Surprise chapter~! Time is great. I love time. Don’t you love time? Anyways, since I managed to finish the chapter today, there probably won’t be a chapter on Friday. Maybe another one on Sunday if I get the time? Enjoy!
Seeing the white shadow that jumped down, my voice livened up.
“Fumu. Thou appear to be safe, Milord. First task complete”
Looking at everybody here, Gerbera narrowed her red eyes.
“……However, judging from the current situation, something seems to hath gone wrong”
Gerbera casted her line of sight towards me. I nodded back.
“Aah. I need your strength”
In our desperate situation, a faint glimmer of hope entered.
I guessed that Gerbera probably wouldn’t just wait quietly, but from the looks of it, she chased us right after the landslide.
That she took this long to catch up to us, was probably due to her injuries.
The injuries inflicted on Gerbera from the battle with Iino haven’t yet healed.
Of her original eight spider legs, only one on her left, and three on her right were left, and although she was holding herself in place by thrusting her claws into the ground, she was staggering when she landed.
It’s good that she’s at least not completely immobile, but her prided mobility is ruined.
However, there’s no doubt that she’s still the strongest member of my family.
At the very least, the chances of success were much higher than if I tried to rescue Lily alone.
If I were allowed to be greedy, it would’ve been nice if Silane had come too, but I unfortunately couldn’t see her. She was probably on the mountain path above the cliffs, waiting for us along with Kei to come back.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to go and call Silane to come.
Even now, I can feel Lily getting further and further away through the pass. Her presence was becoming more distant. Before long, I may not be able to sense her anymore.
There was no way we could’ve predicted that Takaya would attack. We should consider ourselves lucky even if only Gerbera was able to rush over here.
“I’ll tell you what happened on the way. Let’s go”
“U, umu. Understood”
Now that possibilities have sprouted, I couldn’t stay like this. I called out to the confused Gerbera, and started running.
Rose’s surprised voice, reached from behind.
Without looking back, I replied with just my voice.
“I’ll definitely bring Lily back!”
While I said that myself, I knew that it was going to be difficult.
Still, since there was no option but to give up, I had no choice but to do my best.
This is where I can’t not push through.
I clenched my fists.
The destination of Takaya, who had scooped up Lily, seemed to be in the direction of the Empire’s territory. Lily’s presence, felt through the path, was heading straight southeast through the Kittles Mountains.
It seems that Takaya isn’t using the meandering mountain roads, but is relying on his physical abilities as a cheat holder to carry him through the mountains. Perhaps because he doesn’t like being pursued.
He’s being rather careful.
I have a path between me and Lily, so I have an idea of her location, even if it’s vague, but otherwise it would have been difficult to track her.
To put it another way, we had unexpectedly missed Takaya’s aim.
For Takaya, who’s carrying the burden that is Lily, it should be more difficult walking through the mountains than along the mountain path.1
The game was on until someone passed through the Kittles Mountains.
We had to catch up somehow.
“Oi. Milord. T’is about time thou explained yourself”
At that moment, Gerbera, who was moving in leaps beside me, raised her voice numbly as if out of breath.
Then, I remembered that I hadn’t explained it to her yet.
“Ah, aah. My bad. I’ll explain it now. The truth is, after the landslide一一”
I briefly told Gerbera what had happened while I was away from her.
“I see. So Lily-dono was……”
When she finished listening, Gerbera voiced out a growl.
“I’m definitely getting her back. For that reason, please lend me your strength”
Gerbera nodded firmly.
“Should I be able to do something for the girl, I shall give my full cooperation”2
“Thank you for saying so”
“Although, for even that girl to be in such a state. I can’t guarantee how much help I will be”
“That’ll be fine”
I turned to Gerbera, who was running beside me, smiling with an expression that seemed like it’d easily tense up.
“According to Iino, Takaya doesn’t seem to be able to use magic. She told me that he isn’t all that strong among the Warriors either. We should have an opportunity to take advantage of that”
Calming down as much as possible, I tried to assess the situation.
Even while doing so, I felt a burning anxiety in my heart that made me want to scream, but the situation wouldn’t improve itself even if we rushed hastily.
What I needed was calmness. If I lose my composure, I won’t be able to do what I’m capable of doing.
“The magic tool he’s equipped with is troublesome, but if we can somehow do something about it, we have a chance. No. If I was alone, it would be uncertain whether or not I could do it, but now I have Gerbera. There should be many ways to do it”
“……I am delighted to receive those words”
Despite her words, Gerbera looked as if she was having difficulty.
Her red eyes peered at me, somewhat suspiciously.
“What is it?”
“No. It may simply be this one’s imagination”
After shaking her head, Gerbera looked at me from the side again.
“However, what would be the intent of that Takaya?”
“It’s……of course, to get Mizushima Miho back, right?”
I was a little confused because she asked me something so obvious.
“Takaya is Mizushima Miho’s childhood friend. For her sake, he went through the sea of trees all alone, she was that important to him. So, his goal must be none other than Mizushima Miho”
“Oi. Milord. Art thou serious?”
Gerbera said while running along as if bouncing.
“Should that be the case, why would Takaya have attacked that precious Mizushima Miho?”
I felt like I was struck with a blank.
“……True. It’s weird huh”
Takaya pierced Lily’s head with his sword.
If it hadn’t been Lily, they would’ve been dead with the first blow.
If he wanted to prevent Mizushima Miho from resisting, there must’ve been better ways to do so……
No. This is strange too.
