Dai Densetsu no Yūsha no Densetsu:Volume 2 Chapter 3
 Chapter 3 - The Balance Scales For The Goddesses And The Hero
She is really a beautiful woman, Kiefer thought.
It was in a room on the second floor of the tea-house.
As she looked at the sleeping, blond-hair beauty lying on the bed, she wanted to sigh out but then decided against it.
Speaking about the brief explanation that she had received, her name was apparently Ferris Eris.
During the time that Kiefer left the country in search of a way to remove the curse of Alpha Stigma from Ryner, it was Sion who made her the partner of Ryner.
It seemed like these two had been travelling together in company for the entire past year.
The two of them had been journeying to search for Rule Fragment...... rather, Heroes’ Relics according to Ryner’s report.
Only the two of them.
Only the two of them......
“...... travelling together huh.”
She muttered softly.
Ryner looked up and looked towards here. He was sitting on a chair beside the bed of the sleeping Ferris. And was looking worriedly at her (Ferris).
At any rate.
At any rate, she was not going to be jealous.
Because, she was very much well aware that he would be kind to anyone else, and additionally, she couldn’t see any particular special feelings displayed towards her (Ferris).
And besides, besides.
Un, erm, ah ~.
Right. I’m sorry. It’s really jealousy.
Kiefer groaned in such a manner within the depths of her heart all by herself.
Ah ~ now, what the heck is this. I’ve being doing my best wholeheartedly since leaving the country, Ryner-tteba. Ryner-tteba!!
What was I trying to accomplish by keeping it a secret......
At that moment, once again, she was about to sigh out in frustration, but gave up.
Because it couldn’t be helped.
Because she was someone who had betrayed Ryner and the rest, someone who had left the country. Besides, in the end, even though she kissed him and confessed her love to him, she had yet to hear a reply from him.
Thus, this was not something unheard of right ~ it couldn’t be helped right ~ but even so I can’t accepttttttttt itttttttttttt!
In the end, not being able to accept it, her heart was in a state of turmoil.
Then, Kiefer looked intently at the sleeping Ferris.
She was really extraordinary beautiful, as far as one could see.
How could she win?
Kiefer felt dejected just thinking about all this.
She tried finding her own reflection in the mirror at the corner of the room, then looked at herself. She thought that she had become more womanly than before, growing her red hair to shoulder length, and bearing pretty well-arranged features. Not bad, she thought. Probably. Then again, she had that supreme ruler from the northern part of the continent falling for her. Surely, yes, even though she wouldn’t know it herself, surely there was no problem with her looks, she thought......
At that moment.
Kiefer, once again, looked at that thing on the bed that couldn’t possibly be a human.
She had soft silky skin, fair and smooth like porcelain, and fine, soft, golden hair.
Looks like a woman...... and it’s not just about the curves; her height, slender body, delicateness which every man would want to protect, a nice body with a great style.
It was as if she came out of a fairy tale.
“...... like a princess.”
She murmured without thinking.
On hearing that, Ryner smiled wryly.
“No, no, you are tricked by what you see, you need to experience it for yourself. She truly is a demon down to the core.”
As he used a familiar manner to talk about her, Kiefer felt like crying.
Uwaan, she was on the verge of tears, but Ryner failed to notice that.
She looked at Ryner.
He had that usual sleepy, languid face, and had that look that seemed to be ignorant of the inner workings of the love relationship between a man and a woman.
This time, she actually sighed out.
“Ah, Kiefer should be feeling tired, it’s okay to go sleep, you know? I’ll be looking after her.”
Duh, that would the last thing I want.
Instead of crying that out, she held back and smiled.
“...... it’s alright. It’s been a while since I saw Ryner, and my tiredness had all flown away.”
She said gritting her teeth as she smiled.
As she said that, her face seemed about to turn red, but she managed to stop her flush somehow.
Furthermore, she wanted to demonstrate that she had become a woman who was able to respond with such words, that’s why she made an effort.
Besides, besides, the lines she just said were her true feelings. They weren’t made up at all.
Even though this was the first meeting in three years, her feelings had not changed at all. That was what she was certain of.
Looking at his face. Looking at his sleepy eyes. Looking at his unkempt hair. Looking at his languid lean body. Looking at his awkward behaviour.
She looked at his kind-looking face in spite of all that.
Ah, as she expected.
She thought. As I’ve thought, I’m still in love with Ryner, she realized.
Ryner still had that slight withdrawn expression.
It was the same as previously.
When Kiefer had expressed her interest in the past, he had that same face.
And she knew the reason behind it.
She knew what was embedded within his heart.
He thought of himself as a monster. He thought of himself as a cursed monster that could not take hold of anyone’s hand.
Even though he is actually a kind-hearted person. Even though he has saved many with his hands.
If I am killed by you, or shattered by you, that will still be fine, that was something she couldn’t tell him.
On just a touch, you will be shattered, he would think, you will be killed, he would think, fearfully.
It was as before, currently, his heart was surrounded by a sturdy armour.
Taken by a deep curse.
She knew that immediately when she saw him again.
That was why she went on a journey.
In order to break his curse.
In order to break his Alpha Stigma curse, and set his heart free.
In order to do that, she went on a journey.
For the sake of the person she loved, she flew off to a gallant adventure.
And the result.
Before she knew it!
A super beautiful woman came in between me and Ryner, jeez!
Geez, what is the meaning of this? I really want to cry out!
“...... geez, damn that Sion.”
She uttered without thinking.
As the befuddled Ryner asked, Kiefer shook her head.
“No no. It’s nothing.”
Even though it wasn’t really nothing, but yet she said that it was nothing.
And again, she flashed a smile. She showed a grinning face.
It would be embarrassing if her flustered emotions about the appearance of a love rival were let known, so instead of focusing on these thoughts, she switched her attention to think about other matters.
There were now three important matters that she had to consider.
Regarding the situation she was now in.
Regarding the situation Ryner was in.
Regarding the situation the country was in.
First of all, the matter regarding herself was a simple one.
As commanded by the supreme ruler from the northern part of the continent. the king of Gastark Empire, Riphal Edea, she came here to rescue Ryner.
As asked, she came all the way here to bring Ryner back to Gastark.
Thus it was fortunate for her to be able to meet with Ryner just as she entered Roland.
But it was pretty unfortunate for her that Ryner had a beautiful woman for a partner.
