Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
VOLUME 3 CHAPTER 16: Dragon-san and the Apathetic Lady
I walked through the mansion, guided by the maid.
Instead of being in her room, Lishella was in the Solarium.
It was already nighttime, and even though there was no natural light coming in through the huge windows, there was a single magical lamp that was illuminating the room sitting on the table.
Lishella, illuminated by the moonlight, was sitting near the windowsill, looking outside and gazing at the panorama that was spreading before her. Basked in moonlight, her features seemed to be even more exquisite and elegant than usual.
I had no problem with seeing in the dark. However, the artificial light should have been too dim for Lishella to see properly.
「Lishella-sama, I brought her just as you requested.」
The maid speak up, and Lishella turns toward us.
Then, as if acting according to some kind of order, the maid turns around and quietly leaves the room, leaving the two of us alone.
Huh, why is she leaving? Please, maid-san, don’t leave me! I hope that wasn’t so obvious on my face for her to read.
「…… Please come here.」
When we were left alone, Lishella moved to the nearby sofa and suggested me to do the same.
On top of the table, aside from the lamp I could also see a teapot, some cups and sweets.
The teapot itself turned out to be magical, a kind of instrument that would heat up water when you apply magical power to it.
For the time being, Lishella poured some tea to the cups.
And then it was nothing but silence.
A very awkward and painful silence.
…… I just realized something rather important. There was no common topic that I could speak about with this girl! Like, at all!
I could talk to Mikoto about the Eastern countries and with Marca about everyday life, but I would never have thought that I would ever be involved with someone like Lishella!
We were sitting right next to each other, but Lishella was looking at her own feet all the time, so there was no way for me to actually strike up a conversation with her!
Ligurila-sama, help me out here! What the hell am I supposed to talk about with a girl her age!?
Ah, I know! There was something we could talk about!
「L, Lishella-san, I have heard that you are currently engaged. Congratulations!」
I blurted that out wanting to gain some time to think of something else to talk about, to which Lishella blinked her eyes a few times.
「So, you knew about it?」
「Eh? Umm, y-yes.」
「I learned about it from the letter I received from Father some time ago.」
Says Lishella, speaking about the engagement as if it was a matter that wasn’t related to her in the slightest.
In other words, it was nothing else but an arranged marriage, where she had nothing to say in the matter at all.
Way to go, me! I just stepped on a huge-ass landmine!!!!!!
I was so nervous that I wanted to scream internally, but on the outside I managed to retain a poker face, to which Lishella lets out a small sigh.
「It was bound to happen sooner or later. Arranged marriages between the nobles is nothing out of the ordinary. Please, don’t feel bad about it.」
It was the first time she has ever said something so long, but her usually silent voice felt really different at that moment.
Lishella was worlds apart from the seventeen-year-olds that I knew back in my world.
Mikoto was somewhat the same age as her, but aside from the fact that she was a year younger, she managed to overcome many difficulties and got along with both Elvie and Iori. They all formed a bond and had fun during their club activities.
Even when compared with other noble girls, she was approaching this matter in a much calmer way than someone of her age.
However, maybe it was all due to resignation, for the look upon her face right now was truly painful.
「Say, Lishella-san? Why did you want to see me?」
I asked her that without thinking.
Maybe it was from shock upon hearing the sudden question, but Lishella blinked her eyes a few times yet again.
「The first time we ever met was during the garden party, but we didn’t exchange any words back then. So why did you invite us to the residence afterwards?」
I look her straight in the eyes, and I could see that there was fear lingering somewhere in them.
But I didn’t avert my eyes.
「…… At that time, you saw me.」
Even though her voice was still silent, her words were firm and strong.
「You also took something out of my mother’s necklace.」
This time I was the one to be surprised.
Certainly enough, her magic potential was not nearly enough to make her a proper magician, but it looks like she’s more sensitive to magic than the majority of humans.
It was obvious enough from the fact that she was able to heat the water in that pot, but I certainly wouldn’t expect a girl without proper training to be able to see the extraction of the magical nucleus from an object.
I wasn’t careful enough back then, suddenly that thought crosses my mind.
「That something was a demon, correct?」
She was just a normal human, but she knew about monsters and demons?
As for the cores of the magic stones, thanks to their appearance there were many theories being created about them, and some people even went as far as calling them the ‘precious gemstones of the devil’. Hence the ones who amass them were always treated like the kind of bad guys.
However, I could sense no hostility hidden behind Lishella’s expressionless face. In light of that, I decided not to hide anything from her.
It wouldn’t be fair to try and hide the truth from her.
「Did you know that they were being used to create the artificial magic stones?」
「I was merely guessing here.」
Said Lishella, whose lips closed tightly once she finished speaking.
「Oh, so then, you did see that I was modifying the stone but you didn’t alert anyone else of that. Why is that?」
「I just saw you putting something inside of it, and when you returned the stone there was no damage to it. Besides, no one would really believe me, even if I told them the truth. Mother has no interest in those kind of things, and Father pays me no mind at all. There is no one who would listen to me.」
Her words as well as her actions were giving testament to the fact that she was a really smart girl, but still, her words right now were nothing else but painfully sad.
However, it was hardly the time to feel sorry for her.
「So, if that’s the case, why did you wanted to see me?」
Maybe she wanted to ask me about my abilities that made it possible to extract the demon from the stone, but I had a feeling that wasn’t quite it.
Lishella nods her head to my question.
「I thought that maybe you would be able to make my wish come true.」
Saying that, Lishella closed her fists tightly, so strongly that her fingers were turning white.
Her expression remaining the same, but I knew that it must have took tremendous amounts of courage for her to speak up her mind.
