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Chapter 017 – Dear Tenma, I Am Now Eight Years Old II
“Haa? Aren’t you the daughter of a baron? For you to want to be a nun… why?”
“I’ve promised God to devote my chastity.”
“You… I’ve always thought this, but you really are a strange woman.”
Sophie puffed her cheeks at the rude remark.
Then Rio’s exasperated expression faded and he looked at Sophie, as if he was challenging something.
“…Is it really for God that you’re devoting your chastity to?”
“Of course. That’s the duty of a nun, after all.”
“Isn’t it ‘Tenma’?”
Sophie was agitated inside, as she’d never thought she would hear somebody speak that name in this world.
Why does Rio know that name?
“When I rescued you, you called out that name.”
Rio murmured with a dull expression.
Now that Sophie thought about it, when she first met Rio, the moment she was about to drown, Sophie did call that name.
At that time, she’d swallowed a bit of water, and in her fading consciousness, she had an illusion where her best friend in her past life saved her.
——Aah, so you’re fine. You saved me. Thanks.
As she thought so, she reached out her hand and called out that name. She was so happy then and shed tears.
When she recalled it at this moment, it was slightly… no, very embarrassing.
“Sophie’s eyes at that time were eyes that only saw your loved one.”
No well, he is an important best friend, but…
But it made her embarrassed to hear it.
Even though she was already reincarnated, it felt painful, like her black history as Tasuku had increased in number.
“Is this ‘Tenma’ the person you love?”
It seemed Rio had mistaken her as a person who was keeping her chastity for the man she loved.
She thought she might collapse out of surprise.
…Well, since I am a girl now, it can’t be helped to think like that? Eh-?? Anyway, I’ll have to deny it for the time being.
“You see, Rio.”
Sophie tried to weave her words, but Rio continued to talk to interrupt her.
“Sophie, I won’t meet you anymore. But… if Sophie is willing to be my bride, I can take you along.”
Sophie blinked her eyes when she was told so in a serious tone.
Rio’s eyes were dim, and it didn’t feel like his usual joke.
“We can’t meet anymore?”
Rio looked down to the floor as he answered. Rio, who’d always looked straight into her eyes, was trying to avoid her gaze.
The thing that broke the heavy silence between the two was Sophie’s stupid remark.
“Rio, are you dying?”
“…Haa?! Why do you think so?!”
“Because you said we can’t meet anymore, so it must be that, right?”
“What do you mean?! Parting does not always mean death!”
As Sophie tilted her head in blank expression, Rio let out a huge sigh.
“Even though you’re smart, you can be really stupid sometimes.”
“That’s rude! —Then, we’ll meet again someday.”
“…No, we can’t meet again. Are you listening to me?”
“We will meet again. Because you are still alive, and so am I.”
As Sophie stated clearly with a strong tone, Rio, who looked away all this time, finally looked at Sophie.
Perhaps Rio realized that Sophie said such a thing not because she didn’t understand what he meant.
“…I don’t think we’ll meet again. The world we live in will be different.”
“Rio, you are now in front of me, and I still exist right here, so we can’t say the world we live in is different… For those who truly live in different worlds, they can’t meet again for the rest of their lives.”
Rio thought. Who are you talking about right now?
Why are your eyes that are always full of curiosity, dimmed like mine were a moment ago?
Who are you thinking about right now? Who made your expression become like that?
He wanted to ask, but at the same time, he didn’t want to ask. He was scared to ask.
Sophie must be referring to this “Tenma.” He didn’t want to hear such a thing from Sophie’s mouth.
Rio clenched his fist.
“Rio, I’m sure we’ll meet each other again. No matter how long it takes, we’ll definitely meet again. You are the first friend I made in this world. I will never forget such a bond.”
With an adult-like smile on her, Sophie gently extended her hand.
As Rio saw her thin white fingers, Rio was aware he couldn’t become more than that. To this cute, smart, and funny person, he couldn’t be more than just a friend. 1
To be honest, it felt painful.
For Rio, Sophie was his first love.
She was an interesting, entertaining, and dear person, who’d allowed him to forget everything else.
If only I met her earlier, much earlier than this “Tenma,” perhaps I could have become her number one. Rio couldn’t help but think so.
However, Rio met Sophie when she was six. It wasn’t like he was late. Even so, she met her special person “Tenma” way earlier… and for some reason, he felt like he couldn’t have met her earlier than “Tenma.”
He shouted her name, as if trying to shake off this thought. Rio finally grasped the hand extended by her and laughed.
“Sophie, be a great woman! To the point your name is known all throughout the capital!”
He wondered when would be the next time he could call her name. Would it be a few years later, or perhaps decades later?
At that time, he couldn’t whisper words of love to her anymore. This would be the first and last time he would love her as a woman. He was aware his position couldn’t afford him to love. He had no regrets.
Rio stared at her without blinking, hoping to carve the girl’s eyes with a gentle, forest color in his memory. The pair of eyes that looked back at Rio immediately gained a spark of fascination to Rio’s provocation.
“Of course I will. I am Sophie Linier! I’ll make sure this name roars, so much so I can hear it wherever I go!”
Rio laughed at the girl who confidently spoke with her finger pointed at herself.
Rio knew best that she wasn’t bluffing about it.
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Also, Tsukii has picked up a new series called “A Story of a Cannon Fodder who Firmly Believed He was the Protagonist, Misunderstood the Actual Protagonist as the Cannon Fodder, and Ended up Victorious!” The title really says it all. Early access to more chapters for this story is available on Patreon.