Chapter 12- The Girl Named Sheryl.
“…And? Just what is this?”
I mumbled expressionlessly as my head failed to keep up.
I took down Sheryl with ‘Night Serpent’, Chester and I argued because Chester said that I stole a move that I used as reference, Sheryl opened her eyes—
Ok. Up until this point, the details were just about that.
I–no, we– were sitting in the dining room at Chester’s manor. After the match, it became that the three of us would eat together and so we walked down a long corridor again to get here.
I saw several elf-like decoration brimming with carefully crafted attention to detail, grand paintings of heroism and it made me think that this old man was an elf after all.
This place was also incredibly large. I came to the conclusion that it was boorish to find fault in the way that people spend the money they earned. And besides—
“Guuu… Sheryl, won’t you get away from that guy and come to grandpa instead?”
“No. I don’t want to separate from Slava-kun…”
No matter what I came up with, I could not get away from this situation.
I just grit my teeth as I saw Chester cry tears of blood because Sheryl was hugging me tightly. Just what was this situation…?
“Slavaaaa…! You are troubled too, right? So, let go of Slava—“
“No. Even if Slava-kun doesn’t like it, I won’t let go…”
Sheryl turned around and stuck out her tongue at Chester while rubbing against my cheek like she wanted to rub it off.
She gradually increased the strength of her arms around me, right now it was enough to strangle a bear to death.
…I am glad that I trained myself. Right now, the situation was like a bad comedy but, if I were a normal boy it would turn into the perfect tragedy.
Well, after having his granddaughter stolen, Chester looked just about ready to commit murder.
I really wanted to avoid something troublesome but—
“Fufu. Yup. Slava-kun won’t break… so warm…”
I could not bring myself to brush away a little girl that was clinging on to me like an affectionate little cat… Although, with how strong she was, rather than a cat she may have been more like a lion.
She was clinging hard enough to strangle me to death but, I did not feel any malice from Sheryl. If it was unintentional, I could see why she was starving for contact with other people.
“Chester, pay more attention to your granddaughter.”
“I’m always paying attention to her… Brazen little…”
…It was no good. He did not understand at all. He was on the verge of rage from all the blood going to his head.
“Look, Sheryl. Grandpa looks lonely. How about you go with him for a little while?”
“Don’t want to… But if Slava-kun doesn’t like it, I’ll think about it… Does Slava-kun hate me…?“
I did not hate her but I was a honestly a little troubled.
Well, I really did not mind holding her like this but… at this rate, without a doubt, Chester would become a problem.
However, I couldn’t say that. Sheryl finally started to act her age, at least when looking at it from the outside. There must have been a reason why she was overtaken with madness just now. If I could fill up the gaps in her heart, I felt like I wanted to.
“…It’s not like I hate you, but…”
“Alright. Then I’ll stay here.”
Moreover, it did not seem like I could pry her off.
…They say that you cannot win against a girl’s tears but, I doubt there are many that could break free from her hold.
When I patted the blushing Sheryl’s head, her eyes narrowed in happiness. She was just like a cat.
“I like Slava-kun.”
I guess she liked to have hear head rubbed. She nuzzled her neck in bliss. Maybe because she was relaxed but I did not feel much strength from it.
Somehow, this reminded me of Alma. When I started to spoil her, she would actively seek out more with her body. After so long, the warmth did not feel bad.
“…Umm. I like you too Sheryl.”
I could understand what was so great about grandchildren. They just become so lovable, I almost blurted that out.
“…@$#% Slava, yooouuu bastard….”
…Chester was grinding his teeth while looking this way. Just what was I supposed to do? Was this ‘if you stand there then you can’t stand here’? I couldn’t understand many of my master’s words but there were many that often came to mind.
If it had been me in my youth, I would have shoved Sheryl off with no questions asked. I guess my master helped me grow more than just my strength.
I tickled her below her chin just like a little kitten nuzzled up on my chest while thinking about the past.
