“….this one is for when you choke on your food while you’re eating.”
Swanhaden’s voice shook slightly as he put a ring on my pinky finger.
“This one is for when you’re using magic and it overflows.”
He place another ring on my fourth finger.
“This…..is for…..when you’re sleeping and you fall off the bed.”
Swan’s voice grew even more uneasy. He was barely able to put another ring on my middle finger.
“And this one is…..”
He seemed unable to speak for a moment. He buried his head into the bed and went quiet.
With his head still buried in the bed, he raised his hand to seek mine and then held onto it. Then, he put on rings on the rest of my fingers and placed his hand back down. Why are there so many ways for you to get hurt? Swanhaden muttered heatedly to himself, face in the sheets. His voice was completely hoarse.
“The entire time I was out in the battlefield, I bore through it all by thinking of you. I imagined how I would be able to live peacefully with you in the academy once I got in. That was how I bore through the pain and suffering of it all.”
Swanhaden tilted his head to the left and continued speaking. His voice became a bit clearer.
I couldn’t really understand what Swanhaden was talking about, but I continued listening.
Swanhaden’s voice sounded like it was on the verge of tears.
“Seeing you like that.”
“Seeing you lying there, not moving.”
“Your arms and neck were…….torn apart but the only thing I could do was heal.”
I quietly listened to him speak.
Swan stopped speaking. He just stayed still as he grasped at the blankets and sheets.
“……if you die.”
Swanhaden’s voice grew hazy. He raised his head and blinked his eyes as his jewel-colored eyes suddenly grew hazy. He placed my hand over his own, then placed my other hand on his head. Then, he lowered my hand from the top of his head to his chin as he closed his murky eyes. Then, he buried his face back into the sheets.
“Close your eyes until they’re clear again.”
If you turn evil on us, we’re screwed. The empire’s done for.
But it was a bit weird for Swanhaden, someone who I thought had no connection to me and assumed had just gotten close to, to be having this much of a hard time. I wondered if I had misunderstood Swanhaden this whole time.
Maybe he was more sensitive and emotional than anyone gave him credit? What if he was this super delicate, caring kind of personality? Mm, never mind. Seeing his usual work gave me pause. I couldn’t help but be taken aback, especially after having seen the original novel Swan. What’s the real you?
Putting everything aside, seeing that Swanhaden having such a hard time made me feel bad. His silver hair rustled near my hand, and I couldn’t help but get the urge to brush his hair.
So I raised my hand and was just about to touch his hair, just once.
Suddenly, another person appeared and dragged the chair Swanhaden was sitting on to the far corner. Swanhaden was so deep in thought that he didn’t move a single muscle as he was dragged away. I was suddenly reminded of the time-out chairs from kindergarten. The person who had dragged Swanhaden’s chair to deposit him to the corner was none other than Yvnes.
It was a bit of a surprise that Yvnes had come to Cory’s residence to see me. I didn’t think that he would come visit me. Even if I thought the same about Swanhaden.
Yvnes just stared at me without a single word. Seeing Yves reminded me of the trash I had seen in my dream. It was such a shock that I still remembered the whole thing vividly. No, Shushu. Gotta separate dreams from reality.
This Yves wasn’t that Yves. The Yves in front of me suffered as he lived with Swanhaden, loved cleaning, and was a delicate, caring Yves that raised Shushu the puppy.
When I greeted Yves after not seeing him for a while, he just carefully peered at my face. He stroked my face once before wordlessly leaving the room.
As soon as Yves left the room, Hylli came in.
Whoa, people were just coming in one after another like linked sausages. Hylli was panting slightly, as if he had rushed over here.
His black hair was slightly wet with sweat, and his entire body was a mess, as if he had rolled somewhere. His sword was on his waist, and it was messy with monster blood.
Hylli had an incredibly strange expression on his face as he looked at me. As soon as he came in, he checked the back of my hand and asked me if the black magic was bothering me. That particular piece of magic was wrecked by dream Swanhaden and no longer existed. However, the black magic circle that I had drawn still had some residue.
The one that I drew on myself wasn’t as harmful, so I told Hylli not to worry with a smile on my face.
“I just happened to find this on the mountains, eat it slowly.”
Hylli, who I hadn’t seen in a while, handed me a single flower from his shirt pocket. It was a sky blue-colored Rayan flower.
This particular flower’s fruits were in the form of a jelly. The jelly, the flower’s fruit, was incredibly sweet and delicious, and had excellent healing qualities that shot your body’s health up to near perfection. However, it only grew where the most powerful monsters roamed and was so incredibly rare that it was more of a myth than an accepted fact.
How far had he gone into the mountains for him to find the fruit of the Rayan flower? He seemed incredibly relieved that I was healthy. He seemed to want to examine my state a bit more, but realized that he was still covered in dirt. Instead, he told me that he would talk to me in school and left.
