brought to Fiiyanamia’s mansion, for some reason, it was decided that we are going to stay here. Still, I do like this mansion, so I’m a bit happy about staying here.

I mean, it has a really pretty garden with lots of spirits there, you know?

And the way the spirits come and draw near when they see me —or rather Ain, I think— is adorable. They probably just want to rest on the hairpin but they go all around me before doing that and it’s really fun to watch.

And then Ain told Fiiyanamia about herself. Including the name Ainsel which was already divulged earlier. She told Fiiyanamia things that she had never told anyone else before. I suppose that’s just how much she trusts Fiiyanamia. Or maybe that’s just how important gaining Fiiyanamia’s trust is?

Judging from Ain’s actions, it’s the latter. As for me, I don’t really want to trust people other than Ain, but so far, we’ve had people like Carol before, so I can’t guarantee that I won’t.

Ah, come to think of it, I’ve never actually talked to Carol even once.

Although my mind wandered like this, in reality, I didn’t have the energy to think anymore, so I simply fell asleep as I laid down on the fluffy bed.

I woke up to a pure white ceiling and remembered where I am right now. We were told to stay at Fiiyanamia’s mansion. With the bed being no less fluffier than that of the high-grade inn we stayed at before, I feel like dozing off again. I’ll probably oversleep but to be honest, I only understood the concept of oversleeping just recently.

After all, before leaving the mansion, I didn’t exactly know what “time” was.

Even now, I would only stay awake when waking up early if Ain greets me. Then, I suddenly noticed. Usually I would have already heard Ain’s voice by now but I haven’t heard it yet today.

This, by itself, happens occasionally. There are times when Ain is doing sorcery research and has her full focus on that. Still, I have a feeling that, today, it’s somewhat different from that.

「Ain, Ain? Good morning, Ain.」

I spoke out loud and called for Ain but there was no reply. And even when I called out without speaking, it didn’t make that much of a difference.

「Say, Ain. Ainsel. Where are you? Did you go somewhere? Can’t you hear my voice? Ain, Ain!」

I called Ain’s name again and again but my beloved person wouldn’t answer. No matter how long I waited, my most precious person wouldn’t say my name.

I started to feel the pit of my stomach twisting painfully and my heartbeat gradually became louder and louder. It felt as if my whole body was throbbing all over, as if it had become a heart itself. My face feels hot and it’s becoming harder to breathe.

Ain isn’t here. She’s gone.

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

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Ahhh, this happened once before. It was when I still didn’t even know Ain’s name, when we couldn’t even communicate with each other. I also felt sad at that time. No, I didn’t quite understand what sadness was back then, but now that I think about it, I was really sad.

Even though I was also sad at that time, back then, I could only feel shock.

But this time is different. I’ve experienced a lot of emotions now. That’s why, I imagine that it’ll feel more painful than it did back then. Still, there’s a chance that Ain will come back after a day passes like she did previously, so there’s still hope.

That’s why I’ll read today. I only have a few of them, but there are several books inside our magic bag. I headed to the corner furthest from the door, took out a book, and started reading while sitting on the floor like I did in the past.

None of the words would stay in my head but that’s exactly why I can continue to read.

As I continued reading nonstop, I heard a knock from the door.

…That’s right. There are people other than me here.

The instant I remembered that, for some reason, I suddenly felt afraid. How did I interact with humans other than Ain? Up until now, Ain was with me. Ain protected me. Besides protecting me with sorcery, she always protected my heart too.

That’s why I was able to interact with people.

But now, Ain isn’t here. More than that, this is a person’s mansion. It’s not my territory. That’s why, even if I just stay quiet, that door will be opened eventually.

「S-stay away. Absolutely don’t enter the room.」

I tried my best so that I would be heard from beyond the door, but my voice was trembling pathetically.

「I shall leave your meal by the doorstep, so please eat as soon as you can.」

After hearing that, the person’s presence grew distant without the door being ever opened.

Good. Now I can drown myself in the world of books.

When the room went dark, I switched on the light from the magic item and returned to the world of books once again. Trying as hard as I can to stop thinking, as much as I can to forget the present. As I continued chasing after letters and words, it started getting bright outside.

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Before I knew it, it’s already morning. Yet despite that, I can’t feel Ain’s presence anywhere near.

「Ain…? Ain, come on, please.」

Even after calling for Ain, there’s no reply.

I can’t, it’s hopeless. I can’t take it anymore.

「I don’t want a world without Ain. I can’t live without you, Ain. So please, Ain. Ain. Come back and call my name again. Please, Ain…」

Something spilled out and blotted my book. Not even noticing that it was my own tears, I continued calling Ain’s name without rest. The first time I called for Ain, I still had hope. After understanding that I won’t get a reply, emotion gradually disappeared from me.

Every time I call Ain’s name, every time my voice echoes in vain, I feel it getting colder. Not my body, but my heart.

「I don’t need a world without Ain. I don’t need it.」
「My my, that’s quite extreme of you. Would you mind waiting for a while before thinking about either getting rid of the world or yourself?」

I hear a voice. A voice other than Ain’s. A voice that doesn’t matter to me. Because of that, I didn’t reply. Things other than Ain don’t matter.

「Aren’t you pretty stubborn now? It doesn’t seem like you’ve had your meal and most of all, your face looks terrible. With how you look right now, you’re going to worry Ainsel once she comes back.」
「Ain isn’t here! I don’t even know if she’s ever coming back!」

Because I heard Ain’s name being called, I reflexively replied to the voice. I raised my eyes and glared at the owner of the voice but Fiiyanamia simply spoke without minding my glare in particular.

