Chapter 77: In This Painful World (2)
The next day.
I was staying at Queen Carmilla’s old house in the town of Tarmine.
The walls and the floor were damaged because of the beast men, but most of the furniture was still intact. Seiya slept on a bed in one of the bedrooms.
Yesterday I cured all of his wounds with the power of my healing magic. After I put a cold towel on Seiya’s forehead, I left the room quietly. Thankfully, he was sleeping soundly.
In the next room, the Queen talked to a man that I’ve met before.
「John Dae. You’ve suffered a lot. 」
「No. My hardships were nothing special compared to yours, my Queen. 」
This man’s skin was dirty and brownish as if he were decaying from the outside. I didn’t forget who this man was. He was the General John Dae of Tarmine. The beast men made him into an undead. Moreover, Seiya and I fought against him during the enlistment test.
The Queen noticed me and introduced me to the general.
「This is John Dae. He was the right hand man of the late King. 」
John Dae struggled to put on a smile. He bowed to me in respect.
「Some circumstances made me into a state of a half-undead person. Please forgive me.」
「Ye…Yes! No…I mean…don’t worry! It’s okay! *laughs awkwardly* 」
I couldn’t look directly at John Dae’s face because I did something terrible to him during the enlistment test. He would beat me for sure if he found out that I was that fish-man.
「It seems that all the beast men escaped from Tarmine. The power of the evil god vanished when the Grand Lion was defeated. The abilities from all the other beast men reduced to about a tenth of their power. They were afraid of the hero’s counterattack.」
These beast men must’ve been very arrogant because they gained big amounts of power thanks to the protection of the evil god. Therefore, I was sure that it was pretty shocking to encounter a human being capable of surpassing the strength of their boss. Besides that, this same human managed to destroy the power of protection from the evil god in the process. Revolting against their new enemy wouldn’t be ideal. They would probably die immediately. That’s why they fled from this town one after another in a hurry.
The Queen smiled at John Dae.
「You were called the “Immortal General” when humans ruled this kingdom…Ironically, you’re now dead but you still didn’t die.」
Even though the Queen was joking, her face was full of compassion towards John Dae. He was probably a true warrior of his kingdom. His eyes overflew with tears. However, he turned his face away from the Queen because he probably didn’t want to show her his vulnerable state.
「The…There are a few humans imprisoned in the basement cells that were probably going to be used as food or toys! I will instruct the free soldiers to release the prisoners!」
John Dae payed his respects and he went out the room after closing the door. I heard him instruct the remaining living soldiers by the end of the door to safeguard the Queen. Even though he was an undead, he was still a respected general.
「…Is it okay for you to be here and not by your hero’s side? 」
The Queen asked that particular question when we were left alone. My real feelings came out from my mouth involuntarily.
「Well…To be honest, I don’t know what kind of attitude I should have when dealing with my hero.」
I laughed miserably at the worried Queen.
「I…I am a useless goddess, you know! I’m such an idiot! I’m always interfering with his plans! Even though he is a human being, he is much more levelheaded than me! He is wise and strong! I’m just a hindrance, and to tell you the truth…it would be better for him to go on without me…」
「…Miss Goddess. 」
The Queen interrupted my words as I spoke unhappily.
「The beasts thought that I was an iron-like woman who felt no pain. But, the truth is, I am a weak person that can’t even admit that my daughter is dead.」
The Queen looked at the door of the bedroom where Seiya was sleeping.
「Even that child is human. Being strong doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel any pain. I’m sure that this quest must’ve been too hard and too painful for him so far.」
「Pain…Painful? Seiya, you say? But…But, Seiya had lost all of his past memories! Besides, he said that his present self was different from his past self, and…」
「No matter how much he changed since then, he won’t be able to erase the fact that the outcome of this present world has happened because of his past self. “Regret”…“Guilt”…His heart is probably bursting with these frustrating emotions. Nonetheless, he knows that such emotions are meaningless to save the world; therefore, he is probably burying them in the bottom of his heart.」
The Queen had a very sad expression on her face.
「Tha…That must be very painful to endure. 」
After loosening her expression, the Queen smiled at me.
「It’s okay to stay next to him. This world is too harsh for a lone wolf. He needs someone by his side. You’re a fool and a clumsy person, but that’s all right. That is your own way of saving that child.」
「Bu…But…Seiya hates me… 」
Then, the Queen made a serious face.
「Even the Grand Lion was aware of something that wasn’t supposed to be known… 」
I stared fixedly at the Queen’s face. I didn’t know the meaning of her confusing words. As soon as the Queen reached the door, she put her hand on her mouth.
「Oh my. I…I’ve been speaking impolitely against you for a while now! I apologize for my rudeness, Miss Goddess!」
「Ah…no. That’s not true. 」
「I wonder why I am being like this. I feel at ease when I am around you. Maybe it’s because Miss Goddess took care of me when you were a fish-man.」
「I see…That’s probably right. 」
I stood up after laughing with the Queen.
「I…I will go see how Seiya’s condition is. 」
「Yes. Great. 」
Before I left the room…
「…Thank you, Mother. 」
The Queen didn’t hear my last word because I spoke with a lower voice.
