A crying voice was heard.
Pitch black, in the midst of darkness so dark that one couldn’t see oneself. That crying voice first raised its voice, yelling loudly. As soon as it did, it burst into heaving sobs at times, and at other times it would cry and shout without holding back. Then it would desperately try to hold back its crying only to fail, before repeating itself, spending its days in tears all the more. That’s what it was like.
Well, just whose voice really was that? It wasn’t the simple and pure way an innocent child cried. It was full of a more complex sorrow and grief, filled with despair, and it kept crying. For some reason, I felt like I certainly knew that voice. But despite that, I still didn’t know who the owner of that voice was.
I wanted it to just stop and pardon me already. I wasn’t supposed to have the decency to keep obediently listening to that crying, from someone I didn’t even know. But despite that, I couldn’t bring myself to just throw it away. Why?
It was rather complicated to be just pestering. Just what kind of torturer was a newcomer going through? Aah, no more, this really is such an, amazing——……
I opened my closed eyes as I murmured that, only to see the ceiling I had finally just gotten used to, right in front of my vision. In the dark, the light-colored flower-patterned wallpaper dimly stood out. It seemed to be to the tastes of the previous owner of this room, but I myself was pleased with it, and I took pride in it.
Well then, excuse me for being so sudden. I hope you are all in high spirits, the ones who are meeting me for the first time and the ones who are not. Hello, it’s me.
It has already been years since I was reincarnated into this world of swords and sorcery, from the country of Japan, said to be going through an employment ice age. The 『me』 of the 『past』 would laugh at what a joke it is. But anyway, the ancient demon king that made his return after five hundred years has been finally destroyed by the party of heroes.
There are still demon survivors in various places in the country; it seems there are still requests to destroy them going to knights, the country’s wizards, self-protection groups, and mercenary guilds. But compared to the time when the demon king sat in his demon city, it seems like it’s become considerably better. They say the demons have inevitably grown weaker since the demon king was destroyed, so there isn’t as much damage being done as before.
The congested, stagnant atmosphere in the country had been beautifully wiped away. The people used to tremble with anxiety and fear, but now smiles returned to their faces. Time, which seemed like it had stopped, started moving.
If I had to say, I know I’m not very religious. But certainly, it made me remember. The moment when the light fell from the heavens, changing our kingdom, and then the world. The light that came when the hero’s holy sword pierced the demon king. It was so beautiful it made one dizzy to look at it.
It was more dazzling than the sun, which we had not seen for a long time. And yet it didn’t hurt to look at that light. At that moment, everyone more or less believed that the hero had succeeded.
But that light didn’t cleanse the dark mud lying in my heart.
At that moment, I closed my eyes to cut off my vision, which was wrapped with tears. Seared into my eyelids was not the light from the heavens, but the light of the sunset, with orange and purple mixed together. It was the light of my fiance’s eyes, who I thought I’d never see again.
If the country’s head wizard and my fiance, one of the party of heroes, had not come back as if to say 「Oops, I was actually alive all along!」 no doubt I would’ve turned into a living corpse, an actual one.
Yes, if my fiance——if that man had not come back alive for me.
Back then, I meant to understand that was a perfectly probable possibility, considering the dangers that came with the duty of defeating the demon king. I thought I didn’t have the right to interfere, so just those two words, 「Don’t go,」 were beyond the limit for me. The best I could do was to request him, 「Please be safe.」
But now, I think. Even though I knew that it was helpless, he couldn’t disobey an order from His Majesty, despite all that, I should have at least cried, shouted, and clung to him. Even though the scars on my back had made us feel obligated to each other, I should have used more of my actions and words at him.
The reason I didn’t do that was because of my stubbornness, my pride…… No, it wasn’t anything strong like stubbornness or pride. It was a bluff, a weakness. Since I continued to give in to that weakness, I ended up considerably going about things in a roundabout way.
I’ll introduce myself once again.
My name is——was Filmina Veer Adina, now it is Filmina Von Lancent.
I am the wife of one of the party of heroes, our country’s head wizard, Agedilus Von Lancent.
It is generally accepted that I’m rather plain and ordinary. The proof of whether I really am in such a position is obvious if you look at the situation I’m in. Taking light breaths beside me, that vision which is all the more beautiful while sleeping, is more proof than anything else.
Despite how I’m clearly different from other noblewomen in a situation like this in a mental age sense, I never did things like sharing a bed with someone from the opposite gender who wasn’t my husband. In other words, it’s like that.
Defeating the demon king. That time felt overwhelmingly long for me, who couldn’t do anything but wait. But in reality, it wasn’t that long. And it wasn’t that long ago that this man returned from the trip and we finally got married.
Getting married to one of the saviors of the world, whose name was more famous to the world now than ever before, was a huge pain, to put it bluntly. Though, the one who really received the trouble was not me but this man.
This man didn’t try to tell me that, but I know it. I know that the people who had completely avoided him before did a 180 degree turn, now approaching him and recommending him their relatives who were young ladies to marry. God, he really is a man that belongs to those cliches high fantasy tropes.
I did think ‘if he cancels his engagement with me and marries some girl I don’t know from somewhere, this time I really will get mad and slap that white cheek of his.’ But that didn’t happen. This man completely threw away all those marriage proposals from noblewomen who were favorable in all ways, and went ahead with our marriage ceremony.
It was a marriage ceremony improper for a hero that saved the world, as if avoiding the public eye.
