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Fifth Magic 2

Page history last edited by drinks 6 years, 10 months ago






“Huh?”

Eyelids flicker open.
Soujuurou woke up from his long slumber.

Apparently he had fallen asleep on his back, as his vision was filled by the expanse of a starry night.

A circular sky, flanked by trees.

Even though it was the first time he’s seen it, it looked to him like scenery he’d forgotten about, scenery he didn’t feel right in.

“……..”
His mind wasn't sound.
He had no idea what he was doing before he fell asleep or why he was sleeping.
It was like walking out of the front door then waking up the next minute to find yourself on the bed.
There were too many blanks before and after, and he wasn’t able to immediately remember even who he was. 

All he could remember was,

A woman he’s never seen before, 

And on his neck, thin – 
(-I have no idea what he was going to say next; probably fingers?) 

“Shizuki-kun.”

The voice coming from his side….that low but piercing voice, yes, that should belong to the girl named Kuonji Alice.

“Come to think of it, yeah that’s right,” 

The incoherent mumble came as Soujuurou rose up. 

Beside him the girl in the black robe was sitting on her knees.




“…..Flowers,”
He said absentmindedly without looking at Alice to his side. 

The spring flower garden, surrounded by bare trees and snow, shook under the azure moonlight.
The petals scattered in the night wind lifted their white bodies like butterflies into the darkness.
Soujuurou looked long at it and gently placed his fingers on his neck, 

Cautiously, cautiously at first, like he were touching a wound,

And then, strongly, strongly clenching it.

“Shizuki-kun.”

Before he could do any worse, the voice of the girl next to him stopped him. 
“You’re going to leave again, even after coming back…?” 





The meaning of her question was lost on Soujuurou.
Her voice contained a mix of criticism and sadness.
Eyes unlike Alice gaze accusingly at him and snapped him out of the unconscious. 

“Leave? For where?”
His fingers fall from his neck. 
Alice, not answering, looked up expressionlessly at the sky. 

Up there is only dark– 

“…Well, okay. More importantly, what was I doing? Something’s weird. It’s all a jumble.”

Alice looks intently at Soujuurou canting his head quizzically. 
The boy who earlier defeated the werewolf and the befuddled boy over there are completely different, and yet nothing feels unnatural about that.
She observes the boy, trying to penetrate the mystery, but Alice came to accept that she would not find a satisfactory explanation. 

Then, she asks him.

She asks the question that she’d asked again and again from afar when he was asleep and eventually stopped out of vexation.

“Shizuki-kun, what were you doing before?”

Her quiet question was like magic charming a traveler. 
Maybe enchanted by it, Soujuurou submerges himself in the sea of memory.
During the silence, the two of them lingered on the white hill like brother and sister.
“….I thought I heard someone speaking. It seemed like she was asking me something. But, I wasn’t able to say anything in the end.”

He dimly remembered the questions asked in the darkness of death. 
He didn’t know that he even died, but apparently there were some fragments left of when he intersected with her time. 
Soujuurou’s expression clouded in regret. 





Alice quietly asks him as his face was turned away. 

“…Did you find something you want?” 




The memory of “somebody” asking him that very question came back to him, and he nodded his head lightly.



“… Yeah, that’s right. But you know, Alice. I didn’t think I would. I never thought I would.”

His sad voice had a hint of power in it. 
The white flower garden below him was like the other shore where the dead go.
It was, just a little too bright for Soujuurou. 

“Now I remember. I’d been ripped apart in front of Aoko. But I’m alive. Why?” 

Soujuurou felt over his body in amazement.
His arms as well were like they were before, and Aoko was nowhere to be seen.
When he turned to Alice looking for answers, still seated, 

“You were wound back, Shizuki-kun. This should be from your memories, yet you don’t remember it?”





She said peculiarly, as if sulking. 

“My, memories….Strange that I don’t remember then.” 

“It’s because Aoko’s using your time now. Until she returns it, you won’t remember.”

