Thoughts become words, words become power, power becomes fate.
“… That being the case, a magic formation’s structure can only be comprised of pentagrams, octagrams, or those in between. However, the situations they cannot be used are another matter—”
Just as I was continuing to describe the figures on the stone slate, the ringing of bells sounded.
“Ah, it’s already time? Well, try to think of the reason why stars with nine or more points cannot be used practically before the next class period. Alright now, today’s lesson is over.”
With that, the children stood and cheered in glee. They all loved to learn, but children always seemed to feel an exceptional surge of glee from being told they could go outside.
A small girl hugged me from behind as I went to wipe the board with a wet cloth.
Seeing our hair touch, she smiled in glee. Although her big, glittering red eyes and her shining face spoke mountains of the beauty she would blossom into in the future, she wore a sword at her waist and her figure was like a young boy… How should I put it? It’s like I’m getting a huge wave of deja vu.
“Yuuka, do you mind waiting a little longer?”
“I wanna help too!”
“Oh? Here you go, then.”
I handed a cloth to the Yuuka—who was spending her time bouncing up and down, her sword and hair swinging each time—and we wiped the board down together.
“Mentoooor, what’re you doing!? It’s time!”
As we were doing that, Rin jumped in with her usual rush.
“What? Wait, it’s not time yet. The bell just rang a few moments ago, it’s still ten. It’s supposed to be at noon.”
“But you have to change and there’s a ton of other stuff to do! Were you planning on head out in that?”
I looked down at what I was wearing. It was the same red coat I’d always worn. It transforms with me, so I haven’t really needed to change or wash. It automatically gets cleaned whenever I take a bath and I never feel hot or cold, either.
… However, saying they’re suitable for a day like today might be a bit much. But I seriously never thought Rin would say something like that. Looks like even Rin is starting to gain some common sense.
I guess her being a teacher hasn’t just been for show. There’s been a few trials and tribulations along the way, but I guess it has been three years since she became a doctor.
“Come on, hurry up!”
My mind was wandering when Rin, bouncing on her waist fins, pushed me from behind.
Just as we finally reached the venue, sure enough, Nina was in a bad mood.
“Sorry. I completely forgot that I needed to change.”
“… Whatever. I figured this would happen, now we’ll get to see your surprise.”
But her expression changed into a mischievous grin.
Not answering my question, Nina threw me a bundle of clothes. I doubt she’d tell me even if I asked.
“Yuuka, do you know anything?”
“Hurry up and change!”
Nina shouted, but Yuuka had simply looked confused and tilted her head to the side. Guess there’s no helping it, huh?
I reluctantly entered a private room with the clothes and got changed. Come to think of it, what would happen if I transformed with these on? Let’s give that a shot next chance I get.
“They don’t suit you.”
Wondering about something irrelevant as I exited the room, I received a cutting evaluation by Nina.
“Oh come on, I’m just not used to clothes like these yet.”
“I think they’re very stylish, Mentor! Also, congratulations!”
Right after I snapped back at Nina half on reflex, a certain half-wolf, half-human girl congratulated me while silently clapping her hands together.
“Thanks. It’s been a while, Luka. How’s the school going over there?”
“Oh, there are still only a few students, but it feels like it’s picking up recently. Is my younger sister doing well here?”
“Yeah, Riko’s excellent, the spitting image of how you were. If she’s here another three years, she might even be able to become a teacher here as well.”
I really wanted Luka to stay as well, but when she said that she wanted to start up a school for the lykoscentaur in the grasslands, there’s no way I could say no to her.
It’s exactly because she valued her family so much that I wanted to include her in my class, after all.
“Dropout, I’m heeeeere!”
The door slammed open while I was drifting off into sentimental memories. I didn’t need to look to see who it was, either. There was only one person who called Nina Dropout.
“Why’d she have to get invited…”
“Sorry, but she asked to be allowed to come by any means.”
Hearing Nina give an entirely displeased expression, Violet lowered her head and explained.
“I can probably guess why, but why’d you come?”
“To eat the tasty food!”
Ultramarine declared in her usual self-motivation, she had zero intention to congratulate me. It was actually rather refreshing.
