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Since then, something kind of unusual happened.
By chance I witnessed Alfred, and the other men, training without me. Recently I’ve seen Alfred spinning around a long spear in the castle’s courtyard.
I wonder if what happened really was a sign of danger?
“Fufu, when I look at Sare I feel a renewed urge to train.”
Well aren’t you easily excitable.
“How has it been in the forest recently? I know I told you about something weird happening in there, but…”
“No, since then nothing has happened. ――I wonder what it was you saw.”
“If it happens again, I’ll be sure to check it out properly.”
Because of the ridiculous difference between how old they looked and how old they were, Alfred and the men were fathers who looked like my older brothers, and Lilian and the women were mothers who looked like my older sisters.
It’s a difficult topic, so don’t bother thinking on it too deeply.
But they were definitely my treasured family.
They’re all I need.
“――Alright, so I’m off to the forest again.”
“Understood, please be careful, ok?”
My tail waved in reply to Alfred’s words as I turned on my heel and left.
And so time passed.
My body doesn’t age. I still appear in my teens, but that’s not my real age.
――At any rate, I’ve started to feel a bit constrained by Sanctos Castle.
In the same way, I had already felt the limits of Irudoe domain’s boundary during my walks in the forest. Having said that, I’m somewhat hesitant to express my desire to leave the Irudoe domain. But, as if he could see right through to my heart, Alfred told me:
“Sare, how would you like to see the lands outside of Irudoe? We are just about out of things left to teach you. Rather than secluding yourself in these lands, you should leave and broaden your horizons――I think you would have a lot of fun living that way.”
I’ve spoken with Alfred and the others regarding my broken memories.
Because of those discussions, they should indirectly understand my fear of dying, and my attachment to life.
I threw myself on my bed while considering Alfred’s words.
“But doesn’t the Pure race consider every Majin their enemy?”
“That does happen, but not everyone in the Pure race will act that way. During the time when we were at peace, there were many in the Pure race who accepted us. If you can get them to properly look at and listen to you, then you can easily ascertain if its possible to change their opinions regarding Majins.”
“I understand what you’re saying, but…”
But, if you ever think that you cannot bear such responsibility, your home will always be here.But, if you ever think that you cannot bear such responsibility, your home will always be here.
Those words linger in my mind.
“――I get it. Then, I’ll check it out.”
“It is decided then. Tomorrow, come to my room to collect some travel equipment we will prepare for your departure.”
As usual my tail doesn’t listen to me and conveys my true feelings properly. I decide to go ahead and go to sleep.
The next day.
“Hey, for travel equipment isn’t it a little too luxurious…?!”
“――――Well. This is the Irudoe Empire’s [Imperial Sword]. It was used by members of the Majin royalty. Back when we were still a proper country it functioned as a symbol of the royal family, but in our current situation it serves almost no purpose and has been stored in the treasure storeroom. It still functions as an actual weapon and is quite useful, so you should be able to find use for it. I only use long weapons like the spear, so I will give this to Sare.”
I was given a sword in a black sheath.
The sheath was patterned with gold-colored metal, similarly the sword’s straight handle and guard were gold-colored.
――Wait, is this real gold? This is made out of gold, isn’t it?
Even more eye-catching was the blade.
I gripped the handle and unsheathed the sword, revealing an excessively luxurious blade to the world.
“Whoa, it’s bright!”
The degree of its brilliance is bad for the eyes.
“What is the sword blade made out of?”
“A mineral called the Eternal Light Stone. You can swing without worry of any damage or chipping as long as you do not use it too outrageously. By the way, the pommel also includes an Eternal Light Stone.”
In the pommel was a stone that radiated light just as blinding as the blade. It was perfectly spherical.
Alfred’s comment about not using it [outrageously] made the present me wonder that if it had really never been damaged or chipped throughout its existence then what could damage it? What an unnecessary reaction.
