Chapter 13: The Beginning of the Truth Becoming Visible
“That woman, she’s a monster, right?”
Hearing these words, a dumbfounded voice escaped from my mouth.
“Ralph, your acquaintance likes to joke around, doesn’t he?”
“. . .”
“Ralph. . .?”
Even when I called out to Ralph in front of me, he only looked at me with a troubled expression and didn’t reply.
This unexpected reaction gave me an unpleasant premonition.
“Oh, I see. So you can speak properly. It’s the first time I’ve seen a monster in human form. Is Ralph under some kind of charm spell you used on him?”
“That’s why I’m not a monster—”
“Don’t play dumb. I sense a strong monster presence from you.”
“. . .Huh?”
The man who said that had a serious expression that made it hard to believe he was lying. My heart started making an unpleasant sound.
“She is not a monster.”
Eventually, Ralph clearly said that, and I let out a sigh of relief—
“You, have you really become so oblivious? If you can’t even sense this level of presence, you’re disqualified as a hero.”
“. . .Indeed, I sense a monster presence from her, but she herself is not a monster. I guarantee it.”
──A monster presence from me?
I looked up at Ralph in confusion, and he had an expression of someone on the verge of tears.
I wanted to think it was an unfunny lie, a joke, perhaps. But seeing that face, it was already impossible.
“I’m sorry, Lisette-sama. I was planning to talk to you after you calmed down a bit.”
“D-Do I really have a monster presence. . .?”
“Yes. I’m sorry. . .”
“. . .This must be a lie, right?”
Ralph apologized again to me, who couldn’t hide my agitation. He didn’t need to apologize, but I was no longer in a state where I could think about that.
What on earth is happening to me?
Could it be related to the fact that I’ve been reincarnating after being eaten by monsters multiple times? I even feel like I’m not myself, and it’s making me feel sick.
“By the way, that man is the best magician in the country. We were in the same party during the Demon Lord subjugation.”
“. . .No way.”
“Even so, I’m stronger, so don’t worry.”
Upon hearing Ralph’s words, a man named Melvin clicked his tongue and said, “How annoying,” He didn’t deny it, so it seemed to be true.
Ralph completely hid me behind him and turned to face the man.
“I made a promise to Beverly that when she returns to this country, she will see her. Don’t lay a hand on her.”
“Huh? You might get killed before that.”
“If you say anything more, I’ll cut off your right hand.”
“Oh, scary. Well, I warned you.”
After saying just that, the man called Melvin turned his back to us, waved his hand, and left.
As his figure disappeared, the tension was released all at once, and I almost collapsed, but Ralph hurriedly supported me.
He still had a face that looked like he was about to cry as he gazed at me.
“. . .I’m truly sorry.”
“Why is Ralph apologizing? You helped me.”
“I was keeping something from you. And I ended up telling you in this way.”
“Are you disappointed in me? Did you start to dislike me?” Ralph asked with an anxious expression, but there was no reason to blame him.
“Ralph, you were thinking of me and staying silent, right? There’s no need to apologize. Thank you.”
As I conveyed that, he still uttered words of apology and lowered his long eyelashes.
“Anyway, can you listen to what I have to say?”
“Yes, of course.”
Ralph nodded immediately, and together with him, I boarded the carriage that had been waiting nearby and decided to return to the Marquis’ house.
And so, our first outing with Ralph turned out to be quite the disaster.
After returning to the Marquis’ house, we sat facing each other in Ralph’s room.
It was my first time entering his room, but other than a large painting of mine hanging on the wall, it was a normal room.
I took a sip of warm tea. It gave me a nice, relaxing feeling, and I felt a slight sense of calm.
“. . .I noticed the presence of monsters from Lisette-sama when we reunited. I was wondering when to talk about it, but I was planning to avoid it right after you collapsed.”
Of course, I didn’t want to believe it. But Ralph’s behavior when we reunited made sense.
Because he noticed the presence of monsters, he must have directed hostile and murderous gazes towards me.
When we first met as children, his powers as a hero had not yet awakened, so he didn’t notice.
“What do you mean by ‘presence of monsters’?”
“I can only sense it, but I don’t know the details. I asked the saintess, who is also a former party member, to take a look at Lisette-sama. She will be returning from a neighboring country soon, so let’s go meet her then.”
“To the saintes. . .? Thank you, please.”
“Yes, leave it to me. Her eyes are special, so she might be able to understand some things that I can’t.”
If it weren’t for Ralph, it would have been impossible to have the saint take a look. No matter how much money I offered, I wouldn’t be able to meet someone like her.
I felt like I was gradually getting closer to the truth that I couldn’t grasp even after several past lives. At the same time, I found myself afraid of knowing the truth.
As if seeing through those feelings, Ralph called my name in a terribly gentle tone, saying, “Lisette-sama.”
“It’s okay, I’m here with you.”
Why did his words, even though we had just met, make me feel so relieved?
Perhaps it’s because he is a hero. When he took my bewildered hand, Ralph wore a gentle smile.
“──In this life, I will definitely protect you.”