Chapter 45 – Conspiracy
It was such a quick development that Claudia-san and the Valkyrie group were stunned.
Though this is weird, I who was the one who thrust the wooden sword at Ruiesu-san, also don’t understand why this happened, and am also stunned.
“Nonono! Why are you, the one who defeated Ruiesu-sama, getting surprised as well!?”
“…as expected of Seiichi-san who won with a donkey. To think that someone more of a monster than Ruiesu-sama would exist…”
Claudia-san tsukkomi’d at me, who along with the Valkyrie group, was also surprised, and Lorna-san said something really rude.
No, I mean! I, too, can’t understand why I was suddenly able to move like that!
Ah, speaking of which, for the first time in a long while, I heard the voice in my head, but, was it because of that?!
I immediately pulled my hood further down to hide it from my surroundings, and checked my status.
When doing so, on the skill-list column, are two names that I am not familiar with.
『World Eyes』, a skill that interferes with the world itself. It’s possible to do a detailed search for enemies, with a range reaching 500 meters. However, it normally stays passive with a general enemy search, and it can be activated to perform a detailed enemy search. The effect of the skill『Mind’s Eye』has been raised, and it’s become possible to respond faster than ever before. Even unnecessary things have become able to be seen. Passive skill.
『Reflexive Defense』 , a skill that automatically moves the body in order to defend against attacks that one is unable to react to. However, it does not react to attacks that come from a blind spot. Passive skill.
STOP THIS ALREADYYY!
What’s with this!? Has it settle down recently?–was what I had been thinking, but… It was just the calm before the storm!
This body of mine is not respecting me at all?! Before I knew it, my human rights had been taken away from me by my own body, damn it!
In order to prevent the Valkyries from thinking I’m suspicious, I did not show this on my face and only made the outburst in my heart.
But even so, such a strong skill…am I truly able to handle it?
Due to the skill 『Reflexive Defense』 just now, my body’s movements too, while I wasn’t understanding why, my body was moved, you know?
Even the other skills, until this very day, rather than me using the skills, it’s the skills that are using me!
Really, the human-specific skill “Evolution (Shinka)” is really not restraining itself. Well, I do hold a “Knows no Self-Restraint” title, but still!
…Dear Father and Mother, when I die, will I be able to properly go to heaven as a human?
I silently look up at the sky and when tears started flowing out of my eyes, Ruiesu-san who has been staring at her hands until now quietly approaches me.
In front of me, to Ruiesu-san who is hanging her head down without a word; just what should I say to her?
…What should I say. I did defeat the country’s strongest knight after all… Will there be a tomorrow?
The Valkyries too, seeing Ruiesu-san like that, they all went quiet. Please…say something! Hey, weren’t you people making a racket just now? Lorna-san, now’s your time to shine as an announcer! Being silent is really the worst!
I secretly peeked at Ruiesu-san’s condition.
Doing so, Ruiesu-san slowly raised her face and stared at me… Huh? What is it? I feel like her eyes are really sparkling, but…
While I was thinking of that, Ruiesu-san finally spoke.
“…May I call you Shishou?” (TLC note: Teacher/master)
“DON’T SHAVE OFF ANY MORE OF MY LIFE POINTS THAN THIIIIS!”
Although she finally spoke, why was it such a shocking statement!?
Hey, try looking at the surroundings! Aren’t all your members flabbergasted?!
It’s understandable, isn’t it? After all, the strongest knight is calling some suspicious robe-wearing guy, shishou. Not being surprised is what would be unreasonable.
However, Ruiesu-san unsheathes the mysterious silvery blade that was hanging on her waist, stabs it into the ground and lowers her head.
“From now on, please take care of me, Shishou!”
“Are you kidding me?!”
Before I knew it, in a manner to declare loyalty, I was called shisou. Holy shit!
While I am in a daze, the Valkyries approach Ruiesu-san and give their congratulations.
“This is great, Ruiesu-sama….you have finally found someone else who’s at least on par with you besides Black Paladin (Black Holy Knight).
“Far from equal, he completely overwhelmed you! With this, Ruiesu-sama, from now on you can become stronger and lovelier than before!”
