Chapter 34 – The magic was cancelled
“What’s the matter, in a place like this?”
I was being bullied by the neighborhood children, and I was hiding by the side of our house hugging my knees, and I had been secretly crying when I heard a calm voice above me.
“……Nothing’s the matter, I’m fine.”
I didn’t want my mother who I loved so much to worry about me, so I told a lie and hurriedly wiped away my tears, but……
“If you’re crying by yourself in a place like this, your painful feelings definitely won’t go away. When it’s painful, mother will be by your side, and listen to what you have to say, so don’t cry by yourself.”
Mother hugged me tightly as she said so.
When I was growing up, it was only mother and I living together.
Mother would still hold me even while working, even though it should have been really hard on her, she always had a smile on. We weren’t well-off in our lifestyle or anything, but…… “I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful son” is what mother would say as she hugged me, giving me lots of love. Those were peaceful and happy days.
I didn’t know anything about my father. His name, or whether he was alive or not. Because of that, I kept getting bullied by the children in the neighborhood, and it would be a lie to say that I didn’t care about it, but…… Somehow it felt like mother was really reluctant to talk about father, I could feel so even as a child, and I didn’t probe too deeply.
However, I would soon regret that. If I had known about my father…… I might have been able to change what happened.
And so, the peaceful, happy daily life I had with my mother came to a sudden end. That happened during spring when I was nine years old.
It happened during dusk, when I was returning home with my mother. I think some big men that we’ve never seen before suddenly appeared in front of us, and – a cloth was pressed against my mouth, and I inhaled a sweet smell…… I went unconscious after that.
When I woke up I was in a dimly lit room. There was no natural light at all, there was only one lamp lighting the room. From what I could make out on the walls, there were tightly packed letters of some sort written on them, and it gave off an incredibly creepy feeling.
There were ten or so people next to me in that room.
I was lying down in the middle of the room, and they were standing around me as if to surround me. The men who attacked us were among them as well. They were probably the ones who brought me here.
I was tied up, and I tried to move but couldn’t budge at all. There was also a cloth tightly packed into my mouth, and I couldn’t make any sounds.
Standing right in front of me, were a man dressed in all black that seemed to fit right in with this dark room somehow, and a woman in all red with a sparkling crimson dress and a gem around her neck with the same crimson color.
“Child, you’ve awoken. Now, bring that boy here.”
When the woman in red said so, a large man came forth. Under his arm, he was holding a boy about the same age as me.
The boy was laid down next to me on a clean cloth very carefully. Looking at him closely, he seemed to be overly skinny, and his complexion was bad as well, and it looked like he was having difficulties breathing. He’s probably very sick with something.
However, other than the fact that he was very ill, he looked quite like me. Red hair, grey eyes, and his face as well –
I wonder who exactly this boy is. Then, while I was still observing the boy, the woman in red spoke up again.
“Now everything is ready. Then, let’s begin the sacrifice.”
What’s ready? What exactly are they doing in such a dark room? What’s a sacrifice? I think I’ve heard the word in a story mother read to me once…… I wonder what it was……
I still hadn’t realized the situation I was in and was still thinking things like that.
The boy was brought opposite to me, then the man brought out another person.
That person was…… the mother that I loved so much. Almost as if she was being dragged, she was brought over here. Her beautiful face was swollen up. She also had an injury of some sort on her leg, she was limping.
I shouted with all my might through the cloth stuffed in my mouth, but in actuality only a muffled sound made it out.
Mother was struggling. However, a man standing close to me pushed her down onto the cold floor.
Mother was screaming, and pushing back against the man.
While staring at us with very cold eyes, the woman in red spoke up.
“Take care to not treat that boy’s body too badly. After all, his body’s going to become my precious Sirius’s body.”
She’s probably talking about me when she said that boy. My body’s going to become Sirius’s body? Who’s Sirius? I was confused and didn’t understand what was going on at all.
“……Marchioness, if you hate me, it doesn’t matter what you do to me…… So please, I’m begging you, please spare my son……”
My injured mother was desperately begging the woman in red. Mother was calling her marchioness. I wonder if she knows her?
Also…… I wonder what mother meant by hating her.
Mother wasn’t only gentle towards me, she was nice to everyone in the neighborhood and was liked by everyone as well. I can’t even imagine anyone hating my mother.
However, the woman in red’s eyes became even colder as she looked at mother.
“……I’m amazed at how impudent you can be. You stole my husband from me, and even had a child, yet you’re still begging me.”
