(T/N: As I have mentioned, the unreliable narrator is very prominent in this novel, so you can make a report at the top button there if you spot any inconsistency or leave a comment below.
I have already fixed a lot of inconsistency parts in the past chapters since the information given is rather vague.
And I might be making minor changes in the past chapters regarding some terms from time to time, I won’t be mentioning this since it’s just minor things.)
“The ceremony to honor Kaguya with a bonus for this incident will now commence.
First, the representative of Kaguya, Rain Aldar, please step forward.”
Having gone up on the stage, Aldar bowed to the kingdom’s high-ranking official standing in the center of the stage before receiving the certificate of commendation.
A round of applause resounded from the audience simultaneously.
“Next, Fina Trinity.”
The following person was a black-haired girl whom everyone was already familiar with.
While Aldar was a military man, the graceful mannerisms of an aristocrat dominated Fina’s bearing.
In light of your distinguished contributions to this string of episodes, notably the arrest of rate A+ ‘Hunter’ and rate S ‘Art of the Corpse Princess,’ I hereby commend you and confer upon you the rank of a second-class magician.”
“I humbly accept.”
The school gymnasium, which had been hastily transformed into a venue, was flooded with cheers as Fina received the certificate of commendation (to me, it seemed to be nothing more than a piece of paper).
Whereas the gymnasium would ordinarily be able to accommodate the whole school, the presence of all the top officials from the city and the royal capital created a bit of a stuffy atmosphere.
“Next, Her Royal Highness Princess Karen Ortesia has a few words to deliver.
All of you, please rise up, take off your hats, and pay close attention.”
A gasp of admiration issued from the audience.
For Karen made her entrance from offstage, sporting not her usual school uniform or Kaguya uniform, but a crimson dress, attired in the garb of royalty―
“―Eh, I would have loved to see Karen in that appearance too.”
On hearing about the award ceremony that took place today, Arti shot me a reproachful look with a disgruntled expression on her face.
“It is inevitable.
The magic that I have cast on you has not yet manifested itself to perfection.
I have already informed the school and your parents, and besides, you don’t mind taking a furtive vacation, do you? Just consider it an opportunity to indulge yourself in a sneaky vacation.”
“You refer to this as a vacation, but it’s more like house imprisonment! I want to go outsideー”
“Please behave yourself, you’re disturbing the neighbors.”
While shushing Arti, who was being a nuisance, I confirmed that the coffee was down before pouring it from the coffee pot into a cup.
The aroma of coffee pervaded the room, which seemed to be damp and dreary all day long, bringing me an inexpressible sense of euphoria.
“Ah, coffee? Me tooー”
“Yes, here you go.”
Having spent time with Arti over the last several days, it was evident to me that she was an avid coffee drinker as well.
I handed the cup of coffee to her first, to which a bemused expression spread across her features, before beaming as she thanked me.
“As expected of a man of talent! Thank you!”
“Yes, yes, forget it, have a sip of it already.”
“But why is it that marriage eludes you?”
“Please hurry up and drink.”
After pouring my own cup of coffee promptly, I settled down across the table from Arti.
Since chairs were not available in my house, both of us were seated on the floor, but Arti had a spontaneous cross-legged posture to sip her coffee, so if I spread out a newspaper for the rest of the day, I would be an old man myself.
Well, from someone who was not accustomed to sitting upright on the floor, it was reasonable that would be a strenuous practice.
Neither of us exchanged many words when consuming our coffee.
The room, which was only about the size of seven tatami mats, was lulled into soothing tranquility, apart from the intermittent sound of cups being set down.
This was an extremely special period for me since Arti, whose energy level was constantly as high as a fireball, had started staying at my house.
But that lifestyle will likely come to a close tomorrow.
On that day when Alice assailed Matthias’ mansion, even though it was out of necessity, I exercised the forbidden magic which I kept a tight secret in front of Arti.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the shock was so devastating to Arti at the time that her recollection was almost nonexistent, but of course, I was not the one to be reassured by such words.
In all honesty, I was entertaining the prospect of disposing of Arti―in fact, I was 90% positive that I would do so―but for some reason, I did not kill her in the end.
As an alternative, I took the following measures: I led her to buy into the falsehood that I was in fact a special agent under the direct control of the royal capital and that my mission was to detect Karen’s crisis in advance and covertly avert it, and then I subjected Arti to suggestion magic so that she would not be allowed to reveal my confidentiality, which was essential for the sake of non-disclosure.
It was fortunate that, from my point of view, Arti seemed to thoroughly believe my lie, and this suggestion magic would not be easy to dispel.
Even so, to say that I was not at all apprehensive would be a lie, but it was my decision not to kill Arti yet as a result.
But then again, it was only the other day that I had witnessed a woman who had been outdone by me and Matthias who had prioritized her own desires excessively.
This rule was not an exception for me, and one day I might be compelled into a predicament in which I would have to murder Arti.
Truthfully speaking, I doubted that I would feel any great reservations about killing someone…
Well, at best, in the meantime, I shall try to make this girl feel a little bit more favorable toward me.
“―And now, Arti.
Once I have downed this, I’ll be getting ready to leave soon.
She should be here by now, time-wise.”
Arti, formerly in a positive mood, discernibly started to feel down.
Well, I supposed that was to be expected.
Needless to say, it was Arti who was most overjoyed with the outcome this time, but considering what she herself had committed, her mind wouldn’t know how to interact with her.
