Chapter #21 – Pr
He didn’t know how long it had been .
When he realised it, ‘Ernesti Echevarria’ found himself floating in darkness .
The dark barren space seemed to be endless, his pale white skin and brilliant silvery purple hair was a strong contrast against the background .
He couldn’t feel the ground beneath his feet, only a sensation like floating in water .
It was strange, but, he wasn’t bothered by it, or interested in this situation . He simply stared into the other end of space with a blank expression .
Finally, something other than him appeared in this stagnant space .
It was a rectangular box printed with colours . On closer inspection, it had a picture of a ‘robot’ in a cool pose on it, and the ‘logo’ displayed the name of the robot on the side . The box was labeled with a detailed ‘description’ on four of the sides— indicating that this was a box containing a ‘plastic model’ .
And, there were more than one .
All sorts of boxes were chained together, encircling Eru . He was familiar with all the robots depicted on the boxes and would never forget them— He bought all of them right before the ‘traffic accident’ .
“Aahhh… That’s right, these are the ‘yet to assemble’ ones . It’s a rare chance, I have to complete them . ”
Ignoring why the things he had lost were here, he didn’t even care why ‘boxes of plastic models’ were before ‘Ernesti’ . He smiled calmly and acted as he usually did .
Holding clippers in his hand, he placed a cutting mat, box cutter, tweezers, file, and glue tidily before him .
This was a habit he had in the ‘past’, placing his tools and model pieces tidily before assembling it in earnest . It was like a ritual and was a part of his routine .
Eru, who had finished the preparations, was in a great mood as he reached out for a box floating in the air .
Opening the box, taking out the model parts, and starting to read the instruction manual .
This was a time of happiness as he immersed himself in his hobby, but, for unknown reasons, the box moved unexpectedly and dodged his hand . He tried several times, but, couldn’t touch any of the boxes, and they seemed to be drifting further and further away, about to disappear into the darkness of the abyss .
“Hmmm? Please wait, I haven’t done anything yet . There are so many I have ‘yet to assemble’, I want to keep assembling!!”
He gave chase, but, whenever he was about to touch them, the boxes slipped away .
The frustrated Eru started getting serious . The clippers in his hand started to morph into the gunstaff, ‘Winchester’ .
Mana and script flowed into his beloved staff, manifesting into physical phenomenon through the catalyst crystal . ‘Aero Thrust’— The air pressure created from the magical explosion propelled Eru’s body forward like a bullet, reaching speeds that surpassed that of any normal man . However, he still couldn’t reach the boxes . The boxes shook at a place just beyond his reach, mocking his efforts .
“Don’t even think of running… I won’t let you get away! My, my plastic models!”
Just a bit more and he could touch them . Eru pounced at the boxes .
He finally grabbed it into his arms, holding it tightly and refusing to let go .
‘The box of plastic models’ should be something made from thick cardboard .
But, the sensation in his arms felt so familiar, a tenderness that wasn’t too hard or too soft .
For the first time, his mind was filled with doubt and he lifted his head like a spring—
— And, he woke up from his dream .
His sleepiness was gone in an instant .
Eru blinked his eyes and sighed deeply . His mind was clear, but, his mood was terrible .
“ . . . It was a ‘dream’ . To stop at such a place… Even if it was a dream, at least let me do it until the very end . ”
Light shone through the thin curtains and the room gradually grew brighter . It was morning, even though recalling the dream that was becoming vague made him upset; he still prepared to get up from bed out of habit .
At this moment, he realised that something was right before him, and he was being pressed down .
It was too close so he thought it was a blanket . But, looking at it closely, he realised it wasn’t ‘something’, but ‘someone’ .
Eru slightly lifted his head and recognised who it was . The one hugging Eru in her sleep was the girl who grew up alongside him— ‘Adeltrud Olter’ . He understood why the dream ended .
“ . . . Ahh, right, we slept together last night . ”
He was confused momentarily, but, remembered the reason in no time .
It happened last night .
He was pulled into a certain incident a few days ago, and Ady was unhappy at being left out .
And, so, she announced that she would punish Eru ‘like a pillow’ . So she snuggled into his bed and executed the punishment .
Ady was sleeping soundly without a care in the world, wearing a satisfied expression . Her face looked so happy that Eru hesitated to wake her up .
If he hadn’t been rendered immobile by her tight embrace, he might have let her continue sleeping .
“Ady, it’s morning, wake up . ”
It couldn’t be helped since he couldn’t move, so Eru shook Ady’s shoulders to wake her up . A moment later, she opened her eyes in a daze— then smiled brilliantly and hugged Eru tighter .
“ . . . Hmmm… It’s Eru… Fufu, so warm, so happy…”
Winter is the time when one longs for the warmth of the bed, and the young boy whose size was just right for hugging provided great warmth .
“Time to get up Ady; don’t keep sleeping just because it’s cold . ”
“ . . . Just, three more hours…”
There seemed to be no end to this . She rubbed her cheek against Eru’s hair, smiling happily as she dozed off into dreamland once again .
Saying this verbally was useless, so, Eru gave up and adopted drastic measures . He moved his hand under her clothes and used gentle and cautious motions to tickle her flanks and back . Ady, slept for a while, but moved involuntarily in no time, waving her limbs about .
“ . . . . . . ! ……!! Fu, hya!? Wait, stop, it tickles, Eru, stop!!”
After struggling for some time, Ady finally suppressed Eru’s hands, stopping further attacks . She maintained this position and lowered her gaze, meeting Eru’s, who was smiling gently in the eyes . She blushed and moaned in tears:
“Eru~! Boo, hoo, you are becoming mean recently…!”
“No such thing . Good morning, you are finally awake . Come, it is a beautiful morning, let’s get up from bed . ”
He then pulled the reluctant Ady up .
She looked displeased with the cool breeze . In contrast, Eru was stretching his limbs and swinging his arms for some reason .
“Now is not the time to lose to the cold . Here, let’s begin the activities of the ‘Silver Phoenix Knights’ . I couldn’t do it in my dream, but I won’t give up this time!”
“ . . . ? Aren’t you unusually excited after forming the Knights Order?”
Seeing Eru full of drive made Ady tilt her head, baffled, but, she still complied with his urgings and left the bed .
“That’s right, models are dreams… A dream that is beyond reach, so I have to make a ‘substitute’ . . . I won’t give up so easily!”
It had been a long time since he dreamed about his previous life .
It gave Eru a weird goal— which was like putting the cart before the horse .
For the time being, it will be a while before his ideas that go beyond the boundaries of worlds take shape .
“Please wait for me, my robots!”
In conclusion, he was full of life today as well .