Chapter 13 – Reunion with Clashia Annerose
‘Hey, boy. Are you interested in magic?’
The old memory resurrected in my mind.
A memory from the far, far distant past.
I had suddenly remembered that voice that was like a gentle ringing bell.
The person who had approached me like this with a friendly smile, was Eldas. A young man who was also a neighbor.
It was shortly before I entered the magic academy.
I learned the basics, and practically everything I knew about magic from him.
‘You have a natural born gift.’
Is what he would say, and he would go out of his way to teach me magic every day.
‘I have a debt to my dead mother.’
When I asked him why he was teaching me magic, that was always his answer.
He would come to see me when the sun set.
And then he would leave just as my father returned to the house from work.
He was a strange fellow.
But in spite of such feelings, the time I spent learning magic was not bad. If anything, I felt quite comfortable. I imagined that this was what it would have been like if I had an older brother.
However, it was only that one year that I was able to learn from Eldas. It happened one day, just when it had been one year.
With a sad expression, he told me that he needed to leave for the royal capital.
‘…Hey, Alec. Even if you are one day blessed with the opportunity, a Court Magician is the one thing you should never be.’
His voice was so quiet it was almost fading. But since those were Eldas’s parting words, I did not forget them, even though it was now ten years ago.
In fact, it might have been related to the reason that I ended up choosing the path of a Court Magician.
The words had stayed with me like a tumor. And I ended up going against the protests of those around me and becoming a Court Magician.
Even after my father had left the capital, refusing to become a burden, I had still clung to my position as a Court Magician.
I had wanted to understand the meaning of those words. And eventually, I came upon the truth.
Among those who had graduated from the academy ten years ago and became a Court Magician, I had found Eldas’s name. That made it even harder to escape.
After I found out the meaning of Eldas’s words, I thought that I wanted to change things at court.
It was because of Eldas that I existed like this.
I owed him a debt, and had yet to repay it. However, there was hardly anything that someone like me could do.
And in the end, I had really accomplished nothing. And it was over.
But the one thing I didn’t want to do was run by my own free will.
That was what drove me to continue. That was all.
I suppose the one thing I gained from clutching onto my position as Court Magician, was survival skills.
And so… Ah, I really hated it. And I also wonder…
Was it really right for me to have taken Yorha’s hand? I was the exhausted husk of someone who had ignored everyone’s advice.
…It made me feel like such a joke.
In this state where nothing felt real, I bit my lower lip.
The taste of blood spread through my mouth.
Still, that was not enough pain to distract me.
I was terribly irritated with myself. And… And…
…And then I was brought back by that voice. The feelings of self-hatred that were welling up within me scattered like spiders.
After talking with Misha for a while, I sat down and waited for the others to return. Apparently, that’s when my mind began to wander.
I slowly opened my eyes and saw a pair of black irises.
They seemed to be peering into my face, as if observing something that was rare. I knew who it was.
“Oh, so it really is you. Yorha really did drag you all the way here. That’s pretty impressive.”
There was no surprise, but a hint of excitement in the voice of this woman who had silvery white hair that looked like falling snow… Clashia.
“So, where’s the idiot and Yorha?”
“Over there. I suppose they are still talking with the Guild Master.”
“I see. That’s fine then.”
Obviously, the ‘idiot’ was Ornest. I doubted she wanted to go if Ornest was there, but I was still about to suggest that she listen to what was being said.
However, before I could, she sat down in a nearby chair.
“You should wipe your mouth.”
“Blood. You’re bleeding.”
I had thought that it was just a dream, but apparently, I had actually been biting my lip enough to draw blood.
So that’s what that taste was.
“Were you having a bad dream?”
“…I don’t know?”
“Even four years later, you’re still a terrible liar. Well, you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. I’m not going to pester you by prying.”
…Still, you look terrible. You remind me of Yorha that time she was making a scene over having seen a ghost.
“What is that?”
It was a strange comparison, however, it was not at all difficult to imagine what kind of face that would have been.
Yorha would be mad if she knew, but I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“…Well, I understand that I look terrible. I’m glad that Ornest isn’t here yet.”
I laughed as I wiped my mouth with my hand.
But in spite of it all, Ornest was a good guy.
He just wasn’t one for being reserved. And would ask you anything without hesitation.
As it was just his personality, I understood him and had no ill will towards him. But even then, there were times when I wanted to tell him a thing or two. And so I was glad that it was Clashia who had found me.
Eventually, we became quiet.
I found that I didn’t know what to say.
It had been four years, and I had wanted to talk to Clashia. And yet, I could not find the right words to say now.
And Clashia seemed hesitant as well.
Which just made things awkward.
…Hurry up and come back, you two.
In order to get out of this awkward place, I prayed to the heavens that Yorha and Ornest would return soon.
Within a few minutes, the door to the room they had gone in opened.
Yorha and Ornest were among the group of Adventurers who came out.
I heard Ornest’s annoyed voice.
He was…looking towards Clashia, and clearly not pleased to find her here.
But it was just for a brief moment.
“Hey, Alec. We’ll be heading to the dungeon as soon as we are finished getting ready. As for the permit, we’ve gotten special permission for that.”
That’s what Reviel had said. And he had given his permission in regards to the matter of the permit.
“…Finish getting ready. You mean right now?”
Clashia didn’t know what was going on, and she scowled at Ornest. But he just smiled at her as if it was obvious.
“Normally, it wouldn’t have been allowed. But that old man just happened to have a Core to the Tank Killer dungeon. And so I got him to allow our party to go. We’ll be heading to the 64th floor. Hehehe. Finally, Alec is back and things are getting interesting, eh!?”
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