Well, in any case, the situation that she was in now was not too bad actually......
Now, regarding the situation that Ryner was in.
She first looked at Ryner, then at the sleeping Ferris on the bed.
Ferris appeared to be attacked by someone, and had lost consciousness as a result.
Her younger sister --- a girl by the name of Iris, who is now on the first floor of the tea-house, eating dango served by the shop owner --- had filled them in.
At that moment, Kiefer thought back on the words said by Iris.
It went something like this.
"Ermh, you see, Iris was waiting for Nee-sama, then there were a lot of black ghosts, and then Iris went ‘Paang’, but it didn’t work at all! And then when Iris was running away, her back was ‘Kappu’! ‘Kappu-ed’! And then, that black man in black clothes, ‘Stop!’, Iris said but that guy didn’t say a word! And then Nee-sama came, she came to save Iris but the black shadowy ghosts also ‘Kappu’ Nee-sama! And Iris said ‘Stop!’ and cried. But it was useless, both of us shouted ‘Help us!’, but it was useless. And on top of that, the black guy said that he was sent by Sion Nii-chan, and Nee-sama cried. While crying, both of us died. We were ‘Kappu-ed’ and died. But but ‘Pah’, Iris’s eyes opened and came back to life. And then we were on the road. Nee-sama was still sleeping. Iris tried waking her up but she didn’t, and then we came here!"
That was how it went.
By the time Iris finished recounting on what happened, thirty minutes had went by, but still, she could make neither head nor tail on what had transpired.
However, as she observed Ryner’s expression then, it seemed like things didn’t look too good.
She tried remembering the occasions when Ryner’s face changed, and it was roughly during the time when Iris mentioned the following.
Black shadowy ghosts.
The black guy controlling them.
The black guy was sent by Sion.
Ferris and Iris had died once.
From those four lines, Kiefer could only guess the following.
Ryner’s partner was attacked.
By a pursuer sent by Sion.
That’s how the situation was.
In other words, Sion had dispatched pursuers after Ryner. For some reason, currently, the two of them weren’t on the best of terms.
There were various reasons that Kiefer could think of.
It had been three years since Kiefer left Roland.
However, she had been continually keeping tabs on the state of Roland. Travelling across the central part of the continent, arriving at the north, and finally reaching the most northern part of the continent, Gastark Empire, in the midst of all that, she had been acquiring plenty of information regarding the status of Roland.
To quote, after having left the country for two years, Sion started a revolution and ascended the throne.
And in a year’s time following that, Roland was merely focusing its energies and resources on domestic affairs, accumulating power.
Furthermore, she had heard from some well informed individuals up north, that after merging with the Kingdom of Estabul, the expanded Roland generated apprehension within the neighbouring countries, but during the reign of the peace-loving Hero King, Sion Astal, there shouldn’t be any major problem.
And Kiefer couldn’t agree more.
If it was Sion, he would first stabilize Roland from within, then use non-aggression diplomatic policies towards its neighbours, and bit by bit, strengthen Roland, she thought.
In fact, she was somewhat worried about that approach.
This was due to the insight she gained while she was in Gastark Empire, watching how the country invaded and overwhelmed various large nations in the north at an alarming rate.
And on top of that, she was right beside the king of Gastark Empire --- Riphal Edea, the Hero King of the North.
She was beside him, watching how the world changed in an instant the moment he stepped onto the stage.
She was beside him, watching how Gastark swallowed up various large nations in the northern part of the continent.
She saw how the other countries in the upper portion of Central Menoris, due to fear of Gastark’s power, started strengthening their military and seeking to increase their territory, stirring up war after war.
In fact, it was very probable that the flames of war would spread across the entire continent of Menoris.
No, the truth was it was already happening.
That was why she was somewhat worried about Roland.
She was wondering how could the gentle, peace-loving Sion deal with the chaotic situation of a war-torn continent.
Of course, so as to speak, since Sion had come from a military background, he probably would be inclined to create a militaristic nation, she thought, but the problem was given his gentle nature, and the fact that he was an advocate of peace, would he really be able to properly build up Roland’s army? That was what she was worried about.
That kind of Roland would just be destroyed by another country. That would really be kinda bad, huh? She thought.
But that was needless anxiety, as she found out later during her journey back to Roland, after being ordered by Riphal to bring Ryner back to Gastark.
What she thought to be a peace-oriented Roland had started invading Nelpha.
And the army that invaded Nelpha was an abnormally enhanced one, a result of human experiments.
Furthermore, they were killing even surrendering soldiers, and women as well as children.
She never would have thought that the Sion she knew would actually act in such an entirely different manner.
But regarding that.
She didn’t think that Ryner would actually forgive such a thing.
Sion had changed.
But Ryner had not changed.
Wasn’t that the reason why the friendship between the two had come apart?
As she was thinking along those lines, she looked at Ryner, who was looking intently at the sleeping Ferris on the bed while carrying an expression that appeared to be deep in thought.
And then she asked.
“...... hn ~?”
“Well you see...... there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
“What in the world...... actually happened to Sion?”
He looked in this direction with a slightly surprised expression. He seemed about to say something, then took on a troubled expression followed by a sad expression.
And she began,
As she asked, he took on an apologetic look.
But still, he said nothing.
Once again, she looked at him intently and then asked.
“...... what in the world...... happened between the two of you during the three years when I was away from the country?”
On hearing that, he first looked in this direction, then turned his head to look outside the window at the falling rain,
“...... it’s because I didn’t make any effort at all, which resulted in Sion being driven to the wall.”
He then filled Kiefer in on the events that had taken place during the three years when Kiefer was away.
About the report that Ryner had written in prison.
That was a report about Rhule Fragmei --- no, according to Ryner’s terminlogy, Heroes’ Relics.
About Sion becoming king during that time and making Ferris accompany Ryner on a journey in search of the Heroes’ Relics.
About Ryner returning to the country and working alongside Sion.
But those were quiet, peaceful days and he was unaware that Sion had already been driven to the wall.
Without Ryner’s knowledge, Sion had carried on Roland’s past human experiments and completed them.
And on the final day.
About Sion wanting to kill Ryner.
About him weeping while he wanted to kill Ryner.
About him saying incomprehensible things such as if he didn’t kill Ryner, he won’t be able to save him.
