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Published at 5th of March 2020 06:39:25 AM

Chapter 298

It could easily be imagined that today of all days won’t be a good day for the city of Kannaoi, so I would like the weather at least to be good .


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That wish of mine was crushed by a downpour that would make me want to stay at home even if I had an umbrella .

“Is this the Water Spirits trying to annoy us…or is this a hindering rain?” (Makoto) <The ‘hindering rain’ refers to a song Yarazu no Ame . >

But instead of stopping the return of a loved one, it is to deny the future that has already begun moving regardless of one’s will .  

Thanks to my Magic Armor, I could walk within this rain that falls as if it doesn’t want anyone to advance, and I arrive at my destination .

Now that I think about it, when I am walking in this rain, the shape of my Magic Armor can be seen which is a point I probably have to improve .

Well, even if I say that, though it is early in the morning, it is still dark out there because of the rainy clouds, and there’s most likely not gonna be anymore successive assassination attempts against me in Lorel .

A bitter smile came onto my face from the clear figure of the Magic Armor being hit by the rain while I entered the building .

…Yup, there’s a lot of guards .

Of course there are .

This is a prison, and the one inside is the leader of the rebels that attacked Kannaoi last night .  

I had the guards, who were doing their best and staying up all of last night, sleep with magic for a bit .

I arrive at the place where Haruka Osakabe is in custody .

Just as always, they have done their best to make preventions for spies .

A tatami room where fences set in all directions reach all the way to the ceiling…a prison cell .

Haah…this is the first time I have seen a tatami room prison .

Haruka is in there .

She was in seiza, raising only her head to look at me .  

The guards may not have noticed me, but as expected, this person did .  

“Good morning . ” (Makoto)

“Why…did you not kill me?” (Haruka)

But I didn’t show it in my face and give her a morning greeting .

She didn’t greet me back .  

Looking at me with clouded, or maybe muddy eyes that had lost the life in them, she asked me this .

She had her forehead stabbed with a needle made from magic power, of course the person herself would think she is dead .  

And in reality, Iroha-chan also misunderstood at first .

“You are Iroha-chan’s mother . It would be easier to incapacitate you rather than kill you and then have you revived . Also…” (Makoto)

“…”

“I failed to kill you before . Honestly speaking, that’s the biggest reason . By the way, in my personal opinion, the best way to save you would be to let you die . ” (Makoto)

The charm of Tomoki doesn’t alter memories .

To be perfectly honest here, a love for another person that would lead you to do anything without a care no matter the sacrifices is something that I don’t understand at all .

It may be an emotion that you should prioritize, but placing it above all else without limitations is…you know…

But people who have been charmed will prioritize obeying Tomoki over everything else .

“‘I failed there, so I tried this’, is what it feels like you want to say . ” (Haruka)

“Yeah, embarrassingly so . ” (Makoto)

It is as if your life until now fades away, and Tomoki descents like a God .

The family and friends you held precious, your lover suddenly fades and loses shape, making you obtain self-satisfaction from acting for his sake .  

Betraying the trust of others, stealing fortunes, and at times killing . Gleefully performing all of this by ‘your own volition’ .

To be honest, even with the charm dispelled, it is already too late .

People that have lost everything due to drugs, dragged the people around down with them, and fell to ruin; when those people get released from their addiction, just what is awaiting them?

This is just my imagination here but, many people would go back to drugs in order to forget reality, or take their own lives while they are still sane .

That’s why I killed those three without hesitation .

For those girls, death would have been salvation .

I still personally think that that was the best action to take .

Just that…taking the choice of killing ended up being an incredible minus for us .

We had to fight a strong opponent we didn’t need to fight, the Adventurers of Origin .

“…I will at least give you my thanks . ” (Haruka)

Haruka-san must have read something from my hesitation, after a small silence, she lowered her head .

That action while she is in seiza strangely makes her give out a dignified aura .

