Villain Hides His True Colors
[Translator – Yasi ]
[Proofreader – Karane ]
An outstretched finger mimicking a gun was aimed towards one side of the gym.
Soon, without fail, piercing screams of those on death's doors could be heard.
"Kuaaak! W-water! Water! Somebody please help me!"
"Aaak! Hot! Hot! Hot!"
A man engulfed in fire rolled on the floor while a woman whose flesh was ghastly scorched was trying to take her own life by banging her head against the wall.
It was horrible sights that were unbearable to watch even for veteran heroes who were accustomed to various brutal scenes.
On the contrary, the person who was responsible for this, just like a child burning ants to death with a magnifying glass, simply watched with a pleased expression.
"A-ah~ Could there be more beautiful music in the world? It's truly a wonderful sound to hear."
However, even in such a hellish landscape, Shirahui continued to throw her body to protect the people without reserve.
Engulfed in bright yellow lightning, she directly intercepted the destructive beams.
A shockwave spread in all directions as a highly compressed beam was redirected towards the ceiling and carving it with soot.
As a result of her quick action, the woman standing behind her was fortunately saved.
Unfortunately, Shirahui was only one person and naturally could only save one person at a time.
The body of a man opposite where she stood was engulfed in fire.
"Huhu~ My pretty~ You shouted so loudly that you would save everyone. But is that all you got?"
Henri jerked his finger and laughed at her actions.
"You know what? The man just died because you didn't save him. My pretty, it's no different from you letting him die~"
"Haak...haak...shut up, you son of a bitch!"
Shirahui panted as she cursed Henri.
Her lungs were burning and there was a metallic taste in her mouth.
She was truly squeezing out everything she had.
And in fact, even without Henri's provocation, she was keenly aware of her limits.
Now more than anything else, what tormented her the most wasn't the destructive beams, rather, it was the psychological pressure from Henri constantly forcing her to make a choice.
"A-ah~ That guy wasn't saved because he was ugly...What a pity. He should pray to be born as a woman in his next life. Hehe."
Hearing Henri's mockery of the dead man caused her mind to waver.
And whenever that happened, Shirahui would bite her lips and try to calm her heart.
Don't be swayed by his words...That would really put everyone in danger.
Her father had always said the situation will quickly become a crisis the moment a hero harbors personal feelings while on duty.
So what she needed to do now was not be buried in a sense of needless guilt but to struggle and save one more person.
...Thinking can come later.
Her eyes that were wavering sank coldly.
And in front of her, Henri raised his finger again.
"Then~ Try to guess where it'll go this time~"
Deafening explosions filled the gym.
Lightning constantly collided with the beams and gave off a splendid glow.
Although countless people died in front of such beams, Shirahui silently continued to throw herself unperturbed.
All to save even one more person.
How long was it?
The expression of Henri who had been smiling brightly began to crumble.
And then at some point, putting down his finger like a kid who had lost interest in his toy, he bitterly spat out.
"Ah~ It's no fun."
The scene he had wanted to see was Shirahui struggling with a little more helplessness.
Despair, grief, and anger to the point where she would resent God...That kind of desperate and ugly struggle.
However, even now, she didn't show such a side.
On the contrary, if Henri had to say so, she was saving people like an emotionless machine.
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[ Translator - Yasi ]
[ Proofreader - Karane ]
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* * *
It wasn’t what he had wanted to see.
"Hmm~ What should I do?"
He sat on a pile of corpses like a chair as his chin was propped up on one hand.
At last came a lull.
Everyone kept their eyes on Henri's next action with tensed expressions.
A little later, Henri, who had been lost in thought, suddenly smiled wickedly.
"Hehe...Yeah, that's a good idea."
He sprang up and spoke in a loud voice so that everyone could hear.
"I'll give you a chance."
Hearing Henri's words, everyone had no choice but to show uneasiness.
In this extreme situation, what kind of chance would he give them?
When they recalled what he had been saying and doing, they thought it would be strange if he didn't kill them.
They were certain the chance he was referring to was who would like to die first or some nonsense like experiencing the most painful death.
Surprisingly, the next words that came out of Henri's mouth were enough to tempt the people here.
"I'm going to give you a task. And, those who complete it will be given a special prize."
He summoned a full glass of ice water and gulped it down.
Under the artificial sun, people were suffering from a terrible thirst they had never felt in their life.
