『…What does that mean?』
The hero, chosen by Jibru?
Jibru created the hero to dispose of the Demon King—the Emperor Beast Agil?
But wait, there’s more.
The last phrase sticks in my mind.
―――You are Jibru’s son, the one she loved most, and also the one she ‘opposed’ the most.
『What does it mean that Jibru ‘hostile’ towards me?』
I may say it myself, but Jibru is definitely doting.
Not that I want to be spoiled, but there shouldn’t be anything to hate… Come to think of it, I’ve never really thought of her as a parent…
「That statement isn’t very calm. What do you mean, you old hag?」
Elibel nods in affirmation to my words.
「It means exactly what it says. Jibru deeply loves you, and at the same time, sees you as an enemy. Do you know why?」
Even if you say that, I have no idea.
At most, I once refused her invitation to come to her dungeon.
But I thought she had understood in the end.
Then, Léna-Lloyd heaves a deep sigh.
「So, I see. Well, you don’t quite understand your own situation, so it can’t be helped, I guess.」
『What do you mean』
Casually, Léna-Lloyd tosses a purple strawberry into her mouth.
「When I made a contract with Agil, I became able to see what you’d call someone’s soul.」
What is she talking about all of a sudden?
「Souls are interesting. They reveal the essence of a person much better than appearances or words. A bad person has a clouded soul, while a pure one has a clear-colored soul. Depending on personality, the colors differ greatly. For example, Eli has a clear blue soul.」
Elibel looks confused as the conversation suddenly turns to her.
「My intense shyness aside, I liked Eli from the moment I saw her. I had never seen someone with such a clear soul before.」
As Léna-Lloyd praises Elibel dreamily, I can’t help but feel conflicted.
A clear soul? Her?
She’s a character-breaker with a penchant for little girls.
And don’t make such a pleased face, Elibel.
「So, your soul has a strange color.」
「Yeah. Or rather—frankly, you have ‘two’ souls.」
Two souls… could it be…
「The soul of the Earth Dragon that was supposed to be born. And your soul as a reincarnated person. Both souls exist in your body.」
Léna-Lloyd makes an ‘X’ with her fingers.
「Normally, a person has one soul. Coexistence is impossible, but you’re the impossible case that actually happened. Well, I’ve seen similar cases before.」
Even so… I can’t really feel it.
I instinctively place my hand over my chest.
As a vessel, I can’t hear a heartbeat.
「Have you ever felt like you weren’t yourself? Like you were acting out of character?」
Now that she mentions it, I have felt that way.
That state of mental reversal using the white powder.
And the inner conflict when I refused Jibru’s offer.
It was as if I was talking to someone else inside my mind.
But still… even if you say that…
「Last time I saw it, the two were beautifully separate. But now, the two souls are perfectly blended.」
『…Is that what you were talking about earlier?』
―――I was just thinking how much more you’ve blended in compared to before. You used to stand out like oil and water.
Is that what she meant about my soul?
Elibel puts her hand on her chin, lost in thought.
A soul, huh.
The original soul of the Earth Dragon.
And then, my soul, the reincarnated one.
I can’t help but wonder.
Right now, is it really “me” who’s thinking?
Could it be the Earth Dragon’s soul doing the thinking, not mine?
No, both are me. But the question sends a shiver down my spine, as if the foundation of who I’ve been is crumbling away.
Léna-Lloyd dispels the unease as if sweeping it away.
「Don’t worry. From what I see, the dominant personality is yours, the reincarnated one. So, you don’t have to feel uneasy about that. Relax.」
Her tone is remarkably cheerful.
Is she trying to make me feel better?
「And didn’t I tell you? Now they’re properly mixed together. It’s not that one or the other is ‘you.’ They’re both ‘you’ now. So there’s no need to feel anxious.」
『Even if you say that… being told something like this out of the blue, of course, I’m going to feel confused and anxious.』
「Well, yeah. Sorry about that.」
She doesn’t seem to be too bothered by it.
