Infringing upon the subconscious.
Gray repeatedly talked about how her dreams with Roger had invaded Vivian’s subconscious. Vivian struggled to recall a past she couldn’t even remember and absently massaged her temple. Simultaneously, a question arose, and she cautiously opened her mouth.
“How can spirit magic be transferred to someone else?”
“Even minor contact can make it possible. Holding hands or touching the face, for example.”
“…I awakened at the age of 14, so there weren’t many instances of minor contact before that, were there?”
“Of course, it wouldn’t have transferred to everyone. If it did, the spirit magic in your body would have disappeared completely. This is a rare and unusual situation, to say the least. It’s not a common occurrence. Also, I know that when magic is transferred from a sorcerer to someone else, there is an immediate response. I don’t know what that response is, though.”
What Gray was trying to convey was that if the magic had truly transferred, there should have been an appropriate reaction. However, no matter how hard she thought, she couldn’t remember anything. A handsome face was never present in her memories before the age of 14.
Instead of the elusive memories, curiosity she had kept buried for a long time resurfaced.
“Come to think of it, he said he started having dreams before me.”
“Yes, I only learned about dreams because of him.”
“But how did that man know it was a dream?”
“Well, I told him…”
Gray’s expression turned incredulous.
“What in the world are you saying? He started having dreams before you did, so how did you explain dreams to him?”
“I don’t really understand it myself. On the day I had my first dream, he said I woke up as if I had died and come back to life, and my personality had changed. He said he had to tell me about dreams…”
Gray clenched his fist while pondering the incomprehensible story. After a while, he let out a short sigh.
“You may not remember, but if you did indeed encounter that man when you were young and the power of spirit magic was transferred, it’s not so much that you attracted him into your dream… it was your instinct.”
“Yes. Even if it was transferred to that man, it’s still your power. Because it was in an incomplete state when it was transferred to him, your power drew him into the dream.”
It was a difficult story, one that made her want to ask if it was even possible. According to Gray’s assumption, Vivian met Roger when she was young. However, no matter how much she ransacked her mind, she couldn’t recall any memories.
In truth, there was no time to dwell on such trivial past events. The deed was already done, so the priority was finding a solution.
“First, we need to recover the spirit magic quickly. We can do that by reuniting with that man.”
“…Is there really no other way?”
“I don’t know what the problem is, but if releasing your s3xual desires is the key, then it doesn’t matter who it’s with.”
Vivian felt a lump in her throat at Gray’s advice.
If it was important to release her desires as her teacher said, and if it was difficult to do so with Roger, then she should find someone else. However, strangely, just imagining being with someone else made her feel sick. Merely imagining it caused her body and mind to react with disgust.
Mixing her body with Roger was frightening, but it was different. The thought clarified that what Vivian feared wasn’t the act of s3x itself but the fact that she didn’t know these other people.
“By the way, if you understood the conditions, you should have told me earlier. Why are you bringing this up now? I came to see you on the day you left, wondering if there was anything you wanted to say, and you didn’t say a word, so I thought you still didn’t know.”
Gray threw his hands up in exasperation. Vivian, lost in deep thought, had nothing to say and scratched her cheek with a perplexed expression.
“No… but I didn’t start having dreams until a year after awakening. And how can I talk about such private matters…”
“Sigh… Young ladies…”
Gray looked at Vivian as if he couldn’t quite believe he was dealing with such a naive young woman. Although she felt unfairly scolded, this time it was clearly her fault, so she just chewed on her lips without saying a word. Then, a thought occurred to her, and she looked up.
“What about you, Master?”
“What about me?”
“Why did you write that letter, then? I couldn’t understand a word of it! So I told you to change your handwriting.”
Gray covered his ears with his hands and made an annoyed face. It was a reaction he had seen many times when his student criticized him.
“As soon as the commission is over, I might have some free time, so I’ll come to where you are.”
In her wildest dreams, Vivian had never imagined that those scribbled characters would hold such a meaning.
“Rather, why didn’t you ask Camilla to transcribe it for you? I couldn’t understand a word, so I sent a response. Did you receive that one?”
“No. I didn’t. Did you send it to Natura?”
Vivian’s carefully penned letter had arrived at the place Gray had left. Nevertheless, they were together now, so there was no need to get angry or be bewildered about what had happened.
“But what’s all this fuss about? Why did you ask Camilla to take on a commission? I heard you practically gave her an advance fee almost equivalent to what you’d receive upon the success of the commission.”
