And the last one.
Translated by mranon
Edited by OnionRings
Volume 2, Chapter 21 【Ties, Cutting】
The south of Aesha Continent, where Lechelle Kingdom and Souven Empire were situated, was inhabited by demons. There was no one living on Aesha Continent who was not aware of that. Demons came in all forms. While there were those that resembled monsters, there were also those that didn’t differ much from humans.
However, every demon possessed crimson eyes. Therefore, they were easily recognized.
The southern part of Lechelle Kingdom, where such demons and strong monsters resided, was called unreclaimed area. The country held history of gradually progressing reclamation concurrent with development. Presently, there existed several forts along the border. They served to prevent demons from flocking, and to defend against invasion from demons. In the past, the border existed further in as compared to now. (Translator’s note: Uninhabited area has been changed to Unreclaimed area)
As for the forts that served their purpose, following progress in reclamation, many laid foundation for newly developed towns. However, the rest of the structures were left as they were.
Disconnected from the highway and away from activity, it gradually moldered.
At one such place, where no one would come in normal course――two men were standing guard. Their attire was entirely black and their faces were concealed.
The men who were gazing at the sky, dyed in madder red, discovered a silhouette in the distance.
The men, who had wielded their weapons and had assumed a vigilant stance, stared fixedly at the unraveling form of the adversary.
Under the red of the setting sun, the greenish black scales of the scaled dragon were reflecting red here and there. The person astride the mount descended slightly away from the men.
Not minding the men, that person caressed the throat of the scaled dragon and praised it.
「Your ride was quite comfortable. Well then… Fall back since it will get dangerous now.」
「…Who are you?!」
Upon the man’s question, that person’s lips curved into a fearless smile as the person turned their face.
――Their skin was swarthy. Their silver hair was extending to their waist. Their body was clad in armor made from leather of only god knew which monster. Their hand was holding a dragon spear sharper than keel. On their back, a large bow could be seen.
Although their figure would garner compliments for their womanly beauty, the men voiced in surprise――the moment their eyes met.
The color of her eyes―― A pair of eyes that were far deeper than even the color of the madder red sky… Her eyes were emitting crimson light.
「――Is this enough… for an answer?」
「De… demon!? In… such a place… oi, inform the captain!」
「B-but… isn’t our opponent alone? We’re two. If we grouped up, what could such a woman――」
「What… did you just say?」
The demon-――Alba, almost gave in to the rage over the insulting remark of the other side. However, she thought something and held back.
「Abstain from killing as much as you can… was it? Seriously, what a bothersome request…」she muttered in a voice inaudible to the people in front of her.
With respective weapons in their hands, the men launched an offensive. One of the men who, similar to Alba, was wielding a spear, swiped.
Alba, who was confronting it, caught it with the spear of her own. The two spears *girigiri* gratingly screeched.
「Wah! Even though she’s a demon, with such a delicate arm… a… gugi, gi… 」
「…What, is that all?」
Even though the man was pushing the spear the best he could, he couldn’t advance an inch. When Alba’s, thus far unmoved, feet took a step forward――
A peculiarly shaped axe, thrown by the other man, grazed Alba’s nose. Had she not pulled her face back, her head would have been sliced. Without missing a moment, the axeman leant another large axe back, and was about to slash Alba.
Alba shook the crossed spear off and caught the axe strike. However, simultaneously attacking her from behind was the axe thrown moments ago. Although the blow was small, it grazed Alba’s shoulder and returned to the man’s hand.
「Hou… You can handle different types of axes at the same time, huh… Interesting. But――」
Saying so, Alba jumped back and gained a little distance. In pursuit, the two men simultaneously launched an offensive――As the spear was thrust out, the axe was thrown again.
「――Don’t think the same trick would work a second time!」
Upon Alba’s raising her hand, the axe flying through the air came to a sudden halt. Following a strong gust, the axe flew back. The man stared wide eyed at his own weapon coming back at him. while something red was gouged out, he somehow managed to dodge it. The thrown axe stuck into the stone wall behind him and stopped moving.