“Ruiesu-sama, you are always in the position of the teacher, right? It’s great you finally found someone who is really strong.”
There is already no place for me to cut in. Why?
While my eyes were like dots and I was dumbfounded, Claudia-san approaches me.
“Well, you’re really strong, Seiichi-kun. Oops, you have become Ruiesu-sama’s Shishou. Is it better to address you as Seiichi-sama?”
“Please spare me.”
As I sincerely asked, Cladia-san refreshingly laughed. What an Ikemen.
“Fufu. Well, but… I am really glad that you are stronger than Ruiesu-sama.”
Claudia-sana’s atmosphere when compared to before is different. This time her expression is somehow sad-looking.
“Ruiesu-sama, is… she was born a genius in swordplay, you know?”
“The truth is, Ruiesu-sama can’t use a single skill or magic.”
The secret that came out of Claudia’s mouth was so outrageous, it made me answer sounding like I was a dunce.
……uh, nononono, that can’t be right.
I mean, that person came flying really absurdly, you know? There is no way those kind of superhuman attacks are not skills…
Thinking that far, I came to a realization.
That the inherent 『Skill Steal』 and 『Arrange』skills I have did not activate.
For a second, I thought it was a skill I already had, but during battle, through my Clairvoyance skill, I couldn’t see the effect indicating that a skill had been invoked.
If I think of the fact that when I fought the black dragon god it wasn’t possible to see through (the true effects of) 『Penetration』, there may be no meaning in having a skill that is always active, but if that were the case then even more so it doesn’t make sense that my inherent skill didn’t activate.
After all, because of passive-type skills I don’t have any skills that let me perform flying slash attacks.
“However, Ruiesu-sama was hiding monstrous talent that was ignoring such a handicap. That, is swordplay. Just by seeing it once, Ruiesu-sama can reproduce any and all kinds of swordplay, not as a skill but as her own technique. Not as much as with swordplay, but she also has amazing talent for martial arts. She even transcends the pros in those lines of work.”
Ruiesu-sama seems to be more amazing than I thought.
“Because Ruiesu-sama is like that, there aren’t any strong people, in not just her generation, but in other generations, who are able to stand next to her. That’s why Ruiesu-sama is…always alone.”
“Fortunately now this country has Black Holy Knight-sama. I’ve never met him before though. In addition, his strength…. Is equal to Ruiesu-sama. But, it’s only to the extent of being equal.”
“Black Holy Knight-sama seems to be similar as well, but during training, Ruiesu-sama sometimes inadvertently shows a lonely expression her face… That’s why, thank you. For defeating Ruiesu-sama, and being a strong person.
After Claudia-san said that, she walked towards Lorna-san.
In my case, after coming to this world, I somehow obtained ridiculous power, but in Ruiesu-san’s case, she’s been harboring this kind of power since she was born.
…Being alone is really harsh. On top of that, she has that absurd power.
I can’t imagine what it was like, it must have been lonely.
While thinking of that, I gazed at Ruiesu-san. Having noticed my sight, she approached me.
And, tearing down her expressionlessness, a small smile was on her face.
“Shishou, please take of me in the future.”
Even though it’s such a small smile, that huge destructive power charmed me, and then, once again Ruiesu-san reverted back to her expressionless face.
…huh? Just now, I kinda gave a halfhearted reply, but…
Just what are you telling me to do?! Is it fine if I just train her the same way she trains the rest of Valkyries?!
Even if my status is that of a monster, I’m a complete amateur when it comes to battle. As if there’s anything I can possibly teach her!
“Erm, Ruiesu-san. I don’t think there is anything I can teach you…”
“No, It’s okay. Because I will look at your techniques and steal them.”
Oh dear. What a surprising superhuman proclamation!
While thinking that within my heart, once again the inhuman voice resounded in my head.
『Skill【Evolution】effect activated. From this, the body will adapt to the situation. Accordingly, skill【Guidance】has been obtained.』
Half giving up, I checked the skill that I had suddenly obtained.
『Guidance』, a skill for teaching things like skills and magic, as well as techniques, knowledge, etc. in a detailed and easily understood way.
Yaaay, with this I’ll be able to teach her, right!
