Author: lipzoldyck

 

M6.

 

Even after all the neighbors had left, Dante and Masha didn’t say anything. For about five minutes or so, all they communicated was Masha asking if he would like tea, and Dante shaking his head to indicate no.

 

Masha, who had been fighting fiercely for a while—even though it was her own fight—was unable to bear the silence and spoke first.

 

“…What brings you here, Sir?”

 

Unlike 10 years ago, and unlike how she asked if it was the attitude of a person who didn’t want to surprise her earlier, awkward honorifics came out.

 

Even if he’s the husband of her friend, he seems to be a war hero, and unlike before, the atmosphere has become chilly, so it was difficult to speak carelessly. His face itself was familiar because she had seen it in many newspaper illustrations, but that was it.

 

Although he came to search for her first, him sitting there without saying anything made her feel even more awkward.

 

She hadn’t even thought of speaking using honorifics because she was dumbfounded earlier, but she did anyway.

 

However, Dante’s thoughts were a little different, and he looked at Masha with a somewhat puzzled look.

 

“Just speak comfortably.”

 

It was a low, monotonous voice with barely any emotional upsurge.

 

“You’re Ei’s friend. You don’t have to be polite to me.”

 

“…”

 

While Masha was at a loss for words for a moment, Dante shut his mouth again as if he hadn’t said anything before. But unlike before, when he lowered his eyes and looked elsewhere, this time he kept his eyes fixed on Masha.

 

She was taken aback for a moment by the look in his eyes asking her to ask the question again, and she couldn’t keep her mouth shut. Masha let out a sigh, corrected her tone, and asked the question again.

 

“What did you come for? Why didn’t Ei come with you?”

 

Maybe he didn’t come alone because something happened to Ei? Masha, who suddenly became uneasy, looked at Dante nervously, yet her opponent’s face was monotonous.

 

“Something had been delivered this way, but I don’t think you have received it. I came alone to give you this.”

 

As he said that, he took out something as if he had been waiting. Before she could even feel relieved that Ei was safe, Masha frowned for a moment when she recognized what Dante had handed to her.

 

It was a strange box that had been placed in front of her house since one day, which she had thought she would check before he came.

 

To say it was delivered, neither the addressee nor the recipient was written, and it was too clean to be called garbage. Someone might have left it by mistake, so she planned to keep it in front of the house and open it if no one came to find it.

 

“What is this?”

 

As Masha picked up the box and looked over it, Dante answered, reclining comfortably on the sofa with his arms.

 

“Magic communication port.”

 

“I see, magic… What?”

 

When Masha lifted her head, a casual gaze followed her, asking why.

 

A number of magic items used by the so-called rich people and their prices passed through Masha’s mind, but those thoughts eventually ended the moment she remembered that the person in front of her was the Master of the Magic Tower.

 

Masha put the box down helplessly on the table without breaking it. She struggled to get rid of the idea that this communication port might cost more than her own house.

 

“Why did you send this?”

 

“Ei said he wanted to contact you.”

 

“It’s not that there’s something urgent that needs to be said? Did she just send it because she wanted to contact me?”

 

Dante nodded.

 

Then, wouldn’t she just come to see her instead of sending a cumbersome communication port or something? She questioned that for a moment, but she wondered if there must be some reason why she couldn’t come this far.

 

As if that was really all he had to do, Dante stood up after confirming that Masha had taken out the magic communication port and instruction manual.

 

“Perhaps Ei will contact you first thing tomorrow morning.”

 

“Are you leaving already?”

 

Although she didn’t think he would stay long, she never thought he would go this fast. She didn’t even know that he would just give her stuff and go away, as if he were delivering a parcel.

 

Whether she panicked or not, her opponent pulled back on his hood and was ready to leave.

 

She hesitated at the thought of seeing him off, but Dante murmured softly as if he were talking to himself.

 

“It’s just that I might as well not stay long.”

 

Hearing those words, Masha paused, and she froze as she was about to stand up.

 

“…What does that mean?”

 

“Nothing.”

 

When Dante pretended not to notice and tried to turn around, Masha gave him a stern look.

 

“You, if you don’t talk, I will tell Ei everything.”

 

Dante reacted unexpectedly quickly to the content, which only sounded harsh and wasn’t a threat.

 

“What are you going to tell her?”

 

“That you’re just pretending to be innocent in front of Ei.”

 

“…”

 

At that, no answer came from him, as if he was speechless.

 

Masha looked at him crookedly like a bully for a long time before she heard a small sigh.

 

What matters if you just sigh?

 

She hardened her face, thinking that she would never back down, but at the words that followed, Masha involuntarily put on a dumbfounded expression.

 

“In a way, I’m like a symbol of war.”

 

“…”

 

“But if you keep seeing me, I don’t know what memories you might think of.”

 

Masha discovered that Dante’s pupils, which she had thought were emotionless, suddenly looked troubled.

 

“Actually, I thought it would be better not to show up at all, but I couldn’t send Ei…”

 

In the end, not being able to stay here long meant he intended to leave quickly as he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable.

 

The moment she heard those words, the face of a person who wasn’t here, yet constantly mentioned in her conversation with Dante, came to my mind.

 

And also the way that person made a faintly embarrassing expression.

 

“Ah, really!”

 

Impatient Masha jumped up from her seat, stamping her feet. She could see Dante wince at the sudden action, but Masha shouted at him, thinking it was okay.

 

“How can you couple be this similar?!”

 

“…What?”

