Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 54 (Part 1)
As the number of people I cared about increased, so did the number of things I wanted to protect.
It was mid-April when I first met the girls, except for Miranda (who I had met earlier). At that time, they recognized me as an enemy, and we got into a fight. In early June, they let me into their camp, while in August, we spent five days sharing the same space at the beach and had breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. In late September, they helped me in my fight against the dragons, even though it was dangerous; and from October, we have been living together.
I had come to the point where I didn’t want to cause grief not only to Luca and Noel, but to the girls as well. Therefore, I needed to protect the people who were important to them.
But no matter how strong I became, there was only so much I could protect on my own, only those within my reach. Saving the lives of people when I had no idea where they were and who perceived me as an enemy would be an extremely difficult task.
In the game, those with the dark attribute always died. I had predicted before that they would try to control the resurrected goddess Lune, but on the contrary, they would be deprived of their mana and be annihilated. Therefore, I thought that they might not die if we forcibly blocked their connection to the magical energy.
Obviously, the best thing to do would be to advise them of this. But even if I somehow contacted them and said that if they resurrected the Evil God, they would all be annihilated, who would believe me? They would just think I was talking nonsense to stop the Evil God’s revival.
Furthermore, we have concluded that the Evil God must be revived.
So, what should we do? If we were nearby at the moment she was resurrected, it would be possible to protect them. However, things never conveniently worked out that way. In the game, too, the heroes saw the resurrected Evil God from a distance and then headed for her. By the time they got there, there were already lots of corpses.
Given the enforcement of the scenario, they still had to somehow prevent it themselves.
—”I’ll follow you two wherever you go. I believe that Luca-kun and Zagan-kun will make a wonderful future for us.”
Essentially, the future was something unpredictable. So, if glasses guy were to die, Cindy would not blame me. But as a friend, I couldn’t betray her trust. I couldn’t just leave them to die, knowing that if I didn’t do something about it, they would surely die.
I had to find a way to keep them alive one way or the other.
“Onii-san, Luca. I’m sorry for the terrible things I said to you yesterday!”
The following morning, as Luca and I entered the living room, Nina approached us with a serious expression on her face and bowed her head with force. After staring in surprise at Nina’s head, which was trembling slightly, I turned my attention to my friends, who were watching with bated breath. Then, I looked at Luca, who smiled and nodded.
“Of course I forgive you. I’m sorry I said some hurtful things, too. Can you forgive me?”
Luca put his hand on Nina’s shoulder and apologised. Nina looked up timidly, perhaps because of the tenderness in his voice. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Luca smiling as usual.
“Yes. I’m really sorry too. Um…”
Next, she turned to me, but since she didn’t personally say these things to me in the first place, there was nothing to condone or forgive.
“As I said yesterday, I don’t care what other people think of me. If they express something directly to me, I will respond accordingly, but if it is just thoughts, they are free to do what they want. Therefore, you don’t need to apologise for your outburst about me. However, if it is an apology for hurting Luca, I will accept it.”
I was honestly irritated that she had hurt Luca’s feelings and made him so sad.
Maybe because I showed how angry I was, Nina stiffened up with a jerk. Immediately Luca held me by the waist and kissed me on the cheek to calm me down, so I suppressed the intimidation that had leaked.
“Um… yeah. I’m really sorry I hurt Luca.”
“Agreed. And one piece of advice. No matter what kind of life you have led up to now, if you ever betray Noel, I will never forgive you.”
Nina was a bandit until she followed Luca. She has been betrayed and has betrayed others, as she said so herself. So, I gave her a warning. However, I am not so worried because when Noel was covered in wounds before, Nina was so furious that she cut off the other woman’s arms.
I stared intently into her eyes, and although she was slightly flustered, she looked straight back. Then she nodded vigorously.
“I won’t betray her, I swear it.”
“Then that’s good. Nina, please continue to look after Noel.”
“…Yes! Thank you, Onii-san!”
Her smile was bright and cheerful, typical of Nina. She ran up to Noel, who looked relieved and hugged her. Noel hugged her back, and the two exchanged a look and smiled happily.
While I was watching them, Luca pulled me into a hug.
” …? Luca, what’s wrong?”
“I wonder~! Fufu, you’re really cute, Zagan. I love you. I love you so much.”
Was there any particular reason for him to call me cute (at that moment)? I tilted my head in confusion, but since Luca looked so happy, I just quietly stayed in his arms.
It was comforting to be wrapped in Luca’s arms. It also felt good to be showered with kisses on my head and forehead.
“All right! Let’s have a drink to cheer us up! We’re going to have a party all day!” (Miranda)
“Huh? Didn’t you say something about drinking in the morning before?” (Nina)
“Last time was last time, and now is now. Don’t worry about the details!” (Miranda)
“Ehh… Well, fine then. Let’s have a fun party!” (Nina)
“Yes! Let’s have lots of fun today with Onii-sama and Luca too!”
Hearing Noel’s words, they must have had fun with each other last night. I was glad to see them getting along so well.
“Oh… u-um. We haven’t discussed this with Luca-san; is that okay?” (Bennett)
“Yeah, you can leave those two on their own. They will be here in a while.” (Cindy)
“Bennett-chan, let’s start preparing right away. I’ll help you.” (Camilla)
The smell of the delicious food made my stomach rumble. When I looked up at Luca, he chuckled and let go of my hand. After retiring the couch to a corner as Miranda, who was preparing the drinks, told me to do, I joined Noel, Nina, and Camilla in bringing out the food and dishes.
Once everyone was seated on the floor, we toasted. Then we all had a relaxing morning meal together while playing various games.
When we were all settled, Noel asked me to take a picture with her. She said she would include it in her letter to our father. Luca immediately asked to take a picture with me too, so I took a few pictures with him first. Then with Noel. We also had a picture taken of all three of us together at my request.
I asked Camilla to re-print out the photos and have them alchemized. She put in the original photo, the required number of sheets of special magic paper and magic ink, then mixed them together with mana. The colour of the photo varied depending on the amount of magical energy and the number of times the photo was mixed. I still didn’t understand alchemy after all.
Leaning back with Luca hugging me from behind, I checked the pictures I had taken while Noel and the others were happily taking pictures of themselves.
I was clearly aware that this was me. I used to look in the mirror every time I brushed my teeth or washed my face when I was a child, and even after I grew up, I stayed at inns on rare occasions. Moreover, now that I was spending time with Luca, there were mirrors not only in the bathroom but also in the toilet (room), so I was completely familiar with my face. In fact, I couldn’t remember what I looked like in my previous life.
I recognized it as mine. But still, it was somewhat strange to see this face in pictures.
“Zagan, what’s wrong?”
Luca looked at me from behind, and we locked eyes. He looked worried. Hence, I pondered and searched for a reason.
Was it because my black hair, the object of discrimination, was showing? No, that was not it. I already confirmed that it was published and recorded in the newspapers, and I didn’t think anything about it. It wasn’t that…
“…When I was alone, the idea of taking my own pictures never occurred to me. That’s why it’s kind of strange to take a picture of my own volition and have the proof of it in my hand.”
“I see. I’m so glad you got your pictures taken with us.”
I nodded. I would have never done this on my own. It was because Noel invited me. Because Luca was there, I was able to record it in this way. And I was very happy to be in the photo with Luca and Noel.
However, I was embarrassed to take a picture of Luca kissing me on the cheek. Luca always seemed to have this happy expression on his face as he kissed me. …I’ll save it properly.
Our excited friends started practising their dance moves, so we joined them. We broke up a little later in the evening, and Luca embraced me as usual in the night.