Dai Densetsu no Yūsha no Densetsu:Volume 2 Chapter 4
 Chapter 4 - And Then The Balance Scales Used By The Demon
He looked down at the bodies.
At the cruelly chopped up bodies.
Countless bodies scattered around the hall, which was stained with a sea of blood. Looking at that.
Sion said nothing.
He was now in the throne room of the castle of Roland Empire. In this place where the King of Roland Empire presides..... filled with numerous bodies scattered around, which was an unusual occurrence, yet,
Sion --- the king of this country said nothing.
With his piercing golden eyes, in which a strong will was embedded, he merely looked upon the pile of brutally broken bodies before him.
“............” He looked up slightly into the hall. No, rather, much deeper inwards, he is looking at something that is squirming.
Something he could not see clearly.
The attached magical lights that used to light up the hall were destroyed, and on top of that, a storm was beating against the window, making it extremely dark.
Yet in that darkness, he can sense something is squirming.
But there is no sound. Neither is there any visible presence seen.
He could only sense that something strange is squirming about. And that it was the same thing that caused the pile of bodies.
No, this is not something new.
This situation where Sion had merely closed his eyes for a moment and opened them again, to find before him, before he knew it, a pile of bodies --- a pile of bodies belonging to the guards protecting this hall, with something creeping in within the same breath.
Sion muttered as he fixed his gaze onto the something within that darkness.
“...... no matter how many times you try, you have no chance of winning in this land.”
A voice seemed to cry out from within the darkness. But it was too soft. Too feeble. Not quite audible.
“...... I can’t hear you. But there’s no need to. Lucile.”
In an empty space in the hall, an unusually beautiful man appeared immediately out of thin air. Lucile.
Lucile mouthed before asking.
“Ahh. Then, I’m going to do it.”
Immediately after saying that, in the very next instant, Lucile disappears and reappears in the depths of the darkness in the hall.
And a smile floated to his lips,
“...... there’s no use in hiding.”
He thrust a hand into one of the bodies scattered in the hall. He gouges into the bowels of the body, and appears to catch hold of something.... which he then forcibly pulls out.
A strange-looking monster was pulled out from the belly of the body. With a scaly face of a snake, smooth hands of a human, feathery wings of a bird, and gnarly legs of a spider. Skin which seemed to be festering with burns covering its entire body from the head to toe. What Lucile holds in his hand is the head of a monster, so hideous that it will cause a nauseating feeling to well up in any normal human beholding it.
The monster gives off an ear-splitting howl. As it did that, the snake head stretched out and attempted to bite on Lucile’s shoulder.
Lucile brushes it aside and just like that, the snake head disintegrates into nothingness.
But the monster’s movements does not stop; despite losing its head, it does not stop, and this time round, from its chest which clearly appears to be that of a spider, a jaw opens with fangs potruding out attempts to swallow Lucile.
Unfazed, Lucile just smiled happily.
“...... ha, haha, hahaha. What’s that. You wish to devour me? With your level of power, you wish to devour ME?”
As he says that, a different face appears at the shoulder of that monster. It is the face of a bird, and it replies to Lucile’s mocking query.
“...... do not be haughty. Descendant of Eris Reed. Your rampage ends here. The Goddesses’ rage has already reached their limit......”
The bird stops mid-sentence at that moment because Lucile proceeds to snap its head off.
“...... the mad Goddesses, come again?”
And he crushes the birds head in his hand.
But still, the monster does not stop. The spider’s fangs came thrusting again towards Lucile.
But Lucile appears to be unconcerned. He stretches out his hand quietly, and murmurs softly.
“Let me end this farce.”
Instantly, he releases his power and everything ---
Should have ended..... But at that moment instead
Lucile’s expression changes. A strange, small light appears from within the spider’s mouth.
He couldn’t continue.
The light, all of a sudden, explodes from the monster’s body towards Lucile. No...It is exploding towards Sion, who is behind him. As he is being swallowed by the light, Lucile’s body disappears and just as the light nears to swallow Sion’s body, at that moment once again, Lucile reappears in front of Sion.
Holding a dark sword in his hand, Lucile swings at the light. As he does it, the light is split into two parts, even as it is being absorbed by the darkness of the sword.
This time round, everything is really over.
Once again, darkness and silence descends upon the hall.
Sion called out.
He looks upon the beautiful man before him, a man who should not lose to any kind of monster, a man who should be darker than any form of darkness,
“...... wasn’t that a little bad?”
Lucile turned around replying,
“No. There wasn’t any problem really.”
He is smiling.... smiling with his beautiful face. However what is smiling, is merely the right part of his face. The left part of his face...... no, his left hand, his left leg as well, the entire left part of his body is gone. Burned off by the light released from the mouth of the spider.
Sion, with a dubious face,
“It doesn’t seem that way to me though.”
But, Lucile merely shrugged his only shoulder.
“No problem at all.”
After saying that, with his remaining right hand, he give a knock on his own body.
The moment he does that, the remaining half of his body starts regenerating. The inner flesh of his body bulges out, and in a twinkle, his body returns to his former beautiful form.
That, in itself, is disgusting to behold.
Sion smiles wryly.
To which Lucile mockingly replies,
“Hahaha. You hate your own kind?”
In other words, he means that Sion is a monster just like him. But Sion did not rebuke those words. For it is just as he says. At this moment, he is indeed kin with this disgusting monster --- or rather, he’s in the process of becoming something even worse than that.
Without saying anything, Sion once again looks at the hall.
However, there is no longer any sign of that hideous monster resembling a combination of a snake, bird, and spider. It probably self-exploded.
In order to kill Lucile. No, in order to kill Sion --- who is the Mad Black Hero.
“But, this is actually the first time I've see you wounded in such a manner.” Sion says to Lucile, who is still looking in the direction of the hall.
“...... ahh. I let my guard down for a while. I didn’t expect the real thing would take the trouble to show up.”
Sion opens his eyes upon hearing Luciles words.
“...... the real thing? You mean the Goddess?”
“That was probably a part of Kukanohst [Goddess of Tranquility]. She sent in a part of her body by hiding it in the body of the familiar we just saw. But for her to have come all the way over such a great distance at this kind of timing, the Goddesses seem to be in a fluster......”
Suddenly, at that moment,
<< Damn fools. >>
A high-pitched, an incomprehensibly high-pitched, ear-splitting woman's voice reverberated across the room. No, the voice probably did not reverberate across the room in reality. But, rather, the voice appears to be reverberating across the world, being delivered directly to their heads.
Sion turns to Lucile
“...... isn’t it still here?”
“That’s right. Since I haven’t killed it yet. What I erased earlier was merely an attack of the Goddess.”
Once again at that moment,
<< Damn fools. >>
The same words was heard again. But this time, something seems different in those words. More accurately, something else is embedded in those words. A magical spell of fear is embedded in those words.
The Goddess had embedded a power that would erode the will and destroy the minds of her enemies, within those words.
In the past, perhaps Sion's sanity would have been destroyed, leaving him fearful and raving in madness.
So to speak, it was the voice of a god; a divine message from God.
Man could only prostrate in fear and obey.
“Well, since I’m also a monster, it has no effect on me however......” Sion murmured, as he shifted his eyes to search for the source of the voice within the hall.
“...... ah, I can’t do it. I can’t find it with my eyes, Lucile.”
