Translator: angedansnuit Editor: thursdays
“Is that enough?”
Unexpectedly, Lucas accepted my request without saying much else. As the beautiful voice, which was more youthful than it had been a moment ago, entered my ears, I slowly lowered my hands and opened my eyes.
“Ow, my ears.”
Lucas was standing in front of me! A pretty boy, who looked about my age, frowned at my crying and stared at me as if asking if I was satisfied.
I felt a fresh bout of happiness and expressed my great joy to him.
“Why are you so late!”
“You must have missed me a lot, huh?”
It really was Real Lucas, seeing how he responded annoyingly. I was hugging him tightly before I knew it.
“I’ve been waiting, you idiot!”
Lucas, for some reason, froze like a rock, but I didn’t care and continued to express my feelings as they were.
I’d been worried about him because I hadn’t heard from him for several months after he left to eat the world tree fruit!
But he came back just in time for my birthday. What a wonderful guy!
In addition, so many things had happened during Lucas’ absence, so I felt even more grateful that he was back.
Without realizing it, I started to miss him a lot. Well, it was natural. Lucas has been by my side ever since I was a kid, and he was also the first friend Claude gave me.
“Hey, you… This is too much…”
Lucas was flustered and stuttering at my sudden embrace.
I hugged Lucas more tightly and patted him on the back.
“Congratulations on achieving your wish! It’s great that your mana’s restored now!”
“Yeah, it is…”
“But it took much longer than you said it would. I was worried! You should have contacted me!”
Lucas stammered for a long time as I held him, holding himself stiffly. Finally, he came to his senses and pushed me away.
“Hey, aren’t you hugging me too much?”
Huh? Since when did you act so old-fashioned? 
I didn’t pay much mind to Lucas’ embarrassed cry. Then Lucas gave me a side-eye like he was aware of my indifference.
He seemed dissatisfied with me, but in the end, he made a skeptical expression for a moment, as if saying ‘what am I doing?’, and then said, “Oh, never mind. Now, tell me.”
“You know what. Tell me about what happened while I was away.”
I hesitated. He narrowed his eyes at me, telling me to spill everything.
“I know that Blackie is gone. What’s all this dirty stuff on you? It’s annoying. List everyone you’ve met since then.”
His red eyes, which seemed a bit haggard, swept over me. I didn’t understand exactly what he was talking about, but it seemed that the state of my mana was abnormal.
I felt guilty for some reason and mumbled an excuse to him.
“Because I didn’t listen to you and played with Blackie every day… I think that’s why he was absorbed by me.”
I told him one thing after another, everything that happened while Lucas was away. While I was talking, Lucas didn’t interrupt me or blame me. He just stayed there with his characteristic aloofness.
That attitude helped me let out all the words that had piled up inside.
“Look at this. You can’t live without me, can you? Ah, geez.”
And when I finally finished talking, Lucas, who for some reason was looking at me with a satisfied face, immediately reached out to me.
“So come here.”
No, but… Wasn’t this attitude somehow strange? Maybe it was because of my mood, but it felt like he was saying, ‘You dumb creature, I will allow you to embrace this beautiful body!’ It was a little shady…
“What, where are you going?”
“It’s your birthday today. I got you a present.”
Eh? A birthday present, all of a sudden? I thought he would say some bullshit like ‘Your birthday gift is me!’ since he came back in time for my birthday.
While I was in a daze, Lucas didn’t wait any longer and took my hand first. The moment my hands were engulfed in warmth, my surroundings changed.
Oh, I’m dizzy! Couldn’t he give a warning before he teleported?
However, my complaining soon stopped as I gasped at the sight in my eyes.
What the hell? This was Claude’s bedroom! And Claude was still awake!
I didn’t think he noticed us yet, but when I saw Claude’s back standing by the window, I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t help but gape.
I looked at Lucas beside me as if he were crazy. But he went a step further and strode towards Claude.
Oh, no! Stop, you bastard!
As the distance between the two decreased, Claude suddenly turned his head and narrowed his eyes as if his animal instincts had been triggered. And at that moment—
Lucas’ hand seemed to disappear in새 the air for a moment, but soon after, he pulled something out and began to swing it violently at Claude. The speed was like lightning!
I screamed in horror as I saw something sharp in Lucas’ hand sticking out of Claude’s head.
However, Claude had already collapsed. Shocked, I ran towards him.
“Huh, how did he turn around when I didn’t even show my presence? I almost stabbed himi in the face.”