The other party wants you to behave as you always do.”
“I understand that, but…”
Right then, the doorbell announced the arrival of a visitor.
Speaking of the devil.
Arti was even pallid than when unannounced tests were conducted.
“Yes, come in.”
With a reserved voice, a girl who I was under the assumption that I would never catch a glimpse of again made her appearance.
Due to that tragedy, her hair was significantly shorter, but everything else, including her long, slit eyelashes, well-shaped ears, and cheeks that were tinged a subtle shade of vermilion, was returned to normal.
“Um, am I running a little late?”
“No, you are right on time.
I am glad you came―Eto.”
When I called out her name, Eto gave a slightly bashful smile.
Then, as if covering up behind my back, Arti called out to her in a faltering tone.
However, Arti’s subsequent comments eluded her since she was at a loss for words.
Eto then broke into a moderately troubled smile and said…
“I am back, Arti.
Sorry I dragged you into this mess.”
…with a teasing look.
“Oh, stop crying alreadyー”
No, it was logical why Arti would start bawling after being told such a thing.
The sight of Arti clinging to her waist and weeping, and of Eto soothing her, uncharacteristically overcame me with a sensation of scintillating awe.
That was not to suggest, nevertheless, that I couldn’t kill them or anything.
The flowers are…”
“Yes, I bought them at the flower shop on the way here.”
Eto averted her eyes, then lowered her gaze to the floor, a flow of tears trickling onto the ground.
It was undeniably nothing short of a miracle, and it was only made feasible by Matthias’ usage of the Philosopher’s Stone replica at that time.
Even the Philosopher’s Stone, though, was not an unconditional miracle.
According to later research, the Philosopher’s Stone allegedly possessed the absolute principle of equivalent exchange, which precluded it from executing actions like creating something out of nothing.
Matthias’ stone, which was a replica, was likewise no exception.
That was why Matthias revived Eto in accordance with the principle of equivalent exchange.
With his own life, body, soul, and all.
I once heard the saying, “Heaven does not create one man above or below another man,” which indeed rang true.
It certainly seemed that people were all born equal.
The Philosopher’s Stone was certainly devouring all of Matthias and creating the whole of Eto.
And to the extent of even her soul before her birth.
That may be why the Eto in front of us now, strictly speaking, may not be the Eto that we were previously familiar with.
But so what? She was already Eto to us if she can smile or cry in our presence like she used to.
Who in the universe would be distressed at such things after witnessing a miracle like this?
“…Seriously, even Eto is crying.
Let’s hurry up and go visit your father’s grave.”
Before employing the Philosopher’s Stone, Matthias had several “requests” for me.
The future of Eto was one of them, as should come as no surprise.
“Please look after Eto until she gets married, even though I know you have a special interest in her.”
At a time like this, I figured he was joking, yet as expected, the look on Matthias’ face was deadly serious.
That man was still somewhat out of place.
Speaking of which, we ultimately had only ramen, which he claimed to be his least favorite dish.
“You two, let’s go out for ramen on the way home today.
Arti, as I recall, you like ramen, too, right?”
“Hiccup… ugh… like it!”
“You are making a hell of a face right now… Well, it’s settled then.
The three of us, let’s go.”
“How long are you going to cry!?”
“Teacher Kanaki, I heard that you are absent from school today, so I came to your house without notifying you but―What in the world are you doing bringing two schoolgirls home in the middle of the day, Teacher?”
“Fina!? No… about this, you are having a huge misunderstanding right now…”
“Teacher locked me in this house for days…! I can’t get married anymore!”
“What are you saying all of a sudden, Arti!?”
“…But indeed, Arti has been staying in this house ever since…!”
You’ve left me disappointed.
You are under arrest here… no, you are condemned to death.”
“Eto, stop that nonsense! Come on, let’s be on our way then!”
Rushing out of the room, which has grown boisterously noisy as if the earlier atmosphere was a lie, I dashed to the outside.
Of course, such a normal life will be gone today, and I will resume my previous role as the sickest pleasure-seeker, prowling the dark streets while humming to myself in quest of my quarry.
This was therefore only applicable today.
Tomorrow I will be a psychopath again, so giving the impression of myself as a normal human being at least for now would not be a bad idea.
While doing so, a wry chuckle slipped out of my lips as I realized that in the corner of my mind I was contemplating where the four of us would eat our ramen tonight.
Apparently, I was a rational monster at heart, unconsciously attempting to deceive even myself―
(Act I, complete)
You'll Also Like
Cultivation: Start From Upgrading My ComputerChapter 47 September 3, 2023
Red Envelope Group of the Three RealmsChapter 1986 September 1, 2023
The Taste Of Apple JamChapter 9 August 29, 2023
Using Gacha to Increase My Companions and to Create the Strongest Girls’ Army CorpsChapter 84 August 28, 2023
Weird Live Broadcast: I Can Deduce EndlesslyChapter 100 August 28, 2023
In Order To Meet You, BelovedChapter 35 August 28, 2023
Disciplinary CodeChapter 65 September 4, 2023
The Cat TransformationChapter 27 August 26, 2023
ChemistryChapter 61 August 25, 2023
Active JK Idol Seems to be Interested in Me Who is a Free Person.Chapter 32 August 25, 2023
After Being Robbed of Everything, She Returns as a GoddessChapter 47 August 25, 2023
The Marquis’ Eldest Son’s Lascivious StoryChapter 232 August 26, 2023