School Arc – Chapter 15
The secret chara’s name was Gift. His image color was blue.
I wouldn’t have thought it was possible for a character’s past and personality to be so ill-matched to such a lovely name.
Gift was, in outline, human in species. However, his age easily crossed to a little over a hundred.
We learned about him at school… as the worst possible case of magical rampage.
In the past, his birthplace, a village among the mountains, had simply disappeared because of Gift’s rampage. The king in those days, unable to grasp what exactly happened, sent an army to that territory. And so, the army, who was responsible for protecting a child, the sole survivor of the village, was, on that same night, wiped out by that child — by Gift.
Even though the information after this came not from the lessons on history, but from my knowledge of the game, what he had to say went something like this.
『It’s scary not knowing what living humans would do to me. That’s why I killed them』
Afterwards, Gift was captured at the price of countless sacrifices, but he was ultimately never killed. Demonstrating a talent of a kind never to be seen again in not only attack magic, but also healing magic, it was said that there had been no way to kill him; but, I don’t doubt there were researchers in the association who’d regret losing that talent of his too.
And so, Gift was imprisoned in a form close to death. It would also be fine to describe it as “sealed”. Due to a large-scale magical device, he was at a state where his magic was always drying up, so it been arranged for him to sleep deep underground. Sometimes, the researchers would visit Gift’s location and conduct experiments on him over and over again.
That place was none other than the『guest house』.
In other words, the rumoured existence of a 『mummy of the demon lord』, was actually him. And old Mr. Hemlock, the librarian, was, in reality, the guard protecting the seal over Gift.
I want to say ‘don’t bury that sort of landmine under the school building where people responsible for the country’s future assemble’. I want to say it from the bottom of my heart.
For the sake of never taking out the treasured grimoire out of the guest house, the strongest and most complex barrier was here. “That’s why, this place was concluded to be more secure than the other locations,” was what Mr. Hemlock explained in the game; but now that I’ve seen the situation turn out like this, I am, of course, not entirely convinced.
In other words, the country’s greatest leaders were lacking in imagination. In this school, the ability to have a yandere fall for you was top-notch. When the heroine, Lily, entered the school, they never even considered the possibility that Gift would start taking action in secret. Think about it, would you!
If Lily was just some powerless girl that a yandere fell for, then it might have turned out alright. However, Lily had exceptional healing magic. She had enough power to, say, revive the mummified Gift.
The rarity that was the pair’s love, wherein they shared the loneliness caused by their exceptional magic, was the number one route that I regretted the most playing, even with the『actual game』. The route was called, the academy’s destruction route.
To say the least, Gift, who feared humans to the extreme, was a character with destructive thoughts. The sole exception to these thoughts was Lily alone.
『When the world becomes completely leveled with only you and me there, I’m sure it would be the first time that I’ll be able to feel relieved from the bottom of my heart』, were his lines in the story.
And, under normal circumstances, there would have been nothing I could do before such a terrifying landmine. But, thankfully, I had the『knowledge』 of the current situation. It was the knowledge of the game with regards to my past life, as well as the knowledge related to the magical device that was binding this 『demon king』.
While focusing on the translucent demon king, I called out to Lily.
「Lily, be strong. It’s not as if he’s been freed from the magical equipment. It doesn’t mean his powerful magical abilities have returned to him. He shouldn’t be able to wield power as he pleases」
The semi-transparent body was proof of that. His actual body was still in the basement of the guest house.
Although it would be too late to stop Gift after he gets Lily’s all-out cooperation to fully revive him, it’s not at that stage yet.
Even while thinking of that in my head, my voice quivered. His existence in front of my eyes was exceedingly fleeting, and yet, maybe it was because of how terrifying the talent hidden in that body was. Even with his magic almost gone, I understood, though vaguely, just how large that hole was. An endless abyss. Such words floated in my mind. My instincts felt fear with the emptiness he carried.
Lily had been even more resolute than I. When she nodded, gaining strength with my words, she stepped forward in order to protect me.
Those small shoulders were trembling. As if they were unable to bear the weight of something.
「…Lily. Do you… like him?」
I later thought that this question was out-of-place, but at the moment, it wasn’t meant just to stall time, I felt I had to ask Lily this.
Lily’s gaze remained on Gift as she answered.
「…I had been fiercely captivated. I knew he was hopelessly lonely. So every night, I snuck out of my room and met with him. We talked about a lot of things and sympathized with each other. Our time together, was really fun. To think, there had been someone who needed only me. But…」
I was able to understand the part that Lily couldn’t say out loud. Falling in love with Gift was like falling together into the abyss. But, I dare say, the edge of that abyss probably wasn’t what deterred Lily.
What entered my mind was the enjoyable lunch we had as a group with Wolf and Shade. At that time, I heard her laugh aloud. Without a doubt, she was truly happy then.
「Gift, I won’t allow you to hurt anyone else any further」
『It’s not “anyone else”. But, “that woman”, no?』
Gift said with a growl in his voice.
And then, his eyes, which had not even for a moment projected anyone else but Lily since the moment he appeared at this place, went past Lily and moved to me.
The look in those eyes, I wonder what was the best way to describe it?
From those deep green eyes, it was as if jealousy was dripping out.
『Woman, you said there was no power in me. It’s just as you said. I don’t have any significant amount of magical power. But even then, I can still kill you』
「If you hurt Lycoris, I won’t forgive you」
I could only hear Lily’s voice somewhere in the distance. At that time, I was trapped in those green, almost black, eyes. My whole body stiffened with terror. I was groping for a spell to protect my body, but doing so simply spurred on the chaos.
In that moment, as if clearing the frigid atmosphere, footsteps resounded from the corridor .
Hearing that reliable voice call out my name, I breathed out a sigh of relief. Actually appearing when I wanted him to was an amazing characteristic of Wolf’s.
After that, in a blink of an eye, was an incident.
At the same time as when Wolf stepped into the room, something similar to a black fog gushed out from Gift’s hands and attacked me. And then, with nimble movements, Wolf protected me in his arms.
『I curse you』
I heard Gift say in a murmur.
Then, he turned to Lily and, as if whispering intimacies, said sweetly to her:
『When the people you love, are completely seized by the darkness building in them. That’s when I’ll come for you again』
After leaving behind such words, he disappeared from this place like a puff of smoke.
Then, dispersing as if blending into the air, the black fog — disappeared as well.