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Chapter 2 - The Moonflower Princess
She was fleeing.
The girl was fleeing.
Running away, further and further—she continued to run.
What was she running away from? Who was she trying to run away from?
From what sort of place was she trying to run away from? Even leaving those
questions behind, the girl ran, and ran, further and further away—and then
she suddenly realised.
There was no need to run away. She did not have to flee. There was no reason
for her to flee.
And so, the girl came to a stop.
"......Hah. For now, it looks like she'll be fine."
As he stopped the <Oracio> chant, the light from the amber inserted onto the
pocket watch dimmed like the setting sun. The job of illuminating the
laboratory and its mountains of books and documents, was passed on to the
brightness of the oil lamp.
Because of the trouble at the grounds of the performing arts festival, Lyle had
carried the girl he saved to the laboratory of the academy. Considering the
'medical treatment' that had to be done for her, it would have been
unthinkable if he had brought her to a poor location.
After placing her on the sofa, Lyle breathed the <Oracio> into the amber. As
the exhausted girl took in the magical power of the amber, she quickly
"Thanks for the hard work."
Maria, who had watched the entire process from start to end, thanked him.
Even though Maria was one of the few people who knew of Lyle's true
identity, she was still astonished by the rate the girl recovered with the light
of the amber.
"...... She really is no human, is she."
"By absorbing the magical power of amber she can then convert it into her
lifeforce. Without a doubt, she's a Phantasm."
"Hmm. Well, if witches and magi exist, then something like Phantasms could
also exist. —So? What are you going to do with her?"
"If possible, I'd like to return her to where she belongs. But first, let us
enquire about her circumstances."
"I see. If that's the case, I'll be going home."
"I'll see you off till the main gate."
Putting on his overcoat, Lyle went with Maria towards the main entrance.
"...... Lyle. Was it because of the mage half of you that you saved her?"
"That seems to be the catalyst for it. But I guess the real reason would be
that it was the right thing to do. Helping her, that is. Seeing her being
harassed by a noble like Gerim, without thinking, I—"
"And then you stepped in", said Maria with an amazed expression while
smiling wryly. She then continued, "Honestly...... You've always been one to
take action before thinking, eh. After all, sensibility isn't your strong suit."
"You're right....... it'd be better for me to be more sensible and flexible."
Even though he himself thought so, Lyle could not change himself so easily.
That part of him was his base nature. If he was at least a little bit more
optimistic, he would be able to live up to Maria's expectations—
"————Yep, that's right. There wasn't any deeper meaning behind that,
was there.... ?"
"Did you say something?"
"Nope, not at all."
After Lyle who was immersed in his thoughts had asked her, Maria shook her
With that, they finally arrived at the main gate of the academy. Boarding the
horse carriage that had been on standby,
"Good night, Lyle."
Said Maria as she waved her hand, and Lyle waved his hand in return, bidding
her goodnight as well.
Milla who was seated at the coachman's position cracked her whip, and the
horse carriage departed from the academy.
—As the horse carriage grew distant from the academy, and Lyle's figure could
no longer be seen,
Tearing at her hair, Maria rolled around in the interior of the passenger
"Lyle and that girl! Lyle and that girl are alone together! Lyle and that
"—If you are going to be that worried about it Milady, would it not be better
if you stay overnight as well?"
Milla responded with a business-like calmness to her master's abrupt and
"But, but......... I don't want him to think that I'm an overly clingy woman!"
"You have to be clingy when you need to be. That girl was extremely
beautiful, was she not?"
"Grr, uuuuuuuugh......... W-Which part of me does he not like? Even though I
put such great effort into becoming a splendid woman! Paying attention to
my food and nutrition for the sake of beauty, to obtain an ideal figure—
Look! This chest! This chest of mine! In order to make Lyle happy, I worked
hard at nurturing it, training my pectorals to make them firm, even sleeping
with a bra on at night to maintain its shape...... And yet he hasn't made a
move on me at all! That had been well out of my expectations...... why does
Lyle like flat cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeests!?"
"Please calm down, Milady. It will be fine. The probability of Master Lyle
liking large breasts is high."
Milla nodded her head vigorously from coachman's seat through the
compartment window towards Maria, who was trying to tear her breasts off
in a panicked state.
"Yes. Whenever Master Lyle looks at Milady's chest, he is always unable to
stop himself from ogling it."
"...........W-What a relief......"
Maria slowly sat down.
Looking at her master who had swung from sorrow to joy, Milla said, with a
In the smallest of voices.
Although she put on airs as a 'woman' with both composure and charm, her
master was still a 'girl'. If that was not cute, than what was? If she would be
more honest in exposing this side of her, even that serious youth would
throw himself at her.
While calmly analysing, Milla did not offer a suggestion. In place of that,
"Ah, however...... it is possible that he might have an interest in a totally
"A-And what is that?"
Maria gulped in anticipation, waiting for the answer of Milla, who had
lowered her voice.
In response to Milla's words, Maria's eyes were wide-open as though she had
been struck by lightning.
"No way....... Lyle likes lolita....... how could he possibly like
Her back to Maria's pitiful scream, Milla, wearing a bright smile like a
sunflower, closed the compartment window.
After sending Maria off and returning to the laboratory, Lyle found that the
atmosphere in the room had completely changed.
Shafts of light from the bright half-moon shone in through the window,
illuminating the girl who was rising up from the sofa. The moonlight seemed
to flow around the girl's pale silver hair, trickling down her bare white
The disorderly room filled with nothing but mountains of books, was quickly
turned into a surreal fairytale-like setting.
And from the girl's large round eyes, was reflected a dusk-coloured light like a
"..... Where am I.....?"
A clear voice leaked out from the girl's small lips. Though she was confused
by having woken up at some unknown location, her voice was completely
"This is my laboratory. Be at ease. It may be rather messy, but it's safe."
"....... You were the one who provided me with magical power, were you
With a small nod, the girl gently got off the sofa. Her silken dress fluttered,
like a pair of wings.
"......... I apologise for not introducing myself sooner. My name is
Lunaria........... Lunaria D. Nebulablut1
. I am a descendant of the 'Nosferatu'
Nebulablut. A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionised
gases (wikipedia). Blut is German for blood. You'll understand the significance of this name
who resided east of Ilsestein, and one of the 'Nebulablut'...... Would you
kindly tell me your name?"
"—It's Lyle. Lyle Waldstein."
While introducing himself, Lyle realised that his guess had been spot on.
, Methuselah3—Various names had been given to these
beings with diverse and powerful abilities, as prominent proof of their might.
The nobles who reigned during the night, they who were known as the
«Nosferatu», were especially well-known even among the other Phantasms,
and were also one of the most feared existences.
And she—Lunaria, seemed like she belonged to one of the considerably high
ranked households among the «Nosferatu».
To the «Nosferatu», the 'Community Name' bore a special meaning. She who
bore the Community Name as her Family Name, which was proof enough of
the strength of her lineage, was, so to speak, something like a princess.
—And so, why was someone like that alone by herself? Furthermore, also
content with having that kind of social status? Though the questions he had
were many, Lyle could not ask them, for this was neither the place nor time
to do so.
Suddenly, Lunaria went down on her knees, and pressed her head against the
floor. Her pale silver hair spread out on the floor, revealing her white slender
"...... Though I am but a novice, I will serve you as far as this body allows.
Please use me as you please, Master Lyle."
Almost like she were a servant— No, those were obviously the speech and
conduct of a slave, thought Lyle as his mind went into a panic.
Nachzehrers are German vampires. The kanji used for Nachzehrer are 'Hunters of the
Methuselah, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the oldest person to have lived. The
kanji used in this case are, 'One who lives long'.
"R-Raise your head! Why are you—?"
"You ask me this, but......."
Lifting her head, Lunaria turned her glass-like eyes towards him.
"......... Master Lyle, are you not my new owner?"
"Owner, you say......"
"Master Lyle, you provided me with magical power. Was that not for the sake
of keeping me as a 'Servant'?"