I don’t remember doing anything to be warranted gratitude, so I shrunk instead .  

I am being directed a dogeza, but for some mysterious reason, I felt small .

After a while, she lifted her head and, with all of her grieves showing in her face, she looked at me straight .

Her clouded eyes had a slight light return to them .

“Thank me, huh . Are you saying that you can still find light by living?” (Makoto)

Last night, when I incapacitated her by asphyxiating her, I thought that she would choose death no matter what Iroha-chan said .


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It is because we clashed blades and received her all that I was pretty confident in that evaluation of her though…

Since she thanked me, I suppose that evaluation was wrong .

That she is able to choose living even at this point is something that requires an incredible deal of mental fortitude .

What kind of hope is she looking at? I was a bit interested in it, so I tried asking .

“No . ” (Haruka)

But Haruka-san’s expression didn’t change as she shook her head .

Hm?

“?” 

“Thanks to you stopping my suicidal actions brought by despair, I can use this life of mine to fulfill my duty . This is a thanks for that . ” (Haruka)

…So living really was not a choice .

I am sorry for Iroha-chan, but I think this is something that can’t be helped .  

Even though Haruka-san is a woman in such an influential position, she was way too flashy in her actions as a prisoner of Tomoki .  

I have heard that she was a brave woman but gives a quiet impression, and yet, this time’s incident was way too shocking .  

The amount of people killed with the dagger of assassins, and the danger of their schemes, were the most threatening in the history of Kannaoi .

Judging from how she spoke, she is probably thinking about being judged by the law, and reducing -even if a bit- the amount of obstacles that will remain in the government .  

“So you are saying you will receive the punishment of the law as a rebel and accept your death?” (Makoto)

“Yes . ” (Haruka)

“…For the sake of the Osakabe household?” (Makoto)

“Yes . ” (Haruka)

“…”

If Haruka-san had the intentions to, I could have faked her death and have her go into hiding in a base of the wasteland somewhere via Asora .  

With that, I could have let Iroha-chan meet her every now and then .

But…her expression denies this possibility straight on .

She has completely accepted death .  

Even if we were to hide her, she would one day disappear and never return .

I don’t know how long it will take for her punishment, but she…probably won’t have a change of heart .

Did me not killing her at that time have meaning because she now has a meaning in her death? …I kinda feel fuzzy about that .

“The trial has already finished . I will be executed the day after tomorrow . ” (Haruka)

“?! Done? That’s pretty fast . ” (Makoto)

“Last night all the tops of the Ministry of Justice were gathered in the castle, and the trial itself wasn’t something complicated . Capital punishment was a sure thing, so what was left was to decide the day . ” (Haruka)

So fast! 

Taking too much time would be questionable as well, but the judgement being given right in the night of the incident is impressive .

The fact that Haruka-san is accepting the whole blame is also one of the deciding factors of this .

What she did was basically a coup d’etat .

No matter how many underlying circumstances there were, if the things she did were lined up, the capital punishment wouldn’t shake .

Like in Japan where external pressure can push it to be capital punishment .  

“The day after tomorrow, in front of the populace, as the leader of this time’s coup d’etat?” (Makoto)

“Of course . I was a heinous criminal that dropped society into panic . I will definitely remain in the history of Lorel as one of the worst villains . ” (Haruka)

The most effective execution . The way to use your life, huh . If that’s the case, her husband that’s apparently bedridden might be the one who will give the execution order . Using it as a public example . A major power like Lorel cannot show mercy since this involves their future government .

“…”

“But you have been acting like a completely different person from last night for a while now . ” (Haruka)

“Eh?” (Makoto)

“Even though you were a stern young man that was unreserved and cruel to the heart of people, their way of being, and even towards their fleeting wish for death . ” (Haruka)

“Uuh…” (Makoto)

Haruka-san looks at me, showing a glossy smile as she laughs as if it is amusing .

