e were going to dodge it and counter as planned, but we failed and should have been crushed.
But in reality, we were just blown away.
Did it do so because it couldn’t crush us?

And right now, a cluster of ice made by Ciel pierces through the giant.
The sharp tipped ice, reminiscent of an icicle, freezes the giant from where it pierced through.
And from there, an ice sculpture of a tree gradually forms over it and, crack, the monster shatters along with it into tiny pieces.

The scene of the girl displaying that fantastic phenomenon and a gracefully flowing dance was likely more than enough to fascinate people.

Leaving it at that, it might be best to have a proper discussion with Ciel here and now. 
After all, it all ended before I even realized it happening but it’s hard to call this a success.
Rather, there’s much for Ciel to reflect on, but there’s much more for me as well.

『Good work.
You did very well.』

After this, I have no choice but to have a very unenjoyable talk with her but it doesn’t change that fact that Ciel did her best.
This is definitely something that I should praise and I even want her to be happy as well.
Even if depending on how the conversation goes, scolding Ciel becomes unavoidable.

Why must I scold Ciel even though this was my fault? Just thinking about it almost spirals me back to self-hatred.
But, to make sure that these kinds of mistakes don’t happen again, there are situations where I need to turn blind to my own faults.

Or so I thought, but to my words, Ciel listlessly replied「Right.
Thank you, Ain.」with a forced smile, so it seems like there will be no scolding this time.
Rather, it might be better to give her some encouragement.

『In the meantime, shall we move from here and talk somewhere we can rest?』
「Of course, I’ll do as you ask, Ain.」

Disheartened, Ciel walks forth totteringly.
It might be the fatigue from the earlier battle, as well as from her becoming discouraged, showing.
I want to let her rest as soon as possible, so a short distance away from where we defeated the monster, I had her go off the road and sit hiding among the trees.

「Say, Ain.
Will you perhaps still stay with me even in the future?

     Is it really fine that I, always being protected by you and always being useless, stay together with you, Ain?」
『I want to stay with you always as well, even in the future.
『Besides, you’re not even the slightest bit of useless, Ciel.
     If you’re worrying about what just happened, it was my fault anyways.』
「No, no.
Ain did nothing wrong.
Even though Ain was worrying about me yesterday, you got in danger because I was being selfish.
     So it’s my fault.
I’m a bad girl, I’m a naughty girl.」

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Ciel seems as though she is about to break into tears at any moment now; even so, she’s doing her best to stop herself from crying.
What would be best to say to her? I don’t have any parenting experience nor have I ever been in this kind of situation in Japan, so I’m stumped.
Ciel’s a good girl, so I hope she’ll be able to forgive herself and find a good compromise for herself.

『You’re talking about when volunteering to keep watch for me, right Ciel?』
「Right, that’s right.
Even though Ain told me not to push myself, I didn’t even realize if I was pushing myself or not.」
『Still, you were doing your best to take some load off of me, right Ciel?』
「Even so, in the end, I only troubled Ain even more…… 」
『Rather, I think that the one that was more burdened here is you, Ciel.
Besides, you didn’t only increase your own load.
Because you kept me company last night, I was able to notice the difference of the night sky from when I was alive.
     Up until yesterday, I was so on the edge that I didn’t even notice it before.
All I thought about was how to run away as quick as possible.
     So thanks to you, I was able to relax myself, Ciel.』
「But that doesn’t change that, because of me, Ain was exposed to danger.
     Even though I want to protect Ain, I always need protection, I’m useless.」
『If you say that, then it’s also my fault for having so much fun yesterday that I didn’t tell you to go to sleep, Ciel.
     Besides, giving me a chance to relax is the opposite of useless, don’t you agree Ciel?』

Seeing Ciel reluctantly nod, I continue speaking.
I feel our whole conversation from earlier had hit my conscience back like a boomerang, I just want to run away.

