It was that day’s night.
Relia opened his eyes and noticed that Colio wasn’t in the room.
He heard some sort of rustling sound before, but he didn’t know anything apart from that.
He raised his body and rubbed his puffy eyes. It seemed this town’s dusty air wasn’t good for them.
Inside his bed, Relia recalled long past events – the things he talked about with Hyoue and the rest, as well as various other things.
Relia had some of his memories left. Since Colio and Hyoue barely knew anything, he was probably the exception.
But even he couldn’t remember very much.
He couldn’t remember his childhood.
Memories of his mother and father, memories of his family, memories of him being breastfed or walking for the first time…
He didn’t have any of those.
His first memory was a stone room.
He remembered feeling cold when his knees and head touched the floor. His first memory was him crouching on that stone floor.
There were people around – twelve or thirteen of them. The next time he counted, they were twenty seven. All of them were sitting down on the stone floor.
Relia and the rest had been imprisoned inside this stone room.
Both children and adults, men and women, were lumped together in the room. At that time Relia knew how to stand up and walk, look around him, and speak.
He was probably around ten years old then.
Where was he before entering his room and why was he here? He had no memories to answer that. Were his memories lost or erased? He didn’t know whether he was always there or just brought inside from another place. Although he asked the people around, none of them knew or even tried to understand their situation.
It was a strange room. None of the people had any work to do, and they just lazily lay around. Their only meals were breadcrumbs thrown on the ground. Some of them just sat silently on the floor, some banged their heads against the walls while murmuring to themselves, and some were playing around with imaginary dices while gambling imaginary money.
He had no sense of the date, time of the week, or hour.
They were clothed livestock.
This was the only thing apparent to Relia and the rest.
Relia didn’t know about Colio and Hyoue, but he imagined they had the same circumstances of staying inside such a room filled with clothed livestock.
A long time had passed without anything happening.
Relia was almost mentally broken countless times. He also considered suicide.
But, for some reason, he was able to preserve his sanity.
Probably ten years have passed. A lone man came for Relia and took him out of the room.
And he led Relia to another room.
While they were moving, he could see the ocean from a window in the corridor.
Inside the room he was brought to, there were several white-wearing men. Whether they were doctors or Magicians, Relia couldn’t tell the difference.
“What are you?”
One of them said.
“You’re wrong. You aren’t a human.”
“Do you even know what humans are?”
Relia didn’t answer.
“I’ll teach you.”
The white robed man took a rope, tied it around Relia and rolled him on the floor.
“…We just need to pass it to Crukessa?”
“Yes. We won’t be able to use it later.”
“I see. What will happen if it’ll break?”
“We’ll just use it as bait.”
The men were talking about such things while looking down at Relia.
“Hey, who exactly are you?”
“Hehe, if you’d like to know, we’ll tell you…”
“We’re from the Indulging God Cult.”
“What is that?”
Relia asked, and a man answered.
“I can’t answer that simply. We need to talk about it somewhere.”
“…I’ve wanted to talk since the start.”
“So, this is related to the story of the Gods.”
Saying this, the man began telling the story of the Overseer of the Beginning and the End, the story of the world’s creation, the story of the world’s Overseers, and the story of Bantorra and the Armed Librarians.
From there on, Relia’s memories were fuzzy.
When he opened his eyes, there was a bomb inside his chest.
What were they talking about?
He couldn’t recall.
Thinking about it, he wondered what Colio was doing. Maybe he was eating dinner? But it was late for that.
“Now might be my only opportunity.”
Relia muttered aloud.
After finishing dinner, Colio went out for a walk.
It’s not like he had something to do outside, but he didn’t feel like talking with Relia.
The ones who killed Luimon Mahaton were probably Colio and the rest’s allies. Colio thought of this while walking. It might have been someone he met before.
Just like Colio, they were probably people told that they weren’t human.
Inside the town where lamps were being lit up here and there, Colio muttered.
That Luimon Mahaton person was definitely not a human as well.
