sIDE 11

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Gil’s POV. A story a few years after Gilbert’s graduation.

The night I first touched Meryl, I was honestly happy and worried at the same time. Like what I also told her, it was actually my first time to touch a virgin.

This is different from a light exercise after a meal, like what I did with my other partners so far.  No matter how I feel, I will inflict injury upon Meryl. That is almost a certainty. When I thought of that, it sounded like an extremely terrible act, and I could not embrace her well because of anxiety and guilt.

Anyway, I prepared a small mallet at the bedside and told her to hit me with it if she wants me to stop, but for some reason, she burst out laughing then got mad and scolded me with, “Make my heart beat fast again.” I said it in a very serious manner, but did it sound like a joke to Meryl? Anyway, feeling nervous many times more than I could remember from my first experience, I guided the petite woman towards the bed.

Both the thinness and the softness of her body is different from mine. I should have known that after hugging her a number of times but I felt scared again. Were women such fragile creatures? While taking extra caution, I touched her. She had a gentle smile the whole time.

……Well, the result was, the compatibility of our bodies is perfect. This may also be a benefit of Meryl’s “constitution”, but I lost myself for the first time while I was doing something. Even if I forcefully bring back my logic, the interweaving pleasure and happiness created a wonderful feeling. I guess I did not know what a real love affair is.

Of course, I also felt anxiety and fear. But more than anything, I felt a strong love.

The connected warmth, our intertwined fingers. A drop of tear that really looked like a jewel rolled on her cheek.

“…Meryl.”

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It surely hurt, but she returned a smile. Ah, really, I am the happiest man in the world, I thought so at that moment.

A happy night . . . is what it was supposed to be.

I woke up and noticed the blessing called “Punishment”. That was indeed the appropriate punishment for hurting her.

There was a change with just one kiss. If it became a deeper connection, it should be possible to imagine what would happen.

I felt my body being forcibly stretched. Yeah, I have never experienced this before, this “torture”. My skin being ripped to pieces, my muscles being torn apart, my bones creaking. Despite the fact that “nothing is happening”, the spreading pain . . . the phantom pain spread throughout my body. My brain stopped thinking and even the sense that I am being stretched receded. It only hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. That’s the only thing that filled my mind.

Physiological tears and sweat relentlessly gushed out of my body, and my body temperature kept on dropping. Meryl always supported and hugged me, who eventually ceased to move. After the first deed, she should be the one who is aching all over. Only words of apology spilled out of my dry mouth. Though in reality, I was trying to think of a lot of nifty words. I should have given her happiness for her first experience.

……When the pain finally abated, the sky was completely dark. It seems that I lost consciousness several times but even though my memories were quite vague, I am aware that Meryl stayed by my side. On the side table, there is a tub and a towel in addition to the water jug.

…By the way, what clothes is she wearing now?

“………Gil?”

She woke up and opened her eyes a little. It was far from my memories of being spoiled the whole day.

“…Meryl, I am really sorry… Err, can I apologize . . . ?”

“I have heard too much of that, you know.”

When I managed to squeeze out a hoarse voice, Meryl’s thin finger stroked my head while smiling bitterly. It is warm and gentle, and I felt the love that the tears pooled in my eyes in a different meaning. I am really the happiest man in the world.

After that, through Meryl’s support, I took a hot bath, then ate lightly and slept again. Perhaps my body became familiar with it that the “power of a magician” does not hurt me anymore, but it was obvious that I evolved considerably to the extent that I am aware of it. It was a strange feeling, as if I became a different person. Only the parts of me that Meryl touches feels warm, the proof that I am Gilbert Kralvane.

It’s going to be troublesome from now on. It is still to be tested but whenever she is nearby, at least it is “just a happy time.”

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I closed my eyes as I prayed.

*   * *

Based on the outcome, which I was expecting, of course, I was monitored by the Magical Society for several years. Originally, magicians never evolve further when they reach their growth limits. Even now, various methods . . . majority of which are illegal . . . are circulating around but most of the solutions “won’t make someone evolve even if they do anything”.

Nevertheless, the difference of my growth is comparable to that of a child’s level growing to an adult level. It only happened overnight. There was no reason to be suspected but I had to undergo a rather precise physical examination. I was also subjected to an interrogation daily. Because I know that nothing will come out, I obediently followed and it was not necessary for me to lie. Well, I absolutely abhor hurting Meryl so the person who was investigating me was silenced by a so-called “physical persuasion”.

Fortunately, Meryl’s grades were not that noticeable in the school so she was not implicated. Perhaps the rumors I “deliberately” spread around that I dote on her so much was helpful.

While I was dealing with the situation, we were on the verge of a catastrophic break up because I could not touch her for a while, but I was not afflicted by the pain as from that first time, and so my love life ran smoothly. (Of course I used protection while I am enrolled in school.)

Perhaps the Magical Society shifted from surveillance to effective utilization, my commissions from other people who are not from the Kralvane family have increased, and I gradually made a name for myself as a magician. It is a pity that my quality time with Meryl have decreased a little, but all the income I earned here are saved as funds for my future life with her. Sacrificing one or two days of sleeping time is cheap. If ever I exceeded the planned amount, I will use it for the dress fee. [T/N: Wedding dress? O_O]

It’s been four years . . . since I met Meryl. She was an elementary course student that time, but now, she will graduate in a few months. Although the time felt long, it feels short. Wallowing in my thoughts, I cannot imagine my life without Meryl.

There is only one thing to worry about . . . but this is something I need to solve.

“Meryl.”

My dearest. In order to call Meryl as my “wife” instead of a lover, both the Magical Society and the Kralvane family will do anything to hinder us.

Firmly hugging the small nestling body, I closed my eyes.

I pictured my happiest future in my dreams.

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