The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 221

 

Agony had no idea what the 'Alfrina Strait' that Santos mentioned was like.

However, he did at least know that boats went there.

Their voyage had already begun.

A few days after the S.S. Men of the Sea pierced through the storms, the fierce winds calmed, and the sea became tranquil.

“Pupu! Hold on a second!”

“Puppuuu!”

As Pupu came to a halt, so did the S.S. Men of the Sea.

The ship had really come to a stop in the middle of the sea despite putting the sails up.

[Why? What’s wrong?]

Agony asked Santos what he was up to.

It wasn’t because it found Santos' behavior strange; in fact, most of Agony's questions stemmed from simple curiosity.

Such was the case right now as well.

Agony really was only curious.

However, Santos chose not to respond. Instead, he entered the cabins.

After a long while, he returned with something in his hands.

“Mwahahaha! Let’s fish! Let’s go fishing now!”

[Fishing? What’s that?]

“What do you mean, ‘What’s that?’! A sea urchin can just watch and learn from the captain!”

[Sea urchins can do that? Being a sea urchin is the best!]

Santos took a seat in a corner of the deck and began focusing on fishing.

Fortunately, it seemed he had already prepared more than enough live bait.

Twitch…

“Let’s goooooooo!”

Fwip!

As Santos yanked up his line, a fish flopped onto the ship.

The way it flailed while gasping for air was both eerie and a testament to its vitality.

[Th-that’s incredible…]

“Agony, grab the fishing rod. I’ll teach you how to fish!”

[Is it something I need to learn?]

“I guess you could say that it’s necessary to become a real man of the sea! All of my crewmates know how to fish!”

[Woah! Then it’s a combat skill that even I, the great Agony, should learn!]

“Hahahaha!”

Woooosh…

Woooooooosh…

The pair cast their lures and calmly observed the horizon, watching the sunset.

For some reason… they found themselves at a loss for words.

“Incredible, right?”

[...I feel strange.]

They didn't catch many fish.

In fact, Agony couldn't catch even a single one.

Though repeated failures could easily be annoying, Agony didn't feel that way at all.

Surprisingly, it even felt good.

The sea breeze brushing against its skin, the salty smell, and Santos' relaxing stories... everything was perfect.

[This… is amazing!]

“Fishing?”

[Yeah!]

“Haha! Fliver had a lot of unique opinions about fishing too…”

[Fliver? Who’s Fliver?]

“Our carpenter. He’s also the one who made this fishing rod.”

[And where is he now?]

Santos began recalling the past with longing eyes.

“Alfrina.”

[Then we’ll be able to meet him once we get there, right?]

“...Yeah, of course. Now, Agony… This should be more than enough fish.”

[I haven’t caught a single fish yet, though?]

“That’s not bad at all. Now…”

Splash…

Santos freed the small fish back into the sea.

“Bring your parents next time.”

[Captain! Why did you let them go?!]

“Because I don’t need any weak fish like those!”

[I see! So you only eat the strong ones! I knew you were amazing, captain!]

“We have to protect the weak, after all! Hahahahaha!”

[Oh… So you have to protect the weak, I see.]

Pat.

Santos then placed his hand on Agony’s head.

“Yeah, the weak are meant to be protected.”

Their voyage continued for a few days after that, with Santos drinking every night.

“Hehehehe… I’ve been saving this one.”

[Urgh… Bwrrrrrrrgh…]

Agony threw up all of the alcohol Santos offered him into the sea.

[Urrrrrrr… My head hurts.]

“So you don’t know how to drink. That’s a shame.”

[Ururrrr… It’s so bitter. You were saving this?]

“Of course. Everything is valuable on the oceans.”

[Why would you drink something like this?]

Finding Agony’s whining cute, Santos chuckled before answering.

“It’s because you don’t want to be yourself sometimes.”

[Would drinking this turn me into someone else?]

“Yeah, there are times like that, and… there are times when it turns you more like yourself.”

[I have no idea what you’re saying.]

“You’ll understand once you drink more.”

[Oh, really?]

A few days later, Agony discovered the power of alcohol.

Santos was singing while playing a strange instrument, and Agony found itself laughing more than usual.

[Hahahahahaha! That’s so funny!]

“It’s funny? Then I’ll play a serious song for you!”

Santos changed the melody and sang with a more somber tone.

[Captain.]

“Yeah?”

[I… like that song.]

“No, you don’t! You like my voice!”

[Your voice is okay, but your songs are great!]

“You’re a bit too honest, huh?”

Santos continued to sing his calm, soothing song while Agony kept staring at his face.