Due to the skill [Evolution] running wild, I shed unseen tears of blood.
Or rather…can’t I go home now? I mean…I’ve finished what I came here to do.
Yeah, there shouldn’t be a problem if I leave now. I did relay the situation to Saria and co. via the [telepathy] effect of the [Undying love necklace]. Disregarding Saria, Al was hella surprised.
Still, there is nothing to do anymore, so it should be fine to leave.
In the moment I was just about to speak up to ask Ruiesu-san about this…
Suddenly, within the palace grounds, a girl’s shriek reverberated.
The Valkyries as well as Ruiesu-san were bewildered by the sudden scream as the figure of a maid came desperately running towards Ruiesu-san. Oooh, it’s a real maid. Awesome.
“Ru…Ruiesu-sama! The King… The King…!”
“Please calm down. What has happened to His Majesty?”
The maid, being asked by Ruiesu-san sharpened her gaze and took a deep breath. Having done so, she reported in a loud voice.
“The king was attacked by someone… and has collapsed…!”
The instant they heard these words, Ruiesu-san and all of the Valkyries immediately tensed up and rushed into the castle as though the atmosphere up until now was a lie.
….Ehh? You’re leaving me here?
No, I understand that it’s a very grave situation, but…
But the current me can’t move carelessly.
Because if I, being an outsider, were to recklessly wander around in the castle, I might be mistaken as an accomplice of the assailant.
There isn’t much I can do right now.
So I need to say at least this.
Hmm? Something’s off. It wasn’t that one.
For the time being, I decided to stop fooling around. No, it was too much of a rapid development, so my head got all messed up.
Having calmed down, I activated the『World Eyes』that I had obtained just now, to see if I am able to find the assailant.
Change of location, going back a bit in time.
— The Capital of Kaiser Empire. Valtzard.
Existing in the center as if to control the Empire, a huge castle… Tsezaar Castle.
Within that Tsezaar Castle, in the King’s room, the present Emperor of Kaiser, Sheld Wohl Kaiser and a robed old man, Helio Lauban as well as the strongest knight in Kaiser Empire, Zakir Gilford are present in the room.
Sheld and Helio have a nonchalant look on their faces. Zakir, on the other hand, looks full of bitterness.
“…Your Majesty, what on earth is the meaning of this?”
Towards Zakir who spoke quietly, Sheld replied with feigned ignorance .
“What are you talking about?”
When Zakir couldn’t stand it any longer and raised his voice, Sheld laughed scornfully.
“Ahh, those slaves? If it’s about them, right about now aren’t they at Barbador Magic Academy fighting monsters? Well, the world those slaves came from was apparently a considerably safe place… A good number of them may have died already…”
“Good lord..! It’s still too early for them! Just as Your Majesty says, their world was a safe place! I cannot imagine they, who lived in such a world, can possibly fight without any resolution.”
“Zakir. You bastard, saying whatever you want, but in the end you just don’t want to put the heroes in harm’s way right?”
As Zakir appealed to Sheld, Helio who was quiet till now spoke up.
“…What’s wrong with that?”
“It’s obviously wrong! After all, for the sake of our, Kaiser Empire’s, prosperity, those guys are nothing more than sacrificial pawns. If these sacrificial pawns aren’t of any use, they won’t even have meaning as sacrificial pawns.”
“Helio, you bastard…”
“That’s why, I am troubled. You, an existence that pampers the heroes. They are heroes meant to kill the demon kin without us having to dirty our own hands, you know? If those heroes are weak, they are merely useless… and will soon end up having to be eliminated.”
“…If that’s so, supposing they get stronger, what will you to do if they revolt against you?”
Zakir, after desperately suppressing his anger, quietly asked.
However, Helio sneers at Zakir’s actions while answering.
“Hmph, there is no need for such concerns. In order to go to the Barbador Magic Academy, the heroes were forced to wear the『Subordination Bracelet』. If the heroes, who have equipped the 『Subordination Bracelet』try to inflict harm on the ones who put it on, they can be made to endure extreme pain, or even killed. In other words, there is no way they can oppose us.”
“Of course, these heroes have the『Judgement』skill. If you give it to them normally, there is no way that they will wear it obediently. That is why I deceived them. Zakir… You are aware of my nickname aren’t you?
