I told Radkiel about it once, but I could only see three fairies.
The Lake Fairy, the Pumpkin Fairy, and the Frost Flower Fairy.
I used to believe that the fairies came to visit with the changing of the seasons, but after hearing what Nois said, it seemed like that wasn’t always the case. However, the Pumpkin Fairy and Frost Flower Fairy could only be seen when I planted pumpkins and snowdrops in autumn and winter.
So, I took Nois to the lake at the end of the island. The Lake Fairy could only be seen on rainy days, but Nois insisted on going anyway.
Even though fairies can hide their appearance, Nois can still see them. The problem was that his physical condition was quite poor.
“If it’s too tiring, you can rest for a bit, and then we can continue.”
This was already the fourth time I offered Nois a break. As his face turned pale and he stumbled, I suggested a break, but he stubbornly shook his head again.
He couldn’t stop worrying about Radkiel, even though he could collapse at any moment. In fact, even though I offered to carry him earlier, he refused.
“Yuri already has a lot of luggage, so I don’t want to add to that burden.”
Even though he showed signs of exhaustion, he didn’t make a single sound, so I couldn’t force him to rest. With a flushed face, I waited for Nois to take his mouth off the bottle before suggesting a break.
Then, I mapped out the island in my head and said, “We’re almost there. Do you see the forest ahead? Once we cross that, we’ll reach the lakeside. Let’s keep pushing a little harder.”
Nois, who was too weak to even blow the whistle, weakly smiled and nodded. Like that, we walked into the forest, and as he looked at me, he slowly moved his lips.
It seemed like he was asking, ‘How much longer?’
So I quickly answered, “Just a little longer.”
With that, we arrived at the lake, which was quite noticeable with its shimmering surface. We still had a long way to go, but Nois trudged on with a bright face. The last time I was here was when I caught fireflies last summer, and nothing has changed about the scenery.
I pointed to where the Lake Fairy always stands and sings and said to Nois, “It’s over there. The slightly protruding area. It always sings there. Is it still there?”
Nois looked around and shook his head. With a puzzled expression, he took the clipboard I was holding and wrote on the paper, [I don’t think its around here. You said it only appears on rainy days, right?]
“Yes. Now, what should we do? It’s already past midnight, and it doesn’t seem like it will rain today. The weather on this island is always divided into morning and afternoon.”
The weather changed swiftly, much like the shifting of seasons. The markers of time, noon and midnight, were no longer reliable guides. Today, it was forecasted to be sunny until nightfall, disappointing my hopes of encountering the elusive lake fairy.
However, there was nothing I could do about it. Since I have come this far, perhaps I should use another way to catch the dream fairy instead. When I returned, I considered creating a sticky bed by making a paste-like mixture using flour.
Lost in my thoughts, I gazed out at the serene lakeside. Suddenly, Nois handed me a freshly written note.
[I am going to change the weather.]
“You mean you will use magic to alter the weather?”
“I’m asking this out of concern, but will your body… be okay?”
A tinge of sadness shadowed Nois’ countenance as he looked up at me. Perhaps his unease stemmed from thoughts of Radkiel. And then an explanation followed.
[I think I’ll die if I come back on a rainy day.]
The dots behind the smiley face looked very wistful. Yes, the forest path would become even muddier in the rain, and for Nois, who had already nearly stumbled on the barren ground several times, it would be too much to bear.
I couldn’t bring myself to stop him.
“Well… let’s eat something at least. Since you already have water, you can have some food too, right? I brought sandwiches because I wasn’t sure what you’d like.”
For packed lunches, gimbap, rice balls, and sandwiches were the safest choices. As I set everything aside and sat on the ground, Nois looked at me in surprise before sitting down on the bare ground himself.
“Why are you just staring? Is it because the ground is dirty?” I paused for a moment, then took out a handkerchief from my bag and spread it out wide.
“Here, sit here.”
Although he seemed slightly embarrassed, Nois sat down on the handkerchief, albeit hesitantly. After placing the lunchbox on the handkerchief, I offered it to Nois.
