Just like that, in a blink of an eye a few days passed since the conversation with the Princess. Everyday, me and the boy were confronting the magical language inside the cave illuminated by the white flowers. Although we had found a new magical system, we hadn’t discovered anything else. It was a day like any other day. The two-weeks deadline had passed yesterday.「I’m scared of going back to the capital.」commented the man last night.
As I was sitting over the magic square transcribing the magical language as usual, I felt someone’s sight on me. I looked up and saw the boy staring at me again. Lately I noticed that the boy was looking at me more often.
Even if I asked, he always stubbornly answered「It’s nothing.」. Although he was clearly brooding over something, he had no intention whatsoever of telling me what he was so lost in thought about.
That line again. He was always like that. He turned his face away from me and dropped his gaze back to the piece of paper he was holding. Silence fell over the cave. I swallowed down a sigh that wanted to come out of my mouth because of the boy who wasn’t saying anything and looked at the magic square once more.
Just what was the boy worrying about? Was it something he couldn’t talk to me about? Was it arrogant of me to want him to talk to me? I was scared of his rejection in case I asked, so in the end I didn’t say anything either. How pathetic of me.
Once again I felt the impulse to sigh welling up. At the same time I was feeling weary at not being able to say anything and my head hurt. The headache I’d developed lately was even worse today. In order to get rid of it I stretched myself lightly. I narrowed my eyes at the feeling of my stiff muscles stretching and somehow ended up looking at the surroundings. The unchanging humid air inside the cave illuminated by the pollen of the white flowers was now dry. There wasn’t even a shred of the dampness one imagines when they hear the word “cave”. I had a feeling that the air which is slightly filled with the scent of flowers is evidence of the fact that people are spending time inside.
My eyes which are roaming about the wall tightly packed with magical language, as I was slowly rolling my head around suddenly stopped at one point.
I unwittingly let out my voice. I blinked my eyes and continued staring at that point. What was「that」? It might have been my imagination, however there was an unmistakable feeling of discomfort coming from 「that place」.
I stood up as if I was feeling drawn by that place, and not taking my eyes off it for even a moment, as I walk up to that wall.
I felt the boy’s questioning sight on my back but I didn’t turn around. If I took my eyes off 「that」, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to find it again.
I stopped right in front of「that」… That being a small blank space not filled with magical language, which was just the size of a person’s palm. I could clearly see that it was unnaturally round, just like a button. That said, the bump was protruding ever so slightly, so it didn’t stand out much. It was amazing that I’d even noticed it.
I was hesitant to push the button which was just asking to be pushed, but in the end I did push it. With a much lesser force that it seemed necessary, the button sank into the wall.
In front of my eyes, accompanied by a grave sound, the wall was moving to the left and right like a sliding door. Before the speechless me, another space appeared. As I was standing stunned in astonishment, the boy ran to my side. We both proceeded to stare at this new space.
「That is ……」
I didn’t know whether it was me or the boy who mumbled that. However, it didn’t matter whose voice it was.
Just like with the cave, it was more fitting to call this space a「room」than to call it 「space」. The ceiling which was connected to the cave’s ceiling, had glass mounted into it and sunlight was filtering through. Illuminated by the sunlight was various, carefully distributed furniture like a bed, a desk and cupboards. The room formed by those objects, which should be called antiques rather than just old furniture was simple but gave the impression of a woman’s touch. No dust flew up as we stepped into the room and there was no moldy smell. It was truly beautiful.
「This seems to be Elizabell’s room.」
Without thinking I looked towards the mumbling boy, who picked up the hard-cover book which was laying on top of the desk. I peeked inside the book from the side of the boy. It was filled with peculiar written old letters. The boy was flipping through the pages and on one of them we found an old date.
「Could this be a diary?」
「…Probably. This date is from around 300 years ago, so it’s practically sure.」
「Great! That’s a breakthrough!」
I suddenly shouted in joy. I wanted to praise myself for finding the room. If it was really Elizabell’s journal then maybe there would be some kind of information on the magic remaining in the ruins.
It might be difficult to read taking into account the difficult old letters and the peculiar handwriting which seemingly reflected the writer’s character, but if we worked hard it wasn’t an impossible feat.
「Edi, why don’t we take a break from deciphering the magical language for a while and focus on reading this? It’ll be noon soon, so…」
「——– There he is!」
A violent voice loudly reverberated inside the cave filled with stillness. Before I finished speaking, accompanied by the sound of footsteps, a large number of men broke into the cave with the magic square through the corridor.
「It’s really pure black! It’s exactly as he… the owner of the coconut stall said!」
「Elizabell’s cursed child came to bring the disease upon all of Nibbiellata !」
「This monster child! If you don’t want to die, then get out of here right now!」
It seemed that all of those men who were yelling, their voices full of anger and fear were the islanders, as they all had three braids plaited and hanging down on each side of their foreheads. Their tanned, sturdy bodies might have been a result of working as fishermen. Instead of swords and spears they were holding other things which could very well serve as weapons, like farming hoes. And among those men there was….
As I called his name in astonishment, the expressionless Juri who was standing amongst those men and looking towards us, abruptly turned his face away. I was stunned by his reaction.
Juri’s attitude explained clearly how the islanders had arrived at this place. He had guided them here. Otherwise, there was no way that they’d have reached this place after the Governor advised unconcerned people not to approach the ruins.
I couldn’t understand why Juri would do something like this. Was is because the islanders threatened him? Or did they convince him? Whatever the reason, I didn’t want to believe, that Juri, who had previously said that he’d never do something like rejecting the black hair, had teamed up with the people who wanted to get rid of this child.
I dropped my gaze towards my side. The boy was looking at the people, no feelings visible on his beautiful face. He wasn’t saying anything, but his heaving chest showed that he was unbelievably shocked. It must have been shocking for him, Juri was the first friend he’d ever made.
Aaah, my head hurt. It was a throbbing pain. I was overwhelmed by the pain which made me want to squat down where I am standing. It was the worst headache I’d ever gotten in this cave, where one couldn’t feel the passage of time.
「Hurry up and disappear from this island already!」
I didn’t know how to protest against those people screaming their agreement. Their voices were echoing inside my hurting head. Although I wanted to scream back at them 「What idiotic things are you saying?!」, my legs were shaking and I couldn’t properly formulate the words. The malice of ganged up people is a terrifying thing. Really scary. I couldn’t help but think that up till now, had the boy always been faced with this feeling?
Having thought that, it felt so painful that I gripped the boy’s hand tightly. His body trembled slightly. Even though this boy was so small. Even though his hands were so fragile and gentle. Who the hell is a cursed child? Who the hell is a monster? Don’t kid around!
I put strength into my hand which was holding the boy’s. The boy timidly squeezed my hand and I squeezed back. Then I walked one step forward. The men who are holding their weapons ready and glaring at us retreated, as I stepped forward and glared back at them.