Unlimited Fafnir:Volume 2 Epilogue
I opened my eyes to see a ceiling of pure white. An antiseptic smell brushed lightly against my nose.
—This place is...?
I wanted to get up but a wave of intense pain from my left shoulder forced me to stop moving. As soon as I became aware of pain, in addition to my left shoulder, even my right shoulder and the palm of my right hand were also aching.
The parts in pain seemed to be bandaged. As soon as I exerted force, I would feel resistance.
I could hear someone breathing in deep sleep nearby.
Hence, I turned my head to check out my surroundings.
This was apparently a sickroom. I was lying on a bed. On my bed's two sides were respectively Iris and Tia. Sitting on pipe chairs, the two of them were asleep, sprawled on the sickbed's sheets.
But perhaps sensing my body's minor movements, Tia's shoulder twitched.
"Yuu! You woke up!?"
Tia suddenly looked up and leaned forward on the bed as though she was going to on top of me.
"Y-Yeah, I just woke up."
Hearing my somewhat flustered answer, Tia had tears welling up in her eyes.
"So glad... Tia was wondering what to do if Yuu didn't wake up..."
"That's way too exaggerated. I'm not so weak that I'd die from this little bit of injury."
I answered with a wry smile.
Actually, I wanted to wipe her tears away but such a delicate motion was not possible with both hands wrapped in bandages.
"But Lisa recovered so quickly... yet Yuu did not wake up for so long..."
"I see... So Lisa's injuries were very light... That's good to know."
Because I had witnessed her smashing hard in the wall, I was quite relieved to know she was fine.
This implied how sturdy was the barrier of wind that Lisa had deployed. Added to the fact that she was clearly unversed in anti-personnel combat, Lisa's abilities were truly astounding for her to be able to protect Tia singlehandedly before I hurried to the scene.
—Had it not been for Lisa's efforts, Kili would have taken Tia away already. I really had to thank her.
"Yuu...... Thank you."
For some reason, Tia thanked me.
"Eh? Why so suddenly?"
Not understanding why she thanked me suddenly, I asked, perplexed.
"Because Yuu fought for Tia. Tia has already thanked Lisa and the others and also borrowed Mitsuki's communicator to thank other people, but Tia has not... thanked Yuu yet."
"...I see now, but it's a bit too soon for thanks, you know? Because we might have to fight Basilisk next."
Although the optimistic view was that Basilisk could not traverse the ocean to here, but things were probably not going to be that easy. Kili had intended to take Tia away to avoid a battle between the Ds and Basilisk, so even if separated by the sea, Basilisk was still advancing towards Midgard.
"Yeah... But because of that, Tia feels that thanks is even more required."
Precisely because Tia had chosen the same way of life as us, she understood how many people were devoting their full efforts for her sake. She wanted to express her thanks as one of us.
I moved my body. The left hand seemed to be a lost cause, but my right hand could barely manage some movement.
"—You're a good girl, Tia."
I used my bandaged right hand to clumsily stroke Tia's head. Because my right hand only suffered minor burns, it did not hurt very much even when I used it to touch Tia.
"Ahaha, it tickles."
Tia moved her head and rubbed her horn against my hand.
"Mm... Yuu's hand is so big..."
Like a cat, Tia purred and brought her face up close.
Looking at my face at close range, Tia moved her tiny lips and whispered.
"Yuu... Tia really loves Yuu, so let's get married, okay?"
"What... W-Wait! What are you suddenly talking about—"
The sudden proposal made me panic.
"Not sudden at all. Tia has said all along that Tia will become Yuu's wife. Although that was speaking as a dragon before... But this time, Tia wants to marry Yuu as a human. Do you dislike it?"
"R-Rather than dislike, that's not the issue here—"
I was quite shaken. At this moment, Tia brought her face even closer.
"...Let's seal the oath with a kiss."
"Slow down, slow down! I said before, right? According to human rules, we haven't reached the age to get married yet! So you must calm down!"
I frantically said to Tia.
"...Tia can't marry Yuu?"
Tia widened her eyes, tilting her head questioningly.