I am not good at dealing with a smiling beauty that wafts this kind of thick resolve for death .

Last night she made this type of face several times .

“Right now you look like a flustered boy that has just turned into an adult and isn’t used to society . ” (Haruka)

“Haha…” (Makoto)

“Such a drastic change . Must be the talent to treat death . I couldn’t have that no matter how much I tried . ” (Haruka)

“I wonder about that . I am aware that I am slightly special, but wasn’t what you lacked, Haruka-san, the resolve to face death?” (Makoto)

“I am not a new recruit that’s scared of dying in the battlefield . ” (Haruka)

“It is simply that you were able to trample down the battlefields with just your violent levels of talent while still maintaining the heart of a scared new recruit . ” (Makoto)

“…”

“Last night, you see, I thought about it for a bit, you know . ” (Makoto)


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“?” 

“That you and I are a bit similar . You stay scared, I stay ununderstanding . But only the way to act in the battlefield, we can understand it without any doubts . ” (Makoto)

“! How vexing . I don’t want to be lumped in the same category as you even if it is as a joke!” (Haruka)

“Is that so . That was rude of me then . ” (Makoto)

“…By the way, what’s your business here? It doesn’t look like this is a visit to state your farewells . ” (Haruka)

Oops, right .  

It is raining this hard, so I thought I would go back for today, is what I thought, but it is not like I came here just to see how she was doing .

I think I would be able to visit her upfront if I were to ask for it, but it will no doubt affect the trust the people of Kannaoi have towards me .

That’s the kind of voices I heard around when I thought about speaking with Haruka-san for a bit . Then, I should do so stealthily in the early morning, and so here I am .

Leaving aside the thing about the execution, I wanted to talk a bit about the charm .

“I wanted to hear a bit about the matter of the charm . ” (Makoto)

“You are a person that rubs the heart wrong in every possible way . ” (Haruka)

“Depending on the situation, we—ah, right, now that I think about it, I haven’t properly introduced myself . I am the representative of the Kuzunoha Company, my name’s Raidou . This time around, I ended up getting this involved due to my connection with Sairitz-san and your daughter, Iroha-chan . ” (Makoto)

“…You…! …I am Osakabe Haruka . My daughter has been under your care it seems, Raidou . ” (Haruka)

Crap .

Looks like the timing of my self-introduction was bad .  

But you know, it would have been a bit creepy to introduce myself in the battlefield when there was no actual proper time for it .

“And so, it would be fine to have us investigate the perfume over on our side . But you broke through the charm of the hero on your own . What was the timing for it and what served as the trigger? I am personally interested in it . ” (Makoto)

“So this is not you asking every single detail about how I fell into the plans of the Empire?” (Haruka)

“I am not really interested in that part . Even if I don’t ask, your relatives will come later and push you to speak, right? …It is certain that it will become a fantasy telenovela . ” (Makoto)

I mutter out my true feelings at the end .

It unintentionally came out from my mouth .

“Huh?” (Haruka)

“No, it is nothing . And so, what was it? By the time I met you, you were already normal . Probably at the time you engaged your daughter, too . I see, around the time the hotel was attacked . When my employees, Lime and Levi, were buying time, or when you were pursuing them . ” (Makoto)

If not, Jin and the others wouldn’t have survived .

“Aah, so those two were your subordinates after all . They were way too strong to be Kannaoi soldiers . Even though they weren’t even people to begin with, I apologize for having injured them . ” (Haruka)

“It is a given in the battlefield . Don’t mind it . ” (Makoto)

“Even if you are a Company that can even perform revivals, aren’t you taking it too lightly?” (Haruka)

“The two of them are not dead in the first place . Levi couldn’t restrict herself and was on the verge of death, but the other one, Lime, is a pretty calm and composed man, you see . ” (Makoto)

“Impossible…” (Haruka)

“Hm? Then, does that mean it is not like you let them live?” (Makoto)

“It is true that the wounds I received in that battle dissipated the haze that remained in my heart like they were chains . I remember that while I was chasing after Iroha, there was a point in time when I was bathed in blood, and I regained my sanity then . ” (Haruka)

So it is not like Lime and Levi were the ones who got her sanity back, huh .