Lyle's thoughts were thrown into such a disarray that he became speechless.
The «Nosferatu» were proud and powerful Phantasms. They were the ones
to use humans as 'Servants', the fact that the opposite could happen would
never have crossed their minds.
"And so, what would you have me do? The provisioning of a catalyst? Taking
care of daily necessities? Or should I service you through the night?"
"...... A— , u— ..... mgh............."
Although Lyle was trying to say something, he could not find the appropriate
words. It was partially due to astonishment, but mainly it was because of the
accumulated fatigue that he could not think very well. In the end, all he could
"...... Then, could you sing me a lullaby?"
Lunaria tilted her head expressionlessly. Her blank look was indeed cute, but
her movement was almost like she were a puppet that had its strings cut.
"....... To be honest, today was really tiring. That's why I want to go to sleep
while feeling good by listening to a gentle and peaceful lullaby."
"....... Is that the first order you have for me?"
"It's not an order. I'm just asking a favour of you. You don't have to do it if
you don't want to."
Lyle cleared the books from a corner of the room, creating a space large
enough for one to lie on.
Using his overcoat as a replacement for the blanket, and a dictionary for the
Galean language as a pillow, he laid down on the floor.
"There's a blanket on the other side of the sofa, go ahead and use it."
With emotionless eyes, Lunaria looked down at Lyle who was lying on the
She started her song.
A gentle voice spread through out the room, like a fog. Listening to her gentle
singing voice, Lyle's tired consciousness slowly faded away.
—Still, her voice seemed somewhat sorrowful.....
Vaguely, he saw the figure of a girl who was lost within the deep fog.
"....... Good night, Lunaria......"
Calling out to the girl within the fog, Lyle fell asleep to the sound of the
—What kind of person is this human... ?
Looking at the sleeping youth's face, Lunaria absent-mindedly thought.
Only just a few hours ago she had almost used up all of her magical power,
and even the shoddy magic at the performance had caused her great
difficulty. She had thought that her time was up.
She was not afraid. To begin with, her survival had been a mistake.
When that young noble had made his moves on her, she had come to an
understanding that it was her end. Why did this youth endanger himself to
save her, then? Surely, he must have had some sort of motive...
Lunaria shook her head. Whatever it was was inconsequential.
Taking out the blanket from the other side of the sofa, she threw off her
dress and wrapped herself in it.
—What is this smell?
The blanket had a smell that was different from its material.
Though it was a little different from a smell from overuse, there was no
problem with the blanket. Whether it was a old rag or whatnot, there was no
need for her to be mindful about such details.
Just like any other night since she had come to the world of humans, Lunaria
closed her eyes without thinking anything further.
The room was engulfed in a bittersweet smell.
The young man on the leather-covered sofa looked up at the ceiling
grudgingly and exposed his trained upper body to the air.
The combination of both strength and beauty in that body, could be a sample
of the golden ratio for humans.
Next to the young man, was sprawled a half-naked woman wrapped in bed
sheets. Her sweat-covered form was shining glossily in the candlelight.
The young man looked at the body of the woman which stripped away a
And leaked out a sigh. And as though the sigh was a trigger, the door of the
room was knocked upon.
While touching the long sword that was leaning against the back of the sofa,
the young man gave his permission.
"—I apologise for troubling you at this time, Lord Vilhelm."
The first of the youths who entered after opening the door, the one with the
unnaturally cut forelocks, bowed his head.
He was GerimSchwatten, the one who had chased Lyle and Lunaria at the
performing arts festival.
"Ah, it's you guys. Excuse me for not being able to bring the situation to a
close favourably earlier. So, are you all enjoying the night?"
This place was a clubhouse with a complete membership system located in
the 'pleasure quarters' of the royal capital—in other words, a high class
brothel for nobles.
"—It is thanks to Lord Vilhelm that we are able to enjoy ourselves tonight.....
But the matter from earlier has been irking us. We cannot simply let it go like
that. It is necessary for us to retaliate."
"And what are you implying?"
At Gerim's words, the rest of the noble youths nodded their heads.
"For a commoner like him that has enrolled into the school as a scholarship
student who only knows how to suck up to the teachers to have brushed us
off like that, we have damaged Lord Vilhelm's reputation."
"Though that did not really affect my reputation, hm?"
"Then, what about Maria Highline?"
"Ah, Miss Maria...... indeed, her slap was rather severe."
Stroking his cheek, Vilhelm smiled seemingly happily.
"Though I do want to teach that nouveau riche lass a lesson or two, but it
can't be helped that she's the only daughter of the Highline Foundation's
leader.... but if it's her favourite lad......"
A fervor filled his eyes, and Vilhelm nodded his head.
"Hmm...... Seeing as you're already this serious about it, then go ahead and
try whatever you've been thinking of. I'll be looking forward to it, and
also watching you carefully."
Having obtained Vilhelm's approval, Gerim and the others snickered.
Scholarship students of Vergenheim, which was run by the royal institutions,
were the hopes of the Kingdom of Ilsestein and her king for the future.
Teaching that eyesore of a lad who was in that status his social position—the
idea of that set their passions on fire.
"...... Base humans like that are easy to deal with."
To the youths who returned in high, exultant spirits, Vilhelm smiled bitterly.
—That would be sufficient. Vilhelm swirled his glass filled with wine around.
"..... If an opportunity presents itself, then I will take it. If those guys will lay
the foundation for me, that would save me some effort."
"—What are you talking about, Lord Vilhelm?"
As he was smiling and sipping the wine, the woman lying sprawled called out
Replying with a "It's nothing" while smiling, Vilhelm stroked her hair as
though playing with it. With just that, her expression became intoxicated.
It was child's play for Vilhelm to give pleasure to a woman. And not just
women. All humans wanted to be ruled by someone else. Putting it in a
different way, they wanted to have their worth recognised by someone else.
It was important to recognise their worth, and not misread it.
"....... How much are you worth? Lyle Waldstein, «Disciple of the Last Hexe»,
he who ought to be the inheritor of the <Erbe>?"
With a faint smile, the young Margrave finished the rest of his wine.
The first thing Lyle did when he woke up was to turn his line of sight toward
There was a substantial bulge in the blanket on the sofa in the middle of the
room, and pale silver hair glimmered from the sunlight that slipped through
the gap in the curtains.
"...... She's still here, huh."
Lyle murmured with a complicated expression on his face and left the
laboratory while trying not to make a sound. He needed to first wash his face,
hence he headed towards the washroom in the corridor.
From the other direction, opposite of where Lyle had gone, at the start of the
staircase that was connected to the corridor,
"It's too rushed—"
"It's cool! I'm all dolled up and I won't give up. I have what a woman needs,
both appearance and spirit!"
The copper haired person turned about, and the figure of Maria appeared.
Her usually dignified jade green eyes were a little bloodshot, and beneath her
eyes were faint signs of eye bags.
The maid Milla who was right behind her continued,
"However, Master Lyle is at that age, isn't he? A mistake or two is—"
"But however I try to approach him, he hasn't done anything back to me,
y'know? F-For me to have made a mistake now.....!"
Facing the wall, Maria began to tremble like a frightened child.
"Please calm yourself down, Milady. Here here, it'll be alright."
Almost as though she were a mother, Milla hugged her, caressing her head,
and Maria lifted her half-crying face.
"I-It'll be alright...... ?"
"Yes. Milady, you are the one who knows Lyle best. If Milady does not trust
him, who will?"
"....... That, that's right. Thank you, Milla. That's right. There's no problem at
Clenching her fist, Maria's determination was renewed. However, she was
completely unaware of Milla's warm smile and gaze behind her.
Moving rapidly down the corridor, Maria energetically threw open the door
to the familiar laboratory.
"Good morning! Ly—le......."
Maria's smile was frozen.
On the sofa that Lyle always slept on was a girl with pale silver hair.
The girl got up slowly. The blanket that was slipping off revealed a slender
and delicate body that had not a single stitch of clothing on it.
"Y-Yes..... Good morning."
