Arisa and Ellie — 1
I unconsciously jumped toward Edgar who was standing dumbstruck in the middle of the training field.
“Edgar…you survived…I'm glad you survived…I'm so glad…!”
—I was relieved that he didn't die and disappear from me. Despite my heart's aching, I was so happy that I cried. All the while, Edgar brushed my head gently.
“…You finally called me Edgar, huh Ellie.” “…can't I? Do you want me to call you master instead? I don't mind if you're my master, you know?”
I suggested to him with upturned eyes, but he replied with a bitter smile;
“…Edgar is fine. Once again, good to see you, Ellie.”
To Edgar's smile, I smiled back and replied,
As for why I have grown more honest, we would need to look back in time.
After Edgar left me who was jailed in Gram's bas.e.m.e.nt…Arissama appeared before me.
Her eyes concealed coldness, as if she's looking at me like I'm a pebble on the roadside.
As for the reason why the usually kind Arissama changed so gravely…I knew it very well.
I had involved Edgar in this fight…the person who Arissama treasures more dearly than her own life.
“…my apologies, Arissama…because of me, Edgar-sama had to fight…”
Her response to what I said was cold;
“Right. Because of you, Edgar had to make a bitter memory.”
Arissama's voice echoed in the silent bas.e.m.e.nt.
“…It would've been better if you don't exist.” “…kh!”
Arissama directed her killing intent towards me. I felt it by instincts, and my body shudders in response…but then I realized.
Arisa came closer to the cell Ellie was locked up in.¹
And then…she pried open the iron grating with her arms.
With a dull sound, the gratings are crushed.
Who would have thought that a frail-looking girl would be able to twist a metal bar.
It was so unbelievable that it looks foolish.
Ellie shuddered in front of such spectacle.
Aah…she's way beyond me.
She's on a whole different level than me. She's beyond the limits of any creatures, and she's on a different league. Compared to her, maybe I'm just an insect.
Those feelings of resignation immediately dominated over Ellie. If she made the slightest mistake now, she would undoubtedly be killed by her. That was the thought…no, the conviction that appeared in her mind.
As her trembling got worse by the second, her teeth clattered audibly.
“…Get out.” “Yes!”
An immediate answer.
And then, as Ellie exited her cell, Arisa grabbed her by her head and pulled it closer to her face.
Because of her overbearing pressure, Ellie's body froze.
—No, I don't want to die…I don't want to die! Save me save me save me…!
“Ellie. You're weak.”
Her red pupils shone in the darkness.
Her breathing turned more erratic…rougher…shorter. Yet she was strained, as she was unable to draw her breath.
“But aren't you glad that Edgar whom I loved so, so dearly is willing to save you. It seems like he wants to rescue you.”
Ellie doesn't avert her eyes from Arisa. She couldn't.
Her instincts told her that this is the closest she's been to death.
“So listen, Ellie. I'll let you live for now.” “……kh………k……kh!”
—Is that true? Then why are you showing your killing intent so strongly that I feel like throwing up?
“You're only alive thanks to Edgar.”
As she said that, her bloodl.u.s.t dissipates. In that moment, Ellie—”KHAA!?” resumed breathing, coughing at the start before her respiration returned to normal. Ellie was so overwhelmed with fear that she forgot to breathe.
After she calmed her breathing, she wondered whether she should thank her or not; she didn't know what to express. She couldn't muster a response to what Arisa just said. It's as if her head is no longer working.
—Her life was saved. There are no leeway in her brain to think about anything else.
And then, Arisa hugged Ellie.
“Hey, Ellie?” “Arissama…” “What do you live for?” “…right now…it's for the revenge of my family…” “Are you willing to risk your life for it?” “…yes…I think so.”
Arisa chuckled at such ambiguous answer.
“You barely have a resolution, have you.”
Saying that, Arisa lets go of Ellie.
“When I first saw you, you were thinking of nothing but revenge. I thought we were the same at that time; lost in our devotion to one thing.”
Arisa hated how she saw a part of her in Ellie.
“But I feel that that part of you is missing now.”