“Also, here is a dagger made from Moonlight Stone. It is a useful light source when it is dark, so if you want to go hunting at night it can be quite convenient. Ah, yes, also, there is a set of travel clothes that took Lilian a whole year to weave. Durability is guaranteed. For Sare’s sake it was made so you can easily hide or reveal your tail.”
Clothing specially made and hand-woven by Lilian? In the whole world there is only one set of clothing like these. For a whole year Lilian worked on it for me.
To my eyes they seemed to sparkle.
Suddenly, the mass of feelings that welled up from the bottom of my stomach stopped and my eyes widened.
Was it my imagination, or were there actually delicate gold and silver threads woven into the clothing?
――After the initial surprise wore off I seriously look at the material.
“We found the cloth in the treasure storeroom and borrowed the best parts from here and there. There are minerals mixed into the cloth, so while it is not impervious to damage, it is very difficult to cut through――”
Right, there’s no reason for me to dwell their origins.
A sturdy sword, a sturdy dagger, and sturdy clothes. If I just think about it in this way, it puts me at ease.
“There are other small pieces of equipment that are stored in this leather bag. If you wear everything together with this mantle――it is complete.”
Alfred’s eyes were sparkling.
His eyes seemed to be saying: Hurry and put everything on!Hurry and put everything on!
It couldn’t be helped in that situation, so I changed into the travel clothes, stuck the Imperial Sword on my left and the dagger at the small of my back, and picked up the leather bag.
It’s pretty easy to move in.
Sure, the clothes seem to exude an air of elegance, but they function well as travel clothes.
They fit as if I had recently been sized for them.
Over it all I wore a large black mantle that reached my knees.
At the neck of the mantle was a large pendant. Once I was done I turned to face Alfred.
“――How nice. It came out well. Good, good.”
Alfred had narrowed his eyes to examine me and gave a wide smile.
“The pendant is a gift from all of us. Because we are Majins, we engraved the Gram Istoora’s six-pointed star in the center. It might be ironic that we want it to protect you though. ――But, it could also be seen as proof that we are family. Because it is just a pendant, I think it will not cause any negative feelings from people who happen to see it, after all, to their eyes it is just a six-pointed star.”
The pendant had a base layer of glossy red stone overlaid with a six-pointed star made from gold.
“Well then, it seems everything is in order. Sare, you should leave now――before you change your mind,” Alfred urged.
I double-checked that I had everything.
“That line just now was just like something a parent would say.”
“Haha, I have had some practice――” Alfred replied with a somewhat lonely expression.
“I see. ――Right, then I’m off. If I get tired of life out there I’ll be back.”
“Do not fret and travel safely――”
Alfred’s words of farewell were fewer than I had expected.
As soon as I took my first step out of Sanctos Castle, someone called out to me.
When I noticed the voice and turned around I saw Lilian half-jogging towards me.
I met her half-way and, upon seeing her pale face, grasped her hand to support her.
“Right, I’m heading out Lilian.”
Her face was, as usual, not very expressive, but I was knowledgeable enough to read the small variances.
I’m not trying to sound arrogant, but being who I am, it always comes out that way.
Her face looked really lonely.
“This is my home, so I’ll definitely return.”
“…..you can’t come home just because you’re lonely.”
After saying this, Lilian gave me a smile.
――I revoke my previous statement that her expressions changed minutely.
Lilian’s smile, if I explained it simply it was――a gorgeous expression.
With those simple words Lilian forcibly turned my body around and gave me a push from behind.
As I thought there are too few words, but that’s just how it is.
Although I had doubts, after all, at Lilian’s urging――I felt the need to continue forward towards the outside world.
Awhile later, I dwelled on the unfortunate brevity of those words.
I was too slow in realizing they were too few, and came to regret it later.
“I’ve walked quite a ways, huh?”
So I remarked with deep emotion as I stopped for a moment in Irudoe domain’s forest.
I was in a copse of thick overgrowth near a large tree that marked the outer boundary of the domain.
If I were to pass over the exposed roots of that large tree I would no longer be in Majin territory.
In truth, I probably should have been more excited about this moment, but I was distracted by the strange pulling at my heart at the short farewells from Alfred and Lilian.
