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19 Language [1]

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...It was 12:45 AM.

The stars hung in the sky, and an unusual quietness enveloped the surroundings. It felt strangely peaceful.

"....."

Taking a deep breath, I submerged my body in the bathtub.

The water was cold but it helped to keep my mind clear.

Splash...

The water splashed as I raised my arm out of the water. Focusing my attention on it, my eyes fell on the four-leaved clover.

Two of the leaves were currently lit.

The top and bottom.

"...How strange."

It was a mysterious tattoo. It had been with me ever since I appeared in this world. Even now, I struggled to understand what it did.

What exactly was it? ...and what was the meaning behind it.

"Four leaves, so... Four abilities?"

It seemed logical.

I had already experienced one.

My mind shuddered thinking about the first ability. From what I gathered, every time I used the ability, it would take an entire day for it to recharge before I could use it again.

That said...

"It's impossible."

While the ability replenished within a day, my mind couldn't recharge at the same pace.

It was a dangerous ability.

Every usage threatened to eat at my sanity.

There was a reason I was so desperate to learn my other abilities. I didn't want to completely rely on this ability.

Of course, that didn't mean I wasn't prepared to use it.

Every advantage was necessary.

But...

'It's best if I tread lightly.'

Yeah.

So that I wouldn't lose sight of myself.

I had to tread lightly.

"Hoo..."

I floated on the water, with only my neck and hand breaking the surface.

Considering the after-effects of the first ability, the prospect of using the second one felt daunting.

My eyes continued to linger over the tattoo.

What was going to happen if I pressed on it...?

Was the side-effect going to be greater? If so, will I be fine by the end of it?

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So many questions, and so few answers....

"....Shall I try?"

There was only one way to find out.

Although the idea seemed daunting, my mind was firm. Something was weighing heavily on my mind, and it was eating me up from the inside.

All I wanted was for it to stop.

And for that...

"I'll do it."

Even if it meant more pain.

With such thoughts, I reached for the second leaf.

"....."

Silently I felt my finger touch my skin.

It pressed on the area where the second leaf lit up and I closed my eyes in preparation for what was to come.

But...

".....Nothing?"

When I opened my eyes again, I noticed that everything was the same.

There was no change.

No, there was a change.

"What's this?"

The second leaf.

It had lost its light. It was now back to how it was before.

"....."

I silently stared at my hand for what felt like forever.

Eventually, my head sank into the water.

A part of me felt relieved, but another felt disappointed.

Submerging myself deeper into the water, I let myself relax.

In this strange silence.

I felt at peace.

***

The next day.

Classes were running as usual. First years weren't allowed to select their own courses. Therefore, as I glanced at the name of the lecture, I had to resist the urge to audibly groan.

".....Language study."

As expected.

Even in this world, these types of lectures were unavoidable.

The language that was used in this empire was called 'Lumoraic'. A modern language that was only a few centuries old.

It was good that when I came to this world I was already able to speak, or else...

"Let's not think about it."

I silently entered the classroom.

The classroom was rather large. With over a hundred students, it had to be spacious.

The moment I entered the classroom, several gazes fell on me. Their gazes still felt burdensome, but I was slowly starting to get used to them.

I looked around before eventually making my way toward where Leon was.

It was strange.

Before, he'd used to follow me everywhere. As if he was studying my every move.

However, now... He didn't seem to care as much.

Still, he did save me a seat.

So that's that.

I had just taken a seat when Leon glanced at me and frowned.

".....You look quite tired."

"Ah, yeah."

I hardly slept last night.

"I'm still adjusting."

"Oh. Take care of yourself."

"...Yeah."

The conversation ended there. He was a man of little words, and so was I. Our conversations usually lasted for this long.

To an outsider, they probably sounded like an extremely stiff conversation. However, I liked it to be like this.

It was the perfect distance.

Not too close and not too far.

It was exactly 8 o'clock when the professor in charge came in.

"Looks like the class is packed. It's nice to see so many students eager to learn a new language."

The professor was a middle-aged man adorned with a meticulously groomed mustache and gray hair. Clad in elegant attire, his demeanor exuded an unmistakable aura of grace.lightsnovel

It was obvious at a glance that he was a high-end noble.