"Y-You can't, although it varies between countries... but basically, I think... it probably isn't allowed... I suppose."
Because I did not know Tia's nationality, my words showed a tone of uncertainty but I tried my hardest to persuade her.
"Then it can't be helped..."
Tia sighed with a regretful expression. Having chosen to live as a human, Tia seemed like she planned to obey the rules for sure.
—Tia still needed time.
Initially, she wanted to marry me because Kili had indoctrinated her with the notion that "you were born to marry a dragon."
Her intense obsession also came as an exaggerated reaction to the fear of not wanting to be alone. As long as she became closer friends with everyone, that kind of obsession would gradually weaken, so Tia needed time to re-examine her own feelings.
But after listening to my explanation, Tia, who should have accepted my viewpoint already, somehow brought her face even closer.
"...Then an engagement now is fine."
Smooch, Tia's soft lips kissed me on the cheek. Then she separated very quickly.
"Then we are fiances now."
Tia smiled happily.
On the other hand, I stared blankly while holding my hand against my cheek.
I was not shocked by how sudden it happened rather it was the word fiance that inexplicably evoked nostalgia in me.
For some reason, Mitsuki's face surface in my mind for an instant.
Tia's bold behavior and that strange sense of deja vu made me feel quite troubled.
Frozen on the spot like that, I pondered how to answer... Suddenly, I felt my mattress shake.
Getting a bad feeling, I turned to face the other side of my bed, only to meet the gaze of Iris who had a stiff smile on her face. She had apparently woken up without me realizing it.
"H-Hold on! Tia-chan! W-What did you just do!?"
Iris asked in shrill voice.
"What else, a kiss of engagement! Because it's an engagement, it's a kiss on the cheek. After marriage, it'll be a kiss on the lips."
Iris yelled with her face all red.
"No 'no.' Tia already kissed, so you're too late."
"I-If it's kissing, I've kissed him too!"
Hearing what Iris said, Tia showed a shocked expression. Also feeling frantic from her sudden declaration, I could not help but interrupt their conversation."
"H-Hey Iris! Now's the time to be talking about this—"
"But... If I don't bring it up, doesn't that make you Tia-chan's fiance, Mononobe?"
Iris glared at me tearfully, making me flustered.
"No, Tia just doesn't understand about engagements and marriages. No, rather... W-Why do you need to compete with her on this?"
With an uneasy feeling, I asked her hesitantly.
"Eh? U-Umm well..."
Iris blushed and awkwardly lowered her head. An embarrassing atmosphere settled in between Iris and me.
"Hmph! Yuu, turn over here!"
But Tia grabbed my face and forced me to turn and face her direction.
"Oh, don't force him! Mononobe is a patient!"
Saying that, Iris turned my head back to its original position.
"Towards Tia, Yuu will definitely be more lively!"
Then Tia pulled my head again.
"Jeez, I already said no!"
Pouting, Iris hugged my head and resisted.
"Hey, t-this is really uncomfortable!"
Her soft bosom was pressing on my face, almost suffocating me. The warmth and fragrance of her skin was making me dizzy.
Then with Tia and Iris grabbing my head, they glared at each other across the sickbed.
"Even if Iris got engaged to Yuu first, Tia won't lose to you!"
"Ehhh? Does it count as engaged for me too? U-Umm... I'm not ready yet..."
Hearing Tia say that, Iris got very awkward. With her frequently glancing in my direction, things were gradually going out of control. Just at this moment, I heard the sound of the sickroom's door getting opened.
"What are you arguing about? There are patients in other sickrooms, so will you all be quiet please."
These stern words caused Tia and Iris to shut their mouths.
I turned my head toward the entrance, only to see Lisa standing there. Behind her was Mitsuki, Firill, Ren and Ariella too.
"Oh Lisa... Sorry."
Tia suddenly became obedient. Leaving me, she apologized to Lisa.
"I'm sorry too."
Iris also bowed her head and apologized guiltily.
"It is wonderful that you two understand, but I guessed it was most likely because he had awakened. Well then—How are you feeling, Mononobe Yuu?"
