Chapter 9: I Think, Therefore I Am (4)
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
After Mahoro enjoyed a warm bath, one of the maids trimmed his hair for him. Apparently it had been burnt in a lot of places, and when he looked in the mirror, his hair had become fairly short, and it was now pure white. The maid had misunderstood this and sympathised, “You must have gone through a very hard time.”
Mahoro dressed himself in a dress shirt and trousers made of quality fabric and fine tailoring and slipped on a pair of new shoes. Everything fit perfectly, and Mahoro wondered when Noah had even prepared them.
“You’re all cleaned up. Your hair looks pretty short now.”
Noah had been waiting for him to arrive in the dining room. He brushed his fingers through Mahoro’s hair and smiled happily. Noah was wearing a suit, and he took Mahoro by the hand to lead him to the dining table that could easily seat ten people. Expensive tableware and table settings were neatly arranged on a crisply ironed white tablecloth. A server brought over wine for Mahoro.
Noah sat across from Mahoro at the table, gazing at him in content. Mahoro said in a quiet voice, “Noah… Um, apparently I don’t belong to the House of Baldwin…”
Noah drank his wine and appeared calm and composed. “I’ve heard about it. It’s not like I’m entertaining you here because I thought that you were from the House of Baldwin. Do you not drink wine? I did hear that you like sandwiches. I’ll have them prepared for breakfast tomorrow.”
This morning for breakfast Mahoro had been given a bleak meal of bread and soup on a tray. The difference was too astounding.
“You’re really much cuter when you’re white all over. I also prefer white wine better.”
Mahoro was marvelling at the deliciousness of the dishes that were served at the table, and Noah watched him with a smile on his face. Noah didn’t touch any of the food, but he had emptied a bottle of wine a while ago. The Academy did not serve wine, and so Mahoro had not known this, but apparently Noah was quite a heavy drinker.
“Um… May I ask a question?”
Noah continued to stare at Mahoro, like he could bore a hole into him with his gaze. It made Mahoro embarrassed, and he had to speak up. Noah just drank his wine and gazed at Mahoro like he was enjoying himself.
“How is the Academy…? I don’t think that I can go back there any more…”
When Mahoro glanced up at him to ask the question, Noah finally pulled his gaze away. His good mood had disappeared, and he clicked his tongue in annoyance.
“They’ve doubled the number of soldiers protecting the island. It’s an eyesore,” Noah scoffed, sipping his wine irritably.
Mahoro wanted to tell Noah that it wasn’t what he had wanted to ask, but he couldn’t help but smile at Noah’s attitude that hadn’t changed in the least.
“The kid who shared your room. What was his name again…? Anyway, the one with the freckles has been fine. He’s been worried about you.”
Noah didn’t remember Zach’s name even though they were both in the Magic Society. Mahoro felt bad for Zach, but he was relieved to hear that Zach was doing well.
“His name is Zach. Please remember it. Thank you very much. Um…” Mahoro placed his fork and knife down. “What was, um, that thing with Dr Mary…?”
Mahoro stumbled over his words as he broached the subject. Mary had turned into a beast when she came to attack Mahoro. The men who came with her in the attack had also transformed. Just what was that? Even now he couldn’t believe what he had witnessed. And then there was that other thing—
“And the thing that you wear on your neck…?”
Mahoro lifted his head to sneak a glance at Noah’s neck. Noah was dressed in a suit right now, and Mahoro couldn’t see under the collar. When Noah had removed his choker back then, what was that…?
“That… wasn’t magic, was it?” Mahoro watched Noah, looking for a reaction. He couldn’t tell if Noah had heard him, and it made him terribly anxious. Mahoro examined Noah’s expression. If Noah looked like he didn’t want to answer, Mahoro decided that he wouldn’t pursue it any further.
Even though Noah had been asked about an important secret of his, his expression remained the same, and he began to eat with graceful table manners. The way that he used his knife was very elegant.
“No, it is magic, more or less. But it’s completely different from the magic that we learn at the Academy. That was my original magic: Spatial Manipulation. It’s like a special power, essentially.”
Noah answered the question easily, like he had no intentions of hiding it from Mahoro.
“A special power…?”
Mahoro leaned forward in interest. So that had been magic too? He felt like space itself had distorted at the time.
“It’s a gift bestowed to me because of my piece of shit father. The magic that we learn at the Academy is cast by invoking spirits, but my original magic is cast through me. You’ve seen the choker that I always wear around my neck. It’s used to suppress my special power. If I become emotional, there are times that the magic unleashes on its own.”