Lucile had already found the fragment of the Goddess and while looking intently at a single point on the ceiling,
“...... what, Sion? You want to see her face?”
Sion nodded at his query.
“Yes, I’d like that. All this while, Goddess-sama has only sent her familiars here. Now that she has finally come forth herself, I have to show her proper hospitality.”
Lucile turned his head around,
“But if you do that, you will regret it, you know?”
“What do you mean by that?” Sion asked as he tilted his head.
Lucile merely smiled an icy smile; darker, colder, and more mocking than usual.
“Naturally I’m referring to the fact that, considering that she’s called Goddess, her appearance is surprisingly unbefitting of her title.”
With that, he lightly waved his hand in front of Sion’s eyes. And in that instant, the color of the world changed. Darkness became darker just as light became brighter, overwhelming beholding eyes.
And within that darkness.... Within that darkness on the ceiling of the hall, where Lucile was looking up at, was a being, a female being clad all in light......
A woman seemingly clad in a shining robe of feathers.
Gazing upon that form,
Sion gasps without thinking.
At her form...
Sion’s face contorts instinctively at the Goddess’s form; as her form is abnormally hideous.
Attached to the ceiling on all fours, her face had no eyes. Merely hollow pools drowned in darkness, within its depths, abyss of darkness extends further. Occasionally, in that darkness, small bodies that looks like insects, can be seen moving in and out in a disgusting manner.
She has no nose, and her mouth is different from that of a human, stretching across vertically instead of horizontally with hundreds of teeth potruding outwards from that mouth. Adding to her bizarre appearance, below her grotesque head she has the same form as a human; no, her appearance encompasses everything that’s revolting to humans.
And then, her vertically aligned mouth starts opening and closing, and her voice reverberates once again.
<< You worms. You worms, you worms. Why, why, why won’t you accept my, our, salvation? >>
She says in an incomprehensibly high-pitched earsplitting voice.
“See? It’s better not to see it, isn’t it?” Lucile says.
Sion merely shrugged his shoulders without answering. No, he had roughly expected this outcome. He had long wondered about the appearance of the Goddess that had kept sending her monster minions one after another. Well, so it was something that looked like that, he thought.
A book that Lucile had shown him...
After having read that book in which the light and darkness of this world were chronicled, a story in which the Goddesses appeared, it was within his expectations that they were hideous.
As an example, a story in which they appeared went like this...
After living for too long, the desires of the mad Goddesses could not be stopped. They couldn’t be stopped even after they had obtained everything.
Devouring the light they created, devouring the darkness they created, devouring the human they created, even that was not enough.
They want to devour more.
They want to devour.
They want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour, want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour want to devour.
And in the end, they broke the greatest taboo.
The source of everything.
The source that gave birth to them.
They devoured the parent that gave birth to them.
Devouring their parent finally satisfied them.
And then everything ended.
Anything and everything about the world up till then ended.
Once again, it was born into a different one.
"But," Sion says as he looks up at the fragment of the hideous Goddess on the ceiling “...this time round...... things won’t go according to the way you all want. The ugly story that you all had created shall end here.”
The goddess, with her darkness embedded hollow eyes, looks his way and says,
<< Again. Again, a-g-a-i-n, again. Are you worms mad? Mad, m-a-d, m-a-d? Hero, my lovely hero...... deceived by ω[omega], deceived by α[alpha], deceived by the demon, are you intending to sell out this world again? >>
Upon hearing those words, Sion merely smiles thinly.
“So to speak, I know that there are already a number of versions of stories that are convenient to you circulating around the world......”
With regards to that ancient story, there were several patterns to it.
A story about a hero destroying the world.
A story about a demon destroying the world.
And a story about goddesses destroying the world.
Every one of them had some degree of authenticity, but simultaneously, every one of them was also inserted with convenient lies.
Even though it is not known who, nor for whose sake, created those stories. Or which strands of the story is real. Or who are the true protagonists of the story..... However, each and every one of them agree to one common point.....
Destruction of the world.
Well, in any case......
At that moment, the voice of the Goddess reverberated again.
<< Accept our salvation. Accept our salvation. This is also for your sake. Now, accept it, accept it, and become the hero who saves the world...... >>
“Shut up...... you ugly Goddesses.” Sion says irritably.
Instantly, Lucile jumped.
“Jade Emperor’s tongue.”
He muttered raising his right hand. However, nothing came forth from that right hand; nothing could be seen.
But, even though there shouldn’t be anything there, the ugly face of the Goddess contorted in fear, making it even uglier.
<< Jade...... Jade Emperor, you mean......? Impossible...... you, did you devour God Pursuing’s power? But that shouldn’t have been...... ω[omega]...... sword saint Eris Reed’s bloodline should not possess such a power...... >>
But, a smile floats to Lucile’s lips,
“Don’t think that I’ll always let the elderly...... the ancient gods do as they please. God, God Pursuing, and even Goddess, I shall devour everything.”, and then he swung down his hand at the Goddess.
The Goddess could do nothing. She could only make a surprised, fearful face as her body start disappearing.
<< …... this...... my body...... is really being devoured...... what in the world are you...... >>
Her words trailed off.
The Goddess disappears and darkness returned.
Lucile lands in the center of the pile of bodies, he turns around.
“It has ended......”
Immediately his knees buckles and he falls to the ground.
Sion says nothing; he has seen this scene before. During the time when Lucile devoured a goddess and obtained her power. No, during the time when he devoured the power of God, God Pursuing, and obtained those powers, he was constantly tested.
Whether it was appropriate for him to possess those powers...
Whether it was appropriate for him to possess those powers to change the world...
Whether it was appropriate for him to rewrite the plot of that story that had continued endlessly...
He was being tested, had his power been lacking, he’d die. As long as he lived, he would move forward.
A simple matter.
Lucile, as well as Sion, is aware of that level of danger, and continues moving forward. Throwing away anything and everything. Laughter, sorrow, bliss, happiness, friends, family, comrades, life... sacrifices which would render a normal person to weep inconsolably; yet they continue forward.
People might say that’s madness.
God might say that’s madness.
Goddesses might say that’s madness.
It might indeed BE madness. IS madness.
But, still, even so......
If they live.
If they live, they would encompass this world in light, sundering all darkness.
At that moment, Lucile got up.
“...... any problem?” Sion asks.
On hearing that, Lucile looks towards him and smiles. A smile darker, colder, and more empty than before.
Sion says and Lucile nods.
“Ahh. Let’s continue.”
And Lucile disappears.
Once again, Sion is alone in the hall. He looks intently at the piled up bodies and sea of blood in front of him,
“...... mad, black hero, huh......”
He moaned softly in a breaking voice that seemed on the verge of crying.
“...... Your Majesty” a voice calls out.
Sion looks up. He looks across to the other side of the empty shells of his comrades, where a solitary man stands.
It is a man with a considerably strict, frowning face. Slightly more than thirty years in age. Wearing a sparkling clean military uniform, he stand tall and straight.
Major Rahel Miller.
The man responsible for the Taboo Breaker Pursuit Squad. The superior of Milk Callaud. No, the superior of that genius, Luke Stokkart; a very capable and intelligent man of this country. To say that the current Roland was made by Miller is not an overstatement. During the time when Sion was thinking of carrying out a revolution, Miller had already more or less set in place all the necessary pieces to start one. Sion merely became a gear in Millers plan and moved accordingly.