It was just as Ligurila said.
In the aristocratic society, speaking your honest feeling was similar to giving a really sharp knife into your opponent’s hands.
And depending on what the other side decides to do with the information they were given, it could have been more or less equal to social suicide.
However, since she began speaking, I decided that I wouldn’t interrupt her in any way.
「Seeing your conversations with Miss Morton, Miss Figura, was so fresh to me. And that time when you invited me to your house, it was so unknown, but at the same time so exciting experience.」
Umm, you mean the time when we were eating and talking just like we usually would?
And that we went for a walk to the park when we found one of the stones and I drained it in secret? Or when we rent a boat and I got the stones from the shore to float up on the water’s surface and Ligurila got angry with me for doing that?
At the time Lishella was only watching us, but it seems that it was whole lot of fun for her.
「How come that so simple activities such as eating or walking can be so interesting? It was the first time for me to realize that humans can truly derive pleasure from the simplest of things.」
I didn’t quite understood what she was going on about, but I listened to her nonetheless.
「Since the moment I was born, I was a child who was weak and was prone to getting sick. One of the possible reasons for that was, as one of the doctors have said, that my body was having difficulties with handling magical power it was generating.」
It was surprising that someone would propose such a theory, even more that it was a doctor.
Magic is something that is essential for all living beings, but in excess it can become a powerful and potent poison instead.
And while there are people whose magic tolerance increases together with their growth, like Nectar, there are also those whose bodies don’t do that, and at some point in their lives they simply can’t withstand their own magic.
「After that, I have received various forms of treatment, to the point that most of my meals were including drugs and medications instead of food. It was around that time that I was informed that I would probably not survive to the moment of reaching adulthood. It took me a while to calculate just how many days I had to live. I could do only that much, since right after that I was struck with a fever.」
A mortifying scene pops up in front of my eyes.
It was just way to sad just having to imagine a young Lishella spending her days all alone in her bedroom.
「Overcome with those circumstances, I broke into another high fever during the following winter. I also overheard the doctor saying that there was nothing else that he could do to help me. Neither Father nor Mother was by my side at that time. But since it was always like that, I didn’t feel lonely in the slightest. That’s how I was fighting the fever that was burning my whole body while my inside was all cold.」
However, I got a feeling that I saw a slight trace of emotion in her eyes for the first time –– that of reluctance.
「Then, there was that man who appeared in front of me looking like a strange beast. He said: ‘Will you give me your soul in exchange for keeping you alive?’」
It was something that I was way too familiar with.
It was the most common practice for demons to deal with people.
「But I declined the offer.」
Nervously awaiting more, Lishella’s words surprised me.
「W, why did you refuse?」
「You see, I wanted this life of nothing but suffering to finally end. It didn’t mean much to me, so I wanted to end it as soon as possible. And then he said: ‘If you’re going to die anyway, why don’t you simply give me your soul?’ He was really embarrassed when he was saying that.」
Lishella’s expression changed.
You couldn’t really call that a smile.
However, the corners of her lips were raised slightly, and I could see for the first time some emotion reflecting on her face.
「I was in a lot of pain at the time, so I passed out, but I remember nodding my head. When I woke up the very next and all of my symptoms were all but gone. I was told that it was a miracle. From that day onwards, that person would sometimes come to visit me.」
After that, Lishella related her memories of the demon in a quick, but joyful way.
It seems that every time he visited her he was talking to her as to why she didn’t wanted to accept his offer.
Demons desire the souls of men because they don’t understand them. By doing that they could experience the pleasures that humans experience, and by that they were growing in power. And if the soul was not to their liking, they could to whatever they wanted with it, even return it to its rightful owner.
With each of his visit, the demon would tell Lishella various stories regarding other humans he visited lately, each time asking if she was enjoying them.
Because of that, I felt a kind of sympathy towards that demon.
They would only contact with those who obsessively clung to life, but upon meeting someone who was not like that, he had no complaints.
Perhaps that was the reason why the demon from Lishella’s story was like that, clumsy when it comes to communicating with girls and getting embarrassed over his deeds.
「But then, one day Father invited a sorcerer to the mansion.」
Lishella’s tone changed. Her poor expression betrayed pain and deep sadness.
「Some of the servants must have contacted Father. They told him that I was being visited by the devil himself. Since then, he stopped coming to see me.」
That sorcerer must have been the one to develop the artificial magic stones.
Surely no one has told her what was the true reason for this sorcerer’s visit, but it was probably because of that misinformation that she arrived at such a conclusion. It was only logical.
Lishella was looking in the distance with sad eyes.
「But as I was moving through my life at the capital, living my life just how others wanted me to live it, I would sometimes feel the mark that person left me ache. It was always when Father was close to me. At first I didn’t understand what was going on, but then I think I saw something when my Father was holding one of the artificial magic stones. Maybe that person can change his shape and is still somewhere around?」
While saying that, Lishella holds her chest tight. Usually, that’s the spot where the sign of contract would be located.
The contract mark usually disappears when the demon behind it loses its power or is killed, and so is the path by which it is connected to someone, but it’s not all that rare for people to be able to spot things like that from time to time.
But even so, I couldn’t really sense it without focusing my attention.
Before long, Lishella was looking straight at me.
「Being with that person was a lot of fun, so I want to see him again. I must meet him again and give him my soul. That is the nature of our contract.」
Lishella’s expression was mysterious, as always, but this time around her eyes looked as though she was about to cry.
「I have no idea what is it that you want. But I shall do whatever is in my power to assist you. That is why please, take me out of this stone.」
Lishella then went to read a book in the moonlight, but her words were haunting me throughout the rest of the night.