The girl might be weak in the mornings, as she bowed her head seemingly
Maria then closed the door, speechless.
A second passed— two seconds—and exactly three seconds later,
The face of Maria, who had crumbled down on the spot, was entirely drained
of blood. It looked like her spirit and soul were being sucked out of her body.
Her eyes were empty, like a decomposing fish.
"Wow, interestin—No, no, how pitiful....."
Just then, Lyle returned from washing his face. Rushing over to his collapsed
childhood friend, Lyle then snapped his fingers, waved his hands, but she did
not respond at all.
"...... What on earth happened?"
"I wonder what it could have been? She did not get enough sleep last night,
so it could have very well been that, perhaps?"
"Maria did not get enough sleep? That's unusual, she always seems to fall
into a terribly deep sleep easily."
"...... That's right."
Milla had just the slightest look of worry on her face.
Dragging out a table and chairs from the nooks in the mountains of books,
they then had the breakfast that Milla had brought. While savouring tea after
the meal, Maria who had pretty much returned to her usual self, asked.
"Whatever it was, I haven't had the chance to ask her the details."
Lyle turned his gaze towards Lunaria who was in the interior of the room,
dressed tentatively in a white shirt.
"Yes, Master Lyle."
He had asked Lunaria to stop addressing him as 'Master' many times, yet she
would not listen.
"........ You possess such high status within the «Nosferatu». How did you end
up in a troupe of itinerant performers?"
"I was picked up."
Right after giving some sort of metaphor, Lunaria closed her mouth and
ended her explanation.
"....... What she just said seems to be true."
Maria added, frowning, to Lyle who was scratching his neck.
"The people who had been using her said they had found her and taken her
in while on a tour in the east. No one knew anything about her, not even her
identity, but it looks like they had used her for their business because of her
looks and voice."
"When did you learn that?"
"Yesterday, after leaving the academy, I changed my mind and paid a visit to
the performing arts festival. Although initially it was an emergency measure
to clean up the mess, I ended up being her guarantor on paper. And because
of that, I asked for her background, and all they told me was that she was
'picked up'. That was all I got and, as you might expect, I was rather shocked."
Once again, their gazes were focused on Lunaria.
Lunaria, the target of everyone's stares, as expected, answered in an
indifferent manner without so much as blinking an eye.
"That is the entire story. I am but a vagrant lass—nothing more, nothing
"That doesn't really tell us much...."
"If it is beyond your capabilities, then it would be fine to give up that notion."
Lunaria declared to the perplexed Lyle, as though it were somebody else's
"Please feel free to sell me to a slave market or even a brothel. You will be
able to get some money out of it."
This time round, Lyle was rendered fully speechless.
Whether she was fine with it or resigned to her fate, it was her problem. Her
degree of self-abandonment was so serious it would not be odd to think that
she had thought of suicide before.
"...... I don't like this at all."
Ruffling her copper hair in frustration, Maria stood up suddenly. Taking up an
imposing stance before Lunaria, she lashed out verbally without attempting
to hide her displeasure, snorting.
"Although it's a little embarrassing to hear this coming from someone as
ignorant of the ways of the world as me but—aren't you taking this too
lightly? There are those who have no choice but to sell their body in order to
survive. But, you are not one of them."
"...... What do you mean?"
"Someone like you doesn't have the right to say that you're a slave, or
whatever it is. A soulless corpse has no right to make light of the people who
live their lives to the best of their ability!"
"... Then, please give me the appropriate treatment as a corpse would
Lunaria did not even show the slightest bit of resistance.
"I am an existence that ought to disappear. I will not lament my fate."
An existence that ought to disappear.......?
Lyle remembered that unease. He might not have had suitable words to say
to one who had given up on everything, but,
Somehow...... it's as though she's trying to set her heart on that....?
Once again, Maria snorted at her, and abruptly turned towards Lyle.
"—And? What are you going to do with it?"
"An object cannot be referred to as a human. That's why, calling it 'it' will
It was rare for Maria to become this resentful. Usually, she was not so
merciless, nor did she take digs at others with seemingly snide remarks.
"You're her guarantor on paper, aren't you? She's a girl after all, you should
bring her back to your place—"
"I-don't-wanna-do-it. If you leave her to me, I'll go 'please dispose of this for
me' at the health bureau and throw her away."
"Looks like I really have to do it...... Even so, a vagrant with no background
nor a place to return to.... staying here will be a little....."
"Hm, isn't that fine? You could just use her like a pack mule."
"Even if you say that, I'm just a student, right? I can't do that in the dorm,
"Have you forgotten? Lyle, you're a scholarship student of Vergenheim,
aren't you? You have various privileges and rights conferred upon you.
Exemption of tuition fees, a scholarship allowance, authorisation to use the
Royal Library—You also had a private laboratory provided, along with the
right to hire an assistant."
"The privileges extended that far?"
He had only sat for the scholarship exam for the exemption for tuition fees,
but it seemed that there had been some new additions since his
"To be precise, although it is a category of the teaching staff guidelines, it's
allowed for one to employ an assistant for the purpose of managing the
laboratory. Of course, the wages are paid by the owner of the laboratory,
but.... if she says that she's a slave, then there wouldn't be a problem. You
can just provide the bare minimum of a roof and meals, give her some rags
and then make her do the cleaning."
Wrinkling his brows, Lyle looked at Lunaria, who nodded, still unsurprisingly
"I do not mind. Please, use me as you wish, Master Lyle."
"See. Just work her to the bones as much as you want."
With that, Maria stood up while dusting her skirt off.
"You're heading back already?"
"I don't want to see it any more than I have to. You can just do whatever you
Lyle raised both his hands as though raising the white flag at Maria.
"I got it. This is something I started, so I should be the one to see it through
to the end."
"Well then, see you later."
Bringing Milla with her, Maria departed from the laboratory.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAHH! Lyle! Together with that sexually frigid
Milla, at the coachman's position, could only muster an amazed expression at
Maria's anguish inside the horse carriage.
"If you dislike it that much, then wouldn't it be better to simply forcibly make
"Grrrrrrrrrr........ if that actually worked then I'd have done it a long time
Although Maria was groaning and crying out loud, she forced herself to calm
down and reseated herself.
"..... But, that was a good stimulus. That laboratory shut-in, Lyle was rather
He had obtained the position of a scholarship student in Vergenheim
Academy, and spent almost all of his time reading books. Naturally, he was
serious during lessons, but everything taught in those were already like
common sense to him.
Lyle had learnt a massive amount of knowledge from «The Last Hexe». While
possessing that superb intelligence, he had spent most of his days quietly as a
"Lyle's talent is not something like that. Lyle Waldstein, whom Madam Erllua
had called a 'genuine genius', is an even more haphazard person than that.
Should he ever feel like it, even now, he could create a new 'impetus'—a
second <Steam Engine Revolution>."
Though Maria had said that with confidence, her eyes still had a little hint of
insecurity. The cool-headed mentor who was used to swaying others, was
possibly a veteran at reading the thoughts of others.
"If possible, I'd like Lyle to be the one leading this civilisation of Steam
technology forward with reform and innovation. For that purpose, necessary
funds and environment have to be prepared—as well as stimulus. For that,
that sexually frigid woman who has given up at life could be helpful. After all,
Lyle is someone who cannot ignore a person in trouble."
"That's true.... Master Lyle has always been that kind of person after all. —
However, Milady, I have just one concern."
"........ What is it?"
"Giving Master Lyle motivation is one thing, but a youth poking his nose into
the affairs of a girl who has given up—doesn't that sound like a cliche script
from the romance genre? His motivation could very well turn towards
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP! If
by any chance it turns out like that, what-should-I-do-what-should-Ido...........
Once again, Maria grabbed her head in agony.
Milla nodded her head as though relieved, and quietly closed the
Without further ado, Lyle showed Lunaria around the academy grounds.
Lunaria had changed into her plain clothes. Maria had brought them there
last night. The grounds of Vergenheim Academy were vast, and freshmen
that got lost there were often described as being 'stranded'.
