Chapter~!! Free time to translate is looking sparse for the next few weeks, so look forward to slower translations (I’ll post an update post every week where I don’t release a chapter though)! That’s all, please enjoy!
The cloak he wore over his tattered blazer swayed in the wind.
With the sword that pierced a girl’s skull in his right hand, and a chain that bound said girl’s body in his left hand, the boy wore an innocent smile on his face.
He was the childhood friend of the late Mizushima Miho, and although I’ve heard of that time when she and Katou-san were left in the mountain hut while he went to chase the first expedition force, this was the first time I met him face to face.
“Saa, let’s go. Miho nee-chan”
On the other side of the river, Takaya, who was holding Lily wrapped in a chain, said such.
It was the warm tone of an innocent boy.
Probably, before the transfer, even when we were in our old world, he spoke to Mizushima Miho in the same way. The warmth was so out of place, that it instead felt as if it was warmly licking my skin.
Because of none other than Takaya’s attack, Lily has been rendered unconscious.
If this continues, Lily will be taken away.
The moment I thought that, I kicked the ground.
“Don’t get in the way”
Having turned around, Takaya’s voice was cold.
In the eyes he directed towards me, a sort of grudge appeared.
A shiver ran down my spine.
The survival instincts I’ve cultivated by surviving until now in this other world, were blaring warnings at me.
“You will give nee-chan back to me”
The bejeweled sword in Takaya’s hand shone.
No magic circle was deployed, but an overpowering sign of magic power stuck to my skin.
I almost jumped out of my skin, but reflexively anchored my feet.
At about the same time, the ground under Takaya’s feet rose.
“A magic tool……!?”
A large mass of earth and sand, poured across the river and into the riverbank where we were.
The earth and sand enveloped the water from the mountain stream, and gained weight by mixing together with said water. My reaction was delayed. With this timing, I couldn’t escape一一
On the verge of being swallowed by the incoming earth and sand, ashen hair spread out in front of me.
Pushing her damaged body, Rose stepped out in front of me.
Having readied her shield, she crashed head-on with the rushing earth and sand.
A moment of equilibrium, then collapse. Her short cry was drowned out by the explosive roar.
Rose’s body was blown away. The next moment, the riverbank where we were at was swallowed by the large mass of earth and sand.
Due to Rose’s intervention, the momentum of the approaching earth and sand had been reduced. However, the weight pushing forward was a threat in and of itself. My field of view was flipped in the blink of an eye, and I couldn’t recognize a thing.
I held in my breath and just tried to avoid losing consciousness, biting down strongly on my back teeth.
Suddenly, my left hand was pulled with great force.
I thought my joint was going to be dislocated, but thanks to that, my body was able to escape from the earth and sand.
In the rapidly changing scenery, I saw that Asarina had extended from the back of my left hand, and wrapped around the nearby trees. She was pulling my body up.
Unable to adjust my posture, I tumbled onto the ground gracelessly.
Ignoring my aching body, I stood up as quickly as I could. I spat out the gravel in my mouth, drew my sword, and readied it一一
The pursuit I was afraid of didn’t come.
Or rather, Takaya himself was nowhere to be seen.
“……! It couldn’t be!?”
I hurried back to the riverbank, the place from where I had been swept away.
The landscape of the riverbank, was changed by the overturning of the ground.
Takaya wasn’t there either.
Lily, who was caught by him, disappeared as well.
“Shit, he got me!”
The magic attack from earlier, wasn’t all that powerful.
The fine earth and sand were scattered over a wide area, but other than at the small riverbank where we were at, there wasn’t much damage. Even so, Takaya didn’t even give us a chance to chase after him.
It was a distraction.
The, as far as I could see, unhesitant attacks, should they have taken my life, it would have been fine for him, but there was another purpose.
In truth, if Takaya felt like it, he should’ve been able to annihilate us. That he didn’t do so, is probably due to him acting in a way that put his goal as his top priority.
His goal was.
Lily was, abducted.
The blood drained from my entire body.
