Chapter 40: Golden Crossroads
Garoua Maria. The training ground at the school.
These particular facilities were unpopular at the school. After all, magical research was conducted by using dolls made of wood and auxiliary tools for experiments.
Of course, this school was no ordinary school. The attendees were those with wealth or with prestigious backgrounds. These young people weren’t exactly interested in magic nor swordsmanship per se. Some of them simply wanted to earn the high-status of attending this prominent school. While others wanted to use the connections of this school to build relationships with the upper class. Therefore, most of the attendees didn’t put much effort in learning magic or swordsmanship.
Only one girl desired to gain magical talent. Besides her, another person also attended this school with a different mindset.
On a certain hallway of the school, a double-edged sword emitted a white light because of the reflection from the sunshine. Helot Stanley carefully wiped off the dirt of his blade. After he finished, he placed his sword on top of his scabbard.
*howling wind sound*
A breathtaking wind. The leaves carried by the wind cut through the rays of sunshine. The whole space vibrated with the power of nature. The strong breeze passed through his body and the scabbard. Eventually, the short gust of wind disappeared completely and the normal air reverted back.
Helot’s eyebrows wrinkled for a brief moment. He gritted his back teeth lightly, and then, sighed deeply. It seemed that today wasn’t a good day.
From the side, everyone knew that Helot was a very talented person. He didn’t have apparent flaws. However, his mind was troubled. No matter how much gifted and skillful he was. Those traits would be useless if his feelings were in turmoil. Moreover, Helot was a person who couldn’t leave behind the indecisiveness of his heart.
His physical body looked healthy. But, his muscles and skin showed some sort of a shivering reaction. Yes, the reason was his spirit.
Apparently, Helot’s troubled mind didn’t settle yet. The unsettling heart of his. There were many questions and deep thoughts running through his brain. It didn’t stop. These unhealthy thoughts continued endlessly. He tried to calm down. His golden hair shook as he placed the sword in his scabbard.
「What a spooky face you’re making, dear Helot. 」
Helot’s body suddenly jumped in surprised when he heard a voice coming from behind his back. Somehow, his troubling thoughts started to run wild on his mind once again. But, this distraction was good for his tangled heart.
「…Uncle, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. It’s quite rare to see you at this school. 」
This man twisted his neck with an indignant expression after he heard his nephew Helot’s unfriendly greeting.
「I’ve come to see you. Whom else do you think I came to see on this school besides you! 」
Helot smiled awkwardly after he heard his uncle’s bitter words.
Buckingham Stanley. This man was Helot’s uncle, a person who lived freely on his own. He was notoriously famous for his pranks. In fact, this man dropped out of the succession dispute from the Stanley family a long time ago. Afterwards, he spent most of his days living a free but lascivious lifestyle. Nonetheless, he was now involved in the diplomatic activities of the Stanley family due to external factors.
Yet, many people from the Stanley family disliked the easygoing attitude of Helot’s uncle. People whispered that he was a cunning man with a dishonest life that put a mask to deceive others. It was just rumors though, since many people unrelated to this family really liked this man.
Actually, Helot didn’t hate Buckingham. Yes, he was utterly ridiculous sometimes, but he was carefree and compassionate. No wonder that other people followed him dearly except from the members of his particular family.
「Uncle, I have one unreasonable question for you. Is a human being able of performing a true good deed with a genuine malice lurking in its heart?」
Usually, Helot sought his uncle’s advice rather than his strict and unapproachable father.
After escaping from the underground temple, Helot’s mind became full with troubled thoughts. Helot’s mind only thought of one particular person, whose identity was obvious. Lugis, the adventurer with green clothes who wasn’t good nor righteous.
Did Buckingham know the answer to that question? He sat on a chair on the training ground, and slowly touched his cheek. He responded after thinking briefly about it.
「Of course, it can. It’s a human after all. Contradiction is a feeling that is born with us. Sometimes, a human’s heart gets quite conflicted about which action to take. Isn’t that what we call human’s nature, Helot?」
Helot bit his lips after hearing those words.
He wondered if that was factual. No. Actually, that person was probably an opportunistic man. Helot narrowed his eyes while he bit his lips harder.
He imposed outrageous conditions on Filaret to his own advantage. What he wanted was self-preservation. However, after that, he was able to risk his life by exposing his body to burning flames in order to protect Filaret. It was a combination of bad and good actions. Helot inclined his head in confusion because he couldn’t decipher the contradictory behavior of that man.
If self-preservation was his top priority, he wouldn’t have sacrificed himself to protect Filaret. If self-preservation was not his top priority, why would he impose an outrageous condition on Filaret? There would be no real reason for this act if he wasn’t really seeking a self-protection of sorts.
“I don’t understand.” Helot couldn’t understand the real motivations of the man called Lugis.