The axeman’s words paused right there. Alba slipped past the side of the spearman and cut the distance to the man’s, whose stance had broken due to evasion, bosom. Before he could swing the large axe, she kicked into the mid-section of his abdomen.
The big man’s body floated gently in the air. After rolling several meters, his body slammed into the wall.
「Gu… a, ribs…」
「What… was that? Isn’t this demon… too strong?」
Uttered the man who was wielding the spear while he stood dumbfounded.
「Over already? Why don’t you call your mates over for help?」
「Ga… ha, inform- the captain…」
Nodding, the spearman ran inside the building. Alba stared in silence.
「Ah, right. It’s fine to report… that a demon attacked——?!」
Alba was once again attacked with the projectile axe. The man, who had yet to catch his breath, grabbed the projectile axe stuck into the wall and threw it as feebly as his breathing.
Even though Alba safely dodged, it still managed to cut 2 to 3 strands of her hair.
「You’re a tougher nut to crack than I thought, aren’t you――but… don’t get ahead of yourself.」
She raised the dragon spear and swung it down with a lightning-esque force. It pierced through the abdomen of the man, who was leaning against the stone wall, and bored into the wall. By the time Alba let out an 「a…」 the enemy was already dead. As she extracted the spear, a pool of blood formed.
「As much as you can――wasn’t it? I’ll be careful next time. N? Fuahahaha… Am I not being too obedient… to that fellow? Even I’m a bit surprised.」
Saying so, Alba slowly set foot inside the building.
――Having received his subordinate’s report, Serdio couldn’t hide his unrest. Why would a demon invade this place? Considering demons and monsters occasionally slipped past the forts further south from here, it was hardly worth being surprised over.
However――why would a lone demon attack――this place――at this hour?!
A possibility suddenly crossed Serdio’s mind. However, he shook his head the next moment. A demon following a human being was just that unthinkable.
The threat of demons wasn’t any different in Souven Empire, and Serdio was well aware of it.
This left him with only two options.
‘Fight? …or take Marita and run away?’
Serdio and his subordinates were people who had received tactical training. Soldiers? They took pride in their skills which were not inferior to even excellent adventurers and mercenaries.
Even if their opponent were a demon, they could take them down if they teamed up. However, that was only if the said demon were average. From his subordinate’s account, Serdio judged the demon who came invading to be endowed with surpassing individual talent.
(Including me, there are about ten people here… We would of course not lose, but the opponent’s strength is not known. Here――)
Hence, Serdio chose the latter. Exterminating the demon was not what they had to give priority to.
After instructing his subordinates to restrict the demon――or to eliminate it if possible, Serdio rushed upstairs; to the room where Marita was being held captive.
「――Huh? Captain… what’s wrong?」
「Is there any problem?」
「Aa, you guys come with me.」
Serdio’s eyes rested on Ren and Rey who were on guard duty. That they would immediately move places was conveyed to them. Taking the locked up Marita and Logins, who was by her side, they would escape from the back. They planned on separating the demon from the mount beast.
「――D-demon? Why again…」
「I don’t understand either. I let the guys down there know of the rendezvous point. In case they killed the demon――」
While advancing down the moldering passage that had walls crumbling here and there, Serdio answered Ren’s question. While they were en route—a thunderous roar resounded downstairs. Concurrent with it, a violent shock as if something exploded shook the building.
Availing the opportunity while everyone was preoccupied――someone moved.
――It was Marita.
She pulled the short sword, from the pair of swords on Ren’s waist, out of it’s sheath . Without pointing it at her enemy, she put it on her own throat.
「Don’t come any closer!」
Uttering such words, she slowly retreated. Through the crumbling walls of the passage, she could peek at the beautiful sky dyed in madder red. It had been a long time since her lungs were filled with open air. Even in such a situation, she was seething with a refreshing feeling.
