Chapter 230: Great Evil
Within the vortex of soldiers, blood and bones, I stood. Every time I took one step further, my soldiers died easily. Every time I took another step further, the throat of the soldiers beside me screamed in pain. I kept going forward. I took one more step further. Every time someone died. This was the worst hell.
I wondered if this was all that necessary. My mind became hazy and my heart became tense. On this very moment, I saw the face of the old man approaching me.
Apparently, I wasn’t wrong. At least, my actions were outside the old man’s speculation.
After all, he would never show his face if everything was within the grasp of his hands. On the contrary, he deepened the wrinkles on his face as if something was out of his reach.
That was the reason why he now appeared on the front lines of the battlefield. In other words, it was the proof that the scene of the battlefield began to spill out of that old man’s hands. How splendid.
I opened my lips amid the blood-stained field of view. I felt my lungs bouncing as if they were upset.
「Hey, old man. Did you wash your neck with good ale?」
「What a foolish thing to say. I only wash my stomach with ale.」
Coming through the soldiers of the Great Holy Church army riding a horse, the old man…The enemy general Richard appeared. The gray armor shone well in the twilight.
To be honest, I thought he wouldn’t show up until the end. I managed to drag him out. All that remained was to cross this wall. I felt my eyes squinting.
「I’m going to push through…Richard. I can’t afford to kneel to your vinous ways forever.」
Yes, if I just clung to the old man’s teachings forever, I would never change. If I did so, I would only crawl on the ground and envy someone else.
Then, I had to destroy this wall. That was the only way out.
I held the treasure sword on my shoulder and put my right foot forward. The enemy was still on horseback. This sword would not reach him easily. But, there was something I had to do.
Richard must be killed here. If the general’s head flew, the morale of the soldiers would be greatly reduced. Hopefully, even a possible ambush would lose its function. For the Heraldic religion to find a victorious source, it was necessary for me to stop Richard’s heart.
Now that the Great Holy Church’s soldiers around him were still weak, this should be the greatest opportunity to kill Richard.
I put my strength on my knees and adjusted my sigh. There was a dull pain that tore off my legs. I managed to keep my voice intact from leaking pain, and I narrowed my eyes to measure the time to my upcoming jump.
Richard’s wrinkles were deep in the shadow. His expression seemed to bear some sorrow.
「You’ve crossed the path of no return. Lugis… 」
Richard’s voice was not the usual light, somewhat humorous voice. His voice emitted the majesty of a general’s voice, and of the person appointed by the Great Holy Church itself. It was a voice and tone which I heard for the first time.
I could even sense a tense air around. Then, Richard continued to speak, saying that it couldn’t be helped anymore.
「…Lugis, the Great Sinner. In the name of Richard Permilis, the Twelfth Hero appointed by the Cathedral, I declare you a great evil. Your sins will no longer be wiped out.」
Richard’s heavy voice echoed through the surroundings.
「Soldiers. The justice and the teachings of God are under my sword. Don’t be afraid to defeat the evil and prove our absolute justice!」
His eyes distorted. It was not a good development. It was rather bad.
At the command of Richard’s loud voice, the soldiers of the Great Holy Church regained the heat of faith in their eyes. The hands holding the spears and battle axes were not as weak as before. The enemy soldiers regained their strong will.
If they followed Richard’s order, the Great Holy Church’s soldiers would undoubtedly jump on us even if they had to lose their lives. Now they still had their feet rooted in the ground simply because they had been ordered to retreat.
I leaked a very deep sigh. Dozens of my prominent assault troops would die in a blink of an eye if the spears were pushed up by the enemy soldiers around them. And, of course, myself included.
I put all my strength into my hands holding the treasure sword. I spoke in a small voice to the soldiers around me.
「I give my life to you. So, give me time, just five seconds is enough. 」
It was like telling them to die. It felt like saving my own skin by asking them to earn time. This world was a selfish place that seemed to be born even if you hate yourself. Even if my ally stabbed me with a spear on my back, I wouldn’t question it. I would even take it for granted.
Nonetheless, they nodded and held their spears and swords, as if swallowed by my words. Everyone had scratches and dirt on their backs, and no one, including me, was safe.
It was strange. Why could everyone throw their lives away so easily? I didn’t know the reason why, myself included.
I adjusted my breathing quietly. Then, I aimed at my target just before the enemy soldiers jumped over here. Richard’s lips opened wide.
「At least, your death will be your salvation. Die here as a human being, Lugis…All soldiers, take the head of the great evil Lugis!」
The roar and barbarism of the soldiers reverberated through the battlefield like music. I bounced my legs as if I were to jump into it. My eyes were capturing the image of my former teacher, Richard.
In the Great Tent of the Heraldic Order, Saint Matia opened her lips, inevitably trying to kill the tremors of her fingertips. In front of her eyes stood an exhausted messenger who was about to kneel.
「Thank you for your hard work. You must rest now. I will not allow you to return to the front lines…Someone give him water and something to eat.」
While saying so, Matia ordered the young soldier to rest, since he still harbored the madness of the battlefield in his eyes. If she left him alone, he would go back to the battlefield again while holding such convoluted feelings.
After seeing the young boy soldier and the soldiers on the sidelines away from the Great Tent, Matia finally gritted her teeth. Matia felt her spine burning with flames, a fiery emotion that ended up engulfing every part of her body.
“…Yes, I knew it. Because you are such a person.”
The information brought in by the young soldier briefly explained the situation on the front lines. That information even told what Lugis would do from now on. It was really just a message of the current situation, not something that he asked permission for. However, that said information also burned the bottom of Matia’s belly.
If it was a time of crisis, he should’ve asked for help. Lugis’ attitude was just saying that he would try to do something by himself. Matia thought that Lugis finally learned to rely on other people, and yet, he did the opposite. Or did he say that this path was the only way to do it?
What came to Matia’s chest was not the feeling of annoyance or indignation. She just felt regret, a piercing feeling that oozed out of her lips.
Given Lugis’ nature, Matia knew well what could happen if he stood at the forefront. If something went wrong, he would surely throw his life away. Of course, Matia knew there was such a danger.
Nevertheless, Matia’s eyes distorted with the regret she felt by the fact that he had to be on the front lines. If she had matured as a Saint and did her job to the fullest, she wouldn’t have put too much strain on him. She wouldn’t have had to throw him into danger if she had done a better work.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. Everything that’s happening was caused by my lack of power.” Matia felt an enormous guilt.
Then, a feeling of self-reflection began to burn Matia’s heart even more than that.
“…And apparently I was still pampering him. But I will forgive him for being selfish, since he ended up facing the death zone by himself.”
Matia gave detailed instructions when Lugis headed for the battlefield. In particular, Matia repeatedly said that he was to never engage in any action that would cause him to lose his life, and if he decided to be reckless, to think about the soldiers around him. Matia stared at his eyes and took his hand, over and over again.
Nevertheless, he broke his promise. At the same time as Matia’s frustration over the safety of Lugis engulfed her heart, an indescribable fever began to rise in her chest. It didn’t seem like even Matia herself could handle it.
「…Ann. I’m going to the battlefield too. Bring the horse here.」
Matia, the heart of the Heraldic religion, rebelled inside the Great Tent even after she was instructed to avoid the bloodied battlefield.
Her memorable voice showed the strong position of her role within the Heraldic Order.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!