Chapter 142: Hammering Piles
Bruder’s voice echoed in the high-class tavern. A voice that naturally entered everybody’s ears, despite the surrounding tension. Bruder’s words were not very fluid but his tone had the power to change the atmosphere in the tavern.
Employer Lugis, the Steel Princess Vestaline, and the surrounding mercenaries. Everyone was listening to one person’s voice and nobody interfered.
「…In a situation where life is an ongoing battlefield, it seems that the relationship between men and women will deepen unexpectedly very quickly. That said, my mother was not a mercenary, but a village girl.」
Bruder murmured while his lips were twitching.
The woman whom his father loved soon gave birth to Bruder and became a mother herself. Indeed, it must have been a quiet and smooth sailing at that time. Bruder’s father managed to have a “normal” life after crushing and trampling on the lives of other people when he worked as a mercenary. He had a loved one, a family, and even a close friend.
Bruder’s father believed in love and salvation. For Bruder, those were mere ideals. Bruder honestly thought so sincerely. In fact, Bruder was happy when he was a child. He believed that everyone loved him, so he wished happiness to those around him. At that time, that was all that existed in the world.
“Ah, I had a very happy life.”
It would have been nice to live day by day with warmth. Bruder’s childhood was the happiest years of his life. He had plenty enough and never desired for more. Rather, it would be foolish to survive redundantly amid pain, wouldn’t it? Life was not always a sea of roses, but the small happiness Bruder felt back then was enough to brighten his days.
Naturally, the time of collapse had come.
“The village girl that my father loved was not loved by only one person. She was a beautiful and kind person. Many people loved her. And so did my father’s best friend.”
A nobleman rewarded the mercenary Mordeaux Gon for his achievements and appointed him as the village police chief. Bruder’s father was delighted from the bottom of his heart for his best friend’s new path with a wonderful and successful profession.
“And a few years after that joy…my father became a sinner and was thrown into a cold prison.”
“The charges were theft and murder in the village. Indeed, as a mercenary, it was reasonable to commit such crimes. Everyone thought so. I understood that too, of course.”
“The only one who thought otherwise was my mother. She was the only one that believed in his innocence. I felt confused at the time. And it seemed that my younger sister did not understand what a sin was. She only knew that she did not have her father by her side for some reason.”
Bruder explained that his father, as a mercenary, did not commit such sins anywhere except on the battlefield. “My father continued to appeal for his innocence until the end, but his voice was not heard, and eventually, the day of my father’s execution came.”
“My father, whom I saw for the first time in a long time, was terribly weary. And with a despondent face, he stared at his best friend, who held a sword against my father’s neck.”
On the day of the execution, Bruder’s family were at the front row. No, it must have been compulsory. A sinner’s family had to witness the end of the sinner with their own eyes. In the front row, Bruder listened to his father’s sobbing and screams. Bruder could feel the sin of his family within his flesh. A horrible torture. That was one of the rules in the village.
“My father did not die easily.”
Bruder explained. “The execution sword was rusted in order to give the sinner endless suffering. Such a corroded sword could not kill a person that easily. Rather, it bit into the flesh many times, smashed the nerves, exposed the neck bones, while the sinner was alive. An endless suffering before ultimate death.”
“Mordeaux swung his sword at my father’s neck over and over again. Whenever he lost consciousness, Mordeaux sprinkled water on his head to wake him up. He stopped the horrifying ritual until my father regained consciousness. Until the end, Mordeaux continued to agonize my father. I could not see Mordeaux’s expression because a helmet covered his head.”
“Then, at the end. When my father was about to die…he spoke to me. He said, while sobbing, weeping, and spilling bloody saliva from his mouth.”
…I am truly sorry. Vestaline…I leave her in your hands.
Up to that point, Vestaline’s fingers quivered each time Bruder’s mouth rang publicly. However, for some strange reason, Vestaline held back.
Someone portrayed Vestaline’s beloved father, Mordeaux Gon, as a villain right in front of her face. It would not be strange if she had hatred in her eyes.
The surrounding mercenaries held weapons that emitted a dull light, as if they had captured Vestaline’s resolve. The sound of someone’s throat rang unknowingly in the tavern. Lugis did not say anything at all. He just lifted his hips a little while staring at Vestaline.
「…How far do you plan to go with that fictional story?」
Vestaline’s shaking voice resonated in everybody’s ears. Her tone contained a color that rejected Bruder’s story in itself. It no longer mattered for Vestaline if this man Bruder hated her father or not. Vestaline felt that perhaps these men played with her heart.
She spit out the mud that had accumulated in her chest. Her voice felt cold as if a chain of curses wrapped her throat. However, that was it. Why?
Bruder’s voice echoed again, after Vestaline professed those words. Somehow, she could not stop Bruder from talking.
「There was no place in the village for us to live anymore. Without any help, we lived on the outskirts of the village, hiding in the woods. Then, that day came as if something awakened.」
Vestaline’s eyebrows convulsed. She wondered if she should listen to this voice. Everything was just a mischievous falsehood, and despite that, Vestaline could not profess the words to kill Bruder. During that momentum, Bruder uttered a few more words from his lips.
“Life in the woods was poor and miserable, but it was a quiet life. And when I started to think that my life was not that bad, another collapse came. Quite suddenly, as it had happened before.”
