The Boy, Part Six
“Let’s go to the library.” That’s how I interpret it.
“What’s a library?” I ask.
“A lot of books.”
Ah, I get it. “Why?”
Well, if you think about it, it’s true that we can find something useful from there. Maybe there’s a book that explains what those Followers truly are. Or maybe this—?
“Oh no…” She interrupts my train of thoughts.
“Huh?” I follow her gaze to see what’s horrifying her, only to be horrified myself. The door I worked so hard to seal for good didn’t hold. That monster is running amok somewhere here.
“It broke through?”
“Apparently,” She replies.
We better go to the library, and fast. As soon as we find what she’s looking for, we’ll have to look for a way to get rid of that monster.
I’m skimming through the bookshelves, hoping to find something I can read. I kinda can’t read well, but as long as I’m given time, it should be fine.
She walks over to me, handing me a book. I wonder what it is. What attracts more attention than the book is her smile. It’s as if she was hoping that I’d find something from this book. I shake my head, I can’t read this.
The disappointment in her eyes is clear. I’m sorry, but what can’t be read just won’t be read. She goes back to the section where she picked that book.
Let’s see, I’ve found a few books in my language, but they weren’t much of a use to me. If I got it right, one was about cooking, whereas one other was about ores.
Before long, she’s walking over to me with a different book. Oh well, let’s see. I hope I can read this one as I don’t want to see her disappointed face again.
The title is nonsensical, but after opening the book, I can see some words I do recognize, parallel to words that are absolutely incomprehensible. Those characters are so twisted and complicated that I hope these aren’t from her language. If they are, oh no…
“Dictionary?” I exclaim.
She smiles happily. So she was looking for a dictionary, huh? Well, it’ll be useful, but after seeing those characters, I’m not so sure if I want to learn her language after all. No, I have to learn them.
“Play with us…!” A creepy voice reaches my ears.
Heart racing, I check the door, but I can’t see the eyes of that pair of monsters. It’s probably coming this way, about to enter. We better hide before they see us.
“T-th-that… t-thing…” She stutters.
“No way… Hide.”
“Where are you～? Tee-hee.”
I pull her with me to hide behind a bookshelf, she follows rather obediently. There’s a small gap from where I can see the door. I’ll wait until the monster pair enters, then we’ll sneak our way past them to escape.
“Eeeeek!” Suddenly, my ears shatter as I hear her scream.
Taking my hand, she spurts out of the library, running faster than back on the lea. I look behind to see what scared her so much, only to be shocked by the sight of two pairs of eyes watching us from behind.
“Stay with us～”
“What the…?” I blurt.
As soon as we exit the library, entering the vast hall, I point at the garden, “Let’s hide there!”
She agrees with me, apparently, for she takes me there.
We lock all the doors leading here, leaving one of many so that we can use it as an escape route should we need one. After locking up the doors, except for one, we stand in the middle of the garden, looking around us. What I’m not looking at is her, not at all.
I guess I should mention it. “Your clothes…” I point her, looking away.
“Huh?” It takes one second for her to get it. I don’t know why, but she has only one shirt on, a thin one that’s barely hiding her belly button. No sleeves. When did she strip her other shirt?
Hiding her chest with the book she took from the library, totally flushed, she turns around, muttering something I can’t understand. I bet she’s calling me an idiot or something. But what can I do? Her fault for stripping.
“Should I lend you my shirt?” I wait for an answer, but I hear none from the lady-who-won’t-show-her-face. Thus, I conclude that I’ll strip mine and give it to her.
However, I’m interrupted, she turns around faster than the eye can follow, pulling down my shirt from the hem as if she didn’t want me to strip.
“Eh? Wh-what?” I stutter for some reason.
She turns her back to me again, saying, “Let’s hide.”
After a while, we’re building a hiding spot in the foliage, one that’s hard to find without putting a ton of effort into it. Also, we’re making an emergency escape route, two of them, in case the monster pair surprises us like before. Even after a while, my heart is still racing out of terror.
By the way, I couldn’t find any clothes, so she’s kinda forced to move around with that thin white shirt. Why can’t she just take my shirt? Sigh, I find this situation troubling. We’re hunted by a pair of monsters, and what? I feel embarrassed more than I feel fear.
The hiding spot we’ve built is on a small hill, a big bush serving as a cover. Here we sit in the middle of it. We can barely see the surroundings from here, though that’s only a good thing. If we can’t see, neither can the monsters.
