Author: lipzoldyck

 

Numerous words came together in my mind then scattered in an instant. Things I had forgotten since meeting Dante again, and things I hadn’t bothered to recall, became clearer in an instant as soon as I heard Dante’s words.

 

But it was only for a moment, and the voice that came out soon after was calmer than I thought.

 

It was because there were too many things that I had been through so far to be shocked by each one of these things.

 

“…Wasn’t the kingdom the main culprit that set off the bomb?”

 

Yeah, that’s exactly what Masha told me. The kingdom announced the start of the war by detonating a bomb in the village we were living in, and the villagers, including myself, were swept away by it.

 

Besides, the war is long over. It wasn’t enough that it was over, so enough time had passed to sort things out. The members of the delegation who were together also acted as if Dante was their biggest headache, didn’t they. Not the kingdom they fought against, but rather Dante who stood by their side during the war.

 

But why is Dante so specific about the ‘people’ who detonated the bomb?

 

Dante, who had difficulty bringing up the topic, immediately closed his mouth and put on a regretful expression. But he can’t take back what he’s already said, and I had no intention of ending it here once I started listening to it.

 

Unable to overcome my pressure, Dante reluctantly revealed the circumstances.

 

“During the war, there were magicians who helped the kingdom army and colluded with them behind the scenes. Perhaps the fact that the villagers were chosen as the first scapegoats was actually the result of the group instigating them.”

 

And that they might be closely related to the Magic Tower.

 

Dante only said so, but I noticed that the guess had solidified to an almost certainty.

 

“How did you come to guess that?”

 

“…The bomb that exploded in that village was the type with explosion magic engraved into the magic stone, but there was no one in the kingdom who had the skills to make such a thing.”

 

At the same time as hearing those words, there were memories that came to my mind, albeit faintly. Masha told me a similar story on the day I came back to life.

 

“The reason why we were defeated in succession by the Norbert Kingdom was because of the magicians on the side of the kingdom army.”

 

“Magician?”

 

“Mm. Did she say that they weren’t magicians belonging to the kingdom army from the beginning, and that it was a kind of alliance relationship… I can’t remember.”

 

While recalling the conversation with Masha for a moment, Dante continued the story in a low voice.

 

“So, the fact-finding investigation that followed after the war was also conducted mainly by forces outside the kingdom. Investigations continued, and the Magic Tower was the last thing left.”

 

The search was made more difficult, Dante explained, because the magicians disappeared as if they had waited as soon as the war was over.

 

“And you were cooperating with the investigation and found the people you guessed?”

 

I guess that’s why you’re telling me like you’re sure of it. Dante blinked slowly at my words, then nodded silently.

 

“They’re called the degenerates… There are those who were expelled from the Magic Tower against the will of the Magic Tower, but the time they disappeared and the time the kingdom army started a war coincide.”

 

“Hmm.”

 

It was an unexpected story when Dante vaguely resolved to find out the cause of his anxiety. Somehow, it feels like a corner of my head is starting to throb.

 

However, even after hearing this explanation, there were still parts that I didn’t understand.

 

First of all, I don’t know why the fact that the main culprits who exploded the bombs were those related to the Magic Tower leads to the conclusion that ‘the fact that the village was chosen as the first attacking place is the result of the degenerates’ instigation’.

 

It shouldn’t have been difficult to investigate the Magic Tower that sided with the Empire during the war, but why was the investigation conducted at the end?

 

“Even if you couldn’t find the traces, the investigation was too late…”

 

I talked to that point, and when I saw Dante’s complexion darkened, I hurriedly shut my mouth.

 

Come to think of it, the general manager wasn’t sane until recently. Under such circumstances, there was no way the investigation related to the Magic Tower would proceed smoothly.

 

Besides, Dante said that after dealing with only the main culprits revealed during the war, he was imprisoned in the Magic Tower after that.

 

After the war, he couldn’t have cared about what was going on…

 

Thinking so, I paused for a while to hide my confusion and then said.

 

“I thought the war issue was completely resolved, turns out it wasn’t.”

 

As there was a gap between 10 years, I don’t know much. When I woke up, the war had already ended, and what exactly happened in the war was of no concern to me, and almost as soon as I woke up, I was frantic about going straight to Dante.

 

So, I thought calmly that everything related to the war would be resolved somehow. Because a lot of time has already passed.

