Unlimited Fafnir:Volume 4 Epilogue
I woke up from the ringing of my portable terminal to find myself in the room assigned to me in the palace. I reached out, found my portable terminal next to the pillow and looked at the screen.
It was 7pm, more than twelve hours after the battle against Hraesvelgr. The current caller was displayed as unknown, but I had a good idea who it was.
Lying on the bed, I pressed the call button while looking up. Immediately, Major Loki's face appeared on the screen.
'—You finally picked up. You look like you just woke up, 2nd Lieutenant Mononobe.'
"Yes... If possible, I wanted to sleep even longer."
Due to creating three sets of anti-dragon weapons and the ammunition was mental energy, I still had not recovered completely from exhaustion.
'Then I'm terribly sorry, but first, let me congratulate your victory. Congratulations, you defeated that Hraesvelgr. Your accomplishment and contribution to mankind is too great to describe with words.'
"I can't believe you can still say that when you clearly sent Hreidmar to kill Firill."
I frowned and retorted sarcastically.
'Really? I believe it was the appropriate decision. Leaving important cases to even more capable people, isn't that obvious? It's wonderful that you're more capable than Hreidmar as a soldier.'
Same as always, this man never changed.
No matter what developments fate had in store, he would have countermeasures prepared, never letting an unfavorable outcome happen.
'Putting that aside, if you just woke up, let me be the one to tell you. Midgard called to inform me that Kili Surtr Muspelheim has gone missing. Unfortunately, your original mission has ended in failure.'
"Well, I sort of expected that."
I simply sighed, not too surprised. As soon as it came to light that Hraesvelgr's target was Firill and not Kili, there was no benefit for her to keep staying with us.
'One more thing, a member of my Sleipnir team—Sergeant John Hortensia—has gone missing too. Judging from the situation, chances of being kidnapped by Kili are very high.'
This time, I could not help exclaiming in surprise. It was completely unexpected news.
Why would Kili kidnap John—
'Actually, my original purpose was to ask you about this—But there's no point asking you when you just woke up. If you happen to come across news on Sergeant John, I hope you'll tell me.'
Despite giving my word, I was still thinking inside. If I really found out John's whereabouts, was passing that info to Major Loki really the right thing to do? I knew nothing about what Major Loki was thinking. Compared to Kili who had told me her true identity, Major Loki was more of an unidentified existence.
'That is what I wanted to talk to you about.'
"Hold on, can I ask a question before we end?"
Major Loki narrowed his eyes to urge me to continue.
"Major Loki, you said you'd use this chance to make me complete... Did you achieve that goal?"
'No. About that, the obtained results was not as expected. Despite proving that your abilities are higher than Hreidmar's, you are still the incomplete "Fafnir." I sensed faintly in the beginning that something inside you is in the way.'
"Something... in the way?"
Major Loki looked at me sharply. Cold sweat slid down my cheek.
'However—perhaps the matter of being in the way goes both ways.'
Major Loki's tone sounded like he was talking to someone apart from me. Then the call disconnected.
I tossed the portable terminal on the bed and exhaled deeeply.
Listening to him always put me ill at ease.
Inside the quiet room, I heard the door open.
Firill entered the room in a formal dress. Switching on the light, she walked towards me.
"So you woke up. I heard voices... But there's no one else here."
Feeling puzzled, Firill looked around the room.
"I was taking a call on my terminal. It was the ringing that woke me up."
I sat up and answered her.
"...I see now. But thank goodness, until just now, all of us were taking turns to look after you. Mononobe-kun, everyone is eating dinner right now, but I returned early because I didn't have much appetite."
Showing a relief expression, Firill sat down on the bed.
"Sorry for worrying you, but I'm fine now."
To be honest, there was some fatigue that needed to recover, but not enough to affect my movement.
"I'm the one who needs to apologize, sorry... You strained yourself so much for my sake."
Firill rested her hand on my cheek and looked up at me.
"No, I wasn't the only one trying hard. You lent your power to me, Firill, and without support from Lisa and the rest, we might not have struck down Hraesvelgr completely. Then it would have broke past our defensive line."
"Even so... You're still the one who protected me, Mononobe-kun, thank you."