“Mentor, congratulations. I am truly sorry about my companion.”
“Hahaha, don’t worry about it.”
I smiled, easing Violet, who apologized for Ultramarine’s flippancy. Really, I seriously can never tell if she’s joking or if she’s just that straightforward.
“By the way… could this girl be your child, Mentor?”
Violet had turned her gaze toward Yuuka.
Well, I suppose her thinking that was reasonable enough, seeing as she didn’t know the circumstances.
“No, she’s Asata’s daughter… Amata’s second child. Come now, say hello.”
“Heya! Yuuka Swordsaint!”
Yuuka raised both arms in the air and introduced herself cheerfully. The more I watched her, the more she reminded me of Yuuki from when she was young. Well, she was probably more like Amata, who was entirely similar to Yuuki, to be more accurate. Though I guess I’d be a bit worried for her future if she grew up to be more like the current Amata, so I guess it’s fine to say she looks like her aunt?
Just then, I heard something crash outside.
“Sorry I’m late!”
“It’s alright, Shig.”
He’d literally come flying.
“It took longer than I thought, even flying.”
Retracting his magically-constructed wings, he gave his excuse.
“Are you saying I’m heavy?”
“Eh? No, um, definitely not.”
He grew flustered because of the grinning lizardman woman.
Hmm, so the ever-so-rebellious Shig managed to get this whipped…
“Long time no see, Honoh. Since your wedding, I believe?”
“My husband is in your debt.”
Honoh bowed with an elegance unlike a normal lizardman’s.
She was Beol’s daughter, and Shig’s wife. The chieftain had given his daughter to the one who won the patriarchal position. Although it was somewhat of an arranged marriage, judging by how they acted toward one another, they didn’t seem to be unhappy about it and actually got along well.
“Still though, it’s already been four years… Or maybe I should think that’s not too long for you, Mentor?”
“No, I mean… honestly, I wanted to do it sooner.”
That night, Yuuki’s aggression after hearing the words Ai left behind was something to behold. Those innocent touches quickly turned into fierce, head-on attacks…
It was to the point of me being pathetic, but I didn’t last anywhere near as long as I thought. I was basically down in one go.
“… Amata wouldn’t let me off the hook.”
“He wouldn’t let you marry her without him losing, I suppose?”
I nodded to Luka, who’d asked the question with a hand covering her mouth in surprise.
“Yeah. Senseless, right?”
“Wait, Amata lost!?”
Meanwhile, Shig’s surprise was to something else. He was probably thinking back to his days as a student where he was easily struck to the ground by him, or when he saw Beol and Amata face off. It was a sight to behold.
“Yeah, he did—against Yuuki.”
“Yuuki was the person he gave the condition to in the first place, not me. If she didn’t have the strength to succeed the Swordsaints, he wouldn’t allow her to marry me, seriously. Isn’t it usually the other way around?”
Well, I wouldn’t have been able to win if he told me to beat him, even in my dragon form. I could probably win if I used my breath on him at full strength from out of his range like Shig did to Beol, but that would end up killing him.
The bell rang after we talked with each other for a while longer. It was noon.
“It’s time. Get ready, everyone. Come on, you go over here.”
“Huh? But what about the food?”
Urged forward by Nina and ignoring the Ultramarine—who didn’t get the purpose of all of this at all—we reached the hall of a small church. Well, even if I say church, it’s not like we’re believing in some god, so really we’re mainly using it for ceremonial occasions.
Just like the first time, Nina acted as the priest.
“The bride is entering.”
In a somewhat strained voice, Luka spoke aloud. As her younger siblings sang their rehearsed song in delight, the double doors opened, allowing Amaga to enter with Yuuki.
As an adult, the formerly boyish-looking girl had grown increasingly feminine. However, unlike her physical growth, her mind was the same as ever. That was until just then, at least.
With her body clothed in a snow-white outfit covered in flowers and jewels as she slowly walked down the isle, all I could think was that she was beautiful. For a moment, I’d seriously wondered where this princess came from.
Seeing me like that, Nina was probably behind me and grinning as ever.
By the time she reached the center of the aisle, I shook hands with Amaga and took Yuuki’s hand before moving back to stand before Nina with her.