Even though it was a holiday, they were spotted by some people when he
was showing her around. Some were reading, others seemed to be bored,
but when Lyle and Lunaria passed by, they all turned their heads towards
them simultaneously. Some of the guys were stunned and it seemed as
though their souls were leaving their bodies.
Well....... I guess that's how it is.
Lyle thought as he looked down at Lunaria walking directly beside him.
Her clothes clearly showed the amount of time she had spent as a vagrant
through how worn out they were, but even so her graceful looks and pale
silver hair had not lost its lustre. With the air of a daughter of a fallen noble
family, Lunaria stood out and gave off a tranquil atmosphere.
It was inevitable that she would captivate them.
It may seem like that from an outsider's perspective, but in truth....
Although Lyle was pointing out and explaining the various landmarks of
buildings and plants, Lunaria merely nodded with an expression that did not
indicate whether or not she understood.
Between them was only emptiness similar to trying to catch wind with a net.
Wearing a complicated expression, they continued walking, and the bonfire
that was kept burning brightly even through the day came into view. The
origin of the name 'SpringfireFestival', was a flame that burns through winter
"Yo, good morning, Lyle. How was last night? Were you able to enjoy yourself
together with that noblewoman—"
Hazel who was watching over the bonfire just like yesterday, froze in place
after looking over at Lyle. His eyes were fixated on Lunaria, who was standing
next to Lyle.
"..... Lyle. Who is she?"
"Ah, she's called Lunaria—"
"Lunaria! What a beautiful name!"
Crying out while overcome with emotion, Hazel nimbly knelt down in front of
"—O beautiful maiden, your beautiful visage is like a fleeting dream,
reminiscent of the moon suspended in the sky, making my heart thump
unceasingly inside my chest..... Forgive me for not introducing myself earlier.
I am Hazel, Hazel Clairy. This may be a little sudden, and you may be a little
surprised, but—Lady Lunaria, please marry me!"
While Lyle was still watching on dumbfoundedly, Hazel grasped Lunaria's
hand, seemingly full of emotion.
"You might be thinking, 'What is he saying?'. We are still young, and I am but
a mere student. However, Lady Lunaria, if you would stay by my side, no
matter what kind of trials or difficulties that may stand in our way, we will be
able to make it through together! Will you grant me this courage to brave
It was almost like a line out of a comedy, but the person in question had a
very serious expression on his face.
And, Lunaria who had been confessed to, replied thus,
"—I am truly sorry, but I cannot attend to anyone besides Master Lyle."
She had said something shocking in an indifferent manner.
His smile twisted, Hazel turned around to face Lyle.
"......This innocent maiden, what is she to you?"
"'What', you ask..."
"Every strand of hair, every nail, everything of this body is the property of
Master Lyle. That is why I cannot be with you."
She landed the finishing blow.
Stepping backwards unsteadily, Hazel then looked up at the sky in a kneeling
posture as though in prayer.
"OO-OOOOOHHH! OH, THE GODS! Why hast thou bestowed upon that one
human so many gifts! He who is unsatisfied with overflowing large breasts,
even laying his hands on delicate and slender flat chests...... OO-OOOOOOOOOOHHH!
THERE ARE NO GODS! THE GODS HAVE DIED! DIED!"
"Um, Hazel..... ?"
"Shut up you pervert in disguise!"
Crying buckets of tears, Hazel glared at Lyle.
"Someone like you... should just rot away and die!"
Before he could even ask what that was about, Hazel had run away while
wiping his tears.
"..... Did you hear that?"
"..... Yeah, I sure did. That damn Lyle Waldstein....."
"...... A scholarship student forming a harem inside his laboratory..... Shit, I'm
sweating from my eyes...... !"
Piercing glares were coming from the surroundings, and Lyle broke out in
"Lunaria.... that way of phrasing it is a little...... "
"Did I say something wrong?"
Saying that without emotion, Lunaria looked back at Lyle.
"I do not think that I have been mistaken in saying that I am serving Master
"You're seriously saying that, eh...... ? Well, it's Hazel, he'll probably forget
about it by tomorrow.... Ah, come to think of it."
He had thought of something because of what Hazel had said earlier, and Lyle
asked Lunaria a question.
"I know it's rude of me to be asking a girl this, but Lunaria, how old are you?"
Phantasms in general lived far longer than humans. For example, there were
many «Elves» that had lived for over a thousand years. And furthermore,
their appearances did not change much even after living that long.
Lunaria's appearance was that of a human in her early teenage years, but it
was possible that she was even older than Lyle. If that was the case, he would
have to rethink how he should address her.
"I am sixteen."
"Sixteen!? The same age as I am?"
"Yes. Among those who share my bloodline, I am the youngest."
Appearances could be deceiving, but after being told the answer that she was
of the same age, it was nevertheless shocking to know.
She might have been a Phantasm, but there should not be a great difference
from humans at which their minds mature. It would have been great if she
were more innocent and curious.
"..... What is it?"
In a hollow, echo-like voice, Lunaria asked the rendered mute Lyle.
What on earth could have happened to make a sixteen year old girl this way?
He frowned at this doll-like person, and her lack of both emotion and
expression. She was almost like a living corpse.
Thinking that, Lyle felt rage welling up inside him.
Because she was probably of extraordinary lineage, something like this was
totally wrong, he strongly believed. She believed that she had ought to
disappear, and the emptiness inside her, those were things that Lyle could
not possibly tolerate.
"...... That reminds me."
Semi-forcibly taking Lunaria's hand in his own, Lyle changed direction and
headed off in a different way.
"........ Master Lyle?"
"Let's go to the town. Because it's the Springfire Festival, there will be people
all over the place."
And so, Lunaria who had an indistinct look on her face, was dragged along by
Vergenheim Academy, which was located at the outskirts, had tram routes
running through it.
To the group of people who were staying in the overcrowded dormitory, the
tram service was a lifesaver. As long as they presented their student card, it
was free of charge.
After flashing his student card and paying for Lunaria, they then sat down on
some empty seats. When they boarded the tram, it was not so crowded, but
as it travelled, passengers started flowing in at an exceptional rate. The
sound of the whistle that marked the tram's departure seemed as though it
was running out of steam.
Lyle's destination was the shopping street near the remains of the old outer
wall. One of the times that this place was truly active with human activity was
during this period of the Springfire Festival, with throngs of sightseers and
people. The size of the crowds there would not lose to even the central
After alighting, the first location that Lyle brought Lunaria to was a familiar
"......What is this place?"
"Of all the stores that sell female clothing that I know of, this one has the
"That is not what I meant..... why a boutique?"
"Going to a place that sells clothing for the purpose of buying clothing,
normally that's what you would think."
"Welcome, Mr Lyle."
The salesgirl he was acquainted with greeted him. Seeing that the girl next to
Lyle was not the copper haired noblewoman, she whispered to him with a
smile of complicity.
"—Are you two-timing?"
"Please don't suspect me of those weird things, and pick something nice out
After he glared at her, the salesgirl went 'scary, scary' with a smile, and
pushed Lunaria by her back.
—Over ten minutes later.
"How about something like this?"
Whether the newly debuted Lunaria's appearance was strange or unusual, he
did not know. She was dressed in the clothes resembling the black dress that
she wore the first time Lyle had seen her. A pure-white blouse, a black jacket
and dress that was conservatively adorned with cuffs and collars. On her
breast was a stitched red ribbon ornament.
And just as he thought, the most eye-catching part of Lunaria's appearance
was her gentling swaying pale silver hair, and her white, snow-like skin. And
what made them stand out was the colour of the night sky, black.
"Um..... Master Lyle...."
"If it's about money, you don't have to worry. Recently, I got around to finally
selling the mansion that I used to live in, and because of that I've got some
money to spare."
She seemed as though she had wanted to say something like 'these clothes
are unnecessary', and he had stopped her before she could do so.
"......If you say so, Master Lyle."
She seemed to be more or less bewildered, but Lunaria promptly sank into
silence, much like a dress-up doll.
