I heard the dripping sound of water droplets hitting the ground.
When I came to it, I wasn’t in the underground treasury; I was sitting on the bed in the bedroom of royalty.
Perhaps because it had been left alone for three months, it’s quite dusty. But still, it was a room used by those of royal blood, and the bed had a warm, high-class feel to it.
When I look outside, I see that, even though it had been so clear outside during the day, rain flows continuously down from the sky.
《You’ll never see your precious people again》
To me, these words were something close to a death sentence.
I have yet to return anything to them.
My clumsy, and kind mother.
The one who’s always worrying for others, my good-natured father.
My sweet-loving best friend, who acted without thinking; albeit with good intention.
The thought that I can’t meet them again fills me with sad emotions.
But… the sound of falling rain, little by little, begins to soften the pain. That’s the feeling I get.
“Mizuki, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m sorry to have worried you.”
At the very least, I don’t want to worry Celeilia.
Or else the one who swore it… the young me who swore never to hurt anyone would laugh at me.
“I’m glad that rain started to fall…”
“… You like the rain, Mizuki?”
“Yeah, I love it.”
“I see… I also like the rain.”
Well that’s nice.
Rain is usually treated as a symbol of sadness, but it gives me warm emotions.
As I strain my ears, I hear the sound of countless raindrops cutting through the air.
There is no life. In this lonely world, I’m glad that the rain managed to live on.
“As I thought, Mizuki, you should not be in this world.”
“What do you mean?”
“I believe I said, 『At this rate』 right?”
The meaning behind these words was… a possibility.
They’re words meant to offer me salvation.
“If you could do something like that, then why are you here, Celeilia?”
In a world where she had given up hope of finding life.
If she had noticed the existence of other worlds, there should have been the option of leaving for her.
At the very least, if something as convenient as magic, that’s what I would do.
Of course, perhaps there’s some reason she cannot do that.
I asked in a panic, but I’m sure she gave up because she couldn’t do it.
But Celeilia merely shakes her head from side to side.
“Magic is a study that creates being from nothing.”
Out of nothing… in my world, that surely sounds impossible.
If I use a convoluted thought process, I can think of a few similar things, but as long as the condition of, ‘not using anything’ is attached, I guess there’s nothing comes to mind.
“I am of the Royal Magic Brigade, the School of Nil. I’m of those more knowledgeable about the art of magic, you know.”
“School of Nil?”
“Yes, we researched what couldn’t be seen by the eye, and searched for things that weren’t there. There were even studies done into the existence of other worlds.”
“Then… the fact that I’m here is…”
“That’s how it is. If other worlds do exist, then by theory, it is possible to send you to your own one, Mizuki.”
I’m not sure whether or not those theories can be applied.
Even so, if it’s Celeilia’s words, then I’ll believe them.
We haven’t know each other for long, but I don’t think she’s one to tell lies.
She smiled as she saw me breathe a sigh of relief.
“I’ll definitely return you to your original world. Let me make a promise with you, Mizuki.”
As I nodded, she happily stood up.
“Then we’ll have to start making preparations immediately.”
“Right. While it may sound cool saying we make stuff out of nothing, that’s merely the ideal, and magic isn’t omnipotent. You saw the papers I used to bring forth fire and water, right? It’s best to have something like that when using magic.”
I had forgotten since she brought it up, but there hasn’t been a single time where she’s used magic without any tools.
Though this may be a different world, perhaps there are complex rules and parts just like mine.
“I’ll research the necessary measures, and collect the necessary materials. Won’t you assist me?”
“Of course I will. And wait, even though you’re trying so hard for my sake, I was merely watching. I was actually wondering what it was I could do.”
“Fufu, I guess that’s true. Ah, but even if you can’t do anything, it may be nice if you started making the foods that you know how to make.”
“That sounds good. If it’s something we have the materials for, I’ll try my hand at it.”
And together with Celeilia, we retraced the path we came by, and exited the castle.
I had a bit of hesitation arbitrarily using other peoples’ stuff, but the rain was heavy, so I wrapped a cloak deeply around my body.
