73 – Then Cry Like a Child
Wanting to live up to others’ expectations, that is a very commendable attitude to have. It was likely that this desire to not betray an ideal image that had been forced onto him came from a place of kindness.
Sashia was a good, kind person. It was a good thing that he could have pity, relate to others and seriously face them.
But that was also why it felt so foolish.
What he thought were expectations were, in fact, something very different. He should understand that, if he really believed that his grandfather was a great man.
“Surely being the best in the world is not something that can be easily achieved by bloodline alone.”
If one has accomplished great things, it is common for others to focus on those accomplishments alone, and neglect the road that it took to get there. Even more so because, while magic was a department that most people were aware of, there were few who had more than a cursory knowledge.
Magic that occurs at the wave of a wand appears to be simple, even to the point that magical tools can be purchased in town, making them common items in everyday life.
Furthermore, as Sashia had not decided on any attribute yet, perhaps he just recognizes magic as something he can enjoy even at his young age.
Surely, I knew more than he.
“Magic is a very big power. People seem to forget that, because it looks easy, but there are times when just one wave can change everything. That is why it is praised…as a great accomplishment.”
I knew it almost too well, what would happen if you used this power wrongly. Just as the tragedy of Mariabell’s last days showed, the result of abusing your power as a noble was one of all kinds of misfortune.
How hard and painful it must have been to climb to the top, to reach number one in all the world while using it right, without ever making a mistake.
“Your grandfather worked hard for years and years to win that title. It is most absurd that you think that you can carry it just because you are his grandson.”
As long as the same blood ran through their veins, then it was likely that they had similar qualities. Just as I had inherited my appearance from my parents, Sashia had inherited the same attributes as his grandfather.
“Perhaps you have been blessed with the perfect starting point from the moment you were born. You are at a much closer position to anyone else to that title… But, that is all that it is.”
It’s not where you start from, but how you continue to move from that point.
And everything was for Sashia himself to decide.
“If you could make the expectations of others into your strength, then that would be fine as well. But if that was not the case, and if those expectations were only a burden on you, then you should be able to get rid of them.”
If the unrealistic expectations that others force onto you end up blocking your path, if they prevent you from seeing any more than one route, and if they are so painful that your childhood memories become unspeakable, then you should abandon them.
Sashia had the right to break away from such worthless bindings and move forward.
“You should be scared. You should speak up about things you hate, things you are afraid of. Your value as a person will not drop because of it.”
And even if it did cause people to be disillusioned, that’s all it was. Erasing something that was only an illusion, to begin with. It does not mean that great qualities Sashia actually has will also disappear.
It is usually only the person themselves that feel ashamed about not living up to others’ expectations. Even if they have preconceived notions about you, in the end, most do not care all that much.
“…You are so strong. Maria.”
He smiled with a slightly troubled expression, his eyebrows looked sad.
Until a moment ago he was ashamed of his fears, but now he was ashamed of his inability to act like how I was suggesting. I could tell from his face. So much was revealed in that face, that it was a wonder that others had not noticed it. Was it because I had so much prior knowledge?
The fact that he did not become upset at my bluntness here, rather, he considered his own weaknesses, that a sign of how kind and good-natured he was.
He could care for others as naturally as breathing, and yet he was somehow able to have such a low opinion of himself.
“…No, you are the one who is strong.”
“You are living proof that to be fearful and to run are not the same thing.”
Even now, for someone like Sashia who had a fear of the darkness, this moment may be something like torture. Even if you have become numb to the fear, it is not as if that trauma is cleanly swept away.
And yet, without running, without giving in to the chaos, without blaming me, he is able to talk normally and smile.
How much courage must that have taken?
“And so I return those words to you.”
If I ever returned to those days.
If my will was completely sealed again.
If I was again, dragged back into a world with auto mode.
I would surely not be able to smile. Even if I knew that it was futile, I would give my all in order to resist. And surely, I would spit out a curse on everyone who found me guilty. Regardless if it was Mariabell who had sown the seeds of her own demise.
I could not be like Sashia, and forgive others while reflecting on my own faults.
“Sashia, you are strong. That is not what I expect from you, but something I have witnessed with my own eyes.”
There was no need to compare him to the best in the world, such ideals could be laughed way. He was a person with a strong appeal. Objectively speaking.
Still, for the villainess(temporary), he was still one of the creators of flags.
“…I think I have said too much. Please forgive me.”
“Uh, it is nothing…”
I said too much… I do think that I should fix this tendency I have to say whatever comes to my mind. But it is difficult to change one’s own personality at this point.
It was clear that I had said too much by the baffled expression on Sashia’s face. I tried apologizing, but it was likely meaningless. I tend to easily forget after repenting.
There was a brief silence. If he was so afraid of the darkness, it would be good for me to talk and distract his attention, but I didn’t know what to say.
Hmmm… But as I was thinking about this, something bright appeared in my vision.
The light looks like a firefly as it moves gently…one, two, three. It was clearly not a dog or a cat.
Sashia noticed where I was looking at and seemed to have an idea of what it was.
Quite some time had now passed since we slid and fell down here. There was plenty of time for someone to become worried over our late return. They would have gone for help.
A familiar voice. It was probably our teacher. I feel a sense of relief as the presence becomes ever closer with the sounds of rustling.
“Teacher! Over here!!”