(TL Note: This whole chapter is from Shalltear’s POV. But it mixes up the past and present sometimes so I tried to leave a note so it doesn’t seem weird.)
[….By the way, are you satisfied yet?] Granite
Master called out to me.
Thanks to that voice, my vague consciousness was snapped back to reality.
――I then witnessed it.
――Master’s face was very close to mine!!
Huh? What? Why?
My face was becoming redder and redder by the second and I was in a full panic.
There was my stern and cool master with a face with an ever so slight, even miniscule sign of being troubled.
Not being able to withstand the looming master in his eyes anymore, I hurriedly looked down.
I saw the unbelievable position I was in.
――For some reason I had winded up embracing Master’s right arm with my whole body.
…I had thought something was off. I really did think so.
Because Master’s voice which was softly reminiscing about the past, was slowly but surely getting closer.
But. But Why? Why did I wind up like this?
I desperately, desperately searched my memories for the answer.
Among the innumerable fragments that make up my memoires an image surfaced.
As I grasped the closest fragment, it shattered and the memory I was looking for replayed in my mind.
[Um… So, could you please……hold my hand?]
[Hmm. I don’t mind, but what’s wrong?]
[You know, “I will take your hand” …]
[From today on your name shall be “Shalltear”.]
[Sharuteea…? That is…my name…]
…My body began to shake due to embarrassment.
Oh my god! Oh my god!
My earlier wish to hold hands.
My master who spoke with me about our past as he listened to my wish.
And I, who was overjoyed from happily continuously reminiscing, not being satisfied with just holding hands――,
――And the state of steadily increase the degree of contact. Doing all of the unconsciously.
I understood that I put myself in this position.
Then, even then, I was stirred up by my desires, and without realizing it, I did all of this.
After that I snapped back to my senses, this is…some kind of surprise attack.
It’s almost like if I set a surprise attack against myself….
Without thinking, I started to groan.
I want to disappear. No, I just want to melt away.
I want to be disintegrated to the utmost limits in an alchemy pot and be returned to magic.
Today, I think something is really wrong with me.
Even though I am supposed to be at my best since I am disciple of my great master.
Even though I know I can’t always be spoiled. But, but there are some things you can’t help.
As I was being engulfed in the overflow of emotions, Master began to casually speak above my head.
[…My disciple Shalltear. I sometimes question… Why do people have such abundant emotions to this extent… …Everything in the world exist while depleting limited resources. In that case, when it comes to emotions, if humans could suppress their emotions to the level of animals, wouldn’t humans reach a higher level of intelligence. Wouldn’t you or I reach the depths of alchemy that we should be seeking even faster.
―― But I am sure things are never that easy. I come to think this as I watch you. You are a person that has more unnecessities then I, which sometimes makes my stomach hur… wait, never mind. I think that you are impatient. But――in spite of this, in my opinion you have left impressive results. In that case, I am certain that you’re s,search for knowledge is not hindered and only benefited from your overflow of emotions.
…Um. That is why, you um, struggle as much as you want and face yourself. Uh, your master will pour you another cup of tea. ――So, can you…..please let go of my arm?] Granite
Here I am being weak-minded and showing no signs of growth, and here are the kind words of my master who doesn’t scorn me and only accepts me.
I am always the one who receiving his kindness.
I drank some of the tea that Master poured for me, I close my eyes and think.
The promise i made with Master, at that time.
“What, I promise, as long as you are useful to me, I will continue to take your hand. I promise I never let you feel “alone”.”
Have I been able to respond to all of the things that Master has given me up until now.
Whether it was a promise, or a contract, if it only one party follows through then nothing will be fulfilled. ――Am I actually becoming someone who is useful to Master?
…The words that Master spoke to me are a treasure to me.
But despite this, there is a part of me that is impatiently worrying if I won’t eventually be thrown away for being pathetic.
But maybe Master has realized that I have been thinking about this.
Maybe that’s what he meant when he said “struggle as much as you want”…
――Then maybe, my true training will start from now on.
Yes, I am sure of it.
Now that I think about it, i may have been slacking off since I became the Royal Family alchemist or something the like..
Being the Royal Alchemist doesn’t mean a damn thing, I am Master’s…..disciple.
And now is the perfect chance for me to step up.
In order to learn just how Master viewed things in the past, and to reconfirm my beginnings.
This chance that my master has gone to the trouble of giving me, I should make use of such a rare chance.
If I remember correctly Master did say that “I am sure it won’t be a waste of time”.
I wonder, is it possible that Master realized that I was slacking off?
And he made this chance for me.
I’m sure he would deny it if I ask him straight out.
But, I’m sure that he did this for me.
My body shakes at the mere thoughts of the heights of the man that I am aiming for, and my hands have become sweaty.
Yet nevertheless, I thought I must do my best.
In this way, Master is always several steps ahead, as if he was a amazing strategist.
But, Master rarely ever tells me the answer in an easy to understand way.
This isn’t just how he graciously treats me, his disciple, but also other people as well.
Master sets clues casually in his actions and words, and is testing to see if we can realize these hints.
But since I had just become his disciple at this time.
Master unusually gave me the answer itself, this is what I think now.
Of course, at this time I had yet to realize this.
――Yes, that was.
The day after I received the name Shalltear, actually…it started before that, the trouble that was occurring in the capital and the answer for it.
Master only told it to me.
As I think back on it now, that was the answer to everything.
It was early morning on the second day after Master had taken me in.
On that day, i woke up earlier than Master.
There was a reason for this. Even though barely any time had passed since we had met, even I was worried at how strange Master had been the day before.