But the wounds she received at that time were an influential factor .

Is it simply wounds, or is a specific element effective? 

When she referred to being bathed in blood, she must mean the defense elites of Kannaoi, the time when she slaughtered the Shougetsu guy and the others .  

Tomoe revived them from a leg, from a shadow, or from a sea of blood; she complained, saying it was such a pain in the ass it felt like she did it to spite her .  

The amount of blood probably has nothing to do with it .

If you have to kill several hundreds of people to come back to your senses, it wouldn’t be a charm, but a curse .  

A power given by the Goddess definitely has a worse nature than that .

“By the way, are you acquainted with a person called Kougetsu?” (Makoto)

“It is one of the close-aides serving the Ministry of Justice for a long time in Kannaoi . Of course, I have also been helped out by him before . ” (Haruka)

Killing a person close to you, huh .

It sounds like that could be a trigger too .

I will investigate the battle of Lime and Levi, and I should at least investigate this as well .

“Hmm, helped out, huh . I see, thank you very much . Well then, we probably won’t meet again . ” (Makoto)

I now know about the execution without even asking, and I was able to learn more about what I was interested in .  

That’s enough .

“? Are you going to leave without witnessing the execution?” (Haruka)

“It was simply a coincidence that I was caught in this incident . Our business here has mostly been wrapped up already . ” (Makoto)

What’s so fun about watching a public execution?

I have no such taste .

But the words that came after had enough power to take away my willingness to leave .

“I think you should come watch . It will be the moment when Iroha will cut my head off, and rise as the new governor in front of the people after all . ” (Haruka)

“! Iroha-chan is going to cut off your head? What kind of joke is this?” (Makoto)


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That young girl will kill her mother? 

No no, that’s way too much of a weird personnel selection .

That’s way too cruel .

“It is by no means a joke . The head of the current Ministry of Justice, not only had his body break, but his heart as well . That person is already done for . And the one who led most of the outside cooperators that brought the situation to an end was my daughter, Iroha . ” (Haruka)

“…”

“A young coming head that charged into the battlefield for the sake of this land, brandishing the famed sword of a Wise that left his name in history . Being supported by her fiance too, she slayed her mother that betrayed her country . ” (Haruka)

“What’s with that . ” (Makoto)

“Don’t you think there’s no better story than to become the lead of a tragedy? And it is not that wrong . ” (Haruka)

“It is stupid . Even the Ministry of Justice should have their own personnel for executions, right?” (Makoto)

“Yes . Even if Iroha doesn’t have the ability to, she could order executioners to do it . But fortunately, that girl has Ein-Khalif, which is a katana that can easily cut off the head of someone . ” (Haruka)

That damn katana, huh .

A weapon with a will that was made from a method that’s heavily different from the regular methods of the elder dwarves .

It likes to eat dragons, and excellent weapons and armor .

In my opinion, that’s not a sacred sword, but a cursed sword .

When we were looking away, he ate the self-defense sword of Iroha-chan, and claimed Iroha-chan as his master on his own volition…

Aah, so that’s how it is .

In other words…

“I give you my thanks once again, Raidou . Thanks to you people, I am able to finish my life in the best form possible . ” (Haruka)

“…”

The family head that is bedridden because of a disease and even had his heart broken also pisses me off, but it normally would have been enough to have Iroha-chan order the execution of Haruka-san .

But because of our involvement and the fact that we solved it, the flow changed heavily .  

No, if the coup d’etat had succeeded, it might have split Lorel in two, which would have been the worst situation .  

It is really displeasing, but even though the current situation may not be the best, it is the better one .