I could feel an unstable feeling of hot and cold welling up within my body.
The thing that brought me back to myself while I was in my daze, was Katou-san’s call.
Looking back, I saw Katou-san sitting between Iino arms.
She also seemed to not have been swept too hard by the earth and sand from earlier. Seeing that she was standing up with trembling legs, she didn’t seem to have been hurt.
“Are you all right?”
“Ah, aah. I’m fine. Katou-san is all right too huh”
“Yes. Iino-san protected me”
Even when I looked at her, Iino didn’t react.
She seemed to be upset about Takaya’s unexpected arrival and attack.
Earlier, Takaya launched an attack, without regard to Iino’s presence.
From Iino’s point of view, Takaya is a comrade from the expedition force. For him to attack, the thought must’ve never occurred to her.
Rather, I should be saying that as expected of her, even in such a confusing situation, she still protected Katou-san.
Takaya’s magic, was aimed at me. Even though she was within the area of effect, Iino wouldn’t take a direct hit. With the power of [Idaten], it’s probably easy to protect a single non-combatant.
“Rose-san, pushed me towards Iino-san right away……”
Katou-san, clasping her hands on her chest, looked up at me.
“Ano, Rose-san is?”
Rose was found some distance away from the riverbank.
She was half buried under earth and sand, so I had to dig her up.
Katou-san wet a small cloth with river water, and dutifully wiped down Rose’s muddy body.
Lying on her back, Rose was staying still.
Or should I say, she had no choice but to stay still.
The skirt spread over the overturned ground, had no bulges where there should’ve been.
Rose had lost her lower body.
It was because, from the start, she had taken a blow from Iino, and then she pushed herself too much. The lower half of her body from her waist down that broke off, was buried in the earth and sand, and we didn’t know where it was.
“I am ashamed, Master”
“No. You’ve done well”
Even though it was going to get wrecked, Rose didn’t hesitate in putting her body forward. Thanks to her, I didn’t end up with any serious injuries.
“However, in order to get ane–sama back……”
In order to get Lily back, we have to find where Takaya is, catch up to him, and fight him.
I’m able to manage fine up to the point of finding where he is.
There’s a path between us. If we get too far away from each other, it, as you’d expect, loses its effectiveness, but right now, I at least know which direction Lily is in.
The question, is whether or not we can catch up.
The fact that he made such a splendid escape, means that Takaya probably has no intention of engaging in a fight. Even though he’s carrying Lily on his own, I’m not sure if I can catch up to a cheat holder that’s seriously trying to escape.
On top of that, once I catch up to him, I can’t avoid fighting Takaya in order to rescue Lily.
However, due to these series of attacks, our fighting force has been depleted.
We’ve been separated from Gerbera and Silane, Ayame, as well as Kei, and Rose has sustained serious damage.
Katou-san isn’t included in our fighting force.
The only ones who can fight, are me and Asarina. It’s not that I can’t fight, but to fight Takaya, a Warrior with excellent combat prowess, alone, while getting Lily back, is something that I’m not capable of.
“What should I do……”
No matter how I think about it, we don’t have enough strength.
At this rate, we’ll never get Lily back.
“In the first place, why was Takaya there at that place……”
“About that, Master”
As I muttered, Rose called out.
I slowly raised my gaze.
“……What is it”
“There is one thing that has stuck out to me. It is what Iino-san said earlier”
What Iino said? ……Speaking of which, wasn’t Rose trying to say something earlier?
“She said ‘I want you to take me to the start of the mountain path. Because if I make it that far, I can go back with the horse I left behind”
“Aah. That’s what she said. And?”
“Although we were slowed due to moving in a group, from when we left the sea of trees to when we arrived at the post town near Seratta, it took us nearly two weeks. It is four days by fast horse. Iino-san, passed through there in two days. ……Why then, did she leave a horse at the start of the mountain path?”
Shocked, I turned around.
Iino, who was sitting down, looked up at my face. Her face was tense. I roughly walked up to her.