Miller looks towards Sion with a stern, troubled face; a face that betrays he witnessed something beyond his understanding and imagination.
Sion smiles at that.
“...... you want to talk?”
On hearing that, Miller nods.
“Yes. I came here to inquire more details concerning the present situation of Roland......”
After saying that, he looks around the hall, his gaze sweeping across the mountain of corpses before settling on Sion. Then his piercing eyes once again drifts about the empty space of the hall.
Is he looking for Lucile, or for the devoured Goddess? Sion wonders returning Millers gaze before asking.
“...... so, when did you start watching?”
On hearing that, Miller once again fixes his eyes on Sion and replies.
“From when, you say? To that question, I shall answer that I saw nothing. I cannot think of commenting on anything without the proper knowledge. That’s why today, I came here to you with a single question.”
Sion nods before answering.
“Then I shall change my question. What is the question, I wonder?”
On hearing that, with his piercing eyes, he looks straight at Sion, no, more than that, he looks straight into Sion.
“...... tell me everything, Sion Astal. Everything from the beginning.” He says with a low voice.
He gave orders to the cells in his brain.
Move. Move. Move.
Think. Think. Think.
He desperately gave orders to the cells in his brain.
What to do? what to do? what to do?
What’s the situation?
What are the circumstances?
But, from the core of his brain, a different command was issued.
Bothersome. Bothersome. Bothersome.
Time to sleep. Time to sleep. Time to sleep.
Of course, the situation was such that, even if he acted sluggishly, it was tense and he was already too late for various things; and, even though he couldn’t sleep, the brain tissue of the lazy fellow was screaming.
Yes, goodnight! Yes, goodnight! Already sluggishly sleepy. Want to go bye-bye. Want to go bye-bye in my bed, into my fluffy fluffy dreams, not wanting to wake up, and that’s it. Please take care of things, goodbye...
Please don’t look for me.
A stupid order along those lines.
Gu, while enduring, Ryner stifles a yawn and looks up to the clock hanging from the wall. Noon. He is sleepy..... sleepy as he had not slept a wink since escaping prison yesterday morning. Since then, he has been running back and forth the streets of Roland for the last 30 hours checking out the current situation here. Finally it is time... to leave the country. He went to the appointed place but Ferris was not there, then Kiefer came back, then Ferris lost consciousness.
And now... now, Ryner and gang are at Ashold dango tea-house. He was supposed to meet up with Ferris at eight-thirty in the morning and cross the border by noon, leaving Roland, entering Nelpha, yet...
Silently, Ryner looks at the peerless beauty eating dango in front of him.
Ferris looks worry less as she digs into her dangos continuously without a care in the world.
Ryner then shifts his attention to the person beside Ferris, her sister, who is also eating dango. The two of them are eating dangos in a very carefree manner. He stares at the huge amount of discarded dango sticks...
Who is going to pay for all that? Ryner trembles in cold fear Well, when that happens, there’s always the desperation move ‘eat-and-run’. So, I’ll try not to think about it for now.
On top of that his red haired childhood friend sitting beside him, Kiefer, is also eating dango. She makes a comment on how delicious the dango tastes to which Ferris eye widens in response.
“Ohh!! You can tell the taste!?”
Upon hearing that, Kiefer managed a response with a pressured look. “Eh, yeah, erm...... yes. I thought that this is something different from other dango......”
“You can tell that much!?” Ferris squeals in delight.
Iris, with her mouth stuffed with dango, shouts the incantation-like words.
“...... er, erm, yeah. Probably......” Kiefer replies.
“Oyaji! She’s a sharp one! Bring in another thirty sticks!”
“Thirty ~ sticks!”
“Ehhhh, thirty sticks!? No, well, er, eating only dango......”
Instantly, both Ferris and Iris has a shocked look on their faces...
“Kid-, kidding, kidding...... I really want to eat dango you know......”
Ryner makes a sidelong glance at Kiefer who is being playfully tossed around by the troublesome sisters. He fights against his sleepiness, trying to think.
So to speak, the fact is, there is really no time to slack around like this. Yet, He and Kiefer listen to Ferris's story while eating dango.
Firstly, with regards to Kiefer, ahh ~, what’s that again. Erm, the reason why she came back......
At that moment, Ryner remembers her words earlier in the room.
With her entire face red, Kiefer had said, “...... erm, I came back...... to meet Ryner......”
Woah! Woah! Woah! Wait, stop remembering it. Well, anyway, the reason she came back is something along those lines, eh ---, it’s troublesome to deal with it so let’s leave it at that. Yup. Then again, if that’s the real reason why she came back, then she won’t enter the current Roland anyway.
Erm, what about Sion, who’s also her childhood friend?
Ryner looks across the pile of thirty dango sticks, stacked on the table, at the half obscured face of Kiefer and asked,
“You know, Kiefer...”
“Do you want to meet Sion......”
On hearing that, she looks a little sad and shakes her head.
“...... erm, I do want to meet him, but...... But, it’s not like I came back to see Sion. For Ryner I..."
Instantly, Ryner panics. “Right, okayyy, I got it! You don’t really want to meet Sion?”
“Yeah. After talking to Ryner, in the current situation, even if I were to meet him......”
On hearing that, Ryner nods. “I think so too" he says as he returns to his thoughts
Even if Kiefer were to meet the Sion now, she would be disappointed, I guess. At any rate he, the current Sion, even refused to meet Ferris, who had been part his everyday company not long ago.
Even if Kiefer were to head towards the castle now, it would be strange if he actually grants her an audience.
As he was thinking, Kiefer......
At that moment, as if she completely sees through his thoughts, says
“...... I’ll go together with you.”
“Ryner, you are leaving Roland, aren’t you? Then, let me go with you. It’s for this reason I......”
Just as she was about to make another declaration,
“Oi, woman! If you don’t hurry and eat up, the most tasty instant will escape from the dango, you know!” Ferris interrupts with a raised voice suddenly.
Hearing that, Ryner looks in Ferris direction and met her eyes. As always, she wore an expressionless face. Queerly, it seems even more expressionless than usual. Rather, what is this? Isn’t this the same look as when I first met her? Eh, what’s with her?
“...... are you angry?”
On hearing Ryner’s words, Ferris tilts her head.
“Hn? What are you talking about?”
“No, I thought your face was a little expressionless.”
“I always have that face on.”
“Is that so?”
“Then it’s fine I guess.”
“It’s fine.” Saying that, Ferris starts eating her dango again.
Somehow, it felt different than usual. If it were as usual, she would start an extremely bothersome moronic story...... ah wait, was she always this quiet whenever she eats dango? Ryner ponders.
As he was pondering about all these things, he suddenly stopped, remembering that this isn’t the time to do that, and returns to his original thoughts. Before long he notices that beside him, Kiefer has a troubled nervous expression, and so he asks gently.
“...... what’s up?”
“Not-, nothing.” she shook her head quickly.
“Ah, is it because you’re at a loss for not being able to stop eating dango? Don’t worry about it too much. If you play along with Ferris, you will never have enough lives for that, you know?”
Hearing that, Kiefer has that troubled look again, she looks nervously at Ferris, then turns to Ryner,
“...... erm” she murmured.
Oh well, whatever. Ryner proceeds with his own thoughts again.
