Chapter 101

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

M9.

 

Even at a rough estimate, it seems like a few hours have passed, so why isn’t she coming? Masha, who couldn’t even rest comfortably in the suddenly luxurious room, began to get restless as time passed.

 

Her friend, whom she just met after a few days, and is the target of her kidnapper at that, has disappeared. It felt like she was going crazy with just this one fact, but all she can do is wait patiently in this room.

 

She didn’t hold onto Ei because she voluntarily followed him, perhaps she shouldn’t have done that? What if what she saw earlier was the time to give her the last goodbye?

 

Even if Ei returns late, if she does after something goes wrong…

 

Masha, whose thoughts were getting more and more negative, finally muttered.

 

“…Shall I pretend to be crazy and go outside?”

 

Then she would meet someone, whether it be Ei or the kidnapper. Just as she was about to blow away the hours she quietly waited in that room, there was a sound of the door opening just in time.

 

Fortunately, the person who entered the room was the person Masha had been waiting for.

 

“Ei!”

 

Masha, who happened to be hanging out by the door, was delighted as soon as she saw Ei. Before she hesitated, she approached right away, and her appearance came into sight, unscathed and without any wounds. She didn’t see bloodstains through her clothes, and it doesn’t seem like anything has changed. Everywhere she looked, she was the same as she had been before they parted ways.

 

In the impatience, as soon as she confirmed that Ei was okay, she intended to ask what had happened.

 

“Ei?”

 

“…”

 

Masha realized, a beat later, that Ei’s complexion had noticeably deteriorated. Her expression was frowning, in contrast to her usual expressionless face, and she didn’t answer when Masha called her twice.

 

Whatever had happened, anxiety welled up in her chest for a moment.

 

Ey, who turned her back against the wall as if avoiding Masha, suddenly began to vomit.

 

“Ei!”

 

Frightened, Masha quickly grabbed Ei, but there was no mishap of Ei picking up what she ate on the spot. She just continued to vomit as if she were about to.

 

Reflexively patting Ei on the back, Masha spat out without giving her time to breathe.

 

“Why are you like this? Are you feeling unwell? Did he give you anything weird? Or is it because you ate poison or something?”

 

“…What he gave me, I didn’t eat anything.”

 

“Then why are you like this!”

 

When she shouted out almost in tears, Ei, who was breathing lightly, barely stood against the wall. Even so, it was hard to be relieved because she still looked pale.

 

Ei took a moment to catch her breath, then she gulped and said.

 

“It’s just that, I saw something that might make me feel sick inside.”

 

“Inside? What did you see there?”

 

Aside from the fact that she couldn’t even fathom what he might have shown her, she was bewildered because it was the first time Ei reacted so violently.

 

She, who seemed wouldn’t faze even if the sky collapsed, became like this…

 

While Masha muttered nervously, her breathing returned to normal. It wasn’t until her pale face regained complexion that she said with a look of disgust.

 

“I should have known since I heard that he tried to experiment on his friend.”

 

“H-Human experiment?”

 

“Yeah. I was wondering what it was when he suddenly said that he would show his achievements, and he showed me what he had researched using monsters. I managed to put up with the smell of the blood and specimens, but he said that one of the bodies there…”

 

Ei, who continued her speech, hesitated for a moment.

 

“It’s too disgusting to say it myself. Just know that he’s crazier than we thought, Masha.”

 

“Huh… Alright.”

 

For some reason, she felt like she shouldn’t ask. That gut feeling that not knowing is better for your mental health.

 

Masha, to whom she answered rather tremulously, belatedly regained her senses and asked.

 

“But the only reason he took you was to show off his research?”

 

That’s the only thing he has done to instigate all kinds of anxiety? There must have been other ulterior motives hidden. To show his research results in a situation where even threatening her with the hostage’s life wouldn’t be enough, he’s suspicious no matter how you look at it.

 

As if reading Masha’s thoughts, Ei shook her head lightly.

 

“No. It seemed that the study was just meant to reassure me by showing that he had put in this much effort, and that wasn’t the main purpose.”

 

“…What’s his purpose of showing that to reassure you?”

 

As she said those words, Masha instinctively sensed uneasiness. It seemed to her that soon she would hear something she had never imagined, and even though she had intuited this situation herself, it seemed that she would be completely surprised. Looking back on her experience, she could go beyond predicting and even be certain.

 

And again.

 

“He wants to move between dimensions, but he needs my help as a dimension shifter to do so.”