「First of all, let’s see. Ainsel is still here. After all, the barrier protecting you still exists.」
「Ain’s barrier?」

The barrier still exists? In other words, Ain is still maintaining the barrier? No matter how much I try to sense Ain’s magic power, I can’t feel the presence or absence of Ain’s barrier. The gap in skill between Ain and I in this sort of thing is large after all.

Ain’s barrier is not something that someone of my level can sense. Still, that’s right. There is a way to check for sure.

But I can’t be bothered to chant right now.

That’s why I just lightly swung my arm, just like how I do against monsters. And with that, today I aimed the resulting sorcery towards myself. Bright red flames rushed towards me, and without even feeling the heat of the flames crashing into me, they were obstructed by something right in front of my eyes and disappeared.

I didn’t make a barrier. And there’s no sign of Fiiyanamia creating a barrier as well. In other words, the one that protected me from the flames is Ain. Ain really is here.

If that’s the case, then why won’t Ain talk to me? What is Ain doing right now?

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I still have a lot of questions, but this was more than enough to prove that Ain is here and I suddenly felt the tension leaving my body. I was only slightly standing on my knees from a sitting position before this but I could barely support my own body, and was falling to the floor. And when I noticed it, this time I was in the air. It seems like Fiiyanamia is carrying me.

「Yes, yes. That should be the case. I’d love to talk about Ainsel, but first at least have some soup. While you do so, I’ll tell you what’s happening to Ainsel, that’s if you wouldn’t mind settling with my conjecture.」
「It’s fine, it’s fine. After all, I’m certain that both you and her are somewhat of a family to me.」
「That, again, is a topic for later. You’re more interested about how Ainsel is, correct?」
「I don’t need any topic unrelated to Ain.」

As we were talking, I suddenly felt something out of place. I don’t feel magic power from her and while I think that it’s because she’s just as skilled or even more skilled than Ain in terms of magic power manipulation, I have a hunch that it’s because of something different from that. And I don’t feel afraid of Fiiyanamia. Just like that time when I first saw the spirits.

Fiiyanamia seemed to be close with the spirits, so maybe it’s related to that?

「Mistress Fiiyanamia… are you-…」
「You can call me Fii. In exchange, would you mind if I call you Ciel?」

I don’t know why, but I don’t want to be called Ciel by people other than Ain. While I think I’m not as against Fiiyanamia calling me so, still, for some reason, I don’t like it. However, Ain said that we shouldn’t go against Fiiyanamia, and maybe this would count as going against her.

However, it seems like my worry was unnecessary, as Fiiyanamia chuckled to herself before saying 「I see.」 in an understanding tone.

「Still, my name is quite long, don’t you agree? That’s why just call me Fii. No honorifics either. And feel free to talk the way most comfortable for you.」
「Fii, are you not a normal person?」

Since Fii told me to feel free, and since the original plan was to not go against her anyway, I decided to speak like I usually do. Fii seemed a bit surprised hearing my question but she immediately nodded, seemingly convinced.

「Right, that’s right. I suppose you could say that I’m… similar to a spirit. I’ll talk about it later so I’ll say this in advance but technically I can be classified as a god. Along with the Spirit King, I was sent here on the surface by the Supreme God.」
「A god?」
「A god different from those residing in the divine realm but… it’s difficult to explain. You can think of me as a divine messenger.」

Unlike that golden wolf, I guess she’s a real divine messenger. I don’t know if I should believe in this but since the forest spirit nodded to me when I gave her a quick glance, I think I’ll believe Fii’s words. Besides, I don’t feel anything unpleasant from Fii.

「Well well, why don’t we end the conversation here and have something to eat? You need to eat well. After all, Ainsel uses that body too, doesn’t she?」

As soon as we reached a room that had a long table and a lot of chairs, I was led to one of the seats deep inside the room. Fii sat directly in front of me and I’m on the side nearer to the exit. To be honest, I’m pretty sure that I can last through the day even without eating anything but after being told that this is for Ain’s sake, I have no other choice but to eat.

Hiya~! Surprise surprise! Another interlude! But not only is it an interlude, it’s one of the favorites, a Ciel interlude~!

This time, we’re sent back a few days before the last chapter, to see what has happened to Ciel during the days when Ain has been away/asleep. Here we see Ciel actually taking it relatively well on the first day, although she’s completely fearful of her surroundings without Ain. While this is the second time Ain has “disappeared”, the fact that Ciel is more emotionally developed now (as she herself even alluded to), this made the experience much harder on her. And because she had hope of Ain returning after one day like she did before, the betrayal of expectation hurt even more.

I don’t really have much to say about the first half, but on the second half where Ciel and Fiiyanamia started talking, it’s really showing how great Ciel trusts Ain, or maybe how little she cares of what happens to her at this point, that she just uses her dance princess sorcery to burn herself to check Ain’s barrier. Also, it’s really nice to consistently see how sharp Ciel’s instincts/intuition are, like how she sensed that Fiiyanamia isn’t a random mortal, just like how sharp she was at noticing the things that Ain tried to keep hidden, although Ain does have her airhead moments. And moving on, it’s time for Ciel to have her own exposition chapter, lol.

Also, it was quite nice to see the differing opinions about the last chapter, if I’m being honest.

Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay clean, stay safe, and have a nice day~!

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

(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)


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