* * *
These items, invitation, potion, and eraser, were laid out on the bed, each possessing no common ground. I sighed at the start of another day.
These were the rewards from the favorability event, but I had forgotten about them for a few days. Honestly, if a window hadn’t popped up prompting me to check my rewards, I would’ve kept forgetting. Although they were all unfamiliar objects, it was the invitation that made me sigh.
Speaking of housemate, it must be Radkiel, right? Yes, definitely Radkiel. After all, it couldn’t possibly be asking for the consent of animals.
Using the term “housemate” felt burdensome; they could simply refer to him as a guest. The term “housemate” carried a sense of closeness that was too intimate.
“Why won’t they tell me who I could summon?”
The potion was also unsettling; I had no idea of its effects until I consumed it. The island, which had always been kind, seemed strangely unfriendly when Radkiel was involved. The only thing clear about its usage was the trait eraser.
The rectangular eraser looked no different from any other I knew. Given that it was given as an event reward, it must be intended to erase Radkiel’s ‘fragility’ trait.
“What if he becomes stronger than me?”
That was the problem. Right now, he was like a starved and scrawny rabbit compared to a well-fed and powerful bear—of course, the bear was me.
However, when I recalled the original story, Radkiel was a versatile and talented man, excelling in various fields. Even if he was much younger or similar in build, I couldn’t rule out the possibility that our roles might be reversed in the future.
‘…What should I do?’
I didn’t want a future involving kidnapping or imprisonment. But turning a blind eye to ways of helping a person in pain wasn’t easy either, especially when I had once felt utterly powerless.
If I had received these rewards before the dream, I wouldn’t have agonized over it. If I pretended not to know, I’d only end up tormented by self-loathing. Hence, I gathered my resolve.
“There’s nothing else I could do.”
I exhaled heavily and extended my right hand, clutching the eraser. There was no point in delaying, I had to use it before my resolve wavered. But the moment I held the eraser, a small window appeared before me.
Ah, this was for me to use? No, wait, was I even granted a trait? It feels as if they just stuck things to me haphazardly, leaving me with a strange feeling.
As I gazed at the window, lost in thought, I slowly got off the bed. If I had a negative trait, I wondered if I should use the eraser on myself. Fortunately, there was nothing strange about my traits, so I felt relieved.
I loosely combed my hair with my hand as I opened the door, and the gentle sunlight streamed in through the wide living room window. I suddenly recalled that there were only nine days left until spring.
“Indeed, time flies when you have things to do.”
Since I caught Radkiel, I had been constantly busy. While I still hadn’t found a way to send him back, I couldn’t afford to let each day become monotonous.
I grasped the eraser and the curtain edge in each hand.
Whenever I watched morning dramas, my mom and older brother would exclaim that I should never reprimand bad adults in real life as it could get dangerous. Although Radkiel was already twenty years old, he had said he was still nineteen a month ago. Since it was before the original story began, he didn’t seem hopeless if I attempted to help him.
Now that I thought about it, even in the novel, he had regretted his actions a bit later and reflected on them!
Rip. The sound of the curtain being carelessly pulled made me startled, and I immediately released my grip. Luckily, the eraser was still intact. I had to resolve this quickly and went to his room.
I wondered if he was still asleep. I hesitated in front of his closed door after knocking, but then I heard rustling from inside.
“Ah, okay. I’ll come in. Good morning, Rael.”
As I greeted him and entered the room, I saw Radkiel sitting up, smiling in response. His eyes looked puffy, indicating that he hadn’t slept well.
“Did something hurt? You seem to be getting worse.”
“…No, I’m perfectly healthy and strong. I just couldn’t sleep because I was lost in thought until dawn.”
“Ah, that’s a relief. By the way, Rael, every time I mention your weakness, you always refute it so strongly. It’s not that I care about it, you know.”
This time, he hesitated. In truth, even if Radkiel had shown a hint of displeasure or a black heart, I wouldn’t have said anything with the nuance of ‘Rael is too fragile!’ I didn’t like saying such unpleasant things to someone’s face, even if I wanted to lower their favorability level.
With a slightly lowered head, he blushed embarrassedly.
“Well, it’s true that I find it embarrassing to be treated as weak. I’m a man too, you know.”
Hmm? It seemed a bit late to say that. Nevertheless, since there was no black heart, I could tell he didn’t really hate it.
I pulled a chair beside the bed and sat down, getting straight to the point.
“Right, Rael. Actually, today… I was thinking maybe we should have a conversation about how we’re going to proceed from now on.”
“Yes, an open and frank one. I know I can’t deceive you, but I want you to be honest as well. If you don’t like it…”
“I don’t mind. I also thought that I should have a proper conversation with you. The lack of sleep was due to that as well.”
“Our opinions align, which is fortunate. Then, before you got sick again due to lack of sleep, let me use this on you.”
I extended my palm in front of Radkiel. As he shifted his gaze to the eraser, he tilted his head.
“It’s a tool that can erase traits. You were curious about it, right? Traits… um, you can think of them as characteristics! Like my cooking skills…?”
The analogy was strange. But since there was the phrase ‘the hand of a great artisan’ it couldn’t be too far off. Probably.
Although I wanted to explain it in more detail, I didn’t really know anything myself, so I brought the eraser directly in front of Radkiel.
At the same time, a small window appeared, just like before.
Then, Radkiel spoke.
“…Indeed, it says ‘A fragile and handsome man.’ What on earth is this?”
“Can you see it too, Rael?”
“Then, may I use it? I heard that consent is required to use the tool on someone else.”
As I asked Radkiel, who looked puzzled as he gazed at the window, he nodded his head. With his consent obtained, I intended to erase it right away. However, I suddenly became doubtful about how it would actually be erased. If it was divided into ‘Fragile’ and ‘Handsome,’ or if only negative aspects were erased, it would be okay. But what if everything was deleted?
“This could be problematic. If ‘Handsome’ disappears, it would be troublesome, but for now…”
“U-Use it! Use it! Please use it!”
Why does he act so nonchalant and brazen when it comes to talking about his face, even though he’s usually shy? Instead of making him flinch, I ended up exclaiming in surprise, and Radkiel lightly chuckled.
With the eraser trembling in my hand, I brought it to ‘fragile’ and rubbed as if erasing words. Then, swiftly, only the word ‘Handsome’ remained in the window.
“Is there anything different now?”
“I feel a bit lighter, though it might be just my feeling.”
“Before coming to the island, you were healthy, right? You mentioned that you had taken poison.”
“Yes. I lost quite a bit of blood.”
“…The fragile trait must have been due to that. I’m sure it will improve, so don’t worry. You have to think positively about everything.”
Without saying much, Radkiel subtly moved his lips. He sure knows how to use his face well. As I saw his vague expression, I felt a bit crestfallen. He let out a small cough and spoke quite seriously.
“Yuri, I have a favor to ask. Please allow me to stay on this island.”
Hence, I gave a serious reply as well.
“Even if Rael wanted to leave, I can’t send you away. I still haven’t found a way to send you back…”
If they’re going to give me a quest, at least explain it properly. I was muttering in my mind when he widened his eyes in surprise.
“Do you know what a quest is, Yuri? Like, succeeding or failing it?”
This time, I was genuinely shocked, and my eyes widened without realizing it.
“How does Rael know about quests? W-Wait, did Rael also receive something?”
He wasn’t just asking about the term ‘quest,’ but also about specific details like success and failure.
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