52 – Please, this hand…
The day after it all ended.
“Noir Papillon is gone then. Whether or not it is a good thing…the Count must be quite shocked…”
I nodded at Mr. Grafios’s words as we sat at the bar and drank—non-alcohol for me.
“Yes. Though, it seems like they don’t have a base, so it would be difficult to confirm it.”
Though, if corpses are found around the land, which have the butterfly tattoos, then it should be enough confirmation.
Even if we couldn’t know that it was all of their members.
“Since they now know that their leaders have the numbers tattooed to them, they will be able to identify them.”
“If all the leaders are dead, then the case is as good as closed.”
“But we still don’t know where that man went.”
“Holy Grail of Dawn, right?”
Mr. Grafios muttered as he tilted his glass.
Could it be that he knew something? But before I could say anything, a woman’s voice interrupted.
“So, Yukito. What you’re really concerned about is Iria, isn’t it?”
The woman who was sitting with us—A-Rank Hunter, Ms. Emily, asked with a chuckle. I scowled at her but then nodded.
“You’ve gotten in deep. Ah, could it be because of…”
“Quite rude to make such assumptions, Ms. Emily.”
Mr. Sylt added, but he was also laughing. I sighed and shook my head.
“Of course, I’m involved. She’s my student, and I also got in the way of her revenge.”
“But you don’t regret it?”
I nodded without hesitation. If I could do it again, I would. Even after knowing the results.
“Well, it’s quite rough. Suddenly having the target of all your hate…vanish like that.”
Mr. Grafios emptied his glass.
As if he had just remembered something.
Mr. Sylt was also reaching for his glass.
Ms. Emily looked awkward.
Did they too…
“Bah. When your occupation involves swinging a sword, you experience similar things, to various degrees.”
Ms. Emily said. And then she pointed to me while holding a wine glass in her other hand.
“There is nothing to do but get over it. You cannot rely on others. It is your own problem.”
It was true.
It might sound cold, but in the end, there was no other answer.
“You can run or avert your eyes all you want. That is one way of overcoming something. But dragging it, being imprisoned by it. That won’t allow you to move on.”
It was like she was talking about me. I drained my cup as well.
But a non-alcohol cocktail didn’t quite wash things away.
“Still, there are things that we can do.”
Mr. Sylt said with a laugh.”
‘Yes,’ Mr. Sylt nodded.
“There is only so much a single person can do. And so having someone who cares about you can make all the difference.”
“Sylt is getting corny again!”
“Please shut up, Mr. Grafios.”
“Actually, that was worse than usual.”
The other two laughed, and I joined them.
Still, he was probably right.
Just having someone offer you their hand. Even as a gesture, it meant something.
In the past, I had not noticed it. And so I was always alone.
However, Ms. Iria was surely different.
She had the strength to grab the hand of those who wanted help, and those who offered it.
“Ah! There you are!!”
A loud voice rang in the bar, and everyone turned their heads in surprise.
Kuro, who was under the table, also barked as if realizing something.
It was President Sherry.
But not just her.
Ms. Iria, Aize, Rev, and the other students who were in the tournament as well.
“Teacher Yukito. I told you that we should celebrate together!”
“Ah, now that you mention it…”
She did say that, right?
“You actually won, and yet you’re drinking in a bar like this…”
“Hey, that’s rude, lady.”
The bartender said with a frown. ‘Ah, sorry.’ She bowed her head.
Ms. Iria apologized as well, and then the bartender laughed.
“Pre-president. Wait a minute. Is that…”
“Behemoth and Windrose…! Amazing. Two top hunters are here.”
“Ah, I’ve seen that silvered-haired guy in a magazine! They called him the smiling nobleman…”
Said one of the female students, and then Mr. Grafios and Ms. Emily spat out their drinks.
Mr. Sylt turned very pale as they laughed.
“He-hey! Stop that! It’s not like I chose that….”
“Hehehe… Well, that’s just how it is with nicknames. Don’t worry about it.”
“Hehe…yes. Some magazine editor decides to get creative, and then it spreads before you know it.”
They were still laughing.
After that, Mr. Grafios continued to make more suggestions. ‘What about Smile Prince?’ ‘No, Mr. Angel Smile.’ And Mr. Sylt slumped down in defeat.
