Chapter 32: Small and Big Changes
Mika’s description of me as an exchange student from a hostile country was met with approval from the Demon King.
I wouldn’t be surprised that he had an idea. I was the fifth prince of Astoria, but my life in Crystalia had been quite pleasant.
I was given an anti-magic bracelet and required to wear fake ears, but other than that, I was not monitored and was treated as a guest.
So I’m not a threat to them as long as my magic is blocked? If I’m being treated so casually as an enemy, it’s as if I was purposefully overlooked when I infiltrated Crystalia to find Mika. No, that is most likely true. Otherwise, Mika would not have been picked up so quickly by Crystalia.
I almost clench my teeth and make my way to the library.
Mika told me I could do whatever I wanted, but she refused to remain by my side.
Mika asked me to take a look at Crystalia.
I’m not sure what Mika was thinking when she brought me to Crystalia, but I’m willing to do whatever she wants.
When I first went to the library, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of books available. I thought the Astoria Castle library was large, but this was even bigger.
Surprised and frustrated, I picked up a book. I chose the “History of Crystalia.” As the Fifth Prince, I’m well-versed in our adversary’s history. But I was curious to see how this country’s history differed from what I had learned from a subjective perspective.
I’ve noticed that the sun is shining brightly in the sky. Is it already evening? I’ve spent the entire day today reading about the history of this country.
I was about to return to my room when I ran into Mika, who was also studying in the library. Mika can’t read, so I assumed it would be a picture book, but she chose a thick book.
“Since I have the entire day off tomorrow, I’m going to read it to pass the time.”
Mika smiled. I couldn’t help myself, so I asked her about it.
“Is Mika reading?”
“…Yes, that’s right.”
Mika nodded and took my hand in hers. Then she spelled my name Garen on my palm with her fingers.
“I can now read and write.”
Mika’s face becomes more mature, and I become agitated once more.
──Hey, Garen, how are you reading this?
──Garen is incredible. In this world, the letters are so difficult that I don’t understand them at all.
Mika, who used to find letters and ask me about them, was one of my favorites. But that little Mika is no more.
“I’ve been thinking. I realized how little I understood about the world. And Garen assisted me in realizing this—thank you very much.”
I was unable to respond. I went back in time because I couldn’t let Mika go. But if Mika truly remembers the past, I deserve her hatred, not her gratitude. I was a coward who couldn’t stand up to the king and stood by and watched Mika be executed.
“What’s wrong, Garen?”
“Mika, do you…”
──hate me? I didn’t mind being despised for the rest of my life if it meant having you by my side. The rest went unspoken, but Mika seemed to understand.
“I don’t hate you. Why did you abandon me? I’m still thinking about it. But I’m sick of always hating, and I don’t think I’m the right person for it.
I realized when I heard those words. —Mika’s love, which was the most important thing in my life, is no longer with me. Instead, “attachment” is most likely present. And maybe I killed Mika’s love before I turned back time.
“Mika, Mika, Mika…”
Mika looks at me worriedly as I call out her name in a daze, meaninglessly.
I look for warmth in her eyes, but there isn’t any.
In my despair, I passed out.