Around the beginning of January in the year 317 of the Tria calendar, I was released from Professor Ruspede and Beatrice told me that she wanted to talk with me alone.
I invited her into my room, feeling uncomfortable with Beatrice’s unusually somber mood. After entering the room, Beatrice did not open her mouth.
Silence reigned and an awkward atmosphere began to prevail, when Beatrice, perhaps deciding to speak, began to speak slowly.
“…You will be graduating this year. After you graduate, you won’t be living here, will you? What are you going to do?” (Beatrice)
“I’m planning to return to the village for now, but I haven’t decided where to go after that. Well, it would be nice if I could travel around the world. In any case, at least I will get to Ars as soon as possible.” (Zack)
After graduating from the academy, he planned to return to the village and relax a bit.
Of course, I had decided to go to Ars, the royal capital of the Kingdom of Caum, to clean up after the trouble I had caused the Blacksmith’s Guild, but I had not decided anything else.
Because I thought it was about time for me to receive the job of guiding the chosen sent by God.
If God’s words were right, they would have been born five years after me. That would mean that the person I would meet would be ten years old. In other words, if my mission is to “lead,” I will meet that person in less than ten years.
That is why I have not decided on a definite plan for now. Even if I did, I would be swept away by the current and there would be little point in making a decision.
Beatrice let out a small sigh and didn’t make eye contact with me,
“What am I going to do? Can I stay with you?” (Beatrice)
I wasn’t taking it too seriously at the time.
“What are you talking about? You are coming with me, right?” (Zack)
I answered in a casual tone.
Normally, Beatrice would have been fine with that. But I didn’t understand her feelings.
Beatrice looked down and began to speak slowly, trying to squeeze out a few words.
“I’m worried. You are all getting stronger and stronger, but my strength will begin to decline. I don’t know if it’s okay for me to go along with you…” (Beatrice)
It is true that we, the Zack Quartet, are getting stronger at a tremendous rate. We are still in our mid-teens, so we are going to get even stronger from now on. The same goes for Liddy. She is a long-lived elf. She will not decline, and her abilities will slowly but surely increase.
Beatrice, on the other hand, will turn 35 this year. She is not yet at the age of decline, but it is not surprising that she is worried when she thinks about five or ten years from now.
“I want you to come with me. Is that not enough to calm your anxiety?” (Zack)
But Beatrice doesn’t answer anything. I could see she was feeling very weak.
“Zack, you’re a genius, and you’re doing the gods bidding. Everyone here are geniuses, too. But…” (Beatrice)
I hugged her without saying a word.
(It’s true that she’s feeling uneasy. When I was that age, I started to see the future and became uneasy. I’ll compare my future and the past that I’ve lived up to now. Often, I wish I had done things sooner. I guess I had hoped that Beatrice would be fine. But there’s no one to blame but my naivete…) (Zack)
Beatrice was trembling and anxious, but she still entrusted her body to me.
“I’m sorry. You’ve been indulging me. I should have been more…” (Zack)
She interrupted me,
“I never thought I’d feel this way. I always thought I could live on my own…” (Beatrice)
I hugged her tightly and I pushed her onto the bed.
and I took her lips.
When I woke up the next morning, I saw Beatrice’s face blushing with embarrassment.
I call out to her as usual, but she keeps her back to me and wraps the sheets around her body.
“What’s wrong? Did you regret it?” (Zack)
She doesn’t answer my question.
“I have no regrets. The same with Liddy, I just honestly followed my heart. I’ll repeat what I said yesterday. Come with me.” (Zack)
The old me would never have embraced Beatrice. I had found someone I could love with all my heart in Liddy. I would have continued with my current relationship, thinking that if I held Beatrice, Liddy might leave me, and I would have remained indecisive.
But I didn’t want to regret anything in this life.
I would not regret leaving the two women I loved, Liddy and Beatrice, rather than compromise my feelings and live a safe, secure life. I will not regret it even if I later learn that I made the wrong choice.
Probably, no one but me will understand this idea. In fact, if I were still in Japan and living the way I used to, I would be on the side of condemnation under the eyes of society.