“What is the meaning of this?”
I lifted her by the collar, and glared at her with our noses close to touching.
“Th, the horse is the one I rode up until here”
The eyes of Iino, who was on her knees, were distorted, as if her legs were hurting from being forced to move.
“I was going back to Fort Ebenus, and stopped by Seratta on the way. Louise-san told me to do so too……”
“You said that you came here, by horse. ……Because you were with Takaya, right?”
“By the time I arrived at Fort Ebenus, Takaya-kun had already left……it was at Seratta that we joined up. I separated from Takaya-kun at the start of the mountain path. ‘It’s better to have more people when gathering information in passing villages on the way. But, now that we’re here, we just have to catch up then’, he said……”
When Iino told me about her journey to get here, I thought it was a leisurely one.
But, when you think about it, if it’s Iino personality, then it’s natural that she’d come here as fast as possible.
The reason why she couldn’t do that, was because she needed to align her pace with Takaya’s.
As I was in a daze at the realization of the situation, Iino spoke.
“Takaya-kun wouldn’t just abduct someone like this. ……There must be some mistake”
“Mistake? You were involved in Takaya’s attack too, weren’t you?”
“That’s……but, he’s a really hardworking, good kid”
Iino lightly shook her head. It was a feeble gesture.
“By the time he reached the fort alone, both his body and mind were exhausted and in shambles. Putting it frankly, he isn’t all that strong among the Warriors. Being alone in the middle of a wide forest, must’ve been lonely. He must’ve been mentally drained, not being able to sleep well even at night thinking about monster attacks. If your body becomes weak, and you lose your concentration, you can even get injured. In Takaya-kun’s case, it was even worse since he was in a hurry……”
“Even still, Takaya-kun reached the fort. The very first thing he said was ‘I want you to help Miho-nee-chan.’ ‘I don’t care about myself, so please hurry to nee-chan and’ he’d say, speaking as if in delirium”
I felt as if I could paint a clear picture in my mind of what Iino had seen of Takaya’s appearance at that time.
He must have been really desperate to save Mizushima Miho.
Without even paying concern to his own body, he was simply trying to help his precious childhood friend.
Regardless of the tragic outcome, that act can be called noble.
However, I couldn’t agree with Iino that there’s some sort of mistake.
Rather, having heard this, I was convinced about Takaya’s attack.
“Really, he isn’t the kind of kid who would do……”
“Something like that, isn’t a reason”
As I gripped her collar, Iino, who I pulled closer, blinked from a distance where our noses were nearly touching.
“The bad guys in the world, do you think all of them dirty their hands with crimes because they like to?”
Everyone in the world is a good person, and then bad people are mixed in by mutations.
If that were the case, how great would it be?
Reality isn’t that simple.
There is no such thing as absolute evil. If there were to be such a thing, that existence would almost be like a miracle. Anybody, can be cowardly and despicable in certain situations.
For example, the cheat holders who drove the Colony to ruin. I will never forgive them, but, that doesn’t mean that I think they were naturally evil people.
They were just ordinary people, except with extraordinary powers. Those powers, were what drove them to that brutality.
Or, conversely, weakness can cause you to make mistakes. Like another monster user, Kudou Riku. Because, in this harsh world, even staying in the right, is too difficult.
Takaya too, is probably like that.
If he was that much in love with Mizushima Miho, his actions this time were rather understandable.
“Takaya, may have just been getting his childhood friend back”
Or, more accurately, he thinks he got her back.
But, she’s actually not. That was Lily. Not Mizushima Miho.
……It was the worst case.
The stronger his feelings, the larger the disappointment and anger becomes once he realizes his mistake.
When he realizes that the girl he had gotten wasn’t Mizushima Miho, what will Takaya do to Lily……only ominous guesses come to mind, just thinking about it seemed to freeze my core cold.
“At least, if you had told me earlier……”
She must have noticed the hint of violence in my groaning voice.
If she wanted to, she could probably kill someone like me with a single blow, but like an ordinary girl, Iino was afraid of me.