Leaving an ominous answer, Alice looked over the flower garden.

“….But it’s such a shame that this will disappear. When it returns to what it was, I’ll be the only who can look back on this.” 

If only for an instant, Alice smiles and looks at the white flowers. 

“……”

Soujuurou did not understand, to no surprise. 

“Alice. You’re not going to tell me are you.”

Alice suddenly turns around to Soujuurou’s voice. 
Her fathomless eyes did not betray the emotions hiding inside. 

“It will be gibberish. Do you still want to know?”

“Yes, I do. Especially if you will tell me.” 

Looking at Soujuurou resolutely nodding, Alice sighed and closed her eyes. 
But even so, she told him not because of any dislike but probably because she was concerned for him in her own way. 

“…..Essentially, you died, then came back to life. After Touko-san killed you, Aoko wound back the five minutes of time before you woke up. Ten years of your life were used by Aoko at that time. Your physical ages haven’t changed, so I imagine she only took your internal time. That’s why this scenery will look nostalgic to only Aoko. And………”

And, when this exchange of time ends, what happened in these few minutes will be lost from the memory of Aoko and Soujuurou. 
This is the result of magic using another person as a medium, not a change in Aoko alone. 
Had it been Aoko travelling back by herself, the contradictions in the time axis would also have become her own experience, but this time it was proper time travel. 

The contradiction will be properly corrected.
When the magic eventually ends, the nostalgia that Aoko feels here, the unfamiliarity that Soujuurou senses here will be corrected like they never were 

This miracle,
This sea of white flowers will only be remembered by the third parties, Alice and Touko. 

“…..Took, time……?”

For the sake of Soujuurou, who tilted his head further, Alice gave an explanation if only in form,
Remembering that Aoko had said before that as long as the idea is explained Soujuurou won’t say anything back even if he doesn’t understand.

“There wasn’t a way to bring you back, so Aoko tried to avert your death instead of restore your life. But it was too much for Aoko, or she had cold feet again, so she avoided any large-scale manipulation, and settled for an exchange between you and herself.” 

“Right now, you have jumped in time for five minutes. Even if someone in the far future could search in this time, you alone would not be found by someone, because, you weren’t on this time axis.” 

“And at the same time, Aoko borrowed time from you to add to her own. It probably was the time of your childhood. I’ve heard individual time manipulation is easier when working with the parts that were forgot–……Shizuki-kun?” 

Alice’s eyes look at him as if to ask if she should stop here, and Soujuurou could only nod in return. 

“……In other words, Aoko used two miracles, the ones of rewinding your body and fast-forwarding her own. When she was intervening in your time, she borrowed ten years worth of time while she was at it to bring her future self.”

“That’s why, the one attempting to kill Touko now is an Aozaki Aoko with 27 years of time.”

……It’s all Greek to me, Alice. 

While that impression showed on his face, Soujuurou’s brows furrowed when listening to the part concerning Touko. 

“….You mean Aoko is going to kill Touko-san?” 

“She’s probably finished by now.” 

Soujuurou immediately ran upon hearing Alice’s answer. 

The figure dashing away and scattering flower petals resembled the bravery of the time he faced the werewolf. 
Alice, not stopping him, continued to only watch it.
......Watching it, while superimposing it with the figure of the boy who ran down Shiroinuzuka hill on one snowy night for someone’s sake. 

Soujuurou enters the old school house, 
To the place that became a tomb on the verge of collapse where the destructive symphony of sound and light of before continued, without hesitation. 

“See. I’m sorry Aoko, but it was futile like I thought.”





She whispered to herself in the white flowers. 
Aoko predicted this would happen, so she left it to Alice to stop Soujuurou.
Because him getting in her way in her fight with Touko was going beyond the limits of her patience.
But Aoko’s perfect understanding of Soujuurou was all for naught. 
Not feeling like running after him, the girl in the black robe, knitting her thin eyebrows lightly, lingered in the fading flower garden.

Fifth Magic 3

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