Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume13 Epilogue
The feeling of Kei stirring through his entire body made Derek Psyharden frown. It seemed today would be a noisy day. Though it wasn't something depressing, the fact that it prevented him from staying calm must mean it wasn't worth feeling happy about. Besides, he wasn't the only one feeling like this. Almost all Military Artists in Grendan that he had come across had become like this.
Derek had received a sudden summon. Grendan had contacted an Academy City – an incomprehensible contact. It had also sent over a number of Heaven's Blade successors to help them defeat filth monsters. What incredulous information. On top of all of that, this Academy City's name was Zuellni. All reasons for his uneasiness had gathered to Derek. However, what puzzled him was that he wasn't the only person tasting this atmosphere.
He was in the reception room of the palace at the moment. He had been sitting on the sofa and had stood up to look out the window after feeling that running of Kei. Buildings blocked the center of the source of Kei stirring, making its location hard to define, but he could tell it was somewhere close to the contact point. This information made the atmosphere more irritating. Derek could not calm down no matter what. He could feel that familiar Kei though two types of Kei were weaved together. He couldn't be wrong. But......Why?
Doubt deepened the atmosphere around him. He didn't even know who had summoned him, yet he came as his personality would not allow him to ignore the summon. But perhaps this was the time to leave aside his personality.
He heard knocking on the door while he was troubled about it. The servant called his name politely and left to lead the way. And that was how Derek missed the opportunity to leave. He followed the servant.
The atmosphere in the palace was different from usual as he had expected. The dry and nasty feeling reminded him of his old battle days.
Why did they summon a retired Military Artist? The more he thought of it the stronger the bad feeling became.
His destination was the room that he last went to, after the event involving Gahard Baren. The door opened and he entered the room. The chair behind the bamboo curtain was gone, replaced by a sofa and a table. The furniture was simple. But what was more surprising was......
His adopted daughter was in the room.
"Why are you here?"
Leerin's gloomy face watched him. She wore a blindfold over her right eye for some reason. The leather made blindfold was simple and delicately made. It did not suit her. The covered right eye was a mismatch to Leerin's face. The image of the innocent girl stained with blood surfaced in Derek's mind.
Leerin's expression revealed everything: what event had transpired, what she had decided. When all of the children reproached Layfon, on the day that his Heaven's Blade successor title was stripped from him, only Leerin stood by his side. On that day, the lonely Leerin wore the same expression.
"Father, can you calmly listen to me? And believe what I'm about to say?"
His adopted daughter wanted to say something and he could feel the uneasiness in her words.
"Of course I'll believe you. You're my daughter. You won't lie to me."
"......Thank you," she said. She looked like she wanted to cry but her eye was dry. The strength in her heart had sealed her tears.
"My name's changed to Leerin Eutnohl."
She then told him everything, including the information she had obtained from Saya. She told him what would happen next, her role in the event and what she had to do. Derek crossed his arms in silence. His gaze never left his daughter. He didn't think she was lying, or that he had been deceived. This was the palace, but more importantly, he could read the atmosphere. It was similar to the atmosphere of Grendan's Military Artists waiting to be released in the battlefield. Once one sank into it, one would wish for an opponent no matter who he was. Derek was in that state when he waited in the reception room. The atmosphere strengthened while no one knew its real source. All Military Artists in Grendan had felt it instinctively. Something big was about to happen but no one knew what. This feeling was special. A feeling, knowing that the battle was here yet there were no enemies.
This was unusual.
"Leerin, let me ask you again."
He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and let it out. His lungs expanded and shrank. In this process, the cycling air took away the confusion in him. If this was to become a battlefield, then confusion was useless. It was important to calmly digest the information of this battle. Besides, his daughter was the key to the battle to come. As a parent, he had the duty to make the battlefield the most advantageous to his daughter.
"You don't need Layfon anymore?"
Leerin's reaction was slow. Her expression changed from one to another. Her strong will suppressed it.
".........Um," she nodded resolutely.
"Layfon is no longer a citizen of Grendan. He cannot be involved in it. I've already decided."
"Even though you still want to see him?"
She didn't look confused. No, she had already suppressed it. Had she chosen to sacrifice herself, or......
"Then there's only one thing for me to do," he murmured. He snatched out the Dite from his weapon harness and restored it.
Leerin watched the Katana in his hand.
"Since he's here, words alone cannot stop him."
The stirring he felt just then......It really was Layfon. His adopted son had come to take back his sibling. Words could not stop him who came with that purpose in mind.
"To hurt him with this Katana or to be hurt. Either way, this is the only thing I can do."
"No............" Leerin didn't know what to do.
He smiled. "Military Artists are stupid creatures, especially my son. He's like me. I'm sorry."
"Don't you want to stop him? I've decided. I don't plan to kill him but would this naïve thinking work?"
He smiled. A more carefree smile than before. Thinking that he could do something for his children with this old body made him happy.
"I'm proud of him. You too, Leerin."
He stood up and caressed her hair.
"It's my fortune to be able to do something for you and his decision."
"I'm sorry......I'm sorry," she moaned. Even so, no tears fell. She could not cry any longer. She had already prepared herself for this.
She would not hesitate.
"I'll stop Layfon. You strive for the place you want to go."
He returned the Dite to the weapon harness. He had no more to say to her. Derek left the room in order to receive Layfon outside the palace.
He headed out.
Leerin was temporarily rendered immobile as she covered her face. Layfon would become an obstacle. On the road she was to walk, he would become her obstacle. No, if she didn't realize that before, she might not have to agonize over it. She would not have realized it if she had not seen Meishen crying for Layfon. If so, she would be facing the future with Layfon right now. Perhaps he would even hold the Heaven's Blade. He would be in his best condition as a Military Artist holding that blade.
However, reality was not like that because Leerin already understood her own feelings above all else. She also noticed why she thought of Layfon. That was why she didn't wish for him to appear. He had already left Grendan to search for his own path. He lived for it. It was all right even if his road was not to cross her path because she had already noticed her feelings.
That she must not rely on him anymore.
Perhaps she would never be happy if she hadn't noticed it. Once she overcame this difficulty, perhaps, she could live together with Layfon in the future. It was enough that she knew the foundation for that future right now. She must not see him.
Her eyes were hot but the debris of that heat source did not show. She had already decided. Besides, she had cried before Saya. No need to cry anymore. She gathered up her sadness and burned it all with the fire of her spirit. A picture surfaced in her mind. A picture of thorns. Captured by sadness, only this picture was unrelated to her consciousness. Only this picture remained in her mind. The thorns fell one by one. They fell into emptiness, and for some reason, the last piece landed on Derek's head. In the end, they surrounded Derek. The meaning inside this picture... Leerin didn't want to know, but she knew.
I see. So that's it. That's why Layfon......
She lifted her head. No tears stained her blindfold. She had decided not to cry. She stared at the door that Derek had closed behind him.
"As I thought it is still not possible, Layfon," she murmured, standing up.
Resolution filled her face.