The shopping strategy was a failure, huh.....?
Realising that he had lost the first round, Lyle renewed his determination and
thought that 'the real fight has not yet started'.
Bringing along Lunaria, whose appearance had been settled, Lyle set off for
the next destination.
—I don't understand him at all.
While savouring the bitter taste of coffee for the first time at a cafe, Lunaria
looked vacantly at the youth who was facing her.
—What on earth could be this young magus' motive be in dragging me
At the moment, the youth who had hired her—Lyle Waldstein, was throwing
a large amount of sugar into his coffee and stirring it conscientiously with his
He, who was a pupil of the now outdated magic and also a student at the
same time, was treating her very well indeed.
However, whether it was due to his virtue or softheartedness—he was still
just a normal student.
Though it seemed that this youth had saved her out of goodwill, that sort of
kindness was completely wasted on her.
It was just like that Maria girl said, she was as good as a 'corpse'.
And a corpse had nothing.
Thus, it did not matter what she was given. Clothes, rags, they were all the
same to her.
"Is it good?"
Lyle asked innocently, all while seeming like he had no taste for it or
anything, given the amount of sugar he had added in.
"Is that so? That's good to hear."
Lyle nodded and smiled back at her. It was a completely natural smile, with
no special motive behind it. This youth was surely someone who helped
others out of pure kindness, she thought.
However, a corpse could not be saved by that. In the first place, there was no
need to save her.
If only he would use me as a 'consumable good' as soon as possible....
Inside her cold heart were feelings akin to sympathy, but Lunaria did not
realise that. She did not care however she was treated.
"Well then, let's go."
Leaving some small change on the table, Lyle got up.
Lunaria followed behind Lyle in silence.
I do not care. Be it out of ill will or goodwill, I do not care.
—That is why,
She did not care about the fact that she had her mouth covered and then
grabbed from behind either.
Turning backwards, he found that Lunaria was not there. Looking around
immediately, he could not see a single trace of that conspicuous appearance
While he was scratching his chin thinking of what to do, a crudely-dressed
young boy showed up right before him.
"Are you the one called 'Lyle'?"
"Yep, what about it?"
The boy thrust out a letter at him.
Opening the letter even while thinking that it was suspicious, Lyle's
expression hardened and he looked back at the boy.
"........Who gave this to you?"
"Some cocky 'n' really well-dressed guy, that you coulda told was a noble
straight from one look gave it to me."
From just that, he understood the situation. Lyle held up the many strands of
hair had been inserted in the letter—the silver hair that seemed to have had
its luster dulled, and he exhaled a breath in rage.
".......I got it. Will you show me the way?"
The boy curtly nodded his head, and headed off with Lyle.
Although it was currently a commercial district overflowing and rife with
human activity, it used to be a haunt for the lower class citizens.
Accompanying the expansion of the royal capital, intensive development was
focused on this area which had a low price for the land. However, deeper
inside, beneath the exterior, it was filled full of cheap, decrepit buildings.
The place that Lyle was brought to, was a gloomy back street like that.
"We're almost there. If you're thinking of running away, now's your chance."
"Maybe I should."
"Hmm? You've got some guts there."
"I'm not always like this. Ah, that's right. I'll pass you this first."
Producing a silver coin from his purse, Lyle held it out to the boy.
"Probably after this, the demand for you as a messenger will drop, so I'll pay
for that in advance."
"........You realise I'm their accomplice in all this trouble they are putting you
"That's a problem between me and them, it's got nothing to do with you.
And, appropriate compensation should be paid for manual labour. I don't
know much about this sort of thing, but it's easy to guess what they're
Gazing intently at the silver coin in Lyle's palm, the boy then took it without a
And then finally, they arrived at a gapingly wide plot of vacant land that was
surrounded by buildings. It looked like it had been left alone as a storehouse
The youths that were seated on the abandoned stone and lumber, stood up
at the sight of Lyle.
They numbered five in total. It was as the boy had said, they were 'really
"So, you came."
The youth who seemed like he was in control glowered at Lyle. A faint
recollection flashed through his mind. The youth who had been trying to take
advantage of Lunaria before he saved her—GerimSchwatten.
"You did well."
Nodding arrogantly at the boy who had brought Lyle there, Gerim tossed him
a silver coin.
"......Didn't we agree on two silver coins?"
"Silence, servant. A portion was deducted because you were slow. Now get
Astonished, the boy glared at Gerim, then looked at Lyle as though in
admiration. Seeming somewhat embarrassed, the boy said, 'see ya' to Lyle,
and turned around.
After the boy departed, it was natural that they would block all the exits.
"Well then........ Lyle Waldstein. Do you know why you were called here?"
"How would I know? Unfortunately, I'm not as bright as you think I am."
"Well said. It's exactly that. That is the reason."
Gerim said scornfully. The others around too, shifted their attention to him
"The fact that a commoner the likes of you could become a scholarship
student of the glorious Vergenheim..... what a joke. Just because your name
is known and you are liked by some of the teachers."
Taking ten subjects and three different languages, going through five
interviews, and saying that he passed his exams only due to Erllua's name—
spouting out those reasons, there was no helping this guy.
".......I didn't use my master's name—"
"Silence! You're just a mere commoner, do not speak as though you know
anything before us nobles!"
The heck, Lyle thought.
He had not done anything to rub him the wrong way. It was
probably jealousy. It seemed that no matter which generation they were in,
nobles were simply too prideful...... it was that simple a matter.
Shocked, Lyle closed his mouth. Gerim and the others, misunderstanding that
Lyle had been overwhelmed in the mental battle, sneered at him.
"Well....... It would have been impossible with just your mentor's name.
Erllua Azoth, that highly praised genius, must have left you something as well,
right? Something that promises you good treatment. Perhaps the rumoured
<Erbe Der Last Hexe>?"
"I don't know what it is, but you must have gained something from the
inheritance of your mentor. After all, you could not have possibly done all
that by yourself. Isn't that right, «Disciple of the Last Hexe»?"
".....How dare you say that."
The young nobles frowned.
And at that moment, Lyle was unusually angered.
At the very least, his position as a scholarship student was something he had
earned through his own merit and effort.
Yes—with the knowledge and wisdom imparted to him from Erllua.
Whatever it was about the power from the <Erbe Der Last Hexe> or whatnot,
they had even looked down on Erllua. That could not be condoned.
Shuddering, Lyle faced them and their sneers.
".........I couldn't have done all that by myself? Doesn't that sound like you
guys instead? You bunch of 'great' nobles' sons, who couldn't have kidnapped
a girl alone and had to group up to do so?"
"Now you've done it!"
The youths' faces turned red with anger at Lyle's verbal jabs. Picking up the
scattered timber and metal rods, they glared at Lyle with clear intention for
".......Do you understand the reason we have brought you to this stinking,
run-down place? Whatever happens here, it'll be because of the work of
hoodlums and ruffians. No matter what you say, eh? —Do us a favour, don't
run away, will you? If you escape, we'll have the girl pay us back for your
The youth who was restraining Lunaria lifted her jaw up in display.
Lunaria had an unimpressed expression and was not doing anything to resist.
Lyle felt thoroughly sickened.
"........Will you hear me out on something?"
"Very well. I'll allow just one last, parting request from the weak."
"Let Lunaria go right now. If you let her go right now and swear not to have
anything to do with her after this, I'll let you off painlessly."
The young nobles had their jaws agape for a moment, and then broke out in
"Haha, are you a dimwit? You are the one who's going to be in pain!"
The large youth closest to Lyle, swung the piece of lumber in his hand down
at Lyle—but it passed through only air.
"—The human field of vision only covers two hundred degrees horizontally."
The youth that had missed, with excess momentum throwing him off, heard
the voice coming from the right of his back.
"The field of vision that can adapt to movement is even smaller1
. Just a word
As the youth turned immediately to face his back,
"The human body is a delicate mechanism. Hence—"
Lyle grabbed his wrist, and swept him off his feet. With just that, Lyle readily
felled the youth who was of a much larger size than him.
