A world of white.
A woman stared at the world deprived of color. Her skin was translucent and her golden hair stood out, like it was glowing.
“So you have used it.”
There wasn’t anyone else in this empty space. Utter silence and calm. The space was in a state of tranquility. It was unbelievably pure and quiet. The woman stared at nothing in particular. Truly, there wasn’t anything to see in this vast white.
Like she was seeing something from afar, the woman lifted her head upward, her eyes blank.
“A power that transcends human knowledge.”
A bitter and fleeting smile pasted across her lips.
“This was the only thing I could offer. A chance to redo your life.”
There was no emotion in her tone.
“If I were to reborn you as you were back then, your soul wouldn’t be able to take it.”
The slightest hint of sadness in her eyes.
“Which is why I gave you another life. A life of peace. Thankfully, I found someone on the other side…” the woman said as she continued to stare at the sky that was nothing but pure white. “I hope you find your peace as well, Leo—No, Hiro.”
In a certain place, a boy had finally taken its step forward. The woman watched from this space no one knows where.
“This is where your story begins.”
A little over three weeks had passed since that incident during the quest in the forest outside the Galdia Kingdom. A couple of days ago, we had our first exam in the academy, after that was the beginning of our term break.
Currently, I am on my way to fulfill my promise to Alyss-san. I walk down the hallway guided by servants. This is my first time visiting the royal castle. Normally, you’ll need a formal letter of invitation or some kind of appointment in order to get through the castle gates. Since I was visiting without such formalities, I received weird looks from the guards stationed out in the entrance.
Thankfully, Rion-san happened to pass by while I struggled to explain my reason for coming. After that, Rion-san told the guards the situation, and let me in. Rion-san explained to the servants as well and guided me through the castle.
Worry filled my mind. When I went inside, servants hurried back and forth through the foyer up until the hallway, anxious and disorganized. I tilted my head to the side, confused as I took a glance at the servants guiding me, with a worried expression.
Weeks before this day, I noticed Alyss-san wasn't looking good during class. I had thought that she may not be feeling well perhaps because of the incident or perhaps from something else, entirely.
Looking at how everyone was acting in the castle right now, it only confirmed my worries: The situation was dire. Still, I entered the castle during this not-so-good timing.
When we arrived at a certain room, a woman clad in light armor was standing guard. When she turned towards me, she gasped.
“You’re... Sir Hiro.” she said. It was Lisa-san. We’ve met a few times before and I also helped her during the incident at the forest. “As you can see, we are unable to entertain you at the moment... “
Lisa-san made a troubled expression on her face. I put out my hands in front of my face and told her the reason I came.
“No, no. I’m not here just to visit.”
She then realized that I came here to fulfill a certain request by someone, and her face only creased with worry.
“Her majesty is not doing well, is she?” I asked.
“No, she’s not. Her condition has only worsened since then. We had doctors treat her but... they said her majesty doesn’t have long... “
“I see. Where’s Alyss-san?”
“She’s beside her right now.” Lisa-san glanced at the door to a room behind her.
“May I come in?” Lisa-san nodded and led me inside the room in silence. Her face still had doubts on how I would even help the queen’s condition. However, there was no time to explain.. The servants behind me were staring as I entered the room.
Lisa-san and I entered the room where the queen lay sunken, exhausted and extremely pale on her four-poster bed. I could tell immediately that her condition was critical. The room was filled with servants as well as a man beside the queen who seemed to be her doctor. Beside her, I also saw Alyss-san holding her hands.
As soon as we entered, everyone present looked up at us, confused by my presence. Alyss-san gained a bit of light on her face as she noticed me.
Now was the time to introduce myself. “I apologize for barging in without prior notice. I’m Hiro Laurent. I’m here to fulfill princess’ Alyss’ request of curing her majesty's condition. Please, I ask you to make room while I tend to her majesty.” I ended my introductions and reason for coming with a bow.
“...Laurent?” The queen weakly muttered while I slowly made my way past the speechless servants to her side.
The doctor, who was listening with a dumbfounded expression until now, spoke in a flustered tone.
“Cure her?! What nonsense are you spouting, boy?! I’ve already exhausted all my knowledge and it’s all useless…” He cried.
Healing magic does not exist in this world. Rather, it was unknown to mostly anyone. Moreover, medicinal technology wasn't exactly developed as it is on earth. I’ve heard that this man right here is the royal family’s exclusive doctor. Which means he was among the top doctors out there. Even so, he had failed to cure or even identify the queen’s condition.
My shoes made light sounds as I went over to the queen’s side. Alyss-san and the queen both looked at me. I put my hands against my chest.
“Though it is not my place, may I request permission to treat your majesty? I believe I could help.” I said seriously with confidence in my eyes.