The clothes had been abandoned for three months, so I expected them to be flea infested, and worm-eaten, but I noticed.
The bugs too…
That must be the case.
From the mountain to the castle, I didn’t see a single bug, and even though I walked through places brimming with nature, I wasn’t bitten once. Normally, such a story doesn’t sound possible.
I shake my head to rid myself of the thought, and followed behind Celeilia.
Wearing a similar cloak herself, she walked outside.
The hood was… it seemed to use some concepts from the thing in this world called magic. It repelled rain better than and umbrella I knew of.
… This sure is strange.
As I thought, I have too little familiarity with this magic. It’s a peculiar study.
After walking a while, the neighboring building came into view.
I believe Celeilia said it was the facilities of the imperial magic brigades, or something like that.
According to her, apart from the School of Nil, there were many more factions.
When we stepped into the building of a similar stone construction to the castle, the water from our rained-on coats began to drench the floor. But not a single drop of water reached the inner lining of it.
The inside of the building was, as I thought, really dusty.
But I guess there’s no helping it with the disuse.
“This is the School of Nil, the leader of the brigade’s research laboratory.”
The inside of the room was, even more than the rest of the building… there was several years worth of dust piled up.
There were various books and reagents scattered around the place, and it was a room that didn’t bring shame to the name of magic research laboratories.
The letters I see are incomprehensible to me. I was never familiar with other countries to begin with, but perhaps because this is another world, it’s a writing system I’ve never seen before.
When I looked closer, there were many of the sheets Celeilia used stacked up around the place, and on them, transparent geometric symbols were burned into the paper. I can see through the papers to the items behind.
This may be related to them being the school of Nil.
“There’s a way to return somewhere in here?”
“Yes, three months ago… after everyone disappeared, I looked through the documents here out of pure curiosity. I remember seeing something like that.”
She spoke as she began digging through the area.
Of course, as she did that, dust flew everywhere.
“Isn’t that kinda bad…?”
Perhaps because I wasn’t used to the lack of people, I asked out of fear.
“If there’s someone here to scold me, I’ll happily accept any punishment they have in store.”
Even if you made an error without realizing it, there’s no one here to set her back on track.
That sounded truly sad to me.
What’s more, I prodded her even when she knew full well that shat she was doing was wrong.
That alone made my sense of guilt well up.
“I’ll help. What sort of thing are you looking for?”
“Let’s see. Intermediary Papers… they’re scattered all over the area, so can you gather them as best you can?”
Intermediary Papers most likely refers to those sheets from before.
“Got it. IF there’s anything else I can do, please tell me.”
“Yes… Ah, Mizuki, let me debrief you beforehand.”
“Sure, about what?”
“It won’t happen immediately, but the candy’s effect will wear off after a few hours. We still have four, so we’ll probably be fine, but I’d like to save them if possible so I’ll tell you all I can now.”
Since we were suddenly able to speak, I had forgotten, but there’s still a wall of language between the two of us
It would be nice if a single drop could last a lifetime, but I guess otherworldly tools aren’t all that convenient.
We have four, meaning we’ll be able to convey our words twice more.
We really will have to save them for when they’re absolutely necessary.
“Let’s see. First, about food stock, the dining rooms of the other factions… No this time, perhaps we’ll just ‘borrow’ from the castle. There’s an ice room that contains ingredients only ever seen by royalty…”
She mostly talked about what we would need to live.
Even for her, it seems this magic isn’t something she can complete in a day or two.
And so, we ended up taking and using ingredients stored in the ice room… a large room encompassed in ice, something like a refrigerator.
Livestock like the cattle and pigs you would find in my world had disappeared, but it seems things that had already become meat stayed behind.
Even things outside of the ice room. Even though they were dried out, they weren’t rotten.
This is just speculation, but since life no longer exists… perhaps things like fungus and bacteria are gone as well.
By the way, it seems that every few weeks, Celeilia would go to the castle to pick up whatever supplies she needed.
It’s not as if there were gas stoves or anything. In the place that looked most like a kitchen, there was an area for firewood, and for stones to use to ignite it.
There was a well nearby to procure water.