The attendants were both of our relatives along with the hero, the princess, the knight, and his disciple, who had all slipped away from their official work. It was in one of the temples of the goddess that’s scattered around everywhere in this country; and it was even considered a small temple out of those. So the ceremony was held rather secretive.
I might get yelled at in shock by my friends, the other noblewomen, as being wasteful. But I preferred holding the ceremony here more than in the grand temple within the city center.
Since the defeat of the demon king, something like a hero’s wedding ceremony should have been a grand event with all of the nation’s people invited. But my real intention was to avoid it even as a joke, standing in front of a crowd of many people beside that man who’d be wearing the most highest grade wizard uniform as the groom, looking more beautiful than the bride.
But it is also true that it genuinely made me happy to wear a wedding dress for this man, something the 『past』 『me』 wasn’t able to wear. Even though it might have been considered disgraceful considering my age, I was still happy.
And then, I and that man got married. The wedding was hidden by his intent. Although there are still very few people that know about it, the wedding was real, accepted.
「……You really are hopeless.」
Sitting up in bed, I caress his head. There are no signs of him waking up. His rustling hair is so pleasant to touch it irritates me. My emotions about it change on a whim – sometimes I want to make the people that called him bad luck or a monster actually touch his hair, and other times I want to hog it all for myself.
There are absolutely no signs of him waking up. He quietly breathes, his face just like a child’s.
The other day, I teased the boundary and called him 『idiot』. Lately, I’ve been thinking it might be alright if I relinquish him of that. But in place of that, I want to stick the label 『hopeless』 onto him.
I mean, it’s true, right? How could I not have noticed that the reason he didn’t want to make our marriage public was to protect none other than me? I know I’ve realized it, but I mean, what else would I call this man that wants to hide my existence if not 『hopeless』?
If he revealed my existence to the public, at least the proposals that come fluttering in under him would decrease, become less than they are today. He was already extremely busy with being the head wizard of the royal palace – no doubt it must be incredibly annoying to suddenly have proposals endlessly coming in. But despite that, he still hides me.
I’ve never thought something like ‘is he hiding me because he’s embarrassed of me?’ Because if he was so embarrassed of me he couldn’t tell people around him about me, he would have outright divorced me right away before hiding me. That’s the kind of man Agedilus Von Lancent is.
My position——namely, the position of being this man’s wife, is extremely unstable, to be precise. After all, I am nothing more than a mere aristocrat, not even worthy of being compared to the head wizard. Everyone would think the position of being 『the savior of the world’s wife』 is too much of a heavy load for me.
If a grand rumor spread around that I was married to this man, I can easily imagine it would cause a good-for-nothing mess. Divorce is acceptable in our country, so people that want that to happen would try to get me at any way possible. If so, there might be those that would take strong measures to do so.
That’s what this man worries about. If I said his worries about it didn’t make me happy, that would be a lie. The fact that he’s trying to protect me certainly makes me happy.
But, be that as it may. Because even I have something to say.
The world in general would say that me and him are still newlyweds. We’re the kind of newlyweds that would be able to come on TV in the 『past』 world.
It took far too long friendship to get there. It feels as if I could easily forget that, but still, I had gone from just a 『childhood friend plus fiancée』 to 『wife』. If you ask me whether I find it funny that other girls keep trying to woo my 『husband』, the answer is of course, no. I mean, I get jealous just like everyone else.
Even though I hadn’t thought things like that until now, just as I became a wife I started thinking things that are far too mercenary-like, if I do say so myself. I can do nothing but just giggle, laugh it off with the composure of someone who is barely a legal wife – just what am I to do?
I’ve finally come here after so long, but I still can’t relax properly. Because at any rate, the women that approach him aren’t just the ones that see him as nothing but a hero – there are also those who certainly see him as 『Agedilus』.
Because of that, he really is clueless. Even though he’s so sensitive to bad things that are said to him and responds accordingly, he’s completely dense when it comes to good things. Considering his early life, perhaps it can’t be helped, but it really is too much.
I’ll also say that although I won’t call him an idiot, I really can’t help calling him hopeless, someone who just can’t be helped. Though I do know that it’s not something to be upset over, I should be grateful since he came back alive for me.
I’m happy that he’s protecting me, but that alone isn’t enough. I really should just be grateful for what I have.
Still almost sitting up in bed, I stop caressing his head. As gently as I can, I slide my finger along the faint scar under his closed left eye. He draws closer to me, as if it feels good. It’s such an innocent gesture, unthinkable considering his usual behavior. It stirs up such deep emotions within me.
His upturned eyelashes are so long they anger me, casting a shadow over his cheeks, making me feel extremely annoyed. I suddenly feel like pinching his pointlessly high nose, but his reaction afterwards will be a pain……Or, rather, scary. So I decide not to do that.
And so, I caress his cheek, stifling a sigh that was about to escape my mouth. I was hoping that sleepiness would fall over me soon, but for some reason I can’t even yawn. No matter what, I don’t feel like sleeping even if I try to fall asleep again.
What plays over and over in my ears is that unknown person’s crying voice. Painted under my eyelids is that darkness, darker than the dead of night.
I think I ended up seeing an odd dream. It was a nightmare, of course, a dream that nothing could be done about.
It feels like nothing will change if I keep lying in bed like this, but I also can’t bring myself to wake this man. Removing his arm from on top of me, I gently get out of bed.