Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Happy New Year, everyone!
I hope that you will support Dragon-san this year as well.
VOLUME 2 CHAPTER 15: The Boy Regrets
Elvie still remembered that time.
The time when he visited a village deep in the mountains together with his father, where many spirits resided.
Although father told them not to leave the village since they did not know what was out there, having become bored with playing with the village children or staying in the house, Elvie – who was ten at the time – snuck out of the village while his father was at work, and took Marca with him – who was six at the time. They went to the nearby forest to play.[Big Brother, the spirits, for some reason they are afraid.]
Marca said that to him while pulling at his sleeve, after the whole day of playing, tree-climbing and fruit-gathering inside of the woods.
For some reason, spirits seemed to really like her.
For that he was slightly envious of her, but he was also proud of her, for her magical aptitude was seemingly very high.
So if she said something like that, it was probably no lie.
Elvie also tried to listen carefully, but didn’t hear or sense anything at all.[Everything’s fine, now look, how about this?]
And since he didn’t want to go back so soon, he tried to divert Marca’s attention by pointing her towards different kinds of trees and showing her different leaves.
For a while, young Marca was playing around, looking at leaves dancing in the wind, but then she stopped and said with an uneasy voice.[Big Brother, let’s go back? The spirits, they say it’s dangerous, that we should run!]
When she pulled on his sleeves over and over again, even Elvie couldn’t take it anymore and stopped playing.
The spirits began to speak, all at once.
Even Elvie was able to hear their voices clearly, and he had much lower magical aptitude than Marca. The voices were afraid and were warning them.
Hearing the fear and unease in their voices, Elvie took a firm grasp of Marca’s hand.[Let’s go back.] [Yes.]
And then they went straight towards the village.
It appeared without making a sound.
His memories of that time were fragmented and very ambiguous.[Big Brother!!]
He remembered Marca’s cries as she was grasping his hand, as well as the look of shock on their father’s face.
The moment he passed the unconscious Marca to father, as he was collapsing to the ground.
The feeling of tree branches lashing against his skin.
A strange feeling, as if being ‘devoured’.
The smell of the earth when he hit the ground and was beginning to lose it.
He could only watch as the thing slowly approached him.
The black tentacle that was about to reach towards unconscious Marca.
He couldn’t protect her. He couldn’t protect her.
He wanted to save her, just her, it would be more than enough ––––––
He was ready to do whatever it took, just to achieve that![––––– Does the little brat desire power?] [……!!!]
He could hear a confusing, fragmented voice.
A big, shadow-like creature blocked his view.
That something, it was overwhelming.
What did he answer to that voice’s question?
Elvie and Mikoto were confronting each other in the corner of the training ground that was open for every student to use.
Elvie was holding a sword that was clearly not at all suitable for training, while Mikoto, on the other hand was using a wooden one, oddly resembling a wooden stick.
They were circling around each other, exchanging blow for blow. So far Elvie was yet to land even one successful hit on her.
He swings his sword downwards from over his head, and Mikoto blocks it with her wooden branch infused with magical power. When the two weapons collide, she pushes the sword back with little to no effort.
Her response was instantaneous, and little by little Elvie was unable to follow up with ripostes, falling back.
Mikoto’s judgement continued to be swift and sound, and so she managed to parry every single one of Elvie’s attacks, eventually striking the sword out of Elvie’s hand and sending him to the ground.
Mikoto, hardly even breaking a sweat, looked down towards Elvie, who was panting heavily and was out of breath.[Your heart does not pass through to the sword, your intentions are disturbed.]
Having recovered enough to talk again, Elvie was barely even able to reply to her harsh words.[Sorry.]
Mikoto was an international exchange student, who was attending the Magical course at the Academy, and she also knew martial arts, which was a rather curious combination for a mage to know. And because she was present at the training grounds, Elvie asked her to be his sparring partner without a moment’s hesitation.
Although he didn’t know her face, only the name of the student from the Magical Course, Elve heard the rumors and was sure that she was excellent at Healing Arts. Hence, he was surprised just how strong her offensive magic really was.