“Groom. Be it when you’re healthy, sick, happy, or sad, do you swear to cherish, honor, comfort, and support her to the best of your abilities so long as you both may live?”
I responded to Nina, who had managed to give the line both in austerity… as well as a sense of casualness, however she managed that.
Nina had been presiding over every wedding since the world’s first one, not just ours. To be honest, what this church believes in might just be her at this point.
“Bride. Be it when you’re healthy, sick, happy, or sad, do you swear to cherish, honor, comfort, and support him to the best of your abilities so long as you both may live?”
“I do not.”
I almost wound up crying out after hearing Yuuki shake her head and say that. What happened!? Did she change her mind at the last minute?
No way, was this what Nina meant by me being surprised earlier?
When I looked to Nina to confirm, she also looked surprised. What’s going on?
“Even once my life ends. I will always, always be by his side.”
There was a silence that felt like hours. Although it was truthfully only a moment, Yuuki followed her statement with that. She would do what Ai was unable to. That’s doubtlessly what she was intending.
To be honest, I still don’t believe she will be able to complete her immortality research. It may be completed someday after a long, long time of putting the effort into researching it, but I’m meaning more in the range of centuries, not decades.
I’ve come to the point that the current me is fine with that. Even if we are destined to part one day, the life we live together will have meaning. I truly believe that.
Even so—even if she is unable to make her promise reality, her declaration of it alone was enough to bring me joy.
“Now, exchange your rings.”
That was a new custom. Yuuki handed her bouquet to Violet, while Shig passed a scarlite ring to Nina, who then handed it to me. With that, I took the hand of the woman who would become my wife and placed it onto her finger. Following that, Yuuki did the same by placing a ring onto my left hand’s ring finger.
“… Seal your vows with a kiss.”
Turning up Yuuki’s veil, I saw her bright red eyes staring straight back at me.
Her eyes were no different from when she was a child. I’d been watching over her for a long time, stretching all the way back to her birth. No, not just Yuuki, but her dad, mother, and her father’s father. Those red eyes have always been by my side, together for the past five hundred years.
And I’m certain that will continue from here on, too. She swore as much to me.
Suddenly, I found my neck grabbed at pulled on. Her soft lips pressed mine, mine pressing against hers.
“Did you fall for me?”
Yuuki laughed, a mischievous smile playing at her lips.
“Here, I declare that a new couple has been born.”
Following Nina’s declaration was a thunderous applause and petals pouring down on us from all directions. Was that from Violet’s magic? Looking up, there was a brier of thorns with blooming flowers covering the ceiling.
Yuuki called out to me to regain my attention that had been stolen by the falling flowers. I nodded, embracing my wife in what was effectively a princess carry, and walked slowly down the aisle as everyone bathed us in their blessings.
Outside of the church stood hundreds of the villagers that hadn’t been able to fit in the now seemingly too-small church.
Adults, children, teenagers, even the elderly—not one of them were a stranger. Everyone had been born in and grew up in this village, each and every one a student I’d taught magic to.
Yuuki threw her bouquet out toward them. It went over the heads of the gathered guests, rising further toward the church’s roof, then beyond into the sky.
… Did she throw it with her full strength!?
How did she find the strength to throw it that forcefully from her position in my arms like that? However, just as I started to think that no one would be able to catch it… a figure caught it.
With her large waist fins spread out like wings, I saw a merfolk soaring through the sky as if swimming through water.
“Looks like it’ll be Rin’s turn next.”
Seeing Yuuki giggle, I inclined my head. It was true that she was still young as far as merfolk went, but more than anything I just couldn’t picture Rin marrying anyone. I’d actually started thinking she might stick by Shig, but he wound up marrying pretty quickly.
“Mentor, husband… big brother. Yep. I guess big brother just fits.”
Yuuki called out to me, almost as if to confirm some emotion. I’d thought that she would call me by name now that we’ve become a couple, but honestly speaking, I couldn’t deny that her calling me that just felt right.
“Big brother, I’m definitely, definitely, definitely going to make you happy.”
Yuuki’s face was dyed pink as she spoke.
—And so she would.
“You always have.”
It wasn’t much, but it was the best response I could give.