“Good morning, Louie.”
“——Good morning, Hibiki.”
He returned my meaningless morning greeting kindly, as if it was something terribly precious.
I had been sleeping beneath the countless thin branches of an old tree that sagged downward like ears of rice.
I languidly got up, the marked sense of sleepiness still lingering within me, and checked on our surroundings.
The gloomy, dark grey sky cut off the sunlight and we were surrounded by deformed trees that had lost all of their leaves. There were thin cracks along the dried-up earth. No matter how hard I listened, I couldn’t hear any birds chirping to signal the new morning.
To begin with, I could hardly make out the presence of any other living thing besides us.
I blinked several times. My hazy mind slowly began to grow clear.
——That’s right, this isn’t the peaceful “Japan” I grew up in.
This was a land called Evelier from another dimension that had been endlessly ruined. I idly let myself become lost in my memories.
This world and the world I had lived in were apparently as close as two sides of a coin and influenced each other. If I could turn the people of Evelier, who had been transfigured into terrifying revenants called Reims, back “human” and stop the destruction of the world, the distortions that were spreading in my own world would return to normal as well, or something like that.
“Hibiki, you don’t need to force yourself to get up. I want you to rest a little longer.”
A gentle voice brimming with consideration reached my ears and pulled me back to reality. I turned my gaze to the owner of the voice. Next to me was a tall young man with an austere air about him who was kneeling upright on one knee like a servant. There was a reserved smile on his lips. He was waiting earnestly for me to react.
His eyes, which reflected back my sleepy face, were a vibrant gold, as if they were fragments of the moon itself. He had radiant platinum blond hair and smooth tanned skin. I abruptly grew shy upon seeing his shapely figure.
Good morning, I said again while making a conscious effort to sound cheerful.
Louie narrowed his eyes in a bashful manner and looked down a bit with a hint of a smile. Even if it had been on purpose, he looked a little embarrassed at how happy he was.
And it was heartrending.
Louie was the first person I had met in this lonely world on the brink of destruction.
He was a knight who was also the sole survivor of a kingdom called Queen Gallè.