Chapter 44 – I Like You/I Love You

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In retrospect, our start was never sweet. No, looking back at his actions, it might have been sweet but . . . He suddenly pushed me down and said, “Give birth to my child”. And the reason behind that was the circumstance of the prestigious family’s successor.

Well, even now, our situation has not changed. Our relationship should have become clear. Since we are lovers, then we should . . . be in love with each other. He just said that he likes me a while ago.

“Why are you apologizing for the kiss…?”

Senpai is still bowing before me. Honestly, I am in a state of confusion.

It is true that I was addled with poison but I remember the feeling when Senpai kissed me. I felt hot, light, and so happy that I could melt. I initially thought it was a good dream, but if that was reality, then it is nothing but pleasant.

Well, my first kiss happened when I was poisoned but it’s just that . . .

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Still, I am glad that I did it with him. But why did that action lead to an “apology”?

“……? Meryl, did you misinterpret?”

Worried, Senpai finally raised his head when I did not reply. He had a serious look as usual but I cannot detect remorse from him. Then, what is it?

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“Misinterpret what? I am not repulsed by your kiss. For you, Senpai, was it something to apologize for?”

I said in a reproachful tone. “I kissed the person I like for the first time.” Somehow, I am not convinced that he has to apologize for it.

“Oh, I see. Sorry, I did not explain it well.”

Senpai’s palm softly touched my cheeks which started to become feverish in a different sense. It was a little warm, making me feel relaxed.

“……Were you disgusted, Senpai? You are apologizing because you felt disgusted?”

“Don’t be silly. I want to kiss you even now. But I can’t do it because I like you.”

He can’t do it because he likes me? What the hell. Those are sly words I often read in novels.

What do you mean? When I silently asked, Senpai held my face with his hands while smiling wryly.

“Do you remember what I said the first time we met?”

“The first time we met?”

“The very start. How much do you remember of what the big idiot who suddenly pushed you down had said?”

You don’t have to describe yourself as a big idiot. Well certainly, that first sunset was the worst. Of course, I remember. I also think that it is an unbelievable that I came to like this person who harbored such motives.

“That topic about our children possessing superior qualities?”

“That’s right. But I also said other things besides children.”

“Other things…”

Bit by bit, I tried to recall the past.

If I remember correctly, it started with the prediction of the fortune teller that was hired by the Kralvane family. My son will become an excellent magician, so the noble family wanted my womb as a tool……

“By consorting with you, I will be able to unleash my potential capacities.” [T/N: *laughs hysterically*]

“Was it about . . . being able to utilize your own abilities?”

“Correct. You remembered well. You’re really great.”

Phew, that thing about children left a strong impression on me but it seems I was able to remember properly. But is it related to the current conversation? What about the [physical] relations…

“[Physical] Relations . . . Ah, don’t tell me―”

“Yes. A ‘kiss’ is also a significant act of [physical] relations. A contact without a gap, especially without interference at the location called mucous membranes.”

“Whoa…”

Concretely speaking, it was a heart-throbbing and shocking revelation. Coupled with the fact that we are currently in the hospital, it is too much.

“I want to apologize because the purpose of touching Meryl this time was ‘for that reason’.”

“For that reason? You mean, you kissed me to increase your power?”

“………Yeah.”

His beautiful brows wrinkled deeply. I was the aggrieved party and yet, his apologetic expression looks grim.

“……Didn’t you have a reason? Otherwise, you would not have had this kind of expression.”

“Meryl…”

That’s right. When I first met him, he is basically expressionless. This man who indifferently said, “Have relations with me for the sake of my family”, was now rehashing it to me with a very severe countenance.

“Whatever the reason, I do not dislike being kissed by you. So please don’t agonize over it too much. I like you.”

“………Thank you.”

When I touched the big hands holding my cheeks, it was slightly trembling. Truly, it was an unexpected change that was brought about by our encounter.

A very important, dear person.

“This is a good opportunity. Let’s talk about your constitution as well. Do you know that magicians have ‘limits’?”

“Ah, yes. I learned it in first year.”

Sighing lightly, Senpai sat back, so I also followed suit and straightened my posture. One hand remained touching my cheek, and the caring warmth helped me organize my thoughts.

Let’s see, about the magician’s limit. There are two definite “limits”.

