Daniela and Asagi, a Trip for Two
Two days have passed since I separated from Asagi. That means he should be returning from his excavation today.
It has been quite a while since I traveled alone like this. From our campsite up until the start of the mountain road, I had this feeling as if Asagi was right next to me. But once I began to climb the mountain, my footing started to become slippery.
“Ah, this will not be an easy climb.”
I caught myself cautioning the usually clumsy Asagi. I could only sigh and laugh at myself then. It seems that I have become so used to traveling with him. It was odd since the times that I traveled alone were so much longer…
I suppose, in the end, I was rather lonely.
While the road was well trodden, there was no mountain cabin along the way, and so I was forced to pitch a tent and camp out in the open with a fire. Asagi had collected branches along the way, so I did not need for firewood. He was often very clumsy, yet he could be very perceptive as well. Now that I was alone, I could see that he did such things in order for our journey to be as comfortable as possible.
I could not help but sigh when I thought of being alone another night. It was surprising just how much I missed him. Even my food seemed to lack flavor. It was the meat from Veigun’s stalls, it should be delicious… But perhaps it was now lacking the greatest spice of all. In the end, I only ate four skewers that night.
The next morning, I advanced through the thin mist. Not much was known about the mist goblins, but it was said that they did not appear in this level of mist. It had to be very thick for them to come out. But where were they usually?
I passed others who were climbing the mountain. We greeted each other and went on our ways. Asagi would have greeted them happily. I found that I did not talk much when he was not around. I had always traveled alone and spoke as little as possible. It was not that it pained me or that I disliked talking. No, it was not a fear of talking to strangers!
That was the last time I saw anyone, but it did remind me even more of his absence. I was that lonely. My old self would have seen this as a great weakness.
I was a weak person who now depended on someone else to live. I was codependent. Spoiled. I was so immature that being alone made me anxious.
Individual strength was important if you wanted to make it against the world. There was a time when I believed that was the only thing important for me to survive. But traveling with Asagi and depending on each other made me see that the world wasn’t only harsh, it was also gentle.
I did not see this as a ‘regression’ for myself. I saw it as growth. And I was happy when I realized that it was because of him.
“Ah, I had worked so hard up until now, so that we could meet.”
That was the feeling that seeped into my heart and enveloped me.
When I recalled that feeling, the lonely night became nothing at all. Asagi said that he would return. Then I would believe him and keep moving. I would bear the lonesome nights and dream of the moment that we would travel together again.
□ □ □ □
“…Well, such were my thoughts last night. It was how I made it through the cold.”
“And yet Asagi… To think you could feel joy by the sight of a naked machine. I am terribly disappointed in you.”
Master Daniela had blown a fuse. The reason, clearly, the Automata.
“What a thing to bring with you!”
Such was our reunion. After that, Daniela told me of her feelings during the past few days. It was the most heartwarming story, but her eyes were not smiling in the least. I was sweating down my back.
She was furious.
It was as if my wild instincts, or sixth sense that I had cultivated since coming to this world had run away crying. Goodbye, sixth sense. Your sacrifice would likely end in vain.
“Huhhh…What do you mean to do with that…”
“I wanted to ask you…”
“Put it back where you found it. We do not have any time to spare for some automated doll.”
“Oh, but I’ll take care of it! I’ll recharge it!”
“You say that now, but clearly I will be taking care of it eventually! It is so obvious!”
I complained, but it was no use. My efforts in retrieving the reactor cores were for nothing.
“…Perhaps we could auction it with the reactor cores in the imperial city. It should fetch quite a price.”