to herself for a few times.

「Say, Ain.
I know that we probably have a lot of things we want to say to each other.
     But before that, let me thank you.
I’m sure that the only reason I’m still here, is because Ain protected me, right?
     If Ain wasn’t there, I would have definitely died.
And if I hadn’t heard your song, I probably would have given up on living.

     That’s why, thank you, Ainsel.
I’m sorry that I haven’t said it before.」

Her words had made all the hardships I faced ever since being reborn feel like it was worth doing it after all.
These past years, all my effort wasn’t just pointless.
I’ve saved a life.
Just hearing it, saved me.
However, I know that I’m not someone who’s qualified to receive her gratitude.
My contrasting sense of fulfillment and guilt clash inside me, I can’t think of words.
If this goes on, I might start endlessly apologizing, just as I did on that day.

If I do that, it would only be for my self gratification, I’m sure that I’ll only be bothering her.
But even if I don’t do anything, she might be already bothered by me, as she worriedly asks 「……Ain?」 and tilts her head.

『I, was unable to protect you.
For that reason, I’m, not qualified to receive your gratitude.』

I was so lost for words that I ended up saying these shameful words.
However, it’s still my true thoughts.
I can’t take back what I said, so I wait for her reply feeling like a criminal waiting for their judgment.
Then, she shakes her head, waving her beautiful white hair, and denies my words.

「That’s impossible.
Ain’s songs, have always healed my heart.」
I was the cause, for your lifelong scar.
Just when I should’ve protected you, if I was just, just more cautious of that man……!』

Unable to honestly embrace her kindness, I forget myself squeeze my words out.
However, as though to forgive all of my failures, she smiles at me with pink lips and starts spinning her words.

My gentle person.
It was inevitable.

     No matter how much you could’ve protected me, my father, that man would have never given up.
     After all, I was born only for that moment.
If ever we had displeased that man, he would have killed us.
That’s why, it’s alright.
More importantly, I’m really glad that that man didn’t discover Ain.」
『…… But still!』
「Of course I know that, as a girl, it might cause some problems in my life later on.
     I don’t really feel it, though.
     But you know, it’s doubtful that I can even live in the first place.」

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Certainly, in this mansion, you can never be sure with your life.
A powerless infant might die in a day.
An ignorant child would be lucky to last two.
Even a grown adult could die here any time.
As long as we’re in this mansion, if that man’s aim was her virgin blood, no matter how much I protect her he would likely never stop.
In that sense, it may certainly have been inevitable and might be a necessary rite.
But still, I just can’t accept it.

「More importantly, I have something to ask you, Ain.


When I was about to sink into my own thoughts, she called out to me.
The sudden change in topic was probably her way of distracting me from my thoughts.
As I suspected, this child is clever.
Rather, maybe it’s me that’s not good in communicating.
It’s been a few years since I’ve talked to someone like this.
I might have forgotten how.

「Would you think of a name for me」
『A name?』
「Ainsel is a name Ain came up with too, right? That’s why, it shouldn’t be hard, I think.」
『So it really was obvious…… my alias.』
「Ain didn’t really try to hide it, after all.
But still, I won’t ask why, so don’t worry.」

She lets out a giggle saying so.
I’d be troubled if she ever expands on that topic, so I replied 『Understood.』 and decided to think of a name.
Looking at her, the things that might have made most of an impression to me are her jewel blue eyes and now white hair.
Her white hair itself looks quite healthy compared to an elderly white hair.
Blue and white.
The first things that come to mind are…… the sea and sky of my previous life.
Will it be the same color in this world, too? Wondering so, what came to mind was a name associated with them.

『How does Cielmer sound?』
「Cielmer…… in that case, people close to me would call me Ciel, right?
     Thank you for the beautiful name.
For until now and from now on, please take care of me, Ain.」
『Of course, Ciel.』

She, Ciel, smiled at me with delight; so even just in my mind, I smiled back.
Lately we’ve spent peaceful times here, but this might be the first time we had a moment this tranquil.
Singing is enjoyable too, but this time now is a different, enjoyable gentle time.
Now that I can talk, I desperately wish for more of these kinds of days.

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