So here we have a small announcement. Welcome to the last chapter. Like with the previous story Armored Girl Monette, there are two extra chapters that I will be doing after this, but this is technically the last chapter. Compared to Monette, this story went by so quickly I forgot to mention it. I’m sad to see this go as I had a lot of fun with it, and for everyone else who read this to the end, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.
“Together Forever From Now On”
Once the end-term party finishes, Liztena Magic Academy enters a one month long vacation. Many of the students return home for the break while the ones that stay help clean the school, making it ready for a new term.
Lucy had thought about asking the headmaster if she could stay inside the dorms as well, but Elena invited her to, “Help out at the store in the meantime,” with her and her husband. There was a sense of nostalgia living together, and as time went on, the sense of distance between the two started to shrink. Lucy was starting to see Elena as an older sister once again, and after a few days at the flower shop, she was able to work it by herself. Of course, it was probable that she wasn’t learning how to take care of the shop but remembering it, and Lucy bet she had done this same thing while living with them before.
Although this job required Lucy to get up early in the morning, she could say it was definitely easier than taking care of an annoying noble lady. The customer’s were always delighted to be receiving such beautiful flowers, and they would sometimes give her sweets. Elena was also always working hard. While silently throwing a cookie into her mouth, Lucy felt her gratitude swell.
“Let’s not go back to the academy and just study under Elena. We can take over the shop someday.”
As Lucy mused aloud, Conrad who was sitting opposite her laughed.
This place was a coffee shop on the corner of an urban area near where Elena’s shop was. The sunny terrace was comforting, and the sight of children playing around the nearby fountain was quite tranquil.
There were only members of the general citizenry here–there were a few people like Conrad present, but he blended in so well that nobody would have ever pegged him as a noble–but the area still carried a touch of elegance that comes from being a town right next to Liztena Magic Academy. It wasn’t glamorous by any means, but it was full of vigor.
While looking over the streets, the two students were enjoying the tea and cakes made for ordinary class people like them.
Since the long vacation had started, this was the first time Lucy and Conrad met face-to-face like this. Conrad was familiar with these urban districts and knew which shops were most delicious. These were the stores he would frequently visit and bring the food back to the nightly Ortensia fan club meetings.
“Just seeing me, will Ortensia be all right with this?”
“Isn’t it the same with you? I receive a grudge cat from Claudio every night asking me, ‘Are you having fun playing with Lucy?'”
“Even though Claudio was the one who returned to the royal palace so he could take some special lessons.”
After all, the two of them were completely ignoring their lovers’ overbearing jealousy and meeting up like this. Both Claudio and Ortensia were absorbed in self-study at their homes, yet they were still able to find time to suffocate Lucy and Conrad in spite of it.
What type of research could they possibly be doing? ……Because it was the kind of topics that the two brightest minds of the academy were going out of their way to learn themselves, Lucy and Conrad both figured they wouldn’t understand it even if they asked.
At least, those were Lucy’s thoughts as she was just about to have a yummy-looking piece of cake. She was sure those were Conrad’s thoughts too, but right when he was also about to dig into his slice of cake, he raised his face towards the sky and dropped his fork.
There was a metallic *Clang* as the fork hit the ground. It was a shameful blunder in high society, but in this coffee shop it was nothing so serious. Just pick it up and ask for a new one. But for some reason he wasn’t picking the fork up, instead staring at the sky rigid.
Lucy tilted her head wondering whatever could be wrong….but as a shadow fell over the table, she immediately started to hear the sound of beating wings and looked up towards the sky herself in a panic.
Up there wasn’t a large bird…….it was a large subspecies of a bird. It was the former cat Ril.
“Wh-why is Ril…..WaWa!?”
Rising up from her chair in surprise, Lucy found her body soon being drawn up towards the sky and hurriedly reached out towards her surroundings.
But dishes and table cloths were useless, but even when she grabbed Conrad’s arm, the man in question was quickly lifted off the ground as well, clinging onto her for dear life.
Before either of them could scream, Ril had taken them both into his arm, holding them close to his chest as he slowly rose into the sky.
The two of them grabbed and gripped at the gray skin on Ril’s thick arm since his other shortened one didn’t reach this far and give them the comfort of mind. Ril’s pleased purr’s could be heard as he misconstrued their desperate clawings at his flesh to be them excitedly greeting his arrival.
Then, as Ril’s wings slowly started to pick up speed, the roof of the coffee shop became smaller while his passengers’ discomfort grew larger. Creating this much of a distance after a short leap, it was impossible to think of this creature as a bird………Lucy’s mind was running away from reality, retreating into her own nonsensical thoughts.