Gray chuckled heartily, saying the customer had huge pockets, and then he looked out of the reception room window.
“Oh, it’s raining.”
Then, he stopped laughing and muttered in a small voice. Vivian also glanced out the window. As her teacher had described, fine raindrops as thin as needles were falling diagonally. The transparent window was gradually getting wet with moisture.
“Weren’t they supposed to be back by now?”
In response to Gray’s words, Vivian nodded and turned her gaze outside. In that brief moment, the clear sky had been covered with a grayish tint. Seeing the sunlight that had been pouring down being obscured by the thick clouds felt stifling, as if it had somehow become trapped inside her as well.
Perhaps that’s why an uneasiness she wouldn’t normally feel filled her chest with a heavy discomfort.
From a distance, the raindrops were so thin that you couldn’t tell if it was raining or not. In the blink of an eye, they thickened. She had hoped it was just a passing shower, but the rain continued unabated. Now, it was pouring so heavily that visibility had become almost nonexistent.
The group that had gone out had returned to the mansion much later than expected. Despite wearing robes, they were drenched, and their dark, water-stained expressions conveyed equally grave news.
“Multiple cracks have appeared simultaneously.”
Vivian, handing them towels, turned her head in surprise. Roger, wiping his sleeves, couldn’t distinguish between sweat and rain. His now clearly visible face was a mix of bewilderment.
“Why did they appear in the village of all places…?”
“In the village? Not outside the city walls?”
There had never been any cracks inside the city walls until now, not in the several hundred years that the western region had been plagued by the cracks.
So why had they suddenly appeared in the village?
“Yes. We need to prepare and go out again.”
The knights, like a manifestation of Roger’s words, were shifting their feet and hurrying about, still wearing their wet robes.
Preparations were quickly completed. Vivian, who had been momentarily stunned by the sudden situation, soon descended to the first floor, wearing her robe just like the knights.
Standing in the center and holding a map, Roger noticed Vivian coming down the stairs and frowned. However, he turned his gaze back to what he was doing, as there was work to be done, and issued further instructions.
Memorizing the tasks assigned by Roger, the knights hurriedly left the mansion. By the time Vivian reached the hallway, they had already departed.
“Lady Vivian, please remain inside.”
Vivian was taken aback. Part of it might have been because she rarely heard formal speech, but it was mostly because his normally gentle tone sounded particularly rigid today. It could have been due to the tension of the situation, but she couldn’t help but feel that his demeanor had changed.
After a momentary stiffness, Vivian regained her composure and tilted her head. Despite the urgent situation and the pouring rain, everyone was running around busily outside. How could she, alone, stay comfortably inside the mansion?
“I’m going too.”
With determination in her voice, Roger clenched his fist. Then, he once again blocked Vivian’s path as she attempted to pass.
“No. Please stay inside.”
Vivian’s face darkened slightly after being stopped twice. She shot a look at Roger that seemed to ask why he was doing this when there was no time to spare, but he didn’t flinch.
“Lady Vivian, you must not leave.”
The vice-captain, Ben, who had been standing by the door, spoke urgently.
“We don’t have time for this. Please…”
“Stay inside, my Lady.”
Vivian felt as if her opinions were being disregarded, and it made her teary-eyed.
“Sir, I’m going!”
“What can the Lady do if she goes out now? You can’t even use elemental magic in your current state!”
His deep voice resonated throughout the spacious hall.
Adjusting her robe, Vivian’s trembling fingers shook. The voice was more heart-wrenching than the rain beating on her ears.
As Roger had said, Vivian was in the worst possible condition, unable to use her abilities. However, she was acutely aware of it, perhaps more than anyone else.
That’s why she had felt so despairing when she woke up this morning. She feared becoming a burden overnight, with her elemental magic taken away, clinging to someone else’s ankle. She feared not being able to help others, but rather, being treated like baggage.
Confirming exactly what she had anticipated from his words, each sentence pierced her heart like an arrowhead.
When she displayed a hurt expression, Roger regretted his words. No matter how urgent the situation was, he shouldn’t have spoken like this. But there was no time to clarify the misunderstanding now.
“…Please don’t come.”
Roger turned his body hesitantly. However, once he had fully turned away, there was no sign of hesitation.
Vivian watched his fading figure with weary eyes, as if chasing after a ghost, until he disappeared outside the door.
TL’s note: Like what is this heartbreak? ;-;