As expected, she seemed to like it. When I did it, she exhaled a small breath like a gentle puff of steam.
“Oi, Slava… Let’s go to the courtyard. As expected, I’m past my limit…”
“Excuse me, the meal is—What is this?”
Just when Chester reached the peak of jealousy and challenged me to a fight, Linette appeared carrying the food on a cart. As expected, the situation was pretty hard to describe with words.
However, it was unexpectedly helpful. With the food here, even this senile old geezer couldn’t do anything flashy.
“You outdid yourself, Linette! Look, Sheryl, the food is here. You can’t eat while hugging him, right? So get away from him already.”
You cannot eat while holding on to someone. Chester finally brightened up at Linette’s arrival thinking that he could finally pull his granddaughter away from this nobody.
Geez, getting swung around like that, pathetic. I did not want to see this guy spun around by his granddaughter like this.
However, Chester… No, both of us, realized that we were naïve.
“I’m going to have Slava-kun feed me, so it’s fine…”
Declared Sheryl calmly while blushing.
Chester had his face frozen in despair like always but, as expected, this time even I had the same reaction.
Even if my real age was bigger than Sheryl’s, in this body I was three years younger than Sheryl. In this situation did it not become a masterful move? What a fearsome child, Sheryl!
“…is that bad?”
She took my reaction as a denial and became gloomy.
Both the slight bashful from just now and the ephemeral girl’s smile from before were gone.
And Chester… this time he was keenly transmitting a feeling of ‘what the hell are you doing making Sheryl cry?!’
…What the hell are you trying to do here? And what am I supposed to do?
But, if she looks at me like that I cannot bring myself to refuse.
“No, well… I don’t mind…”
The moment I answered Sheryl’s face seemed to bloom with happiness.
…Why did she get so taken with me? No, I understood her feelings. I was most likely the first friend her own age that the had ever made.
Since she could not control her own strength, other than Chester, I was the only person she could have direct contact with.
In that case, it is not like I would lose something by spoiling her a little.
I decided to ignore Chester who had returned to looking like a demon. He was too late.
There were multiple fragrant dishes set out before my eyes.
She seemed a little embarrassed, it seemed that she was self conscious of my gaze—today’s dinner was extremely draining, it went by unnaturally slowly.
“She fell asleep.”
I muttered while stroking Sheryl’s face. She fell asleep while resting her head on my lap.
Play, eat, sleep. When I first met her I thought she was draped in a gloomy aura but—looking at her like
this, she was just a kid.
She did not look like it. I took a strand of her perfectly silver hair into my hands.
It was most likely because she was a mix of elf and djin, it was beautiful enough to be confused with the metal know as the most beautiful of all metals, mithril.
“She got taken with you… She’s cute right?”
Chester looked warmly at Sherly, who was sleeping peacefully, as he sat next to her. It looked like he had calmed down. A granddaughter was a fearful existence.
I couldn’t help but sigh looking at Chester smiling so kindly for the first time.
I did not want to think about the fact that I lost to this normal looking old man.
“You see, this is the first time that Sheryl has every played with someone her own age. I’m sure she caused you some trouble but, just let it slide, will you?”
“I don’t really mind. She is just bad at hold back. I got a little tired but that was about it.”
The soundly sleeping girl was smiling.
There was no madness. It was not an animal looking at its prey… It was the smile of a young girl.
A large amount of magic is something that can change a person’s personality.
Having great power is not as simple as it seems.
If she did not have that power, I was sure that she would just be a normal, adorable young girl.
“… I said that she was a half breed between an Elf and a Djin, right?”
Chester’s expression turned a little bitter but, since Sheryl was sleeping, he spoke in a soft voice. I simply nodded.
“Stupid son. It’s good that he went and found a wife but when she was giving birth to her she was reckless and passed on… If the wife had given up on this child she may have been saved but I heard that she wanted to have her no matter what. In the end, it turned out exactly like the midwife said. But even so, my son loved this child. I thought he was beyond help but he tried to raise this child even without his wife. He was admirable.”
