He recovered his consciousness. At the same time, he thought that it was cold, so much so that the root of his teeth shivered with a chattering sound.
His body shook, too. Rounding his back, as he tightly hugged himself, he first had to endure the cold. He even thought that his body was frozen.
Only after about a count of 1000 had passed did his mood settle down. It was much better compared to the coldness of the night sea, and lukewarm air probably gave him warmth. The youth finally raised his body.
His view was pitch-black and nothing could be seen. He put the bow, which he was tightly grasping, nearby and took off his cold clothes, dripping wet with the sea water. He also took off his trousers and underwear and wringed them. Since he did not have enough strength now, he could not wring them as dry as he had wanted.
As he felt pain to his head and touched it, there was something which appeared to be a wound. Though there was no slippery sensation, his hair was also wet. He sniffed the smell of the hand which touched the wound, and judged that blood seemed to have stopped.
Since he could not calm down as he was naked, he reluctantly wore his clothes which were still wet and cold. And then, the youth recognized that he was standing on a solid ground.
“…Where am I?”
Though a stupid question, the person himself was extremely serious about it. The youth’s name was Tigrevurmud Vorn. Those close to him called him by his nickname “Tigre”. Rummaging through his darkish red hair, Tigre desperately traced his memory of before losing consciousness.
Tigre was a noble of the Brune Kingdom, but due to various circumstances, he was currently in the position of guest General of the Zchted Kingdom. And as a messenger of that Zchted, he was in the Asvarre Kingdom until the other day.
He left Asvarre in a ship, and that ship was attacked by a Demon on their way back to Zchted in a few days. Tigre fell into the sea during the fight against the Demon and lost consciousness.
Recalling up to there, Tigre muttered again the question of earlier.
”Where am I?”
It was unlikely that Sophia Obertas alias Sophie, Olga Tamm, Matvey and company who were boarding the same ship saved him. If it was them, they should have done a more proper medical treatment.
There was no way that they would have left him drenched as is without even changing his clothes and putting a piece of blanket on him.
In other words, it was something different that saved him from the night sea.
Tigre picked up the bow that he put at his feet. Though it was a heirloom, Tigre learned just about a year ago that it possessed a mysterious power. That power often saved the youth from predicaments.
As he looked around at his surroundings, a light could be seen ten steps ahead. Tigre was walking up to there while staggering. He did not yet have power in his legs.
When he became aware of what that light was, Tigre unintentionally frowned.
It was surrounded by a wall on three sides there, and several things like short stones pillars respectively extended from the floor and ceiling. All the stones pillars reached only to Tigre’s knees and the surface was rugged as if shaved from a rock.
Most of the stones pillars were pitch-black, but several other than that were wrapped in a white light. This was where the light came from.
『It has been a while.』
A woman’s voice resounded out of nowhere. Tigre strongly grasped the bow and looked around while being on guard. But, the figure of the owner’s voice was nowhere to be seen. No, Tigre thought. Maybe the space itself wrapped in this darkness might be the owner of the voice. He called out towards the darkness.
“It’s you, who saved me, right?”
The owner of the voice affirmed.
“…First of all, I thank you for having saved me.”
Tigre honestly bowed his head towards the darkness while saying “thank you”.
“Why did you save me?”
『I said it before, right? 〃Deep in the darkness of night atop a mountain of corpses〃. Since the conditions were met, I just lent you a little hand. ––That dormant child probably did not notice.』
He did not quite catch the latter half of her lines as she said them while muttering.
”—Come to think of it, I have a feeling that I was told something like that before.”
It was nearly one year ago. Since there were also other surprising things at that time, he had completely forgotten.
『You have forgotten, I guess.』
“Such a thing… No, um, I am sorry.”
Although she hit the bull’s eye in the voice that got more like mischief and he reflexively tried to deny it, Tigre shook his head and frankly apologized. A chuckle was heard from the darkness. Tigre pulled himself together and asked.
“By the way, where am I? And what about the ship I was boarding?”
『I cannot answer the first question. And about the second, I do not know.』
It was an honest reply. Tigre sighed and posed a question again.
“About the second question, what do you mean by you don’t know?”
『I only saved you. I am not interested in anything other than it.』
“Can’t you get me back to that place?”
『In the night sea?』
With fear and coldness brought back in his mind, Tigre’s body trembled on its own. He would die this time for sure. However, he could not afford to be in a place like this forever. He entreated.
“Can’t you do it other than by sea?”
Tigre was taken aback by the short question. Where did he want to go back to?
Alsace? LeitMeritz? Brune? Or Zchted?
The peaceful scenery of the hometown, where he was born and raised, and the smile of the silver- haired girl flashed simultaneously across his mind. Both were irreplaceable things for the youth. And then, the face of important people floated in his head.
『Oh yeah, the direction facing the sea will probably be good.』
Was it because she saved him when he fell into the sea? After a little thought, Tigre expressed his wish.
That was it for now. The situation where he was placed now did not allow him to go back to his beloved hometown.
『Well then, I shall send you.』
The owner of the voice laughed and added.
『However, even I cannot determine where you will land in Zchted.』
Before understanding the meaning of those words, Tigre’s consciousness rapidly receded.