“……..(I Want to Call that Person’s Name)”
Uninterrupted vibrations were followed by a subsequent cacophony of people yelling and the general hustle and bustle of them moving around.
When Lucy ran forward following those noises, she found Ril, surrounded by several people and thrashing his tail around trying to intimidate them.
His hard gray skin was already covered in countless wounds dripping with a mixture of red and black blood. Nevertheless, the surrounding people mercilessly continued their assault, releasing a fireball to try and burn off Ril’s gray skin. It looked like it had a considerable amount of power to it, and every time Ril was hit, his huge body spasmed and he released an ear-splitting roar.
Lucy screamed as if she had been the one who had been hit and ran forward to help, but somebody grabbed her arm and stopped her.
Looking back, there was Claudio who was staring at her breathless. Further behind him was Conrad and Ortensia who were running up to meet them. Lucy looked at each of them in turn as her shallow breath slowly started to normalize.
“Lucy, don’t go.”
“But, Ril is. That child is……”
“What would you do if they were to find you.”
Claudio was being a little forceful, but his words certainly threw Lucy for a loop.
What did he mean by ‘find’? Lucy stared at him stunned because she didn’t understand, but her gaze soon fell to the ground. All of the men surrounding Ril at the moment were heavily equipped. However that equipment looked a little odd when compared to the equipment for this country. The shape of the armor and design for the fasteners were more reminiscent of something from one of the eastern countries.
A few scattered pieces of Lucy’s memories started to reconnect, as if these men are from the east……..then
That is the security clothing from the institute in the east.
They must have come here following after Ril, and Ril was looking for me………
Then what about me? Why am I here…..? What reason did I have for going to a magic school and constantly risk forgetting…..
“I already asked the headmaster and Elena. Lucy, you escaped from the institution. They didn’t let you go.”
Claudio confirmed the answer Lucy had already concluded, but it surprised her nonetheless……and then she remembered.
Those with magic power gather there regardless of their societal roles or strength, and there are a number of students there who are unable to fully control their magic power because of their immaturity. In addition, because all of these are nobles who may one day be charged with protecting their nation, strong magic is continuously practiced here that would interfere with someone looking from the outside. This place with a cloud of magic power seemed like the best place to hide.
Lucy would learn how to hold down her magic power until graduation and then slip away unnoticed towards somewhere else……or so she thought.
Lucy ran away from the laboratory and traveled across the continent with Liztena Magic Academy as her goal from the very beginning. Sometimes she used magic to protect the people she met, sometimes she used magic to run away or save herself, and eventually she forgot.
“Their aim is that dragon, not you. It’s going to be painful, but you have to endure it.”
“But Ril……..I finally met him again.”
As Claudio desperately tried to make his plea, Lucy moved her hand and placed it over the book resting underneath her shirt.
She had started writing in this book because of Ril. After forgetting him several times, the thought, “I don’t want to forget,” became all encompassing in her heart when it came to this loving child who grumbled and complained each time she thought she was meeting him for the first time. But at that time it was impossible for her to forget that she would keep forgetting, so she decided to write it down.
Since there was no telling when she would next forget, she made the resolve to leave everything else behind her, focusing only on this most important thing……..
Ah, in the end she had forgotten even that……..
“Sorry Claudio, I……..this time I’m not going to leave Ril behind.”
“Lucy, it’s useless………!”
Lucy shook off Claudio’s strong grip and once again started running towards Ril.
Claudio tried chasing after her, but two men in heavy equipment appeared beside him and held him down. He raised his voice, yelling and thrashing around in a way most unlike him, and soon he was even casting magic to try and throw those men off. However before the equipment developed through years of unorthodox research, Claudio’s spells were unable to throw off his restraints, even with his royal magic.
Ortensia and Conrad also tried shouting something, but they were inevitably held down as well.
Nevertheless all Lucy could do was shout back an apology as she continued to run towards Ril.
And then Ril’s eyes met with Lucy’s.
