Chapter 15

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

I once said to Dante, “You must be one of the best magicians, right?” or something like that.

 

But now that I think about it, I was just pretending to know. The force that attracted me was so intense that it was far beyond the realm of my imagination.

 

After the magic circle was activated, the world suddenly fell silent. It had been quiet before, but this time I couldn’t really hear anything. The sound of the wind that I could only hear if I had to pay attention to it, and the sound of the calmly flowing waves.

 

Everything fell silent as if time had stopped.

 

But that was only for a moment. Very suddenly, the world that had stopped began to change. The scenery that had been soaked in the sunset was no longer there.

 

The sun, literally burning in the center of the scarlet sky, quickly disappeared beyond. It was only a moment after the curtain of night was covered, and the sky was turning into space in an instant.

 

A place where light endlessly falls and reappears. Into a universe where thousands of stars are floating, the Milky Way shines, and contains beyond which I will never know.

 

The universe continued to grow. And it shined flawlessly. Brilliant endlessly. It felt like my whole head was filled with the twinkle of stars.

 

Indescribably dazzling colors intertwined with the starlight. I couldnt understand the scene, yet at the same time, I could.

 

I think I saw this scenery in pictures a long time ago. Nebula, the Milky Way, planets, and the Milky Way again. But they were just pieces of paper. Those things couldn’t capture this, this vastness.

 

With a strange surge, the stars continued to pass before my eyes.

 

About that time I thought. Ah, where the hell am I?

 

As soon as I thought so, something touched my shoulder. It was a warmth that I had no choice but to admit that I was accustomed to. Before I could even check on you, you whispered to me, “Look up.”

 

My head went up without any particular resistance. And stupidly, I thought the exact same thing as before. Where the hell am i?

 

I thought I was in space, yet when I saw it again, I was in the sea. Colorful fish passed through the endlessly clear waters, and there were colorful coral reefs that I had never seen before.

 

Having sunk deep in the sea, I just looked somewhere in the sky blocked by the sea. The sky was clear. It was a pretty blue color.

 

I once submerged in the sea. But it definitely wasn’t like this. Yeah, it mustn’t have been such an overwhelming, unfamiliar feeling that my eyes were blurred.

 

I never thought I’d use the clichéd expression of feeling like this for the first time in my life.

 

Looking at the sky over the sea, I lowered my gaze down there. The blue light, which was unfamiliar because it was different from the sky, yet felt even more different because of it, flowed in front of my face.

 

There was no time to get bored just looking under the sea. Is the big thing passing by there a whale? But how am I breathing underwater?

 

At the new question, I reflexively inhaled, yet there was no pain, only pleasant coldness wrapped around me. It can’t be, but it really felt like I was part of the sea.

 

Right before my consciousness was completely submerged in the water, the sea disappeared before my eyes. But before I knew it, I was walking somewhere along with you.

 

The first place I passed was a field where the sun was scorching. While admiring the open wilderness without any obstacles, I frowned at the excessively bright light. As soon as I hoped for cool shade, the scenery folded into another place.

 

In the green and vivid forest with lush greenery, the blades of grass swaying in the wind as if they were greeting me were amazing, not strange. It was a place I had never been to, but it was somehow familiar, and the temperature of the air brushing my ankles was cool.

 

After a long walk through the forest, we arrived at a garden somewhere where flowers continued to wither and bloom. A place where all the beautiful flowers in the world seem to have been collected, only existing in the fantasies of children.

 

I passed by a flower that I thought I liked after seeing it once, with a beautiful harmony of blue and pink. In addition, other beautiful flowers were prepared in it so that I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

 

But I was more interested in your back figure in front of me than those flowers.

 

You were leading me forward without looking back. Without saying anything, in the meantime, without letting go of my hand, you moved forward.

 

Where are we going again? I wanted to ask, yet strangely, no voice came out.