I was startled when I opened the bedroom’s door. Seiya had already got up from his bed.
「Seiya!! You’re awake!? You should be resting… 」
「Hey. How long have I been asleep? 」
「Well, you slept all night long… 」
「I’ve made a mistake… 」
The hero gritted his teeth with a stern face.
「If everyone knows that I’ve defeated the Grand Lion, the Demon King’s subordinates may attack Tarmine in full force.」
Seiya grabbed his armor and sheath, and ventured out of the room in a rush.
「Wait…Wait a moment! 」
When he left the old house, Seiya put his hand on the soil of the garden.
「I’m going to put the earth snakes all over this town. 」
The soil on which Seiya put his hand on was increasing and moving violently. I was sure that Seiya created dozens of earth snakes. No, he probably created hundreds and hundreds of them.
「…I can see that you woke up. 」
Suddenly, I heard John Dae’s voice. He stood beside Seiya. Moreover, next to me was Queen Carmilla as well.
John Dae spoke to Seiya.
「I’m thankful that you defeated the Grand Lion and saved Tarmine. Even so. If you had saved Exfolia one year ago, nothing like this would ever had happened in the first place…」
While Seiya held his hand on the ground, John Dae approached him and grabbed his neck. The Queen changed her complexion then.
「John Dae! Calm down! 」
「No! I have a few words to say to this man! 」
John Dae stared at Seiya with a very demonic expression on his face.
「Why…Why…Why couldn’t you protect Princess Tiana!! 」
「John Dae…!! 」
Both the Queen and I were taken aback by his words.
…A heavy air surrounded us. Still, Seiya put his hand on John Dae’s shoulder.
On that precise moment…
John Dae’s feet were buried in the ground up to his knees!
And then, Seiya turned his back on John Dae, and continued to create more earth snakes.
「Wha…What the hell did you do!! 」
John Dae was deprived of his freedom by getting stuck in the ground because of Seiya’s earth magic.
「What the hell is this!! 」
John Dae used all of his strength to get out from the ground. Before long, one of his feet got out of the soil.
Seiya looked impressed, but he immediately touched John Dae again.
This time, John Dae was buried up to his waist.
「You…You bastard…!! 」
I thought that he wouldn’t be able to get out of there any more…
「Damn you!! I never give up!! 」
John Dae managed to pull his body out of the ground.
「Oh. Oh. 」
Seiya put his hand on John Dae’s head, who was rushing against Seiya with vigor.
*loud slurping sound*
After a strong sound, I noticed that the whole body of John Dae was swallowed by the ground with a tremendous speed! No…No! Actually, when I looked carefully, I saw that only his forehead remained above the ground!
「Se…Seiya!! We can only see General John Dae’s forehead!! He will suffocate!! 」
「He is an undead. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. Just let him be. 」
「But…But, don’t you feel sorry for him!? Poor general!! Just pull him out!! 」
After a while, Seiya grabbed the general’s hair and pulled him out of the ground. John Dae, the immortal general, was sobbing miserably.
「Ugh…! It…It was agonizing…! It was so dark and muddy that I couldn’t breathe properly…!」
Seiya stared at John Dae with a distrustful expression.
「Aren’t you an undead? 」
「It was really agonizing even if I’m an undead!! 」
「I put your forehead above the ground for your own safety. Then why are you like this?」
「Are you an idiot!? I can’t breathe with my forehead!! 」
The Queen’s eyes were white while she gazed fixedly at Seiya, who continued to make earth snakes despite John Dae’s complaints.
「Miss Goddess…What I said earlier was probably wrong. It seems that this child’s heart does not beat the same way as the heart of a normal human being…」
John Dae yelled at Seiya who kept creating earth snakes continuously.
「I don’t know why you’re making all of those snakes! But, your efforts will be futile if you think that those things can protect this place! If everyone hears that the Grand Lion has been defeated, then the Imperial Machine Corps led by the Machine Emperor Oxelio will attack Tarmine immediately!」
「Machine…? Oxelio? Imperial Machine Corps…What’s that? 」
The Queen explained the following after she heard my question.
「The Machine Emperor Oxelio is a demon that rules the north of this earth, the Baracuda continent. The Imperial Machine Corps consists of an army of powerful magical weapons called “Killing Machine” created by the Demon King. Rumors say that each Killing Machine is stronger than a beast man’s ability. Moreover, their number exceeds over tens of thousands.」
Mo…More than tens of thousands of magical weapons!?
In contrast to my shocking expression, Seiya was not distressed.
「I already knew about that information from the beast men in Tarmine when I was hiding my appearance. Since then, I’ve been thinking of ways to fight against that enemy.」
「That’s why I told you that creating those things would be useless. Muddy snakes won’t stand a chance against the Imperial Machine Corps…」
「Who said that I’ll use these earth snakes to fight with the enemy? I’m only creating them for surveillance…」
Seiya took his hand away from the ground. He must have completed the creation of the surveillance earth snakes. Then, he turned his gaze away from John Dae and stared closely at me.
「Lista. Open the portal. I have to return to the heavenly world in order to get ready to compete against the Imperial Machine Corps.」
More training coming up.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!