Back in Mikoto’s country, ‘Shrine Maiden’ was a support profession, someone who would provide backup during monster extermination, so Elvie was rather surprised once he learned the truth about both her profession and the reason behind her being so quiet.
Apparently, the Academy misunderstood that ‘Shrine Maidens’ of Eastern countries were some sort of experts in healing magic rather than monks, and because of that decided to put Mikoto in the Healing Magic Course.
Since Mikoto’s primary aim was to learn various techniques of subjugating monsters from the Western countries, she would often end up in unresolvable misunderstandings, since she only knew the bare minimum of Western language to communicate. However, getting to know a few healing arts and spells might not be so bad, since they are more advanced and could really come in handy.
Despite being roughly of the same age as Elvie, he could somehow guess that she was already well travelled.[If that’s the case, then would you like to enter my club?] [??] [I may not look like one, but I am registered as an assistant at the ‘Hunters Guild’ and I sometimes help out with monster suppression. I can even take you there if you want. Aside from that, the school also teaches the combat magicks.] [!!] [In return, could you please teach me the way you fight in your country?]
For Elvie, it was a complete mystery why Mikoto agreed to join him. She was really quiet, but he knew that she could go and be accepted into any other club if only she felt like it.
Since then, Elvie invited Mikoto to join him in his morning training, as he wanted her to teach him the martial arts from her homeland.
Then, she ended up joining Elvie’s club, so there were two of them in it, and in a year’s time she was joining Elvie in his effort to build his magical gun, by using her homeland’s technique of engraving to fuse the device with power.
To Elvie, Mikoto was not only a precious friend, but also a master/mentor.
So, no matter the reason, Elvie without his usual enthusiasm was truly no good.[I apologize, that was not my intention, but it is dangerous, so you might get hurt even if it’s just practice.]
Hearing his words, Mikoto couldn’t help herself letting out a sigh as she extended her hand towards Elvie.[This will be it for today. But, prepare yourself for more.] […… I understand.]
‘Bowing’ down as if he received an important lesson from Mikoto, Elvie picks up the sword that he dropped.
Then, as Mikoto was putting away her own sword back in its sheath, he spoke again.[So, did I really do something bad?]
Even though he didn’t exactly specify, Mikoto was sure that Elvie was talking about the events of the day before yesterday.
She did her best to try to hide her amusement, and answered in a serious manner.[No, was that really just an coincidence?] [Not really. You looked troubled, so I thought I might as well help you.] [Ok, let’s just call it a coincidence. Don’t worry about it.]
Mikoto’s ears move as if she was relieved, but then the spirit continued with his questions.[That child, she’s Elvie’s sister, is she not?] [Well, yeah.]
Mikoto nodded, calling Elvie with a quickly thought nickname, since apparently it had trouble with pronouncing ‘vie’.[Is it not good?] […… It used to, way in the past.]
Yes, it used to be good.
Until that incident about five years ago when Marca followed him to the forest and everything went south from there.[Is it not good now?]
Although it was Elvie who got irritated upon remembering some bad things from his past, Mikoto looked sad and depressed as well, staying silent.
On the contrary, when Elvie looked in Mikoto’s eyes, words began to spill from his mouth. Words he did not meant to spill.[I’m going to tell you, even though I wanted to forget.] [………] [In Marca’s eyes, I was always her cool ‘Big Brother’. I was able to use magic up to a point, and I thought I was fine the way I was. But then I lost that ability and tried to hide it from her, and now I don’t even know how I should look Marca in the eyes.]
Mikoto already knew something about it, for the Hunter Noct and Aru already gave her a rough explanation about what was going on.
At that time, she had problems with comprehending it all at once, but should she have any questions she could just ask Aru later to explain it to her.
However, thinking about it made her really curious.
Mikoto stared at Elvie in silence, but then she finally spoke up:[Lies are, not good.] [Well, of course they aren’t.]
As Elvie smiled wryly to her words,[But, sometimes because we cherish something, there are things we are afraid to say.]
