That night, Mabel was gazing absentmindedly at the sky from her room.
‘I should apologize properly to Eugene-san…’
Talking to Amane had made her more aware of her own feelings. She decided to express her true feelings and if Eugene ended up hating her, then so be it.
‘But I don’t know how to face him…’
At that moment, the glass window in front of her made a rattling sound.
Startled, Mabel quickly unlocked and pushed open the window with both hands. Above the balcony, she heard the flapping of wings. A large shadow fell at her feet.
“―Good evening, Mabel.”
There stood Mutabilis, wearing a white mask. With his beautiful white hair flowing and his wings fluttering softly, Mabel blinked her eyes in surprise and spoke.
“Wow, the letter arrived so quickly.”
Confused, Mutabilis tilted his head, and Mabel also blinked and said, “Huh?”
“That’s why you came here, right?”
“No, when I went to the castle to meet Mabel, Row told me to come back here.”
With a disappointing answer, Mabel felt relieved. Upon reflection, the item she had sent earlier in the day couldn’t have arrived so quickly.
“So, you sent me a letter?”
“Yeah, I did.”
“I’m happy. I wonder what it says.”
Facing Mutabilis, who smiled as if savoring the moment, Mabel felt a slight confusion. But regardless, she realized that the letter would eventually arrive, so she asked Mutabilis again.
“Well, I wanted to know about your teacher. I remember…he fell in love with my mother, Melveilleuse.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
“Well, why did he give up on her?”
Mutabilis was initially taken aback, but eventually closed their eyes as if pondering.
“Maybe he thought that It would make Melveilleuse happy”
“For Okaa-sama’s happiness?”
“Yeah,” Mutabilis gently gazed at her with his large eyes. A jewel-like, blue radiance shimmered in the darkness.
“We mages are feared beings. Because we’re not human.”
“That’s not true, Mutabilis. You’re no different from us.”
“Yeah, thank you…”
Mutabilis smiled, his lips curling up.
“It makes me happy to hear Mabel say that. But we’re often told that we’re not human. I’m sure other mages feel the same way.”
“. . .”
“That’s fine, we’re used to it. But if Mabel starts to fear me, that would be really, really unpleasant.”
Indeed, the reactions from those around them when their engagement was announced were far from positive.
Mabel hadn’t paid much attention to it until she heard about it, so she hadn’t been aware of how they were being perceived.
“I think my master was also troubled by that. And because we live a long time, we can’t age or die until our magic runs out.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“My teacher couldn’t decide until the end. But I think he wanted to be with the person he loved. That’s why he created the magic tool Heart.”
Saying that, Mutabilis quietly turned her gaze towards Mabel.
“Have you ever seen a magic tool?”
“A magic tool is birthed when we infuse our magic into an existing object. When the magic power runs out, the tool becomes useless.”
But Heart is different, Mutabilis placed his hand on his chest.
“Heart is the manifestation of a mage’s magic. I don’t think Mabel has seen it, but the magic becomes a beautiful crystalline gem. And even if we’re not around, it continues to weave magic.”
“What kind of magic is it?”
“Well, the most common one is ‘Protection’ Of course. It’s impossible to defy death or the laws of nature. But we can give good luck or a body that can overcome illness. Most of the time, it’s about wishing happiness for the recipient.”
“That’s amazing! It’s really magical.”
“Yeah. But it takes an incredible amount of magic to create. Since magic and lifespan are the same for mages, creating Heart greatly shortens our lifespan. That’s why we can only create one Heart in our lifetime.”
Still, it was already quite long, and Mutabilis smiled sadly.
“For mages, the Heart is like a vow―or perhaps, a prayer. Usually, it’s something they create when they find something they want to protect even at the cost of their lives.”
“And Mutabilis’ teacher gave it to my mother…”
Mutabilis’ teacher must have been truly conflicted until the end. However, he made the decision to leave her mother’s side and disappeared, leaving behind his magic in his place.
A prayer to continue protecting her even after they separated.
Mabel once again held her breath at the realization that her own mother had possessed such a precious item. At the same time, a question arose in her mind.
“When Okaa-sama passed away, didn’t the magic disappear?”
If it was magic cast to protect her mother, its power should have been lost when she passed away. However, the fragments of the [heart] that transferred to her daughters still retained that magic.
The strong power possessed by her sisters, stronger than any man, and their captivating beauty that could manipulate people’s hearts, were evidence of that. Of course, Mabel herself lived as someone with a strong heart that triumphed over magic.
Mutabilis furrowed her eyebrows at that question.
“Well, Melveilleuse’s Heart is a bit unusual, you could say. Somehow, it seems that the magic is still lingering.”
“It’s still there?”
“Yes. Generally, as Mabel said, most magic becomes meaningless once the owner passes away and disappears along with them. But Melveilleuse’s heart somehow maintained its magic and was inherited by Mabel and her sisters.”
“So, the magic cast by your teacher is still alive.”
“Most likely. I think it’s the result of Mabel’s mother wishing for her daughters to be protected. I just couldn’t sense it and mistakenly believed that the magic―the Heart―was left unattended. I was anxious to retrieve it.”
“And in the middle of that, I was captured by Wiski.”
“Yes. It was only after that point that I learned the truth. I was able to confirm that the remaining fragments of the Heart were with Mabel and her sisters. It’s concerning that the magic is still there, but each fragment holds a small amount of magic and is stable, so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.”
While listening to the story, Mabel placed her hand on her chest. She confirmed, once again, that the existence called magic filled people with complex feelings
“What kind of magic is it, exactly?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know. My teacher had passed away before I had the chance to ask.”
At the sudden confession, Mabel was at a loss for words.
“I’m sorry. I said something rude.”
“It’s okay. My teacher didn’t have much magic left. He was fully aware as he created the Heart.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Mutabilis smiled, but Mabel lowered her eyelashes apologetically. Then, Mutabilis quietly asked while looking at Mabel.
“What does Mabel think?”
“I’ve never fallen in love with anyone; so I can’t imagine what kind of feelings my teacher had when he created the Heart.”