Chapter 47 – What Remains Within A Sword
The man ran desperately in the forest.
(Damn it. What the hell…!)
Prickling pain grew sharper over his pierced back. Blood ran, and it had started to rain. He could feel his strength seeping away.
…After being stabbed by Iria and kicked, he was still alive.
The moment he rose, he detected ridiculous magic energy, and so he dropped everything and ran.
“Tsk. Why is this happening to me…”
He grumbled as he ran into a grove and stopped the bleeding.
It was not a deep wound. As long as he used magic to close it, then he would not die.
However, the lost blood would not come back. And so it was with unsteady steps that he moved through the trees.
The oppressive rain continued to rob his body of warmth.
“What the hell…shit.”
He did not understand what had happened.
That woman had likely been after revenge.
However, he thought that it had nothing to do with him.
After all, he was new, and had only joined the organization a few months ago.
And so he had no idea about her wanting any revenge.
He sat down in the shadow of a tree and sighed deeply.
Surely this was far enough that he would not be pursued. He could then ask the shadow doctor that he usually visited, to treat his back… It was as he was thinking this that he heard a strange crackling noise.
What the—the trees were frozen.
Even the tree he was leaning on started to freeze, and scrambled away.
However, he was too exhausted.
When he looked up, a woman was there.
With sword in hand, and half of her body frozen, she had all the appearance of a ghost.
He screamed desperately. This was the only way he could get out of this now.
“I had nothing to do with it! I’m new! Your revenge has nothing to do with me!!”
One step. And then another.
The ice crackled as she walked.
“Please!! I’ll do anything! I’ll tell you everything you want to know about that man! And so…”
She raised her sword.
And then swung…
“That’s enough, Ms. Iria.”
His death was approaching.
He had been so sure of it, but it was delayed suddenly by a single man.
◆ ◇ ◆
When I arrived at the house with the help of Kuro’s sense of smell, it was completely frozen and collapsed.
It was a good thing we found it before the rain washed away the scent, but…
I could sense the dense magic energy in the air. Even though I was no expert in magic, I could tell that something great and powerful had been unleashed here.
Dreading the worst, I frantically looked through the rubble, but there was no one there.
Not even a corpse.
And then Kuro started to bark, as if leading me to a nearby grove.
When I searched in that direction, I sensed someone’s presence—and the same magic energy.
Kuro barked loudly and then began to run.
I followed after him, rushing into the trees.
And then—I finally saw her.
She was about to strike a man on the ground.
“That’s enough, Ms. Iria.”
I blocked her blade with my sword, and then looked at her.
…Ms. Iria. With ice covering half of her body.
Her chilling eyes stared into the man piercingly, and then she turned to me.
And she was clearly shaken.
“Ms. Iria. Everyone is worried about you. Let’s go.”
She did not answer.
She just looked down, sword in hand, her whole body shaking. And then with quivering lips, she spoke.
“Why…did you come, teacher.”
She sounded so weak.
“Please move out of the way. This man. My brother…”
I answered immediately.
“Now after I’ve seen you cry like this.”
As the rain continued to pour around us.
Tears froze as they ran down her cheek.
“…I know it. I know that it’s wrong, but…!”
“Still. I can’t…I just can’t let it go…!”
I did not answer. I could not answer.
Everyone had their own idea of right and wrong.
There were people who could only find peace in revenge.
“I won’t move.”
“Get out of the way!!”
Her voice cut through the air, and a frozen droplet of rain slashed my cheek.
But I didn’t move.
Her wail tore through the rain.
The icy magic energy causing a storm of madness.
Her sword swung down then.
It was so unskillful, and nothing like her usual swing.
And so I just closed my eyes.
I only hear the sounds of the rain.
Her sword stopped just before cutting open my throat.
I could feel the cold air pouring from the sword. It crackled and frost covered my skin.
Her face was terribly distorted.
Tears continued to fall and freeze.
She asked in a raspy voice as she shook.
“I…for this moment. All of this time…”
Why had she wanted to become stronger?
After watching her, fighting her, there were things that I knew.
It was said that her sword was just like her brother’s.
Did she want to use his style to avenge him?
“There is no way that it was for revenge.”
I knew, as someone who had pursued the old man’s sword.
Her sword was straight. Beautiful.
—Because that was what he was to her.
She wanted to be like him. That was why she trained.
I reached out and took Ms. Iria’s hand.
It was terribly cold, and shook as if fragile.
“Right now, your brother exists only within your sword.”
And so I cannot allow it.
For you to use that sword in such a way.
To see you you cry like that, as if you have given up on everything.
“And so to use that sword for revenge, isn’t it you—that hates it the most?”
That was why she cried.
The sadness was stronger than the anger.
The sword slipped from her fingers.
The sword fell to the soft ground without making a sound.
I caught her as the strength left her body, and she fell forward.
She was very cold, and her shaking hand clutched at my clothes.
The rain was growing harder, like a squall. It erased her wailing and everything else, washing them away.