I saw Lisa tossing her hair while she asked me cordially.
"...My left arm can't move at the moment but the rest seem okay."
"I see... Then you must be facing numerous inconveniences. If you run into any trouble here on, tell me any time and I will do my best to help."
Hearing words that seemed too gentle for Lisa, I could not help but make an awkward sound.
"What's the matter? Did I say something weird?"
"No... Nothing, umm, thank you."
"Not at all. Mutual assistance during trouble is the proper thing to do."
Lisa nodded matter-of-factly.
Right, that was simply the kind of person Lisa was. Stepping up for the sake of friends, taking care of the the injured and those in trouble. She was the kind of person who could do those things matter-of-factly.
"I really have to thank you. Lisa, you're probably the best 'good woman' I've ever met."
"What... W-What do you mean by that? I won't forgive you if it is sexual harassment, got that?"
Lisa went red in the face and glared at me with an angry expression.
"Hmm? Oh, I was just purely praising your character... Meaning that you're someone worthy of respect. However... Even in the sense of being a beauty, I think you're a good woman too, you know?"
I thought praising her personality alone would be rude, so I added my honest thoughts as well.
Lisa's face grew increasingly red. I thought she was going to scold me but Lisa turned around just like that and walked rapidly out of the sickroom.
For some reason, Firill made the thumbs-up at me then went to chase Lisa.
"Mononobe-kun... You need to take responsibility for your words, okay?"
Ariella spoke with exasperation while Ren kept nodding on the side.
Then the two of them followed Firill out of the room, leaving Mitsuki, Iris and Tia.
"So Mononobe... likes Lisa-chan's type..."
"Ooh... Tia can't match Lisa."
Iris and Tia looked disheartened for some reason and kept murmuring to themselves. Meanwhile, Mitsuki watched me coldly. Coughing twice at this moment, she spoke to Iris and Tia.
"—Excuse me, but I currently have important matters to discuss with Nii-san. Since it involves classified military information, could you two please go away for a while?"
Iris and Tia answered listlessly then obediently exited the sickroom. With only the two of us left, Mitsuki sat down on Iris' original seat and stared at my face.
"...Although I also respect Lisa-san's character, I still consider what you said just now to be sexual harassment."
With her index finger pressing my forehead, Mitsuki spoke.
"Urgh... I'll apologize to Lisa later, so could you let me off on the reflection essay?"
"—What am I going to do with you? Since you are a patient, Nii-san, I shall turn a blind eye for today. Were you in good health, Nii-san, I would have subjected you to the punishment of a forehead flick."
Tapping my forehead lightly with her index finger, Mitsuki glared at me slightly.
"...Thank you for your kindness. Then what's this important matter? And you said it involves classified military information..."
"Basically an aftermath report and simple questioning. But looking ahead, it might be information that will end up being classified, so I asked them to leave."
Saying that, Mitsuki glanced at the sickroom's door.
"No one is eavesdropping."
I searched for presences then told Mitsuki.
"...Is that so? Then let us begin with the aftermath report. The casualties in this incident number twelve injured, of which two of them are Nii-san and Lisa-san. The remaining ten are clock tower staff. Fortunately, all ten of them were in the lower levels of the clock tower, hence there were no deaths."
"Thank goodness... It's fortunate that the principal and Mica-san weren't in the principal's office."
"Yes. Regarding the temporarily halted Midgardsormr, it has resumed operation once control was passed to the second command center. As for Hekatonkheir, we have confirmed that in the instant it appeared in Midgard, it had also vanished suddenly from Siberia, the place where we had been keeping track of its location."
Mitsuki explained fluently to me. I asked her:
"So that means that it warped over here from Siberia?"
"...No idea because there were no previous reports of it having such a power. Also, Hekatonkheir's resurrection is still unconfirmed and awaiting further investigation. However, the issue is—about you, Nii-san."
"Yes—Cancelling gravity temporarily... What was that Leviathan-esque power? From what I saw, Nii-san, it seemed as though you had made antigravitational matter..."
