I gingerly brought up the topic.
“But, to be honest with you, I don’t know what my ordeal is because nothing so far has been difficult for me, even when I’ve been sent to the past. I’m not feeling any pain because I’m in the state of a soul.”
Silent for a moment, Emmett stared at me. Then, he murmured.
“I believe it is an ordeal in itself that you’ve come back to the past.”
Emmett turned to Albert, who was walking some distance away, then looked at me again.
“The fact that you’re here in the past means that the future can change—depending on your actions.”
I already knew that much. But in the future where I came from, I already knew that I was the one who had saved him when he was a child.
I was also already aware about the days I had spent with him here.
Emmett continued speaking with great care.
“The matter of altering the past shall depend on your choice.”
“And such a choice might erase your existence completely.”
Emmett’s words sent chills down my spine.
My choice could completely erase my existence in the future.
“Depending on your actions, the Young Count might also change. He is still young right now, like a blank sheet of paper on which there is no writing yet. It is uncertain how he will grow up.”
Now that I thought about it, as I was observing the future Albert’s decisions as he was prioritizing me, I’d been constantly worried about how he might be going down the path of a tyrant who cared about only me.
But now, that could become a reality.
Lost in thought as there was a slight frown on his face, Emmett smoothed his chin.
“There might come a time that you’d want to change the past, and the opportunity might appear in front of you—and perhaps it might happen many times.”
I was so glad that Albert met Emmett.
Emmett was able to grasp the situation in an instant just by listening to what I had to say. And he also gave me advice.
It didn’t prove difficult for him to figure out Albert’s circumstances either.
With his capabilities, Emmet was the foremost person I needed right now.
“You will be wrought with strife. You’d think, is this part of the past truly something that had happened in the future that you know? Or, is this something that you shouldn’t interfere with?”
Saving Albert was a no-brainer.
What ensued afterwards was similar to what Albert had told me before. There weren’t any alterations to the past just yet.
Emmett’s eyes glinted sharply.
“From here on out, you will have to choose wisely. What has been altered in the past cannot be changed once again.”
My head started throbbing.
“Then, what can I do…”
“You must strive to exist here without changing the future, as much as possible.”
Emmett’s low-pitched voice urged me to raise my head.
I was startled to hear him say Albert’s name instead of his title.
And as with the way he spoke of Albert’s name, it contained such palpable affection.
There was a slight smile upon his face as he recalled Albert.
“Albert seems to be quite fond of you.”
“…He seems to like you a lot too, Lord Emmett.”
Hearing my words, Emmett smiled wordlessly.
I could feel just how warm of a person he was just by the way he smiled. That’s also how I imagined him until now through the stories.
For Albert, the death of his teacher remained as a trauma to him.
His death was also the reason as to why he still disliked dragons until now.
I was utterly conflicted.
Should I tell Emmett that he was going to die? Would telling him about it alter the future greatly?
But Albert would be crestfallen if Emmett were to die. Still, just because I’d tell Emmett about it wouldn’t mean that I could stop his ordeal.
As I was lost in thought, I felt goosebumps over my skin.
I was still conflicted. Was it already predetermined that Albert’s teacher would die?
Even if I were to change that future, would I still be able to exist in that version of the future?
…But would Albert ever be able to overcome the death of a person he held dear?
My ordeal had already begun.
…It was impossible to decide the future in just a short period of time.
Taking a deep breath, I centered myself. I still have time.
The first thing I had to do was sort out the events that I should watch out for from now on, for the sake of coming back to a future where Albert remains the Albert that I know, and a future where I could exist.
Only after that would I be able to make the important choice of whether I should tell Emmett about his future or not.
As I was in a state of distress, Emmett’s voice reached me.
“You must know about my future, too.”
Shocked that he brought it up first, I looked up at him suddenly. As Emmett was observing my reaction, he calmly opened his lips to speak.
“I seem to have ended my life, just as I’ve planned.”
What he said now gave me even more shock.
I wasn’t sure whether it was because of the words themselves, or whether it was because I’d never met a person who talked about their own death like this.
“You don’t have to be so surprised. And, don’t think too badly about my death.”
“It is the natural cycle of life, and I would only be returning to the earth that I had come from before.”
As a sage who had lived for a long time, he was impossible to read.
“And this will be a secret to the Young Count for as long as he lives.”
“Why is that?”
Albert thought that he had died in agony, but all this time, it was a planned death.
Why didn’t he want Albert to know the truth?
Emmett’s eyes gravitated towards Albert, and his gaze was completely filled with affection.
“Because Albert wants to live.”
He whispered such words sincerely.
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