When I realized that, a part of my boiling brain went cold.
It would be easy to hit the unresisting Iino right here. It would make me feel better.
But, there’s no point in that.
Doing that, wouldn’t make Lily come back.
Nor will it get us what we need to rescue her.
Besides, it’s not like Iino is my collaborator, nor is she my ally. On the contrary, we were enemies who had just crossed swords. Even if she were deliberately withholding information from me, that wasn’t something I could blame her for.
Even if I had known about Takaya, I don’t know if I could’ve handled it.
What would it do to take out my anger on her?
“……I have something to ask you”
After sighing loudly, I asked Iino.
Maybe it was because I was trying to suppress my emotions, my voice was so inorganic that I couldn’t believe it was my own.
“The sword and chain Takaya was carrying. They’re magic tools right?”
Iino’s eyes, which had narrowed in fear, opened timidly, as if she thought she was going to get hit.
“Do you know the details?”
“A, about the sword, it should be the treasure sword [Blade of Earthen Collapse]1. It’s a magic tool that raises pillars of earth, and it’s power is equivalent to third rank. It’s one of the highest class tools from the Empire that was provided to the expedition force at Fort Ebenus”
I was wondering why it was the highest class when it was only around third rank, but come to think of it, the upper limit of magic that humans in this world can use, was third rank huh. My senses are becoming warped as well.
Magic tools aren’t as flexible as ordinary magic. Even if it’s limited to the effect of “raising pillars of earth”, if it can output a power equivalent to third rank, it can be called a work of art. Like how Takaya used the trick of using the terrain to distract us earlier, its versatility is also in accordance to the user’s creativity.
“But, Takaya is a cheat holder isn’t he? Does he really need something like that?”
“As a Warrior, Takaya-kun’s abilities lean closer to a melee fighter’s, so magic’s his weak point”
I see. Without magic tools, Takaya can’t use effective magic.
Earlier, Iino also said that “Takaya isn’t all that strong among the Warriors.”
This may be a clue to the strategy. ……It’s too fleeting a hope though.
“As for the chain, it’s the [Binding Chain of Sins]. Have you never heard of it? It’s one of the magic tools that keep criminals from using their magic power”
“This is the first time I’ve heard that name. But, that’s what it is, is it”
The people in this world, as long as they can handle magic power, are capable of destroying prisons with their bare hands.
I’ve also heard in the past that there are magic tools for the sake of sealing it.
It was said that it would only activate if the person in question had no intention of resisting, or was unconscious, and that it wasn’t powerful enough to suppress the power of a combat-oriented cheat holder, but, it’s probably enough to seal the current Lily.
The possibility of her escaping on her own, was now gone.
This isn’t very good information, but you could say that it’s useful to know the current situation.
“I’ve got the gist of it”
I let Iino go. I’ve heard what I wanted to hear. I have no more use for her.
But, Iino seemed to differ. When she fell flat on her butt, she flusteredly opened her mouth.
“……Pl, please wait. Majima. What do you plan on doing?”
“Obviously, I’m going to go after Takaya, and get Lily back”
Iino’s expression flared up.
When I looked at her, for a moment, she seemed to be frightened, but even so, she didn’t retreat.
“Takaya-kun was clearly in a strange state. No words of persuasion will reach him, probably. You might fight……no. You might kill each other”
“Yeah I guess. I don’t think we’ll be able to talk it out either”
Iino frowned her willow eyebrows.
“Just for the sake of getting something like a monster back, you’re going to kill somebody else!?”
“……something like a monster, huh”
I repeated what Iino had said.
She seemed to have said something terrible, but surprisingly, I wasn’t angry.
That was probably because Iino, the speaker of it, had no malicious intent.
Or rather, Iino didn’t think much about what she said.
The reason why she held her ground here, was because she stubbornly wanted to avoid us killing each other somehow.
It’s not that I’m saying that that’s wrong or anything.
Iino’s stance that we should avoid humans killing each other, is right.