Indeed, after we had left the town hall, Master at that time seemed to have had the spirit sucked out of him.
And this did not change even up until he went to sleep.
[Today, you will again sleep in the bed. If we sleep together…if that happens… It would look like I’m really that…. …ugh… (crash).] Granite
As he said this he fell asleep as if he had passed out, I think anyone would be worried seeing that.
As I rummage around and get up from the bed, I make my way to the sofa where Master is sleeping.
[….Huh? ..!] Shar
But as I stretch to peek on Master’s face, I realize that someone else was already there.
Something that was translucent and squishy…
The scary thing that thoroughly bullied me two days ago…
As Master was sitting up in the sofa, there were tentacles (hands?) stretching and poking Master’s face, especially his mouth and nose.
[Ah…Um…Sorry for, disturbing you…Pochi-san?] Shar
I gave a greeting while being confused but the situation going on.
Then, the symbol of my trauma stopped poking Master’s face and――
――Changed it’s tentacle into a fist and recreated a hand giving a thumbs up.
“Oh oh it’s the newbie! Morning !”
Seeing that energetic “fist” I subconsciously think I hear these words.
[G,good morning. ]
After getting caught up in what’s happening in front of me, I tried speaking to it.
I don’t know why, but I think it understands what I’m saying.
Then Pochi-san goes from posing with all 5 fingers stretched out to a clenched fist.
….I didn’t understand what it was trying to say this time.
Maybe I was just imaging what happened earlier…?
Wait, that doesn’t matter! I have to check on how Master is doing!
As I thought this, I make sure to properly take a look at Master.
Ah…the color in his face looks better than yesterday…
[…Papa…are you ok? Um…] Shalltear
Mmm… That’s kinda nice…
The old me was kind of cheeky, huh…?
(TL Note: Shar form the present is jealous of how her past-self called Granite papa. It’s kind of hard to understand.)
……….Wait a minute!
Um, I was relaxed to see he was calm.
Then suddenly as Master started to show a pained expression, I jumped up.
[Papa, are you ok!?] Shalltear
Master suddenly has a pained expression. He is still not doing ok.
It’s like I can see some black essence coming from his mouth. I almost screamed out.
Then as I tried to cling to him, something was getting in my way.
Then Pochi-san stuck out one more tentacle and points it at me.
Then he (?) takes the first tentacle and once again cover’s Master’s mouth. He then gives me another thumbs up.
“Burp. It’s all right!”
It looks like that is what it’s trying to say.
I look on in confusion with watery eyes.
And with a sense of a finishing up one’s work, Pochi-san retracts its tentacle and slides its way back to its jar.
After seeing off Pochi-san, I once again look at Master’s face.
He face is still twitching, but it seems he looks better than before..I think?
He seemed like he was having a nightmare up until now, but now I don’t feel as worried as before.
[Pochi-san, must have done…something?] Shalltear
Thinking this was strange, there was no way for me to know what was happening.
Then as a I call out to Master at time, I wiped his face with a damp towel.
Since the water in the pitcher has gone done, I immediately went outside to retrieve some more water.
Yesterday, when we went to the town hall, I was told there is a well in Master’s house, he calls it his’ workshop, which is covered by a brick fence.
Yes, at that time I went outside without a single afterthought.
The cold wind cut right through me.
But, now I have warm clothes that protect me from the wind.
This gave me a somewhat strange feeling.
To be honest, I want to indulge in this warmth.
But if I do that, I will start to feel a sense of guilt.
I would be doing something unforgivable. I can’t stop myself from thinking that.
During the night it began to lightly snow and you could hear the sound of footsteps digging into the snow.
Thanks to the shoes my feet don’t have the usual sense of warmth being taken away. This was truly rare for me.
In the slums, it is not unusual for someone to lose a tow to the cold.
Thankfully, I seem to be a bit sturdier than normal people so this never happened to me. Out of all of the seasons winter was the one where my stamina was drained the most.
Is it really ok for me to be this comfortable? I was truly bothered by this.
Earlier when I was in Master’s home I didn’t think of such things.
Yesterday, when I went outside with him I didn’t think of such things.
But, when I go outside for just a bit by myself, I cannot help but to be tormented by a sense of guilt.
Yes. This is what I thought at that time.
―― I should know my place and realize that someone like me, would never be nonchalantly involved with someone who could be the main character from a proper tale.
――Shouldn’t I go back to the place where I belong.
I am not thinking about this rationally
But for just an instant, I was assaulted by such thoughts.
But the “scream” I heard next did snap me back to reality.
The voice that for the past couple of days has carved itself into my very being, comes flying into my consciousness.
That voice surprised me and made me feel worried and desperate.
An important thought blows away all of my troubles. I felt overcome with emotions.
――At least it’s a place where I belong.
――And maybe, it isn’t a place where someone like me should be, but.
――I really want to stay here.
――I know I only have a trivial amount of strength, but.
――Even then, I want to become of use to that person.
Maybe this the time when I first had a clear sense of my own wishes and will.
As I think back on the past, this is what I thought.
Master [You’re reading too much into it! Please stop!]
Extra: Master’s Patterns
1. He just says whatever comes to mind. (Shalltear’s emotions are pretty intense.)
2. He randomly attaches theories to everything. (Intelligence is trending.)
3. He is desperate to think like how a master should think, and it’s all unnecessarily long. And he always forgets what he wanted to say.
4. He tries to always sound good while trying to get things to go his way. (It doesn’t matter just move your hand. Can you stop hugging me? It hurts, ya know?)
(EX. To be honest, sums him up in a nutshell.)