Anyway, wouldn’t the marquis DuBois be bothered by the number of people visiting? This wasn’t a fan meeting or something, but there was still an influx of people coming over. Apparently, Hazel, Harun and even Karim were on their way here.
It would’ve been fine if this was my family’s residence, but it just felt a bit strange to be meeting in the DuBois residence. I felt like I was a bother and was a bit sorry to the marquis. I briefly thought about getting up and getting out.
Soon after Hestia returned from the restroom, I realized that I hadn’t seen one particular person.
“Hestia, where’s Cory?”
This was definitely the DuBois residence, and Cory was definitely in it somewhere. Cory’s quietly crying face lingered in my mind, so I decided to look for him.
When I looked for Cory, Hestia tilted her head.
“Cory? I was sure that he came in. Where did he go?”
As soon as Hestia said that, I fell deep into my thoughts.
When I stood up to look for Cory, people around me asked where I was going. I whined about how I wasn’t even able to go to the restroom when I wanted and barely avoided their gazes.
I walked around the DuBois halls as I called for Cory.
I was able to find Cory pretty quickly. He was standing near a window in the same hallway.
He was staring outside as he leaned on the window instead of coming inside.
I called his name after finding him, but he didn’t turn around.
“Were you worried a lot?”
I walked right next to him to see Cory’s expression.
Tears were falling from Cory’s eyes. His expression seemed calm, but he couldn’t seem to look at me as tears kept falling down.
I raised my hand to wipe at the tears under his eyes.
His sharp green eyes poked holed into me as I appeared next to him to wipe his tears.
Cory stared at me once, briefly looked to the side, and then looked straight back at me.
He spread his arms and carefully gave me a hug. He seemed off-kilter so I let myself be hugged.
The words he said after his long silence lodged themselves in my ears. That was the only thing he said with his wobbly, emotional voice.
Sorry. He said, burying his face in my shoulder.
Cory kept hugging me for a long time. His hands were shaking slightly.
I could hear his heart beating as he hugged me. He seemed like he was extremely anxious.
It seemed like Cory wasn’t going to let me go for a while, so I gave up and patted his back slightly. I was doing the same thing that he had done for me when I was feeling down.
When I patted him on the back, Cory hugged me tightly one last time and let me go. Cory’s mood seemed to be low.
Once he let me go, he stared at me before he grabbed my hand.
“Follow me please.”
Cory seemed to think about something before trying to take me somewhere. It was sudden, but I wasn’t too surprised. I nodded and followed him.
Cory walked along the hallway and soon entered a room.
As soon as I went in, I could tell exactly where we were. We were in his room.
Cory’s room seemed to be a bigger version of his dorm room.
His room walls, ceiling, and every blank space had been covered with various magic devices and accessories.
A variety of magic circles were drawn on the floor and on the ceiling, and his bed was filled with books and papers. The floor had a messy array of chalk-drawn calculations.
It looked like the floor had been carpeted, but Cory had shoved the carpets aside to use the floors as chalkboards.
I wondered how Cory could sleep in such an environment, but I decided it wasn’t something I needed to worry about. If it was Cory, he could sleep in any kind of corner, no matter how messy his surroundings were.
He stopped in the center of his room and stared at the ceiling. Right above where he stood, on the ceiling, was a small rectangular door.
Cory came closer with his arms stretched as he held me up. I had been blankly staring up at the ceiling with Cory’s hand in mine when he suddenly grabbed me in his arms. It felt nice to be tall. Cory carried me and floated towards the door on the ceiling.
He carefully stretched one arm and pushed open the door. When a bit of dust fell down, Cory hugged me tighter so I wouldn’t get dust on me and turned around. He held me by my waist and helped me get into the door.
When I opened the door and went inside, there was a small loft. The ceiling was low, so I had to stoop low.
I was in awe at the sight that unfolded in front of me. Various magic stones in blue, orange, gold, and more colors were laid out, and countless magic accessories and magic knick-knacks were hanging on the walls. All of them seemed to have been made by him. All of the magic devices were glowing faintly from the magic imbued in them.
Cory soon entered the small loft as well.
He headed to one part of the loft wall and scanned the magic items hanging on the wall. Then, he grabbed a shiny blue pendant and a red magic stone from a magic cane and held it in his hand.
Then, he used the magic in the two stones to break them without messing up their circles. He floated the two magic circles in the air and asked me to give him the orange earring I had on.
I easily handed over the orange earring.
Cory took the orange earring that he had given me a long time ago and included both the blue and red magic circles into my earring.
When he included the two circles, I was able to get a clearer look at what Cory had originally placed into my earring to begin with.
T/N: dude, we’re getting the band back together!!!
*”Oh, Cory~” is a bit of a forced translation. The Korean phrase Shushu used was “O~ pilseung Cory-ya” which is based off a Korean cheer during the 2002 World Cup. It’s originally “O~ pilseung (meaning “victory” or “assured victory”) Korea”–it rhymes! It’s punny.
There’s an incredible amount of song covers for this particular chant! Here’s one, for anyone who’s curious.