It's a dream sequence--
Arcana lifted the wood with both hands heavily and staggered toward the fireplace.
What would have been a simple task for an adult was a challenge for a small body of about six or seven years old.
I shouted and dug the wood into the hot fire.
It's snowing outside, and it's quite cold inside the house.
Arcana wraps herself in a blanket and holds her hand over the fire in front of the fireplace.
Just then, there was a knock on the front door with a gurgle.
Arcana's face lights up with a flash.
Delighted, he went to the front door, unlocked it, and opened it.
Arcana backed away when she saw the man's face there.
He was a middle-aged man in blue vestments.
He stared at Arcana with eyes that were muffled and full of madness.
''I've found it. The sacrificial child........
As the man muttered, two men dressed in blue vestments appeared behind him as well.
It's as if they are ghosts or something.
"....the sacrifice of God...
"....now offer yourself as an offering...
Arcana backed away. The men came into the house.
No, no.........don't......come here...!
Arcana shouted, but the men didn't care at all and reached out to her.
At that moment--
The wood flew through the air and hit the men in the back of their heads with a force that cut through the air.
They crumpled to their knees.
"Hmm. What do you want with my sister?
A demon tribe, about ten years old, appears at the door.
She has black hair and black eyes. For someone of that age, an unusual magical power oozes from his entire body.
It was Arcana's older brother, Anos.
Arcana jumped into Anos' chest and squeezed him.
'Stay back, Arcana. I struck you with a force that an ordinary demon race would not have been able to get up, but apparently you are quite sturdy.'
The men staggered up, holding their heads.
'....You're going against the teachings, kid.
"She is the son of a sacrifice. She must be sacrificed to the gods or the dragons will not be appeased.
Strangers! Because you took that girl, dragons are rampaging in many places and the country is raging!
The men's anger made Arcana's body shake with a jolt.
I don't understand. If the dragon gets out of control, just hold it down. You're a good man, you're a good man, and you're not going to put the blame on me and my sister for something that doesn't exist.
"d*mn you, you fool! Don't be a fool who can't reason with me, don't talk like a bigot!
One by one, the men drew their swords and brought them down on Anos.
He quickly held up his hand and deployed a magical barrier, and the sword snapped off with a bang.
As a counterattack, he burns the men with .
However, something like scales appeared on his skin, which prevented the black flames.
''Hmm. But you guys are a bunch of demons that I've never seen before. I've never heard of anyone with scales like that. The wavelength of your magic power is also a bit different.
Anos stared at the men with his demon eyes.
''Are you really a demon race?''
"I have no reason to teach a fool! Go ahead and die, kid.
When the men opened their mouths, they could see the sharp fangs there.
From the back of their throats, scorching flames were spat out and burned Anos.
What? It's cold today. Nice and warm.
After drowning out the breath with anti-magic, Anos drew three gates of magic.
A small jet-black sun peeked out slightly from there.
'It's a magic I just learned. You can try it.''
is fired at close range.
The men try to pop that little sun and pay it off with the back of their scaled hands.
Instantly they burst into black flames.
''Goooooooo, bah, stupid...''
I'm gonna burn myself?
How could this little boy have so much power...?
Even the scales that prevented the earlier were of no use as if they were surrounded by the jet-black sun and turned into extinguished coals in the blink of an eye.
He squeezed Arcana's shoulders, which were shaking shakily, and hugged her.
'I'm sorry to scare you. It's all right now.
While burying her face tightly in Anos's chest, Arcana gave a small shake of her head.
''You know.......I wasn't scared at all.......''
Because ... because ... because ... because ... because ... because I trusted my brother to save me.
Shivering, but healthy, Arcana uttered this.
'You lie like that so quickly.'
"...I'm not lying, I really believed in you...
Stroking Arcana's head gently, Anos says.
Uh, yeah ... right?
He's a strong boy.
Anos drew a magic circle and cleaned up the extinguishing charcoal and, while doing so, repaired the damaged house.
He then drew another magic circle and put his hand in the center of it and pulled out a loaf of bread.
He heats up the soup in the kitchen, transfers it to a cup, and sets it out on the small table in front of the fireplace.
'It seems the crops have been poor because of this cold snap. We tried to get to the nearest town, but we could only get so much food.
