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When the topic of the mark emerged, my strong heart shattered.
That’s because I recalled how unpleasant it was for Caesar to engrave the mark.
His trembling hands, strangled breathing, and the cold sweat on his freezing hands.
Just because I didn’t see it eye-to-eye doesn’t mean that I couldn’t feel it.
I knew he hated the job very much.
Maybe he was afraid.
“That’s… I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was disposable. No, even if I didn’t know, I should have been careful……. Anyways, I’m extremely sorry.”
Now that he’s received an apology, he could have replied, but still, he stood there expressionless.
He seemed to be in deep thought.
“What’s the difference from receiving an apology?”
“I’m asking you because I don’t feel anything.”
I wasn’t offended by his words. Rather, I felt suffocated and my heart sank.
“……Did my apology mean nothing to you?”
He was difficult.
It wasn’t easy to follow up with his mind.
“Um… Wouldn’t it change your feelings? It’ll relieve your anger and you’ll be able to forgive that person.”
Caesar’s eyes glistened briefly.
“What if…. What if… The person who harmed you came to you and apologized?”
It seemed like a difficult question to ponder.
“Well… Did he harm me on purpose?”
I did not dismiss his question of what could not have happened as unsympathetic.
Sometimes, something very trivial could become one’s most important thing.
Oh! I’m listening. What’s with those eyes?
He looked at me with a piercing gaze, and spoke.
“I brutally hurt you for my own good.”
“You’re apologizing for something like that?”
I was too empathetic. I felt upset.
I knew it was impossible, but as a person who’s at death’s door, I couldn’t help but empathize with him.
“Well, I really don’t know. That’s why ‘if’ was added.”
I pondered for a long time.
Around 10 minutes later, I finally answered with a bright smile.
“Then, I’ll do the same to them. If I have the capability to do so.”
“Even if that doesn’t change anything?”
“Why doesn’t that change anything? I’ll get my revenge. He’ll become as miserable as I was.”
I didn’t think revenge was meaningless.
Even if it ended in vain, it was better than being thrown over into the fire.
“But you won’t change a bit, will you? Because if they kill you, you’re already dead.”
“I believe in souls.”
I was proof that souls do exist.
So I couldn’t help but believe in the existence of souls.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever met someone like you.”
His eyes lightly trembled.
“Everyone is different. You’ve never seen me before, so it’s bound to be the first time you meet someone like me. And, it’s the first time I’ve ever met someone like you!”
You think you’re the only one? I’m often embarrassed by you, too!
After I retaliated, he paused for a moment.
I just finished answering your question.
“Even if I’m already dead, I’m sure that my soul would still be alive……. So, there must be a difference.”
“There are souls…….”
“If I die, will I be able to meet the person who’s already dead?”
He had someone in mind. His eyes sparkled, perhaps as if there was someone who he wanted to meet so badly.
‘I don’t know much about the afterlife…….’
I didn’t know the answer.
However, it was easy to give a desired answer to a person who had something to ask for.
“…You’re saying that this boring life, this humble life, has meaning.”
So, you want me to take responsibility?
I timidly took a step back.
“There is no such thing as a meaningless life in the world. You know what reincarnation is, right? You’ll reap what you sow. Wouldn’t it be better to live your life to the fullest?”
“To the fullest? Same thing….”
After my words of ‘self-help’ touched him, he looked as if he didn’t know what to say.
“If you say you don’t want to live in front of me, I’ll kill you!”
A boring life. A humble life.
I’ve been feeling bad ever since.
He first avoided her clenched teeth and glaring eyes.
“Let me engrave… The mark again.”
He turned a blind eye and decided to scratch the joint before it completely broke.
Even though I turned my head to avoid scary thoughts, I felt that there was something else that’s terrible.
He didn’t want that storyline or this job.
I couldn’t push and question him when I saw him tremble unsteadily.
“Are there only disposable marks? It would be nice to have a few more.”
I chose to change the subject.
I was worried because he hated this so much.
If I make another mistake, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to face Caesar again.
“It’s not that there aren’t ways to do so. In truth, I don’t want to.”
His face, which had returned to normal, crumpled up.
It was a face full of rejection, but it was better than the face that was on the verge of crumbling.
“What’s the way?”
If you dislike it, I have no intention of recommending it twice.
I was just curious when he looked like he didn’t even want to talk.
“…I will kill you.”
“If I use that method, there’s a very high probability that I’ll kill you.”
‘Woah, is it that disgusting? Didn’t you just promise not to kill me earlier?’
In the meantime, I wondered for a moment, but I quickly stomped the buds of curiosity to death.
Death! I absolutely hate that!
I spoke with a straight face.
“You’re a godsend, I must’ve told you nonsense, right? I look forward to your kind cooperation.”
He stared at me instead of engraving a mark on me right away.
Maybe it’s because he didn’t want to do this, but I felt like he had more to say than that.
“Why? What else is left?”
“Do not hesitate to use it just because it’s disposable.”
“No, I won’t. I forgot because I felt nauseous last time.”
“Well, did you say ‘just because it’s disposable’ because you were worried about me? Are you afraid that I won’t use it because I feel bad?”
(PR/N: both of the dialogues above are Nineina btw.)
He replied nonchalantly with a face that seemed to be questioning if it was possible himself.
‘This guy is real!’
The emotion that I felt for a while seemed to collapse weakly.
“…Anyway, I understand.”
“Not to mention. If you feel like you’re in danger, you must call the spirit’s name before you think. Because a little hesitation may kill you.”
Caesar stared into my eyes, implying to keep it in mind.
It meant that my life would fly away like a lamp in front of the wind.
(QC/N: the lamps in those times should be lit up by a candle, not a lightbulb…)
I felt grateful, even if he’s only devotedly protecting me due to the promise.
I smiled faintly, pulling back the pieces of emotion that had broken apart like grains of sand.
“I won’t forget.”
Peeking at my expression, he took off his gloves and whispered softly.
“And if this happens again, I’m going to get angry.”
“…You told me not to hesitate to use it?”
“There’s a premise that it’s a dangerous situation.”
It was half annoyance, and half pity.
For a moment, I almost burst into tears.
‘Hang in there. Hang in there. I’m sorry, this is my fault and he’s only helping me out.’
After calming myself down, I nodded my head twice, indicating that I understood.
The hand, whose fingertips were redder than when I saw in the morning, approached my eyes.
His hand brushed past my eyelashes, gently pressing on my forehead.
“I’m really…. going to lose it with you.”
Hearing his agitated voice, I pushed my eyelids down.
‘All right. All right.’
Nineina, who was nervous, didn’t even move her lips and answered to herself.
He probably figured it out through my closed eyes.
The trembling hands slowly formed a texture.
Nervous, she wouldn’t know.
The time spent trying to leave a mark was much shorter than before.