To the point where they felt they could die right now if they could just drink a sip of water.
However, Henri's offer was highly suspicious for them to readily accept it.
They couldn't believe he was now offering them cold water. What was he plotting?
As such, they glared at him full of vigilance, unable to easily believe his words.
Then, as if he had read everyone's minds, he belatedly added.
"You don't need to worry whether I'm lying to you or not. I swear on the name of the existence I serve."
Perhaps his words had some effect this time, but people's eyes began to fluctuate fiercely.
"Th-then, the task, what exactly do we have to do?"
Among those who had collapsed, a ragged voice of a man was heard.
Everyone's heads turned in unison.
There, it was a well-kempt man with cracked lips.
He was the man who had criticized the institute earlier and had blamed Noah for everything that had transpired.
"Ah, that? It's very simple."
As if it was a really simple task, Henri spoke nonchalantly.
"Kill one of the people next to you. Then I'll let you drink as much water as you want."
"Everyone is going to dry up soon anyway. So there's no need to feel guilty. No, wouldn't it be better because you're relieving them of their suffering? Keuheu~"
He said as he slowly poured the water he was drinking onto the floor.
"I'm sure everyone wants to drink~ Isn't that so?"
People's eyes shook as if they were hypnotized.
Then, like a final wedge, Henri continued.
"Hmm~ Let me say one more thing. I'll give some of you a special life guarantee. Well, I was told to secure hostages anyway. Huhu~"
Having listened to him thus far, Shirahui shouted desperately.
"D-don't listen to him! This is all a villain's scheme! If you're deceived by his words..."
However before she could even finish her sentence, a shrill scream resounded through the gym.
Looking to one place, the man who had questioned Henri a moment ago was struggling to lift himself up and clutching a bloody blade.
"I-I was the first one to kill, s-so please give me some water..."
"Oh? It was faster than I thought! Of course. Pretties who listen well should be rewarded."
The man tried to read the situation and hesitated, but soon staggered toward Henri as if he had made up his mind.
And as Henri had promised, he summoned him a full bottle of ice water.
"Hey, don't hesitate and drink as much as you want~"
Perhaps the man thought someone would take it from him, but he immediately snatched the bottle and drank it as if possessed.
"Ah, and since I was especially impressed by your action, I'll let you live. Go rest over there."
At the same time, a large shade was summoned around the man, blocking the heat from the sun above.
The man's shriveled face was revitalized as mana began to return to his body.
Noticing the change, he checked his physical condition, and soon after repeatedly bowed his head.
"Th-thank you! Thank you very much!"
"See~ Even though I'm like this, I'm good at keeping promises. So, don't be scared and come quench your thirst."
The eyes of those who didn't think Henri would keep his promise shook violently.
Lingering in the air was the desire to drink water right now and the tension that the person next to them could turn into an enemy at any time.
An oppressive silence spread in the gym.
"By the way, you all know that this is first come, first served, right? You best hurry."
In this situation, Henri's remark was enough to take away people's last string of reason.
"Water! That water is mine!"
"Die! You son of a bitch!"
"Heuk...I-I'm sorry! P-please die!"
People who couldn't even keep their balance were desperately trying to take the life of the person next to them.
There were no sophisticated techniques.
Just swinging their fists as hard as they could, or just biting flesh like an animal.
It was the ugly sight of human struggles that Henri wanted to see.
"Keuahaha! Yes, this is it! This is more like it! Keuhuhu...There's nothing like the sight of insects struggling!"
Shirahui tried to stop the people by all means, but her voice was drowned out in the cries of madness.
"Hehe, how is it? Seeing the people you've worked so hard to protect kill each other."
Shirahui trembled with her head down. Her appearance looked as if she had resigned herself in defeat.
"Huhu~ You don't have to be so upset. Because what you're looking at right now is human nature after all."
Henri approached her slowly and gently spoke.
"So stop the foolish struggle and behave, my pretty..."
But at that very moment,
A bright yellow lightning struck Henri, stopping him in his tracks.
Glaring at him with her eyes shaking with lightning, Shirahui spoke.
"I told you to shut up, dung beetle."
"...My, oh, my."
For a moment Henri showed signs of bewilderment, but soon after slowly raised his finger and aimed at the people.
"I guess my pretty still wants to play with me."
Smiling wickedly, he continued.
"Well, give it another try. Hehe...Let's see how long you'll last this time."
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