Author: lipzoldyck

 

Even though the distance between the window frame and me was quite long because Dante had stood over me, the appearance of the crow was clearly visible.

 

The black feathers, without a speck of dust, were cast even darker because they had turned their backs to the light. The shiny eyes were dark red like blood, and the beak that snapped shut was menacing.

 

<You don’t have to look at me as if you were looking at a ghost, you know.>

 

“…”

 

Dante and I didn’t respond to that carefree comment.

 

It suddenly appeared and had a completely different corner from the animals I had seen so far. It was like that from the way it spoke, and the way it stared at Dante and me.

 

It was truly an atmosphere that gave goosebumps just to look at.

 

It was obviously a bird that didn’t fit into an ordinary family home. However, seeing the crow standing with its claws in the broken window frame, I didn’t feel the sense of incongruity that I should have felt. Rather, it felt like I was in the place where I was supposed to be.

 

It was a very strange feeling even for me, and I realized that it was the attitude of the crow.

 

The crow seemed accustomed to this place, to standing there, and with its back to the light.

Like someone who has already visited this place once.

 

Before I had time to think more, my mouth opened.

 

“It’s you.”

 

<…>

 

“You took Masha.”

 

The crow didn’t answer my words, yet instead made a sneer-like mocking noise and whined.

 

<You ask right away without giving me time to say hello.>

 

“Dante.”

 

I whispered quickly, keeping my eyes on the crow.

 

“What is that crow?”

 

Is it the kind that can change into a human after being normally in the form of a bird, like Lisa? Or, on the contrary, is it rather that the human side is the main body, and now in a disguised form?

 

As soon as he found the crow, he attacked it, so I thought Dante knew what it was. As if to confirm that thought, Dante hesitated for a moment before answering my question.

 

“…That’s a monster. The guy who is talking now is just implanting part of his consciousness into the monster.”

 

“Implanting part of his consciousness?”

 

I can’t understand exactly, but geez… that sounds insane.

 

Perhaps overhearing my careless question, the crow laughed this time.

 

<Why, are you seeing this for the first time?>

 

It seems that the Master of the Magic Tower showed only good things to you. At the words that followed, I could feel Dante’s grip on my hand.

 

After hearing the story of the monster, I was able to notice that its voice was cracking as if it was being scratched somewhere. It’s a sound I hate to hear. Of course, I don’t intend to listen to it for long.

 

I was offended by the way it casually commented on the subject of taking my friend somewhere, and of appearing shamelessly in front of us looking for Marsha.

 

As I took a step behind Dante, a terrifyingly red gaze turned to me.

 

“Where is Masha?”

 

<As you might have guessed, she’s with me.>

 

The smirking tone felt like a provocation. Like someone who wants to check the other person’s emotional agitation.

 

As I remained expressionless and didn’t respond, the crow made a clicking noise as if it wasn’t funny. Although bizarre, those emotions could be conveyed even though there was obviously no way to express emotions on a bird’s face.

 

Dante stood there with eyes wanting to tear that crow down at any moment, yet he didn’t take any other action. Probably because it took Marsha, and since he was by my side, he didn’t think it’d dare to harm me right away.

 

“What do you want.”

 

Unlike Dante’s voice, which had been suppressed and lowered, the crow answered leisurely.

 

<To think that you’re asking first, how merciful of you.>

 

“If you add one more nonsensical comment…”

 

Dante continued his speech in a stern tone, then met my eyes and hurriedly shut his mouth. You don’t even have to look at me, though.

 

I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure Dante and I feel the same in this situation.

 

However, whether or not it knew how we felt, the crow’s soft tone didn’t change one bit.

 

<I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I just want a conversation. You’re right that I want some time to talk just the two of you. >

 

“If the purpose was to talk, it would have been faster for you to come to me right away.”

 

<It’s not you I’m asking for a conversation. >

 

In an instant, the expression on Dante’s face disappeared.

 

<I want to talk to the lady next to you.>

 

…Me?

 

Because I was suddenly pointed out, I couldn’t even think to hide my bewildered expression.

 

Neither I nor Dante expected this situation. Judging from Dante’s reaction on the day, it seemed that it had a long-standing bad relationship with Dante, and it was highly likely that it was one of the degenerates, a problem Dante is trying to solve these days.