No matter what the reason, people fighting each other, is never right.
The scales would be tipping out of order, if humans killed each other for the sake of getting back a monster. Indeed, that’s also a sound argument.
……Of course, that’s just the opinion of an outsider though.
“She might just be a monster to you, but she’s very important to me. If it’s for the sake of getting back someone important, does it matter whether they’re a human or a monster?”
As long as everyone I cared for was safe, it was fine. My conversations with Iino, will always be parallel to each other, no matter how far they go.
Iino seemed to be at a loss for words at our unmeshing conversation. Even so, she tried to dissuade me somehow.
“I-, in the first place, if you didn’t feed Mizushima-san to a monster, something like this wouldn’t have……”
“Aah. That’s right. I can’t object to anyone who accuses me of that”
I shook my head.
“But, that is that and this is this”
As Iino says, if I hadn’t fed Mizushima Miho’s corpse to Lily, Takaya wouldn’t have committed such a violent act.
However, the one who lost Mizushima Miho, was Takaya alone, and not me.
That, is the failure of Takaya, who had left her side. It’s not like I took her life either.
“Above all……regardless of the reason, I can’t leave my woman abducted can I?”
Hearing my reply, Iino hanged her head.
“……Let me ask you one last time”
She probably knows that fighting is now inevitable. She asked with a powerless voice.
“Did you kill Mizushima Miho?”
I answered immediately.
“Is what I say, but I don’t know if you’ll believe me though”
“If you can’t believe senpai’s words, shall I testify as well?”
Katou-san interrupted her.
She snuggled up close to Rose, and looked at Iino with cold eyes.
“Majima-senpai did not kill Mizushima-senpai. If that were the case, don’t you believe that I, someone who was close to Mizushima-senpai, would not be together with Majima-senpai like this?”
“……If you say that, then aren’t you together with the people who fed the senpai you were close with to a monster, which stole her form?”
“I suppose that’s true”
Slightly raising her eyebrows, Katou-san lowered her eyes.
She made a small fist on her chest, perhaps because Iino’s words had caused her no small amount of pain.
“……However, after the Colony collapsed, we were desperate to survive. In a situation like such, there is no way that you can stay in the right”
Katou-san raised her face. Iino gasped at her unexpectedly strong gaze.
“At least, that isn’t something that a person who wasn’t there could say. The only person who can be angry, is Mizushima-senpai herself.”
“Mizushima-san is dead right?”
When Iino barely managed to answer back those words, for some reason, Katou-san’s mouth loosened just a tiny bit.
“Yes. That’s right. My dead senpai, cannot laugh nor get angry. ……However, I feel that she isn’t angry about this though”
“What, the heck. What do you mean?”
“In the past, when I had an argument with Gerbera……no. It’s better not to say anything too unproven. Putting that aside, Majima-senpai”2
Katou-san stopped whatever she was about to say, shook her head, and turned her face towards me.
“Of course, it’s natural to get Lily back, but it’s impossible for senpai to do so alone. If you can’t think up some sort of a strategy”
No matter how much momentum we gain, the fact remains that we are currently lacking in strength.
I was able to get information on Takaya from Iino, but the difference in ability between Majima Takahiro and Takaya Jun, isn’t small enough to be filled by something like this.
Preferably, I wanted to chase after Lily right away, but that’s simple recklessness.
I have no choice but to run all the way to the mountain path and call for reinforcements after all huh. However, will there be enough time?
That’s when it happened. Having lost her lower body and lying down, Rose, who had only been listening to our conversation up to this point, spoke up.
“It is Gerbera”
Before I could ask her what she meant, a shadow fell from the sky.
It was hope, in the shape of a white spider.
- TN: You know, I spent a solid 5 minutes thinking about how to translate the name of this sword. Almost as long as the title…
- TN: It’s been somewhere around 2-3 months since I read the beginning of the story, so I can’t remember whether she’s referring to when Gerbera joined the party or that she’s referring to another argument at some point, probably the former though.