“It can’t be..?!”
Zakir understood what Helio wanted to say.
A huge grin was on Helio’s face as he looked at Zakir’s eyes widening.
“My second name is―――≪Illusion Demon≫. I’m the only one who can use the [Illusion attribute], a Great Magician, you know? Deceiving them with elementary-level skills is easy for me.
Due to Helio’s magic, the Heroes do not know that the bracelets that were put on them are dangerous items that controls their life and death.
That is to say, the Empire’s top magician, Helio’s magic has snatched away their means of knowing.
The robed appearance isn’t just for show.
It was the instant Zakir leaked out a deep and sharp voice.
Suddenly, an arrow pierced the Emperor’s room’s window and flew towards Sheld.
As it was too sudden, Sheld, and even Helio, couldn’t react to it.
But, the empire’s strongest man, Zakir, using his superhuman-like reaction speed, ran towards his king, and cut the arrow down at tremendous speed.
When he looked out out of the window, a strand of white smoke could be seen rising into the air.
“Wha, what happened!?”
Sheld, who received a sudden sniper attack by an arrow, lost his composure.
Helio who similarly got surprised immediately calmed down and said to Sheld.
“Your Majesty. It’s probably the work of an assassin who’s aiming for Your Majesty’s life…”
“A-an assassin!? Wh-what are you doing! Hurry up and protect me!”
Sheld raised hell from behind Zakir.
While Zakir sent an unnoticeable, cold gaze at the King’s state, and amplified his voice through the use of wind magic, giving out an order for his subordinates to assemble.
“This is an emergency. Someone sniped at His Majesty. Fortunately, I was able to block it, but there’s still the possibility of being sniped again. Hurry up and gather in His Majesty’s room and guard his life.”
After saying that, Zakir was hit again by the still panicking Sheld.
“Hey, Zakir! What are you dilly-dallying for! Hurry up and catch the culprit that aimed at me already!”
“…With all due respect, Your Majesty. Right now I cannot afford to be separated from——“
“Shut up, shut up, shut up! I will make him regret aiming for my life..! Go catch that assassin at once and bring him here! You must absolutely not kill him, you hear me?! If you’ve understood, then hurry up and go!”
“…As you wish. Helio, I leave His Majesty to you.”
“Humph. Quit nitpicking and go already.”
Under Sheld’s orders, Zakir went out through the window with speed unimaginable to man.
If you compare the height of Sheld’s room to earth, it’s like a 5-story apartment house. To a normal human, you won’t get out of it unharmed.
But, Zakir landed on the ground without difficulties, and ran towards the direction where the arrow was fired from at tremendous speed.
At that time, in order to avoid the crowds, he even moved on top of the roofs.
Immediately after he left to search for the assassin with those superhuman movements, Helio and Sheld talked with a heavy atmosphere.
“To think that His Majesty was targeted…”
“What’s with the guards here! Are Zakir’s subordinates even doing their work?! In the first place, who would…ah?! Could it be the demon race bastards are waging war?! Agh, that damn annoying race..!”
Without concrete evidence, Sheld just one-sidedly and arbitrarily decided the demon race was the culprit.
Towards that Sheld, Helio passed on a certain piece of information.
“Your Majesty, we still don’t know if this is really the demon race’s work, you know?”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Recently, within Winberg Kingdom, a certain rumor has been spreading.”
“A rumor, you say?”
“Yes. It seems, the king of Winberg Kingdom chose to coexist with the demon race and won’t they soon form an alliance with them? Is what the rumors say… Perhaps Winberg Kingdom saw Your Majesty as a hindrance, and commissioned a known assassin to assassinate you?”
Hearing Helio’s words, Sheld finally snapped.
“Again, that weak nation is trying to get in my way..! They want to coexist with the demon race, you say?! With those guys, who’re the same as livestock?! Many other countries agree with our Kaiser Empire’s cause, why is does that foolish country choose a path of opposition?! They have always been like that! They won’t give in to us, the Kaiser Empire! Thanks to that, lately the foolish countries, like the emerging country Valsha Empire’s young girl and the eastern country, are increasing and gaining power..!”