If he was a human, he wouldn’t have been hurt. Hurting humans was unforgivable. Humans lived to be happy, to love, to be loved.
Therefore, a person who was hurt, who was unhappy, was not a human.
He may have had the shape of a human, but on a more fundamental level he was a different, trifling existence.
Thus Colio thought.
Children were running on the road.
Seeing this didn’t give him any reminiscence or warm feelings. It also did not make him involuntarily smile. He was just staring emotionlessly at the children. Colio didn’t know what “having fun” was like.
Colio thought it was the proof he wasn’t human.
Hamyuts Meseta also wasn’t a human. If she were a human, she wouldn’t have to be killed.
He had no idea about the children in front of him. They might be humans, and they might not be.
The children were running around looking for some lost cat through the holes in walls and trees.
Was that Calico Princess a human?
Thinking for a moment, Colio was sure that she was.
When he recalled her beautiful and noble figure, he couldn’t think of her as not being a human.
As the sun already sank, lamps were lit up throughout the town. Winged small insects were drawn to the dim light of these gas lamps. The light reached all the way to the back alleys, making the town a bit brighter rather than dark grey.
Colio was walking in the opposite direction of the crowd of people returning from the mines. His legs led him to the alley he went to earlier that day. He didn’t understand why. Maybe it was because this was the only road he knew here.
The town that had been sleeping in the morning was now awake.
From a small lit tavern, the miners’ laughter, singing and sometimes yelling could be heard.
The smells of dust and oil covering the town were now mixed with the smell of hard liquor.
Colio, who was walking aimlessly among the herd of people, suddenly looked at a lone girl. The girl was sitting in the dark at the end of the road, as if trying to escape the gas lamps.
The girl was motionless. She was looking at her legs or doing something – Colio couldn’t tell.
He stopped to stare at the girl’s figure. The other people walked by without paying her any attention. Their shoulders bumped into Colio and nearly made him stumble.
“…It’s already impossible.”
The girl said suddenly.
“Everything came out.”
Saying this, she stood up and rubbed her eyes. Colio saw her face.
Her eyes were red as if covered by blood. Around them were dark marks from having wiped them over and over again.
“So people can actually run out of tears. Haha, I had no idea.”
The girl laughed. It was laughter without any emotion in it, apparent only by her voice and expression.
“Are you from around here?”
The girl said.
Colio didn’t say anything.
“Hey, are you from around here?”
“…Listen, I’m talking to you.”
Colio then understood she was talking to him.
He couldn’t understand why she would do that. Colio just stood there without answering.
The girl stared at Colio’s face. So inevitably, Colio also looked at her face. Those two faced each other under the dim lights.
She had a normal face. It couldn’t be called beautiful or ugly. She was wearing a white cotton cape on top of her white cheap dress. It was probably worn not because it was fashionable, but due it being cold. She was a plain, completely normal girl.
Her appearance didn’t move Colio’s emotions either. The only thing he thought about was how red her eyes and the tips of her nose were.
She also seemed to be unmoved by his appearance. He was simply a short boy.
“I have a question for you.”
“Oh, you finally said something.”
The girl smiled a little.
“Do you know what to do when the person you love dies?”
“…I guess, huh…”
Saying this, the girl crouched again. Then, she began sobbing in front of Colio.
After a while, she stopped crying.
“…Thank you. That was good for me. I feel better after having talked with someone, no matter who it is.”
She said while sobbing. Colio wasn’t by her side out of kindness, but simply because he had no place to go to. Colio didn’t understand how he made her feel better.
“…What are you doing?”
The girl stood up while saying this.
Colio determined there was no reason to tell this girl about killing Hamyuts Meseta. But after thinking about what he wanted to do, he almost couldn’t think of anything else to answer.
“I’m thinking about humans.”
Colio didn’t really understand what she meant by this.
He then asked.
“Was that person who died a human?”
“Of course. Is there a person who’s not human? A Magical Angel? A Librarian Angel? Or some ancient God? You’ve read too much fairytales.”
He didn’t really understand what she was saying. So Colio tried to inquire further.