「Helot, you should understand it just by looking at my situation. You know, humans are complex beings, and we usually follow complicated paths. People have passions, desires, hopes and goals in life. But, sometimes, these people experience conflicted choices and emotions. Some lose their way foolishly, while others change their destiny. It means that sometimes people make decisions that are completely the opposite of what they wanted originally. You see, not everybody is like you Helot. You were always a virtuous person. Someone who took the righteous path in life. Always with good intentions. Yes, always with an answer to what your mind desires. In fact, I’m jealous of you.」
The conversation sounded serious at the beginning. However, Buckingham finished speaking on a lighter tone and showed me his mischievous smile.
But, it worried Helot. That man’s actions were incomprehensible to him. Or the contrary. Perhaps, Helot was the one who couldn’t understand other people’s hearts. After all, he didn’t have the same problems as Buckingham described. It seemed rather common that humans had contradictory feelings. But, not Helot. It was rather simple for him. Most things were either with bad or good intentions. That’s how he lived his life until now. He never doubted his judgement.
Nevertheless, this talk. Yes, this particular talk. Everything sounded confusing because Helot viewed things differently.
「Yes, humans can only go forward with their lives if they are on distressful situations. God created us as annoying human beings. Okay! Let’s bless our God! I appreciate that you created me to be born on this malicious crucible! Yes! A malice that will haunt me forever! Ah, thank you!」
「…Uncle. Don’t say it like that. You mustn’t speak such heresy out loud. 」
“His speech was quite heretic. It sounded like his usual jokes. However, his eyes told me otherwise. It was as if he truly believed on what he said.” Helot thought.
Buckingham was a puzzling man. Was his words a joke or were they the truth? What were his real intentions? Helot thought that maybe his wife didn’t even understand him completely.
However, his unreadable personality was suitable for diplomatic affairs.
「I’m kidding. It’s just a joke, don’t worry. Well, then Helot. I have to go to Gharast Kingdom. That’s the reason why I came here in the first place. I thought of taking you with me.」
Helot narrowed his eyes unintentionally upon hearing his uncle’s words. It was too sudden to be honest. Before Helot could answer, Buckingham continued to speak.
「Recently, some strange incidents occurred around this area. My brother, who is the head of the Stanley family, can’t help but think that the next generation should get away from such a threatening place. Apparently, rumors say that the apostate people of the Heraldic Order, who should’ve fled to the east, are strangely showing up now.」
Buckingham looked into Helot’s eyes after he slightly moved his eyes in a weird way.
Actually, he didn’t suspect Helot at all. Rather, he didn’t even know what happened to Helot and his fellow companions. Helot immediately knew what these strange incidents meant on his brain. They were a group of armed men from the Heraldic Order, and a woman called Saint. It was clear that their unusual gathering and offensive stance seemed rather ominous.
Helot thought that he should inform his uncle of these people. Then, his uncle would be able to take this matter to the Gharast Kingdom to solve this problem. These dangerous people would be taken care of immediately. It wouldn’t be wrong to take proper measures now.
“But, if I tell him that, I won’t be able to remain here anymore. If that happens, I will be obliged to follow the path of my family immediately.” Helot Stanley became stunned when such words floated inside of his mind. It was the first time that he felt such confusion on what to decide.
Good intentions and justice. Helot has been walking on that path in his entire life. No crossroads, no doubts, and no confusion. Everything was done based on his righteous morality.
Nevertheless, this was the first time he faced with his own crossroads. He thought the following. “Will I speak everything here and now? Or, will I remain silent?”.
One part of his mind told him that he had to talk. That would be the most precise action to take. The one that defined the personality of the human named Helot Stanley. At the same time, he didn’t want to take part in the internal affairs between nations. He didn’t want to leave like this. Indeed. He doubted both of his options.
Two different wills clashed with one another inside of Helot’s brain. The will that was born from his good-natured personality of justice was competing with the will that his heart desired.
“Ah, what is going on? Is there a problem with me? Why am I wavering with my decisions? Is this what it means to be human?” There was a moment of hesitation. However, before long, Helot’s mouth opened slowly and he declared the winning decision.
「…No, I didn’t know about any of that, Uncle. Yes, if I recall correctly, there’s nothing noteworthy around here. 」
The will of his heart won. Helot thought that if this talk happened before he met those companions, he would’ve acted as he normally did. As himself. He wouldn’t make the decision to hide his knowledge about dangerous people. He would’ve chosen the path of justice.
But, his heart wavered. Something deep told him otherwise. He knew perfectly well that this was a shameful act called deception to cover the impulse of his desire. An impulse covered by the cloth of justice. Yes, a very shameful act.
Even so, Helot Stanley made a profound decision. Instead of goodwill and justice, he chose a different path. His desire to stay in Garoua Maria was stronger than his own righteous personality. He was finally willing to cast that aside.
Vol.2 COMPLETE! Thank you for reading this piece of s.. of.. this piece… of… this master piece with us. (EN: Actually, from the WN’s that we are translating, this has been the one that I’ve been waiting the most for the first draft, dunno, its growing into something interesting)
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