Author: lipzoldyck

 

I opened my eyes.

 

It took a while for me to frown at the sunlight that filled my vision, and as if it had waited, my eyes spun and my head felt as if it would break.

 

Even as I clutched my head at the sudden headache, the pain wasn’t all that strange. Because I usually had a headache like this every time I died and came back to life.

 

And only then did I realize. Ah, I died.

 

“…”

By the time the headache wore off, memories began to come to my mind one after another. Suddenly, bombs went off in the village, there was a fire everywhere, and…

 

The last red light I saw passed through my mind.

 

As expected, the bomb under my feet must have exploded. Without being able to avoid it, I was caught in an explosion and died.

 

Even though I listed the facts as briefly as possible, my hands began to tremble reflexively when I remembered that moment. I suppressed the tremor, raised my upper body and sat down.

 

When I looked around, this was a forest somewhere. The short grass brushed my fingertips, and sunlight floated overhead. It must have been midday.

 

It was a forest with a completely different atmosphere from the one where I lived with Dante before moving to the village. Unlike the quiet place where people rarely passed by, here I could hear people’s murmur even if you listened a little. It seemed that there was a street leading out of the forest nearby, since the sound had been coming from the same direction since earlier.

 

I woke up in an unknown place, but I was tired of this situation because I was used to it. Because it was like this every time I died and came back to life.

 

Most of the time, I would wake up where I died. If I died with minor trauma, or in a normal place where I could come back to life.

 

However, it’s always like this if I die by drowning, or by fire, or if I’m in a place where I’m not fully recovered anyway.

 

I woke up in a place I didn’t know at all, with the image I had when I first came over to this dimension.

 

Suddenly, the clothes I’m wearing now caught my eye. An oversized outerwear, a white cotton tee, and pants for everyday wear. It was an unfamiliar outfit to the people here, but it was an everyday outfit for me one day.

 

It’s the clothes I’ve worn a long time ago, so I feel awkward as if I’m wearing someone else’s clothes even though they’re definitely mine. Well, it was definitely more comfortable than what people here wear. If I don’t want to be treated suspiciously, I’ll have to change into other clothes.

 

I was looking at my clothes in a daze and came to my senses. If it’s true that I died and woke up, what happened after that? The village where the bombs kept exploding, the people who were there?

 

And what happened to Dante, who wasn’t there?

 

The moment my mind was about to get complicated, I reflexively shook my head to dilute the anxiety. There was no point in worrying now. It’s better to move quickly to find out the situation.

 

As it was a situation where I fell in an unknown place, I felt like I had to go out to a place where there were people. I got up on the spot to get out of the woods, but then, I sat down again.

 

…It wasn’t on purpose. I just thought that the sunlight was warm even in the middle of this, yet my legs suddenly felt weak. As I sat there blinking my eyes, not knowing why, a fact came to my mind after a while.

 

The sun rises the same everywhere, and I thought that the sun was warm during the day.

 

And the peace I felt that day will now only remain in my memory.

 

The scenery of the village seen through the window came to mind. I remembered the girls who called me sister and the friendly smiles of the villagers.

 

After that, I remembered the eyes of the girl who shouted at me to get out of the village, the image of a child who had fallen and cried, and the person who cried out, telling me to be careful of red jewels.

 

Things that will never come back.

 

A wind blew from somewhere. Instead of the acrid smell of smoke, the fresh smell of grass remained where the wind passed.

 

I calmly closed my eyes at the emotions welling up inside me. I passed all the memories I had just recalled to the other side of my consciousness, and waited until my beating heart calmed down.

 

So that sadness and despair don’t rule me.

 

Even at that moment, the sunlight on my face was still warm.

 

***

 

As I made my way out of the woods, I remembered some urgent things now. I had to find out where this place was, how much time had passed since I died, and so on.

 

I needed to know where Dante was.

 

Ah, really. When I thought of Dante, the emotions I had tried to calm down seemed to rise again. There’s nothing good about being in a hurry.

 

The most important yet difficult thing to find was Dante’s whereabouts. I had a lot of worries about Dante, but I buried them for now. First of all, I have to figure out the situation.

 

As I hurried my steps out of the forest, I saw a busy street full of people. Somehow, I heard a constant buzzing sound.

 

There were so many people as the sun hadn’t set yet, so I was able to blend in naturally with the crowd. Occasionally, there were people passing by who would glance at my clothes as if they were weird, but I didn’t care.

 

Walking through the crowds, I felt troubled for the first time in a long time. Ah, what should I do? It’s a place I don’t really know. No matter how I looked around, all I could see were unfamiliar landscapes.

 

Fortunately, the language I heard around me was the most familiar to me. It doesn’t seem like I’ve fallen to another country like I did sometime ago, but well.

 

Except for the fact that there will be no difficulties in communication, and that I can find the way even if I ask people… Everything was just dull. A sigh flowed spontaneously as the hardships that lay ahead seemed good to my eyes.

 

Still, the fact that I’m reminded of the hardships ahead means that this isn’t the first time I have experienced something like this. Whenever I come back to life in a strange place, there is something I do first.

 

I looked around and saw a place that caught my eye and went straight ahead.