Though he was a skeleton, the moonlight reflecting on his skull somehow made it seem as if he still had his old face.

[Captain! I feel weird!]

“This song’s nice to listen to, right?”

[Yeah! Did you make it?]

“I didn’t,” replied Santos, shaking his head. “Sonio made it.”

[Who’s Sonio?]

“A musician. They were far too skilled to be kept on a boat like this.”

[What’s so bad about this boat? It’s incredible in my eyes!]

“Hehehe! Right?”

Santos was filled with countless emotions.

“Agony, do you know how most legends end?”

[No? I’m not really interested in things like that.]

Santos took another step toward Agony before continuing to talk. His voice blended perfectly with the sound of the crashing waves.

“Almost every single story ends with, ‘And they lived happily ever after.’”

[That’s the norm? Why?]

“Because otherwise, it would be sad. It’s so that everyone who hears the stories can become excited by them.”

Santos gazed at the sea ahead of him. It was the Alfrina Strait, a place as cold as ice and as terrifying as death.

“It has to end that way. So the ones left behind can find hope.”

[Hope…]

“And on that note… The great Santos’ story hasn’t ended yet!”

A dreamlike atmosphere.

It was at that exact moment that Agony felt something strange.

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

* * *

 

As the S.S. Men of the Sea waded closer into the Alfrina Strait, the weather grew worse and worse.

[It’s cold…]

Whether they were in the cabins or on deck, it was cold all the same.

Seol still hadn’t woken up despite everything that had happened. Surprisingly, even though he hadn’t eaten or drunk anything in a long time, he seemed completely fine. Nothing seemed strange about him at all.

Even so, Agony was worried about him.

[Uh… He’s fine, right?]

“Your friend?”

[I told you, he’s not my friend!]

“Hahaha… Sure, someone close to you.”

[Yeah… He’s just sleeping right now, right?]

“Most likely.”

A somber shadow cast over Santos’ face.

Fwoooosh…

A few days passed once again.

Clatter clatter!

Even though Santos was a skeleton, the cold clearly affected him too.

His teeth chattered as more and more drift ice filled the sea.

[...What’s that?]

“Drift ice… It’s a sign that we’re close to Vitona’s territory.”

[Why?]

“Because Vitona… is a cold existence.”

[I see!]

“...Agony.”

[Huh?]

“Do you have dreams?”

[Are we going to talk about dreams again?]

“A different type of dream this time. The type you see when you sleep.”

[Things that you see… when you sleep?]

Agony thought hard.

Though it mostly forgot its dreams when it woke up, it could still clearly remember a certain type of dream.

[Dreams about returning to the past?]

“The past?”

 

- Gahhhhhhhhh!

- P-Please…

- Kill them! Kill them and drink their blood!

- You’ll grow stronger… Hehehehe!

- Agony will help you!

 

Agony trembled in fear.

[I guess, dreams like that?]

“...How do you feel after having those dreams?”

[Refreshing!]

“You feel refreshed?”

[...I don’t.]

Agony glanced at Seol while continuing.

[How should I explain it… Everything became a mess after I met him. It feels like Agony… isn’t Agony anymore.]

"I'm not sure about that. Agony, right now, you're neither a glorious sea urchin nor a bad guy."

[Huh? Then what is Agony?]

“Agony is Agony.”

[Is this something only a glorious sea urchin can understand again?]

“There really is nothing that can define you. It’s the same for everyone. And it’s especially the case for the crew of the S.S. Men of the Sea!”

[Hehehe… Captain! Then what kind of dreams do you have?]

Santos weakly raised his head.

There was a strange air about him.

“...Do you want to know?”

[Yeah!]

“I have dreams about the day I lost my crew.”

 

- Damn it! Santos, we’re screwed! It might be late, but…

- I can’t just run away while my crew dies, you idiots!

- You shouldn’t be the one calling others idiots, you idiot!

 

The day the sound of Vitona’s songs echoed throughout the sea was the very same day the crew of the S.S. Men of the Sea had their souls stolen.

Kiaaaaaaaaah!

 

- Khrgh…

- Santos!


One by one…

His crew had their souls stolen.

Until it was Santos’ turn.

Bam!

 

- Cough… Cough…

 

Someone had pushed Santos away to free him from Vitona’s grasp.

 

- Pupu! Get Santos away!

- Urgh… Aahhhhhh…

- Santos! Wake up! Look into my eyes!

- My body… My body is…

 

Santos had his flesh and blood taken, leaving him with only his bones.

And the one who had helped him escape from Vitona was his vice-captain, Silva.

Silva locked eyes with Santos one last time.

 

- You’ll come save us, right?