First, there’s the “talent” for handling magic. A magician cannot use magic without this, but there are also limits for this talent. It’s no guarantee that . . . chanting a magic spell will produce power, but it is an area one cannot master even if he/she understands it. It is like a boundary indicating that one “can do it only up to this point”. When I moved to a higher grade, I learned it through my experiences.

And the other is the “amount of magical power”.

Although it can be raised to some extent depending on the training, there is also a level of limit in this aspect. When that level is reached, it will not increase any further no matter how much effort he/she will invest. Unfortunately, unlike physical strength, it is not proportional to body size.

Both limits are inherently decided and magic can be sufficiently used to the extent of these limits. When I say growth limit, it pertains to the maximum level. I have not confirmed either of his limits yet, but he is already in sixth year so perhaps……

“I’ll be honest with you. I have reached my growth limit when I was in fifth year. Since then, I used my body and brain as compensation, but my true ‘growth as a magician’ has already stopped. That’s why your constitution is important to me.”

“You said it will make you unleash your full power, right? If you have reached your limit, then it is still not the best?”

“If it is the usual. The benefit you give is ‘increasing the maximum limit’, the so-called level amplification.” (T/N: Sounds lame. But I don’t know how to translate this [解禁] *cries*)

“…………”

FOR. REAL?

“Huh? HUH?! Wait, you’re kidding, right?!”

“What I said was true. But it is not against the law, so I am not guilty of any crime and no one can convict me. Because I “only touched Meryl”. Did I not tell you? ‘It means one can exceed his/her efforts.’

Oh dear. I possessed something outrageous. It is something that a noble would want. And I surely thought that it is only a temporary amplification.

“Then if I am not mistaken, Senpai became stronger just by kissing me? Will it forever stay that way?”

“Yeah. There is an effect on my physical strength and other aspects as well, but my maximum limit as a magician is different now compared to what I had before the exam. Forever stay this way . . . No, if I keep on touching you from now on, I think it will increase further.”

Is that settled?

I looked at Senpai without hiding my embarrassment, while he somehow smiled bitterly.

What he will obtain from me whenever he touches me is essentially impossible. With his lineage, efforts and everything that he’s got, it is a kind of “miracle”. Why is it that such ability was bestowed to me, a very ordinary person who was raised in an ordinary household?

Well, apart from that, more than anything else . . .

“………I’m glad it was you, Senpai.”

I properly told him this way. He treats people fairly and right now, he is still gentle and caring.

If I believe what he told me, I could have been treated as a “convenient tool”. How optimistic can I get? As all sorts of frightening scenarios revolved in my mind, I shuddered.

“For caution’s sake, your constitution will not be revealed to everyone. It seems that nothing happens unless it is a compatible person.”

“But, it is not ‘exclusively for Senpai’, right?”

“…Well, I guess. I’d be happy if such is the case.”

I sincerely thank him for making me smile and laugh. I am glad it’s him. I am glad that he is someone that I liked.

“……I am terribly scared now.”

“Yeah. When I indeed touched you, although it was just once . . . The result was scary.”

The goose bumps that erupted was not due to the same shame I felt a while ago. This time, I felt cold because of fear. It was neither a joke nor a misinterpretation, my body is a valuable “tool”. With just one kiss, I knew it.

It is because of him that I am safe. But what about in the future? Can I truly live an ordinary life? Other people may expose me. If I was found by someone other than Senpai. I don’t want to. It’s scary. I don’t want to be separated from Senpai.

I stretched out my hand and clutched Senpai’s uniform . . . I wanted to clutch it but there was no strength in my trembling hands.

“…But more than that, Meryl . . .”

A big hand caressed my cheek. Then my ear, and my hair. He gently touched me as if comforting me.

“The most scary thing is to be disliked by you because I ‘used’ you.”

“………”

For a moment, I thought that the time has stopped.

How could this person say something sweet with a very serious face?

“Gil, you fool. I like you. I love you. I love you so much that I feel like crying.”

“What, y-you’re crying?”

That single sentence dissolved the overwhelming fear I felt and when I noticed it, tears were streaming down my face. Ah, Senpai is really a good person. Too straightforward. I like him too much.

“Knowing that fact, it is so like you to say such things.”

“That’s what I’ve been told. I do not care about my abilities, but I would really be troubled if I am disliked. I want to die.”

“I love you, jeez.”

Although I said that in a crying voice, Senpai still took it gladly. He embraced me to support me, who was sniffling and shaking.

Ah, really. So many things have addled my brain but I knew only one thing is certain.