 

There is nothing more suspicious than grabbing a passerby and suddenly asking where the hell this place is. Besides, it wouldn’t be nice to show that I don’t know anything in a strange place like this.

 

So, usually when I was in a situation like this, the first thing I would ask was, “Where can I ride a station carriage?” I can also find out if there is transportation nearby, and if you go to a place where you can ride a station carriage, there is a good chance that the place name will be written on it.

 

I thought I was going to talk to a street merchant pretending to buy something when I saw one nearby, just in time. There will be no merchant who won’t answer a customer’s questions.

 

However, as soon as I approached the merchant, I was greeted with a sobering scolding.

 

“Miss!”

 

“Huh, yes?”

 

I heard a loud sound at the moment, so I answered in a daze, yet I quickly became confused. Why are you yelling all of a sudden?

 

But the merchant, not intending to give me time to wonder, once again shouted in his ear-tingling voice.

 

“Are you going to get pickpocketed on the street?”

 

“…Pardon?”

 

“You shouldn’t go around showing off that you’re from foreign country like that!”

 

Maybe it was because I heard an unexpected scream or my mind hadn’t fully recovered yet. I was definitely listening to him, but I felt like I didn’t at the same time. I was typing what I heard into my mind, one by one, when a sudden realization came to me.

 

So now this person… is worried about me, right? I look like I’m from foreign country, he said?

 

Looking at the merchant from the corner of my eye, I saw an outfit as exotic as mine.

 

Did he feel a sense of kinship just because I didn’t seem to be a citizen of the Empire? I didn’t know the details, but I could guess how this person mistook me for someone from foreign country.

 

I’m dressed in an unfamiliar outfit, and it must have been because I kept looking around like someone new to this street.

 

Well, after all, he wasn’t wrong about coming from foreign ‘country’…

 

“I just arrived yesterday.”

 

Now that this has happened, I have to say it like a clumsy tourist. My judgment was over in a flash.

 

“Yeah, I recognized it right away. Is there anyone else?”

 

“They’re sleeping at the inn because they’re tired. I tried to look around alone… Are the streets really this complicated here?”

 

When I spoke in a troubled tone, pretending to be a person who was confused for a moment, the merchant nodded his head as if he understood everything.

 

“This street is usually a bit busy. There’ll be a main street if you go that way, so it’ll be better.”

 

“Ah, thank you.”

 

The merchant chuckled and burst into laughter as I greeted him politely.

 

“Looking at this Miss reminds me of when I was young. I traveled a lot back then!”

 

“You still look young enough to say that.”

 

“Thank you for your words, this fellow!”

 

The merchant spoke in a pleasant tone. I knew him from the time he worried about me, but he seemed to be a very sociable person.

 

“Anyway, if you show that you’re from another country like that, people will look down on you, so be careful from now on. Especially since this is the capital!”

 

“Um, I see. It was my first time traveling, so I didn’t know.”

 

“Yeah, maybe it’s the first time you don’t know. When I came here too…”

 

I thought as I overheard the merchant talking excitedly. It was the capital here. I wouldn’t even have to ask where to get on the station carriage.

 

As far as I can remember, there is no other country that speaks this language, so this would be the capital I think it is. Considering the possibility that it might be an unfamiliar area, I was quite fortunate.

 

Also, if it’s the capital, it’s where the Imperial Palace is, so the security won’t be bad… Wait. The capital? Don’t I know one person in the capital?

 

The moment when a forgotten fact came to mind, and at the same time, a person’s face passed by in my head.

 

“Still, Miss, you speak the language well for being a first-time traveler. Where are you from?”

 

“Ah.”

 

I barely got out of my thoughts and slightly smiled at the merchant.

 

“It’s such a small country that even if I told you, you wouldn’t know.”

 

“Really? There is no country I haven’t been to while doing business… .”

 

“Until now, no one recognized where I’m from. Then, I’ll be going. Good luck with your business.”

 

After saying that, I turned around and heard a voice from behind bidding goodbye.

 

I was lost in thought as I walked out to find the main street as the merchant had told me. If this was the capital, it seemed that the hardships wouldn’t unfold soon like I had worried.

 

Because Masha lives in the capital, and I know her address.

 

It was thanks to sending a letter the day before without knowing that the messenger would arrive in the village.

 

“…”

 

I didn’t know how much time would have passed while I was coming back to life, so I was worried whether Masha might still be living in the capital. But there was no other way than to go find her.

 

I stopped in the crowd, calmly sorting out my options. Going out to find an acquaintance I might meet, and through the hardships alone, just like I did every time I went back to the beginning.

 

It was more certain when I thought of them side by side. It wasn’t anything to worry about.

 

“Alright… It would be better than giving up without even looking.”

 

I recalled Masha’s home address from the letter, and then I headed off to find someone I could ask for directions.

 

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Comments (2)

  1. I was wondering what friend she could possibly have been talking to in the first chapter considering she didn’t have any, but circumstances have not been arranged so it kinda makes sense.

  2. I would lobe to get Dante’s pov of the day after that night as well.

    I wanna see his outburst, his anger, his loss, his rage