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The cause of Lily’s coma was diagnosed as something like fatigue by means of magic depletion. Though the details were something that made everyone incline their heads in wonder, even Lily herself, who had woken up, seemed puzzled.
『I didn’t use magic yesterday. We never used magic during class either…』
This was what Lily said, according to the woman assigned as the doctor for the female dormitory.
She clearly remembered being called out by Art, the trouble that followed, and even until she went looking for the bird in the forest. Yet, her memories after that was strangely unclear.
Lily found the bird, as it was, in its usual spot. However, the little bird didn’t come down to Lily like it always did.
Thinking that the little bird might have been injured, Lily chased after the young animal as it flew away.
In favour of looking up as she made chase, it seemed that when Lily, who wasn’t too familiar with the terrain, realized it, she was already in a place she didn’t know. From there, Lily’s memories became more and more unclear.
I’m certain I encountered someone, was what Lily had seemingly said. But, for some reason, I can’t recall a thing about the other person.
I ended up having a considerably long discussion with that person. And when I realized it, it was already late, so I hurried back to the dormitory.
It was an entirely vague story.
With even the female doctor bewildered, this was what I, who stormed in, was told.
From beginning till the end, Lily had been somewhat absent-minded, it was like she was trying hard to follow those string of memories. But, eventually, without recalling who that person she had been with was, she ended up going back to sleep again. This happened last night.
To be on the safe side, Lily was taking a break from class today.
「Even if she’s dopey from her coma, whatever the circumstances may be, don’t you think her memories are way too ambiguous? 」
Since Shade said this, expressing something rude in his words, I glared at my younger brother, putting various meanings into my gaze.
「Don’t say something as impolite as『dopey』. Lily is the victim here, you know」
Since Shade, at times, makes cynical remarks by habit, I know he doesn’t mean anything ill from it. But, I couldn’t bring myself to ignore it today. Just before what may have been an outbreak of a sibling quarrel, Wolf nobly intervened.
「If her memories are unclear to that extent, there is a possibility that magic was involved」
「Yeah. I think so too」
I nodded with a “that’s exactly what I thought”, then flauntingly, I flattered him with an “as expected of Wolf”. Shade faced the other way, acting slightly pig-headed.
Today, our group brought food into the small cafeteria for visitor use and had our lunch. Although the special rights, which were granted to the dormitory head and the prefects, wind up being called excessive, that was pretty much it. Since we didn’t break the tacit understanding of not littering and not causing too much uproar, getting permission to use this room with just a reason of『we have something we wanted to discuss a bit about』wasn’t difficult.
「We’ve confirmed that this wasn’t the work of magic muddling her memories, at present. But, maybe that person who Lily was talking to, applied magic on himself making him difficult to remember. There has to be a method for how he did it」
「If that’s the case, who was she talking with? Why would he go to the trouble of concealing himself? And, why did her magic dry up?」
Wolf’s words apparently piqued Shade’s interest, since the sulking Shade suddenly returned to the conversation.
「But Miss Lilium’s power was strong enough to break the measuring instrument, wasn’t it? For it to have dried up, you’ve got to wonder what on earth that amount of magic was used for」
「You do know Lily should only be able to use healing magic, right?」
「That’s what makes it so mysterious, don’t you think? Do you think she resurrected the dead or something?」
“That’s not the scope of healing magic-“, I stopped midway, having realized. Lily’s magic was non-standard.
「…for what reason would a dead person be inside the school」
「Maybe someone died from some sort of accident inside the school. Having been on-site, Miss Lilium performed resuscitation by magic. Then, someone used some sort of magic so she couldn’t remember」
Although it was quite absurd, the chance of it wasn’t zero. As I was led astray, Wolf countered Shade’s theory.
「Finding a corpse and resurrecting the dead are both fairly shocking events. Casting magic to conceal these so that nothing remains in the person’s memories is likely impossible」
「Well then, there’s still the possibility that Miss Lilium was lying from the start, isn’t there?」
Wolf didn’t reply to counter this.
It was at that moment that I became painfully aware of the fact that these two didn’t entirely trust Lily’s words.