“…………I was only the marquis-sama’s partner due to a momentary whim of his. That’s why, I have no intentions of getting close to the marquis-sama. I only want to live a peaceful life together with my son.”
“Smack!” A sound loudly resounded throughout the dark room. The woman in red had slapped my begging mother on her cheek. “Mother!!” I tried but failed again to shout out.
“……Even though they’re both Marquis Deek’s children, born at almost the same time…… Why are you and I so different. ……You’re beautiful, and have a healthy body. And, your son is healthy and energetic as well…… Why do you have everything? ……I don’t have anything, I’m not that beautiful, I have a weak and sickly body, my husband doesn’t love me, and even though I was finally able to give birth to a child, he’s just as weak and sickly as I am, and what’s more he caught an incurable disease, and doesn’t have long to live……”
The woman in red grabbed and shook my mother.
“……Only you…… I definitely won’t allow you and your child to live a happy life!! ……Begin!”
At the woman in red’s command, the man dressed entirely in black walked in front of my mother. Then, in a voice that sounded almost completely emotionless, he began muttering words I’ve never heard before.
They were such mysterious words. Even though they’re probably a foreign language that I’ve never heard before, when I heard them they felt nostalgic to me somehow.
However, as the man in black continued speaking, I began to get goosebumps all over my body. The air felt incredibly stagnant, and something felt really bad.
Then – the man stopped speaking. And then, the already dark room was completely enveloped in darkness.
In this darkness where I couldn’t see anything, I could hear my mother screaming.
When light appeared in the completely dark room again, I immediately looked for my mother. Then, just two or three steps away from me, I saw her laying there limp on the ground.
Even with my tied up body, I desperately tried to reach my mother. As I got closer, I saw that mother’s face had no life to it at all, and it didn’t seem like she was breathing.
Although she had been injured, it didn’t seem to be something serious to this extent. Why? What’s the matter?
“Mother! Mother!” I desperately tried shouting for her through the cloth in my mouth.
Then, I met my mother’s eyes. Mother looked firmly into my eyes.
She said so in a voice that was so quiet it could barely be heard, and then she became quiet and stopped breathing.
“Well? Did it succeed?”
“Yes. Just like how it’s written in the book, he successfully obtained the power without any problems.”
The man in black was answering the woman in red’s question.
“I see. Then, let’s immediately use that power to transfer Sirius’s consciousness to this boy’s body.”
I heard what they were talking about, but…… Right now, nothing was entering my head. I can’t accept what’s happened here right now at all.
Just a bit earlier, I had been making dinner plans with mother on our way home……
And before I realized it, I was brought to this dark room for some reason…… And…… mother whom I loved so much…… wasn’t breathing anymore……
“Okay. Well, I’m starting.”
While also touching the body of the boy laying next to me, the man in black placed his hand on my forehead.
At that instant, my head was filled with images that I had never seen before. Strange images that even included sound as well. People and places I didn’t know…… Almost as if it was a life that had been experienced by someone else, is the feeling I got. These images kept entering my head one after the other, and my head hurt so much it felt like it would crack open.
Then – when all the images finally stopped coming…… I finally understood everything. Why I was brought to a place like this, and why my mother died in a dark room like this……
The images that came into my mind told me everything. This redheaded woman’s plan –
The redheaded woman is the wife of a noble called Marquis Deek, and she’s the mother of the boy named Sirius laying next to me.
However, she wasn’t loved by the marquis. The marquis was a feckless womanizer playboy, and his ways didn’t change even after marrying. When he fulfilled his duty of siring an heir, Sirius Deek, upon his lawful wife, he never showed himself in front of her again.
Because of that, she only had one child, Sirius, and her whole existence revolved around him. Every day, she would bitterly complain about her misfortune to her young son.
However, the only support for her heart, her son…… came down with an incurable disease.
She made full use of their wealth and political power, and had so many doctors visit, but they all told her it was useless so then she tried some dubious magic, but……
She wasn’t able to cure her son, and he got weaker every day. The idea of losing her son…… She couldn’t accept the thought at all.
One day, after dabbling in so many different types of dubious magic, she finally found out about the existence of dark magic. Magic that can manipulate the heart and mind, and even replace memories.
When she learned this, she came up with an idea. If she could transfer her son’s mind to another healthy body, it might be a way to save her son.
It was an exceedingly quixotic plan, a thoughtless plan that could almost never be realized – but, since she didn’t have any ideas left anymore that could save her son…… Even though this plan was such an impossible plan, it was all she could cling to in order to try saving her son.