About Sion not killing Ryner in the end in spite of that.
About how Sion appeared to be possessed by something strange, and how his appearance had changed.
And finally about Ryner being thrown into prison, and Ferris rescuing him thereafter, and now that they were leaving the country.
While Ryner was talking, he smiled.
With a half-crying look, he smiled mockingly at himself.
"It’s because I didn’t make any effort."
"It’s because I didn’t notice Sion’s distress."
He smiled as he said that.
But, he would save him, he said.
To compensate for him running away all this while, he shall strive seriously this time, and save him, he said.
All that had happened were things beyond Kiefer’s imagination.
After asking, in the end, Kiefer also could not comprehend why things had come to such a state.
There was a person who had predicted this.
Before sending off Kiefer to Roland, the king of Gastark Empire, Riphal Edea had said the following.
"I want you to save Ryner from the monster of the south --- Sion Astal."
Initially, Kiefer did not understand what he meant by that.
That was a matter of fact.
Since Sion was a friend and classmate from the same academy. And besides, in the past, Ryner and Sion were very good friends, and she couldn’t fathom how their friendship could have changed.
But Riphal said something different.
With a serious gaze, he looked straight at Kiefer and said something different.
And then, following that, the story which Riphal told her was something beyond Kiefer’s comprehension.
Even though they were talking about Ryner and Sion, Riphal suddenly started telling a very old fairy tale of the past.
What kind of story are you telling me?, Kiefer had asked but Riphal just ignored her and continued.
Kiefer started recalling that particular story.
That was truly a very old story written in ancient text.
By now, no one could guess how long ago was that. It was an ancient story that was even further back in time than before this continent, Menoris, was born.
Herself, Ryner, Sion, Riphal, no, in fact, everything that existed in this world right now, could not be traced nor linked back to the time of that story.
A legend or a myth, it had become.
But, Riphal continued.
Even when Kiefer asked what kind of story is this, Riphal merely ignored and continued.
The characters were Goddesses, Mad Black Hero, and the sacrificial Lonesome Demon. It was a story about them.
As Riphal intentionally brought out the tomes in which the story was written in indecipherable ancient text and showed them to Kiefer, he told the story.
To summarize the main points of the story, this was how it went.
Long, long ago, there were Goddesses who had lived since the primordial days.
The Goddesses were protecting Something.
That Something was at the centre of this world, and was the source of energy for all that was in the world, and it was everything to everything that existed.
As the Something was truly a thing of importance, if Something was hurt, everything would turn to nothingness.
Therefore, day by day, the Goddesses took great care to protect Something.
But at that point, a single Hero was born.
He was born with great power.
The Hero blessed with God’s love, was shown love and affection by everyone, and grew up.
But because that power of his was too great, he was wrapped by this thing called solitude.
Before long, drowned in his own power, the Hero sunk deeply into madness and darkness.
This darkness was pitch-black and enshrouded everything.
“Let’s turn everything into nothingness.”
“Let’s turn everything into nothingness.”
“Let’s turn everything into nothingness.”
The Mad Black Hero was mad.
He was mad.
He was mad.
While raving in madness, he sunk even deeper.
First to paint the world black.
With his sword, he would paint the world black.
But that was not enough.
Even if he ate everything, it was not enough.
It seemed like he wanted to further go on to kill and eat the Goddesses.
It seemed like he wanted to lay hands on the Something that the Goddesses were protecting.
Every single Goddess was to be killed.
But the Goddesses resisted with everything they got.
And somehow, they managed to give birth to a means of sealing the Mad Black Hero.
The result was something called Human.
Consequently, the Mad Black Hero was successfully sealed far away, in the southern part of the land.
After he was sealed, his power only extended to the southern part of the land.
And for a long time, the world was quiet, ensued with peace.
But the Mad Black Hero had yet to give up.
I’m going to paint everything black.
I’m going to paint everything black.
I’m going to paint everything black.
He continued chanting.
He was truly mad.
However, no matter how much he rampaged on, he could not break the seal of the Goddesses.
The peace continued.
For a long time.
But during that peace, a problem, unnoticed by the Goddesses, arose.
At the extreme end of the south, lived another monster.
A sole demon resided there.
During the time he was born, all by himself, in loneliness, he was crying out in tears.
But that voice reached no one.
That was how he was born.
His form was too hideous, and no one could see it.
His voice was too repulsive, and it reached no one.
All alone, all alone, all alone, to the point where he felt like dying.
But that solitude, seemingly unseen by anyone, was what he was born into.
That was exactly the reason why the Goddesses failed to notice the solitary demon.
Right from the start, that demon’s form could not be seen.
But in that place where the demon dwelt --- the back side of the world, a single monster arrived.
It was the Mad Black Hero.
He was completely mad.
He kept on wailing about he was going to turn everything into nothingness, for a long, long time.
He wailed that he was going to paint everything black.
But the demon in solitude was delighted to see that Mad Black Hero.
He never thought that someone would come to his dark dwelling.
He thought he would continue crying as he spent eternity in solitude.
But now, right before him, was the Mad Black Hero.
The Mad Black Hero felt his own loneliness caused by the great power he possessed, and was wailing with tears in his eyes.
Upon seeing that, the demon greatly sympathized with him.
The demon had experienced solitude after all.
"We can definitely become friends", he said.
And he danced joyfully to the side of the Mad Black Hero.
Talking a lot.
The Mad Black Hero just kept on saying how he would turn everything into nothingness, but yet, the demon felt that he was no longer alone, and he was both grateful and blissful.
"I have a friend!"
"I have a friend here!"
"I'm no longer alone!"
He shouted as he kept on dancing.
And that weakness his feelings bore.
Those pitiful feelings.
Were made used by the Mad Black Hero.
The Mad Black Hero said.
<< I want to get out of here. You have the power to help me do that. Can I devour half of you? Would you let me devour half of you? >>
And the lonesome demon, whose name was All Equations, said.
<< Sure sure. Sure sure. Because you are my first friend. For your sake, something like half of my body is no big deal. >>
And then the lonesome demon, who was called All Equations, split into two parts, the Weaver of All Equations and the Solver of All Equations.
Immediately, the Weaver of All Equations was devoured by the Mad Black Hero.
Even though the demon felt excruciating pain, he smiled.