I tried drinking it, and the taste was alright. As I didn’t destroy my stomach, it’s probably safe. Unlike my world, there are no exhaust fumes or anything like that, and perhaps for that reason, this world seems beautiful to me.
In the end, there was little I could help with regarding magic, and if it’ll just get more difficult once the candy wears off… It ended up that I started doing all of the housework.
I’d never cooked using stone cookware before, so it was a bit difficult, but even though there was quite a difference in the forms of food we had across worlds, Celeilia curiously ate whatever I brought forth, and happily praised me for it.
This somehow reminds me of the first time I cooked, and had mother try it.
Of course, what the young me made back then was just simple sweets, but mother and father said it was tasty in the same manner Celeilia did now.
And that made me happy.
By the way, the first word my best friend Yuuji directed at my cooking was, ‘terrible.’
He didn’t try to sugar coat anything, and he’s just a blunt person, so making him say it was tasty became my goal. And before I noticed it, cooking had become my hobby.
“Mizu… ki. Homomaste umaatte… Hoph saznime mitamchi e.”
And after a late lunch, the candy’s effects finally wore off.
We had spoken about it beforehand, so I wasn’t really surprised, but having words not go through is really inconvenient.
“Yeah, I’ll help out.”
After cleaning our plates, we returned to the lab, and began going through the material.
Of course, all I could do was search for the transparent Intermediary Papers, and stack them into a mountain for her.
Celeilia began comparing books and research data. She went to another room… what seemed to be a library for specialists, and began looking through various tools and pages.
The only thing I could do was clean up the area so she could concentrate, and take care of the cooking and laundry.
It was the first time I did laundry without a washing machine, but I was able to pull it off without a hitch.
And after four days of that life, she finally finished her research.
On the fifth day, she closed herself into a lab from dawn ‘til dusk.
I don’t really get it, but her actions hinted that it was best for me not to enter, so I left food and clothing outside of the door, as I sympathized with my mother from way back then.
And on the morning of the sixth day, Celeilia burst out of the lab with a smile on her face.
Unlike when I last saw the lab, one wall of it was covered with those transparent Intermediary Papers.
Red, blue, yellow, green, white, black, various colors of paper were stuck on with some form of order, and complex symbols were carved into the remaining walls, the ceiling, and even the floor.
Celeilia took out the box of candies, and placed one into her mouth.
She handed over another, and I ate it.
As I thought, it’s a strange taste.
It’s neither sweet, or spicy, or salty, and yet I may get addicted to it… that sort of taste.
“Mizuki, can you hear me?”
“Yes, loud and clear.”
After she nodded with a relieved look on her face, her expression turned serious.
It was like the face mother made when dealing with flowers. A face meant for work.
“I did whatever I could. Honestly, if this fails, there’s nothing we can do.”
“Mizuki, if this fails, then-”
I spoke as if to interrupt her.
“No matter how small of a possibility it is, to me it is a miracle.”
Meeting Celeilia. Having her help me find a way home.
The fact that she was a nice person. The fact that she remained alive.
Thinking of possibilities… It’s selfish to ask for anything else.
And so, it won’t fail. It will definitely succeed.
I’ll believe in the girl who did this much for me.
“I’m thankful to you, Celeilia. Even if it fails, while I’ll be sad, I’ll be ready to give up.”
“… I see.”
Her eyes water up as she seems to want to say something, but she eventually closes them quietly.
After she opened her shimmering golden eyes, she continued to open her mouth.
“Hey, Mizuki. Will you indulge in a bit of my selfishness?”
“Yes, Mizuki, I’d like for you to give your day to me.”
It was too small of a desire for me to call it selfish.
It was the wish of a magician, so I thought it would be something grand, but still I think it’s fitting of her. It seems she has some resistance whenever she tries to ask anything of me.
I’ll bet it’s…
Of course, my answer was already certain.
“If that’s it, then I’ll gladly accompany you today.”
“I see! Then I’ll have to get ready!”
Celeilia’s smile was in full bloom.
For some reason, seeing her figure made me feel like something was sticking through my chest.