「I understand what you’re saying. However this child is neither Elizabell’s cursed child, nor a monster. This child is my most precious——……….」
Having spoken till there, my words got cut off. Rather than they got cut off, it was better to say that they wouldn’t come out. Instead a sigh came out of my mouth. The world was swaying. No, that’s not right. I belatedly noticed that the one swaying was me, not the world. I was dizzy. My head hurt. It hurt so much that I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t stand properly and my body leaned to the side. It felt like it wasn’t mine.
The boy’s voice calling me felt far away. I dropped to my knees and the boy supported my body with all his might. I wanted to thank him, but the only thing coming out of my mouth was a rough breath. The pain of not being able to take a proper breath and a pounding headache. If I’d relaxed even a bit, I would have blacked out immediately. The islanders were watching as I was repeatedly breathing roughly, started shouting.
「Look, Elizabell’s curse! It’s the disease of the cursed black-haired!」
Wrong. That’s impossible. As if it could be something like that. Don’t kid around. I wanted to scream at them, but my body wouldn’t listen to me.
The men holding weapons started to get closer. As if trying to protect me, the boy stood in front of me. I could clearly see that the people were trembling even through my hazy vision. From behind the boy I saw his violet coloured magic rising up like a heat haze.
Were those words mean for the boy, or for the people? I lifted up my my heavy arm and stretched it out towards the boy’s back. As I was gritting my teeth at my arm which like it would reach, but wouldn’t. I heard loud, urgent footsteps coming from the corridor.
「What are you doing?!」
The Governor shouted sharply in her alto voice as she entered the cave.
At once the cave turned silent and all the gazes suddenly gathered on her. Even though those eyes gathered on her, she unhesitatingly looked around with her hazel eyes.
「I came here after I’ve heard the commotion and what do I find? Just what are you doing to my guests?!」
I knew from my experience with that man, that a beauty’s anger had double the impact. It worked for the Governor as well and the islanders flinched at her obviously angry expression and tone of voice. However if they were going to retreat now, they wouldn’t have come here. The man standing at the front raised his voice
「Governor! Are you saying that it’d be fine if Elizabell’s, black-hair’s cursed disease spreads around Nibbiellata!?」
「T, that’s right! We were thinking about the island….!」
The Governor glared sideways at the people who are persistently claiming that.
「Didn’t you raise your hands at a small child and a weak woman without any firm evidence?」
「W, we haven’t touched them! We were just trying to make them leave the island as soon as possible!」
「….. Is that so?」
Hearing the islanders, the Governor let out a deep sigh. Not minding their fearful gazes, the lady approached me and supported me as I was sitting on the floor.
She glanced at me with pity as I am heaving rough breaths while covered in sweat. She then looked towards the people and quietly declared.
「I will take them into custody. You should all return and take with you all those dangerous things you’re holding.」
Those words implicitly said that there will be no protesting. The men looked at each other and left the cave, their shoulders dropping,Juri was among them. He didn’t look back, not even once.
I sent him off with my eyes. The boy turned towards me.
Although I wanted to reassure him even if only a little, but the reply wouldn’t come out. My head was hurting so much I couldn’t even look him straight in the face. My head overtaken by pain felt heavy. The lady touched my forehead.
「Terrible fever. Fast, to the residence….」
Not hearing the rest of her words, my consciousness was swallowed by darkness.
* * *
I was sure someone was calling. Hearing that earnest voice I got impatient, feeling that I should wake up fast. Let’s wake up fast and call the boy’s name. Let’s tell him that all is fine. That’s why you don’t need to call me with such a voice. Hey, my —— ……
In the midst of my shaking view I finally called the name. Immediately, as if to symbolize me regaining consciousness, the colour of sunrise appeared before my eyes. I looked back into those shaking eyes and finally, I saw the face.
「You woke up?」
「Yes. I’m sorry for worrying you.」
It seemed I was laying in a bed. The dress I’d been wearing was also changed to a nightgown at some point. I tried getting up but had to stop hastily. I managed to lift my upper body, right at that moment the wet towel which was laying on my forehead, fell off. As I am gazing at it in a daze, the boy’s white hands picked it up and dipped it into a bowl full of iced water which is on the bedside table. While I am observing the process while fighting off my dizziness, The boy wrung the towel out and handed it to me. I took it from him, put it on my sweat-covered face and the cool towel immediately heated up. As I buried my face in the towel, which became warm in the blink of an eye I heard a small voice say.
「It’s surely as that guy said.」
I lifted my face from the towel and looked at him. The boy was staring at me with a heartrendingly sad expression on his beautiful face. He was clenching his fists so hard that they were trembling and continued speaking in a voice like he was about to cough up blood.
「It’s my fault. It’s because I was close to you. If I can save you with my death, then I……!」
I moved my arms which were heavy like lead and slapped the boy’s face. The slap into which I couldn’t put any strength sounded pitifully weak.
「What exactly are you saying?」
It couldn’t have hurt at all, but he was watching me in a daze. I glared at the boy. Just how had he reached that idiotic conclusion? This part of this troublesome person didn’t change whether he was big or small. This line of thought was due to him being left in that kind of environment, but at least by my side I didn’t want him to think that. I wasn’t going to allow it!
「What do you mean by it being your fault? If you were truly the cause, then I’d have left this world and went to the Goddess’s side a long time ago.」
「No buts. I’m fine. I believe in you. You are the one who always saves me.」
As I smiled as wide as I could, the boy bit his lip and without saying anything, he just turned around and ran out of the room. I watched him leave and fell down on the bed. It was of good quality as it accepted and stopped my body without so much as a creak. I put the lukewarm towel on my face and closed my helplessly heavy eyelids.
It’s fine. It’s fine. I told myself over and over. That boy will surely save me. That’s why I don’t have to worry. That’s right. I laughed as I recalled that man’s sullen face and once again I felt my consciousness slipping away.