However… although she was now outside, she was far from the ground. If such a child as Marita fell from that height, it wouldn’t end in just a fractured bone.
「Don’t spout nonsense. Only a kid would threaten with something they can’t do. I don’t have time to play around with a kid――」
When Serdio approached Marita without a care, Marita shallowly thrust the short sword into her throat. A red droplet trickled down the short sword and plopped onto the floor.
Upon seeing that, Serdio clicked his tongue and spat the words toward Logins.
「Oi… didn’t you say such things wouldn’t happen? You’re not acting in tandem, are you?」
Despite Serdio’s saying so, Logins was unable to move.
The scene unfolding was too… too similar.
To how the girl’s mother let go of her own life――back then.
Over and over again… That scene replayed in his dreams and filled his brain to the brim.
When Phylia jumped to her death, what filled her eyes was not hatred. It was concern for her family… It was love. Therefore, Logins might have tried to protect what Phylia held dear in her dying moments.
Therefore, this time, he tried to catch the hand that he couldn’t catch that time. And for that, he knew he had to move… However, Logins’ hands and feet were trembling. They didn’t move as he willed.
The feeble voice that was meant for no one; the voice of Marita that was full of youth, resounded.
「It’s scary but… whom I was raised by; whom I always thought of the same way as my mother… Even if I wanted to hold a grudge toward Logins, I knew it would be impossible――」
Martia’s eyes turned toward Logins.
「――――For all this time… Thank you for looking after me… Goodbye.」
Logins’ inhibited voice was in vain as Marita resigned her body to the air.
Beating his shivering legs, he rushed over to catch――However, his hand couldn’t reach.
Exactly――like the scene that played over and over again in his dreams.
However, Logins, the body of whom collapsed in despair, clearly saw.
――A silhouette cutting through the air and galloping through the sky.
With a force strong enough to push air aside and create whirlwind, it approached the falling Marita.
Before the delicate body of the girl could crash into the ground, it caught her tenderly as if wrapped in soft wool.
As for it’s form, it was a monster with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion――It was a griffon. And mounting it was someone clad in a long robe――the face of whom couldn’t be seen.
「Is that… a griffon!? What is it doing in such a place? Don’t tell me… is that the demon? Ku… forget it, chase them!」
Serdio’s was justified in being puzzled. However, the one who was rescued, Marita, was just as puzzled.
She had resigned her body with a resolution to die. However, now that she had survived, fear took over her body.
Besides, she could not feel relieved yet for she had heard from Serdio that they were being attacked by a demon. If the man in robe was that demon’s companion――That is to say, if he were a demon, Marita couldn’t be said to have been rescued.
The terror of demons, Marita was aware of it from books.
Nevertheless, as to why such a demon would save Marita was a mystery… Wasn’t it?
「W-what do you want…? Why did you save me?」
It was commendable that she voiced her doubts even though she was frightened.
In reply to the question came the following words.
「Because I want to save you, of course.」
「Y-you… can’t be.」
Upon hearing the familiar voice, a hot sensation rose from the depth of her chest.
He, who should not be here, was here.
The strained feeling, until a while ago, gradually unwound… Before she knew it, tears were running down to her cheeks without an end.
The griffon alighted slightly far off the building. The man turned his concealed face to Marita and took the hood off.
That black hair and those black eyes, to the Marita now, looked reliable to no limit. That, again, black armor under the robe and that, again, black sword on his waist were all too familiar to Marita.
Although he was entirely black, the impression he gave off was totally different from that given off by those men in black.
The man in black, who was giving off such a sense of security, complemented his earlier words to Marita.
「…After all――Marita is a friend.」
This time, it felt as if something had melted inside Marita.
Dread, agony, strain, and whatnot. Everything jumbled up and ran off her chest.
The girl was finally able to say what she had been meaning to say.
「――Th… ank- you…」
Author’s note: Next time――『Rage』