Her amber eyes shining with gold, Clementine immediately puts her hand on Filmina’s wound. A faint silver ray of light is fired from that hand. It slows the force of the bleeding, although only a little. Unable to do anything, Agedilus simply watches.
What Clementine has cast on Filmina is a type of light magic classified as healing magic. It’s not as effective as using spirit magic from crystals, but if the injured party is affected by demons, light magic must certainly be effective. Analyzing that so calmly it’s strange, Agedilus sensed something in himself.
‘What – you – should be doing.’ He internally ruminates over Clementine’s words, once again looking down at the person in his arms. At the sight of Filmina’s face color, much worse than before, he’s completely at a loss for words. Those eyes shining golden look at Agedilus, and Clementine declares:
「You have to help too, quick! Or do you mean to let my beloved friend slip away from me?!」
「—! Like hell I’d do that!」
Her usually calm voice is harsh, and Agedilus reflexively yells back at her. Then, finally, 『what he should do』 falls into him with a thump.
——Ah, yes. That’s right.
He’s not the same now as he was that day when he was young, when all he could do was act recklessly with his magic. For who was it that he had devoted himself diligently to the study of magic since then? All that and all this, everything had just one purpose: to protect Filmina, now in his arms.
He wanted to protect her from everything, just because she was the one that wouldn’t obediently let herself be protected, just because it was her who said she wanted to stand beside him. He had overestimated himself, thinking he had become capable of protecting her.
Agedilus now realizes too late, that he has been an idiot. How can he protect her at all? Far from protecting her, he didn’t even notice that she was cursed, and on top of that she protected him in the last moment; he put her life in danger, close to death.
His sunrise-colored eyes look at those amber eyes that look golden, glaring at him, and also look at those reddish-brown eyes that are looking at him too. What runs through his mind are those words Filmina once happily told him, 「You finally made friends too.」 Back then, he had replied, 「They’re not that great.」 But now, he has no choice but to accept it. Accept that now, his world isn’t just limited to Filmina and his foster father. Accept that he has already received a new world.
Perhaps it’s for the better that those words he mutter go unheard by everyone. He does think they’re idiots, getting so desperate for his sake. But Agedilus finally understands that the one who’s even more of an idiot is none other than him. 「You really are so dense.」 Agedilus feels like Filmina is saying that to him.
The rampaging magic gathers back to Agedilus. The raging storm stops, and all that is left afterwards on the ruined lawn is Alhelm, sitting and breathing out a sigh of relief, Celves who is finally completely free, breathing wildly on the ground, and then Clementine who is spending all her energy on treating Filmina.
Clementine tries to cure Filmina, sweat on her brows; Agedilus puts his hand on Clementine’s. She raises her head and looks at him, but immediately returns to healing again after seeing his expression. Agedilus too, refines his magical power and begins to release it from his hand.
He doesn’t need any long, tedious chanting. He sets up all the magic theory within himself, casting healing magic without chanting. Essentially, when using healing magic, it would be best suited to use a water spirit’s power through spirit magic, instead of Clementine’s light magic or Agedilus’s magic from his own magical power. But that theory doesn’t apply to Filmina. The scars she bore on that day when they were young, from a high-ranking fire spirit, reject healing from crystals. It may be possible for small everyday injuries, but it’s a huge difficulty for Filmina now with her serious wound.
Then, that isn’t the only problem.
「Alhelm! Make Ronein say how to break the curse! Doesn’t matter how you force it out of him!」
The curse cast on Filmina uses her dreams as an intermediary. Even if her physical wound heals, whether she wakes up or not depends on whether the curse is broken or not.
Agedilus yells that while casting healing magic on Filmina. Celves is still on the ground; he doesn’t even have the energy to resist anymore, his shoulders heaving with breaths. Alhelm blinks at Agedilus’s words, having tied up Celves again with the magic-blocking rope that knights always have ready. Alhelm looks like he wants to say ‘why now?’ but he doesn’t question further, raising up Celves’s upper body.
「…….Well, ya heard him. Though, I’m gonna be really grateful if ya spit it out right now.」
Celves keeps his silence, doing nothing but taking rough breaths. Alhelm smiles broadly at him, the same way he smiled at Agedilus earlier.
「Besides, Filmina is my buddy too. If she’s about to die, my bad but, I ain’t gonna go easy on ya.」
Those red-brown eyes look like they’re just smiling, but there’s a surprising cruelty in them, piercing through Celves’s azure eyes. Breathing wildly, Celves gulps, then finally mutters something, breaking the air with his words.
Alhelm furrows his brows at the very small, whispered words. Celves keeps his eyesight to the ground, he doesn’t dare to look at Agedilus who is busy casting healing magic, and at Filmina being held in his arms. As he does, he speaks as if groaning:
「I said, I can’t……!」
「Stop messing around!」
Agedilus hears Celves with his sharp ears, raising his head from Filmina and glares at him with those sunrise-colored eyes. On his beautiful face is an unhideable impatience.
「You’re the bastard that cast a curse on Filmina, right?! Like hell there’s a curse that the caster can’t break!」
Not caring what anyone else thinks, Agedilus yells in full blast. Celves’s response is a twisted smile. He stifles his laughter throatily, laughing loudly before long. That laughter, containing obvious adness in it, shakes the atmosphere of the ruined garden. With an empty light in them, those azure eyes look at Agedilus.