And so, she searched for the way to obtain dark magic – and also for a suitable vessel for her son.
Her son’s vessel must be in good health, and, it was necessary that he be as close to her son as possible in age and looks. If it looked too different, he wouldn’t be able to inherit from Marquis Deek.
Then, she found it. A boy that looked very similar to her son and was the same age – almost as if he had been born just to become Sirius’s vessel –
That boy was the son of one of Marquis Deek’s former maids. In the past, this beautiful maid had worked for Marquis Deek and was favored by him, and she disappeared from the mansion when she had gotten pregnant.
The maid had given birth to a son who looked much like Marquis Deek and they were living together happily.
The marchioness decided that the maid’s son would become a vessel for her son Sirius.
Then, she succeeded in finding out the way to obtain dark magic powers. Dark magic can be acquired by sacrificing another’s life. Meaning, it was necessary to make a living sacrifice in order to obtain dark magic.
The marchioness decided to sacrifice the vessel’s mother, that woman who seemed like she was living such a happy life.
And so, today was the day she finally put that plan into action.
She had the vessel and the woman who was to be the sacrifice captured, and had an underling who had dark magic perform the sacrificial ritual to obtain dark magic on the vessel – then, she had her son Sirius’s memories transferred to the vessel.
If everything had gone according to the marchioness’s plan, Sirius’s memories should have been transferred over to me who was to be a vessel, and I should have died…… I was supposed to have become Sirius Deek, but……
However…… Sirius’s memories – even though I had memories of everything he’s seen and heard before inserted into my head…… I’m still me.
Certainly, I now have Sirius’s memories in my head. But that’s all. Even though I have the memories – the boy named Sirius is nowhere to be found. However, all I could feel was “I’m so tired. I wish it could all just end,” nothing but painful feelings.
He had been everything to his mother, his mother completely relied on him mentally, even more so when he was on the verge of death, and she would always be crying by his bedside, but…… All the boy Sirius wanted was to be free from it all. Even though he was so young, he had already gotten tired of living. He had no other feelings at all in his memories.
And so, I didn’t become Sirius, I just obtained his memories without any of his thoughts.
The marchioness’s plan had failed.
……However, if she learns the truth, I’ll probably be killed here immediately, so I’ll use Sirius’s memories.
I can’t die here…… It’s the strongest feeling I’ve ever had. I can’t die yet…… Not until I fulfill my mother’s last wish……
Before I realized it, the cloth that had been tightly packed into my mouth had been removed.
I suppressed all of my feelings, and greeted the woman I hate most in the world –
That’s what I called her. That’s how Sirius Deek has always addressed her. Then, a big smile appeared on her face.
“Ahh, Sirius! It’s you! The dark magic succeeded!”
As she said so, Marchioness Deek hugged me tightly.
I felt strongly repulsed, but I endured the best I could in order to prevent my body from shaking. Because, I can’t afford to die here just yet. I’ll live on, in order to fulfill my mother’s last wish.
“……Well then, Madam. My job here is finished. Would it be alright for me to return to my hometown together with my family now?”
The man in black asked the marchioness nervously.
“That’s right, you’ve done very well. Thanks to you, my Sirius was able to obtain such a healthy body.”
“……Then, would it be alright for you to return my family now?”
“Yes, of course. I’ll let you meet them immediately. You guys!”
The marchioness beckoned towards the other strong-looking men in the room. A relieved expression appeared on the man in black’s face, and the other men approached. Then – all of them stabbed the man in black with their swords.
With his body pierced and bleeding all over, the man reached his hand out towards the marchioness.
“Didn’t I just say I’d let you meet them immediately? Your family’s already dead, and waiting for you in the next world.”
The marchioness was laughing gracefully at him.
“……You promised you would return my family safely to me if I helped you…… Even though I did so much for you…… You…… deceived me……”
“There was no helping it, it was the only way I could get someone with a forbidden magic to help me. But, in order for everything to end safely, I can’t let you who has such a dangerous power like dark magic just simply return home.”
To the marchioness who was smiling at the man in black as if to say it should have been obvious, he had a frightful glare.
“……Curses, curses……… I’ll never forgive you…… I swear I’ll take your social statuses and power away from you all…… I’ll definitely cast you all down to hell……”
The hand he had stretched out touched my foot slightly.
“What’s all this from a person who’s about to die. You guys, hurry up and finish him off.”
And so, swords pierced the man in black even deeper than last time…… And he died.
Also, at the same time, the real Sirius Deek passed away on the cold floor.