"The centre of gravity, the trunk, the posture, the limits of mobility—in this
delicate mechanism, there will surely be weak spots."
Placing his knee on a certain point on the back, Lyle had completely sealed
the movements of the pinned-down youth.
The sound of the lumber falling out from the youth's hand and onto the
The surrounding youths—even Lunaria—were wide-eyed in amazement at
the deft skill that they had just seen.
"I apologise for not living up to your expectations, but I did use to get caught
up in brawls often."
In any case, he had been dragged back and forth by his tomboyish childhood
friend back in his childhood days. He had been involved in fights countless
times. It was due to that, that he was well versed in how the human body
worked in relation with physics.
This should be something called 'perceptual adaptation'. Basically, what that bit is trying
to say is that the field of vision that is adaptable to changes in vision is less than the
normal field of vision. For more information,
Slowly, the surrounding youths shortened the distance between. If they came
all at once, it would not go well.
That was correct. What little he had learnt from those fights could only help
him overcome a foe with surprise.
Which was why—
He had jabbed his index finger into a point on the back of the pinned down
It was a piercing scream that threw the surrounding foes into panic.
".........In the human body, there are places known as the 'nerve plexus'
where the various nerves intersect."
He said in a monotone, as though giving a lecture, and then Lyle twisted his
index finger further.
"This is a little something called 'acupuncture' from the East. The point I am
pressing on is one of the vital points of that."
The sound of grinding.
And screams of deathly agony filled the back street.
"With this, let us continue with our negotiation. Release her, and I will cease
to torment him. If you refuse, I'll make you all taste the same pain he did."
All of them were stupefied at Lyle's sudden change in behaviour. It was as
though a switch had been flipped in him.
—Is he really Lyle Waldstein?
The atmosphere of the kind, softhearted honours student had vanished, and
it was almost like they were but roadside pebbles—no, as if he were only
looking at 'numbers' written on a paper. The simple tranquillity of
accumulated calculations and impartiality without emotion.
Gerim and the others were assailed by realistic delusions as they were being
stared down by Lyle.
And the person in question, Lyle, was also very conscious of his own self.
The thought processes of the conspirators were easy to predict. They would
not have let that pass so easily, by just simply thinking that 'we are the
victims'. They, who had the advantage, were not able to bear the shame,
their shallow and superficial thoughts, their baseness—it was easier than
Calmly analysing their inner thoughts, Lyle then grew disgusted with himself.
Reading their hearts as though he were reading numerical formulae, he
hated himself for it. It was like he were scorning the souls of humans.
—Thinking that, his finger that had been pressed onto the pressure point
That was how fearsome the power of intelligence was.
"So, what will you do? Don't you think he would appreciate it if you would
make up your minds before he goes mad?"
He repeated himself once more, his words and tone dangerous yet
indifferent. If he seemed composed like that, these guys might just do as he
And most of all, in this kind of place—
Casting aside the metal rod he held in his hands, Gerim produced a metal
mass from his purse—a small revolver that was giving off a black lustre.
—Just as I suspected, he's got a last resort.
Lyle sighed dejectedly at Gerim who was pointing his muzzle at him while
shivering, his mind a mess.
If she had wanted to run away, she could have done so at any time.
If it were before she had regained her magical power, that would not have
been so certain. But the her of now, with plenty of that, it would be like
taking candy from a baby.
However, she did not have any will to defend or resist.
In that manner, Lunaria had been brought there. And the ones who had done
so, were the young nobles who had chased her around at the performing arts
"If you're obedient, we won't do anything bad to you. And wouldn't you
prefer to be loved by us, rather than being kept by that boring brat?"
Lunaria neither confirmed nor denied it. She did not care. Even if her clothes
were torn off and she were pushed down onto the ground, she would not
And so, when that youth had turned up, foolishly and naively,
He is unable to understand that it is a fruitless effort, truly, what a
Lunaria felt sympathy for him from the bottom of her heart.
If he were to experience pain, perhaps he would finally be able to realise
that—and immediately after she had thought that, Lyle had knocked down
one of them, and requested for an exchange of hostages. His way of doing it
was merciless, to the extent that she felt admiration.
And each time they heard the scream of their comrade as though on the
brink of insanity, the surrounding young nobles were visibly disturbed.
"Y-You little bastard.....!"
The youth who was in control, the one named Gerim, had taken something
out of his purse. And what he had taken out, the mass of metal that gave off
a black lustre, captivated Lunaria.
"You little........ Don't screw around with me!"
Even when Gerim had pointed the muzzle at him, Lyle did not look fearful,
but rather faced Gerim head on with a look of pity.
"You sure about that? With blunt weapons, this could still be covered up as a
brawl..... But if you bring that out, it would be in the category of an incident.
For example, intimidation or attempted murder. Am I really worth the
"Shut up! Stop talking as though you're the one in control!"
Gerim replied, his spittle flying, to Lyle who seemed to be warning him. "Oi,
that's not a good idea....", said his surrounding comrades, and then Gerim
lowered the gun.
"........You bastard, always..... with that arrogant face, strutting around like
you own the place...... looking down on us!"
"That's just what you think..... if you think you're being looked down upon,
it's not because you guys are nobles. Isn't that simply because of the fact that
you guys have become sluggards due to your already existing wealth?"
"What! W-W-W-Why you......."
With deep fury, the muzzle began to shake violently.
"Admit it. You're someone that simply cannot accomplish anything on your
The finger that was trembling with anger, readily pulled the trigger.
The gunshot resounded, and Lyle was blown backwards.
The youths who had watched on as Lyle demonstrated what pain was, and
the youth who had been pinned down by, all of them lost the colour in their
faces at this sudden act of violence.
"......W-What have you.....?"
"Oi, that's bad, that's seriously bad!"
"Shut up! There's no other way now that we've come this far! First, we need
a place to hide the body—"
In the midst of the chaos, Lunaria stared at the fallen Lyle.
Clogging up her nose was the smell of iron and oil.
—The muzzles that were lined up in a row—the flashes of gunfire that ripped
through the darkness—the spurting of crimson blood in succession—the
bodies of fallen brethren—the nightmare-like memory washing over her
mind, overlapped with the scene before her eyes.
"Hm? What is it.....?"
The young noble that was restraining Lunaria commented. The suddenly
trembling Lunaria seemed almost as though she were going insane.
Breaking out in perspiration, shaking, and those trembling pupils. Those were
the typical symptoms of a panic attack.
Together with Lunaria's frightening scream, the [Fog] manifested explosively.
The youth that was restraining Lunaria was blown off by the sheer pressure
of the [Fog].
The [Fog] that was capable of physical force, was swirling around the
distressed Lunaria in a vortex. And the vortex of [Fog] seemed to resemble a
snake rearing its head as it rushed towards Gerim, who had the revolver in
Even forgetting to pull the trigger, Gerim threw aside the gun reflexively and
it was smashed by the indistinct jaws of the vague snake of [Fog]. A
spontaneously discharged bullet ricocheted off the ground and walls.
The youths were overcome with surprise from the sound of the gunfire and
the gun being turned into scrap metal, and they cowered in fear.
At the centre of the squirming white [Fog], the girl stood swaying, as though
she were a revenant. Her silver hair rustling even with the lack of wind, her
eyes flashing with the colour of dusk.
As the scene that went beyond human comprehension unfolded before their
eyes, the sons of nobles fled at full speed.
And Lunaria's glowing Eyes of Amber, turned towards the moving people by
The [Fog] that had smashed the revolver into bits became countless snakes,
and went after the fleeing youths.
The voice, together with the travelling intangible shockwaves, literally
dispersed the snakes of [Fog].
"—You can't kill them, Lunaria."
While grasping tightly the pocket watch giving off the light of magical
excitation, Lyle cut off Lunaria's path.
"―This doesn't look good."
The bullet fired from the gun had went off in a completely different direction
due to excessive trembling and Lyle had not suffered a single wound. He had
planned to escape once there was an opportunity to do so, but seeing the
abruptly rampaging Lunaria, he could not play dead any longer.