There was no reason to be afraid and start screaming, “We’ve been dragon-napped!” but that doesn’t mean she was able to relax. There was no way for either of these two students to understand what was going on, and even if one of them were to ask Ril, all they got in response was another short purr.
Lucy and Conrad looked into each other’s eyes, and they started to wonder if they were going to be dropped. As such, the two of them decided the only thing they could do was hold on to Ril’s thick gray arms as tightly as they could.
“Right, it was a success.”
“My, he even brought Conrad along.”
were the words of Claudio and Ortensia. After a leisurely flight, Ril landed down where he was met by the two of them.
It should go without saying that Lucy and Conrad, who were made to enjoy that leisurely flight, turned a scornful gaze on them. The place they landed at was not the coffee shop of course. It was a large garden, one with such a refined beauty to it that it only added on to the two kidnappee’s confusion.
What in the world was this place, and why were these two there waiting for them? ‘It was a success, but we can make improvements,’ the conversation being held in front of them offered no new clues either.
“Lucy, it’s been too long.”
“Claudio, what did you do?”
Claudio walked forward beaming at the reunion, but Lucy’s eyes were a ghastly sight. In the end, there was nothing that could be done other than a *Pon* *Pon*.
“I didn’t even get to have a bite of my cake.”
“Lucy, that’s not something you should care about right now…….oh no, we forgot to pay!”
“We just dine and dashed!”
As Lucy and Conrad were going crazy over the crime they had just committed, Claudio directed a nearby maid to take care of the payment.
He also requested some take-out cake as well, and as Lucy’s pent-up grudge started to dissipate with the low murmur of, “Cake…..” he hugged her close.
“Lucy, let’s have some cake together when it gets here.”
“……well, then I guess I’ll stop groaning for now. By the way, where is this place?”
“The courtyard of the royal palace.”
In plain clothes! Lucy began panicking on her own, and Claudio, “Well well” carefreely worked at calming her down. It was because it had been a while since he had last hugged her, so he didn’t feel like letting her go no matter what trifling worry overcame her. Lucy fought for a moment, but soon the comfort of being in his arms did actually calm her down, and she scolded herself for needlessly raising her voice like that.
“So, why did Ril take us here, and what have you been studying so thoroughly?”
“Lucy, we were doing research to go fetch you.”
A large question mark formed over Lucy’s head, unable to figure out what Claudio meant. But the man himself was laughing proudly, and he gestured to Ortensia standing nearby.
Conrad on the other hand was somehow able to understand the situation before Lucy could and was sighing by himself. He had also understood that him being brought their was not intentional, and if he had not clung onto Lucy so furiously, he probably could have stayed at the coffee shop. Ril looked so proud at having done a job well done though that Conrad couldn’t bear to blame him for any of this and started petting the former cat’s nose. That feeling inside his chest, where you know something bad is going to happen but there is nothing you can do to change it, was something Conrad had already gotten used to after years of being associated with Claudio.
“After the term ended, I decided to study up on magical power detection. Ortensia in the meantime was studying about language magic. Although they’re two completely different fields, we were able to acquire a tutor with a sufficient enough ability from outside the country.”
“Ortensia, so you could use language magic. ……..No way, Mi~!?”
“For a long time now, I had always thought that my surroundings had a hard time understanding what I was trying to say. I figured it was just because I was high class and less common people could not comprehend my splendor or noble intentions, but I was wrong! My words were being condensed through magic!”
“Usually you would notice that sooner!”
‘Shut up and Listen!’ was what Ortensia’s, “Mi~” was trying to convey to which Lucy nodded and replied, “I understand.” In the end, even with the knowledge of the “Mi~” the conversation still ended up playing out the same way.
Watching their interaction, Claudio soon cleared his throat to try and bring the topic back to the matter at hand and turning his head face towards Lucy……and he hugged her even tighter. Lucy was starting to wonder if she was going to be stuck hugged like this for the rest of her life.
“I’ve mastered the advanced level for magical power location, and I can now locate Lucy no matter where she goes. I’ll also know whenever you activate some magic.”
“And with my extreme talent in language magic, I can contact Ril no matter where he is. No matter how far away he has flown, my voice will reach him. Are you jealous?”
“And today, the two of us were able to create some simple floating magic. Basing it off of magic that Ril inherently used, we could carry several adults through the air if we wanted to.”
“……..that all sounds wonderful, but what could you be possibly planning…..”