『However, it is true that Ciel might have done things wrong this time.
     Ciel, do you know what I can do?』
「Umm, barrier and detection sorcery, right? After that, Ain can sing.
Of course, I enjoy it when you sing to support me as a Song Princess as well, but I love it when Ain sings even without any reason.」
『I love seeing Ciel dance as well.
     Also, another thing I can do is to be restlessly on the lookout.
     Then on the other hand, what are the things I can’t do?』
「Ain can’t use combat sorcery, right? But that’s……」
『Alright, we don’t need to talk about that right now.
     I can’t use combat sorcery, so it’s safe to say that I practically can’t fight.
     To be honest, I can’t do the dirty work.
I’m quite relieved about that fact, but it’s also something I’m extremely ashamed of.』

「No, don’t.
It’s not something to be ashamed of.
After all, Ain has always, always protected me.
     If you don’t at least let me fight, then I won’t have anything to pay you back with, you know?」

Noticing myself being relieved that Ciel is desperately rejecting my words, I hate myself more.
It’s because I’m aware that I’m saying an awfully terrible thing and that the conversation is going in a way that’s convenient for me.

I’m sure that in the future, there will be a time that we will need to kill not only monsters, but people as well.
And I’m certain that at that time, I would advise her that it would be best to kill them.
However, no matter how much I advise and no matter how much I justify it, since I myself can’t fight, the one that will execute it will always be Ciel.

Compared to that, what I’m doing is nothing special.
In actuality, I practically don’t have any burden on me.
If I’m forced to say it, I’m just bored without anything to do at night.
Still, I think it’s for the best.
If I was able to do everything, Ciel would become a dependent child unable to do anything and even presently, I can proudly say that I did my best for Ciel.
For now, just ignore this mistake for a bit, please.

『I understand how you feel as well, Ciel.
However, just as you want to do your best for me, I also want to do something for you, Ciel.』
「You too, Ain?」
『That’s right, it’s because I wanted to protect Ciel that I was able to protect you up until now.
There were also times I’ve failed to do so, but I would be troubled if Ciel wants to take this away from me.
     After all, I can’t defeat monsters for you, Ciel.』
「So then I can fight, right? But, I don’t want to just fight.」
『Then in my case, I’m only protecting.
     I’m happy that you’re concerned about me, Ciel; but as I said earlier, fighting is very difficult for me to do.
Therefore, I want Ciel to first be capable at combat.
In other words, we distribute our roles.
I’ll defend, you’ll attack.
I’ll sing and you’ll dance.
There might be other things we want to do for each other, but first we need to settle firmly into these roles.
Ciel, your role is to stay in good condition until when we need to fight, so you can go with all your strength.』
「…… Understood.」
『Once we’ve settled into our roles, we’ll likely have more leeway.
     I’m sure that as you live on, time will come that just one sleepless night would no longer be a problem.
     When that time comes, let’s keep watch together again.
I look forward to chatting with you after all, Ciel.』
It’s a promise, alright?」
『Of course.

Finally, it seems that I’ve convinced Ciel, so I breathe a sigh of relief in my mind.
I’ve said a lot of different things, but I really don’t want Ciel to push herself too much and I hope she grows healthy as well.
She doesn’t have to live fast and recklessly, so gradually learning to do things one by one is fine.
I hope I was able to convey this to her even just a bit.
In the first place, it might have been best if I was able to tell this to her yesterday, but it’s too much to expect from me.

「Say, Ain?」

Now wearing a cheerful expression, like she has been freed of some evil spirit, Ciel calls my name.

『What is it?』
「I exposed Ain to danger but to be honest, I believed that Ain would be able to defend against that giant’s attack, you know?
     So when it actually protected me, I was really proud.
     It doesn’t change the fact that I was pathetic but you’re really amazing Ain.
Remember this, okay?」

Being praised so frankly, I think of how incomprehensible my barrier’s defensive capability have become as an escape.
Though, that in itself is a fact that I want to escape from as well.

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