“Those guys are foolish people after all. Not only can they not understand Your Majesty’s noble ideas, they can’t even understand the greatness of their own race, [human beings]. Even though the beastmen-like demi-humans born from the crossing of a human and beast are such a filthy existence.”
“Despite being [humans], they can’t even understand a single thing of what makes the race great, these worse-than-livestock trash. It’s to the extent that I even want to crush them this instant!”
“…It’s a shame but that will probably be difficult. On top of the distance from Kaiser Empire to Winberg Kindgom, those “Mountain” and “Ocean” live there. (TLC note: Probably not referring to landscape, but rather two monsters or people.) In addition to that, they have the Valkyries (Master Swordswoman War Maidens) and their captain Knight of Sword (Sword Knight). And with their counterpart Black Paladin (Black Holy Knight), if we were to fight them, we need to have a fitting resolve for this.”
As Sheld got rebuked harshly, after hearing Helio’s words, his atmosphere changed greatly from before and he had a repulsive smile on his face.
“Certainly, even if they’re just a weak nation, our forces don’t have the time to spare against them. Their territory is small, it isn’t well developed either. Well, I do admit that they have good human resources, you know? However, that’s all they have. As soon as we have control over the territory of the demon race, we’ll immediately———crush them.”
“Until then, will they be quiet?”
“Hmph. Well, befitting of a foolish country, they’ll probably show us some futile resistance. But if we can destroy the demon race before they can join hands with them, then it’s fine. After destroying the demon race, not only Winberg Kingdom, let’s take good care of the young girl of the Valsha Kingdom too.”
“…How do we deal with the eastern country?”
“Don’t worry about that place. While I don’t like the fact that they wouldn’t work under us, they don’t have many resources. Yet, they are even now in a hellish, fierce civil war. Although I’ve heard that they are an ancient race of warriors, those savages also notably enjoy war. It would be pointless to go up against those battle-fanatics. Well anyhow, they probably don’t intend to leave their own country and aim for world domination. Although if they did end up leaving their country, I’ll just destroy them. It is also said that they have a woman of beauty enough to ruin a country, so really that’s all that they are worth to us.”
“And also,” Sheld continued as his repulsive smile deepened.
“I’ve already played my hand within Winberg Kingdom. Of course, that is without using a large amount of forces…you know?”
“Your Majesty, what do you mean by that?”
“Well, it’s simple. What I’ve experienced today, I will make them experience it too.”
“! So, you mean—”
Sheld smiled pleasantly as he saw Helio’s surprised face.
And had a ferocious smile in the end.
“——–I sent the Twilight Assassin to them.”
Zakir sharpened his senses to the limit and rapidly ran while searching for the one who tried to snipe his lord.
Except, rather than searching, it’s more accurate to say that he’s already set his sights on a location and is advancing onto the site.
That location is the place where the white smoke was rising from after he witnessed the attack.
While running throughout the city, Zakir thought about two things.
The first thing was about himself.
The current Zakir had become unsure of how he wanted to be.
He understood that he isn’t suited for politics or jobs where you use your head. That’s something he had known to some degree since the era of the previous emperor Alf Dear Kaiser, when he had rushed into war as Alf’s sword and became well-known enough to be called the ≪Emperor’s Sword≫
But that is why Zakir doesn’t know what his own will is.
During the time when Alf was emperor, all he had to do was to just believe Alf and continue to swing his sword.
Of course there is also the fact that Zakir personally thought Alf was not wrong.
However, no matter what he did, Zakir was unable to understand the current emperor…… Sheld’s political moral compass.
Despite having all the resources necessary for prosperity within the country, he still invades other countries.
Under the pretense of helping the people he enforces heavy taxes while invading demon race territory and calling for the subjugation of the Demon King.
Alf’s political policy was the exact opposite of that.
If it was Alf, he would never try to expand his territory. He was a pacifist who believed in coexistence with other countries.
However, against a threat that tries to threaten his country, he severely and thoroughly beat them down.
Similarly, Alf wanted to protect his country even if he received criticism from other countries.
Zakir thought as he jumped from one roof to another.
Does Sheld really feel the same way though?