 

At that moment, the ground I was standing on collapsed and the world turned upside down. I’m not sure whether my body or the world was upside down, but everything I was seeing was tilted anyway. And the slanted things turned black. Night came all of a sudden.

 

I was standing on a ledge, looking out. Feeling the coldness of the metal touching my hand, I slowly pushed my upper body out to examine the situation.

 

Unlike the universe before, where all kinds of colorful lights and colors were infinitely entangled, there were almost no stars in the sky today. It was as if the darkness had swallowed everything.

 

Even the scenery was so piercingly beautiful that I finally felt a little sad. More because I know that you will be by my side even now.

 

What you’re showing now seems to be a scene from a certain festival. Firecrackers rang out, and flames embroidered the sky. The lights that started out as blue gradually added brilliant colors to red, yellow, and pink.

 

The black sky, which had been flat without a single star, was filled with vivid and deep colors, and only then did I realize that the flames were shining brighter because there was nothing in the sky.

 

I heard people laughing from below, and at that moment I thought of a somewhat nostalgic scene. A long time ago, before I learned the language of this place, before I came here, when I was there…

 

I heard the sound of the wind blowing. Then it was dark again.

 

***

 

When the darkness dissipated, it was the sea again. The scenery where the sunset drenched the world, and if I listened closely, I could hear the sound of the wind and the calmly flowing waves.

 

I was still floating in the air, and the sea reflected both inside and outside like a mirror. Even the sky, which clearly shows the boundary between day and night, was the same.

 

But for some reason, unlike before, the scenery was completely turned upside down.

 

The sea beneath my feet was above my head before I knew it, and when I came to my senses, I was standing on top of the sky.

 

I didn’t think it was dizzy. Everything was natural enough to feel like this was the place from the beginning. Rather, I felt strange in a place other than the upside-down landscape, so I looked around.

 

The reason for the discomfort wasn’t difficult to find. The presence that never left my side disappeared.

 

You weren’t here. As if you had decided to leave me, you disappeared without a trace.

 

“…Dante.”

 

I couldn’t say anything for a long time because my voice didn’t come out, but eventually I called your name. There was no answer coming back.

 

“Dante. Where are you?”

 

I called you again, yet still no answer. At that moment, the endlessly wide and transparent sky became frightening without me realizing it.

 

I hurriedly took off my steps, but stopped at the unfamiliar feeling that abruptly raised my head. It was a certain kind of sadness that couldn’t be explained with conventional emotions such as sadness or joy.

 

Emotions that had been filling my insides ever since. I swear I’ve never felt it before, even after living this long.

 

Why are you doing this to me? To disappear after showing these scenes, childishly, at that time, I was very resentful.

 

Then, even feeling this way was unfair, I raised my head and looked at the sea above my head. And that moment.

 

Our eyes met with you standing in the sea.

 

You smiled as if you were glad that I had found you. I thought I had already seen it until I was tired of it, but it was that smile that always stole my gaze helplessly.

 

“…You.”

 

Before I could say that name again, I saw you reaching out to me.

 

In the sea where you were, everything in the world was passing by. The universe, the sea, the fields, the forest, the garden, the village landscape, and…

 

And when your hand reached me, I closed my eyes.

 

***

 

When I opened my eyes again, everything was in place. In that landscape where the sunset soaked the world, and if I listened closely I could hear the sound of the wind and the calmly flowing waves, the sea was below me and the sky was above my head.

 

And above all, you were there.

 

You were standing next to me.

 

By the time my blurred vision returned after a few blinks, I was holding Dante’s hand.

 

When I lowered my head, I saw a hand full of strength as if it would never let me go. I reflexively relaxed my hand, yet it never fell down.

 

Because you held me as much as I held you.

 

As time passed and the tension gradually eased, you asked with a smile.

 

“How was it?”

 

What did I think of that nonchalant, joy-filled voice?

 

I looked at you quietly, then I opened my mouth.

 

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