Chapter 78: Scarecrow
「…No. You are actually wrong about me. I’m not going to put my life in the hands of a delusional princess raised in a comfortable greenhouse. Moreover, I’m going to tell you this, so listen well. I have no intention of dying.」
As soon as I uttered those words, I closed my mouth immediately. I felt that my expression quivered a little.
Ah, I said it. I definitely spilled out those words. Nope, I mustn’t feel this way. I didn’t care about the consequences anymore. I just had to say what I felt. Nothing else. I didn’t want to be stuck to other people. I’d rather have her following me, than me following her.
If I succumbed to her words, I wouldn’t change anything about my personal resolutions. However, her eyes intensified. I wanted to avoid her strong gaze, so I held my head down. I felt that her blue eyes were chasing me. My soul was still trapped after all. But, as I said, I had no intention of trying to escape from here without a proper plan. I didn’t want my life to end because of irrational strategies.
Nonetheless, my lips, which should’ve been firm after I spoke, got distorted. The end of my eyes began to shake. My knees were losing strength. I started to feel fear. A momentary void filled the whole room. No voice. No sound. It was too quiet for my taste. It felt as if it was the calm before the storm.
I forced my expression one more time, and slowly raised my face. Eldith’s blue eyes were visible. Oh gosh, those eyes. Yes, those very eyes. I feared those glittering eyes.
Her big eyes were widened to the maximum. The whole iris of her entire blue eyes were indignant. My words weren’t wrong. I was sure of that. But, her eyes told me that she was irritated with my bold response.
I was convinced during this time. If I had said those words in the past, I would be dead by now. I felt so much frustration. What a dangerous bridge that I’ve crossed right now.
At this precise moment, Eldith didn’t take my life herself because of her current position. Even though she was a prisoner, she was still a noble. Unlike the past where she didn’t care about anything around her, this current Eldith still wasn’t like that. She probably valued the teachings of her father. At least for now. And that belief was the thin thread that connected me to my life.
Scared. I was so scared that it felt extremely unbearable.
「What the hell. So, you really haven’t given up yet. You lied to me.」
Eldith’s piercing words engulfed the whole space. The last bit of her voice quivered slightly, as if she was struck by burning emotions. She gritted her back teeth and continued to speak.
「I hate this. I hate people who don’t take responsibility for their words. In the end, you’re just saying big words just to make yourself look better…」
Behind her anger was contemptuous feelings as well. Her sarcastic voice made it seem as if she laughed bitterly at some insect singing. Her eyes looked at me with ridicule and hate.
Damn it. What the hell was I doing now? My tongue didn’t move, and I noticed that my sweat was falling down from my face to my neck.
Now I understood. I knew that I shouldn’t let her talk like this. I had to stop the ongoing flow of words that came from her mouth. I had to do something. At least, I had to defend myself and stop her from acting hysterical.
But, what happened to me? My body couldn’t move. I couldn’t even move my tongue. I tried to move my eyes and realized that neither my body nor brain were trying to move. What was this thing?
Even the flow of the wind teased my ears and mocked me.
「…After all, you are all the same. You think that you are someone great, but you are nothing. In fact, I heard that you were an infamous person. But, that’s all. I don’t know what kind of luck you’ve got, but don’t forget that when there are allies, there are enemies as well.」
…She really thought that I was a worthless human.
Yes, the Elf Princess continued with her scornful words.
How great. Indeed, how great. Besides my likely death, I put myself into a greater trouble.
What was this feeling? I knew exactly what happened to me. My heart was still buried in fear, and my mind flickered as if I was crushed like a bug. This was an unmistakable fact.
However, something different was gushing out from the bottom of my chest.
This feeling was different from the angry resentment I had once. The fear that covered my whole body was also different. I didn’t know how to describe this emotion.
But, one thing was clear.
After all, no matter where I went, I was still a little rat. Finally, my mouth opened.
「…I don’t need you to tell me that, Princess. I’m not dumb. But, I can’t change my fate no matter where I go. That’s right. No matter how hard I try, I will always remain as a small and insignificant rat. I tried to grasp confidence with this hand, but it’s been hard to hold on to it.」
Before I knew it, I could move again. I stood out of my bed. My view, which should’ve been cloudy, was clear now. My heart’s pulsation, which shrunk to fear, was thriving freely.