In the first place, why did Takaya think that Mizushima Miho would resist?
To Takaya, Mizushima Miho is a childhood friend. There was no reason to take her by surprise.
He could’ve just talked to her normally. And yet, Takaya surprise-attacked her from behind. And, he even took the extreme step of stabbing her in the head with his sword.
“What in the, why would……”
Gerbera, who was running beside me, looked at me from the side.
Her thin eyebrows were in a frown. She looked strangely serious.
“The little girl of earlier, spoke, should I be remembering correctly, something of an Idaten”
“[Idaten] huh. Her name’s Iino Yuna”
“That, yes. At the time that that little girl appeared, doth you recall the words she spoke?”
Despite the continued slew of shocking events, it was just a while ago. Of course, I remembered.
“She asked ‘to the monster you control, did you feed Mizushima-san to it?’”
“That little girl, knew of Lily-dono’s true identity. The Takaya who scooped away Lily-dono, was together with that little girl yes?”
“T’is natural then that Takaya knows of Lily-dono’s true identity as well no?”
If she was asking me, she was right.
If he knew about Lily’s identity beforehand, Takaya’s actions would be very understandable.
The [Binding Chain of Sins] that Takaya was holding, wouldn’t activate if there were any intentions of resistance.
Even if it was against Mizushima Miho, to take away the consciousness of Lily, a monster, requires a large amount of damage.
It would’ve been fine as well to split her body in two, but a blow to the mimicked head would be the smartest. There’s no more efficient way than that.
“However, there is a single strange thing about this”
“Takaya, knew that she was a monster that took Mizushima Miho’s form, but still scooped Lily-dono away. That, is what I cannot comprehend”
“……On the contrary, he called Lily ‘Miho-nee-chan.’ ‘From now on, I’ll protect you properly.’ It didn’t look like he was acting”
……What does this mean?
If the person he had gotten wasn’t Mizushima Miho, then those lines wouldn’t have come out.
However, if she was Mizushima Miho, there’s no way she would’ve been captured in such a violent way.
“It couldn’t be……”
As I thought up something, I furrowed my brows.
一一I’ve finally got you back. Miho-nee-chan.
That innocent tone of voice, returned to the back of my ears.
Contrary to his demeanor, his attacks were relentless.
With a gleam void of normalcy in his eyes, he had an appearance that made you feel something of a grudge.
“Maybe some part of Takaya has gone insane”
Although it was late, I came to realize that possibility.
“‘Insane,’ is it?”
I nodded to Gerbera, who asked that.
“Aah. Takaya Jun, was in love with his childhood friend Mizushima Miho. That’s why he was so worried about Mizushima Miho, to the point where he didn’t even look after his own body. And now that girl is gone. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to go insane……”
While talking, a sudden chill ran down my spine.
It was because an idea in my head, that I shouldn’t have thought about, surfaced.
Someone who’s more important to you than yourself. A girl who is important and dear.
If Mizushima Miho is that for Takaya, then Lily is that for me.
That’s why, I thought.
For example, if I were to lose Lily.
Would I go insane?
I panicked, and stopped thinking about it any longer.
It wasn’t something I should be thinking about in this situation. It was just too ominous…… .
“I see. To this Takaya, it may no longer be possible to distinguish between Mizushima Miho and Lily-dono. However, for us, t’is that not something reassuring?”
When Gerbera spoke to me, I came back to my senses.
My response was delayed for a beat.
“……By ‘something reassuring’ you mean?”
“That which Milord was fearful of, was that it would be revealed to Takaya that Lily-dono is not Mizushima Miho and that she’d be harmed yes?”
Gerbera said with an encouraging tone.
“However, that possibility is now gone is it not? Because Takaya knew of that from the beginning, and still abducted Lily-dono”
If she was asking me, this too may certainly be the case.
What Gerbera was saying was correct.
But, I couldn’t be relieved with just that. These things, aren’t hypothetical.
I nodded vaguely.
After the end of this exchange, we hurried ahead silently.
The sun flickered at the edge of my vision.
The sun is about to set. I felt a tingling sensation around my nape. Since Lily had been scooped away, just how much time has passed? How much distance have we closed? Couldn’t it be possible that they were pulling ahead?
Things that I couldn’t help but think, raced around my head.
It was after a few minutes of silence, that I noticed that Gerbera was looking at me as if peering at me.
I thought it was suspicious, so I opened my mouth.
“Is something the matter, Gerbera?”
‘Zugan’, a loud thud.
All of a sudden, Gerbera braked with her claws, and came to a sudden stop.
I hurriedly stopped my feet as well.
With that, I lost my balance.
Plunging down forward, I thrust one hand at the ground.
The next thing I noticed, I was out of breath. My heart was pounding with a dokudoku.
As I stood up, I was a little dizzy. Shaking that off, I looked back.
“What’s the matter, Gerbera?”
There, was Gerbera’s figure, who had stopped her legs.
From the ground where she stabbed in her spider legs, rose a cloud of dust.
When she stopped her legs, her face leaned forwards, and her downcast face, was hidden by her long hair.
“I retract thy previous statement”
Gerbera said, in a whisper.
“It seems, that it was not mine imagination after all”
- This part may be a bit confusing, but MC is essentially saying that they don’t know what the heck Takaya’s trying to do anymore.
- I can’t remember what the previous translators used for (妾) (concubine), so if anybody remembers, it’d be great if you could put that in the comments.