 

“Why do you keep trying to be considerate, considerate! I don’t care even half of what you worry about!”

 

Masha knew that he was making a rare expression of surprise, but she felt more frustration than she cared about it.

 

This is what a couple being alike is, huh?

 

“I have never been afraid of you, nor do I consider you a symbol of war. No, on the contrary, I’m grateful to you.”

 

She screamed once earlier, so she was able to breathe.

 

“You’re the one who ended the war, but what kind of bullshit is a symbol of war? You said that you only knocked on the door and didn’t reveal it was you when you came here because you’re being considerate, didn’t you?

 

Seeing him slip away from her eyes, Masha touched her forehead.

 

“Ei also kept glancing at me, why the hell are you guys doing this?”

 

“…”

 

“I’m so grateful that Ei came back alive, and I’m grateful that you, in a way, have avenged me. Why do you keep making me a person stuck in the past?”

 

As she spoke in a mixed tone, Dante carefully returned his gaze and asked,

 

“…So you’re saying you’re fine now?”

 

“Not entirely fine. But not enough for you to be so conscious of me.”

 

Never. Masha resolutely raised her hand and continued her words.

 

“Thank you for your consideration, but you don’t have to. Rather, if you do so, maybe I will think of it more. So can you please stop being awkward?”

 

“…Alright. Got it.”

 

“Tell Ei the same. I think Ei will think the same as you.”

 

Because it bothered me for some reason. Masha added with a twisted expression, and Dante nodded his head.

 

“Alright, I will tell her… But that’s not the only reason I have to go quickly.”

 

“Why?”

 

Despite Masha’s puzzled face, Dante opened the door without replying.

 

“I understand why you don’t want to stay long. But why do you have to go quickly?”

 

“Ei is alone now.”

 

“What’s wrong with her being alone, no… Ei isn’t even a kid.”

 

Masha, who had been talking that far, paused her words for a moment. It was obviously a dark night outside the door, yet his purple eyes as he turned and looked at her were surprisingly clear.

 

In the spotless darkness, the shining eyes and the expressionless face while the voice died down.

 

“That’s a relief, you said you’re fine.”

 

The expressionless expression, whose thoughts were unable to be read, was quickly erased, and a hazy smile was drawn on Dante’s face.

 

“But think about it. If you’re still not okay with what happened 10 years ago, and it feels as vivid as if it happened yesterday…”

 

The smile on his lips grew thicker with each word he spoke, but somehow Masha didn’t think he was laughing.

 

“And if you realize she’s not completely safe.”

 

Masha was taken aback for a moment at the unexplained statement, but Dante just calmly added,

 

“Won’t you be anxious?”

 

***

 

On a slightly overcast morning, I heard Dante say that he had passed the communication port to Masha.

 

And what Masha asked Dante and me to do.

 

“She’s really like a ghost. I thought I didn’t show it at all.”

 

If this is the case, there’s no meaning in not deliberately bringing up the story of the villagers. Dante blinked for a moment, as if recalling last night, then agreed in a low voice.

 

“Hmm. She seems to be quick-witted.”

 

Or was it obvious from Dante’s side, not me? I don’t know what they talked about last night, so I‘m not sure. I tilted my head and lightly tapped the communication port with my finger.

 

“Do I just use it like you taught me last time?”

 

“Mm.”

 

After answering that, he left the room. Well, he usually tries to stick together with me somehow, but what is it?

 

I looked at the door blankly, wondering if he wasn’t paying attention because I was talking to a friend, then turned my head toward the communication port again.

 

I sat down at my desk and manipulated the communication port as Dante told me, and the light came on right away. Seeing Masha’s face visible in the communication port, I waved lightly.

 

[Ei!]

 

“Hello, Masha.”

 

[Hey, do you know how long I waited for news from you? But are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere? When did you meet your husband? And why don’t you come to the capital?]

 

“Wait, please speak slowly.”

 

Masha, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, looked tired, but her voice and expression were bright. Even though she said she was fine, I was worried on the inside, now that was a relief.

 

As I talked while answering Masha’s questions one by one, I realized that there were more things I wanted to tell Masha than I thought.

 

And the fact that meeting only in this way will continue to leave only regrets.

 

It would be better if we could meet and talk.

 

“And as for why Dante and I aren’t going to the capital…, well. I don’t know either.”

 

[What does that mean?]

 

“Dante won’t try to leave the Magic Tower.”

 

Masha suddenly shut her mouth at my light question. It seemed like she had remembered something, so I also kept my mouth shut, but Masha quietly called my name shortly after.

 

[Ei.]

 

“Mm.”

 

[Your husband says he’s very anxious.]

 

When I heard that, I laughed out loud.

 

“It seemed to me like that anyway. No, I’m an idiot if I don’t know.”

 

[It’s very obvious]

 

I looked at Masha as she spoke with a mysterious expression, then rested my chin on my hand.

 

“You know, Masha.”

 

[Yeah.]

 

“I thought Dante would be less anxious if I revealed that I don’t die. But it’s not like that, isn’t it?”

 

[…]

 

“Is there any other reason?”

 

I blinked slowly at my friend, who looked at me without answering.

 

“I want to know why, but he won’t even answer… I can’t help it.”

 

I put my thoughts together and smiled faintly at Masha.

 

“As I promised last time, I’ll drag Dante back. So please answer my question.”

 

Even if I asked Dante, it seemed that he wouldn’t answer. I added with a smile, and Masha in the communication port nodded her head with a confused look on her face.

 

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