Chapter 30: Two Options
“… What did you use magic in exchange for?”
Garen once said to me—Magic is simply a change in the flow of energy. Rewinding time goes against that flow. Then there must be a cost to pay.
“It’s not much.”
“No, it’s definitely a high price to pay!”
Gareen is a fool. He didn’t have to pay the cost of going back in time. All I needed was for him to tell me at the time that he believed me. That would have sufficed.
“Mika, I thought I could make you the real Saint if I brought you back to Astoria and ended the war before the Saint arrived—and I wanted to make you happy in a country where you could be assured of a place and a life this time.”
Garen appeared to be about to cry.
“But I don’t want to lose you again. I can’t guarantee your place or your life, Mika, but will you flee to a neighboring country with me?”
Garen’s wish baffled me. It was almost like a proposal. I would have nodded enthusiastically. But I’m no longer the same person who used to like Garen. My feelings for Gareen are complicated.
“You don’t have to answer me right now—so will you think about it?”
I lie in bed, thinking. Today I received far too much information—that I had been summoned as the Shrine Maiden. and that my execution was predetermined. that Garen had sent me back in time and that he wanted me to flee with him.
“What should I do?”
What is the proper course of action? Besides, I had no idea how much Gareen had paid.
“What’s the matter, Shrine Maiden?”
A voice from the ceiling startles me. And the voice sounds familiar.
I ask the ceiling in hushed tones.
When I asked, Yulin appeared from the ceiling without making a sound.
“I know it’s impolite to visit a woman in her room at such a late hour, but it’s an emergency, and I’d appreciate a break.”
Saying so, Yulin made a playful gesture.
“Have you come to help me?”
“Yes—my brother advised me that if the Shrine Maiden in the human lands is happy, I should let her go, but she doesn’t appear to be happy.”
Yulin extended his hand to mine.
“We can welcome you back to Crystalia if you take my hand, Shrine Maiden.”
It’s so simple to take Yulin’s hand and return to Crystalia. It’s the only way for me to be happy without thinking. But is that really the right thing to do?
“I’m sorry, Yulin—could you please wait a little longer for my response?”
I want to take a path that I won’t be sorry for later.
“… I understand—but it’s only a matter of time before humans discover my existence.”
Yulin vanished into the darkness with those words.
Will you accept Yulin’s hand and return to Crystalia, or will you accept Garen’s hand and flee to another country?
I’m at a loss for what to do.