「Haha… Hahaha! Yes, that’s right, even if I’m the one that cast the curse! Lancent, I knew since that incident at the Academy of Magic that to hurt you, it would be more effective to curse your beloved than curse you yourself!」
Then, Celves begins talking. About the curse cast on Filmina. He says that it was, like they expected, using her dreams as in intermediary. That the caster, Celves himself, had exchanged his magical power with the demon’s he made a contract with, to make the curse. That the curse used Filmina’s ‘name’ as the starting point, growing using her ‘soul’ as the seedbed.
That the more it was nurtured, the more it grew, sucking her spirit and energy from her soul, that it would trap Filmina in the world of dreams. That all Celves had done was cast a curse on the name ‘Filmina Von Lancent’, that was all. That this curse would continue, even if it was detached from the caster. Just like a flower that would grow by itself once its seed was sowed.
「I knew you’d realize a normal curse immediately. That’s why I made this, a special curse that even you wouldn’t notice! The curse has already been separated from my hands. Once it’s completed, your ‘Filmina’ won’t wake up ever again. Haha, ha, hahahaha! Just watch, it serves you right!」
Celves keeps laughing in a broken way, his hair disheveled. Both Clementine and Alhelm go speechless at how full of insanity he looks.
「——Why… would you go so far?」
Agedilus unconsciously murmurs that, not stopping his hand as he casts healing magic.
The only time Agedilus and Celves were in contact was at the Academy of Magic for less than a year as classmates. He could tell that Celves didn’t think good of him as he kept skipping grades. But it wasn’t just Celves who thought that. Compared to the people that were pointlessly rude and jealous to him, stealing that letter, Celves was far better. Because no matter how Celves thought about Agedilus on the inside, at least he was indifferent on the outside.
Now that it’s come to this, why has Celves done all this? Finding it incomprehensible, Agedilus looks at Celves to see his azure eyes shake in doubt. But that’s only for a second, before his expression changes to a scoff.
「Why, you ask? That’s already decided. Why is it only you that gets everything? Magical power, talent, fame, just about everything! The head wizard of the royal palace? The hero of the saved world? Are you saying you can get all that, just because you’re a black-hair?!」
‘Why, why, why is it only you?’ Celves’s words are interwoven with envy and jealousy, and then, hatred.
Agedilus can’t help but think it’s incredibly laughable to say he can 『get everything』. This life of his, where he was sealed away right as he was born, harshly cursed at with words like monster or demon. The reason for all that is him being, as Celves said, a black-hair——namely, his jet black hair, isn’t it? That’s certainly not the only reason, but he can’t even doubt that’s the cause of why he was scorned by other people.
But to think that despite all that, here there’s someone jealous of him being a black-hair. ‘It’s rather self-centered,’ Agedilus internally says.
Whether he realizes Agedilus’s thoughts or not, Celves’s azure eyes look like he’s about to cry. ‘Why,’ his mouth quivers. ‘And yet, why.’
「Why did even my ‘Suzette’ have to be your ‘Filmina’……!」
His voice sounds like he’s spitting blood. That voice expresses how he thought of Filmina….. Or ‘Suzette’ to him. Slight pity came in Alhelm’s eyes as he held Celves down, but even so, he mercilessly struck his hand like a sword onto the back of Celves’s neck. It looks like just a small clap at a glance, ‘thud,’ but Celves faints right there without doing anything.
「For starters, you shut up for a while. Isn’t this better, Princess, Agedilus?」
「Yeah. We’ll carefully decide his punishment later.」
「That’s right. It doesn’t seem like he’ll be useful anyway, and I really don’t want to hear any more of him needlessly talking. It’s not the right situation for that.」
Without even hesitating, Alhelm asks for their agreement after knocking Celves out, rolling him over on the ground. Agedilus and Clementine don’t even pay much attention to it.
Filmina’s bleeding has greatly decreased compared to how it was at first, but it still isn’t near completely stopping. Agedilus is gritting his teeth, ‘maybe it’s best to transfer her to the White Lily Court where the medical officers gather,’ when he suddenly feels a gaze on him. He looks to see Clementine looking at him, those eyes shining with golden. Their gazes clash with a snap; her voice cold, Clementine says:
「But Agedilus, I’m going to take the liberty to say just this. I don’t think you’re in any position to say anything to that man. I’m still very angry at you.」
Agedilus can’t deny her words. He swore to protect her from everyone, and this is how it turned out. No matter how much he gets blamed, it can’t be helped. Or rather, it’s much more comfortable for him to get blamed. It’d be far more painful if he wasn’t blamed.
Changing all his magical power to healing power, Agedilus looked at Filmina’s face. It’s agonizing to look at her face, which has lost color. What kind of head wizard is he? What kind of savior of the world is he? What is the use of all those titles bestowed upon him when he couldn’t protect, couldn’t save the most important person to him?
‘Wake up, I’m begging you. Call me Edi with that gentle voice.’ Unable to do anything but pray for that and cast healing magic, Agedilus can’t possibly forgive how helpless he is.
Gripping her slender hand, which just about to lose its warmth, Agedilus earnestly calls out the name of his beloved.