<< This is no big deal for the sake of my first friend. For the sake of my best friend, this is no big deal. >>
At last, after the Mad Black Hero obtained the power from devouring the Weaver of All Equations, he successfully gave birth to a means of breaking the barrier deployed the Goddesses.
That was a magic known as Human Alpha.
That was almost the same type of magic created by the Goddesses.
Controlling the Human Alpha, he broke the Human.
Immediately, the Human Alpha started killing the Human.
The Human Alpha made countries, grew up, and then started invading the world created by the Human.
And before long, the Human Alpha, once again, arrived at the centre of the world.
At the centre where the Goddesses were.
At the centre where the Something was.
The Human Alpha killed the Human, they killed, they killed, they killed and arrived there, creating a path in the process, and this was the path that the Mad Black Hero walked.
The cries of anguish and despair along the path he walked through was buried in darkness.
Throughout his path, the Goddesses were crying out in agony and resisting the Mad Black Hero.
But they died.
They all died.
The Mad Black Hero devoured them.
The Mad Black Hero laughed as he devoured them.
Finally, he lay his hands on Something.
Of course, that was also devoured by the Mad Black Hero.
But the problem arose from there.
The Something possessed too great a power which the Mad Black Hero could not hold in his hands.
The Mad Black Hero hollered once again.
Even though he wanted to turn the world into nothingness, he was going to die before accomplishing that.
Can someone take on this darkness and pain in place of me?
On hearing the cries of his best friend, the lonesome demon took pity on him again. And he thought of taking on the suffering in place of his friend.
The lonesome demon said that he was going to give up his other half, the Solver of All Equations.
<< Well then, you can use the remaining half of my body. You can put the darkness in. >>
And then the Mad Black Hero ate the remaining half of the lonesome demon.
And he took from within himself, the bad portion of Something and pushed it into the lonesome demon.
And that was the end of the lonesome demon.
Even though the demon hollered in agony, all his cries were devoured by Something.
Like some lowly lifeform, the anguish of the lonesome demon, his cries, his eyeballs, his heart, his innards, his grey matter, were all devoured, devoured, devoured, even when everything was devoured completely, his pain did not disappear.
No matter how much time had passed, it did not disappear.
It just went on for eternity.
The hell of eternity started once again.
Pain and loneliness.
His solitude went on.
But even so, the lonesome demon had no regrets.
He had made a friend even if it was only for an instant.
He had lived for a friend even if it was only for an instant.
The lonesome demon was a fool.
A fool till the very end.
And then everything ended.
The Mad Black Hero, while laughing, turned the world into nothingness.
The world that had existed till now came to an end.
Once again, the world was reborn into a different one.
Only the lonesome, solitary, foolish demon was reborn without any change, and for eternity, he continued hollering in anguish and suffering.
Kiefer recalled that fairy tale-like story which, after Riphal finished telling, left a strangely bad aftertaste.
That was the tale which Riphal read out to her though the details were still lacking in accuracy (for example, the actual glyph that Something was written in could not be deciphered by Riphal and the other scholars, that’s why for now, it was just termed as Something...... something to that extent), but the story in that tale was roughly along those lines.
It was an incomprehensible tale that did not seem to have anything to do with herself.
But, Riphal said that this would be something that was going to happen again.
And the characters appearing this time would be Ryner and Sion.
Ryner is the Solver of All Equations --- in other words, the half of the lonesome that would be made used of, and devoured.
Sion is the Mad Black Hero.
Initially, when Kiefer heard the story, she was doubtful about Riphal’s sanity. What in the world is this guy talking about, she thought then.
Indeed, Ryner was just a slightly special person. As an Alpha Stigma bearer...... but yet, he was just slightly different from the other Alpha Stigmas.
But she did not think that there would be a link between him and someone from a fairy tale.
It was the same with Sion. He was a capable person with outstanding results in the same academy that Kiefer was attending, and on top of that he had royal blood flowing in his veins.
By ‘special’, that was what she thought.
Although that was what she thought, they were still humans after all.
Just like Kiefer, they were humans who fretted and brooded over things in their own lives.
At the very least, they weren’t monsters that were capable of moving the world.
But yet, Riphal said otherwise.
He looked at Kiefer with sorrowful eyes and said.
"The two people that Kiefer saw, they were humans...... but the story has already started. It is not the fault of those two. It is not the fault of Ryner Lute and Sion Astal. If Ryner was not born with those eyes...... if Sion did not open that door, if he have not wanted to open it...... but he did. He was going after something that made him have to open it...... and the moment he laid hands on what’s inside, the story started."
That was what Riphal said.
But she still could not comprehend the full meaning of he said. Kiefer listened with an expression that said, what in the world is this person talking about.
Abd he smiled at that.
"Well, you will find out if you go to them. Though it’s already too late for many things."
And that was the end of their conversation.
And then, with a great deal of doubt, Kiefer left Gastark and returned to Roland.
And right now.
Kiefer looked intently at the somewhat sad face of Ryner before her.
She looked at the face of Ryner, filled with sadness for not being able to save Sion.
Even though Sion was after his life, he was making a I did not realize Sion’s distress lonely look.
Even though Sion wanted to devour him, he said, To compensate for all that running away up till now, this time I’m going to give it my best and save him.
Kiefer looked at Ryner who still called Sion a friend in spite of being betrayed by him.
And then she thought.
Isn’t this just like......, she thought.
Isn’t this just like that story in that fairy tale?, Kiefer thought.
Solitary, lonely, foolish, yet kind demon.
That mad, sorrowful hero pressing on hurriedly.
Mad Black Hero.
I have to do something, she thought.
What should I do, I have to do something, she thought.
To bring Ryner back to Gastark as told?
But Kiefer knew in her heart that she couldn’t do that.
That’s just not possible. Even now, Kiefer still could not believe completely in that incredulous fairy tale-like story.
And after hearing Ryner out, despite...... Sion’s betrayal, his lies, Ryner still see him as a friend and would never agree to leaving all this behind and running away to Gastark.
No, perhaps, in order to save his best friend, he might even be willing to sacrifice himself.
Just like that demon in that story.
Just like that lonesome demon.
But she couldn’t allow that. She couldn’t allow that.
I can’t allow Ryner....... I can’t allow my Ryner to be devoured by Sion.
Well then, what should she do?
What should I do then?
Kiefer looked at Ryner.