Hearing a voice full of sadness, Elvie rose his eyes to see Mikoto’s face drowned in sadness and sorrow.[I know that I can’t just go back, but I don’t want to hurt her at the same time. But, the more I try to do that, the higher the wall between us gets. It’s not good.] [At this point, it might even be too high to overcome.] [But, really, I really want to talk to her.]
Bullseye.[There are things that you may no longer be able to do, but if you don’t apologize to her you are only going to be hurt even more.] [But, my sister is……] [It’s because she’s your little sister that she’s worried about you. She wants you to be fine and full of energy. She doesn’t want to be depended on. And she doesn’t want to only be protected.]
Elve was astonished hearing Mikoto of all people saying things like that, and with each passing second his arms started to tremble with anger at himself.
Was that supposed to have encouraged him?
Elvie thought like that to himself after he returned to the dorm.
While preparing for school and changing his uniform, he was still thinking about what happened yesterday.
It was a great opportunity for him to come clean, so why did he hide the fact that he was unable to use magic?
Since the moment she saw their father seemingly getting swallowed and thinking that he died, Marca sometimes tended to be unstable.
It would be even enough to have lessened the impact of getting to know that he was unable to use any kind of magic since that time.
Maybe it had something to do with the demon that was nesting itself inside of his magical core. Elvie had no idea, for while being examined by the magical doctor, the only thing that he could think about was Marca.
He was seemingly “devoured” by that demon when he tried to protect Marca.
If Marca knew that he was unable to cast spells because of that reason, it would have certainly broken her.
And hence Elvie asked his mother to keep the real reason away from Marca, to keep her in the dark.
He decided to play the role of a “cool Big Brother” in front of her up until the end.
No, not only Marca, he was hoping to fool even himself thanks to that.
Even though he himself knew just how meaningless it was.
He could probably come up with some kind of “natural” excuse for his current condition, but on the other hand it was better that he didn’t tell her anything.
In addition, with his going to his grandfather’s Academy and entering the dorm there, it was that much easier to keep the lie going.
It was not even necessary for him to enroll at Signos, since he could go almost anywhere since he was unable to use magic.
In fact, it was suggested to his mother to send him to normal school, but she didn’t even wanted to hear about that and was adamant on sending him there.
So he even went as far as to ask his mother to allow him to use her family’s name – Slaggart – when he began his education at Signos.
And it was true hell for him from the moment he entered the Academy.
When he witnessed other kids his age being able to use magic freely and cast spells like it was no big deal, his heart was filled with a whole variety of dark and sad emotions.
He wanted to cry every time he saw that, thinking it could have very well have been him.
But, Elvie was unable to do that anymore.
All of that depression even took a toll on his studies.
He was not as smart as Aru, so he studied even more than everyone else and spent more time in the library than any other student from his year.
After he chose the Combat Course as his choice for another three years, he began his training every single day from that day on.
He exercised more than anyone, trained in combat more than anyone and studied more than anyone.
He chose the Combat Course so that he could get rid of that sense of powerlessness he felt the day he was unable to protect Marca. And above all, there was that burning sense of hatred towards the demon.
He was always there, always his enemy.
How could he defeat him? By what means? What were its weaknesses?
He read the materials about them in the library, as well as running countless simulations inside of his head.
But no matter what he did, he just couldn’t win.
And so he did his best to stay at the top when it came to combat abilities in his year.
But even if he was able to defeat kids of the same age in combat, he would be powerless against the demons which even true magicians had to struggle with.
Why was he unable to use magic?
To make up for that, he remembered about the time when he was shown his great-grandmother’s magical gun in her house, and he came up with the idea of creating a magical gun like that all on his own.
Elvie’s magical power was only enough for him to conduct some light magical exercises.
He went to the Hunters Guild, ask the old Hunter who used a magical gun all about it, and even managed to get one for himself to use as research material.
He read all the literature he could about magical engineering, and even managed to get Iori on board, whose abilities were to prove invaluable in the upcoming weeks, and the two of them established their very own club so that they could conduct their research in peace.
For some time the thought of killing the demon was all that Elvie was able to think about.
The more serious he was about it, the shorter his letters to Marca became.
So she would come to the Combat Department and ask for a reason behind his behavior.
But even then, he would tell her that he was attending the Magical Course.