Saying that, Firill brought her knee on the bed and approached me.
"I won't wait, Mononobe-kun, because you protected me one-sidedly, I will take revenge one-sidedly too."
Firill wrapped her arms around the back of my head and pulled me towards her.
My face was buried in the cleavage of her voluptuous bust while she hugged my head tightly.
"You enjoy this, don't you, Mononobe-kun? You were so happy at the hot spring..."
I could not make a sound due to Firill's soft bosom covering up my face. A girl's fragrant scent was tickling my nose lightly. My mind began to go hazy.
"Last time was only three seconds, but today... No, from now on, there's no time limit."
A gentle voice caressed my ear. I felt my nervousness and confusion gradually subside.
"Also, what I said before... Doesn't count."
Not knowing what she was referring to, I frowned.
"Although I said you're not allowed to fall in love with me unless you have the resolve... I take it back. You may fall in love with me... Mononobe-kun."
Hearing her gentle whispers next to me, I could not help but panic and moved my face.
"Ah... Mm... It tickles when you move like that."
The restraints relaxed slightly. I withdrew my head from Firill's bosom and took a deep breath.
"Mononobe-kun, is this enough?"
Firill cocked her head in disappointment and asked me.
"E-Enough! Besides—What you just said..."
I answered hoarsely, peering at her face.
What she just said was making my heart beat faster than the act of hugging my head.
I nodded, only to see Firill smile with a blush.
"Because even without resolve, Mononobe-kun... You're already my prince."
"You make my heart flutter, Mononobe-kun, so if you... could fall in love with me, I'd be very glad."
Her dazzling smile mesmerized me for a moment.
Then I heard the door open again.
"W-What do you think you two are doing!?"
I looked back to see the members of Brynhildr Class staring at us with their faces red. They had probably just returned from dinner. Standing in front, Lisa pointed at us while her gaze wandered.
"No, this is—"
I frantically tried to separate from Firill. Just as I was looking for an excuse—
"I've proposed to Mononobe-kun."
—However, Firill's voice drowned out what I said.
Lisa was rendered speechless. Standing behind her, Ariella and Ren's faces turned even redder.
Tia pushed them apart and rushed forward.
"N-No! Tia will make Yuu fall in love with Tia, then marry Tia!"
Tia jumped on the bed, trying to pull Firill who was pressed tightly against me.
"M-Mononobe... Are you going to marry Firill?"
Iris approached timidly and looked at me with a sorrowful expression.
"You two want to marry Mononobe-kun too?"
Firill cocked her head and asked Tia and Iris.
"Eh, I-I... umm..."
Tia nodded and admitted without hesitation whereas Iris blushed and looked away.
Seeing this, Firill clapped her hands together.
"In that case, I've got a good solution."
Tia widened her eyes and asked.
"Yes... Let me tell you, the Principality of Erlia here recognizes same-sex marriage."
"W-Wow—they're very open-minded."
Despite feeling confused, Iris concurred.
"But only members of the royal family are allowed to have polygamy... It's an ancient law that still remains."
Despite modern times, certain countries still maintained systems of polygyny to prevent the royal bloodline from going extinct. Disregarding whether people actually use it in practice, it was not surprising for such rules to exist.
But I felt confused. What exactly was Firill trying to say?
"So... If I marry all of you, all problems are solved."
Apart from Firill, everyone's jaw dropped.
"Whether Mononobe-kun, Iris or Tia, we'll be one family. If necessary, I don't mind adding more. Don't you think this solution is great?"
"Tia can become your family?"
Tia asked, apparently interested.
"W-Wait, Tia! I thought about it a bit more, but that means Firill-chan will be the only one married to Mononobe!"
Iris suddenly realized and hurried to stop Tia.
"Ah, Firill is so sly! Then Tia isn't Mononobe's wife either!"
"Fufufu, I got found out."
Firill smiled mischievously and shrugged.
"—Stop it with this nonsense. Nii-san just woke up at last, right?"
At this time, Mitsuki's sharp voice was heard.
Ariella and the others parted to make a path and I heard Mitsuki's footsteps approach.
She was Midgard's student council president, captain of the Dragon Subjugation Squad and also—my foster sister.