In any case the thing on the top of the priority list that he has to think about, is the matter regarding the attack on Ferris.
Clearly speaking, she’s strong. He wouldn’t be able to predict the outcome of a serious one-on-one fight between him and her, that’s how strong she is; that strength put her in the top ranks of Roland. Even if several members of those mage knights, officially known as the strongest unit of the country, were to be assembled, they would be no match for her. On top of that, if she was running away instead of fighting, even if say Iris was taken hostage, she was capable of retrieving her and escaping --- well, then again, even with a squad of mage knights as her opponents, she could still triumph over them.
But yet, there was a person who could single-handedly take her on. No, according to Ferris she was almost killed, it seemed. Just a while ago she was in a situation where both her arms and legs were torn, and she could only wait for death to claim her.
On recalling that... on recalling that story, even now, Ryner feels like shivering. If she had actually died... If she were to disappear, and not be eating dango in front of him now.
What should I do?
He feels like shivering in fear.
He wants to save Sion. That’s what he decided and subsequently embarked on a journey with that in mind. Yet the pursuer sent out by that same Sion almost killed Ferris. No, whether that was something undertaken as an order from Sion is still not clear. But, at the very least, a subordinate of Sion almost killed Ferris. In response to that thought.
In response to that thought, Ryner had a ‘you-got-me’ look as he grimaced. He felt a little afraid. The reason being what happened this time round might happen again in future.
Since he had decided to move forward from hereon.
Since he had decided to move forward from hereon to save Sion.
And in the course of that, any sacrifices incurred along the way would be his responsibility.
A realization that hit him pretty early on in the course of his journey.
A realization that hit him at the expense of his most important partner’s life.
If Ferris hadn’t come and save me. If she’s not leaving the country with me. If she’s not saving Sion with me.
No, even not for those reasons. If Ryner hadn't decided that they should act separately, she wouldn't have been almost killed.
This time round it was coincidental that her brother, Lucile Eris, had appeared to save her. Or so it seems. But they can't count on being so lucky the second, or third, and time again. There wouldn’t be a next time, hopefully.
Or if there’s a next time, Ferris would be killed and he won't be able to see her stupidly eating dango like this in front of him again.
No, not just Ferris... Iris, Kiefer, Arua, Kuku as well, and also any new comrades who would be joining Ryner’s company from hereon as he moves forward. If he makes a mistake, they might be killed.
He realized just a moment ago.
While he was listening to Ferris’s story as they were eating dango, Ryner showed a seemingly normal, ‘everything-is-fine’, sleepy looking face.
But the truth was totally different. Involuntarily Ryner nearly shouts out.... from the rising fear within that grips him.
He thought that he had already made a seriously determined decision, but he was still a little naive. This was the path he had sought to walk.
The path that leads to making Sion, the man committed to becoming the supreme ruler of the southern continent, his enemy.
Ryner remembers that day, when Sion wept while pulling out a knife despite...
...Even though Sion is really a gentle person.
...Even though Sion is more innocent than anyone else.
But yet he recalled the face of Sion, determination to move forward engraved on it. With the heavy burdens he shouldered as he walked ever forward.
Ryner is fed up with it; he is fed up with himself who has his hands full just trying to escape.
“...... he was in pain all this while.”
But, Sion was always smiling. Sometimes he did put on a tired face, a face that seemed on the verge of crying, but in the end, he would still be smiling. Even though he was in so much pain that he could die; even though he was in such despair, he always smiled in the end.
Through the earlier incident, Ryner finally understands. Ferris was attacked and almost killed, and the one who attacked her was Froaude.
Descendant of the holy knight Halford Miran. However, he (Frouade) was too dark to be called a holy knight. He was a killer demon who obliterated anything that stood in the way of his lord, his supreme ruler. Clearly speaking, he was the worst.
Ryner had always thought that the king who had Froaude in his employment would be the worst.
To which Froaude, with a look full of contempt for Ryner, replied...
"Humans are animals who struggle and fight to survive. To eat, to protect their pride, to lead better lives, to protect their loved ones, and also to save themselves from getting killed by someone else...... humans struggle and fight.
To have no sacrifices, to have everyone smiling as they live...... that’s delusional. Such a world doesn’t exist. The world is not as naive a place as you think.” Frouade concluded.
The world is not as naive a place as you think.
But those words...
Whose words were those?
Who the hell was the one driven up to a corner, despaired with the world, and still kept on moving forward?
Ryner recalled. He recalled the first time he met Froaude. It was at the house where the children of the first prince of Nelpa and his commoner mistress were putting up at, Toale’s house.
Froaude appeared to kill Toale, who was of royal blood and highly regarded by the populace.
But that was a long time ago. During the time when Sion became king, Ryner was released from prison and just began on a journey with Ferris, it was during then. In other words, since then, that detestable Froaude was already working for Sion.
Ever since then Sion had already started bearing the darkness within his heart, which was not shown to Ryner.
That was definitely.
That was definitely incredibly painful, he thought. Well,
“...... it’s too late to notice it only now.”
Ryner said stupidly as he looks out the window of the tea-house. The window was not facing south, an unusual thing, but instead was facing north, a place where Sion was not at. That direction do not point to where Roland was but instead where Imperial Nelpha should be.
Ryner looked intently outside the window. The rain appeared to have lightened considerably compared to the morning. Unexpectedly, after killing time in this tea-house, this might be a good time to leave the country. Crossing the border in the rain would indeed prove bothersome, and if they start now, by the time they cross the border, the sun would have set. Meanwhile, the rain would probably continue to fall at this intensity.
A rainy twilight.
It was a convenient time to slip past the border guards with the reduced visibility. And well, after crossing the border and entering Nelpha, what should they do next?
At that moment, he recalled the current situation of Imperial Nelpha which Luke had shown him earlier this morning. Well, the main points of the situation are as follows.
Roland, in this war of attrition, was carrying out large-scale massacres as a show to destroy the fighting spirit of the other countries.
If Roland failed, it would be taken lightly by the other countries, and as a country that had broken an alliance, Roland would have to stand against a coalition composed of the other countries in the southern continent.
That’s why Roland had to, through the large-scale massacres, completely crush Imperial Nelpha, in order to minimize the loss of lives in the war.
Once Nelpha’s massacres were shown to the rest of the world, the other countries, having their desire to fight crushed, would surrender without fighting, well, those were Roland’s real intentions.
And, in order to achieve all that, Roland will kill off all the royalty of Nelpha, and after displaying that to the other countries, it will tell them that if they were to surrender now their royalty will be spared and welcomed into the ranks of Roland nobility, that’s the strategy.
With that strategy, if all went well with killing off Nelpha’s royalty, and displaying the might of Roland, everything will go well after that. That was the power that Roland held, as the greatest nation in the southern continent. Even if Roland were to attack head on without resorting to any such means, Sion would still be able to subjugate the entire southern continent, but that will probably take up a lot of time. Moreover, what he wanted was to achieve that goal in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of sacrifices. Well, so to speak, that is how it is with Roland’s current situation.
On the other hand, what was happening in Imperial Nelpha?
“............” As Ryner pondered, he grimaced involuntarily.
Nelpha is currently in the worst possible scenario. Firstly, the only person who could end this war, Gread Nelphi
”By offering my head and the imprisonment of my son, Prince Starnel...... in exchange for that offer, will you stop massacring Nelpha’s people?”