“—! That's impossible!” Ellie sprung up, “I am really taking revenge for my family! For that sake, I'm willing to put my life on the line!” “But as you live peacefully and happily with Edgar, you realized that everyday life had become something important to you. You've come to love that place where you could belong.” “—! …no, that's not it…that's not possible…!”
As she hugged her head, as she wept, as she cried, she desperately denied it.
“You also stopped thinking of Edgar as just a stranger, don't you? After all, he's the person who bestowed happiness onto you who was caged down in the depths of despair…the only person who said that he treasures you.”
——no, NO NO!!! I'm not that weak! I'm…I don't need a family anymore! Someone to treasure…they're just going to be my weakness!
…then why am I crying right now!?
Why am I suffering!?
“Then you'll have to choose. Live to avenge your family…or live for your new family.”
Arisa's hand wiped Ellie's tears away.
“Obviously it's for my rev…!” “Can you? Can you do it, as weak as you are? You have nothing on your own. Not power, not wealth. As strong as you said you are, you just lost to Gram. What can you do then?”
Ellie couldn't answer. Her answer wouldn't come out. It's impossible. It truly is. In truth, she already know that it's impossible for her. But…But… It's unthinkable for me!
“That's why you ran away to Edgar, didn't you?” “That's…wrong…that's not ittt…!”
It was too late to deny it. The doubt in her heart had grown larger.
—Besides, I won't even be able to exact my revenge. Why do I have to go through hardships to do something I can't even do?
No! No! No! I have to avenge them! I have to avenge my family! For my family…!
…but what is family? What is this family that has been tormenting me so?
Even though Edgar is trying so hard to rescue me… to save me…
“What you're doing is…plain betrayal”, said Arisa, hugging Ellie's head gently.
At that time, an explosion erupted outside. The fight between Edgar and Gram had started.
Meanwhile, Ellie's head is in disarray
—My family. —Edgar who is currently fighting for me… —What should I do? What should I do?
“Hey Ellie. Be my disciple. Not just an extra for playing house like before, but my real disciple this time. I'll teach you the quintessence of all spells in the world. On top of that, I'll also teach you how to utilize your feelings. How to use that mad devotion2a, and who you should devote it to.” “…!” “But you will stop being the you right now. You must change, for you are weak, and you can't become stronger as you are.” “…what do you mean?” Arisa chuckles, “What I'm trying to say is that in exchange to become stronger you need to throw your current self away and lose yourself2b.”
She's a devil. No… —She's a Witch.
To become stronger, to protect something you hold dear, you have to sell your soul to a witch——It's like a fairy tale.
“If I become stronger…can I kill everything…?” “Yeah, of course.” “If I become stronger…can I protect anything…?” “Yeah, of course.” “If I become stronger…can I obtain everything?”
Ellie lifts raised her face for that person.
The one who is fighting for me right now. The one who saved me. The one who brought me out from the h.e.l.l of revenge. The one new member of my family. The one I hold dear. Edgar.
—I'll take it.
The moment those words pa.s.sed through her lips, a light shiver ran through Ellie's body. It's a feeling she's never felt before. The feeling of immorality…strong enough to make her tremble. It was not fear that caused this.
—It was excitement. Ellie was elated. At last, Ellie had become aware of what she wants to do
She will not be able to return.
She felt like she was born anew. She longs for Edgar.
—It was a pleasant feeling.
It is a feeling that she wants to yield to.
Her body trembles as if anguished. And as if she'd been waiting for those words, Arisa smiled from ear-to-ear.
“Of course, my disciple.”
¹ The raw switched perspective back and forth between first and third person. Usually I would put outliers (inner thoughts within third person narrative or a third person narrative within a normally first person narrative) in italics, but at this point I don't know which one is the main one so…
² Arisa said it before in how Ellie (and her) were “lost in our(their) devotion to one thing”. The translation literally says something about “going crazy/mad”, in these points, Arisa is talking about how she could use that “craziness” (2a) and “throwing your current self and go crazy” (2b), but it feels too coa.r.s.e if I translate it as it is, so I made some change and put the context here.
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