「… there are still other possibilities. Maybe『whoever』 met up with Lily was after Lily’s magic. Since her magic abilities are strong, the person might have been scheming to use her magic」
「Are you saying that someone can actually use other people’s powers?」
「I’ve only heard it in stories, but, I’ve seen records of the country and the association performing experiments trying to do so」
「And so? Did those experiments actually work?」
「It did show some results, you know.
But the performance and success rate were very low considering a complicated, grand-scale magical equipment is needed」
「So, are you saying that even if the person painstakingly takes Miss Lilium’s strong magic, he can’t really do anything with it? What’s more, you’re saying that a 『complicated grand-scale magical equipment』 is actually in this school?」
「… This standpoint in which I have absolutely no evidence to support my opinion is exactly like your theory a while ago, don’t you think?」
「Ah~ yes, yes. In other words, this is Elder Sister’s sophistry, isn’t it?」
When I tried answering back, Shade cut me off, saying「let’s go back to discussing it seriously」in a low tone.
「Elder sister, you’re way too decided that everything that’s happening to Miss Lilium lately is all because of outside factors, you know?」
「 Well that’s because this is Art’s doing. Don’t you think it should be clear that Lily is the victim in all of this?」
「Although there’s no doubt that she’s a victim in terms of what Art did, we still don’t know what happened after that. After Art’s fallout with you, he’s been under close watch together with his followers, so, shouldn’t we consider that『what happened after that』 was an entirely different incident? Although it’s natural to worry about a friend who’s been comatose for a whole day, please calm down a little」
Getting told off by Shade while simultaneously getting patted by Wolf on the head with a “there, there”, I ended up scowling.
「I intend to calm down, though」
Even while I retorted back, Shade laughed contemptuously at me.
「Only『intend to』, huh? Well, I won’t say that everything Miss Lilium said was a lie, but if her memory was really foggy, then her assertion that she didn’t use magic is strange. The discrepancy might be because the report came from someone else, but please be a little suspicious about it」
After he said this, I was taken aback.
He’s certainly right when he puts it that way.
「It looks like we may have to hear the full account directly from her for now, Lycoris. After that, I just hope you keep in mind…」
Since that was a sign that even Wolf was going to give me a sermon, I shrank back a little. But, when he continued, Wolf’s voice was gentle.
「Swallowing someone’s words isn’t proof of friendship and doubting someone’s words doesn’t necessarily mean you’re acting against that friendship either. At least, that’s what I think」
I took in the words that Wolf said as he looked right at me with those blue-violet eyes.
Swallowing Lily’s words wasn’t a proof of our friendship. Is it really okay even if I doubt her words?
「What’s important is that you make an effort at that time to support your friend. That’s also why you need to determine the truth with your own eyes」
The words were ideological, but I got what he was trying to say. Wolf — and, unfortunately, even Shade, were, in a sense, my coaches in making friends.
「… I understand. I’ll bear that in mind」
「Please do. When I’m looking at you now, I feel a little uneasy. I know you’re happy to get a friend though」
Even to an outsider, I’d probably looked pretty fired up when Lily became my friend. It’s a little embarrassing.
「Saying something like this probably won’t make much of a difference, but… I’d rather you don’t get hurt」
But, I think it’s pretty embarrassing to say something like that with a deadly earnest expression, even for Wolf.
While my face reddened, Shade’s face looked like he’d just eaten something sour.
Following the pair’s advice, I planned to hear the full account from Lily. I did keep in mind that she might not tell me the truth.
However, even after several days had passed, I didn’t get the chance to personally talk with her. She’d shown up to class after the three days worth of rest, but she never showed up at the dormitory library room.
When I think of the frequency that Lily appeared in the library room until now, it should have been obvious that she was avoiding me.
Mustering up my courage on one occasion during the night, I tried to go to her room, but the room was quiet and had no lights on. When I considered that she was sleeping since she hasn’t fully recovered, I couldn’t bring myself to intrude on her.
Furthermore, if Lily was getting better, it didn’t look like it from what I saw of her outside of school. Even at a distance, I could tell she was tired since the skin around her eyes had dark circles. I could tell it wasn’t merely a trivial matter.
If so, then I have to do a frontal attack — I had decided to hear from her by summoning her as the dormitory head.
But then, news arrived to me that Art had received serious injuries.
And that… was just the start of the terrible chain of events to follow.
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