Lucy tried to ask what these two were thinking, but her words choked up halfway through.
Claudio and Ortensia were laughing. The two of them were refreshingly beautiful like this, but something about them stunk right now.
Sweat began to bead on Lucy’s forehead, and as a terrible feeling bubbled in the pit of her stomach, Conrad placed his hand on her shoulder with a wry smile.
“Lucy, give up.”
“Pardon me Conrad, don’t talk about our efforts like that. This is the culmination of a mountain of research gathered from across the continent.”
Claudio looked directly into Conrad’s eyes, keeping a straight face the whole while as he was talking. Claudio’s eyes were scrunched up looking completely offended and asked, “When did you become so rude?” honestly curious. Conrad didn’t feel like pointing out anything that was wrong with that position and gave up with his hands held up in surrender.
Claudio laughed over his mischievous fun from the one sided conversation before turning his attention back to Lucy. His mischievous smile slowly turned gentle and warm. Lucy thought that both expressions were beautiful, and noticed the innocence the two shared.
And then her head was lightly tapped with a *Pon* *Pon* once again.
“That’s why, no matter how many times you forget, I can bring you back to me every time.”
His blue eyes narrowed slightly as his smile widened making Lucy take a deep breath.
She had met a lot of people, and then she had forgotten him. One thing she was able to remember was one of her thoughts when she had first met Claudio, “If there is ever a problem, go to Claudio,” which had left her feeling a little embarrassed. With the loss of her book though, there was little else she could remember about those people she had forgotten, but there was no large since of loss weighing down on her chest. There was only a vague sense of, “Sorry,” to some and a “I will try to remember you,” for some of the few people she did recall.
That was why she was wandering around aimlessly moving westward whenever she lost her memories again. She saw the map she had drawn, and although she didn’t know the reason, she was sure there was one and decided to continue towards the large red X since she didn’t have anywhere else she wanted to be.
Lucy Blanchett remembered.
It was the first time in her life she was caught up in somebody’s arms like this so forcefully.
That was why Lucy slowly extended her arms around the person holding her so tightly and rested her back on the arms wrapped around her. A sweet smile came across her face as she stared into those blue eyes, and instead of giving him a reply, offered a kiss instead.
Lucy had to prepare a new book.
Regardless of whatever would happen in the future, whatever she were to forget, even if she were to use an extensive amount of magic, a small book would allow her to keep something of the past without having to let go.
She would write on the first page,
“If you are reading this first page, then you have forgotten everything again,”
and……that reminded her that her previous book had started out just like this.
After that Lucy would explain that she lost her memories whenever she used magic, and she added whatever other little details that she needed.
But most importantly for this new book,
“Anyway, hurry up and go back to Claudio Barek,”
she would need this in red ink and bold it.
Ah, but surely while I am reading this book……. Imagining a situation where she was dragon-napped by Ril again before she could understand what was going on, Lucy sighed. Misunderstanding it as a sigh of ecstasy from after their kiss, Claudio smiled happily and moved forward to give her a kiss himself.
Lucy didn’t feel like refusing and squeezed him tighter herself. The *Pon Pon’s* felt pleasant, but the kisses were nice too. That’s why she simply narrowed her eyes and waited.
However, at the moment when the distance between their lips was almost none, they were rudely interrupted with a loud, “Not allowed!” Ortensia tore through them with a loud, “Mi~!”
Lucy and Claudio’s eyes grew dark at her terrible timing, but their complaints inevitably fell on Conrad who had his hands raised up while voicelessly muttering, “I couldn’t stop it.” Oppositely, Ortensia had begun haughtily lecturing the two of them about how the two of them couldn’t shamelessly kiss inside the royal palace’s garden.
“Ortensia, at such times…….Conrad, at such times, you should keep Ortensia occupied by plugging her lips up with your own.”
After Claudio’s sudden proposal, Conrad and Ortensia both became as red as the sun. Ortensia in particular had fallen into a panic, mumbling, “Acting so disgracefully…….” before hiding herself behind Lucy’s back.
Claudio saw the two’s reactions and began laughing again, slapping Conrad’s shoulder while the man was still in shock.
This everlasting sight will continue into the future……no matter what happens or how much I forget. Lucy’s thought caused her whole body to be filled with warmth, and she leaned in and kissed Claudio once more with the gap Ortensia had given her.
Lucy Blanchett occasionally forgets, and sometimes she can’t remember.
Even so, there is someone who will stay with her, and they can accumulate new memories together.