“…Was admirable? In that case…?”
“Yes. My son is also gone now. When this child was 5-years-old, he went up to the mountain to collect some wood and it seems like he fell down a cliff. Sheryl lost both of her parents soon after she was born.”
Chester brought the teacup to his mouth and sighed.
Even after knowing him for more than 60 years, it was the first time I had ever seen him so sad.
“That’s what happened. Since she lost her parents early on, she has been alone since she was five-years-old. And so, I tried to talk to the wife’s parents about taking her in but—they treated Sheryl like some kind of taboo child. To begin with, it seemed that they were against her marrying my son. It seemed that they had been spewing nonsense since then. I finally had it. I forgot my age and simply beat them up right there… Well, that’s fine.”
Chester narrowed his eyes gently and squeezed Sheryl’s hand.
A man that hurts everything he touches, a naked blade, it was amazing that he had become able to make such an expression.
After gazing lovingly at Sheryl for some time, Chester turned a serious look in my direction.
That expression was also something I had never seen before.
“I’m entrusting you with Sheryl. As for why, I will be leaving before you. When that happens, don’t let her be alone…”
I wonder if I had the same expression when I entrusted Alma with the Shijima style.
A strong wish. It was the face of a man entrusting his precious granddaughter after he was gone.
…Today was full of surprises. For me to able to see a new side of some I thought I knew so well twice in one day… People change when they have grandchildren, after all.
“Leave it to me. She and I are friends now, after all.”
It was not just because Chester asked me to. I of my own will, wished to look after her
“It’s not even worth mentioning. I don’t plan on leaving things half-done”
I looked at that annoying quivering mustache and smiled lightly.
Even in my second life, I could not cut my ties with those of the Prime family.
“Fix that pathetic expression already. If Sheryl saw, she would lose all respect for you as a grandfather.”
“…Ah, you are right. While I still have both feet planted on the ground I want to remain a cool grandpa.”
He raised his narrowed brow and fixed his quivering smile.
It was more or less a grinning face but it suited him well.
“Thank you, Slava.”
To an elf, it seemed like a short time. The 20 years that I was gone plus the 12 years after added up to about 30 years.
I wondered how much the world had changed but, for my friend, who I thought would not change no matter what, 50 years were more than enough.
The amazing girl that diamond-like hard head… I looked at the girl quietly sleeping on my lap and couldn’t help but smile.
…A granddaughter, huh? If possible, I would also like to have one.
However, I could not become like him or my master. Probably. If think my friends granddaughter is this cute, I wonder in between her and the granddaughter that my own daughter gives birth to, who would be cuter? In a way, it may be a harder trial than any opponent I had faced until now.
Looking at the trusting little girl sleeping, he suddenly started to become sleepy himself. It was just about time for the date to change, huh? My body was also that of a child. Challenging my instincts, it felt like I would close my eyes at any moment.
No good. If I closed my eyes here, without a doubt, I would fall asleep. In that case, I wouldn’t be able to make it back for class tomorrow.
Sensing an impending sense of danger, I thought about whether I had any ways to fight off my sleepiness. At such times, it was best to move you body but, doing something as wretched as waking up the little girl sleeping comfortably on my lap was simply too hard for me.
…In that case, there was no helping it. While I was reluctant to, the only thing I could do was talk to Chester. Sheryl was sleeping deeply. She wouldn’t wake up easily.
Did we have something to talk about? …If we started talking about fighting it looked like we would start making a racket. Thinking about that, I remembered that I had something I wanted to ask.
“Oh yeah, Say. Chester, I picked something up in town. Do you know what it is?”
Being careful not to wake up Sheryl, I took out the pointed rock from my jacket pocket and threw to Chester.
The stone that emanated a creepy color like black blood, landed quietly in Chester’s hand.
“Huh? …Wait. Isn’t this a ‘Black Crystal’? I thought this was something that had nothing to do with you but, what happened?”
Judging from his response, it seemed that he knew more about this stone than I did.