I spoke aloud with unswaying words to the blue eyes that looked quite upsetting at me.
「But, you see. There’s one thing that I agree with you. An ally and an enemy. I truly have those. Yes, an unmistakable ally and enemy…That hero. That’s the only thing that I’m convinced about, and my feelings will never change about it. That’s unquestionable.」
That was correct. I hardly had confidence in myself. Rather, how could I even be confident in the first place? I “crawled in the ground” in order to achieve small moments of glory. Summing up, I survived by selling off my dignity.
I perfectly knew that some specific people were able to live without hardships. A feat that was achieved quite easily, and without having the need to degrade their bodies. Yes, unlike me. The master of swordsmanship, the genius of witchcraft, and the unmistakable hero.
They were the pride of my heart and, at the same time, my hateful enemies. What complicated emotions. I couldn’t explain it in a single word. All I knew is that I couldn’t help but hate them, and hate myself too. I felt quite ridiculous for having these silly thoughts.
Ah, I felt that my lips began to quiver again because of fear.
「Actually, you are the one who is making excuses now.」
Despite my growing fear, I continued to speak with Eldith. I managed to open my lips to say what I felt inside of my heart. It felt quite astonishingly. I had to overcome this fear in order to face her with self-assurance.
After I spoke those words, I felt a comfort that crawled from my spine to my heart. It was a good feeling. I was now trampling on the horrors of the past.
That’s why I couldn’t avoid her now. I had to keep pushing things forward in order to achieve some development.
「Excuses, you say? What excuses do I have? Just speak for yourself.」
Eldith’s lips trembled as she replied to my words. I noticed that her gaze changed. It felt somewhat powerless.
「You are the one who wants to give up, Eldith. So, you are the one who’s making excuses. Not me. You’re trying to give up on your own will.」
I thought that this woman had conflicted feelings as well. The mocking color of her eyes disappeared when I confronted her directly. She showed a totally different color now. I had no doubt about it. Ah, this was going on the right direction. If this ended up well, then I wouldn’t have to step on my own. That was the relief that I sought.
I knew those feelings very well.
After all, Eldith’s heart was still undecided. It meant that she didn’t exactly give up. She just uttered those mocking words in order to provoke me, even though she didn’t want to admit it herself. I just hoped that she’d say to Valianne tomorrow that she was just telling a joke. I didn’t want to die just yet.
Yes, I saw through her face that she was in conflict with herself. Her cheeks were dyed with shame, and her eyes were swaying, but she couldn’t speak.
It was impossible for me to notice this before because I lost my sanity in the past journey.
Eldith, the Elf Princess, I now know that you were different from the other members of the Rescue Party. Caria Burdnick, Filaret La Volgograd, and Helot Stanley. She wasn’t a hero as capable and spirited as they were. She was, on the other hand, a sad woman that kept on living with the only power she had.
But, I knew it different. In fact, she was a woman who had a meaningful power. And yet, she was imprisoned alone on this Tower, and unable to go outside.
Her deep roots were strong, but miserable. She was the same as me.
「Princess. As I said, I can’t bet my life in your hands. So, you must be the one to put your life in my hands. Let us both get involved in my flow and survive this. It’s time for you to stop running and face your own problems.」
Eldith couldn’t say a word back to me upon hearing my statement. Her eyes quivered, and then, she closed them. All I could see was her blue eyes shaking in confusion.
Yeah, I hoped that I swayed her with my words. I thought that I would have a chance to change someone’s mind if it were with this woman.
She wasn’t a hero who held her emotions in the palm of her hands, but a scarecrow who was swayed by emotions. Yes, emotions that were similar to mine.
Eldith, if you feel like me, if you accept my words, if you are truly like that, you won’t be my enemy anymore.
Quite interesting…Somehow, I feel that Lugis is accepting Eldith faster than he did with Caria and Filaret…After all, he hated those two for mistreating him, but he feared Eldith. Quite different if we see it that way…
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