What Mitsuki wanted to ask about was how I used gravitational interference to stop Hekatonkheir's attack. But to be honest, I had no idea either why I could do that kind of thing. I had simply uttered the word 'antigravity' while urged by Yggdrasil.
"No, for no particular reason... I thought I might be able to do it, but ended up doing it for real..."
Hence, all I could do was answer ambiguously.
"I cannot believe you are saying that you were able to do it with no particular reason, that is truly troubling! Regarding the anti-dragon weapons, it has occurred to me that given my position, it would probably be best that I do not find out... But no matter what, Nii-san, you are hiding far too many things, aren't you?"
It seemed as though she was venting all the displeasure she had accumulated so far. Mitsuki approached me with great intensity in tone.
We were already so close together that our noses were almost touching. Since I was lying in bed, I could not back away.
"...Sorry, Mitsuki, I'm definitely hiding things from you. But I really have no idea about the antigravitational matter."
"I see... Nii-san, so you insist on refusing to tell me?"
Mitsuki angrily glared at me from up close.
"No, like I said, I really—"
"In that case, you absolutely must answer the next question!"
Mitsuki spoke up with a gaze even more serious than previous.
"Nii-san... Is it true that you and Iris-san kissed?"
"What, y-you heard that too?"
My voice went involuntarily hoarse.
"...You were probably not searching for presences then. I was outside the door the whole time."
"U-Umm... Don't tell me that Lisa and the others also...?"
"No, by the time Lisa-san and the others arrived, I had already been standing there a while because I missed the opportunity to enter the room... Hence, only I heard the part about the kiss."
Hearing her answer, I was slightly relieved, but Mitsuki overhearing it was still a terrible situation.
—Huh? Why was I so shaken?
Aversion to writing repentance essays was admittedly one of the reasons, but that could not explain why I was panicking so much.
"No, that's umm... I guess she wanted to reward me for the battle against Leviathan? Probably something like that..."
"In other words, you two really kissed?"
I gave up resisting and nodded in admission, prompting Mitsuki to exhale deeply.
Without being angry, Mitsuki withdrew her face from me. She seemed tired. Leaning her back against the chair, Mitsuki looked much more petite than usual.
Worried about her, I called her name. Mitsuki immediately made a seemingly forced smile and said:
"You have apparently received Tia-san's kiss on engagement on your cheek too, but that was done by a child, so I shall not pursue the matter. However, please handle Iris-san's kiss with upfront honesty, okay? Otherwise, I shall regard your motives as impure and punish you to write repentance essays."
Despite her cheerful tone, her voice was trembling slightly.
"Okay... I understand."
Despite feeling troubled, I still nodded.
"Nevertheless, I must apologize too. I will apologize to Iris-san together with you, Nii-san."
Hearing Mitsuki speak in a tone of self-deprecation, I instantly frowned.
"Because... For Iris-san, it must have been her first kiss, but Nii-san, your first kiss was—with me..."
Hearing that, my mind went blank because that kind of memory did not exist in my mind. Most likely, during the deal with Yggdrasil, it had vanished due to the download of weapon data. I felt pain in my chest... I became strongly aware of the emptiness left in my heart due to the loss of the promise.
"...As in Tia-san's case, it was something done by a child after all. Whether the kiss from back then or the promise in the past, please pretend they never happened. Please forget them."
Even though she was speaking to me with a sad look on her face, those memories no longer existed, yet—
I subconsciously reached out with my right hand and gripped Mitsuki's arm firmly.
"...I won't forget."
I pulled the troubled Mitsuki in front of my chest and tried hard to squeeze a voice out from my throat.
"I won't forget."
Although it was already a lost memory—Precisely because of that, I won't forget this fact. I won't forget the the fact that I had forgotten.
To prevent Mitsuki from showing sadness on her face, I was willing to do anything.
Even if something did not exist, I will still insist it did.
"Clearly when it already... does not matter."
Despite saying that, Mitsuki still clutched my clothing and pressed her forehead against my chest.
"How could it not matter? Even if lying, you're not allowed to tell me to pretend that memories never happened."
