―― When I tried to open my eyes, the moon had already risen into the sky.
I wonder just how much time passed since I lost my consciousness. It was a long time of cruelty until now. Pain spreads through my entire body. Somehow bearing that, I try to sit up. There’s no presence of other people even when I survey the vicinity. Being satisfied with me having fainted, they likely went back.
Returning from school, I was suddenly surrounded by my classmates. It was the line-up, who is always bullying me. Once they forcibly brought me, whom they hate, into the woods, located on the academy grounds, behind the school building, they started the usual bullying. Beginning with pouring muddy water all over my body, making me wonder where they had drawn it from, they finished with pinning me down against my will and pouring it even into my mouth.
If I endured it like usual, it would have ended with that. But, in the particular case of today, I somehow lost the patience to bear that absurd bullying. Thrusting away the male student, who was pinning me down, I hit the students in my surrounding.
The bullies flinched from my unexpected counter-attack, but even this resistance went only so far. Without there being a mean to succeed in challenging the bullies, who applied body strengthening with magic, it immediately took a one-sided development. I, who can’t use strengthening magic and had been outnumbered to begin with, had no way to oppose them.
What caused me to suffer this bullying is the reason that I can’t use this magic.
The magic lessons at school had started since the year before last. With the lessons advancing and the surrounding students learning magic, they became gradually stronger. Only I wasn’t able to use anything beyond basic magic, you can also call it life magic, at all.
Although the academy’s side was surprised by that unexpected turn of events, what they understood from the examination, they had the Empire’s wizards perform, was the fact that I have an absolute lack of mana. I didn’t have the mana to cast anything more than life magic.
Just as this was confirmed, it changed my life.
I had confidence in my physical strength, but the difference in strength against opponents, who were using magic, was clear as day. I was totally no match for my classmates, who looked down on me, either. The eyes of pity changed before long into those of contempt and the bullying began.
It’s not only at the academy. In spite of being born into a family of nobles, my grandfather lamented over the matter of having a disgraceful grandson, who isn’t even able to use something like magic. That changed soon into wrath against me. The situation became such that he poured harsh words onto me every day. Even my uncle, aunt and cousins have altered their attitude towards me after observing such kind of grandfather.
They are completely treating me like a burden.
Nowadays, without even being allowed to enter the main building anymore, I stay at a separate room and commute to school from there everyday. In fact I’m thankful for this arrangement. Suffering from bullying at school as well as at home, it doesn’t seem that I would be able to calm down my heart decently at all.
I judged it like that as well, but apparently I had approached my limit.
“It will be better, if only they kill me sooner than later.”
While looking up at the night sky, such a murmur is able to escape my mouth.
Staying alive is painful. Will my mana capacity even increase to the point that I can use magic, once I grow up? Will I get strong at swordsmanship, even if my magic is useless? Pondering like that, I intended to make an effort, manifold that of a normal person, but somehow that appeared to be a futile endeavour.
Unable to use magic, my life beyond this point will also only amount to so much. I also believed it to be preferable to leave my family and live as a simple commoner, but there’s no way I will be able to do such thing at my age.
Is it of no use even if I’m able to continue enduring like this for countless years in the future? ―― At the time I thought that, I naturally spilled tears.
Let’s finish this by dying after all. I might be even able to meet my parents, who are already dead, in that case.
Thinking in this manner, I began to ponder about the method of death.
But, without time to think about that, I saw something falling at great speed from the sky. While bearing the pain of my body, I tumble about in panic to to leave from there.
Striking the ground, the sound of a violent impact resounds.
“Oh, why am I running away?”
I decided to die. Realizing that, I became slightly ashamed. In the end I have no courage for suicide either? While thinking like that, I shifted my attention to the something, which came falling down.
What was visible is a person, who has collapsed.
“Huh!? Ah, are you alight?”
“Don’t get close!”
I, who tried to approach the vicinity, am held back by the flustered voice. The collapsed person, who only turns their face this way, is glaring at me with piercing eyes.
“But…, it’s a terrible injury.”
The face, which has been facing this way, has become bloodstained. It’s not only that either. The entire body is covered all over with wounds as if having been torn to pieces by something.