Even I don’t know if I will ever return, so why didn’t they at least ask me when I planned to come back?
While worrying I slowly advanced towards the large tree.
I left my baggage, the leather bag, near the tree, took a seat, and seriously considered whether or not I had any regrets before crossing over its roots.
As I began to think about it――
At some point, from some place I again felt that [vague gaze].
A gaze that seemed to dismiss me as insignificant; an uncomfortable sort of feeling.
――It made me uneasy.
The arrogance of that gaze and how it wasn’t trying to be subtle and promptly disappeared gave me cause to worry.
“…..who is it?”
Even if I ask, of course, I won’t receive an answer.
――Rather, who would answer?
As I thought, let’s return for now.
Once I decided, I lifted my head and turned my gaze back towards Sanctos Castle.
Which allowed me to finally become aware of the [disaster].
From where I stood there was a [red glow] whose origins were outside my scope of vision, and [dark smoke] rose ominously from that glow.
My feelings of unease doubled.
I jumped up immediately and broke into a run.
For something to happen in such a short amount of time――it’s unbelievable.
Alfred and the rest had some stuff they wanted to burn and the flames got out of control a bit; it was surely something simple like that.
That gaze from before, if that gaze was from someone who held anger towards the Majins then――
――Stop it. Those kind of dark, difficult thoughts――just stop it.
It’s fine if I only worry about myself.
That sort of arrogance is fine because I can deal with any unhappiness that befalls me.
I finally realize――
That conceit leaves me utterly unprepared to deal with watching unhappiness befall those around me.
All those deaths I wracked up gave birth to my meager self-righteousness, and my attachment to living.
――I’m fine. I just have to worry about myself.
That terrible way of thinking circled in my mind.
Those terrible memories that had been slowly buried by these years of learning and talking and living with everyone were slowly drawn back out from deep within.
――I’m fine, so there’s nothing to worry about.
My mind was numb with fear.
Run. Run. Run. Don’t think, just run.
I forgot about the bag I left behind and just ran.
Exhausted I groped along the front gate of Sanctos Castle and――
I refused to believe what I saw.
Fire. Smoke. Blood.
Blood. A person. Fire.
A person, a per――
Bits of flesh, splattered blood,
My family, lying in their own blood.My
“What is this? ――everyone, this is――”
Here and there were evidence of battle.
Bits and pieces of Sanctos Castle were lying about, and the ground was gouged out in many places.
The bodies of my family also showed signs of significant damage.
――I was gone no longer than any of my normal strolls through the forest.
――Why was today any different?
I couldn’t stop that hollow laugh from escaping my lips.
The sudden shock caused me to utter that emotionless sound.
Without exception every one of their eyes had been gouged out.
Everyone seemed to look at me with pitch black gazes.
Black gazes tinged with blood, holes that saw nothing.
“….tch! Anyone!! Is anyone still alive!?”
――Stop it. Don’t say it.
It’s as if I’m saying they’re all dead.
A quiet voice caught my ears as I was fighting my panic.
It’s Lilian’s voice.
“Ah! Where?! Lilian, where are you?!”
As I looked around at the multitude of Majin corpses, a single body moved: it was [her].
Like everyone else, her eyes had been gouged out――
Near her, in silence, was Alfred’s [corpse].
I embraced Lilian as she whispered out those words.
“It’ll be alright! I’ll save you!!”
I comforted her with those lies.
From those gaping holes blood ran out and stained her face.
She gently caressed me with her pale white hand as she repeated those words of farewell, and then――
Her hand fell to the ground.
Lilian, touch my face once more.
Please, don’t die――
Please, don’t leave me all alone――
――Don’t abandon me.
――I don’t understand.
――I don’t understand.
――I don’t understand.
If I can’t understand it――
――Let’s just destroy it.
I took in everything within my field of vision, I looked at the remains of my family, the castle, and everything around it――
I strongly wished for all of it to be destroyed.
There was a passing feeling like my eyes were burning――
My vision faded.
Damn it all.
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