And so, I began living as Sirius Deek.
I’ll live as Sirius Deek for now, and I swore that I would definitely take my revenge on the Deek family that treated me as nothing but a tool and stole my mother’s life away from me.
It was after I had already lived as Sirius Deek for some time when I noticed my mysterious powers. I was able to see into people’s hearts and minds, and manipulate them as well. That was the power of dark magic. Honestly, I didn’t know why I had this power at all, but since it’s very useful, I’m more than happy to have it.
And so, I lived only for revenge, and as time passed, I met her.
She said the same thing as my mother that I loved so much, and even had a gentle smile that was so much like my mother, Katarina Claes.
After meeting her, my heart became greatly shaken.
That’s why, I decided to get rid of Katarina. I used an eternal sleep dark magic spell on her, and planned to take away her life.
……However, the magic that should have been impossible to dispel was cancelled.
When I came to see how Maria was doing in the secret room, I learned about the magic being cancelled from her.
Even though it was a situation where I should have been extremely agitated, I was very relieved for some reason. The magic on Katarina was cancelled, with this she’ll be saved. That’s great, is what I thought.
And, if Katarina’s awake now, everyone probably knows about me now…… If that’s the case they’ll be coming to capture me.
“You can’t let yourself be captured here! In order to fulfill our revenge, you have to run away!” The other me was insisting with all his might, but……
At this point, if I’m caught and everything ends, that’ll be fine, is what I thought.
“Did you forget your mother’s last words?” The other me used that on me again, and my feelings wavered a little……
“Please take revenge……” Mother’s last words – I had always been living on in order to fulfill my mother’s last request.
But…… I’m already so tired. I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore.
If the information about me is told to the school officials, the knowledge of this secret room that the Deek family is hiding will probably be exposed as well.
At first this secret room had been created at magic school hidden away in the forest in order to research dubious magics in order to save Sirius’s life, and after that it became a place to research dark magic.
The place where my mother’s life was stolen, and where my identity was killed. If this is where everything will end…… It might just be fate.
That’s why, I’ll just wait in this secret room. For my destruction to come –
They came faster for me than I thought they would.
I was able to sense that people had entered the room where Maria had been locked up. Since the room I’m in is in the basement and there’s a thick door as well as a passage of stairs between the rooms, I wasn’t able to tell exactly what was going on, but I knew that people had entered.
Finally, they’ve saved Maria, and the school officials that have come to capture me have arrived.
The other me was saying “you can still escape! Use dark magic on everyone!” and kept shouting at me, but…… I just quietly waited for everything to end.
And so, I heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs, and the door to this room opened.
I had thought that it would be armed school officials who entered the door, but when I recognized the person who had come in, I involuntarily froze up.
I had already predicted that the student council members such as Jared Stuart and Keith Claes might come. They idolized her so much, and it would be natural that they would want to capture me who had tried to take away her life with their own hands.
However…… I kept staring at the person in front of me. Why is this person here right now, I had no idea whatsoever.
Even though I said such malicious things right to her face, and tried to take away her life with magic…… Why is she appearing in front of me again……
“……Why are you here?”
She answered my question absentmindedly.
“The sleeping magic has been cancelled out.”
Without any change in her attitude at all, Katarina was in front of me.
It can’t be, did she forget the things I did to her in the garden……
“That’s not it! Obviously the magic’s been cancelled out! ……Meeting my eyes like this, why are you appearing in front of such a me again!”
“Ahh, that’s what you meant. I don’t really think that you did anything that terrible to me.”
Just like usual, Katarina was talking like it was nothing. Even though I had tried to kill her, what on earth does she mean.
Is she just that naturally optimistic and stupid, or does she have such a forgiving heart like a saint. Or is it simply that –
“……You, do you not understand what I’ve done to you?”
When I asked her, Katarina replied with –
“No, I understand it properly. You used dark magic to make me sleep, right?”
She answered with something obvious.
“That’s right! And I was trying to take away your life!”
Since Katarina has a hard time comprehending things, I said it directly, but……
“Mmm~. That’s a lie.”
“……A lie, you say……”
“I mean, if you had really intended to kill me, it would have been much easier to just kill me right there while I was asleep.”
At Katarina who still hadn’t changed and was saying stuff as if it should be obvious…… I was completely lost for words.
……Indeed, it’s as Katarina says. At that time, rather than going through all the trouble of using sleeping dark magic, it would have been much easier to just kill her right there.
But…… I didn’t do that…… No, I couldn’t do it. I, I’m actually –
“I came here because I wanted to properly talk to president one more time.”