Of course, the knights… or rather I, as the leader of the knights, as the vassal of the Emperor, and as a sword, will be faithful to the Kaiser Empire. Even if the Empire has changed from Alf-sama’s time, that will not change..
But, above all that, shouldn’t I be a knight that’s supposed to protect the people of this country?
That thought took over Zakir’s mind.
In the end, Zakir wasn’t able to choose by his own will.
Even if he thought “That’s no good. It’s wrong”, he avoided having to make the decision by using the excuse of being a sword.
It seemed like he was about to be pulled into the darkness of his deep thoughts, but he shook his head to shake it off.
All he did was put the issue off until later, but being unable to do anything else about it, Zakir unconsciously bit down on his lip.
In order to forget those thoughts till now, this time he thought about the other matter…which is about the sniper’s identity.
Zakir, considering the skill of the assassination on the King, conjectured that the assassin has remarkable abilities.
And among the assassins, there are only a handful of people in the underworld who have the skill to kill the target by sniping.
Even though Zakir himself had no connections to the underworld, they are skilled enough that their names would be known to anyone.
The sniping this time as well, the arrow was fired from a distance where it would definitely not reach if a normal bow was used.
Being able to definitely kill the target despite that, there was only one assassin that could fire an arrow with such force.
In addition, due to the smoke that was rising from where the assassin probably was, the assassin’s identity has essentially been confirmed.
The assassin’s alias is Shien (Death Smoke).
The name originates not only from his inability to be caught – as if you were grasping at smoke – but also because whenever he does a job, there will always be smoke rising from somewhere in town.
Of course Zakir is guessing that the smoke has some sort of meaning to it.
Under normal circumstances, the smoke should have cleared out by now, but having confirmed that even now the smoke is still rising, Zakir thought it was suspicious.
“…Is it a trap?”
While increasing his vigilance, he rushed towards the smoke.
Indeed, as the alias Shien (Death Smoke) implies, just like smoke, his existence is not something that can be pursued. However, thin white smoke is still continuing to rise into the air.
Is that a trap? Or is it a simple mistake made by Shien..?
Zakir, in an instant threw away the thought of it being Shien’s miss.
For humans, everyone will make mistakes, but in the assassins’ world, a small mistake will lead to not only his own death, but to death of the commissioner as well, so there should be no mistakes. Especially a simple mistake like forgetting to get rid of the smoke.
If that’s the case, what is it really for?
Zakir, as he continued to repeatedly reason and deny possibilities, finally reached the place below the white smoke.
At that place, even among the surrounding buildings, there exists a noticeably tall building. It’s probably some sort of a big firm, Zakir reasoned.
Zakir jumped onto the roof in one go, and standing in the center of the rooftop was one man smoking a cigarette.
“…Ah? …Man, you’ve finally arrived huh.”
The man who muttered this had an appearance and atmosphere about him that was a bit sloppy, but also contradictory.
A tattered and worn out black robe. And the clothes worn underneath were also really commonplace and made of hemp.
Equipped on his right hand was a wine-red gauntlet that was clad in a mysterious atmosphere.
He had deep green swept-back hair, fierce golden eyes that gleamed brightly and an unshaven beard.
Although his attire is dirty, the atmosphere surrounding him is overwhelming. His gaze was sharp, as though it could pierce through everything.
“…You’re Shien (Death Smoke)?”
At that question, with the cigarette still held in this mouth, the corner of his mouth raised into a bit of a smile.
“Ya really got an interesting way of asking. I didn’t think you would go straight to asking about my alias instead of 『Are you the bastard who shot at the king?!』ya know?”
“Silence. Answer my question.”
Zakir said in a tone to make him to answer the yes or no question, but the man’s attitude and atmosphere did not change.
“Ohhh, scaryy. Ah~ Yeah yeah, don’t glare at me like that. That is correct. I am the great Shien (Death Smoke)-sama… There, ya satisfied now?”
An unserious tone that would irritate anyone.
However, Zakir was unperturbed and continued to ask his questions.
“Why didn’t you put out the smoke? If there wasn’t any smoke, I probably wouldn’t have been able to find you.”
“Hey hey, are you telling me to stop smoking?! You say some pretty damn cruel things man.”