That was the offer he had decided to present to Roland...
..But his stupid son Prince Starnel,
”I don’t care what happens to the country! I don’t want to be captured by Roland.”
And with that, he killed King Gread Nelphi. With this, Roland could no longer achieve the outcome of ending the war with a minimum loss of lives. However, the stupidity of the Prince Starnel did not end here. Starnel then ordered ten thousand soldiers to repel Roland’s army that was advancing northwards, and on top of that, he took command of the remaining troops, and started massacring and looting the populace from within Nelpha. After looting, he intents to escape to some place.
That’s why it is the worst possible scenario. With this, Nelpha no longer has anyone who could legitimately surrender to Roland.
In other words, in order to put on their original show to the other countries, Roland would have to decimate the ten thousand abandoned troops, and furthermore, before reaching Starnel’s personally led army, they had to completely raze the streets they would pass through, and finally finish off the remaining troops which Starnel, who had no intention of surrendering, had taken over in a bid to save himself. With this however, even more losses would be sustained than if they were to just fight a head-on war.
However, things were already heading towards that bothersome direction.
But, at this juncture, in this worst case scenario, a ray of hope appears and that is Toale.
The son of the King Gread Nelphi and a commoner mistress, Toale had helped the bewildered Ryner and Ferris by giving them access to the library and putting them up at his house. The kind, good kid loved by the people of Nelpha. Toale Nelphi had taken command of the ten thousand abandoned troops and stopped them from engaging Roland. That is the best of the best news to Roland.
With this turn of events, the possibility of Roland achieving its original goal of minimizing the loss of lives, appears once more.
It is highly likely that the subsequent development will becomes as follows, Toale,
”If I surrender, will you let the ten thousand troops and people off?”
That would probably be his offer but of course Roland would reject that.
You are not Nelpha’s king, correct? If you want to save the ten thousand soldiers, go take the throne from the current Nelpha king, from that stupid prince.
We’ll accept your surrender once you’ve done that.
And of course, in order to finish the show to the other countries, Roland would then execute Toale, the Nelpha king.
This series of developments are probably unfolding even now. So to speak, taking Toale’s personality into consideration, this line of development would definitely happen. Doing his best and sacrificing his own life in exchange for that of the people and soldiers, that might even please him. He is that kind of people-loving idiot.
Ryner folded his arms.
Well, that being the case, in the current Imperial Nelpha, Toale Nelphi’s great battle is just beginning. That should really be an unreasonably great battle. Toale’s ten thousand troops will clash with the sixty-eight thousand troops led by stupid Prince Starnel.
And even if Starnel’s forces, which were about seven times larger, were miraculously defeated and the throne was taken, next Toale would immediately surrender to Roland.
Then, with a smiling face, he would be executed.
That miracle, so to speak...
Was sacrificing himself.
This worst case fate was an irony in itself for such a man of righteousness.
With regards to that,
If Ryner were to head towards Nelpha; there was only one thing to be done. That is to save Toale, and defeat the stupid prince. On top of that, surrendering Nelpha to Roland and presenting Roland in a good light for now.
But, he wouldn’t let Toale die.
He had to, at the same time, accomplish all that with the least amount of lives lost.
By a method in which nobody would get hurt.
Geez, isn’t this damn difficult?
Ryner frowned to himself. Ever since he read the documents regarding Nelpha which Luke handed him this morning, on top of saving Nelpha, he had been thinking about how to save Toale, but somehow, he just couldn’t come up with a good idea.
No, to say that he couldn’t come up with any ideas at all would be a lie. He had thought of several. But with those methods,
The number of sacrifices would not be zero. No, it’s not even about whether the number of sacrifices could be brought down to zero or not.
After all, this was a war.
If Ryner made a mistake, an unbelievably large number of lives would be lost. Even if he did not make a mistake, the number of life losses that he had to bear was not insignificant as well.
This is what Sion had had to bear all along.
He had to bear them all alone.
So, what am I to do?
What I am supposed to do?
Shit, shit, shit, he groans silently.
To fight the Roland army led by the red-haired monster Claugh Klom.
To fight the close to seventy thousand troops led by the stupid Prince Starnel.
To feign ignorance at everything and take Toale away and escape.
Whichever way he decides on, it isn’t good enough. Lots of people would die.
That’s why Ryner gave the order. While groaning shit, shit, shit, he ordered his non-working brain. The brain which did nothing and continued to slug until things had turn into such a stupid situation.
While saying bothersome bothersome, in the end, it had come to such a worst case situation that he was driven to a corner and had to give orders to his own brain.
Move move move.
Think think think.
What in the world could he do to achieve a breakthrough? What could he do to get a good outcome?
The balance moved. The balance in his head moved. On the plates hanging from each side of the balancing scale, were the lives of people.
The side with many lives, and the side with, not too few lives.
If we were talking about sacrifices, of course the less the better. Therefore, the plate which was heavier would be discarded.
That should have been the case, but the scales in Ryner’s head was not moving. Both the plate with many lives and the plate with not too few lives were equally heavy.
The scales are in equilibrium.
That’s why he couldn’t choose.
Shit, he groaned again.
As he did that, his brain teased...
Weakling. You weakling. Just kill and move forward. The sacrifices can’t be helped, can they?
That’s right, he thought. He’s not a magician who could create any kind of miracle. If it can’t be done, it can’t be done. But still, if there’s some way......
As he started thinking again, his brain starting talking again.
It’s useless it’s useless. Stop thinking about such bothersome things, won’t you? It’s useless. Don’t think that your arrogance can save everyone. The world is not as naive as you think. Let it go, people will die, just quickly move forward.
No buts. As you are fretting here, people are dying. Look at the reality. Didn’t you always refuse to look at it and just keep on running away. Now, take a look. Take a good look. Take a look at the scenery that Sion has seen. Take a good look at the scenery of despair that he has seen, and make your choice.
Without running away, make you choice properly, and take responsibility.
Get on with the killing and move forward.
Now, which one will you choose?
Now, which plate of lives on the balance will you sacrifice?
Now, decide quickly.
In response to that voice.
“...... shut up.”
That’s what Ryner answered. In response to the voice born from his own weakness, that’s what he answered.
Then he looked up. As he did that, he saw Ferris, Iris, and Kiefer. After being told to shut up, all three of them were looking at Ryner’s face with a look of surprise on their faces.
“Eh. Ah. I’m sorry. Was I too noisy? Ryner has a lot to think about, isn’t it?”
Following that, Iris said.
“Eh --- --- --- --- was I not quiet throughout the whole time? Right? Nee-sama?”
Moving on to the last person, Ferris said.
No, as expected, she said nothing.
She just stood up without saying anything, looking straight at Ryner. With her blue pupils, she gazed intently into Ryner’s eyes. As she looked at him, she lifted the chair that she was sitting on and...
“...... telling me to shut up. What do you mean by thatttttttttttt!”
The chair flew.
It came flying so fast that it disappeared from sight momentarily.
“It can’t be.”
As he said that, Ryner promptly attempted to dodge, but his reaction speed just after he broke out of his deep thoughts was pitiful,
“I won’t make it...... gyaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
It smacked into his face. The corner of the chair smacks right into his face, setting off an intense pain, and his body flew backwards.