His oversized body started trembling suddenly, and his enormous gray wings spread out from his back. Seeing that silhouette that didn’t match a cat’s even a little, an anger at herself started boiling in the pit of Lucy’s stomach.
It would have been terrifying having his body change so much, it was probably painful too, and he was worried all the time……….and in the meantime, I had forgotten him and continued living my life.
“Ril, I’m sorry……..I won’t forget you anymore.”
As Lucy got close, shouting out apologies with a trembling voice, the giant whose body was slowly rising with the beating of his wings dipped his head down, coming face to face with her.
*NYAN* and a familiar cry was released. All of the past became clear as if a thousand books had just been read to her, and large teardrops fell across Lucy’s cheeks. She raised her arms above her head, broke forward and hugged his nose. She had broken her balance running and was using Ril’s head to stand upright, but she did nothing to correct her footing, focusing only on holding her precious friend close to her.
But at the next moment Ril’s body suddenly moved, and he let out a low growl making him feel far more ferocious than he was before. The men had stopped their attacks temporarily when Lucy appeared, but they were now slowly creeping up from behind her.
Ril strengthened the beating of his wings and crouched low to the ground. The clamor of the wind as his wings continued to flap became tremendous, and as it got worse, the fact that he was going to fly away became apparent.
An impatience crossed the men’s faces, and a strong light began to form between them that the fireballs from before could not compare to. If he was going to try and escape, then they were going to forget about capturing him alive and just bring in his corpse instead. There was so much killing intent there that Lucy could feel it on her skin. Her body began to shake, but Ril grabbed her with his left foot.
He was trying to fly just like that. Lucy’s eyes naturally moved towards Claudio, and she was stunned to see him standing up looking the way he was. His golden hair was a complete mess, and neither his usual gentle smile nor his childishly mischievous expression were anywhere to be found. In their place was the simple look that showed he couldn’t believe what was going on in front of him.
Still, “Lucy,” Lucy was able to hear him call her name, even though there was no way his voice would have been able to reach her.
And as they moved, “Don’t go,” the plea in Claudio’s eyes was clearly conveyed to her.
But even if she knew it, there was no way for Lucy to return because Ril’s feet were tightly clutching her body. His thick, hard left leg along with the thin, sickly looking right one were both desperately holding Lucy to prevent her from falling.
“I can’t shake this off……….sorry,” Lucy whispered to him while gently stroking Ril’s arm.
At that moment Ril’s body finally moved up, and his toes left the ground.
In an instant they were gone from where they once stood, and Lucy was up in the sky, looking down on those she was talking to not that long ago. There was nothing to block the harsh winds from beating on her cheeks. The expensive-looking roof of the school building which looked a world away was suddenly within reach.
Knowing that no other person would be able to enjoy this view, Lucy started stroking Ril’s arm once again who in turn continued to flap his wings while giving a small purr-like noise from his throat……..
And then a lance of flames pierced Ril’s gut, causing him to spiral out of control.
A wave of hot air enveloped Lucy who was still wrapped in Ril’s arms. Then after a second of time standing still, a sense of falling assaulted her. Lucy began to scream even though she knew it wouldn’t help her survive as Ril’s arms became even more strongly wrapped around her until a sudden shock caused him to release her all at once.
The sounds of trees splitting apart and birds scattering filled the air right before Ril’s body hit the dirt, shaking a trembling like a large mound of jello.
Lucy, who was in the middle of all that noise, groaned loudly after the shock from the fall had passed through her. She rolled onto her knees, propping herself up before slowly opening her eyes and taking a look around. The thickly grown trees of the forest spread out before her, blocking her from being able to see too far away. But there were trees broken and toppled nearby, providing more light than there had been when she had first walked through the forest giving her a clear view of the area.
……..and Ril next to her. She saw Ril curled up having used his massive body to protect her from the fall.
The impact of the fall had shaken Lucy’s sight, but she was still able to slowly move her body. Although he had been clutching her so strongly just a moment before, his gray arm held no power in it, and she was easily able to move it despite its weight.