“Answer my question seriously.”
Zakir sharpened his gaze and said so, and suddenly, the man’s look sharpened.
“It’s simple――――≪King’s Blade≫, you are a hindrance.”
Ignoring Zakir who couldn’t follow the conversation, the man continued.
“You are the strongest knight in this country. Even I acknowledge that. However… Before killing that piece of shit, you, without the previous emperor to follow, are the epitome of hindrances.”
A terrific wave of blood thirst gushed from his body.
Under the pressure of the blood thirst, even the battle veteran Zakir, held his breath unconsciously.
Ignoring Zakir’s reaction, the man continued.
“Do you know? The current state of the country. You probably don’t know? Well, that pretty obvious. You can’t leave the side of that piece of shit after all. Then, want me to tell you? About how much the people are starving, the deterioration of the public order, the progression of discrimination.”
“Ahh, right… I’ll tell you one thing. I wasn’t tryna to kill that piece of shit because I was hired by someone. The reason I want to kill that piece of shit ―――― is for revenge for my friend.
“….What? What do you mean?”
Because it was too much of a commonplace reason, Zakir unintentionally tilted his head.
After seeing how Zakir reacted, the man laughed with self-deprecation.
“Just now, you thought that it was such a boring reason didn’t you? Well that’s because for you that kind of reason is so commonplace.”
“But you know what? In this country, just saying it’s commonplace doesn’t quite cut it, these cases are overwhelmingly everywhere.”
The man’s words tore deeply into Zakir’s chest.
Then, as if he were looking to some far off distance, his eyes narrowed.
“He was a good guy… He wasn’t in some dark occupation like me, he was a gentle guy who ran a flower shop. Always smiling as he watered the plants… To the extent of the only thing left in my memory is him laughing, is how often he was laughing.” (TLC note: The gender is never explicitly mentioned, so this could be a girl he’s talking about.)
“But you see…that piece of shit destroyed that.”
“Even though you impose such high taxes, you start some worthless war… Thanks to that, a lot of people can’t make a livelihood. In addition, to the women of the households whose men are being drafted into the war, it’s gotten hard to live through the day.”
“And my friend was ―――― demon race. Just for that he was killed.”
Zakir shuddered from the man’s cold voice.
After taking a glance at that Zakir, he continued again.
“It’s not that he did anything wrong either. The imperial soldier suddenly arrived when I was talking happily with my friend in the flower shop and without any notice, stabbed through my friend.”
“At the time I had just put my foot in the door of the underworld business… I was stupidly weak and unable to do anything. I couldn’t do anything but watch as my friend got killed in front of my eyes.”
“To the very end, my friend was smiling. With a ragged breath, he told me to run away while painfully smiling.”
As if the man were throwing out all of his bottled up feelings, his tone got stronger.
“Why does just being part of the demon race have to get you killed?! What did my friend do?! He, who waters flowers, that smiling guy, what’s no good with him!!”
“At the end, the guys who killed my friend… What do you think they said?『A demon race running a flower shop? He’s already an existence below livestock, but he’s also running a useless flower shop… He sure found a way to become a greater piece of useless garbage!』…they said, laughing.”
“What’s so wrong with the demon race? Is being able to battle that admirable to you? The power to protect your people, the talent to wield a weapon, in the end, it’s still 『Power that takes lives』. Compared to that, no matter how plain, no matter how uncool, 『Power to nurture lives』is obviously hundreds of times better than that!”
“…Those bastards that laughed at my friend, and this country that killed my friend ―――― I will never forgive. That’s why I’ll destroy this country, ideals, anything and everything. For that purpose, I got strong. But ――――”
The man cut his words off there, and sharply glared at Zakir.
“You are… too strong. First off all, in front of a crowd of soldiers, even I would be troubled. So, first, face-to-face, I’ll take care of you. Don’t get me wrong. My objective is that piece of shit, you’re just someone standing in the way of me achieving my objective, that’s all. Since you prevented the sniping assassination, this time I’ll take care of you first. Or would you be willing to turn a blind eye?”
As he said this, the man’s eyes were honest and unwavering.
Zakir, who had stayed quiet and listened up until now, slowly opened his mouth.