"As many of you know, the mirror dimensions hold many mysteries. From resources to ancient scripts... There are a lot of hidden treasures within the dimension."

There was a reason why the Empire had many supply stations constructed within the Dimension.

It wasn't just for the sake of stopping the expansion of the dimension. It was also for the sake of gathering resources. From the ruins of old civilizations to ores, and monsters... It held a lot of opportunity.

"As one says. Knowledge is power. Within the ancient civilizations, there are many books detailing a lot of useful information regarding the expansion of the Mirror Dimension. By studying their language, we're empowering ourselves with the ability to understand their mistakes and technology."

The professor seemed enthusiastic about the lecture.

He went on to brag about the Empire's achievement in this field and how they were ahead of the other Empires.

But...

I couldn't feel the same excitement he felt.

"....Huam."

A light yawn escaped my mouth.

It was a quiet one.

To the extent that no one else seemed to notice.

But it perfectly reflected my state of mind.

I was tired, and the lecture was boring.

Having barely slept the previous night, coupled with how interesting the lecture was, I found myself succumbing to drowsiness.

I had to pinch myself several times to keep myself from falling asleep.

But there was a slight problem.

While I did try my best to hide my drowsiness, it wasn't enough.

--Cadet Julien, is my lecture boring you?

A shadow cast over the area I was in.

Looking up, the professor was standing a few meters away from me.

"...?"

I scratched the side of my head.

--Did you manage to sleep last night?

I thought about an appropriate answer but,

--No.

I shook my head and came clean.

--I wasn't able to sleep much last night.

The professor's expression stiffened all of a sudden.

A small commotion followed suit as multiple eyes fell on me.

The situation took me aback.

'What's going on...?'

And then, I heard a small voice behind me.

".....Was it just me or did his pronunciation sound even better than the professor's?"

Pronunciation...?

I thought back on the conversation I had with the professor.

All he did was ask whether his lecture was boring me.

What was so strange ab-

"Ah."

That's when I realized.

'This...'

We were both speaking English.

***

The language class ended after one hour.

Evelyn walked with her head lowered, accompanied by a young woman with short brown hair.

"Ah~ My back hurts. I can't believe we had to go through that."

Theoretical classes always tended to be more boring than practical ones.

"And the fact that we have to memorize the alphabet before the next class is even worse. Kill me already...!"

As Josephine grumbled, she suddenly recalled something and tilted her head.

"Evelyn, didn't you say you were acquainted with Julien?"

"Uh, ah?"

Evelyn snapped out of her thoughts at the mention of Julien's name.

"Did you say something?"

"Geez~ Pay attention when I'm talking."

Rubbing her forehead, Josephin repeated,

"Didn't you say you were acquainted with Julien?"

"...Ah, yes."

Julien. An image of a man appeared in her mind.

It stuck there and refused to leave.

"Was he always like that? I mean, not only is he the Black Star, but he also seems to be very proficient in English. Shee~"

Josephine rubbed the sides of her arms.

"Did you notice the professor's expression when he was talking to him? For a moment, I found myself questioning who the real expert was. Did you not feel the same way?"

"...."

Evelyn remained silent at the question. She had been quietly biting her lips for a while now.

Josephine tilted her head in confusion.

Why is she so quiet?

She usually wasn't this quiet.

"What's wrong? Did you not feel the same?"

"....."

But yet again Evelyn remained quiet.

Realizing that something was off, Josephine followed Evelyn's line of sight.

"Ah."

That was when she saw a figure in the distance.

He stood erect, his presence distinct from the others, and his strides measured and steady. His presence alone gathered the stares of those around him.

Staring at him from the distance, Evelyn's eyes narrowed.

Julien. What happened in the five years she hadn't seen him?

Gradually, the distance between the two of them shrank.

Step--

With one more step, he appeared in front of her.

As he passed, their gazes met briefly.

"...."

She thought he'd continue forward, but...

"...."

His feet came to a stop just as he passed. Evelyn felt her shoulders grow tense at the fact. Turning around to face him, her eyes met with his.

They were cold.

Detached of any feelings. If before she could feel the emotions in his gaze, now... all she could feel was emptiness.

Alienation.

His words soon broke her thoughts.

"Your lips."

He pointed.

".....They're bleeding."