“A child, huh…?”
“If I don’t treat your wounds quickly.”
“You will treat me? Somehow it seems you don’t understand who I am.”
Facing towards this direction with a pale expression, that person is displaying a scornful laugh on his face.
“Umm, what kind of person are you?”
“Don’t you understand?”
“Not at all.”
“I’m a demon.”
“… If you speak of demons, then you certainly mean those demons?”
“I don’t know the meaning of 『those demons』, you speak of. Are demons something having various meanings to that extent for humans?”
“… I’m not aware of any others.”
“You are a strange child, aren’t you? Aren’t you afraid of me?”
“… That is, not very much.”
Even I was marvelled. Speaking of demons, they are ruthless, cruel creatures. I have been taught that they are atrocious existences, who come attacking without questions, if they see humans. Although there’s such demon in front of me, the feeling of having to run away strangely didn’t come to mind.
“Ha! You, aren’t you slightly weird?”
“You could say that.”
“… It’s not a situation to have an idle chat, is it? Run away before the pursuers arrive.”
“Won’t there usually be pursuers, if a demon appears in the imperial capital?”
“That’s right, isn’t it?”
Even if I say so myself, it’s a stupid reply. The demon, who heard that, likely thought the same. While expressing a wry smile, it slowly stood up.
“This place is dangerous. Go back home quickly, if you don’t want to die.”
“What is it?”
“I want to die though…”
“… What was that?”
“Anyhow, can’t you escape after killing me first?”
“You… what are you saying?”
“No, it was just right at the place, where I planned to die. You came crashing there and I survived.”
I told a little lie. It’s impossible to tell it something like I escaped because I was scared of dying. For some reason I knew that this person might at least kill me, if I ask him to.
“… Are you saying that seriously?”
“It’s the truth. It’s already painful for me to be living. But, somehow it doesn’t look like I have the courage to kill myself either.”
“It’s not something you say to mess around.”
“I’m not telling you something like that to mess around.”
“You are screwing around. You want to die, you say? Have you been considering just how many people there are in this world, who can’t survive although they want to stay alive?”
What the demon has said is a fair argument. If the world only consisted of fair arguments, I wouldn’t suffer from something like bullying. Considering that, I got extremely angry. Even I’m deep down aware that I’m distorted.
“You don’t understand my feelings! Those called demons are powerful, right!? There’s no way for such people to comprehend the feelings of a weakling like me!”
The words, I held back tightly, left my mouth with vigour. At the same time my vision was blurred by tears once again.
“… Certainly, I might be strong. But, if you look at all demons, we are also, what you call, weak.”
Looking at the sobbing me, the demon addressed me with a tone as if admonishing me.
“You don’t know about as you are a child? The demons are suffering persecution from the humans. We are in a position of getting hunted. Even if each of us is powerful, the number of humans is different. There might be friends losing their lives even while we are here like this.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. But even then, we demons are trying to survive in this world with all our might. Even making the entire world to be our enemy.”
“… You don’t call that weak. I don’t even possess such strength of heart. I beg you. Please kill me after all.”
“… You are.”
“Isn’t it fine? It’s only a mere stab with your sword. For you something like killing me is easy, right?”
“This sword is…”
“I don’t even care what method you use. Please!”
“If you don’t do it, I will just do it myself. If you consider me to be pitiful, even if only a bit, please kill me with your own hands so that I won’t suffer.”
Rather than granting my desire, he might have only considered it to be just troublesome. Anyway, the demon accepted to kill me.
“Well then, go ahead, please.”
It’s not like I’m not scared of the thing called death. Shutting my eyes firmly, I waited for the demon to kill me.
I feel its presence drawing close.
When I thought it will take only a bit longer, I heard the demon’s surprised voice.
Once I open my eyes secretly wondering what happened, I saw the sword, held in the hands of the demon, casting a faint light. The demon, looking at his sword, appears to be astonished.
“This is, what’s this about?”
“What’s wrong? If possible, I want to ask you to not spend too much time on it though.”