“…No matter what the circumstances are… I cannot overlook someone who wants to take revenge on the empire.”
“…I see. That’s…a shame. It seems you are…just a puppet.”
After hearing the man’s words, Zakir’s emotions exploded all at once.
Then, he drew the sword that was sheathed at his waist.
The sword pointed at the man had 5 different colored extravagant gems embedded into the guard, but it’s not by any means just for show, it gives off an intimidating air.
“…I am not a puppet.”
“Wooaahh! That’s scary. And? Is that the rumored【Demon Treasured Sword Fiftear】?”
“…Indeed. And you’re a sniper. There is no way you can beat me, a knight, in close quarter combat.”
Even while he was taking Zakir’s cutting words, the man’s attitude was unbreakable.
“Certainly we snipers are inferior in close quarter combat. But you see……A sniper had lured you all the way here. Do you really think that I haven’t made any preparations?”
“? What are you ―――― ?!”
A chill ran down Zakir’s spine.
At that moment, Zakir followed his instincts and ducked.
When he did, something cut through the area where his head had just been moments ago at horrendous speed.
“Hey hey, seriously? Normally, that shouldn’t be dodgeable.”
Said the man, with a voice that was both surprised and annoyed.
But Zakir wasn’t as composed as the man thought.
The man had made no movements whatsoever.
But even so, he attacked without showing any sign of doing so.
Not knowing the reason behind this, a bead of sweat rolled down Zakir’s forehead.
“Hah. Your face is telling me you don’t know what’s going on, <<King’s Blade>>.”
“Too bad, but I don’t think I can beat you after telling you the secret. So I will be continuing like this.”
The instant the man finished talking, Zakir followed his instincts and tilted his head, and doing so, sharp pain ran through his cheek.
“You’re seriously a monster, <<King’s Blade>>. I thought that attack just now would finish the job… But with this, its over.”
Saying so, the moment he snapped his fingers…
Zakir became speechless.
That’s because, surrounding Zakir, hundreds, thousands of arrows had suddenly appeared with their arrowheads set to target him.
“A little something to bring to the afterlife. You can take it all the way to your grave.”
As if those words were a signal, all at once the numerous amount of arrows were shot toward Zakir.
Normally, after becoming victim to all of the arrows, living would have been impossible.
But, Zakir was different.
Demon Treasure Sword Fiftear was instantly raised to an overhead position and with an enormous force, was swung down.
“『Hatenshou』!” (TLC note: For those curious, this is written with 3 kanji, 1. supremacy/domination/victory, 2. sky/heaven, 3. important point/important role/opposition)
The force of the sword caused the atmosphere to tremble, creating a windstorm around Zakir.
The windstorm heaved up the arrows that were heading toward Zakir and pulverized them.
After seeing that, the man broke out in cold sweat.
“…I thought you were a monster, but I didn’t think you were this much of a monster…”
In front of the man’s eyes, Zakir had already recovered his stance, and was completely unharmed.
Zakir stared down the surprised man, and spoke up.
“…Is that all you’ve got?”
With just those words, the man understood his disadvantage.
Even if he had to run away, the man couldn’t afford to die here. For that purpose ――――.
“This time is my loss. It would seem that you’re more dangerous than I thought.”
“…Then, be obedient. I’m arresting you.”
After hearing Zakir’s words, the man chuckled.
“Are you kidding? Certainly this time is my loss but… I didn’t necessarily say I won’t run, you know?”
“! You can’t be…”
Zakir understood what the man meant, but by that time the cigarette smoke had already spread over the area, concealing the man’s body.
“Later, <<King’s Blade>>. I pray that the next time we meet, it won’t be the puppet, or the <<King’s Blade>>, but that I’ll be able to face you yourself.”
Zakir rushed over to where the man had been, but by that time, the man’s entire body had been completely clad in smoke, and shrouded in smoke, he disappeared.
Zakir had barely missed the opportunity to chase after him, but more than that, the man’s words dominated his heart and mind.
As he quietly murmured those words, Zakir bit down on his lip and strongly clenched his fist.
This time was pretty serious.
But in the end, whether you’re serious or not, in front of Seiichi, everything just ends up being a comedy (LOL).