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I fought against the sensation of being sucked into a dark hole and used everything within me in order to move. But it might have been more accurate to say that I had only felt like I had moved.

When a part of my body finally moved for real, my consciousness was awakened.

 

My eyes opened, the leaves of the trees over my head floated into vision. I knew that I was in a rich forest surrounded by trees and nature. Ah, that’s right. After I had stocked up on food, they put me in the magic circle, didn’t they? It was part of the step for the expelling of magical energy. In a way, I had been tricked by those old men.

 

My body felt an intense fatigue. I had no strength.

Now that I thought of it, I was quite hungry now. Right, so this tiredness was coming from my empty stomach. I wanted to eat something.

As I lay there on the ground, I could hear something rustling nearby. Apparently, my sense of hearing was just fine. It was too difficult for me to stand up, so I just turned my head in the direction of the sounds.

 

…Eliza was sitting next to me, for some reason there was a sandwich in her hands. It seemed that she just noticed I had awoken, and her eyes widened a little. But, she continued to eat the sandwich.

“Eliza… Did you stay by my side all of this time?”

“No. You were sleeping the whole time, so I was playing a board game. Old Moran said you should be waking up soon, and he asked me to bring you some food. That is why I am here.”

Ahh…, I see. She was playing a board game, huh. Oh, well.

I had a feeling as if I had been sleeping for a very long time. Indeed, it would be way too big a luxury for her to have watched over me the entire time.

“So you brought me some food, then. Thank you. I can’t believe how hungry I am right now.”

“Yes…, but I am very sorry Kururi. I’m afraid I’ve eaten your sandwich.”

Why!?

“I was waiting here for quite some time and had this impulse… I am so sorry. It was so delicious that I just couldn’t stop. I was really not in a state to be able to stop myself…”

She looked at the ground with an expression of deep regret. I felt very bad for blaming her when she had gone out of her way to bring me food. I wasn’t even that mad.

“It’s fine, Eliza. I’ll just eat something when I get back to Petel’s house. I hate to ask you, but will you lend me a hand? I can barely stand, much less walk by myself right now.”

“Yes, of course. I will gladly help you once I have finished eating this sandwich I’m holding.”

Give it to me!!

…But, perhaps this was actually a pretty nice experience, being able to watch Eliza stuffing her face like this. She even looked to be crying a little when it got stuck in her throat.

“Heh.”

“Wha-, what is it!?”

“It’s just, you’re so determined. It’s amusing to watch, you know.”

“Why! Am I really that amusing? …Well, if it makes you laugh, I will allow it.”

We laughed together as we made our way through the forest and towards Petel’s house.

It was nice walking while being supported by her. And she smelled so nice. Apparently, a person like her could stay clean even in a barren place like this. It must be her genes. Her cells, at the gene level!!

I don’t know why I was feeling proud about this, but that was how good she smelled.

 

“The truth is… I completely failed when making today’s sandwich. I tried tasting it a little and, oh no! It tasted completely horrible… And I thought I couldn’t possibly allow Kururi to eat something like this… And so I had to eat it myself.”

“So you don’t know about my ability to eat anything that you make and find it delicious?”

“Fu fu, I shall remember that next time.”

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