 

Santos could only nod in response.

 

- I believe in you. I’ll be waiting.

 

Silva’s last words were that they believed in Santos.

It was a curse they had left Santos with.

“Agony.”

[Captain…]

“I… I… I am a coward.”

Santos fell to the floor.

“I’m a… I’m a filthy coward!”

[...Why?]

“This isn’t my first time returning to the Alfrina Strait.”

[Then…]

“I’ve been here multiple… dozens of times. There’s no way I would have been able to forget it, after all.”

Santos began to heave while lying on the floor.

“But… I couldn’t even take a single step forward… because I was scared…. this was always the furthest I went before going back.”

[Are you… scared of dying?]

“No, it’s not that.”

[Then what?]

The flames in Santos’ eyes blazed stronger. If he were alive, it would have been tears instead.

“I’m scared… of being forgotten…”

Agony finally understood what Santos had meant earlier.

The part about legends always needing a happy ending.

“If I die too… No one will remember us… No one will come to save us!”

[Captain…]

“I’m sorry… I don’t think I can go any further than this.”

Santos then looked to Pupu.

“Pupu… let’s head back. I’m still… I’m still not ready yet.”

However, it was Agony who responded to Santos’ call.

[Then, when will you come back?]

“......”

[When will you be ready?]

It was then….

A strange song began to fill the seas.

Santos’ face quickly changed to despair.

“S-Sirens! Pupu… quickly!”

“Ppuuuu!”

As Pupu tried to turn the ship, the songs grew louder. They were getting closer.

“This sound…”

Ahahaha…

Sirens, resembling mermaids, began to climb up to the drift ice.

And almost as if to mock the frightened Santos, they began to sing louder.

The fortunate thing was that since Santos already had a part of his soul stolen by Vitona, their songs didn't affect him at all.

Not to mention, Agony was a demonic spirit, and Seol was unconscious, so he couldn't hear them at all.

Ahahaha…

The sirens, sensing something off as well, sang even more mysterious melodies to charm them.

Fwoooooosh!

Ffft!

Kiaaaaaaaaah!

A spear was thrown from somewhere, piercing a siren's chest. It was Santos.

“You foul bastards! I’ll cut off all of your heads!”

[Captain!]

“Agony.”

Agony then pointed at the shadow quickly swimming just below the surface of the water. It was heading toward them at a rapid pace.

[What is that?]

“...Vitona.”

Kiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

A massive sea serpent emerged from the waters, breaking through the floating ice.

Agony expected Santos to cower in fear and try to run away as fast as he could. After all, that was how he had been acting.

However…

“Agony… thanks for coming with me.”

[...Captain? I thought you said we had to run away?]

Santos did not run away.

Rather, he looked straight ahead, at Vitona.

“What happens next… is my business. Go back, Agony. Pupu! I leave it to you!”

Shrrrk!

Santos unsheathed a scimitar from his belt and shouted loudly.

“Tadah! Santos has arrived!”

 

[Santos used Walk on Water.]

[You are able to walk on water for a short while.]

[This effect lasts longer the more you move.]

 

Fwip!

Santos quickly charged at Vitona.

“Wahahaha! You’ve waited a long time, haven’t you! Santos is finally back! Feel free to clap if you want!”

Santos seemed pathetic as he continued to charge.

It seemed impossible.

“I… I’m sorry for being late, everyone! Hold on just a bit longer!”

“Ppuuuuuuuuu!”

Pupu also stopped controlling the ship and dove deeper to help Santos.

Thud!

Agony’s heart was struck by a strange feeling.

It was the first time it had ever felt something like this.

[Huh?]

Santos was growing further away from it.

Agony knew it.

At this rate… Santos would die.

“Wahahaha!”

 

[Vitona, the Charmer, used Foul Weather.]

[The atmosphere is filled with a strong chill.]

 

Fwooooooooooooosh!

Vitona then shot out a ray of frost from her mouth.

She had frozen the sea ahead of her, creating a glacier.

Fwirl…

Thud!

Santos tried to leap over it but fell with a loud thud.

“Hehehe… Don’t laugh, you bastards!”

 

[Santos used Set Sail!]

[For a short while, Abnormal Status resistance increases by 20%.]

[Your attacks deal bonus physical damage.]

 

His appearance was clearly unsightly, which made it even more painful for Agony to watch.

[That’s… strange…]

Baaam!

Santos was sent flying from Vitona’s tail.

Luckily, he managed to land safely.

However, Agony couldn’t bear to watch him fight like that anymore.

Watching him fight like that… was more painful than anything it had been through.

Charge!

[Let me hel…]

Thud!