He was again looking at his unconscious partner who was attacked by pursuers sent by Sion.
The actions taken by Sion already demonstrated his lack of mercy.
To kill Ryner, and to kill his partner as well.
How did things come to this?, she thought.
After coming back to Roland, together with Ryner and Sion, the three of us could reminisce on the good old days, she had had some of those thoughts before.
Even though Toni, Tyle, and Fahl were dead, and it was no longer the same as before, but still, the three of them could still meet and laugh together, she had carried some of those thoughts all by herself.
She needed to amend the image of Sion in her memory, she thought.
Although the conversation earlier did spark off a desire to save Sion for an instant, she could only do so much within her limitations.
First, she needed to save Ryner.
Then, she would think of what’s next.
She looked at Ryner and said.
“You know, Ryner.”
“Does Ryner know of Gastark......”
As she said that, suddenly.
Abruptly, the sleeping peerless beauty before her sat up.
She opened her clear blue eyes and looked around her surroundings restlessly.
And Ryner began,
“Yo, Ferris. You are finally awake.”
He said with a kind voice.
He said with a gentle, caring voice to the awakened princess.
That again, sparked off a pain within Kiefer’s chest. As she thought, the two of them are in that kind of relationship, she thought.
And then the princess, once again, with a seemingly bewildered expression, looked around her surroundings restlessly.
And then said.
“Yeah. I’m awake.”
“Are you feeling any pain anywhere?”
And then Ferris appeared to think for a while.
“...... hm. While I don’t feel any pain in my body, I do recall some painful memories.”
That was what she said. She had a half-asleep and dazed look on her expressionless face.
That face was a beautiful and cute one, and Kiefer seemed to groan out, Hah-ooh ~ m.
Ryner looked intently at Ferris's face.
"Yeah. Painful memories."
Her behaviour created a spur of anxiety in Kiefer and she started thinking earnestly. This Ferris girl's behaviour did not match what Ryner said to be.
Just a while ago, Ryner,
"You are tricked by what you see, you need to experience it for yourself. She truly is a demon down to the core."
That's how he had described her, but that didn't seem to be the case however.
She's like an obedient cute kid who had just woken up.
Ferris stared at Ryner.
"I remembered some painful memories."
As if she was using a matching response to being comforted, she said it in a very sweet, lovely manner.
And Ryner promptly took in that sweetness.
"Hm. Well then, why don't you tell me about those painful memories of yours?"
Eh, wait a minute, wait a minute, Kiefer thought.
What.. so the two of them do have that kind of relationship? They are already on such intimate terms, and am I acutally the one who is coming in between them?
As she was on the brunt of that thought.
Something unbelievable took place before her very eyes.
Ferris propped her body away from the bed and leaned close towards Ryner. Is Ferris going to hug Ryner, that was the first thing Kiefer thought of.
Eh ~ wait a minute ~!!
She was about to cry out.
She thought her heart was going to stop.
But in the next instant.
"This is for my painful memories!"
And, for some unknown reason, Ferris swung her fist towards Ryner with an unbelievable force.
"Woah, I've thought that this would happen somehow."
Having predicted her move, Ryner stopped her punch.
And he smirked.
"Hahhun. With that strangely disgusting sweet voice, I could see this coming......"
But he was cut off there and then.
Ferris lifted her left arm, and pressed her elbow towards Ryner's face, and he,
"I'm stopping this one too!!"
And he stopped it in a frantic manner.
But that was the end of his resistance.
Ferris launched her knee upwards at a speed that was beyond Kiefer's ability to follow. And it connected with Ryner's chin.
Following a cry of pain, Ryner's whole body was lifted into the air, and with a sharp crashing sound, Ryner's head broke through the tea-house ceiling, which was made of wood, and was stuck there.
Ryner's body hung from the ceiling of the tea-house, seemingly about to fall off anytime.
Kiefer was at a complete loss for words.
But the thing is, isn't Ryner that, erm? Isn't he super strong?
Formerly known as the Greatest Magician of Roland, there should not be anyone in Roland who could come close to his power, isn't that how strong he was?
What was all that about?
What's with this woman?
No, aside from that, why is she doing this all of a sudden?
She couldn't understand a thing.
While Kiefer could only stare at this incomprehensible scene in which Ryner was attacked suddenly and sent crashing into the ceiling in which he was now stuck in, Ferris, with satisfaction,
As she did that, Ryner pulled his head out of the ceiling,
"This is nothing gooooooooddddddddddddddd! Damn you, were you trying to kill me!"
"Ohh, you've returned to life, Ryner!"
"I didn't die, duh!"
"Then die. Come back to life after you die."
"Wha.. I don't get you! What's this all about...... wait, don't draw your sword!"
Even with Ryner shouting, Ferris did not stop. With her slender arm, she picked up the large sword placed in the corner of the room, which to a stranger, might seem too much for her to handle, and swung it skillfully back and forth around her.
She swung the sword swiftly around a few times as if she was slashing at wind. As she did that, everything around her was sliced into fine pieces.
The bed, the chair, the stand, everything was sliced into unbelievably fine pieces without a sound.
That swordsmanship was abnormal. Among the things she sliced were objects made of iron as well, and yet, she sliced them apart effortlessly.
That was a truly majestic sight to behold.
It was such a majestic sight that anyone who was witnessing it would easily gasp out in amazement reflexively.
But Ryner instead,
"...... wha, what are you doing swinging that sword around in this cramped room? It was kind of scary...... so what in the world is the meaning of this?"
Kiefer applauded silently at his question.
A peerless beauty, emotionlessly, expressionlessly, swinging her sword around.
Looking at the scene before her, Kiefer once again, thought back to Ryner's words earlier.
"You are tricked by what you see, you need to experience it for yourself. She truly is a demon down to the core."
Ah, so it was true......
It did seem to her now that there was no special relationship, love relationship to be precise, between the two of them......
But, at that moment.
Finally satisfied, Ferris sheathed her sword at her waist.
And then, as Ryner and Kiefer breathed out a sigh of relief, Ferris looked at both her hands and wriggled her fingers, ascertaining their movements.
"...... seems like I can move them as usual."
Ryner dropped down from the ceiling. And then looked intently at Ferris.
"Ah ~ so that's what it was all about."
While Kiefer could not understand Ferris's actions, it seemed like Ryner had understood.
