Chapter 16 – I tried deciding the plan going forward
“Thank goodness you’re both all right!”
It’s after I ended the calamity, and El and I return home to Mister Sirius’ and Miss Reina’s concerned voices.
“Hm… But what was that? I felt the ground rumbling, and before I knew it there were corpses of monsters lying on the ground… I don’t understand any of this, but from what I hear, some sort of ‘mysterious hero’ took down the monsters.”
Says Mister Sirius while peeking my way.
“Do you know anything, Chrom?”
“Well, you were outside of town, weren’t you?”
“Y-yes, I was…”
I’m pretty sure he figured out I did something…
But that doesn’t mean I can give him an honest answer.
I don’t want their peace to be destroyed because of me.
“Well, apparently it was all resolved very quickly, so it probably wasn’t that big of a deal.”
“I see… If you say so, it’s probably true.”
Mister Sirius nods like he’s accepting my answer, at least for now.
“It seems an adventurer survey team will be sent tomorrow… But I hope it really was nothing.”
“Hn? What’s wrong?”
It looks like I still caused some commotion.
“It’s your birthday, so don’t make that gloomy face! The food is getting cold too!”
“We made your favorite hamburger steak!”
I get to enjoy a modest birthday, and eat the food El and Miss Reina made for me.
The food I didn’t get to enjoy the first time around.
It really makes me feel like the future has changed.
“Ah, that’s right Chrom…”
Miss Reina says while placing one hand on her cheek, like she just remembered something.
“Did you talk to Labrys before you came back?”
“Eh, Labrys? I didn’t.”
“Hm, so you must have missed each other.
She brought you a birthday present.”
El and I react with surprise.
“Chrom… Did you two make up?”
“Yes, well… Maybe?”
We did promise to be friends, but it’s still unexpected.
That Labrys got me a birthday present…
(…She was supposed to be in the capital at that point, the first time around.)
That’s how she survived the calamity.
(…Did I change history there too?)
Is it because our relationship changed?
It sounds like she missed her chance to give me that present because it was late, and because of all that ruckus.
She probably gathered up her courage and brought it to me as a symbol of us making up.
I’m honestly happy about this change.
“I’ll accept it tomorrow if I see her.”
It’s one more thing to look forward to in this future.
After dinner, I go back to my room and sit on a chair.
I tried not to show it to them, but my whole body is kind of in tatters.
I cough, and some blood comes out.
Fighting a demon king and a monster stampede is too much for this body from when I was a failure to handle.
I move a little, and feel an intense pain inside my body, like it’s being burned.
I guess the strain on my magic energy circuits twisted them temporarily, and that’s interfering with my ability to use magic too.
(…I need to take it easy for a while.)
Oh well, I’m actually used to this level of pain, so it won’t really affect my daily life that much.
I don’t want to worry El and the others either.
I should still be able to fight too, unless it’s something like a demon king of course.
(Still… This is nostalgic.)
I take a look around my room as it’s illuminated by the magic stone lantern, to take my mind off the pain.
I didn’t really get to have a good look at it in the morning.
(Ah, this book…)
I casually grab a textbook about magic that was sitting on my desk.
It’s a book I read a lot at this time.
The pages are worn-out from turning so much.
Now that I think about it, I couldn’t use any magic at all, but still studied and practiced it every single day.
All to become strong enough to one day repay and protect everyone.
(Uwa… Looking at it now, this is pretty low level stuff.)
I smile without thinking as I look through the textbook.
I used to struggle with such basic stuff.
(Eh… So there was a time when these were established theories… This method of magic energy manipulation is pretty inefficient, isn’t it…? Eh? Mages of this time couldn’t activate magic without an invocation body 《staff》!?)
There’s so much that doesn’t make sense from the perspective of a hundred years in the future.
(Still… This really makes me feel the weight that is a hundred years time.)
Magic advanced rapidly from this point forward, in part because of the outbreak of demon kings.
Most theories of this time were updated.
This underdeveloped magic theory is probably the reason why I was labeled as having zero talent and thrown out of my home…
But that led to me meeting people like El and Labrys, so it’s fine.
