Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Although his voice was still indifferent, I could clearly hear regret in it. I could only look at him in silence, unable to say anything while trying to solve the mystery of his words.
「The magic system in this ruins is not that of rejuvenation magic, but rather something that is very close in concept to it. The memorandum left behind by Elizabel clearly confirms it as well. However, it should only serve as a way to rejuvenate the body, not bring back memories or erase them.」
While saying that, the boy places his hand on his chest.
「In other words, the magic system here must have been tinkered with by someone close in nature to Elizabel, to enable the magic of this place the interference with memories. And if I’m not mistaken about this, the key to solving the mystery of this magic lies somewhere within the existence of Pure Black.」
「Yes. Isn’t that right, Juri?」
When the boy said that, my eyes opened wide in shock. Then his eyes shift towards the passage from where we came from. The people standing there were ––––
「–––– Juri-kun? And, Leticiela-sama!?」
I mumbled those words in shock. They really stood there: a boy with light-brown hair and blue eyes and a woman with hazel eyes and hair that shifted color from dark-blue to black in the dim light of this place.
「Why are you here?」
「I called them here. Just before we left I sent them a message via the Wind Spirit.」
To boy’s words, Juri-kun only smiled bitterly and the Governess shrugged her shoulders. Also, was it just me, or was it weird that she was standing behind Juri-kun this whole time? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
「The key to this magic should be the existence of Pure Black. So if this magic was to be activated by my appearance here, it should have been done right from the very beginning. But nothing like that happened. So the only logical conclusion is that it had to be you, Juri. You activated the magic since you were present at the moment of its activation. Does this mean that Elizabel shared a portion of her magic with you?」
I was having a really hard time keeping up with the boy’s words. Looking at me and then at the boy, Juri-kun tilted his head slightly and then let out a small sigh. His hair shook and swayed gently. The smile that was currently blooming on his lips…… That was not the warm and gentle smile he showed to me upon our first meeting, but it was a rather cold and calculating smile of someone well above his age.
「I see. Even when your age regressed, I guess that’s still a Court Magician for you. There’s nothing I can add to you flawless logic right there.」
Juri-kun laughs in an unpleasant way. Just who is he? I can’t think of anyone, no one comes to my mind. He looked like Juri-kun, but it was definitely someone else. His tone of voice, laughter and aura surrounding him was completely different. I gazed back at the boy, but right now his eyes were completely focused on Juri-kun. I looked back at Juri-kun in confusion. But he was also not looking at me, keeping completely silent.
「What is the meaning of this?」
「I’m afraid that even if you ask me, I won’t be able to answer that question, Agedilus Von Lancent-dono.」
“Lancent-dono.” I do believe that right now he would even call me that, and I could feel that there was some kind of mockery in the way he said that. But there was also something else. I said my name to Juri-kun, but I don’t believe I have ever told him what my last name was. Maybe he heard that from the Governess, but since she was keeping silent all this time with her head hung low, there was no way for me to confirm that. I was understanding less and less about this whole situation, while Juri-kun was acting in a totally relaxed manner his smile not gone from his lips for even a moment.
「I do believe that I never mentioned it, but Juri is nothing but a nickname. My real name is Julionosol Jerobbierra. Ah, I wonder how long it’s been since I last used that name? At least three hundred and ten years if my memory serves me correctly.」
Even though his tone was nonchalant as if he was discussing what would be for dinner tonight, his words carried a tremendous amount of power with them. So much that I knew that they would make an impact not only on me, but on that boy as well. …… But that name. I think that I heard it before, but where? I couldn’t remember.
Not to mention that his name was really similar to that of the Governess. Does that mean the two of them are related in some way? Honestly, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. Not after everything that I experienced so far. But……
I say that out loud, and hearing my voice full of astonishment Juri-kun turns towards me. The Governess does the same.
「Miss Lancent. Do you perhaps remember the play you went to see together with me?」
Of course. I could never forget something like that. I try to summon the memories of the play, whispering its key word in silence. The play was long, but contrary to its length it didn’t contain all that detailed information. And I felt that right about now those missing pieces of information could turn out to be the key here. I looked at Juri-kun and he must have understood what I was going through, for he only smiled with pity.