I knew this much information and knowledge. I had not forgotten. We lived in the same dorm, ate breakfast and dinner together, fought against powerful dragons together, these memories were intact, but—
Mitsuki showed a worried look. Seeing me in a daze, she reached out to touch my forehead.
A cold little hand with a girl's delicate fingers. Apart from that, I could not feel anything else.
I felt a bit nervous to be touched by others.
"Seems like—No fever. Are you hungry? If you have an appetite, I could ask them to bring food over."
"No, it's okay, I don't feel like eating right now."
Hearing the stiff voice from my throat, I was shocked.
No good... Wrong.
I did not use this kind of voice to talk to Mitsuki in the past.
Feeling the difference was too great, I decided that talking to Mitsuki now would be bad.
"Really, then even if it is only drinks—"
"Thanks, Mitsuki, but I still want to rest more. Let me have some peace and quiet alone for now."
I anxiously cut her off.
"O-Okay—As you wish."
I could not help but speak forcefully. Mitsuki's shoulders shook for an instant, then she nodded and agreed.
No good... This was no good.
But even though I realized the dissonance, I did not know how to interact correctly.
Iris watched me with worry.
At Mitsuki's urging, everyone left the room. Iris' gaze remained on me the whole time.
As soon as the door shut, I instantly jumped out of bed and locked it. Then I rushed to the window and came to the balcony facing the courtyard.
"Huff, huff, huff..."
My chest was hurting, my heart was in pain. In this situation, she was the only one I could rely on.
With a bit of a running start, I jumped to the adjacent balcony. Then I opened the window at once and rushed into Iris' room. Having just returned, she stared at me with widened eyes.
I rushed to her and grabbed her delicate shoulders forcefully.
"I beg, tell me! Tell me about Mononobe Mitsuki... Please!"
"C-Calm down, Mononobe—I-It hurts..."
I apologized stiffly to her and relaxed my grip. Iris held my hands in hers and asked me worriedly:
"Mononobe, what did you forget? Don't tell me... you actually forgot me too?"
I gritted my teeth and shook my head.
"No, I didn't forget you, Iris. I can still remember the second kiss clearly."
"That's a relief, then what did you forget—"
"...All the memories from my birth up to three years ago."
I stated what I had lost.
"I can clearly recall my memories from NIFL and Midgard but everything before that has gone fuzzy. Even if I trace back using knowledge that should've been acquired at the time, I cannot find any memories."
Iris went pale in shock while I smiled in self-deprecation to her.
"I don't know what kind of little sister Mitsuki is. I not only forgot the Mitsuki before we became siblings, this time, I even forgot the Mitsuki after she became my little sister."
Iris looked at me with tears welling up in her eyes while I confided in her.
"Even when I look at Mitsuki, I don't get the feeling she is my sister. Even when she touches me with her hand, I don't feel reassured, I... I'm no longer—Mitsuki's family, even."
"...Don't worry, don't worry!"
Iris hugged me tightly and said:
"Mononobe, you're still Mitsuki-chan's brother! Because you're feeling this much pain and suffering! You wouldn't feel so tormented because of her if she wasn't family!"
"Iris... But I—"
"Don't worry, because I remember! Mononobe, you told me memories about Mitsuki-chan—I haven't forgotten a single one! I will tell you everything... So stop saying you're not Mitsuki-chan's family."
Iris caressed my back and spoke earnestly to me.
I clenched my fist and voiced my gratitude.
Seeing I had calmed down, Iris released me gently. Then she spoke with determination I had never heard before:
"Mononobe, don't worry, I will find a way."
Iris stared straight into my eyes.
"Right now... For the very first time in my life, I am truly angry. This thing that has harmed you in this way—This Yggdrasil that has stolen your precious memories, I hate it to death!"
Iris' clear eyes were burning with flames of fervor.
"Hold on, Iris, Yggdrasil is—"
I wanted to refute her, but she interrupted me in a strong tone of voice.
"—I know, Yggdrasil is helping us to defeat other dragons. It's thanks to it that I can stand here and we were able to protect Firill-chan, but..."
Clenching her tiny fist, she declared with acute hostility:
"I will definitely retrieve your memories—even if it means defeating Yggdrasil."
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