Noah spoke as if it was nothing.
“Anyway, this is my home. There’s no problem if I break something here, so I leave it off. It gets cold in the winter if I wear it. I don’t know what Mary’s beast transformation was, but the next time I see that temptress, I will be sure to kill her.”
Noah finished his meal and placed down his fork and knife. Mahoro had no idea what this original magic business was.
“You look completely confused. To be specific, my original magic allows me to do things to space like cut it or compress it. I can destroy any inorganic substance—which means that guns are essentially useless against me. Well, I can do other things too…”
It seemed like Noah became tired of explaining, and he placed his napkin on the table.
“It’s a gift that you received because of your father…? Does that mean that Oscar and Leon have them too?” Mahoro was curious to know the answer. He thought that maybe the magic was passed down only to the direct-line descendants of the Five Noble Houses.
“No, I’ve never met anyone who has original magic like me. I’ll explain it to you in more detail one of these days. It’s not a happy story, and I don’t feel like telling it now.”
Noah didn’t speak of it any more. It wasn’t a story that Mahoro needed to force from him, so he devoted his attention back to eating. The cake that was served for dessert was outstanding. Noah didn’t seem to really like sweets, and he only drank coffee.
Noah had waited for Mahoro to finish eating and got to his feet. When he went to leave the dining room, Mahoro rushed to follow after him.
“Noah. Um, earlier, you, um…”
Mahoro hesitated as he tried to catch up to Noah, who walked briskly through the hallway. Noah had saved him from Mary and the others. He had even declared ‘he is mine’ in reference to Mahoro. Was Noah not scared that Siegfried would retaliate against him when he heard those words? Mahoro felt heavy-hearted at the thought that he might cause trouble for Noah. Siegfried had no qualms about killing people. What should he do if Siegfried came after Noah?
“It will be my fault if—”
Noah interrupted his words. “You can use this room. I’ve placed you in the one next to mine.”
He opened the door to a room on the second floor. Mahoro walked into the room decorated with delicate flowered wallpaper, a bed, a wardrobe, and a small desk. It appeared to be a guest room, and it was clean and tidy. Mahoro was most deeply touched that his suitcase was there. Someone had brought his things here for him. His personal effects weren’t anything special, but he was happy to have his own things.
“T-Thank you very much…”
Mahoro surveyed the room and gave Noah his thanks. Noah closed the door. He walked over to stand in front of Mahoro and brushed Mahoro’s hair with a hand.
“I’ve decided to pick a fight with Siegfried.” The tone of voice was sharp, and Noah narrowed his eyes. Mahoro was startled, and he shrunk back.
“I won’t let him have you. If I have to use that piece-of-shit father’s power to keep you from him, then I won’t hesitate to do so. This Holy Kingdom of Trinity, whatever they are, I won’t let them use you for whatever agenda they have.”
Mahoro’s body started to tremble involuntarily. He realized that he might have involved Noah in a terrible situation. There was no need for Noah to cross such a dangerous bridge for him.
Mahoro turned pale and bit his lip, and Noah took Mahoro’s face in his hands.
“This is my own decision. But if you were to become truly mine, it would double my motivation to protect you.”
Noah’s whisper was so close that Mahoro could feel his breath, but Mahoro didn’t know what to do and cast his eyes down. The dead bodies of countless number of soldiers slaughtered on that island filled his mind.
“You can’t… It’s too dangerous. You don’t have to do that for me…”
Mahoro’s voice was husky, and Noah slowly came forward to press their lips together. Mahoro didn’t refuse him. If it was what Noah wanted, then Mahoro would even let him do anything he liked with his body.
“I can’t help that I’ve fallen in love with you. It’s your fault for being so pale and cute.”
Noah laughed as if to tease him, and somehow Mahoro became sad as he stared back at Noah. Noah had tried to bring his lips back for another kiss, but his face suddenly turned stiff and he removed his hands.
“This is a bit different from what I imagined. I never thought that you would look so sad. I had planned to take you to bed tonight, but this feels like I’m using my power as a shield to coerce you. Come to think of it, you don’t like me, do you…? Did I bollocks it up somewhere?”
Noah walked to the door as he muttered to himself.
“Damn, maybe I should have just forced you that time in the sealed room. You’re the only one who can chase me out from a room like this, you know. Get some rest tonight.”
Noah gave a long sigh for Mahoro to hear and left the guest room. Mahoro hadn’t said anything though. Crestfallen, he sat down on the bed.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.