Kiefer asked Ryner,
"What was all that?"
In response, he replied.
"...... probably like what Iris mentioned earlier, Ferris had incurred severe wounds from the assault of our pursuer that Sion had sent. But now......"
However, just with those words, Kiefer already knew what he was going to say.
Ferris should be bearing severe wounds from that attack by her pursuer, but as far as Kiefer could see, she had not a single wound. In fact, she seemed perfectly fine.
She swung her sword around in order to ascertain that.
At that moment, Ryner continued. And looked at Ferris.
“...... so, what happened when I was not around? Iris thought you had died from incurring severe wounds.”
“My tendons in both my arms and legs were severed and my limbs were almost torn apart.”
At those words, Kiefer looked at Ferris’s figure again.
However, Ferris’s arms and legs looked perfectly fine to her and on top of that, her clothes were in perfect condition.
With a slender, nice body with a great style, she was wearing a one piece dress with a short skirt portion and cute logo of three polka-dots lined up in a straight line. Her belt and boots were of the same brand and fitted her nicely.
After seeing that, Kiefer became flustered and started looking at her own clothes.
Even though the insignia was removed, what she was wearing was a light armour from Gastark Empire. Somehow, Riphal had prepared it to be somewhat cute and revealing, specially for her personal use, but still, it was not a girly one piece.
Looking at her own light armour, ahh geez, why didn’t I change my clothes before stepping into Roland, she thought.
Even though I’ve already prepared a number of clothes for the reunion with Ryner, what the heck am I doing?
But but, it can’t be helped I guess. I never would have thought that I would see Ryner so soon, right after entering Roland.
And besides, I never would have thought that such a beautiful woman is by the side of Ryner.
Ahh, but still, it’s my mistake. It’s my mistake for not dressing properly before coming into the country where the person I like is in. Stupid me. I’m so stupid.
“...... uuuww ~”
Even as she fretted, fretted, it changed nothing.
Ferris’s limbs were perfectly fine and her clothes were in perfect condition, with no evidence of her being attacked.
In other words, there was not a single scratch on her.
Ryner then said.
“...... were you under an illusion spell of sorts?”
But Ferris shook her head.
“That fella did not use any magic.”
“That fella......? In other words, Froaude?”
Ferris’s face darkened slightly at his words and looked intently at Ryner.
“......did you hear that from Iris?”
“A black man in black clothes calling forth black ghosts, kapu ~ =(equals) that fella right? But, that damn Froaude, despite telling us he was from Stohl Empire, so he was actually Sion’s subordinate...... when was the first time we meet him again?”
“Don’t forget duh.”
“Mm? Then do you remember?”
Ryner nodded at that question.
“If I remember correctly, it was at Toale’s place, I think. Wait, you do remember Toale, don’t you?”
Ferris promptly replied,
“Wait wait, remember at least that much!”
In the midst of their bantering, Kiefer spoke without reservation.
“...... erm, you are talking about Toale Nelphi? The one currently fighting alone against Roland in Imperial Nelpha.”
“Orh, right right, You are pretty well informed, Kiefer.”
Following that, Ferris, for the first time, looked towards here.
For some reason, she seemed to be staring at her. With her almond-shaped, clear, blue eyes, she was staring this way at her.
Kiefer thought she was going to say something, but she did not.
Without saying a word, she stareeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed this way at her.
Unable to bear the silence anymore, Kiefer said.
“Ah, ah, erm...... sorry for the late greeting. This is the first time we meet. I’m a friend from the same Royal Military Special Academy that Ryner studied in, Kiefer Knolles is my name.”
Then Ferris looked in the direction of Ryner,
“Ah, yeah. Kiefer is a classmate friend of mine. The same with Sion as well.”
After Ryner nodded, she looked towards here once more. She looked at her face, then her body, then at her face again, and said.
“...... I see. So Ryner, this is the rumored girl whom you’ve always been talking about?”
At those words,
Kiefer’s heart skipped a beat. Feeling surprised, without thinking, she turned towards Ryner.
Does Ryner speak of me often with this person?
Eh, does that mean......... does that mean......
Erm, I’ll be really happy if they were nice rumors, but if he told her of that incident where I forcibly kissed Ryner like a moronic woman wellll, that kind of rumor would be, erm, I’m erm, I, ahh wahh wahh.
While she was fretting and getting flustered all by herself, Ryner, with a weary face,
“Doh, I have never once mentioned anything about Kiefer to you. You are starting that troublesome parallel fantasy againnn......”
But Ferris cut him off and continued.
“No no, at this juncture, there is no need to hide it anymore. The person called Kiefer, is that girl right? The next girl after you forcibly attacked Milk Callaud one night and caused that pitiful girl to become pregnant, she’s that second victim right?”
After she said that,
Kiefer cried out, and Ryner faced her, with a tired voice.
“Right, over there, don’t react so naturally to weird things.”
“Bu, but, pregnant...... I didn’t know, during all this time, Ryner already has a kid......”
“Hell like I do!”
On the side of that exchange, Ferris continued with her parallel story.
“Having a desire to seduce and lay their hands on the young girl Kiefer who’s still a student, the wild beasts Ryner Lute and Sion Astupidl one night, while reeking of alcohol, carried out such a conversation, "Let’s do that girl!".”
On hearing that, Kiefer looked at Ryner again.
“Tt, tthat so!?”
“No waaayyyyyyyy, wait, shouldn’t you know best that this isn’t true?”
Ignoring the yelling Ryner, Ferris continued on.
“However, the two of them who normally appeared to be buddies are the type to show their true colors when it comes to woman.”
“What type are you talking about, doh.”
The story continued, rendering Ryner’s rejoinder useless.
“Before long, the two of them started quarrelling. Ryner said. "I was the first to set my eyes on that girl! I should be the first to attack her!". But Sion did not give in. "Fool, who do you think is the king of this country? Me, you know? It’s not you, you know? That’s how it is. I shall go first.".”
Ryner, with a resigned expression,
“No wait, Sion wasn’t king yet then.”
Ferris nodded as well.
“That’s right. Even though Sion wasn’t king yet then, but he was a fool who has already assumed the air of one.”
“Ah, that’s true.”
“Well then, I’m going to go on.”
“No, this is the place where you are going to stop that stupid story, thankfu...... ugh-arghhhh.”
Ryner was sent flying.
