The magic that the knights released towards me was a direct hit — or so I made it seem, before hiding my figure.
From behind my cover I could hear a voice cheering “You did it!”, a standard ‘you didn’t really win’ flag.
I was almost tempted to reveal myself again and say something like ‘These kind of things are fun, aren’t they?’, if it wasn’t such an idiotic thing to do.
“Still, it’s not over yet, right?”
While steadying my breath, I cursed while saying so to myself.
I was somehow able to prevent that attack with the R-guard, but it wasn’t perfect, and this is only the fourth battle.
I’ve been fighting fifteen-man platoons one after another as six black clothed guards follow me while capturing imperial soldiers.
The Order is tough. One-on-one I’m confident that in a hundred rounds of battle I can win a hundred times.
But each one of them has refined their offense and defensive capabilities to around the same level as Robinson and co. If they didn’t, then all their team battle training that they did with Cody’s unit would’ve been for naught.
If I could fight back, then it would’ve been different. It’s hard getting through these battles while only sticking to evasion and defense.
“Harold-sama, we have completed the capture of the targets.”
Finally, the report I was waiting for had arrived.
The black clothed group seems to have sustained injuries in this battle. Seeing their figures, I swallowed the words I wanted to say.
They’re doing the best they can, it would be a mistake to reprimand them now.
After this, it’s time to start interrogating the captured soldiers.
I didn’t have any special negotiation techniques or anything, but I didn’t have to resort to violence either.
By using the Original Knowledge, I acted as though had gotten information from their comrades, and threatened them I had other ways of getting more information.
There wasn’t enough time to interrogate all of them, so I chose the ones I thought would break the easiest, but five out of nine actually cracked pretty easily. I guess that they assumed that if they already had a traitor amongst them, then it wasn’t so hard to betray their country themselves. There was no point in endangering their own lives to keep already exposed information secret.
Honestly, most of the information they gave me I already knew, so I didn’t really care too much about it. The important thing was getting them to confess what they knew. This way we can get the soldiers to stand in testimony and avoid the persecution of the Star Aria Tribe.
Our main objective here today is to delay Justus’ plan, even if it’s only by a little.
However, as I thought about such things, bad news suddenly came in.
A black-clothed messenger came running in through the foliage.
“It an emergency! We have confirmed that the enemy has brought reinforcements in, their numbers have reached about two hundred, and they’ve begun an assault on the Star Aria Tribe’s village!”
“Damn it! What’s the status of the battle?!”
Hearing that the imperial army would decide to use such blatant actions was outside my expectations, I needed information on the battle to assess the situation.
We had eleven black clothed personnel, including Yuno, on their way to the Tribe’s village. They were giving support to the Tribe’s members who would be fighting against the Sarian soldiers.
“We’re currently holding them off, but we can’t take much more! Their reinforcements are of Division Commander-class!”
I know. It was impossible for them to beat the Sarian soldiers, but if they could just hold out until I get there…
The personnel we have stationed there were just scraped up together at the last-minute, there’s no way for them to hold out if the enemy received reinforcements.
Moreover, to be hiding a unit of Division Commander class until now, there’s a chance that this might’ve been their goal from the very beginning. The fact that it’s led by a Division Commander only further rectifies that as the truth, since units led by any officer from Lieutenant General to Major General are usually used to fight on the front lines.
I wonder if this was Justus’ doing. A dark premonition was crawling up my spine.
There was a possibility, but there wasn’t enough time to think about it.
“Bastard, lead me to them. Keep us at a pace that’ll make it hard to be tailed so we can make it to the front lines of the battle.”
Still, there should be about a hundred knights there. Though that number should be cut a bit with some being incapacitated from injuries.
I would’ve preferred to have the Sarian soldiers eliminated in secret but it’s too late. If I don’t act now, Yuno could be killed.
In the worst case, the power of the relief team that Robinson is a part of will be necessary.
A bitter feeling was welling up inside me from how this was developing. I felt impatient, helpless even, at this sudden change.
I kicked at the earth again to increase my speed.
◇ ◇ ◇
I’ve been wondering for a long time.
That moment when Erika found out about Harold’s true intentions three years ago… was Harold truly not aware that Erika was hiding in the room?
I don’t think that Harold, who was aware of me spying on his training, would overlook Erika hiding nearby. Just the other day, he even detected our presence that we tried so hard to conceal that evening.
It can’t be a coincidence. He would’ve been more careful with what he talked about if he wanted to keep what he said a secret. Therefore, it’s only natural for me to think that Harold leaked that information on purpose.
