The Day That I First Killed A Man
With a flash of dark blue, the bandit’s torso goes flying. A shocking amount of bright blood sprays from the stump. The sensation is very different from when I cut through monsters, and I immediately feel my stomach turn and I have to forcefully suppress the urge to vomit. I keep moving forward, as if turning my back on reality.
I felt like I was the one who was about to fall. I had been murdered myself, and here I was now, killing others. Even if it was to protect myself and others, a certain self-loathing and despair now clutched my core and would not let go. It would not release me.
“You! You little shit!!”
One of the bandits looked at his fallen comrade and charged at me with an expression of unconcealed rage. I used Legs of the Forest Wolf to jump in the air and avoid him. And from that position, I used the momentum of my fall to slash down. He tries to block the attack with his sword, but it’s no use, and his blade shatters upon impact.
His groan is almost inhuman, like a ghost. I was finding it hard to maintain the mentality that all of this served a purpose. No matter how much I tried, tried to switch gears, tried to stop thinking. It was what it was.
I couldn’t shut down. I wasn’t prepared for this. And so I swung my sword with the sole intent of defending myself. It was the right thing to do in a way. However, I couldn’t stop seeing it as wrong.
‘Unnecessary killing is evil…but that is why this is necessary…it is necessary…’
I repeat Daniela’s words in my head in order to stay aware. I held onto those words as I continued to swing, and eventually, there was no one left standing, except for Daniela and I, who were both drenched in blood.
I couldn’t hold it back any longer, and it all came rushing out of my gut. The truth of what I had done. The truth that I had killed.
I crawl away on my hands and knees as if escaping from that weight. And the first thing I met as I moved away, was that severed torso of the first bandit I had killed.
I heard her voice, but that was the last thing I heard as I lost all awareness.
□ □ □ □
“I am sorry, we should have helped you sooner…”
“No…please… It is a miracle that I am still alive like this…”
The girl in front of me had tears in her eyes as she held a man whose chest had been pierced by a sword. Likely her father… He had apparently been stabbed before we arrived. The girl looked up with glistening eyes and bowed.
“Thank you, for saving me…”
“It is fine. Are you hurt?”
“No, I am fine… Is, is your companion alright…?”
She said with uncertainty as she saw his face as I carried him.
“Aye. Today was his first time killing a man… It was an unavoidable situation, but it was still a lot for him. I think that his heart could not take it. However, he is a strong man. He will surely recover.”
Yes, Asagi. The man that I loved would surely become well again.
Asagi had come from a world that forbade any killing. He had been nearly broken from just killing monsters. He had held onto those words that I had given him, about needless killing being evil. So what would happen when a man like that killed another man? The answer was obvious.
And so I had planned on accepting a bandit suppression quest one day. It would be a day when Asagi had grown completely accustomed to this world, when his heart had become strong. However, when bandits had appeared in front of us like this, I could not turn a blind eye just for his sake. I pulled out my bow and so pulled him into this fight.
Asagi’s heart is still weak. He has only recently grown accustomed to the act of ending a life. And those have only been monsters. It is a foreign mentality for me, as someone whose parents were killed by monsters, and as someone who has made a living off of hunting them, but I can understand it to a degree. After all, I fear dragons. And there will come a time when I must overcome that fear. When that time comes, I hope to have a stronger Asagi there, protecting my back as I challenge the beast.
“I understand…I am so sorry, just for us…no, just for me…”
“Do not be bothered by it. A life has been saved. Asagi will be happy about that.”
As one travels, being fooled by others is, well, common. I am no exception. There were even times when my body was nearly defiled. And in those times, I have killed people.
That feeling, when you desperately stretch out your hand, grasp that shortsword and plunge it into your enemies chest. It hits against hard bone. I remember frantically taking a second stab. Those memories will never disappear. And if they will not disappear, you must accept them.
Those were necessary actions taken to protect myself. I had to do it. It was their fault for tricking me. I killed because I was about to be killed.
I averted my eyes like that for a while, but the feeling of guilt took a strong hold of me and would not let go.
And so I accepted it. All of that happened. However, it is because of those actions, that I am here today. Because of those actions, I was able to meet him.
I sincerely hope that this child who survived will become a salve to ease his heart. Not I, who is loved by Asagi, but the girl who he helped. She is the one who can save him.