Agony was pulled back after trying to run toward Santos like a leashed dog.

[Wait for me, Captain! I’ll help…]

Charge…

Thud!

Once again, Agony was pulled back.

Agony then looked behind itself.

The lantern at Seol’s waist was calling to it. It was preventing Agony from escaping Seol.

Agony changed directions this time, running toward Seol.

Run…

[You’re going to wake up, right? You’ll wake up, yeah?]

“......”

Seol couldn’t wake up.

The Pill of Eternal Life and the shock from Ur using his mana were much more powerful than he had expected. He was still drifting back and forth between life and death.

Agony placed its hands on Seol’s jaw, moving it to make it seem like he was talking.

[You waited a long time, didn’t you?]

“......”

[Hurry up! Hurry up and wake up already! You’re good at saving people, aren’t you?! Agony can’t do that! I don’t know how to do that! If you wake up now, I’ll listen to you, so…]

Baaaaam!

The sound of Santos flying off rang out once more. A single glance away from Santos was all it took for him to take another step toward death. It seemed as if he was going to crumble away at any moment now.

[Urgh… Captain’s dying… He’s going to die…]

It wasn't uncommon for a demonic spirit to witness the end of a life.

In fact, even though Agony had spent the most time with the Black Knight, it didn't feel the slightest bit sad when he died.

But now… Agony felt it.

It was the absolute worst.

[Argh… If you’re just going to sleep, then just let me go! At least let me help him!]

Was this how it felt to shout at a wall?

No matter how loudly Agony screamed, there was no response.

[Don’t die, Santos… You can’t die…]

Baaaaaaaaaaaam!

Santos flew off once more.

This time, he even missed landing on the ice. He fell into the sea.

“Puuuuuuuu!”

Luckily, Pupu found an opening to bind Vitona.

Kiaaaaaa!

As Vitona writhed and struggled to free herself, Santos once again climbed onto the glacier.

He was losing his will to fight. His body couldn’t stop shaking; he seemed completely terrified by the situation.

“Fuuu… Fuuu…. Santos is invincible… Men of the sea… are invincible!”

Santos wasn’t invincible.

Neither were men of the sea.

It was clear that within a few minutes… he would die as well.

For the first time in Agony’s life, it was desperately praying for someone to live. That… was the beginning of Agony’s change.

[I… will save Santos.]

How?

The chains were stopping it from going where it wanted.

Clatter… Clatter…

Agony tugged on the main chain inside of the lantern. Though it pulled as hard as it could, it wouldn’t budge at all.

Agony despaired.

Even though it was yawn-inducingly simple to kill tens or hundreds of people, saving one life was even more difficult.

It was thousands—no, tens of thousands—times harder.

Clatter…

Agony then resolved itself before grabbing onto the chains.

[Agony… will become a glorious sea urchin.]

Bite…

It then began to swallow the chain from one end.

[Agony… is Agony!]

Agony opened its mouth further, eating more and more of it.

[U-Urgh…]

It then closed its mouth, holding the chains in its mouth firmly. Agony rolled on the floor in pain, but it refused to spit it out.

[Urgh… Bwrgh…]

This was something neither Seol, the person who wanted to use a demonic spirit as a weapon, nor Frannan, the one who changed Agony’s mind, intended.

Right now… they were entering an unknown territory.

A test to see how much a demonic spirit could change.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

 

[The pearl accepts the change.]

[The pearl changes form to best suit the successor.]

……

 

“Haah… Haah…”

Meanwhile, Santos was desperately struggling.

Clang!

His scimitar failed to cut through Vitona’s scales. In fact, it shattered as if it was made of glass.

“It’s too… tough…”

Baaaaaaaaaaam!

Fwiiiiiiiii

Santos was tossed into the air once more. Vitona quickly moved to finish him off before he fell back into the waters.

“Puuuuu!”

Pupu tried their best to wrangle Vitona to prevent her from chasing Santos, but it was clear that the fight would be ending soon.

Santos had lost a second time.

And he had to accept it.

“I’m sorry… everyone…”

That he had failed again.

But then… he heard a scream that would split his nonexistent ears.

[Grab me, Santossssssssss!]

Santos instinctively reached out his hand.

Claaaaatter!

It took an instant for the chubby Agony to wrap around Santos’ hand like a chain and transform.

“What… is this? Hehehe… Are you trying to corrupt me?”

Santos laughed after seeing Agony’s form.

Agony… had managed to remember it.

It had recalled its appearance when it was at its strongest.

As it transformed into a black sword in Santos’ hand, Agony gave a resolute answer.

[I’m trying to save you.]

____

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