Aside from his studies and times when he was constructing his magical gun, he would always think about the demon.
Meanwhile, he began to grow more and more scared of meeting Marca during the breaks from school and summer vacations.
He was relieved to see that she was able to smile just like she always had, but at the same time he wished to go back to Signos as soon as possible, afraid that his lies might get exposed.
But still, her hollow expression was engraved deeply inside of his mind.
He was bound by the lie he invented so that he could protect her.
That’s why he was so surprised when mother told him that Marca would also attend Signos Academy.
There is little to no contact between the elementary division and the middle school division, not to mention the specific courses.
Marca did not mention anything about it in her letters, although she later wrote to him that he wouldn’t have to see her if he didn’t wanted to.
However, the fact that his sister entered the same school as him was something that he simply couldn’t overlook.
Elvie tried to spend his days as normally as he could, but deep down inside he was curious to see just how Marca was doing.
Unlike Elvie, Marca entered the Academy without hiding her name, and so it wasn’t long before the rumors began to circulate around the Academy, although they weren’t accurate ones.
There weren’t any students who left and changed schools, so everything stayed within the Academy’s walls, but still, for some time Marca was the main point of interest of many students.
So, when he learned that Aru was getting along with Marca, he couldn’t think anything else but that it was fate.
He knew that if he refused them, he would lose.
He lost count of how many times he wanted to be just like his little underclassmen were right now.[I’m the worst.]
Elvie mumbled to himself while dragging his feet from the dorm to the school building.
He did all of that just so she could feel better.
He kept on doing just that, and what was the result?
He hurt Marca. He made her cry.
Even though she was so happy, having been able to attend this Academy.
As many times before, he kept on wondering if it would be possible to return things to the way they used to be in the past?
What should I do? He had no idea.
He was supposed to be stronger.
Even if you were unable to use magic, there were still ways for you to be able to defeat a phantom.
Still, during that incident he was helpless, and felt as though nothing had changed.
Feeling a huge lump of emotions inside of his chest, Aru’s stunned expression crosses his mind.
When he met Aru, he was unaware that he was getting along with Marca.
One day, merely a month after the beginning of the new semester, a boy with almost girl-like appearance suddenly popped up in the middle of the middle school division’s classroom.
His carefree smile and innocent appearance reminded Elvie of Marca, and he decided to use the boy in order to escape his sense of guilt.
However, as if in spite of Elvie’s concerns, Aru managed to get along with his class in little to no time at all, thanks to his innocent aura.
Still, even though nothing had changed, Elvie felt as though Aru manage to beat him.
Each time he remembered how happy Marca looked when she was around him, he could feel something really unpleasant at the back of his heart.
He felt envious of all of his knowledge, and the way his golden eyes shone every time he learned or discovered something new.
However, all of that was gone when they were talking about improving his magical gun as equals, with no ill will in between them at all.
The moment he realized that, he felt as though he could let out a sigh of true relief for the first time in a very long time.
Aru was always good to him.
Every time he called to him with his bright and cheerful voice, Elvie felt that there was nothing that he couldn’t do, that he could finally be himself, without having to feel depressed or miserable that he was unable to use magic like everybody else.
I see, I,
He didn’t wanted to be a disappointment in Aru’s eyes as much as he didn’t wanted to a disappointment to Marca.[I truly am an idiot.]
Even though he was still in the school building, he could see only darkness in front of his eyes.
Today he had classes as well. There was a very high probability that he would end up meeting Aru there.
Before their meeting, he needed to think about how to handle this.
First of all, he needed to apologize to Aru, for saying all of those horrible things.
Also, for kicking him out.
But, what if he gets scolded by Marca? And what if she asks about why he invited Aru to his club in the first place?
Just thinking about all that, his hands turned ice-cold.
Think for a moment!
At the very least, you won’t have to meet with her if you don’t go to school.
Then he noticed his arm.
There was something warm wrapped around his arm.
It was a small hand with decorative bracelets wrapped all around it.[Elv-senpai!]
Being addressed by such a bright voice, Elvie raised his face.
There he saw a person clad in a black uniform and smiling brightly.