And there she goes, drinking wine again.
『So, how does this relate to what you were saying earlier?』
「Hm? Oh, yeah.」
Léna-Lloyd makes a thoughtful gesture as if she’s pondering something.
「Actually, before that, tell me your name already. We’re from the same hometown back then. It’s only fair you’d tell me your name, right?」
Oh, had I not introduced myself?
I thought for sure she knew.
『My name is Kirishima Aoba. You know that, right?』
From the way she’s been talking, it seems obvious she knows my name.
Against my expectation, Léna-Lloyd lets out a dumbfounded sound.
As if my response is completely unexpected.
「Eh? Huh? Wait, what? Sorry, say that again.」
『There’s nothing to repeat. My name is Kirishima Aoba. The adventurer with the nickname ‘Thunder Slash.’ That’s the name and face from my past life. Both Elibel and I wanted to know that, which is why we came to see you… Or rather, you were the one who approached us first.』
Ah, no, maybe the nuance is a bit different.
Léna-Lloyd places her hand over her mouth, deep in thought.
Her expression is more serious than ever.
「What’s wrong, you old hag?」
Elibel asks with a puzzled look, but Léna-Lloyd doesn’t answer.
「That’s weird. Because Aoba is originally… No, but could it be possible? Even if it’s a coincidence, it’s too much. If that’s the case, then Jibru’s actions during the recent Death Dragon incident were… Ah, I see. That’s what it is. That’s why, during Agil’s time too… Oh, what have I done…」
「Hey, you old hag, stop coming to conclusions by yourself. Explain what you mean.」
Elibel, unable to watch any longer, grabs Léna-Lloyd’s shoulder and shakes her.
Then, as if snapping back to reality, Léna-Lloyd suddenly looks alert.
「Ah, oh yeah. That’s right, Eli. Sorry about that. Now, let me explain properly—.」
And just as she’s about to explain—Léna-Lloyd suddenly spits out a great deal of blood.
Blood gushes from her mouth in a thick gurgle.
Unbeknownst to us, a hole had opened in her chest.
A hole the size of a baseball.
Obeying gravity, Léna-Lloyd collapses.
We rush over in a panic.
What in the world just happened?
「―――Talked too much, didn’t you, witch? Wanting to be punished, are you?」
A voice breaks the silence.
We snap our heads around to its source.
Someone stands at the door.
「The Reynold’s estate is in such a state. I methodically checked all likely places, and it seems luck is on my side. Bingo at the first spot.」
A nun in pure white robes stands there.
But in her hands, incongruous with her serene outfit, are enormous guns, smoke rising from their barrels.
Did she do this?
There was no sound of a gun firing?
Rugios is furious.
He reaches for the great sword on his back, aiming to strike her down.
But in an instant, his movement halts.
「What… this is…」
It’s not just Rugios.
Elibel and I find ourselves unable to move as well.
Is this… some kind of restraint magic?
There was no sign of any magic being cast.
「Sorry, but I had to restrain you. It’s troublesome if you move around. Besides, you’ve killed so many of our comrades, I should really kill you right now.」
The voice now comes from the direction of the table.
I shift my eyes to see a girl in the traditional attire of the Wano Country, small enough to be in elementary school, sitting there.
I recognize this child…
She’s in Fafnir’s visual records.
She was with the adventurer Lau Lan Fan, who tried to destroy Fafnir during the Death Dragon incident.
Her name is… surely…
Rugios glares hatefully at the girl—Suiren.
But Suiren simply snorts.
She slides off the table and moves next to the nun.
「I warned you, witch.」
A sharp pain cracks through my head as if I’ve been struck, at the sound of her voice.
This nagging pain, a recent burden.
It always strikes when I think of a certain person.
A figure emerges from the shadow of the door.
A man in his twenties, dressed in the traditional attire of the Wano Country, with a sharp gaze.
「―――This time, I’ll be the one to come see you.」
“Thunder Slash” Kirishima Aoba stands there.
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