That's okay. I have a small tummy.
As she said it, Arcana held the cup in both hands and drank the soup.
'We'll go a little further afield later.'
...going somewhere else?
Arcana says anxiously. She doesn't want to leave her brother.
'I'll be back soon.'
Patting her chest in relief, Arcana walked over to the fireplace, holding the bread and cup in her hand.
Then she taps her hand next to herself with a thump.
'You can't help it, sister.'
...because it's so cold...
Anos sat down next to Arcana, holding her bread and cup.
She snuggled up to Anos.
'You know what, brother. I wish you would read to me again.'
'I thought you could read now?'
That's not true. I want you to read it to your brother.
She says as she looks into Anos' face.
Is this the usual book?
Yeah, I'll take my usual.
Anos beckoned him with a curt finger, and a book from the bookshelf flew into his hands.
The title was "Dora the Liar". The binding was peeling and tattered in places, probably because he had read it so many times.
Anos began to read it, as if telling it to his sister.
The story is about a fictional country that is not Dillhade.
In a village, there was a girl named Dora.
She was the daughter of a nobleman.
She has a talent for using any kind of magic, so she lives in a remote village to avoid being targeted by the bad guys.
But every now and then, a famous wizard comes to her and asks her to be his apprentice.
He secretly cures incurable diseases and so on.
Her parents sneak in to see her when no one is looking.
Mother and father both dote on Dora and try their best to dream of the day they can live with her as soon as possible.
These are all lies that Dora has made up.
The villagers are tossed back and forth by Dora's lies, both big and small, but one day, a boy of the same age exposes Dora's lies.
When Dora's lies are exposed, she lives alone and lonely.
She couldn't admit to the lie and waited for her parents, who she didn't have, to come for her one day.
She continues to lie, and finally she lies to herself, and before long, she believes it to be true.
In the end, she would end her life without anyone believing her until the end.
Hmm. As usual, I don't know what's so interesting about it. What do you like about it?
I think Dora enjoys telling lies. Also, a small lie can cause a lot of trouble, and everyone is in a panic, and it's like, what am I going to do?
That's why he likes to lie. 'You can't know the taste of a young child, Anos thinks.
'If you talk like that, you'll end up like Dora.
Oh, no! I like Dora, but I don't want to end up like her.
Honest, Anos thinks.
'Then don't lie too much.
Arcana puffs out her cheeks in disapproval.
'I'll be fine because I have an older brother.
That's for sure.
When I said that, Arcana laughed happily, "Ehehehe," she said.
''Read on, read on!''
Prompted to do so, Anos read the rest of the book.
Arcana inadvertently dropped the bread from her hand.
It bounced across the floor with a toss and jumped into the fire in the fireplace.
Arcana stared sadly at the scene.
She waved her hand as Anos turned around.
'Oh, er, well, I ate the bread in one bite and it was painful!
That's another stubborn one.
Heh-heh. Come on, read the rest of it.
With that said, Anos read the rest of the book again.
Her stomach gurgles as Arcana is relieved.
Sheepishly, she stared at the bread in the fireplace fire, but it didn't look like it was going to be eaten at the earliest.
She had no choice but to sip her soup.
Anos glanced at her as she read her book.
Anos holds out his own bread to her.
Don't let him down this time.
Fearlessly she takes the bread.
'Where's your brother?'
Well, I've eaten something pretty good in town. I'm not very hungry.
Oh, that's not fair.
Poppin' Arcana slaps Anos.
'Forgive me. I'll get you one next time.'
Absolutely. That's a promise. I'm not supposed to eat by myself, remember?
Kokoro Anos nodded, and Arcana happily bit into the bread.
'Your lies aren't the same as Dora's,'
Arcana looks at Anos as he mugs and munches on his bread.
'You were concerned because you thought I would have a hard time finding food again, weren't you?
"...because it's cold outside and my brother is poor...
Anos patted Arcana's head.
'A gentle lie that will never hurt anyone. You will never be like Dora.
Gladly, Arcana laughed and she leaned her head on Anos' shoulder.
As they read the rest of the book, the two of them happily shared their thoughts on the havoc that Dora was causing, oh and not so much.