 

“What?”

 

“Then I heard that I can go back to my original dimension.”

 

“What?!”

 

She doesn’t know what he wants, but she can’t imagine Ei being able to return to her original dimension, so she almost fainted the moment she heard it. What is this suddenly lightning-like remark?

 

She couldn’t even guess how the topic came about, and her mind couldn’t fully accept the words themselves. With the accident stopped due to shock, Masha opened her mouth in a hurry.

 

Even in the midst of not understanding anything properly, only the word ‘go back’ stuck in my ears.

 

Her voice came out as if she were too lost in her own words.

 

“D-Do you want to go back?”

 

“What?”

 

“To the dimension you were originally… in.”

 

Sensing the fading ending of the sentence, Masha looked at Ei’s expression from the side of her eye.

 

“It has been more than 200 years since you came here. Then the dimension you were originally in…”

 

You don’t even remember that, do you? She shut her mouth, unable to finish the sentence. When she said it out loud, it seemed like she did so without much thought.

 

She shouldn’t have talked about it this way, not knowing what her original dimension might mean to Ei. There was only one reason why Ei had to endure the ‘more than 200 years’ she had just mentioned herself, regardless of her will.

 

Since coming to this dimension, she has a body that can’t die even if she does.

 

Because she had no choice but to live as long as she couldn’t go back.

 

Masha opened her mouth, utterly in a depressed state.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“No. I can see why you said that.”

 

Aside from Masha’s chest filled with guilt, Ei was still calm and unmoved.

 

“It’s true that I don’t feel as much longing as I used to. It’s been too long, too many things to remember.”

 

“…”

 

“Actually, there are things I deliberately tried not to remember.”

 

With those words, a faint scorn seemed to appear and then disappear from Ei’s face.

 

“If I miss a place I can’t return to, in the end, it’s only me who will have a hard time. So I tried to forget it, and I only succeeded about half of it.”

 

“About half?”

 

“Mmhm.”

 

There was no further word after that. But since she didn’t add anything, she could feel the meaning even more clearly.

 

It was impossible for an ordinary person to completely forget their hometown, even in a time that no ordinary person would have guessed. Even though the person who has the memory tried countless times.

 

Masha couldn’t fathom the feeling, and she understood it keenly. She knew how devastating it was to not be able to go back to where she was, and how it was that she couldn’t forget the past even if she wanted to.

 

Masha also had the experience of losing her hometown in an instant.

 

However, the difference between them was that while Masha’s time was running out, Ei’s time wasn’t. As long as Masha grew older and continued to grow older, the scars wouldn’t remain forever.

 

But what about Ei?

 

“…Do you want to go back?”

 

It was the same question, but with a different tone than before. A little more cautious, and a little bit anxious.

 

Ei, who seemed to make eye contact with Masha, answered meekly.

 

“To be precise, I wanted to go back.”

 

“Then is it still like that now?”

 

Naturally, Masha didn’t want to let Ei go. Not just estranged, she’s never going to see her again. Besides, Masha already had the trauma of not being able to see someone close to her.

 

Maybe there’s enough way to hold onto Ei, if not much. Ei, who seems indifferent to everything, would easily retreat to those who gave her affection, and if Masha herself stopped her without having to find anyone else, she would show hesitation.

 

Besides, there’s Dante. If he was there, she wouldn’t be left alone even if she stayed here.

 

Yet Masha couldn’t get the word out in the end.

 

“I don’t know right now. I’ve never had any hope of ever going back.”

 

The answer Ei brought out while shrugging her shoulders didn’t even show any confusion.

 

“…Really?”

 

“Yeah. He said he would give me a day to think about it, so I think I should think about it.”

 

Her continued voice was also unmatched, and the strength drained from Masha’s body.

 

She thinks she should think about it? Can she just say that casually?

 

Masha thought that Ei must have made up her mind to some degree already. It was clear that her longing for her hometown was greater than she had guessed, so she showed no regrets here.

 

As soon as she thought of it, her shoulders drooped, and her face turned sullen of her own accord. Even so, she didn’t want to show her feelings, so she naturally lowered her head.

 

All she could do with her sight on the white floor was stare at her own shoes.

 

She was immersed in her melancholic emotions for a long time, so she didn’t notice until the end that her gaze was directed somewhere in the air.

 

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Comments (1)

  1. Why does she even need to think about it and why would she even the slightest bit of trust in this guy?