(I should review some magic theory from this era.)
If I accidentally say something that doesn’t match this age’s theory, it could be trouble.
I definitely want to keep it a secret that I’m from the future.
And because of this, I start reading the books piled up here.
This stuff is all light reading, so I can read a volume in about three minutes and remember it.
I sigh after reading the last one.
“Ah, are you done?”
El’s face is right next to me.
“You finally noticed… Your ability to concentrate is incredible.”
“W-when did you…”
“Hm… About half an hour ago?”
“Half an hour… And you didn’t get tired of looking at me?”
“Fueh!? W-well… No.”
El hurries to try to change the subject.
“More importantly, You read really quickly.
Did you even understand anything?”
“Well, I’ve read them all before.”
“I see… You’re always working so hard, Chrom…”
El smiles lightly.
“You always say you’re going to become a strong hero that protects everyone.”
Did I say that sort of thing a hundred years ago?
It’s kind of embarrassing, like someone’s digging up my dark history.
We keep chatting for a bit, as I’m sure we did everyday in this age.
Just light, casual talk.
I think I’m getting too into it though, because El is talking less and less.
She rubs her sleepy eyes, and falls back on my bed, where she was sitting.
She says with sleepy eyes and a drowsy smile.
“I hope this peace never ends.”
“But… Don’t overdo it.”
“Chrom, sometimes… It feels like you’re trying too hard.
I think you’re actually holding back something painful and forcing a smile.”
I don’t say anything.
I thought I was doing a good job pretending to be calm, but I guess she saw right through me.
“…That’s not true.”
I answer after a while, but El is already sleeping.
I put a blanket on top of her, and stroke her hair before leaving.
(I hope this peace never ends… She said.)
I hope so too, from the bottom of my heart.
And I’ll make sure it never does, no matter how much I have to strain myself.
That was my entire reason for living a hundred years ago.
I put my hand on the wall, and open my mouth.
I hear a sound… And something like a ripple of magic energy spreads through the walls.
The time of this house’s outer walls and windows has stopped.
I used a concealment technique using a formula from a hundred years in the future, so mages from this era shouldn’t notice any changes even if they look directly at it.
Since the time of this house has stopped, nothing should harm it unless the technique is undone from the inside.
We should be safe even if we’re attacked during the night.
(…I just hope I’m being paranoid.)
This calamity is over, but that doesn’t mean I can relax.
After all, this calamity was just the beginning.
I know that very well.
(…The second demon king will be born soon.)
Demon kings were born in succession, even though it should happen once every few centuries.
That was definitely not a coincidence.
After all, these demon king births weren’t natural disasters, they were man-made calamities.
The Ancestral Dragon Verboros, who was slain in ancient times, just happened to be revived in a low level dungeon, and thousands of monsters that shouldn’t be there accompanied him.
And those monsters just happened to go straight to this town… It’s all too convenient.
This calamity was brought about by a demon king transformation experience conducted in the underground dungeon of Almana.
And the ones behind it were… The Sorcerer Association.
A mage organization that holds immense power here in the Centaur continent.
In this world that revolves around magic, mages have a lot of authority.
In particular, the twelve sages that rule on top of them all.
Each one is powerful enough to shake this whole continent.
(…Well, the first time around I was number one.)
The first time around, I joined them even though I knew they were my enemies, all to gain power.
And I climbed to the top.
That’s why I managed to read documents that were secret to all outsiders, and learned that the association was connected to the birth of demon kings.
A lot of documents from this time had been lost, but… I assume they were actually concealed by other sages, who had the same authority.
(…This time, I’ll crush them from the source.)
In the future, I was always one step behind the demon kings, since I never knew where they would pop up.
But here in the past, I should be able to stop them as soon as they’re born.
I’ll make it so it’s like those historic demon king births never even happened.
That means that this time I’ll have to go against the Sorcerer Association.
The twelve sages that were once my comrades will all be my enemies.
But I don’t care.
(…I’ll create a peaceful era without demon kings.)
I go to bed with this resolve in my heart.
And thus, my first day in the past comes to an end.
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