Lunaria's eyes, framed by her pale silver hair, were blazingly glowing with the
colour of dusk.
Clad in the squirming, seemingly sentient [Fog], it was a fitting image for a
Here it comes!
Just as he jumped back, the [Fog] shaved off a bit of the ground Lyle had
been standing on. As he wondered how much power that must have carried,
the bit of the ground that the [Fog] had shaved off seemed to be being
compressed in its 'maw'.
"If I get caught by that, even my bones will be ground to dust.....!"
Lyle who had been calm even at gunpoint, had a stiffened expression.
The [Fog] that was being spewed out from Lunaria's body was, in truth, the
manifestation of magical power with the appearance of a fog, Lyle guessed.
The evidence that supported that theory was that it had been dispersed
when he had thrown a pure lump of magical power at it earlier.
Magical power was an energy that distorted reality.
The Phantasms, who had magical power stored within their bodies, could be
said to be the embodiment of 'magic' itself. They simply could not be
compared with the mages who constructed their 'magic' from reality's laws
Lyle managed to consistently evade the attacking [Fog] with a paper-thin
margin by running and tumbling. In the blink of an eye, the raw materials that
had been piled up in the open space had been smashed up.
"I somehow managed to dodge, but........!"
Lunaria seemed to have lost her sanity.
Those Eyes of Amber that were giving off the light of magical excitation
seemed blurred, as though clouded by the fog. It looked like she had entered
a panic attack due to an intense psychological shock.
It was easy to read the actions of one that had lost the ability to think
raXonally and merely acted on insXnct. That was why, he could dodge―but
his opponent was the [Fog].
The indeterminate form that could alter its shape glided along the ground,
and stretched upwards in the air like a branch, surrounding Lyle.
"——That which exists at the end of light, the end of darkness. That which
denotes the origin of wind, the origin of fire.——"
Chanting the <Oracio> and drawing out the magical power from the amber,
Lyle constructed the 'magic' that distorted the rules of reality.
Muscle strength alteration— !
It raised the output of his muscle fibres, a 'reinforcement' that boosted the
user's motion capabilities by several times.
Jumping around like a grasshopper, Lyle dived into the shadow of the stone
blocks. Catching his breath there, he held out the lid of the pocket watch as a
replacement for a mirror while under cover.
The Lunaria that he could see reflected off the lid was prowling about
swaying unsteadily, having lost sight of Lyle who had suddenly increased his
I'll wait it out until she regains her sanity....... though I may be hoping for a
little too much here.
It would cause great havoc if the her of now were to go out onto the main
street. He had to subdue her right here promptly, in this place.
Grabbing a handy, near-by rock, Lyle begun on a new form of magecraft.
Soil composition—temperature—humidity—reverberation—grasped. Begin
construction of 'magic'————
Lyle threw the rock from behind cover. A different direction from where
Lunaria was—however, all the pebbles that were on the ground, resounded
with the sound of the falling rock.
It sounded rather similar to the gunshot earlier.
With a start, Lunaria's body trembled, and sent the [Fog] in the direction of
the sound. The [Fog] rushed onwards, to destroy the source of the imaginary
Lyle then threw another rock from behind cover, again.
This time round, he threw it towards Lunaria. Although she had lost her sense
of self and was only reacting in self-defense, Lunaria pulverised the rock that
had been thrown at her with the [Fog],
The sudden mud that sprung forth threw Lunaria, who had turned around,
off balance. With the abrupt change in circumstances, the [Fog]—was halted,
a conditional reflex.
The alteration of sound had utilised the fineness of the air and
manipulatedthe level of humidity.
With just that trivial bit of magic, Lyle had stopped the [Fog]. He then ran up
to Lunaria—and dealt with her with the appropriate action for someone who
had lost her sense of self.
The body of Lunaria, who had her cheeks struck, staggered, and Lyle caught
her in his arms tightly.
"..... Mas... ter... Lyle.....?"
Lunaria whispered in blank amazement. The glow of her Eyes of Amber was
extinguished, and the [Fog] vanished.
"Are you alright?"
Though she had replied with that, her head immediately jolted, and she
seemed completely exhausted. It looked like all of the accumulated
weariness and fatigue from the sudden magecraft that she had used, and the
shock that she had suffered to her heart, had assailed her all at once.
While breaking out in cold sweat, Lyle frantically supported the fainted
Lunaria. His brows wrinkled in order to bear the weight of the petite girl.
".....Ugh, the strain...."
His torn muscle fibres were burning hot, and tingling pain erupted all over his
That was the backlash of the magic.
Although body altering magic could be said to be relatively easy to perform,
the 'aftershock' of it was indeed intense.
Bearing Lunaria on his back and grimacing due to the terrible state of his
muscles, Lyle retraced his steps to the main street to find a horse carriage.
"Hah.... hah............... W-What the hell was that?"
The fog had come at them with hostility—and the young nobles had ran as
fast as they could away from it, their faces deathly pale as though they had
seen an apparition from the fairy-tales.
Abruptly, the youth at the end pitched forward, falling to the ground.
Startled, the remaining four of them spun around, and a pair of women's
boots came into view.
"......Well well, you guys have been up to no good, haven't you?"
The figure of the culprit showed herself along with the voice.
Her copper hair was brilliant even in the gloomy back street, and so were her
"You understand, don't you? About what you guys have done?"
What was burning within those jade-green eyes was unmistakably rage. And
then Maria snarled, much like a lioness would.
"You know what they all say—An eye for an eye!"
No sooner than she had said that, Maria brandished the long cloth package
that she was carrying on her bag and stepped forward.
Maria's attack was merciless. Swinging around the weaponised cloth package
like a baton, she delivered strong blows to the youths' guts and vitals. Some
of them tried to put up a fight, but,
As the incoming cloth package was blocked with a fist, something else had
sunk right into the abdomen. And to the winded youth's nose, Maria
delivered a terrific headbutt.
It was crude and without elegance, but that way of fighting was effective and
got them right where it hurt. At any rate, she seemed like she had learnt
some form of close combat technique.
Before they could even do anything, Maria had wiped the floor with four of
the youths, whose adulthood were limited to their bodies only.
"W-Why did w-we all get......"
The remaining Gerim leaked out a trembling voice.
Maria glared with unabated anger at Gerim, who was clearly thinking 'why is
she looking at me with those eyes?'.
".........Do you have any idea why I've left you out?"
Maria unwrapped the cloth package in her hands. The cloth gently falling to
the ground, she revealed a rifle made of cutting-edge technology, and the
scent of wood could be detected.
Taking a bullet from her pocket, Maria loaded it with experienced
movements. With the sound of the bolt falling into place, she aimed the rifle
directly at Gerim.
"Don't think badly of me for this. A lesson needs to be taught to the prey who
return from the battlefield."
The muzzle that did not move even when she spoke, the legs that had
naturally been placed in position, and the two hands that held the rifle as
though it were an extension of herself. These clearly showed that she was no
amateur, far better than words could.
"I could overlook your passes at Lyle—but you actually attacked him."
"Wa-Wait, I can explain—"
The gunshot rang far louder than that of the revolver, and the bullet of the
rifle flew as Maria had aimed, right through Gerim's right arm, and smashed a
wooden box that was lying on the ground.
Because of the sensation of scorching heat in his right arm, he was a little late
in noticing. Pressing on his wound, Gerim rolled about on the ground,
"GYAAAAAAAAAAAAH! My arm! MY AAAAAAAAAAAAARM!"
"Shut up! It's just a flesh wound, you know!"
Close to where Gerim was writhing about, she slammed the gunstock onto
the ground. Looking down at the abruptly silenced Gerim, Maria continued,
an annoyed expression on her face.
"If it were up to me, I'd have shot all four limbs of yours. Lyle wouldn't like
that, so I guess you should thank him."
Saying that, she brushed her copper hair upwards, and finally it seemed that
she had calmed down.