 

But from what Dante said, that wasn’t the case. Perhaps the core force hasn’t yet been revealed, and that force may be related to the Magic Tower.

 

“Tell me more about those so-called degenerates.”

 

The moment I raised my head and said that, Dante’s hand suddenly felt stronger. It was so hard that I, who had been holding that hand for a while, was taken aback.

 

At the same time as I felt the pressure stronger than usual, Dante’s voice leaked out full of trembling.

 

“Ei.”

 

“Mm.”

 

I didn’t even notice that Dante’s condition was strange. Soon after, he said something that I couldn’t understand at all, wondering what kind of thought process he went through.

 

“What if that village that had become like that,… really is because of me?”

 

What is this again? I reflexively frowned at the incoherent story, and Dante nervously grabbed my hand even tighter.

 

Seeing how it was so tight that I thought the mark might remain if I kept being held, it seemed that he was distracted somewhere else.

 

“If it’s true that they helped the kingdom army, it might really be because of me. No, it must be because of me.”

 

“Wait, what are you talking about all of a sudden?”

 

“They must have mistakenly thought that my strength had weakened after seeing me staying in that village for a long time, so…”

 

“Dante!”

 

I urgently called Dante, who started talking gibberish. Dante, who had stopped talking, hurriedly raised his head, whose face was pale, and my eyes met his.

 

Purple eyes swayed back and forth as if they had met me again, and in an instant, his complexion turned pale.

 

I let go of Dante’s hand and held onto his confused face. To not let Dante avert my eyes.

 

“Why is it because of you? Why is the story suddenly like that?”

 

“…Because the degenerates have been steadily aiming for the position of the Master of the Magic Tower.”

 

Dante’s voice was deep when he said that. Soon after, Dante frowned and bowed his head as if leaning on my arms.

 

“When I was lying in front of your house, I was also attacked by degenerates. If I had left as soon as I was well, they would… they wouldn’t even know the village.”

 

If so, obviously… Dante tried to continue, but he shut his mouth, and there was silence for a very short time.

 

This thought of him, I never thought he would have this.

 

I was trying to understand why Dante was avoiding me so hard, and why he was reluctant to tell me his circumstances.

 

Maybe he has been thinking about it unconsciously. That it might be all his fault.

 

I couldn’t see Dante’s expression because he had his head down, so I forced my hand.

 

The gaze, which had been readjusted by my hand, was already blurred and filled with water.

 

“Dante.”

 

“Mm.”

 

“It’s not your fault.”

 

You know that, don’t you? I whispered that, yet Dante didn’t answer. It just distorted his face more and more.

 

“I knew it was something to feel guilty about. If I had been in your situation, I would have done the same.”

 

I thought of the villagers who had been kind to me, whose faces I was struggling to forget.

 

If they died because of me, and if someone I loved died along with them, I probably couldn’t bear it.

 

But apart from being able to understand Dante’s self-reproach, there was something I wanted to say. No, looking at Dante’s condition now, it was something I had to say.

 

“But it’s not your fault.”

 

“…”

 

“Even if they really did target you, that’s because they’re bad, not your fault. Okay?”

 

Dante’s eyes went quiet as I continued, so I knew only that Dante would stop blaming himself. No, even if I couldn’t completely get rid of the guilt, I thought he’d be fine right now.

 

However Dante didn’t answer me and brought up another topic.

 

The reason I noticed Dante’s insecurities,

 

“So, regarding going out of the Magic Tower… please wait for a while.”

 

The words that I couldn’t resist after hearing all of the above.

 

I knew that Dante was talking back, but I couldn’t inquire further. Because Dante’s face had changed to look like he was about to cry.

 

“Let’s get out when I find them all and they can’t harm you again. Even if it’s a bit frustrating right now, stay inside.”

 

It’s the safest here. The words added and whispered somehow sounded very earnest.

 

It wasn’t until after hearing that, that I realized why Dante was so anxious that he would be found out by me. It wasn’t because they had overwhelming power over Dante, nor was it because they had been harassing the Magic Tower for a long time.

 

The beginning of that anxiety was me after all. Since I’ve died because of them, he’s afraid it will happen again.

 

So he was afraid that he would lose me for a long time.

 

To me who couldn’t bear to say anything, Dante whispered again as if pleading.

 

“Please, Ei.”

 

Even after hearing that, there was no way I could have said anything else.

 

In the end, I nodded my head with the answer, ‘I understand’.

 

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