Even if as a result, Iroha-chan will wear the title of family head to serve as decoration, and receive the best kind of environment .

“I am a doting parent, but believe me that I do feel a certain degree of wisdom in her to become a family head . It may be somewhat of a harsh lesson, but this is the last thing I can do as a mother . Iroha has accepted it too . ” (Haruka)

What’s with that ‘accepted’ bullshit .

Every single bit has been the convenience of the adults .  

What are the close-aides like Shougetsu and the others doing?

It is true that Iroha-chan acts more mature than her age gives out to be, and I don’t think she is unfit as the family head, but I think this and that are two different matters .

“Izumo-kun and a teacher like you managed to train her plenty well . This is a happy miscalculation . He is not lacking at all as a fiance . Iroha seems to also like him . She will most certainly be able to overcome her sadness with you people by her side . ” (Haruka)

For the sake of the family; Haruka-san and the people here’s sense of values can be summed up like that .

It feels like the Edo period .

I like period dramas, but when I witness it in person, it is painful .

Having the daughter kill their parent isn’t something you usually see even in dark period dramas .

More so because…even though Haruka-san is speaking with me in an insinuating tone like this, it is merely a byproduct .  

The core of it is that she is trying to make it look as if it is for the sake of the household, but it is actually her serious feelings as a mother wanting to leave at least something to Iroha-chan who she will be leaving behind .

And I just can’t handle that .

“It makes me want to see it even less . Well then, I will be taking my leave before the guards wake up . ” (Makoto)

Before I leave, I should ask Iroha-chan if she wants to come to Tsige .

…No, I honestly already know her answer .

But just in case, since I myself want to accept it too .

“…Goodbye, Raidou . ” (Haruka)

“…”

The final words of a person that is headed to their death .

I already had no intentions to return any words towards that feeling hitting my back .

“I can go with peace of mind now…” (Haruka)

She must have wanted to harden the image of Iroha in my mind as much as possible, which is what led her to say a variety of provocative things .  

It would have been easy for me to hear what she said after the ‘peace of mind now…’, but I purposely didn’t .

I left without looking back at the tatami room prison where the woman I won’t meet anymore is in .

◇◇◆◆◇◇◆◆◇◇◆◆◇◇ ◆◆

“What an unfortunate rain huh, Raidou-san? Could it be that you are actually a rainman?” 

“Vivi-san, why did you want to have a talk outside? If you had business with me, I would have gone to you . ” (Makoto)

“It is our motto that when a dispatch is decided, we move the matter fast . We plan on departing to Tsige evening today . ” (Vivi)

 “That’s fast! Isn’t that way too fast no matter how you think about it?!” (Makoto)

Right by the side of the Yaso-Katsui Labyrinth .

At the place where a variety of stores are gathered in front of the labyrinth’s gate, I was meeting with the top of the mercenary group .

Tomoe and Mio seem to still have a bit more things to buy; Hokuto, Shii, and Beren are also busily moving around .

And so, I accepted to meet her here alone .  

It is a negotiation where all the troublesome stuff has already been wrapped up, so there’s no problem with me alone .

“It is a request from someone who crushed us with power, and it sounds like it will be paying real well . We have gathered up the crew and we are plenty pepped up . We intend to let you have us protect or attack or whatever . ” (Vivi)

“Sorry about that…” (Makoto)

It makes me remember the battle with Aznoval-san the most .

Also, Pione-san which I overdid it .

It feels as if an estoc is stabbing me mercilessly .

“Ah, I wasn’t saying it out of spite, you know . We won’t be able to bring Pione in this one, but what affected the decision the most was that I felt that it is a good time to train in the wasteland . After witnessing the power of you guys, that is . ” (Vivi)

“Training . ” (Makoto)

“In between work, or when the contract is done . Even if it was the party led by an active duty Wise, we were overpowered to that extent and beaten up real good, so everyone is feeling down, you see . ” (Vivi)

“Uuh…” (Makoto)

“At the end, even the masters we respect from the bottom of our hearts lost, too . And so! As people living in the present, this is not the time to grow moldy in our narrow world . The morale is skyrocketing and everyone is boiling up . ” (Vivi)

Saying this, Vivi-san smiles .