He fell onto the ground. He clutched his face. The pain invaded his whole face. Just as the pain subsided slightly, he looked up, Damn you, what the hell are you doing, he wanted to say.
“...... eh? You’re not serious right?”
Ryner uttered without thinking, forgetting what he originally wanted to say because right before his eyes...
Ferris continues on and went to stand on top of the table and jumped. She jumped towards him. She lifted her foot backwards. And adopted a kicking stance, aiming at Ryner’s face.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait a minute, erm, it’s my bad, you don’t need to go to such an extent really......”
He said, but, his words stopped.
The reason was because Ferris was not wearing her usual armor. She was wearing a strangely cute one-piece dress, with a short skirt portion, with that, wasn’t it difficult to move in? In that short moment, Ryner was concerned about that.
She raised her foot backwards. Raising it backwards to the fullest, and revealing the inside of her skirt......
“Oi, it’d really be bad if you keep that on. The inside of your skirt is completely visible......”
As he spoke those words, it was already too late. She launched her kick.
The face again.
The face again.
As he shouted, Ryner flew. He spun in the air.
Even if he is done in in this manner, the close-up view was indeed magnificent,
“Ry, Rynerrrrr!?” Kiefer screamed in anguish.
“Kyaaaaa.” Iris screamed in anguish...... no. It was clearly a squeal of total delight.
Well, in any case, under the gaze of the three girls, Ryner flew. His head shattered the window. His upper torso passed through. It was still raining moderately heavy outside and his head was drenched immediately. This time round, he was definitely going to say, Damn, Ferris, what are you up to! You’ve gone too far! I ain’t forgiving you today, I’m so going to kill you, he intended to shout out but.
He gave up.
Since the rain brought cold relief to his face which was burning from the pain. Since the rain cleared his senses after having gone without sleep for the entire night.
With that, he looks at the sky of Roland.
Despite that it is already noon, he looks up at the sunless sky.
As if it was trying to mimic the feelings of a particular someone, the rain continued falling.
Now, what should I do, let’s get back thinking.
Sion, while weeping, had decided to make the sacrifices and move forward.
But, what about me?
In the end, I’m taking the same path......
At that moment, all of a sudden.
“...... has your head cooled? Ryner.”
He was asked.
Ryner looked up. He propped himself up and looked into the room.
As he did that, he saw Ferris, with her usual emotionless expression, looking towards here.
As he pondered, she spoke
“...... I’m asking you whether your head has cooled. Jeez, for someone without any brain matter, you had that look of concentration, worrying about something...... think about the feelings of those around you!” She yelled angrily.
On hearing that, Ryner, with a look of surprise.
“Eh? Me? Was I so deep in concentration?”
“Damn you! You don’t believe my words......”
“Ugh, why are you drawing your sword......”
But she didn’t stop. With her sword drawn, she rushed forward.
“Wah, wah, wah.”
Ryner wanted to run away, but he was too slow.
She smashed the sword into Ryner.
As he shouted, his whole body flew out of the window.
But her violence did not end here. She jumped out of the window as well and grabbed hold of Ryner’s head. With that, she dragged him across the ground and ran for a while.
As the ground was wet from the rain, it was not really painful to be dragged across, but the occasional stones that he brushed across grazed him.
“Gah, painful. It’s painful, Ferris. Wait, I’m asking you to stop...... aren’t you going too far?”
He called out, and on hearing that.
She finally stopped.
Grabbing his neck in a strangling fashion, she pushed him against the ground.
He looked up at her. He looks up at her golden hair, which has already dried after so long but is now soaking wet again, then he looks at her face.
Looking at that face.
Ryner frowned involuntarily.
Because he saw a face which could not described as expressionless.
Just now, inside the tea-house, for some reason, Ferris had an even more expressionless look, with no tinge of emotions, than the old days.
On top of him, with his neck held down by her, the face he saw now could not be described as expressionless.
So as to speak.
She now had a face that was on the verge of crying.
While pressing him down in a strangling fashion, she looked down at Ryner with a face that was on the verge of crying.
That’s why, on seeing that, Ryner frowned involuntarily.
And then he asked. In a half-joking manner, with a light tone, he asked.
“...... could it be that I’m the cause of that face you’re making now?”
With her face that was on the verge of crying, but yet, with a glowering face, she held back her tears and looked intently towards here, and nodded sharply.
Ryner, holding his gaze on her,
“...... was it because of Kiefer?”
However, she quickly shook her head.
“...... then, was it because the brainless me was making a face that was deep in concentration?”
She did not reply.
She only stared at Ryner.
And he asked.
“...... what kind of face was I making?”
Then she said softly.
A single sentence.
Just one sentence, she murmured.
“...... a face like Sion’s.”
She glowered as she said that. She was really on the verge of crying.
In other words, it was that.
She was once again unsettled.
Because Ryner made the same face as Sion. Not consulting with anyone, merely bearing everything alone, moving forward, that same face.
And then, Sion disappeared. All of a sudden, he became mad, weeping sorrowfully, he disappeared.
And on top of that, Ryner also disappeared. Captured by Sion and imprisoned, he disappeared before Ferris.
All alone, she shivered in fear.
Despite knowing that.
Just yesterday morning, she found Ryner in his cell and was crying, despite having seen that scene before him, he still didn’t get it.
There were so many friends around him, who worried about him, there was no real need to bear everything by himself.
He didn’t have to bear all the responsibility from hereon all by himself, that was something he didn’t understand promptly.
The very same thing.
Even though it was the very same thing that Sion didn’t understand.
If he’s troubled, he could consult with the rest.
Before being driven to the wall, he could have consulted with the rest, even though that was the very same thing Ryner had thought of Sion,
She was on the verge of crying.
Even though Ferris was someone who would be so happy that she could rise up to heaven just from eating dango, she was on the verge of crying at a dango shop.
He was stupidly being fed up all by himself.
From hereon, these people will be with me as I move forward, yet I was fretting by myself, being fed up with things.
It’s just as what she said.
Just as what she said, I’m a brainless guy indeed.
Without understanding anything all that, who can I save?
Ryner looked up at Ferris.
With a cornered face, he looked up at her.
The he said.
“...... you know, Ferris.”
“I had been thinking about a lot of things, can I talk about them?”
On hearing that.
On hearing that, Ferris returned to her expressionless face.
But embedded within that expressionless face, was a tinge of emotion which Ryner once again was able to decipher. It was not the same face she had a while ago.
Her face was displaying a proper emotion.
A somewhat satisfied, somewhat pleased face.
“Talk about them? With me?”
As Ryner acknowledged, she seemed to be even more pleased.
“Won’t do. You’re dying here.”
She tightened her grip on his neck,
“Ehhhhhh, wait...... gyaaaaa.”
In the end, the same development unfolded.
Just before he really die, he broke free from that position,
“You, you, you’re seriously killing me!!”
“Ugh, as I’ve always said, at that juncture, you’re supposed to dispute that!”
It became the usual antic.
And Ryner, in response to that,
“...... ha, haha.”
He started laughing by himself.
“What’s so funny?”
Even as she said that, he continued laughing for a while, and then he looked up at the sky again.
The rain was still heavy. Though not as heavy as this morning. With that strong wind blowing, those large clouds would be blown away, and it would probably stop.