And Ferris continued further.
The contents of the story talked about how Ryner in the end assaulted Kiefer, made her pregnant, and ran away hollering how he would not take responsibility, which made Sion so angry that he sent out pursuers, and these pursuers, just a while ago, almost killed Ferris; and that was how it was forcibly connected to the current state of affairs,
“In other words, it’s all thanks to you that I got embroiled in a huge troublesome thing, and that’s how I ended up here in this manner!”
Looking at that peerless beauty who said that,
Kiefer was dumbfounded.
She had a completely dumbfounded expression.
Because this was the first time she had met such a person.
Even though Riphal could be overbearing at times in his conversations, but this was the first time she met someone who would beat up the person who makes a comeback and actually carry on her own meaningless story after that.
And right now, she had that self-satisfied expression.
Looking at her,
Kiefer, once again, recalled the words from Ryner.
Demon at the core.
Isn’t this fine?
She had thought that, with such a beautiful and cute face, Ferris would have been a strong love rival, but perhaps, not so with that kind of personality?
As Kiefer looked in the direction where Ryner was sent flying, he got up with a tired expression, looking as if he was already used to such developments.
“...... so, are you satisfied?”
As he did so, Ferris nodded with lots of vigor. She nodded vigorously, apparently feeling good.
“Then can we continue this seriously?”
“Eh ~. What more do you still want?”
On hearing that, she looked in the direction of Kiefer and said.
“So, what does the old friend of Ryner want from us now? Were you sent by Sion?”
Kiefer shook her head frantically.
“No, I’m not. I have not seen Sion in years. And I’ve not been back to Roland for years as well.”
“Then what? Why did you appear at this kind of timing?”
“Eh...... ah, no, that is......”
As Kiefer fumbled with her words, Ryner also looked towards here,
“Ah right. I’ve not asked you earlier since my hands were full. Where did Kiefer go after leaving the country and why did you come back?”
On hearing those words.
Kiefer was somewhat hurt by those words.
"Why did you come back?"
Was it really bad to come back just because I want to see Ryner?, she thought a little.
The truth was that there was no other reason for her to come back anyway......
She set off on a journey in order to save Ryner, in order to save Ryner......
In order to see him again, she came back.
Other than that, there was no meaning to coming back here.
That’s why Kiefer said.
“...... that, erm.”
Both Ryner and Ferris looked at her.
Even with blood rushing to her head, and feeling her face flushed, she did her best.
“...... err, erm, I came back...... to see Ryner......”
That was what she said.
Even though she was about to scream out Kyaaaaaaaaaaa, she held it in, and just screamed silently in her heart.
As she took a glance at Ryner, he had that face again.
The troubled withdrawn look.
But even if he were to take a step backwards, she was determined to pay no heed and come back anyway. Even if he thought of himself as a monster and ran away, she was determined to give chase and stay by his side.
That was why she set off on a journey.
In order to save him from solitude, she set off on a journey.
That’s why Kiefer added one more line.
“Erm...... I, I, I.......”
She took one more step forward.
“...... ever since, in the past, till now...... I have liked Ryner.”
One step forward.
Ryner did not say anything. He only made a troubled expression. A lonely, tired expression.
Just like three years ago.
If she drew near him, he would definitely take a step backward. Maintaining a distance where he would not hurt her. Maintaining a distance where he would not kill her.
He would place a distance between himself and the other party so that his cursed self would not cause any hurt to the other party.
His reaction was just the same as before.
That was an expected reaction.
That’s why she went no further than that.
But beside him.
She saw a very faint change in what should have been a normally expressionless face from the peerless beauty beside him.
That was truly a subtle change that occurred for merely an instant, and would probably have gone unnoticed by someone who was not involved nor interested in the current state of affairs between them.
But Kiefer saw it.
An almost instantaneous look of surprise had flashed across Ferris’s fair, beautiful and what should have been a normally expressionless face.
And then Ferris,
“...... ah, I......”
She said in a seemingly shaking voice. But that was all she said. Which was more than enough. Kiefer understood everything just from that alone.
Ahh, so that’s how it is.
Ahh, so that’s how it is. Just as I thought, she also, towards Ryner......
Her thoughts trailed off.
All of a sudden, Ferris’s face underwent an even greater change than before. Surprise, teary, happiness-filled face.
And then, with a shaking voice,
“Da...... da, da......”
She started off.
And Ryner began,
“Huh? What’s up? What’s going on?”
But as usual, she ignored him,
“Da, da, dango’s aroma, why?”
And then Ryner,
“Huh? Dango? Ah, that, because this is that place. The place where we were supposed to meet up, Asohld dango tea-house......”
Before he could finish, suddenly.
“Why didn’t you say so earlieeeeeer!!”
She beat him up again. Ryner was sent flying with cries of anguish again. But she ignored all that and started running.
And she stepped on Ryner who was in her path,
“I’m leaving for a bit!”
And she rushed out of the room with an incredible speed.
Her actions were already beyond Kiefer’s comprehension.
“Eh? Eh? Eh?”
That was the only thing she could utter.
But, but, that was definitely weird right?
I just confessed to Ryner.
And Ferris probably liked Ryner as well, she thought.
And a stand off between two love rivals might possibly suddenly ensue!
Even though it was such an intense situation.
And Ferris suddenly shouted I smell dango, which was pretty much incomprehensible, and then she beat up Ryner and rushed out of the room.
“...... what, what in the world happened to her?”
On hearing that, Ryner, with a 'this is nothing new' tone, answered.
“...... she’s a person who places as much importance on dango as life itself.”
“Wait, that doesn’t tell me anything.”
“No no. I’m serious. It’s always like that with her, you see. She would always shout I like dango, and beat me up to death, and beat Sion up to death.”
“Eh, then she really went off to eat dango?”
Ryner nodded at Kiefer’s query.
And then she went on,
“Eeeeeehhhhh, bu, but, but the conversation just now, it wasn’t really the time to eat dango......”
But Ryner shook his head.
“That’s the kind of person she is.”
“No really, if you follow after her seriously, you might die.”
“...... is, is that so?”
Ryner then got up.
“Well, for now, let’s go downstairs as well, shall we? There are things I need to talk to Kiefer about, and there are things regarding Ferris’s attacker that we need to talk about...... and since we are currently really pursued by Sion, we need to discuss our next step, and we can do that while we eat dango...... then again, even though we might be safe for the time being, I doubt we could stay here for long......”