“Humans are supposed to live while being loved.”
“Right. I loved him. I really loved him.”
The conversation wasn’t really flowing, Colio thought.
“What’s your name?”
The girl asked. Colio decided he didn’t mind answering.
“Such a normal name. I also have a normal name. Ia Mira.”
Ia Mira said while wiping her eyes.
“He also had a normal name.
Cartohelo Mashea. His job was selling bread on the roads.”
“Do you know Cartohelo?”
“…No, I don’t.”
Colio then understood that the person this girl – Ia Mira – was mourning was the bread-selling young man killed by Hyoue’s explosion.
He tried recalling that guy’s face.
But, he could only remember it vaguely.
“You were thinking about humans, right?”
Ia Mira said. Colio nodded.
“Why are you thinking about humans? Aren’t you a human? Are you thinking about yourself?”
“…I’m not a human.”
Saying this, Colio was suddenly grabbed by his wrist. He was surprised to the extent that his heart skipped a beat.
Applying her fingers to Colio’s wrist, Ia Mira then spoke in an anticlimactic manner.
“Huh, you do have a pulse. I’m surprised; I actually thought you weren’t a human.”
Ia said while releasing his hand.
“You are a human. Good.”
Ia seemed to be speaking lively. However, Colio understood she was only doing this to conceal her emotions.
“I’m not a human. Humans are…”
At that moment, the figure of Calico Princess vividly rose inside his mind. He recalled the impact and deep impression he felt during that moment, as well as the beauty of the sunset.
“…Simply too different.”
While Ia seemed to be talking normally, when her words became stuck, she would show a momentary glimpse of a sad expression. Seeing that, Colio wondered if Cartohelo was human. Did he live while loving, being loved and happy – meaning he was a human?
“Tell me about Cartohelo.”
Colio said. Ia looked Surprised.
“You’re so strange. That’s the first time you said something like that.”
“Anything will be fine. Just tell me something.”
Ia still looked a bit confused regarding Colio, but started speaking.
“I was the first to fall in love with him. It was love at first sight. Hey, do you believe in love at first sight?”
He didn’t care. Ia continued.
“Love at first sight exists.
But, people who don’t believe in love at first sight don’t notice it. They realize only later that they have fallen in love.
I was also like that. When I was looking for Cartohelo in places he couldn’t be in and thought about what I was doing, I realized it. I’ve fallen in love at first sight.”
He was not deliberately ignoring her, but he wasn’t seriously listening to her either. Colio made an ambiguous reply.
“Cartohelo had no father and was living alone with his mother. But his mother also died at the time, and since he was working so hard for her, he lost all of his motivation. That’s when I met him by chance.”
She then continued talking about her memories of Cartohelo. They didn’t know each other for too long. Ia was one year younger than him, and they were dating for about two years and a half.
While Carthello was the one to begin speaking with her, it was Ia who confessed to him.
The two were not married yet, but they planned on getting married when their lives became a bit more stable. Ia said that if they were to work hard until the next year’s summer, they would be able to gather enough money to open a shop together. The both of them knew they were not very smart. They also didn’t go to school. But Ia was happy to have Cartohelo more than someone who was just smart and had some money.
To sum up, Ia Mira and Cartohelo Mashea were two extremely average people who met and fell in love in an average manner. Even the drama born between them and the happiness and hard times they obtained were extremely average.
Colio listened to Ia Mira’s story while just staring at her.
There were countless things to tell of. But time was limited.
Unlike Colio who had nothing to do, Ia presumably had a job and a lot of things she had to do.
Ia, who had been talking while crouched down, stood up and said,
“…Well, I’m going to work. Even if Cartohelo’s gone I have to work, and I have to earn money to live.”
Saying this, the two easily parted ways.
The time was midnight. He could roughly guess what sort of job would start at this sort of time in the entertainment district. Even the ignorant Colio could understand that. However, he didn’t really care about such things.
“Was she a human…?”
He couldn’t reach a conclusion. It was too vague for him, so he left the question hanging inside his mind.
A weak wind was blowing.