No matter how much I shook him, Claude didn’t move.
It looked like Lucas had stabbed his head with a tree branch. I couldn’t decide if I should pull it out or just leave it for now, I was so flustered I couldn’t do this or that.
C-could it be that he was dead? Probably not, right?
“I wouldn’t give this to just anyone since this is very valuable, but I’ll give it to you since it’s your birthday. Be very grateful..”
When I heard Lucas’ shameless voice above my head, my blood boiled.
“Hey, you crazy bastard! What are you doing all of a sudden? Who told you to kill my dad?”
Aaargh! This is why they say you shouldn’t keep black-haired beasts! I was so glad to have him back and gave him a big welcome, never suspecting that he’d pay me back like this!
Ignoring my fuming, Lucas said flatly, “That’s a branch from the world tree, so he’s not going to die. Don’t you know it’s best to apply treatment directly to the damaged area?”
Claude was lying face down on the floor like a dead man, and I was bawling out my eyes by his side. Lucas alone was at peace.
Then, when Lucas whispered to me with a grim smile, I stopped crying and hiccuped.
He said, “I don’t think this is the time to for you to worry about someone else. I have to stick this in you, too.”
W-what? Whatever do you mean?
Are you going to kill me after Claude? Is that how you’ll feel satisfied?
I looked at Lucas nervously as my pupils shook.
My rough thoughts~ Anxious eyes~ And you, watching over it all~
However, Lucas didn’t get his nickname ‘Dark Mage’ in his early days for no reason. He smiled at me and said, ruthlessly, “All you need is to stabilize your mana, so I’ll give you a particularly tiny piece.”
Before I could even react, Lucas, who was rummaging in the air again, stuck a slender, sprouting branch in my head.
Hey, that’s a deadly weapon! You’re so reckless! Seriously, you ignorant bastard…!
I felt a brief pain and gradually lost consciousness.
Th-the killer is Lucas… And then I died.
Immediately, everything went dark.
* * *
How much time had passed? I stood up, shuddering as if I just finished a boxing match.
Ugh. Wh-what was this? Why was I doing this? Where am I? Who am I?
I was confused about my identity for a moment and looked around, and soon remembered what happened last night.
Ahhh! Damn Dark Mage! What the hell did you do to Claude and me? You killed a father and daughter as soon as you returned! Oh, you scary bastard!
I reflexively touched my head and felt that the branch had somehow disappeared. Like Lucas said, I didn’t die… rather, I felt strangely refreshed, but… He still shouldn’t have done it like this! Argh!
What about Claude?
A moment later I saw Claude right next to me, lying like he was dead. I shook him furiously.
Lucas must have moved us because we weren’t on the cold floor where we had fainted but a soft bed.
It seemed to be dawn now. Outside the window, the dazzling sunlight was slowly beaming down, and the surroundings were very still.
I shook Claude to wake him up, then stopped in surprise.
Oh my God, was he dead?! Was he breathing? I couldn’t see the branch that was sticking out of his head last night! It didn’t seem like any bloodshed happened! But why wasn’t he moving?
I was terrified as I put my ear against his chest. Only after hearing the sound of his beating heart I was able to breathe.
Where the hell did Lucas go after doing this to us? Did he run away because he knew I wouldn’t leave him alone once I opened my eyes? Or something like that?
Just then, I heard a smothered moan below me. I looked down in surprise.
“Daddy! Are you awake?”
Even though he wasn’t fully conscious yet, he was frowning as if he felt a slight pain in his forehead, right where he struck the floor when he collapsed yesterday.
I checked Claude’s condition as soon as he opened his eyes.
“Daddy, what hurts? Your head, head, or head?”
Yesterday, I was most worried about Lucas sticking tree branches into heads without a second thought. Fortunately, I was fine, but Claude had a branch much bigger than mine in his head, so I wasn’t sure about him.
His eyes, slowly beginning to focus, were nailed to me. Immediately after, the expression on Claude’s face changed.
Ugh, now what? Are there any side effects? Lucas was acting like he was going to do me a favor!
While I was restless, Claude’s expression changed as he laid back down.
His face, which had been staring at me for a while, soon hardened and frowned as if he was gut punched. His jewel-like eyes alternated between reflections of calm and torrential currents.
 Korean saying ‘To be inside [to be outside]’. [Example] During the Joseon Dynasty, men and women strictly kept their distance from each other.