I can’t read his true intentions, which only strengthens my reasons to doubt him.
Thinking about it, maybe Harold wanted me to grow suspicious of him from the very beginning.
Because it was that very suspicion that led me to eavesdrop on his discussion with Tasuku at that time.
Perhaps even that information was released only because Harold intended to do so.
The moment the words “Star Aria Tribe” left his mouth, my entire world was shaken.
At that moment, all of Harold’s actions which I felt were suspicious until now, all became connected by a single line.
He might’ve known about my true birth and past. That of a half-breed who was abandoned soon after birth, someone whose life couldn’t even considered ‘humane’ anymore…
Harold cannot be measured with common sense, for if he could, I wouldn’t be so surprised.
What if he knew everything and led me here on purpose?
(Maybe I should be grateful…)
I can bear tears from how happy I am now. If I wasn’t saved by the Sumeragi family all those years ago, it would’ve been impossible for me to live like this.
But there was still one thing I regretted when I left my previous life.
Even if they didn’t mean anything to me, even if it was for a job, I took the information of where the Star Aria Tribe lived and sold that info without hesitation to a man who would exploit them. I still have nightmares about it even now.
As a result, the hidden village of the Tribe was destroyed.
For selling out my home, I received a meager pay that was barely worth anything, and when I looked into what happened, I learned that many children and youth had died in what ensued.
I am one of the worst human beings, I won’t deny it. I have the consciousness to accept that much.
After entering the Sumeragi Family, I went and visited orphanages whenever I had spare time, and began to provide support to help the lives of all the children there. It was one of the only ways a criminal such as myself could atone for what I did.
But those thoughts didn’t disappear. Selling myself as a beast only to serve others, I truly wondered what was the point of being alive…
Then I heard the news of how the Knights and the Tribe were going to get caught up in a huge battle, and Harold’s plan to stop it.
This was something I never would’ve found out unless I suspected him, and there’s no way I could’ve ignored this.
I went straight to Tasuku afterward and asked him, begged him for permission to join the personnel that was to be dispatched. Erica, who knew about my past sent me off with mixed feelings since she knew the danger of the mission.
“Make sure you come back, okay?”
Erica’s words were so cheerful that it was hard for me to notice any difference from her usual behavior.
This is the place I truly belong, I really felt it at that time.
(Those two are surprisingly similar, aren’t they?)
I thought about such memorable things in a haze.
Erica, who pushed me to come back alive.
Harold, who ordered me not to die without his permission.
I’m so sorry that I can’t follow through with your words.
Erika will surely cry.
I don’t know how Harold will react though, maybe he’ll just laugh it off sarcastically like usual? It almost felt natural, in a way.
Perhaps Harold had grasped signs of this raid incident happening while he had his suspicions about me three years ago. I feel like that’s the case.
I was probably just moving in the palms of his hands, securing the foundation of them.
At least I’ll fulfill my role in them to the end. This is the only way for me to atone for my past.
I held myself, doing my best to put power in my limbs as I glared at my opponent, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t move my arm for some reason.
“What’s with that rebellious look of yours? You don’t seem to understand the situation.”
Standing before me was a giant of a man, wrapped in gorgeous armor that was decorated with gold. An unnecessary decoration for the battlefield.
The men standing around him were probably his subordinates.
Opposing him was myself and one other member of the black clothed group. Everyone else had already been struck down.
This battle had grown into a hopeless situation.
The giant approached while cracking his neck, and pulling a large sword from its sheath.
“I don’t know if you have some hidden spell or something to stay that cocky, but with those hands of yours like that, it’d be best for you to just give up resistance now and accept a quick death.”
The giant, who until now overpowered us by using magic that we couldn’t possibly cast, decided to use a much simpler and easier weapon for the finishing blow.
There’s no way for me to survive if I were to be slashed with that. Far from a flesh wound, I’d be cleaved into pieces.
“…I can’t do that~ …because I have a mission that I was told I had to fulfill until my last moments~”
“How admirable. Now return to dust.”
And so the giant’s sword descended on me at full force.
But the attack never reached me. Right before it happened, someone got in between myself and the sword at a speed that almost felt like teleportation.
For a moment, I couldn’t understand what had just happened, that I had just been protected. Stunned, his name unconsciously fell from my lips.
His timing was perfect, as a shield for the weak, this was truly the way heroes were supposed to be.
Translated by KuroInfinity. Written by Izumi (泉).
A/N: I might change this, but maybe not.