While saying that, he was making his way out.
But Kiefer did not go after him.
She was, dumbfoundedly, thinking about what just happened.
Perhaps, Ferris was exactly the type of person Ryner said to be.
Perhaps, she’s really not interested in the affairs of the heart, more like a child, she seemed to prefer dango to flowers?
That was evident.
Having no interest in Ryner. Placing more importance on dango than Ryner. That’s why even when a girl came here to declare her love for Ryner, she’s completely not bothered at all.
That was evident.
At the very least, that was evident to Ryner.
Kiefer sighed softly and took a small whiff at the aroma floating around in the room.
Just as Ferris said, the room was filled with the aroma of dango.
But this aroma had been present all along since they entered the room. It was an aroma that a person who likes dango would have noticed upon waking up.
But it was only during Kiefer’s love confession, that Ferris, with an apparently confused and flustered face, suddenly went talking about how she smelled the aroma of dango.
And rushing out of the room, as if she was running away.
She was running away.
Even when she was such a strong person. Even when she was such a violent person. Even when she was such a willful person, she ran away with an apparently flustered face.
That was her.
That was her pure innocence which made her really cute, and Kiefer,
“.................. uwah, what a strong opponent she might be.”
She said with a small groan.
Then Ryner turned around,
He asked in a thoughtless manner.
And Kiefer looked intently at Ryner’s face.
Looking intently at the face of the person she had wanted to see all along.
Looking at the face of the person who had caused much distress to various girls,
“Geez, it’s all because of Ryner’s fault.”
“Nothing. It’s noth~ing. Well, let’s go down. I’d also like to have some dango.”
As she said that, she closed in on Ryner. She then started to entwine her arm around Ryner’s arm.
It was an easy thing before.
She had linked arms with Ryner before during maneuvering exercises, and also during pinning exercises as well. And she had always been with him then. Always right by his side. Making bento for him. But that was a long time ago.
That’s why, right now, just like before, she would cross her arm over Ryner’s effortlessly.
But, she couldn’t do it.
At the point where she was about to do it, her heart was in her mouth, and threatened to jump out. That was how nervous she was.
No, rather, just by standing right beside the Ryner she had wanted to see for so long, was enough to make her heart burst.
Uwah, she thought.
This is bad, she thought.
If this keeps on, I’m going to lose. Even though nothing was happening, she seemed to be on the verge of tears.
Since it had been a while ever since she had stepped into Roland, she really want to make her feelings known to him.
It was no longer the same as before.
The world had changed.
Sion had changed.
Her former place beside Ryner was gone.
And on top of that, a beautiful woman, a cute rival had appeared.
She had to do her best.
She had to strive further.
Put in more effort.
She grabbed hold of his arm.
“Hehe ~ hn.”
Even though inside her mind, she felt that she did not have the leisure to go hehe ~ hn, but she did it anyway. And she hugged his arm tightly.
“You are a little heavy.”
“Huuhh!? How can you say that to a girl!?”
While Kiefer yelled angrily, she gave a knock to Ryner’s head. And puffed up her cheeks, pouting angrily.
And again, Ryner had that troubled look on his face.
It was the same scene as three years ago.
Three years ago, the very same scene, while it was still not too late for many things.
The admired honours student Sion, the good-for-nothing idiot Ryner, the busybody Fahl who was enthusiastically interested in the love affairs of others, the Toni who appeared to be in love with Fahl, and the easygoing Tyle who always cheered everyone up.
Among those people, Kiefer would be the one telling Ryner not to take afternoon naps, and knocking his head while telling him to go for lessons quickly.
Kiefer started reminiscing.
“Kind of nostalgic.”
She said, and laughed.
But even while she said that, she was a little nervous.
Because she might be the only one thinking that. Ryner didn’t seem to remember much about me. It seemed like he could care less about what happened those days. I’m afraid I’m the only one getting pumped up on things.
Well, it’s been truly a long time since I came back, and Ryner-tteba, he just keep on making that troubled face, so terrible.
I’m coming close to my limits.
Even though I’m finally back.
Even though I’ve kept doing my best in order to see him again.
If he still doesn’t smile one bit, I shall dash out and run away, hide myself in a corner and cry.
Uhn, I shall do just that.
Kiefer was committed to that ---
While patting the head of Kiefer who was clinging to his arm,
“...... ahh, it’s really nostalgic. After all this while, Kiefer finally came back, and it would be really nice to reminisce about our stupid past together with Sion, I guess.”
That was what he said.
And with a smile directed here,
“Welcome back, Kiefer.”
At that moment, Kiefer’s plan of dashing out to hide herself to cry was completely terminated.
Ryner had said “welcome back”, he had smiled, and finally all those unsettled feelings she had had were erased by his whole-hearted smile.
But yet, for some reason, Ryner started having a flustered expression,
“Wh, why are you crying Kiefer!?”
“I’m not crying.”
“These are tears of joy! I’m just overwhelmed with emotions at being able to see Ryner again.”
“.................. is that so? Erm, so what shoud I do?”
“Just for a little while.”
“Just stay like this for a little while.”
Kiefer buried her whole face into Ryner’s chest. Burying all those three years in which she had not seen him, ascertaining the warmth of his chest.
As expected, Ryner adopted his usual troubled expression, looked around him, then looked up at the ceiling, appearing busy with something, but she didn’t care about that anymore.
Squeeeeeeeeeeeze, that was due to her embracing him once.
And she pulled away from Ryner.
As she did that, it seemed like he still had that troubled expression, unable to accept her feelings immediately, but even so, that was enough for her right now.
Because she knew that this was not the time for this.
That’s why Kiefer said.
“Alright! Now, let’s go plan out our next move!”
All of a sudden, Ryner made a face that seemed to be thinking of the various bothersome things that he had to deal with and said,
“...... ahh, seems like it’s going to be suuuuppeerr botherso......”
But Kiefer interrupted him,
“Right right, stop complaining! The next lesson is already starting!”
She pushed Ryner from the back and they started descending to the first floor of the tea-house.
And while Ryner was being pushed, he began,
“Uweh ~, lessons, what a super unpleasant wordddd.”
He groaned, making a truly unpleasant face.
And in response to that nostalgic face.
Kiefer laughed again.
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