She’s holding onto the dictionary as if it was something precious to her. Well, it actually is, for both of us. She opens the dictionary after a while, looking for something. As she does, her mouth is moving constantly like she was uttering silent words. I won’t interrupt her.
Then suddenly, she says something. “I, scared. That woman, tall, tongue…”
I think I’m frozen, staring at her in awe. She’s speaking in my language? “Don’t worry,” I tell her, using her language.
She won’t say anything, reading the dictionary again. Is she really trying to learn my language? Why? Am I learning too slow?
Then, she tries to say something again. “You, that woman, see, too?”
“Nevermind.” She says, probably reading my face.
You know, I’m happy right now. Twisted, isn’t it? I wished for something that made the humanity to disappear, chased by aberrations and monsters, locked away in a castle, yet I’m happy?
Am I not insane?
“Ocean, see, ever?” She asks.
“Yes. I have seen ocean.”
She doesn’t seem to understand me well as I reply in my language. She tries to make sense out of it by checking the dictionary. Soon enough, she exclaims, smiling.
She looks for new words. “Whale?”
“I saw a few.”
I don’t think I’m lucky. Rather, I’m miserable, but I can’t come to hate myself.
I had a family. But because of me, no one else beside the two of us exists. “I had.”
“Had?” She doesn’t seem to understand. I don’t know how to explain past tense to her, so I’ll leave it for her to discover.
She goes back to looking up for words, whereas I watch the garden in case the monsters have come. I can’t see the whole garden from here, so it’s possible that those things are somewhere here already.
Out of nowhere, I hear something.
“You can’t escape, tee-hee.”
“We’re everywhere, haha.”
“We see you. We hunt you.”
What the hell?
Where’s that coming from?
Don’t tell me, they found us?
It’s as if they were talking in my head.
No, the question is, can she hear this?
I look at her, but her face is merely puzzled.
She doesn’t hear this? Really?
Then, I hear some voice, one that’s directly said into my ear.
“Run!” I tell her.
I aim for a door we left unlocked in case something like this happens. As soon as I start spurting, I feel something tearing my back, wounding me. It’s just a scratch, so it won’t hinder me. I’m holding her hand, taking her with me.
“You, back!” She speaks in my language.
“Yes, hurt,” I reply in her language.
Through all the foliage we sprint, branches and sharp leaves causing light wounds. Something hits my eye as we do, but I can’t stop to cry out in pain.
“Don’t run…! We want to play with you!”
No! We won’t stop! “Faster!”
We get to the door, exiting the garden at once. However, she forces me to stop, screaming in terror. I follow her gaze, and she’s looking directly in front of us. I see nothing, yet she clearly sees something.
She takes the lead, taking us back to the garden, but I force her to stop as I see two incorporeal black characters come at us in the garden. Only their gleaming eyes are corporeal.
“Not that way!”
“Nor that way!!!” She retorts.
What the hell!? What’s going on!?
Damn it, something’s in front of us, but only she can see it, apparently. Then again, she can’t see those things behind us, whereas I can!?
“Damn it!” I blurt.
I take the lead, spurting back to the garden. If we’re quick enough, we can run to another door. The monsters I see are coming at us, running slower than us. So they aren’t fast, huh?
As we pass by the tree where we first started our language sessions, a loud noise, like thunder, resounds in the garden. I turn to look at the source of the noise, which is the door that leads directly into the vast hall, the door’s blown to bits by some unknown force. Strange, we locked it up. Wait, is there some new unseen monster coming from there? One that’s strong.
But, we could use that as an escape route. I don’t know, too risky. If there’s some thing we can’t see over there, we could end up dead before we even know it. Thus I conclude that we—
Wait, what’s that?
I see some figure in the doorway.
A… reflection? Of a human?
It’s waving to us?
I change our course, we’ll flee to the vast hall directly through that door. My intuition tells me that it’s the correct path, and I shall believe it.
“????????” She cries out something I can’t understand at all. Not a single word.
So finally we share something in common. She, too, can see that reflection.
“Thank you!” I look the reflection directly into his eyes, thanking him wholeheartedly.
Strange, I don’t remember reflections being capable of understanding their surroundings to this degree. It’s as if, that reflection was… a real human. Whatever it is, it’s a miracle that won’t happen again, I believe.
Once we’re in the hall, a certain thing catches our attention—the glowing symbol on the floor. The light radiating from it is so strong that it’s impossible to ignore it. It wasn’t that bright back then.
“To the symbol!” Using my language, I try to convey my thoughts.
She seems to understand by guessing my meaning. “Yes.”
Then, we step into the light.