At that moment, he noticed that the wind was blowing northwards,
“Oi oi, even though we are heading into Nelpha, yet it’s also raining in Nelpha.”
He said wearily.
But, even so, it was fine. Things would definitely work out somehow.
The reason was because he’s not going to run away.
Because he had friends.
Because he was not alone, and he’s not running away.
Ryner looked at Ferris.
Then he turned towards the tea-house. Kiefer, with an umbrella in her hand, was about to rush towards here, but beside her, with a look of delight, Iris dashed out into the rain.
“Ah, ah, Iris-chan, if you don’t take an umbrella, you’re going to catch a cold!”
Kiefer chased after her frantically.
Looking intently at that, Ryner said (to Ferris).
“Even if I have an umbrella now, thanks to you, I might catch a cold. My clothes are all drenched.”
As he said that, he looked at his shirt and pants that he borrowed from the tea-house.
On hearing that, Ferris suddenly seemed to remember something important, with a ‘you just reminded me’ face,
“Ah! I forgot!”
“Right! I’ve forgotten all about it after being attacked en route, but I’ve prepared some clothes for you......”
She was interrupted.
She looked here with a look of displeasure.
In response to that, Ryner scowled,
“You did it eh? The knapsack that Iris was carrying had a pair of pants with a mouse embroidered at the crotch area, and other than that, it was completely naked-looking, and with the shirt that hides only the navel, making a complete stupid set of clothes, eh?”
As he said that, she nodded her head sharply.
“Orhh, you saw that? So, given that you are going full speed on the pathway to hentai-dom, naturally, underneath those pants you are wearing, you can put on those hentai......”
“I’m not wearing that! Stop talking about foolish things. Let’s get inside? We’d seriously catch a cold. Even not so, there’s no reason for us to stay here. Let’s get back inside the tea-house and get changed, and we’ll set off immediately. Just a moment ago...... a pretty good idea just came to me.”
And then, he once again, looked through the veil of rain towards the lands in the north.
After passing through the highway, and crossing the borders and entering Imperial Nelpha, there would only be bothersome things to deal with.
But even so, he might actually have arrived at a solution that could solve everything.
It was in the instant when he was smashed by Ferris’s sword.
In the instant when his sleepy head was bashed.
“...... am I a masochist?”
A good idea which made him think of making a comeback at himself.
A way to fight the Roland army led by the red hair monster Claugh Klom.
A way to fight the close to seventy thousand troops led by stupid Prince Starnel.
A way to feign ignorance at everything and save Toale.
Now, where should he start?
At that moment, Kiefer finally came up to them.
She sheltered the drenched Ryner and Ferris with an umbrella.
For some reason, she had a slightly sulking face.
“Geez, jumping out here with all this rain, did the two of you have some kind of secret conversation~?”
On hearing that, he smiled.
He looked at Kiefer, then at Ferris.
“...... nothing secretive. I’ll tell you all everything. I’ll no longer bear everything all by myself and tell you all everything. Everything about the superrrrrrrrrr bothersome strategy I have to execute in Nelpha. That’s why, with me......”
But what he was about to say was something that was kind of embarrassing, so he averted his eyes from them. He looked again in the direction of Nelpha.
Then he told them straight.
To the two of them.
To his first comrades who would follow this cowardly, languid guy who makes lots of mistakes.
“...... will you all follow me?”
As he said that, the two of them answered at the same time.
Speaking at the same time.
With a truly unwavering, strong voice.
Ehhhh? No, erm...... just now, I heard a ‘nope’?
No, well, suddenly speaking together at the same time, can’t really expect it to be in unison.
“...... well, shall we go?”
Ryner smiled wryly as he turned around.
As he did that, Ferris and Kiefer were looking this way at him. Behind them, Iris was rolling on the rain-soaked ground.
They were his first comrades.
The enemy was the Hero King with the strongest army in the southern continent.
And the seventy thousand soldiers led by the stupid prince of Nelpha.
On the other hand, the group here comprised of a sluggish guy and three girls.
To anyone seeing this, it seemed like they have no chance of winning at all. Others would probably call them idiots and fools.
But for him.
“...... it’s enough.”
Ryner murmured and smiled faintly.
And he did think so. Not on the orders of Sion or anyone else, it was really an incredible thing for them to follow him like this.
There were people who believed in him and thus following him.
If that’s the case, then without any fear or thought of running away, he could move forward, couldn’t he?
Once again, he looked at the sky. He looked up at the sky from which rain continued to fall. And then towards the south where Sion was at. And then towards the north where the red hair monster, the stupid prince, and Toale were at.
After looking at all that, he looked at the faces of his comrades again, then said.
“...... well, let’s do it.”
With a clear voice.
“Firstly, to start off, let’s clean up the mess in Nelpha.”
That was what he declared.
Several days later.
Deep into the night.
At a Roland camp erected within Imperial Nelpha.
A short distance away from that, on a hill, was Claugh Klom ---
The black hand death god was standing there alone.
With stern eyes, he surveyed Nelpha’s scenery.
Even though it was already late into the night, bright reddish lights were shining from the town-scape. But there was no longer anyone there. Earlier at dusk, the Roland army led by Claugh had arrived here, destroying and setting everything on fire, razing all in sight.
Only ruins lay there.
Even though the magical fires were still burning in the remaining houses, giving them a red shine, before long, that too would disappear.
And after that, the only things remaining would be corpses, ruins, and despair.
Despite seeing all that.
I’m already more or less used to this, he thought.
It had been a few weeks since he entered Nelpha.
All he saw were such devastating scenes. These were devastating scenes which he knew well.
Scenes of war.
Killing people. Killing people. Killing people. Blood spewing, screams booming, but yet, he went on killing people, endlessly.
He had heard someone asking for help.
He had heard someone cursing him.
He had heard cries of vengeance.
And in response to all that, Claugh,
He killed without any hesitation.
But the war did not end.
The war did not end.
It should not have come to this, according to their initial expectations.
They had expected Nelpha to completely surrender much earlier. The people should have been saved after the deaths of the royalty of Nelpha. And thereafter, they also should have been able to avoid fighting the other countries.
But that did not come to pass.
A number of problems came up, and in the end, that did not come to pass.
What would Sion think of that, he thought for an instant. He, who wanted to move forward with the least number of sacrifices, would probably be greatly hurt by this never ending war.
And then Claugh thought it was a good thing that he had come here. It’s a good thing that such unpleasant work was not carried out by others.
That’s why it was a good thing that Sion was not here.
It was a good thing that Calne was not here.
Perhaps, it was also a good thing that Luke and his other comrades were not here, he thought.
At that moment.
He thought of something somewhat unpleasant. He thought of Noa’s face when he said that he was going to war again. She, who was left behind in Roland, with rare navy blue hair, and a show of resoluteness but occasional innocence within her blue eyes, which vanished in an instant as well.
Which was due to tears flowing out of her eyes, and as if to dispel that memory of her, he shook his head.
She should just forget about everything and attain happiness. This. For this murderer me, there was no need for her to think about me and weep for me.
He looked intently at his black hand. His right hand which was imbued with a curse and colored black.
The right hand which had already taken countless lives.
For a murderer like him, it would be laughable for only him to attain happiness.
It was just not possible.
That’s why he got used to it quickly. With killing people. With throwing away his own happiness.
And he turned his eyes to the darkness that lay beyond the burning streets, a flashy work of his.