Still, I did not want to let Beatrice go. I guess it was an act of selfishness. A man’s selfishness, perhaps.
But at least I would not regret it, no matter what the outcome.
I said again, “Come with me,” and she slowly turned her head toward me.
There were traces of tears streaming down her face.
“You really don’t mind, do you? Even if I come with you…” (Beatrice)
I nodded and Beatrice showed a small shy smile.
“I’m your woman now, too. I’m embarrassed to say it now, but I hope to be able to say it proudly someday.” (Beatrice)
After all, since the beginning of the year 317 of the Tria calendar, I no longer sleep alone when I’m at home.
The two women were in stark contrast.
Liddy was intensely passionate, always confirming her affection in a frenzied way. It is as if she is ready to say goodbye to this life, as if she plans to not regret anything if it is her last.
Beatrice, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. She desires pampering in bed that you would never guess from her usual strong and dignified appearance. The way she acts when with me is kitten-like, and I secretly feel amazed because of the fact that I am the only one who knows about this side of hers.
Both of them are adorable to me.
The sky is a clear blue in early summer, with white downy clouds floating here and there.
Today is the graduation ceremony of Tyria Magic Academy.
I didn’t think it would be a very emotional event for me, but I was still a little sad to leave the academy where I had spent five years.
My plans after graduation are to attend my brother’s wedding and traveling with my parents to the Roswell Frontier Counties.
This time, my father and our family will be escorted by three squires, Guy Jakes, Byron Seedorf, and Enos Vassell, along with five young men from the village patrol. Apparently, they are candidates for new squires, and the idea is to give them a chance to see and learn more of the world.
Guy was chosen, perhaps out of consideration for his desire as a father to attend his daughter Sharon’s graduation ceremony.
Byron is well-traveled and, having previously served as a captain in the Kingdom of Caum, he is the most polite and well-mannered of our squires. This was probably the reason for his selection.
Enos seemed to be the one chosen to accompany my mother in the carriage.
The squires were dressed in armor, as usual, but they were wearing brand-new equipment, as if they had been newly made. The young men of the vigilante group were also wearing polished breastplates and helmets instead of the scratched armor they had been wearing for training, as well as the Lockhart family crest–a standing lion holding a sword–and ceremonial cloaks. -clad in a ceremonial cloak with – and to the casual observer, he does not look at all like a squire of a country knight.
My father told me that he had the squire’s equipment newly fitted out for my brother, Roderick’s wedding.
Furthermore, when I asked Guy about the backstory, he told me that father had received a letter from his brother’s fiancée, Miss Rosalind, informing him that some of the fringe members of the frontier count’s family did not think well of the Lockhart family. Squire Walt Vassell was concerned about this, so he procured new equipment and even drilled the young man of the village patrol etiquette. Not only that, but the veteran Guy also complained about having etiquette drilled into him.
“It was hard work. The mild-mannered Walt was getting quite neurotic. …I’m not a properly etiquette-trained squire myself, you know. However, Walt and Byron thoroughly drilled into me proper etiquette…” (Guy)
Furthermore, the carriage in which mother will ride was also quite a magnificent carriage, wherever they got it.
The black body was painted with the Lockhart family crest, and Enos, who served as the coach’s attendant, moved so swiftly and efficiently that he could be mistaken for a butler.
I heard later that Enos went all the way to Ars, the royal capital of the Kingdom of Caum, to train as a nobleman’s squire before taking on this role.
My father and grandfather didn’t seem to think that much was necessary, but Walt and Nicholas, the squires who knew about the old days, seemed to have something in mind, and even if my grandfather expressed his opinion that it was unnecessary, it was dismissed. The benefits seem to be invisible to the higher ups.
We rode in that magnificent carriage and entered the Old Town from the New Town.
As one would expect, the high-ranking nobles such as the counts would be in attendance, so it was not so conspicuous, but my father was dressed in his new white formal wear and did not look at all like a country knight from the frontier.
My mother also wears a simple black dress, and when she and my father stand side by side, they really look quite picturesque.