Exactly what is this girl saying……
“That’s right. At that time, president…… Had such a painful expression on your face…… And because you were crying…… That’s why, one more time, I would like for you to hear me out……”
Her light blue eyes were looking directly at me. I felt a pain in my chest, and I had difficulty breathing. My heart was in a mess.
“……You hypocrite…… So what you’re saying is, you’re going to save me like how you’ve saved everyone else? Saint Katarina Claes-sama.”
Before I realized it, I had already said those things involuntarily.
Even though she knows nothing about me…… What could a girl who’s grown up so happily in a wealthy duke’s family know about me.
If Katarina Claes says “I’ll save you” right here and now…… I’ll definitely scorn the hubris of the noble girl who was so favored with fortune and raised so preciously.
However…… Katarina said the exact opposite of what I thought she would.
“That’s not possible!”
Katarina was looking directly at me.
“After all, I’m not the heroine. I’m just an evil villainess rival character, there’s no way I can save anyone!”
It can’t be, to be saying it’s “not possible” so clearly……
I have no idea about anything Katarina Claes is thinking at all. I just stared at the girl in front of me in a daze. Then –
“Although I can’t save you from your suffering, but…… But, I can stay by your side.”
Katarina smiled at me gently as she said so.
“If I’m by your side, when you’re sad, or having a hard time I can listen to you, and be together with you until you’re feeling better again.
That’s the same as what my mother would tell me. I didn’t want her to worry so I hid while crying by myself, that’s what mother said as she hugged me.
At Katarina’s words, when I remembered this, something burst in my head. It felt like as if a mist had lifted and everything was clear in my head again.
In truth, I had always had some doubts. For “please, take revenge” to have been my mother’s last words…… I had wondered if my gentle mother who was always worried about me more than herself had really left those words.
And now, I can clearly remember it. Mother didn’t leave that as her last words –
That’s right. Why did I make a mistake like this? My mother’s true last dying words were –
“……Please… Live, survive, be happy…… I love you……”
That’s right, my mother would never want something like revenge. In her final moments, my mother had wished for me to live on and be happy. That’s why I had thought that I must survive at any cost.
Before I realized it, Katarina had gotten close to me.
“That’s why, don’t cry by yourself.”
Katarina smiled gently and reached her hand out to me. For some reason, I had trouble seeing. My cheeks were also wet.
“Let’s go together – Rafael.”
Rafael, that’s my real name. The important, important name that my mother gave me.
I took the hand that was proffered to me…… Then……
“Oi, what are you doing. Don’t listen to anything this bastard tells you! What’s more, be on your guard and don’t get close to her. At this rate, if you take her hostage and escape, you’ll still be able to run!” The other me in my head was yelling angrily at me.
I answered the other me.
“I won’t do something like that. I don’t want something like revenge anymore!”
To the other me who seemed daunted, I asked a question.
“Anyways, who are you?”
I had always agreed with the other me who talked of nothing but revenge up until now. He was also the one who had told me my mother’s last words.
However…… Mother’s last words that I had heard from him had been a lie. This guy was deceiving me and trying to use me. The other me had twisted my mother’s final words in order to goad me into seeking revenge. I’ve finally noticed. This person isn’t me.
When I was certain of this, the other person that I had always thought was also me, finally revealed his true form.
The other me…… That I had thought was me…… This person was – a man dressed entirely in black…… The man in black who brought death to my mother on that day……
“……So you’ve realized it……”
The man in black smiled sardonically.
“……You’ve been manipulating me all this time by pretending to be me.”
On that day, this man had touched me before he died. At that time, he must have used dark magic on me, in order to plant his own consciousness within mine and manipulate me. And, he twisted my memory of my mother’s last words.
“I was only lending you a hand to help you fulfill your own wish.”
The man in black spoke with great venom.
“……Indeed, I also hate those guys very much. ……But, I didn’t survive for the purpose of something like revenge! I survived in order to become happy!”
That’s right, my mother’s last wish – was for me to survive in order to become happy.
……That’s why, I have to erase the existence of this man.
The girl in front of me has overturned everything with a lack of common sense that defies even dark magic.
Katarina’s warm hands enveloped mine.
I looked at the man in black in my mind, and strongly said “I’m done with revenge. Your existence isn’t necessary anymore.”
“Damnit…… Who do you think it was that helped your weakling self up to this point…… You traitor……”
As he spat that out at me…… The man in black disappeared.
When I raised my face, I saw Katarina smiling gently at me.