Milla who had been waiting for Maria to clean things up, called out. Her
expression was one of heartfelt relief, and,
"I was so anxious."
"At which part? These aren't people whom I would need your help for."
"No, I was worried whether you might cross the line."
"I won't kill them, not these guys."
Maria poked the fainted youths with the heel of her boot.
"What a waste of bullet and coin...... hm?"
Lifting her head, she stared at the darkness of the alleyway with eyes of
"Someone was there, eh."
Milla was looking in the same direction as her master.
"........Oh well, one could only imagine who it was."
As Maria brushed her hair upwards, the sound of the heel of her boots
stomping onto the ground could be heard.
"Now—Let's clean these guys up. And we also have to persuade that person
to keep quiet, huh."
Though she had beat the living lights out of them due to anger, she also could
not leave the eye-witness to that scene alone.
In these times where magic was assumed to be a product of fairy-tales, no
one could explain the scene that had happened earlier without it being taken
for a joke. But even so, she needed to convince them that it was necessary
not to leak it out.
".........If possible, I don't want to make Lyle feel that way anymore."
Gripping the handle of the rifle tightly, Maria stiffened her expression with
Please escape, someone had told her that.
And following those instructions, the girl had ran.
The Bloodline of the Fog—their hometown was obfuscated by a barrier of fog,
much like their namesake. However, at the present, whirling flames and flying
bullets were blowing away the white fog, while black smoke and the stench of
blood swept over it like a storm.
The castle was crumbling, the forests were burning, and all of it seemed like
The flames were right behind her. The girl ran away once more.
But, it was futile. The flames chased her wherever she went.
Disappear—the flames seemed to whisper.Melt. Collapse. It was like a dream,
or a mirage.That is your fate. You will all disappear. That is your fate. Accept
it. Accept it.......
The flames caught up, grasping the girl's feet.
Acceptitacceptit. The whispers of the flames chillingly permeated into her,
and she screamed out loud.
As Lunaria opened her eyes, she saw that Lyle Waldstein's worried face was
looking down at her.
Lunaria who had been lying on the sofa, shifted aside the blanket that
covered her as she got up.
The light from the flickering oil lamp led her to assume that the sun had
already gone down. It looked like quite a fair amount of time had passed
since she lost consciousness.
"......I must apologise, Master Lyle."
Rising up, Lunaria bowed her head.
Her tone did not give off any feel that she was actually sorry. It was merely
her normal, robotic reply.
Lifting her head, Lunaria saw that Lyle was looking at her with a troubled
face. In his hand was held a handkerchief.
Inclining her head as a gesture before asking a question, she found that drops
of liquid had fallen onto the back of her hand. Shaking her head to clear her
blurring vision, more drops had fallen.
Trembling, she reached out towards her eyes with her fingers. The area
around her cheeks was dripping wet.
"Are you alright?"
Lyle moved the handkerchief closer in order to wipe her tears.
In reflex, Lunaria knocked Lyle's hand away. The handkerchief he had held fell
towards the ground.
".........Kgh! Don't look at me!"
Reflexively, she emitted the [Fog]. Pushed away by the force of the [Fog], Lyle
fell on his butt.
"Don't look........ don't look at me!"
Lunaria shouted, using both arms to hide her face.
She did not need to shed any tears.
There was no reason for her to, either.
So why was—Why was she crying?
The [Fog], as though reflecting Lunaria's inner thoughts, rampaged. Sending
the piles of books and documents dancing about in midair, and causing the
tables and shelves to rattle unstoppably.
Lyle crawled with his head pressed onto the ground, while the space above
his head was chaos.
When the [Fog] had finally settled down, the laboratory looked as though a
tornado had passed through it.
Pushing scattered books out of his way and standing up, Lyle noticed that
Lunaria was cowering on top of the sofa covering her face.
".....Although I do think that looking at a girl's crying face is inexcusable,"
Lyle said, while pushing up his glasses that had slipped out of place.
"Is it really that embarrassing? Anyone who's in your shoes would be crying,
"........I am not crying."
While still hiding her face, Lunaria tried to reply in her usual monotone.
However, her voice clearly showed that she was trying to suppress her
"You're crying, aren't you?"
"I am not."
"No, aren't you crying?"
"I am not. In no way am I crying."
"No no, you're totally crying!"
"I am not crying! If I say I'm not, I'm not!"
She finally snapped.
Lunaria who had accidentally raised her head by reflex, glared stiffly at Lyle.
"...What do you want?"
"Even if you ask me what....."
"If you are planning to rape me then just get it over and done with! If you
want to make me into your familiar, then just impose the 'restriction' or
'curse' onto me! What are you waiting for, just do it already!"
"Don't be unreasonable......"
Lyle wrinkled his brows as though having a headache, and then faced Lunaria
after straightening his posture.
"......I don't plan on restricting or using you. Nor do I want to make you pay
"Then, why have you saved me?"
"Do you need a reason to help someone in need?"
Lyle tilted his head.
He seemed to truly feel that way from the bottom of his heart, and it was not
"......I was never in need of any help. Not when I was at the performing
troupe, nor when I was abducted."
At Lyle's answer, Lunaria was filled with a sense of despair and sympathy.
There was no need for her to require saving, nor was there a reason for her
After all, she was as good as a corpse.
She did not have the right to be saved, and there was no worth in doing so.
—This young man does not understand anything at all.
Lunaria felt something squirming inside her heart.
"......Did you think that I would be grateful for that?"
She needed to make this misunderstanding youth understand. On his
carefree self that did not doubt the goodwill of others, she had to teach
despair and wrath.
And so she would deny her accidental tears to this youth.
Lunaria changed her emotionless face into one that was cold, and filled with
".....If you had saved me out of goodwill, then it was a total waste of effort. I
hate people like you. I loathe you. Under the pretense of helping others,
you—are but a mere hypocrite."
"I know that."
Lyle nodded his head in agreement.
"It was my self-satisfaction that led me to save you, so that I would feel
better about myself. In the first place, doing things 'for the sake of others', or
'acts of mercy', those are but hypocrisies. Because they are hypocrisies,
there's no reason to do so."
Though it seemed that he was prone to speaking about his own faults, it did
not sound like it was self-mockery. He had stated it so obviously almost like it
were one plus one equals two.
Lunaria could not find the words to continue.
And with a serene expression, Lyle looked around the laboratory,
"......I can't sleep in the room with the place like this, so I'll go back to the
dorm tonight. You can continue using the sofa. If you don't want to stay here,
you're free to leave anytime you want..... but if you don't have a place to go,
why not stay here a while longer? At the very least, it'll make my mood
better. —Good night, Lunaria."
Saying that, he left the laboratory in silence.
Lunaria was at a loss, as if she had been deserted.
".........What.......? Just what is wrong with that man!?"
Lunaria shouted, giving in to her emotions.
Noticing that anger and frustration had overcome her, Lunaria cast her eyes
downward feeling utterly defeated.
"......I'm not crying. There's no need for me to. So, I'm not..... I......"
An existence that ought to disappear. A corpse that continued to move, by
some mistake―that was Lunaria D. Nebulablut.
She had no reason to cry, nor any need to. She should have been that sort of
"........If I say I'm not saying, then I'm not......"
It was a whisper, and a barefaced lie.
Till the very end, that youth had not acknowledged that Lunaria was not
He had dodged Lunaria's words smoothly, said his part and left.
Lunaria thought he was being unfair.
It had been totally one-sided...... She bit her lip, thinking that he was a
Lunaria picked up the handkerchief that had fallen near the sofa. And from
the moist sensation that she felt from it, she realised that she had been
".....This is the first time that I've let someone see me cry....."
Whispering, Lunaria covered herself up with the blanket in order to be
As she thought, the blanket had a certain smell to it......... and then she
suddenly realised the true identity of that smell.
"The smell of ink....?"
A smell that was oddly suited to both this room, and its owner.
It seemed like she had to stay at that hateful youth's side a little longer, and
thus Lunaria begun to sort out the feelings that had her heart in a mess.
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