“Mordeaux Gon visited my place of residence in the woods that day. It was, of course, not to fix the old relationship. He came with the police force to question my mother’s crime.”
“I could not believe it. There was no way that my mother may have sinned. I did know and could not believe why Mordeaux accused my mother of such an impossible crime.”
For Bruder, nothing made sense. This man named Mordeaux was once his father’s best friend, and he was a close friend of his mother too. Mordeaux was a single man, but he was often invited to Bruder’s family house to eat with them at the same table. Bruder even considered him as a gentle uncle.
“When Mordeaux punished my father, I felt anger and grudges. I also felt sad.” But over time, Bruder thought it might be because Mordeaux was faithful to his job. Bruder and his mother believed that Mordeaux was not evil.
“However, Mordeaux accused my mother of an impossible crime that day. Her charges were fraud and adultery. Mordeaux said in cold words that she was having trouble with her daily life, deceiving good people and stealing money, and sometimes selling herself for money.”
It was an impossible scenario for Bruder.
“My mother had never approached the village by herself since we moved to the forest. She was rather sensitive when it came to the people of the village. I always accompanied her when she went to the village to buy a few necessities. She did not even talk to the villagers.”
“Impossible. Such a sin was impossible. But why did they accuse my innocent mother?”
At this point, Bruder realized how foolish he had been. He understood well that he had behaved like a merciful sheep that had faith in everyone and believed in kindness.
“…I was deceived. Not only my mother, but also my father. This man deceived everyone.”
“This man created my father’s sins. I can be sure of that.” At that moment, Bruder realized that there was an emotion that made his internal organs gushed up in his stomach.
“I felt excruciating feelings back then.”
The name of the pillager was Mordeaux Gon. This man was willing to take away his father’s life and his mother’s body. Bruder’s spine fluttered and a cold ice feeling crawled all over his body. Bruder knew that his father had been deceived and trapped. But why?
“I didn’t want to understand. I didn’t even want to imagine. Oh, but my brain searched for answers.”
Bruder knew that his father and Mordeaux were close. Nonetheless. Mordeaux had an unimaginable grudge in his chest, or a feeling close to it. Bruder felt that this ruthless man must have had immeasurable resentment in his chest even before Bruder was born.
Mordeaux opened his mouth on that tragic day.
「…You will spend your whole life in prison to repent for your sins. I will take care of your young daughter.」
On that moment, Bruder finally understood.
“It was not just my father whom this man had that grudge against. My mother was also the target. This ruthless man tried to take everything away from them, not just their lives.”
“Those were the hidden thoughts of this man, the pillager Mordeaux Gon.”
At this point, Vestaline reached her limit.
「…Stop. I don’t want to hear it anymore. Shut your mouth!」
There was a loud, hammering sound on the table. This strong sound filled the surroundings, and after a momentary lingering sound, the whole space was wrapped in silence. No one spoke. Everyone felt fearful of Vestaline’s anger.
Only one person did not care about her actions.
「Steel Princess, do you have any memories of your childhood? 」
Bruder’s voice naturally flowed amidst the fierce pressure that crawled in the ground. A frustrated voice responded. Naturally, it belonged to Vestaline.
「Yes, of course. I can prove that the words you speak are nothing more than lies. I remember to the point where my father Mordeaux went to the battlefield as a mercenary, clearly.」
“Yes, his story is fake. Yes, it must be. Because I remember. I grew up seeing my father Mordeaux on the battlefield and his brave back. He held a big sword and went courageously to the battlefield. The only memory of my mother was the warmth I felt when I was a toddler. But, I remember my father well.”
When Bruder heard Vestaline’s words, his voice became lighter somewhere.
「…Hey, Steel Princess. Let’s stop with the lies. 」
Well, Vestaline understood that her head had extreme heat, as if it were evaporating water.
“More than anything else, this mercenary is insisting on corrupting my mind. He wants my illustrious memories to be false with his deceitful words. It has been enough already. I do not care anymore. If I kill him here, those annoying words will certainly disappear…”
「You must be kidding, right? The time you speak about in your memories, was the time where Mordeaux Gon had the position of police chief. How could he go to the battlefield as a mercenary instead?」
“…I am going to kill this rude person.”
The voice that went down from the throat to the chest. Everyone could see Vestaline’s strong heart palpitations. It seemed that great pain struck her insides.
“What is this lowly human talking about? What is this foolish conversation?”
“No way. There must be a reason why I remember my father’s back. Because I was definitely watching him go back then. Yes, I’m sure I made no mistake in my memory. Maybe, what I saw back then was not the back of my father as a mercenary, but as a police chief. I am certain.”
Such endless thoughts swirled in Vestaline’s brain. What was true and what was false. There was a blank space in her brain that she could not understand.
「…I’ll ask you again, Steel Princess. 」
Bruder’s voice echoed in the high-class tavern. Bruder’s voice filled the blank space as if he spoke directly to Vestaline’s brain.
「Do you really remember your childhood? 」
Vestaline felt a needle in her heart…No. A bigger and sharper blade pierced her whole being.
Dear readers. What do you think of this sad story? Poor Bruder…Let’s hope Vestaline remembers her past.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!