“I’ve been thinking. It would be best if I carried you on the way back.”
Nois, with a sandwich in hand, shook his head as if it were utterly impossible. However, even if I had to force my way through, I had decided to do it this time. Because…
“You said you were going to change the weather. You meant you would make it rain, right? And you said it would be fatal if you came back on a rainy day… So how are you planning to go back?”
Apparently, he hadn’t thought about that. While looking at him, frozen like a statue, I let out a small sigh and took a bite of my sandwich.
Radkiel was probably still having nightmares. In his dreams, he couldn’t even eat properly. I was worried about him. Come to think of it, does entering a dream and causing chaos mean that I can get rid of the mean nobles for the sake of the suffering Radkiel?
If so, I should bring some weapons and bombs. I don’t hold any grudges against the nobles, but for the sake of the chaos, it was inevitable.
As Nois looked bewildered, I reluctantly fed him the sandwich and had him drink tea after finishing the meal. We then approached the spot where the lake fairy was said to appear.
Motioning for me to stay back a few steps, Nois turned towards the lake and smiled. And just as he started uttering an incantation, a faint blue light appeared at the tip of Nois’s finger, tracing a path through the air. His voice was melodic.
‘Well, I still don’t understand what he’s saying.’
The only magic spell I knew was what I had seen in games. Fireball! and flames would burst, Thunder! and lightning would strike. But the magic I witnessed now felt more fascinating and distinctly unreal.
The blue light, weaving through the air, followed Nois’s voice and gradually ascended. Then, in an instant, as dark clouds gathered in the blue sky, the light rose above the clouds and disappeared. Immediately after, thin raindrops began to fall, and in front of me, a system window appeared.
[You have witnessed a miracle and acquired the skill ‘Magic’.]
It was the skill acquisition message that had appeared every time I learned something since I first arrived on the island, but I hadn’t seen it for nearly two years.
‘Brother, I think I’ve become a mage….”’
As I recalled my older brother, who had slightly lost his mind during our third year of high school and escaped reality believing that somewhere in this world there was a magic school where you ride broomsticks for exams, I blinked my eyes absentmindedly.
My sister had slapped his head, telling him that even magic schools required them to take the college entrance exam, and he snapped back to reality, but…
Anyway, the sudden and unexpected situation bewildered me, but as the lake became eerily quiet, I started hearing a voice much softer than the noise.
La la la, lala, lalala. Announcing herself with a humming tune, a woman with blue hair dressed in flowing garments, adorned with elaborate decorations, seemed like a mountain spirit. She was the lake fairy, whom I had met a few times before.
As the lake fairy approached, Nois took a step back and collapsed on the ground, bleeding.
It was something I had expected, but I was still shocked. I quickly ran to his side. Then the lake fairy, who was standing nearby, screamed, <You! You’re that Yuri who tears fairies apart!!>
What’s up with my nickname?
In the midst of my confusion, I belatedly realized that the fairy’s voice was reaching my ears as well. But what mattered now was Nois’ condition. I hastily handed him a wet wipe and examined his complexion.
“Nois, are you okay? Can you stand up?”
“Yes… I’m sorry. My clothes… got dirty, cough!”
“Don’t worry about it. But more importantly now, that fairy…”
<Oh, she’s terrifying. I’m too scared to get close. I should have licked her soul when she was weak. I feel like I’ll get torn to shreds…>
Supporting Nois as he stood up, I frowned and looked at the lake fairy.
With eyes filled with malice, she licked her lips and let her wavy hair flutter around as she spread her arms wide. Soon, she began to sing, just like the mysterious melodies I had heard all along.
<But I want to lick it. I really want to lick it. I just want to taste her soul once!>
Now I understand. What I had thought to be a mystical melodic song was, in fact, a deranged scream, and her eyes filled with superiority were just insane eyes. While the fairy sang for a long time, Nois, who had finally regained his composure, whispered slowly to me.
“That fairy… is strange. She wants to… lick your soul. She likes… delicacies, right?”
I don’t want to know about that kind of thing.
I looked at Nois again, sternly this time.
Read ahead here.