Have you ever thought that you wanted to fly through the sky?
Whenever I look up at the blue sky, whenever I see a white cloud floating through it, whenever I see birds soaring through it, that’s what I think.
How fun would it be to fly?
I can’t really remember what I thought about before learning how to talk, but I think that I felt the same back then too.
My life revolved around never having enough food. Going out to gather fruits and nuts, run from beasts, and see my brothers head out to die, that’s all.
It’s not that I was dissatisfied with it, though.
It’s just that that was my world, I never thought about there being any other way.
… Not knowing that there was anything beyond the sky and thinking that I’d die before long, I think that I’d resigned myself to it.
What blew it all away was a big, big dragon that descended from the sky.
I was frightened when I first met the dragon, thinking that it would be what ended my life.
“It’s okay, little miss. It’s okay, see? I’m a good dragon.”
I wasn’t able to understand what it was saying, but I could tell from its tone that it was very gentle. While I didn’t know the meaning of its words, I could tell what he was trying to say.
Which is why when dad went to pick out a child in order to offer them to the dragon, I insisted that I be the first one.
If I went to that red dragon that could fly through the sky, something would change.
I fully embraced that whimsical hope.
In truth, it wasn’t the kind of tale where something simply changed.
That dragon… Mentor was tens, hundreds of times weirder than I thought, the kind of person I’d never be able to fit into a single category.
We didn’t even have a language back then, in the first place.
Names. Wooden houses. Cooked food. Clay containers. Salt. Spoons. Concepts. Sorting between plants and animals. Energy. Letters. Combs. Baths.
And finally, magic.
All of what Mentor dreamed up were things we’d never seen or heard of before, so, for the youth that I was, falling for him was a matter of course… that feeling developed into a deep affection before long, too.
And as I watched Mentor from the side, he somehow came to notice the awfully ordinary me.
He loved peace, wasn’t very good at fighting, and while was gentle, he did get angry at times.
And he was very cowardly—that is, he was just a pinch indecisive.
Even though he was a stronger dragon than any and knew there were things he didn’t know despite being so knowledgeable, he was an ordinary man on the inside.
Rather than thinking that Mentor was weird, all of that came together in making him more friendly than any other dragon, causing me to become more and more fond of him.
… Well, I do think that me speaking so frankly to Jack Frost about my feelings that he cooperated with me might have been a little overdoing it, but no one other than Nina found out about that, so please just chalk it all up to youthful indiscretion and let me off about it.
I don’t know how other people will think of me.
Never having children, never coming to know that final pleasure a woman could have, and dying just after finally embracing my beloved for the first time, people might think that I was an idle woman.
Nina, for example.
She was a person that said stuff like that entirely clearly.
But I don’t think I was.
I really, truly enjoyed the life I spent alongside Mentor.
I don’t have a shred of regret about it, nor could I think of a better way to spend it. If I had ten more times to do it, I’d go through all ten the same way.
Magic was a thing comprised of names.
Mentor told me that countless times.
He was, of course, just talking about the principles of magic.
But for me, that wasn’t all it was.
What he gave me since the very beginning.
That was surely the most wonderful of all magic.
As a teacher, as a father, as a brother, and as a husband.
Mentor showered me with nothing but overflowing, pure love.
Which is why I, eventually, was also able to use magic.
He was the one that told me I could.
It may take decades, centuries, or millenia.
But I will definitely meet him again.
Please, wait for me. Ryouji——