“… Is it something you wish to do for him? I guess, it’s fine. I will kill you with this sword. Consider yourself honoured.”
Why? Is it no good if I don’t consider myself honoured? Although I didn’t understand the meaning this late in the game, there’s no need to ask about the circumstances either. I nodded obediently.
“Well, then here it goes.”
The sword, held in the hands of the demon, came thrusting at my chest. I guess it will pierce me as is. While thinking such, I once again close my eyes.
“Can’t you hurry up and do it?”
Due to the pain not appearing no matter how much time passes, I urged on the demon unable to stay patient. Waiting for one’s death was more difficult than I believed.
“I have already stabbed you.”
“Such joke is great.”
“Listen, I’m telling you, the sword has already pierced you!”
“Eh? What’s this!?”
Once I opened my eyes, I saw the hands of the demon clasping the sword in front of my eyes. And, its point, just as the demon says, had deeply pierced into my chest.
The demon is surprised with its eyes widely open. I’m surprised here as well. Without any pain as is, the sword is sinking deeply into my chest as if getting completely absorbed by it.
Before long it completely vanished within my chest.
Suddenly a pain, similar to flames burning from within my body, travels through my entire body. I fall to the ground due to the unbearable pain, however that doesn’t mean that the pain vanishes thanks to that either.
“By no means! Such a thing!?”
“Oi! Who are you!? Oi!”
Although the demon is actively calling out to me, I don’t have the flexibility to answer him. The pain, as if being burned from deep within my body, didn’t cease at all.
“Oi! Your yelling will be heard by the other party!”
Someone’s voice is audible from the distance.
“Tsk, pursuers, huh? … You, let’s meet again, if you survive. Until then I will leave the sword in your care.”
There’s no way to stay alive in such situation. Even while writhing due to the pain, such calm thought came to mind for some reason within a corner of my mind.
Footsteps, mixed with metallic sounds, can be heard in the distance. They should be getting closer, but feeling those sounds becoming gradually smaller, my consciousness sank into a gloomy darkness before long.
When I opened my eyes, there was a white ceiling in front of me.
The pain similar to burning, which assailed me, has completely disappeared. My entire body was enveloped in lethargy.
Once I surveyed the vicinity with just my eyes, there was a woman, who wore white clothes at my side, but she was doing something with her back turned to me.
“This place is?”
Being called out to, the woman moved her shoulders with a start and immediately turned around to me.
“You recovered your consciousness!?”
“Yes. Where is this place?”
“It’s the Imperial Hospital.”
“Hospital… Is that so?”
“Please wait a moment. I will call the doctor right away.”
Saying this, the woman left the room with a jog.
“I have survived…”
I believed I was able to certainly die, but somehow it looks like that wasn’t granted. Rather than dying it’s been a painful anguish. I recall the pain at that time.
Maybe that demon tried to teach me the pain of death? If that’s how it is, it’s a considerably kind demon.
Such sentiment popped up in my mind.
I wonder what I should do from now on? The option called death clearly vanished. But, other option aren’t coming to my mind either. Rather than there being no options, I feel that I’m not able to think of them. Somehow I feel like being stuck in a haze.
Soon I heard footsteps approaching from the hallway.
I think that woman, probably a nurse, went to call the doctor. I turned my sight towards the entrance of the room, but what appeared at the very front was a knight, who wore an armour unbecoming of a hospital.
“Oh, you’ve come to. Can you talk?”
“Well, then let me ask you my questions at once. I’m called Henry of the Imperial Chivalric Order.” (Henry)
“Umm, the doctor is?”
“I got priority. Once I finish my talk, I will call him.” (Henry)
“… Is that so?”
Talking has more priority than medical treatment. Putting aside the contents, I understood that this knight is considering other matters to be more important than my body.
“So, why were you at that place?” (Henry)
The knight’s tone is that of a cross-examination from the beginning.
“I stopped by there on my way home from the academy.”
“At such time?” (Henry)
“That’s odd, don’t you agree? That time is a period, when students have gone home long time ago.” (Henry)
“It’s still the truth.”
“How about telling me the real situation?” (Henry)
“The real situation?”