“You’re... “ the queen took a glance at Alyss-san.
“This is no time for your jest, boy. What are you doing? Hurry and get this boy out of here.” The doctor called out to Lisa-san who remained in her position.
“Hiro-san... “ Alyss-san pulled the hem of my shirt, anxious.
“...Can you truly?” The queen asked.
“Stop this already, boy. Your majesty, this is no time to listen to this boy’s lies. There’s no time... “
It seemed that he was truly concerned about the queen’s condition that he couldn’t just let a stranger like me, who had just arrived and suddenly told everyone that I could treat the queen, actually try and prove it.
“Hold it.” The queen said to the doctor. “...you said earlier that your name was Laurent, didn’t you?”
I widened my eyes at the unexpected mention. It seemed that she knew about my family background or so I guess. I nodded in response.
“I see.” The queen wore an expression as if she understood something. She turned towards Alyss-san. “Very well then.”
The queen slowly held up her hands and patted Alyss-san.
“When I heard that my condition isn’t getting any better, I had already resigned myself.”
“It seemed my little Alyss had asked you an absurd request.”
I faintly smiled in response.
“It looks like you have not given up yet.” The queen turned towards me then to Alyss-san.
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Good. Then, please. I still want to stay beside my daughter especially when she’s still inexperienced” She said while looking at me with a faint grin. I couldn’t understand the meaning of that certain expression. “Please, give me another chance.”
I couldn’t help but smile in relief at those words.
“I’ll do my utmost best.”
I closed my eyes.
Goddess, let me borrow your power again.
A faint wind gently touched my cheeks as if answering to my request.
As soon as I made my decision, I held out my hand.
The servants murmured among themselves while the doctor looked like he still wanted to say something. Lisa-san stopped him and silently watched.
Alyss-san watched in awe beside me. “Please, Hiro-san... “
Here I go.
I felt my energy drain out through my body. My essence grew bright. A pure white light engulfed my body. Everyone watching drew back, wordlessly in fear. As Alyss-san tightly held her mother’s hand, I casted the spell.
Essence is a part of your body. It’s like blood flowing through your veins. This means that essence coexists with our own. In order to save the queen’s life, I’ll have to provide her with enough essence that would strengthen her body system to fight back whatever’s causing her condition.
However, draining your essence means endangering your life as well. Since I don’t know what’s causing her condition, I have to give her a huge amount of essence. If using my life means saving someone then there’s no need for hesitation.
A white seal inscribed itself into the air above the queen’s chest. It was a magic circle.
Everyone gasped in shock.
“A magic circle?!”
It was the same light that had given me everything back then. Using that same divine power, I held out my hand covered in light as well. I felt something glow on my shoulders.
“What is that light... “
Illuminating the queen's prone form, the magic circle did its work. Half of my essence drained throughout my body and got passed to the queen. Her body was now covered in light essence similar to mine.
It was my essence.
“This is... ?!”
Little by little, color returned to the queen’s once pallid face.
Everyone uttered different sounds and expressions as they watched the queen’s condition improve before their eyes. Having finished its work, the light faded. Essence throughout the queen was absorbed by her body. It now belongs to her.
I suddenly felt my head hurt. It was the result of using essence as a sacrifice instead of controlling it through your body.
Something like this is nothing if it means saving a life.
The queen gently touched her face as if examining herself. A miracle just unfolded in this very room. Finally, she turned to me with a tearful smile.
“After all these years... I had already given up. I thought there was no hope left. Just the thought of leaving my daughter behind scared me…” The queen looked up to Alyss-san with tearful eyes.
“I’m glad I was still able to reach the time where I could see hope…”
“I’m glad as well, your majesty.”
“Mother!” Alyss-san instantly threw herself to her mother. The queen engulfed her with a hug. Everyone else was emotional as well.
In everyone’s silence, I made my way to the door.
“...Wait.” The queen stopped me right before I reached for the door.
I simply looked back and gave a smile.
“I’ll excuse myself for now. I wouldn’t want to interrupt the time between her majesty and the princess. Please use that time for both of you.” I said while glancing at Alyss-san still holding her mother.
A warm smile passed across the queen’s lips.
“Then, I’ll take my leave for now.” I said. For some reason, a thought suddenly surfaced in my mind together with some memories of my own. I couldn’t help but open my mouth.
As someone who already experienced death before, I told her, “I’m certain that your majesty will live this second chance better, valuing each and every day.” I, too, was given a chance after all.
People have continuously moved towards death. That was the case for me. However, I woke up with my eyes open on this world.
In the back of my mind... This is where I begin my new chapter.
“What do you mean?” The queen asked.I smiled. “It’s nothing. I’m just talking to myself. Please take care.”