“This is called a Black Crystal? When I was walking around town I got picked on by some punks. I sent them packing but then they used this. At that moment–”
“Their magic power turned ominous and suddenly increased, right? Ah yes. I know about it. It started to get popular recently—Well, It’s a type of doping.”
I unintentionally responded at the unfamiliar word. When I did, the corner of Chester’s mouth curled up as if to make fun of me.
While feeling the blood rush to my head, I decided to stay quiet in order to let the conversation move forward.
“Starting from there, huh? Oh well… to put it simply, it is a drug that brings about destruction in exchange for granting magic power. Recently, it has become popular in the underworld. It’s really troubling for the top.”
Chester’s expression was just like his words as he threw back the crystal.
“Hmm? That is to say, your magic power will rise just from taking medicine?”
“Don’t forget the part about ‘bringing destruction in exchange.’ … Well with this one there isn’t any damage to the body but, your mind will break. Didn’t you see it as well? If you drink this, your magic power increases stupidly. However, no matter how gentle the person, their personality twists until they can only think about violence.”
I looked over the crystal as I mulled over Chester’s words.
A magic crystal that increases magic power just by using it, huh? But you become incredibly violent.
…I expected it to some extent since some good-for-nothings were using it but, it really was some good-for-nothing thing.
“Drinking medicine to increase strength, what a foolish thing to become popular. Even though there is no point if it is not strength that you earned yourself.”
What a worthless thing. If there was any meaning to borrowing power, I wanted someone to teach it to me.
“I figured you would say that. Well, it’s like that. It’s a worthless crystal that won’t birth anything. This is just a rumor but, it looks like it is effective at calling troublesome things? Well, I’ll keep my ears up.”
“Hmm… I see. I got it. Thank you.”
I flicked the crystal into the air and caught it with two fingers. For something like this to be popular. It was really sad. But it was interesting to believe in Chester’s words. What could this so called ‘troublesome thing’ be exactly? It was worth looking forward to.
I put the crystal in my breast pocket. However, perhaps because of my slow manner, my movement was suddenly stopped. At this distance, the only one that could do that was… Sheryl. When I looked, Sheryl, who had just gotten up, was holding on to my arm.
“…Hmm? What’s the matter, Sheryl?”
I said in a gentle voice to wake up Sheryl who was staring at the crystal half-asleep.
When I did, Sheryl got up from my lap and looked at me.
“…I’m not sure. But, I felt a nostalgic feeling from that stone.”
I responded reflexibly at the unexpected word.
I wasn’t talking to anyone specifically but Chester picked up on it and put his hand on his jaw.
“Oh yeah… Now that you mention it, this stone came from the Djin county….I get the feeling that I heard that they are often mined in Haltigue. Sheryl was born and raised in Milafia but maybe her mother carried around one these with her?”
I observed Sheryl while mumbling some agreement to Chester’s words. I asked her if she wanted to hold it but it seemed that she was not that interested.
In the end, Sheryl rapidly lost interest and simply went back to sleep with her head on my lap.
–Mined in the Djin country, huh? Now that it was mention, when they used those crystals, the men’s image resembled that of the hated Djins.
Another thing that wasn’t around while I was alive. I felt something life respect, something like being fed up at the hectically changing world. But no matter what anyone says, the world will change. If it changed this much in only thirty years, just how much change do elves witness while they are alive?
I become sentimental for once but, I quickly brushed it away.
–Now then. I should be leaving soon. While saying this or that but, I am properly attending class. I need to leave soon in order to do that tomorrow but–
“–This is bad.”
“huh? What happened?”
I furrowed my brow as I realized a terrifying truth. Chester even looked at me worried.
Maybe it was the sudden sense of tension but I spoke heavily.
“Sheryl fell asleep on my lap again…”
“… You bastard, it’s fine if I take that as you bragging to me, right?”
Even though Sheryl woke up once, now I can’t move again.
I quietly gave up on tomorrow’s lessons as I once again ignited Chester’s jealousy.