And started considering.
Right now, he was thinking about how he could continue to show off Roland’s brutality to the other countries without killing the populace and wrapping things up, what should he do? That was what he was pondering.
In order to do that, the most important thing now was to get in touch with Toale Nelphi, the son of Gread Nelphi.
But his location was unknown. Despite the fact that Toale was leading ten thousand troops, his intelligence could not yet get hold of where he was.
If he could somehow succeed in doing that, things could take a better turn......
At that moment.
Claugh suddenly turned around. Behind where he was standing on the top of the hill, was a forest, which was dark in comparison to the burning streets.
He could feel something moving in that darkness.
But in response to that, he did not react much.
Since he had come to this land.
Since leaving the territory of Roland, and coming to Nelpha, the same type of situation had occurred again and again.
Destroying the streets. Listening to the curses. And attacked assassins wielding knives and swords, men, women, children, bearing hatred for their comrades or family who were killed.
Die. Die. Die. I will let you taste my hatred for killing my comrades!
And Claugh had always answered them. He killed every one of them. Those were his orders, and Claugh had thought that was necessary as well.
That’s why he was not surprised.
He was not surprised at noticing that someone was clearly peeping at him from the forest.
He only looked in that direction,
“...... come forward if you want to die.”
The presence in the forest moved as if it was reacting to his words. The killing intent was closing in straight on towards here.
But Claugh did not make any stance.
The reason was because the enemy’s killing intent was too weak.
No, not that it was really that weak. A normal soldier might not even emit that much. But, with this level.
It was not possible to kill the death god of the battlefield --- Claugh Klom.
With a sad look in his eyes, he looked at the darkness in that forest.
The enemy would probably lose his life once he comes out of the forest. He had no intention of letting him feel any pain or agony.
He would end it in an instant.
Claugh lifted his black, cursed right hand.
In an isntant.
The enemy appeared.
But in response to the movements of the enemy,
Claugh uttered without thinking.
As the unknown hidden assailant dashed out of the forest, he released a killing intent that was ten times stronger than before.
His movement was considerably fast as well.
No, it was not just fast. Moving almost as fast as Claugh, he rushed toward here in a straight line.
The enemy’s figure was visible to Claugh.
Clad in black, and his face veiled in black. Clothes used by assassins to blend into the darkness. A knife in his hand, he reached out for Claugh’s head.
“...... this is bad.”
He promptly dodged it. But yet, he was slightly grazed. No, he had allowed it to happen. As the knife came slicing towards his head, while barely dodging the line of attack,
Claugh swung his left arm. He had intended to make a grab at the enemy’s face but failed. He had wanted to unveil him, but as expected, the enemy did not yield.
The enemy swung his knife, aiming for Claugh’s arm. Specifically at the artery of his wrist. From just that moment of exchanges, this was clearly a high level fight. A detestable level of skill in handling the knife.
In response to that, a smile floated on Claugh’s lips. The opponent’s strength pretty much rival his own.
No, perhaps, he was stronger than himself. Of course, he wouldn’t really know until they fight it to the end.
But even so, he was smiling in delight.
Since this was the first real enemy he had met in this lands.
Ever since he came to Nelpha, he had only massacred endlessly, and now, this was the first opponent who might be able to kill him.
Claugh daringly forced his arm towards the knife that was aiming for his artery. With that, the knife missed the artery and pierced through his arm, stolen from the opponent as a consequence.
In that instant, the enemy was surprised.
In that instant,
“I shall take your life here.”
Claugh churned up his arm that was pierced through by the knife. In an attempt to hit his opponent with his palm.
However, with abnormal reflexes, the enemy dodged that.
But Claugh had read that. The enemy dodged right. But, with that level of strength, the enemy would probably have barely dodged it. And then the next attack began.
However, Claugh’s attack did not end with his palm-face move. With that, his arm continued to stretch forward. As he did so, the knife that had previously pierce through his arm was being aimed at the enemy’s head,
With that, everything should come to an end.
It was executed with perfect timing.
If he could dodge this, then,
Then, he would have to be a monster.
However, the enemy somehow dodged it. While the knife managed to come slicing into the veil, what came after was empty space.
This is bad, he thought.
The next attack came. But, since he thought it had ended with the knife, he let his guard down a little.
He set his sight on the enemy. As he did that, the enemy’s kick was about to fly in. In response to that, Claugh used his fist to receive the attack.
The kick and his fist clashed. Normally, the kick would have won. If Claugh had lost, he would have died. If he got struck back from this amount of force, what would followed would be the severance of his head.
“Don’t take me lightly!”
And he won against the kick. With his fist, he deflected his opponent’s kick.
The enemy fell back a few steps away from Claugh as a result of the impact.
And at that moment, the enemy called out for the very first time.
Looking intently at Claugh.
Looking straight at him.
That was a voice that he had heard before.
A sleepy, languid, unmotivated voice which he had heard before.
An annoyed voice that didn't take life seriously.
Claugh’s grin became even wider on hearing that. I see. That’s how it was.
“......... Ryner Lute.”
As his name was called, the enemy threw away the sliced end of the veil as a result of the previous exchange.
It was indeed a languid, annoyed face.
“Already found out?”
He said lightly. He seemed relaxed.
But, his killing intent remained.
What did he come here for But he (Claugh) wasn’t going to ask. With that amount of killing intent, it was clear why he had come. But,
“...... if I get serious, do you seriously think you can beat me?”
Claugh said, and Ryner made a troubled face.
“...... is that so? Difficult to say perhaps?”
Even with a perplexed face as he asked, he should be very well aware of the answer.
If they fought seriously, who would be stronger?
It was a matter of the occasional luck.
Their strength were well matched. This was the second time they fought. The first time was for fun. This time round, it was for real.
But from the series of exchanges just now, they could already tell each other’s strength.
So in the end, it was a matter of the occasional luck. Both sides couldn’t afford to go easy.</span>
“...... whoever dies first, there’s something I’d like to ask you, what’s the meaning of this? What did you come here for?”
On hearing that, Ryner,
“Eh? Well, about that......”
He seemed about to answer.
But, as expected, there was no need for that. It wasn’t necessary right from the start. After having felt the killing intent from Ryner, it was clear what he was here for.
That’s why it was a feint. A feint of words.
As Ryner was replying, Claugh pulled the knife out of his arm. He threw it. And Ryner had a look of surprise on his face. And he promptly attempted to dodge.
But it was too late.
He was too slow.
Claugh released his right arm.
He released his curse.
He was going to put everything to an end.
But what was it for?
What was he taking the lives of people for?
However, the answer was a simple one.
This was a battlefield.
And Ryner Lute was an enemy.
Then there was only one answer.
Only one thing to do to Ryner.
One thing to do to his enemy, and that is,
While releasing the curse of his right arm, Claugh Klom shouted.
 Translator's Notes and References
- Occasional Luck: 時の運, a simple Japanese expression which is really a mouthful to translate to English properly for this context. Simply meant, it means they have to depend on luck. Claugh and Ryner were evenly matched to the point that they had to depend on a moment of chance that could occur through a prolonged fight. Such as a lucky opening or sand flying into his eyes or stuff like that. Just quoting random possibilities though, but the main point of Kagami is to say that from Claugh's POV (point-of-view), they were evenly matched.
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