「I’m that boy whom Elizabel met all those years ago.」
I should have expected something like that. So there was really no reason for me to act surprised. However, my surprise seemed to be even greater than it was initially anticipated it to be. Just then, Juri-kun started to speak as though he was telling an old fairy tale, with everyone listening to him and only me acting shocked and surprised.
「You see, Miss Lancent, the legend about this island…… It is only half true. The other half of it is entirely made up. The true part…… That would be about Eliza and I. It is entirely true that we had met one another and deepened our friendship in time. It is also true that my body got sick during that time I was seeing her. And what do you think she said to poor sick me when I came to ask for help, hmm, Miss Lancent?」
Despite asking me that, Juri-kun didn’t really need my answer. He just carried on with his story, before I could formulate any words.
「“It’s your fault.”」
Although he was still smiling, his voice was ice-cold.
「At first I didn’t get it, but then it occurred to me. I waited too long to come to her for help, thinking it wouldn’t be fair to ask her for something like that. But still she tried to help me. She still taught me how to prepare the antidote from the flower’s petals. But for me it was already too late, even if I were to drink it.」
Suddenly, Juri-kun’s lips twists in a grin. Once he realized what he was doing he corrected himself, but for the vast part it seems to me that he was talking to himself rather than to anyone else present. When he calmed down, he continued his story.
「So Elizabel cast a spell on me. This is what she said: “If you want to live so badly, I can save you. No matter the sickness, no matter the injury, not even the flow of time will be able to hurt you.” But she forgot to mention about an eternity spent in solitude. Then she just up and disappeared without a trace, turning into particles of light, leaving me behind to lead an extremely long life. So I guess it’s not wrong for you to call someone like me an immortal.」
Even though Juri-kun laughed to his own words there was no warmth in his eyes, no emotions behind that laugh. His eyes were like the sea, but not the kind that gently reflects the light, but rather the one in which the light is getting swallowed and absorbed. I could see in those eyes that the boy was telling the truth. Never aging, never growing, the kind of life that Juri-kun must have lived must have been a hard and sad one. I was at a loss for words here. The burden that the Black Witch put on this boy’s shoulders seemed far too heavy for him to bear.
「I like to think that Elizabel had a deeper purpose for me that she chose to make me immortal, that she wanted me to protect the island. But since I was the firstborn of the family that was ruling over the island, I was to be remembered as the fool who got too close to the Black Witch and got what he deserved. But eventually the memory of me got lost to time, and my existence became a closely guarded secret passed down in the family from generation to generation. So in a way, I am this here Letishela’s ancestor. All this time I was looking at my descendants, and the way in which they were governing the island.」
My eyes were starting to get watery. I felt as though there was a rusty knife being pressed against my throat. Being alive for about three hundred years. No matter how you look at it, it is way more than a normal person can endure psychologically. How did Juri-kun manage to keep himself together all this time? How come he didn’t succumb to madness? I was unable to comprehend it. Was that the reason why he chose to live so close to the ruins? If that’s the case.
「Uh, umm…… Then, why did Letishela-sama asked us to investigate the ruins?」
I managed to bring out my voice, asking the question that could hopefully ease up all the tension that was in the air right now. If Juri-kun’s existence was such a concealed secret, then why ask us to investigate the ruins in the first place? Hearing my question Juri-kun smiles and then laughs genuinely, and while he was doing that Letishela-sama came out front right before me. She remained silent for a moment and then she opened her mouth and eventually started to speak.
「I was something I came up with of my own accord, thinking you’d be able to solve the mystery of the magic that binds that man.」
Even though she looked to be nervous, there was a strong sense of determination in the Governess’s eyes.
「At first I thought that magicians would be able to understand the runes that cover this place. Then I turned towards high ranking Priests. But once that failed I thought of you, a Court Magician who is similar to Elizabel. Surely you’d be able to succeed where others have failed.」