Since I know the deep hatred of Pione, I would really like the truth behind that smile .

But the many words, which sound like she is saying this from the bottom of her heart as if she is enjoying it, made me somewhat give up on that .

Even if she is a woman that switches gears fast, even if she is someone that’s good at wearing a thick mask, she is a person that can lead a mercenary crew of that level .  

It is natural that someone like me can’t see through her .

“Fortunately, Bia—Ginebia-san said she will be transporting us there . We might arrive at Tsige around tomorrow night or the day after tomorrow . Can I ask the Kuzunoha Company to contact them in regards to receiving us?” (Vivi)

“E-Express delivery . I see, Ginebia-san . She had a teleport-like skill, right?” (Makoto)

Something-corridor, is what I think she told me .

“It is several times easier than going the normal way . It is also because we should be quick before our mood changes . ” (Vivi)

“Ahaha, understood . In regards to receiving you there, I will have us or the Rembrandt Company do it . ” (Makoto)

“Thank you very much . You have finally laughed . You were making a stiff expression there, you know . I can somewhat figure out why that is though . You must have heard something about the Ministry of Justice household, right?” (Vivi)

“For someone that’s normally cooped up in the depths of the Labyrinth, you get info fast . That’s a mercenary crew for you . ” (Makoto)

“You can say that . Regarding that matter, you should let things run its course . It isn’t something that you should stick your head into, Raidou-san . You have other things you have to do, right?” (Vivi)

“Tsige?” (Makoto)

“…Yeah yeah . Today is a day to celebrate the establishment of a relationship between Picnic Rose Garden and Tsige . In life, you gotta think about the plusses as you live or you will be crushed . ” (Vivi)

Haah, Vivi-san went out of her way to console me there .

How pathetic of me .

“Thanks from my side as well . ” (Makoto)

“No problem, no problem . In this country, the authority of men is stronger, but the scary ones are the women, you know . Like Haruka and Sairitz, and me . If you deal with them the regular way, you are gonna get exhausted, Raidou-san . ” (Vivi)

She looks like she is joking around, but she seems to be worrying about me .

As expected of someone that leads a group of people with strong individual traits, Vivi-san is also pretty bottomless .

Aah, the heavy feeling I have been shouldering since morning feels somewhat lighter now .

“I’ll be careful . It would be sad if I were to get exhausted . ” (Makoto)

“Yup yup, you have Tomoe-san and Mio-san after all!” (Vivi)

“…Did Rokuya-san put any weird ideas in your head?” (Makoto)

Good grief, that person calling others herbivore or late bloomer .  

I know that already . Because of that, I made Mio pass through quite the tough time after all .

“…In the case of you guys, weird ideas or not… Oh well, that’s how it is! Looking forward to working with you, Kuzunoha Company! We will have the members remaining here keep tabs on Osakabe Iroha-chan, so don’t worry . ” (Vivi)

“Vivi-san… We look forward to working with you too . ” (Makoto)

“There’s people like Noma or Yamato, and other dangerous folks who will be in the group going to Tsige, so no trouble will be happening . Rest at ease!” (Vivi)

“…Hm?” (Makoto)

Vivi-san waves her hand with the same smile as she returns to the Labyrinth .

It was okay till the part where we lowered our heads and said our farewells, but what was that last part?

Meaning that there’s a decent amount of people in that group who might cause trouble that will be going to Tsige? 

Well, that should be fine .

If Tsige were a calm and elegant city, it would be one thing, but that place -for good or for bad- is practically like a storm .

It is also a warring time .

Now then, they must have finished preparations for our departure .

Let’s return to the hotel .

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