 

But, why would a degenerate of the Magic Tower want to have a conversation with me, a person with no connection whatsoever?

 

As if noticing my intricately spinning mind, the crow continued as if it were singing.

 

<Isn’t it effective to take a precious person as a hostage? It seemed that the lady’s friend would be an effective hostage, that’s why I took the child who lived in this house.>

 

I’m really proud because it didn’t seem like a bad choice. I wanted to at least answer that question, yet I couldn’t.

 

So, after all, Masha is in danger because of me?

 

When I felt like something was sinking from the depths, and I almost let my nervousness come out of the surface without realizing it.

 

Dante’s voice fell as if it crossed between the crow and me.

 

“You can’t.”

 

<How cold-hearted. Even though I won’t hold on to it for long?>

 

“I’m sure you will tell Ei to come to where you are.”

 

Dante’s face no longer showed a hint of anxiety. There is just inexpressible coldness in it.

It was an emotion he had never shown before, so I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was.

 

“If you want to have a good conversation, I’ll accompany her.”

 

<No, that won’t do. Because I want to talk alone.>

 

Agony that didn’t even feel like sincerity nestled in the crow’s voice.

 

<I have no intention of hurting that lady. No, it’s more accurate to say that I can’t hurt you. Had you been deceived all this time?>

 

“…”

 

<You can use any magic to protect the lady, or you can take any action. To take a more extreme example, it’s okay to cast a magic that explodes my body if I get closer to her than a certain distance.>

 

In a wary atmosphere, the giggles continued.

 

<Because I don’t want anything other than a really intimate conversation.>

 

“How can I believe that?”

 

<Is there any reason not to believe it?>

 

The unpleasant laughter stopped. In a voice completely devoid of playfulness, the crow spoke again.

 

<I can’t beat you.>

 

“…”

 

<If you’re really determined to protect the lady, that means there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m the one who knows that better than anyone else, so I won’t even try.>

 

I couldn’t figure out what its plan was. Are you trying to suggest something related to Dante? Or is there really something related to me?

 

But there was something that made me uneasy more than what its purpose was.

 

A friend of mine who got caught up in this situation because someone was targeting me.

 

Masha.

 

“…If I don’t listen to you, what will happen to Masha?”

 

“Ei.”

 

Dante called me impatiently, yet I didn’t even turn my head.

 

The crow, who received my full attention, responded in a casual tone as if I was asking for something obvious.

 

<She will die.>

 

“…”

 

<Why, doesn’t your heart move even when you say this? Shall I tell you then that she will suffer all the pain except death?>

 

Its attitude, as if it were joking, didn’t obscure the weight of its words. I spoke in a quiet voice, feeling the uneasiness building up inside me.

 

“Show me that Masha is okay.”

 

<Ah, that’s not difficult. But not right now.>

 

Before giving another answer to the teasing tone, the crow flapped its wings lightly.

 

I wondered if it was going to fly away, so my feet moved first without knowing it, yet Dante stopped me. It wasn’t enough to simply block me with his arm, so he even floated a magic circle in front of me.

 

When I looked at Dante, expressing my doubts about that action.

 

The crow folded its wings and stared at me again.

 

<I will send a communication tool there, so please check it out. After confirming it, respond my proposal as well.>

 

The arrogant and cocky words of giving me like a week of sentences.

 

<Then I hope for a positive answer.>

 

With that last word, the crow’s body exploded.

 

Although there was a terrible sound and something flashed in my vision, thanks to Dante’s hand covering my eyes, I didn’t see anything that could be said to be gruesome.

 

Ah, the magic circle he just floated must be a type of protection magic. Only that thought lingered in my head for a while.

 

Still blindfolded, I surrendered completely to the body temperature that I was so used to that I couldn’t let go of the hug on my shoulder from behind.

 

In a space completely free of intruders, neither of us spoke first. Only the warmth, the heavy silence continued.

 

I was saddened by the desperate feeling of the hand holding me tightly.

 

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Comments (2)

  1. Bish why now😩. Just when I thought we can get more fluffy moments

  2. Total BS. If he can cast anything and fully protect her and probably replay the conversation etc. then there’s no good reason to talk to her alone.