“Aren’t you hiding something?” (Henry)
The knight’s eyes aren’t those of being worried about a person. No matter how you look at it, those are the eyes of doubt. Seeing that, I wondered whether he might even consider me to be a companion of that demon person.
Although the irritation within my mind was getting stronger, I took care to not show that on my face and answered the knight’s question.
“I was bullied by my classmates.”
“As I say, it’s bullying. They poured muddy water onto me and made me drink it. I received an assault of many hits and kicks. I stayed silent believing they would be accused of a crime, if I talked about these matters, but it’s impossible to hide it, if you make me tell you up until this point, right?”
“No, such stuff isn’t…” (Henry)
“Such stuff? Ah, something like bullying doesn’t matter at all is what you mean, right?”
“No, I don’t mean it like that.” (Henry)
The knight, perceiving his verbal slip, smooths it over in a hurry, but even so it’s half-baked. It doesn’t matter to him how he is assessed by me.
“Then, what is it?”
“Did you meet anyone?” (Henry)
“I was together with the classmates, who assaulted me. It seems they went home while I was unconscious though.”
“Anything else?” (Henry)
“There wasn’t anyone nursing me, who was suffering from pain. Ah, not about such stuff, huh? There ought to be a person, who brought me here, no?”
“That’s my colleague.” (Henry)
“Is that so? Then please tell that person my gratitude.”
“Gotcha. Also, didn’t you see anything?” (Henry)
“Even if you tell me ‘anything’…”
“For example, a demon or such.” (Henry)
Did he think staying ambiguous won’t make any progress? The knight changed to a direct approach.
“Demon… With demon you mean those ruthless, cruel creatures?”
“Indeed, that’s right.” (Henry)
“I haven’t seen such creature. In the first place, if I had met such a creature, I wouldn’t have survived, right?”
The person I met was a kind person of a different race, who earnestly prevented me from dying. It’s not a ruthless, cruel creature or anything like that.
“I see… Anything else?” (Henry)
“I blacked out the whole time.”
“I have heard that you screamed loudly.” (Henry)
“I wasn’t able to put up with the pain. It might be my heart’s pain?”
“I see.” (Henry)
“Will they be charged with responsibility?”
“Mmh? No, that’s not within my jurisdiction.” (Henry)
“Is that so…?”
“That’s how it is. Isn’t it fine to consult with the academy first?” (Henry)
Did he feel awkward, as expected, due to me showing a dispirited facial expression? The knight gave me an advice, but being told such a thing doesn’t amount to anything. I’m suffering because I’m unable to do that.
My home-room teacher should have noticed it long ago. He is pretending to not be aware of it.
“… Yes, I will try to take it into consideration.”
“Right, let me investigate the bullying matter from my side a bit as well. Can you please tell me the names of the other party?” (Henry)
I immediately understood that he doesn’t want to investigate the bullying matter but that it is for the sake of proving my story.
“Even if you don’t hear it from my mouth, you will understand once you ask my classmates. I don’t even mind you asking the teacher, if you want to.”
“Is that so? No, but…” (Henry)
“I’m sorry, but you won’t hear their names from my mouth. It will look like I’m tattling. Considering the moment this gets exposed…”
“I see… Alright, got you. Let me confirm it from my side.” (Henry)
“Please do so.”
“That’s all of my questions. Excuse me. I will go call the doctor right away.” (Henry)
While watching the retreating figure of the leaving knight, I breathe out with a “Fuu~”
I’m sure I didn’t tell a lie. However, I ended up hiding the matter with the demon. If this matter was to be exposed, what would happen to me? That anxiety came onto me, but I immediately shook off that thought with “Who cares.”
This country isn’t kind to me. Let alone being unkind, it’s at the level of me feeling that it treats me with malice.
If that demon brings about a catastrophe in this country, it will be irrelevant to me.
For some reason I was able to come to such a clear decision.
I might have died once after all. Isn’t that the reason why there are different opinions popping up in my head in comparison to my previous self, I wonder?
If that’s so ―― If I was reborn after dying, I should choose a way of life different from until now.
Let’s think about that from here on.
Glossary | Next Chapter –>