Anxiety started to overtake Lucy as she crawled her way up towards Ril’s head and tried lifting it up. *Barumph* His head fell back on to the ground with no effort, making Lucy even more worried as she tried feeling his forehead.
Hard. There was none of the soft hair that had been there in the past, and if felt like his skin was made from rocks. Yet when she pet his forehead his eyes still narrowed and his ears still shook just like they had used to. Despite his shallow breathing, Ril still moved his head slightly, having his hollow eyes placed squarely on Lucy.
He was about to call out, peeling back his lips and revealing the fangs in his open mouth, but the only noise that game up was a sickly gurgle right before a surge of blood shot out instead.
“Ril where are you injured? Are you OK?”
Having his name continuously called brought back a portion of Ril’s consciousness, but all he could do to reply was slowly blink. Lucy moved down his body, continuing to stroke his head and neck to try and relax him until the sight of his abdomen made her freeze.
A large broken branch had penetrated through his gray skin where the earlier spell had hit, embedding itself deep into Ril’s chest. It was completely dyed red in Ril’s blood as if someone had used it as paint, and large drops continued to flow down it and wet the already soaked ground beneath him.
“………Y-you’re fine right……….Now, I will”
Lucy gently touched Ril’s chest while moving her gaze between his red stained belly and unfocused pupils. If it was for the book…….However, for the first time Lucy realized that her book was not where it was supposed to be. When her hand moved to her chest, her fingertips were only able to feel her skin beneath the cloth of her shirt.
Even though she had been shaken this way and that, it was only her silver chain that had been separated from her…….did it fly off somewhere because of the impact of the fall? But when she looked at the ground around her or at any of the tree branches extended overhead, she was unable to see anything.
Meanwhile Ril’s gray body was becoming dyed redder by the second, and his shallow breathing had transformed into a series of hoarse gasps. He would close his eyes for a couple seconds to open them again slightly only to close them for an even longer period of time again…….and slowly the seriousness of the situation began to set in.
Lucy softly patted Ril’s head, looking into his eyes with a gentle smile. As she did, a small noise could be heard inbetween Ril’s shallow gasps.
“Ril, it’s going to be okay. I’ll take care of you right now.”
Lucy moved her hand to Ril’s belly and focused her entire brain towards her hand.
An unpleasant sensation quickly set in like her brain was jiggling and shrinking at the same time. Then it would suddenly feel better for an instant, only to crumble at the end like it was being sucked away…….
She talked with Conrad about eating commoner cuisine with the general class and enjoyed playing board games with Ortensia who hates to lose. Their voices popped back into her memory only to be sucked away deeper into her brain. As time went on, more and more memories were sucked in like water droplets from a leaky pot until finally those words popped up.
“Lucy, would you attend this time’s party with me?”
Ah, that voice is………..she couldn’t remember their name anymore, but a handsome face did come up for a second before it too was sucked away.
Then, with the last drop falling, the pleasant feeling of her head being gently patted fell away, and Lucy’s consciousness went pure white.
Then after a few minutes had passed, Lucy’s eyes went round at the terrifying sight in front of her.
There was a gray dragon just lying there. It was massive enough that she had to look up to see the whole thing, had sharp nails, and although she didn’t feel like she was its prey, she didn’t think she was trying to hunt it either.
She had no idea why she was in the middle of a forest facing a dragon. Besides, her body hurt, and when she looked, she was covered in scratches and a couple bruises too. It was impossible for her to not be confused by this sudden development.
She didn’t know what this situation was nor how she had come to be in this situation in the first place.
………..She didn’t know, but for some reason she couldn’t stop crying. Her trembling lips slowly parted, but no sound would come out.
She wanted to call out someone’s name; there was something she needed to tell them. But she had no idea who that person was.
While her mind confusedly ran in circles, her hand moved towards her chest out of habit. But there was nothing there, and her fingers only touched cloth with nothing but skin underneath.
She wondered what was so important about her chest, whose name she wanted to call, and what she had wanted to tell them.
Lucy Blanchett was unable to remember anything.