“Um…sorry. It was my fault…”
He did not even have the energy to absolve her.
Still, she let him know that she was rooting for him, and he smiled vacantly and thanked her.
I see. A nickname. Hunters did have it hard.
“Teacher. You’re acting like this has nothing to do with you, but they call you the Black Sword Master.”
Iria said with a chuckle. I stared at her, wide-eyed.
And then Ms. Aize nodded.
“Yes, I heard it too. That commentator said it.”
“That woman. I won’t forgive her for this.”
Especially since it sounded so lame.
“Well, you’re now one of the most famous people in the empire. So it’s no wonder you would get a nickname.,”
“Ultimately, you dominated in the finals as well. It was a bloodbath. As a commentator, she was probably annoyed at how short your fights were.”
“Besides, your name isn’t even bad. Better than mine.”
“It is bad!”
I reject it completely! Yes, I will protest with a phone call!!
“Sherry, I’m hungry.”
“Ah, that’s right! Everyone, we might as well just celebrate here then! Mister, I’ll have some roast beef!”
“…Damn it. As you wish…”
The bartender looked a little annoyed as he began to prepare. Ms. Aize’s eyes were glued to his back. And then Ms. Sherry opened her mouth as if suddenly remembering something.
“Though, Teacher is more of a ‘Sword Saint’ than ‘Sword Master.’”
At that, everyone seemed to freeze for a second.
“Nah, young lady… That would be trouble.”
Said Mr. Grafios. And then Sherry looked at him with a puzzled expression.
Apparently, she was the only one who was clueless, as the others nodded in agreement.
Sorry, I didn’t know either.
“In the empire, no, the whole continent, there is only one person who can be called Sword Saint.”
“The old master, Jin Raido. Just once, I would like to see him.”
“He is said to be the greatest sword fighter in the world.”
“Indeed. There is no end to the old master’s achievements. He is a legend. Anyone who dedicates their life to the way of combat knows who he is.”
Mr. Sylt nodded at Ms. Iria’s words.
He must be a very great man.
“…Well, I would like to meet him too.”
“Perhaps you will.”
Mr. Grafios sid with a grin.
All eyes turned to him.
“This is off the record, but there is a rumor that the old master is going to show up at the tournament.”
“Is that true!?”
Rev stood up from his seat. The others all stared with wide eyes.
“If it is, this year’s tournament will be like no other.”
Everyone suddenly looked very excited.
This was someone they all looked up to…
If I could meet him, I wonder if he would agree to a match?
After that, we continued to celebrate. Everyone drank and talked to their heart’s content.
Even if they weren’t the Sword Saint, Rev had been nervous to be in the company of such respected A-Rank Hunters. Ms. Aize continued to eat the mountains of food, while Ms. Sherry…could not stop laughing. Was she drinking?
Called Ms. Iria suddenly, as she sat next to me.
But her eyes were not looking at me.
Her attention was on the others, who were laughing. As if she was looking at something very bright.
“I think that it’s because of you, that I was able to return to this place.”
She said with a smile.
It was so beautiful that I was captivated for a moment.
“I…have to become stronger. So that I can beat Ms. Aize.”
—The flames of revenge had not been extinguished.
Perhaps they never would be.
Even now, they blazed inside as lasting pain, and would continue to be in her heart.
But she could still laugh.
Much stronger than me.
“…The fight. It was a close one.”
The exhibition match between her and Ms. Aize. It really had been on equal footing. Until the last moment, it was so close that everyone watched with bated breath.
Ms. Iria, with her sword’s precision and speed, as well as her ice magic. While Ms. Aize had fire magic, strong attacks and the reach of her spear.
In the end, Ms. Aize had won.
She saw the opening that was a result of tiredness, and she took advantage of it.
“It was a very good fight.”
“I’m glad. …Your opinion of it means the most to me.”
Suddenly, I recalled Mr. Sylt’s words.
If an extended hand could help save someone.
Had my hand been able to help Ms. Iria?
Ice clinked as I drained my glass.
And I smiled back at the girl who sat next to me.
Chapter.1 Sleeping in the Rain.
Thank you for Reading
To be Continued Next…
Cover for Volume 2 of the light novel.