*   *   *

For a while, I lay down crying, and when he told me the reason why he kissed me, it has become red outside the curtain. When I woke up here earlier, although it was certainly thin*, it must have been sunlight. [T/N: I think she’s talking about this.

“Why did I kiss you? It’s easy. I did not have enough power to break the Box Dimensional Barrier that time. So I desperately tried to kiss you . . . In that way, it seems that my power was increased more than I expected.

“………”

I remember being trapped in a very unfamiliar room. I also remember that there was a special barrier and we were at a loss because we have no solution.

A neurotoxin was set up inside it and I fell unconscious, but . . .

“Were you also poisoned? And yet, you attended me…?”

“No, I had tolerance so I was safe.”

He replied as if it was natural. But if it was like that, he would have not taken a gamble.

“Did you kiss me in order to save me?”

“Well, yeah.”

AAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHH, DAMNNN―!!

I instinctively fell down on the bed.

“This useful tool (me) had not helped you that much, and the reason for that is to save me?! What kind of person are you? How far can you be a good person?!”

“………Are you praising me or scolding me?”

Both, ah, really.

Now that I knew its significance, my constitution must be an attractive tool. That’s what I think. And yet, and yet!! I was truly cherished even though I was not aware of it before.

“Moreover, you apologized?! You, who saved me, apologized for having kept it from me all this time?!”

“Meryl . . . Will you calm down for the time being? We’re in the hospital.”

Although he stroked my back to comfort me, it is unlikely for me to stop my emotions. What the heck, argh!!

“……I am really frustrated but I can’t express it. Gil, I love you. Thank you very much.”

“I love you too but I don’t understand, why you are thanking me? It was selfishness on my part for wanting to save you, and I became stronger because of it in the end, okay?”

He smiled apologetically to me who is still half-crying. The person I like does not smile often. But with a kind expression, his eyes narrowed gently.

“……Then, please accept it at least.”

I can’t stop my emotions. The “liking” I felt for him raged on my mind and pushed back my fear. I like him. I really like him. Thank you. You are a good person. I don’t want anyone but you. I will not let other people touch me.

“………―!!”

It was just a little. A chance from the difference of our height. I snuggled my body closer, and touched (kissed) him. It was truly subtle, but it was a soft, warm touch.

Our lips touched for a moment.

“If I was the one who touched, no one will complain, right?”

However, with such a faint touch, it has really no significance. It was very sufficient for my self-satisfaction.

……But, it seems that there was also an unexpected effect.

“Senpai?”

Senpai froze, a stunned expression on his very attractive face .

“Senpaaai?”

I drew closer again and looked at his face. Did I say something that made him motionless? He is breathing and has a pulse, but his facial expression remained the same.

“……Gil? You okay?”

Maybe he was disgusted? But I only touched a little. I waited for about three seconds, and when I called his name again . . . he finally started to move.

His ears blushed scarlet, as if all the blood in his body gathered there.

“Eh? Eh, uhm, Senpai?”

“I think that you shoud . . . be a bit . . . more . . . concerned. Even if this is a hospital, a man and a woman on the bed, how am I . . . supposed to . . . stop myself?” [T/N: QAQ]

With his interrupted speech, I did not imagine that Gilbert Kralvane’s vigor will weaken. It seems he was saying something bit by bit but his voice is too soft that I can’t catch his words even if he said it close to my ears.

“Uhm, Senpai…? I, I’m sorry.”

I do not know what to do, so I will just apologize for the time being. Then, with a bright red face, I hurriedly grasped his hands.

“Ah―?! Ah, I’m, I’m sorry!!”

“Meryl, let me say just one thing.”

It was Senpai’s usual words this time. It was a clear, comfortable sound.

“I also love you, Meryl! It’s obvious that I’ll desperately do anything for the woman I love!! I will take care of you, I will do anything for you! That’s that! Therefore, get well soon and stay as my cute lover! That’s all!”

“……What?”

…I thought he had regained his normal voice but he amazingly yelled fast. But his words seemed embarrassing……?

When I tried to process his speech, Senpai kissed my forehead at a lightning speed and ran away from the hospital room. He did not even forget to close the door on his way back.

“………Eh? Err, what? Eh?”

I was the only one left in a simple, white hospital room. The incident, the truth and the words of my beloved revolved in my mind, almost exceeding the allowable amount in my brain.

After three seconds, I overheated and writhed in bed.

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