Bouquets for the Maid and the Saint
Jochi the Hero was dead. But the arrow he unleashed remained.
And it didn’t lose any of its force as it went straight to my heart.
It was as if it was an extension of him. That’s what I thought as it pierced into my chest.
Upon seeing this, Eve and the other soldiers turned pale.
They shouted as they ran towards me. But I was still alive.
I had survived the last attack of the Hero.
Hijikata Toshizou was here now, and he looked at me and muttered.
“Are you some kind of monster? Or do arrows deal no damage to you?”
And so I answered him.
“I am like any other human. At least, my heart is.”
I checked my jacket pockets and took out the objects that were placed there.
The arrow hadn’t pierced my heart, but the wooden dog figurine and the book.
It was the presents from Jeanne and Eve.
The dog figurine was broken and the book had a hole in it.
Neither would serve their original purpose now. And yet, they had saved my life.
I recalled the words of the goddess.
They are the ones that will save you.
Choose one of the presents that they give you, and…
And so like that, her prophecy was fulfilled.
However, she was wrong about one thing.
She said that I had to choose one.
But had I only chosen one, I would have likely been killed.
Jochi’s arrowed had only been stopped because it was intercepted by both objects.
The dog figurine had blocked the arrowhead and the paper book had killed the rest of its force.
So in a way, her warning had really been a trap.
So in the end, it was good that I thought and made my own decision.
Perhaps it was necessary to never stop thinking. That was the only way to survive.
Such were my thoughts.
Now, as I basked in this unexpected good fortune, my men came in to make their reports.
Apparently, what remained of Demon King Zagam’s army had officially surrendered.
If possible, I wanted to recruit them into my own army.
Zagam’s castle would also be handed over to us.
All of the terms were agreeable.
Next, I learned about our casualties.
The damage was quite bad, but I ordered for the wounded to be brought back so they could be treated.
After that, I received a message from the lord of Decarbia castle, Kongming.
“Demon King. I see that you are unbeatable. I am reminded of old Yue Yi.”
Yue Yi was a great general of the state of Yan during the Warring States period.
Yan was a small state, but he took their army and nearly drove the great country of Qi to destruction.
In ancient China, he was a Hero like no other.
I felt a little embarrassed to receive such high praise, but I wrote him a letter none the less.
“Kongming, it is your work that is impressive. It is only because you were able to halt his invasion, that this battle ended in victory.”
I wrote my true feelings.
I was later told that Kongming smiled when he read the letter.
His fear of the battlefield had not been cured. However, I was glad to see that he was still as capable as he was before.
We stayed at Decarbia castle for about three days, and then returned to Ashtaroth castle.
Hijikata Toshizou was currently working to take back the lands that were invaded by Zagam.
Zagam’s army had fallen completely, and there was no way for them to possibly rebel. And so I doubted that Toshizou would have much trouble.