I hugged Mitsuki tightly with my right arm and spoke in a strong tone of voice. Precisely because memories had disappeared from my mind, I wanted Mitsuki to remember them more. I did not want her to think they were redundant memories.
"But Nii-san... I do not want to obstruct you and Iris-san."
"Come on, you, no matter what happens here on, I can never think of you as an obstruction, Mitsuki."
I said with exasperation from the bottom of my heart.
"...Seriously? I will not be a burden for you, Nii-san?"
"No, it's the opposite. I'm always in the position of burdening you. It's all thanks to you that I was able to transfer to Midgard, I... 've worried the whole time whether I caused you trouble."
"No way... I do not find it troublesome at all... To be able to see your face every day, to be able to hear your voice every day... To be able to touch you whenever I wish to touch you... This is already enough to satisfy me."
Mitsuki touched my body gently and exhaled slightly.
"What do you mean, you're satisfied...? Feel free to do make even more willful demands, okay? As long as it's in my power, I will do anything for you."
But after hearing what I said, Mitsuki shook her head.
"...No, I cannot be so reliant on you, Nii-san. I am Midgard's student council president and captain of the Dragon Subjugation Squad."
After saying that, Mitsuki looked up. Although her eyes were moist, no tears had fallen. Together at a distance where we could feel each other's breathing, we gazed at each other.
"I know there are responsibilities you must bear given your position, but—"
"That is not all. Due to my willfulness, I rendered your gesture moot, Nii-san. I have no right to ask you to indulge me."
"What are you referring to?"
I did not quite understand what she meant, so I asked. Mitsuki smiled wryly.
"Three years ago. You claimed the battle against Hekatonkheir as your doing alone, so as to protect my town and daily life. But what I truly wanted to protect was every day I spend together with you, Nii-san. Watching that peaceful town... All it did was increase my loneliness."
"That was why I could not bear your absence... I wanted to see you, Nii-san, to hear your voice again no matter what... That was why I followed."
Mitsuki looked away and confessed shyly.
"Mitsuki... You outed yourself as a D?"
"Yes... because I came to Midgard only to see you, Nii-san, but you were not here. Honestly, I... am always making mistakes."
Unable to bear Mitsuki's self-deprecating smile, I spoke up.
"Mitsuki, didn't you get me reassigned to Midgard? It's all thanks to you that we can be reunited like this."
"But your three years will not come back. And my authority was acquired by committing an irredeemable crime. It is absolutely not something to be proud of."
Irredeemable crime—That probably referred to killing her dragonified best friend in the Kraken battle two years ago.
"...Mitsuki, you are completely correct. I won't force you to be proud of it, but you don't have to regret it either."
"At all times, Nii-san... You are always so kind, but I cannot indulge myself like that."
Mitsuki pushed my chest lightly and separated herself.
"To atone for my crime, I shall continue to fight relentlessly. Satisfaction is an extravagant wish that I dare not hope for. The childhood wish... can remain unactualized. It does not matter."
Mitsuki finished in a tone of suppressed emotions while smiling sorrowfully.
Seeing that kind of smile, I felt an intense impulse surge from the bottom of my heart.
"—How could it not matter?"
Mitsuki widened her eyes in surprise. Following that impulse, I had sat up forcibly. Despite the sharp pain centered on my left shoulder, I gritted my teeth and did not scream.
"N-Nii-san!? You cannot get out of bed yet!"
Mitsuki frantically tried to stop me but I grabbed her shoulder instead, to convey my feelings to her.
"Mitsuki, if you can only forgive yourself by devoting yourself to battles... Then I will put everything on the line to terminate those kinds of battles."
"Listen carefully, Mitsuki. I will never—abandon your happiness."
Looking Mitsuki in the eye, I asserted strongly. Mitsuki gasped lightly with tears in her eyes, but before the tears could fall from her eyes, she wiped them with her hand.
"Seriously... Nii-san is seriously..."
While grumbling, Mitsuki leaned her face towards me. Our foreheads touched together.
Then smiling faintly, she continued in a gentle voice:
"—Nii-san, you are so hardheaded."
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