[Translator – Niel]
[Proofreader – DVN-L ]
“…I kind of understand the deal. But, then… Why is he going around killing magicians?”
With her looking slightly sorrowful and her lips tight, I pointed out the contradiction in Lilea’s discovery, saying that there really was no reason for him to kill magicians.
And after a few seconds of silence:
“…Surely the reason for why he’s doing this is… just as he said, for ‘revenge’—”
Lilea uttered the answer.
“—Perhaps it’s to kill the current Knight Commander.”
* * * * *
—The ‘Magician Hunter’ said that he resents the magicians of the capital, but I’m sure that nuance is a lie. I have a feeling that it’s probably a magician who had some kind of involvement with the Knights five years ago that he has a grudge against.
This statement was based on the fact that all of the magicians who had been killed by the ‘Magician Hunter’ had been involved with the Knights in some way or another.
“…He’ll kill me if I get in his way, huh?”
I repeated once again the words that were spoken to me.
But even after realizing our stance within this incident—
“I want to fight the strong in order to be one. I still want to fight him.”
I couldn’t help but be overtaken by what I truly desire, and before I knew it, those words already escaped my mouth.
“Well, if that's what you've been longing for, then that's a perfectly reasonable thing to say.”
Still, I would be more than happy to get in his way.
Why, you ask? It’s because I have a good reason for doing so.
Besides, my concerns were already addressed thanks to Zenoah, the Knight Commander of the Order.
But as my conversation with Lilea ended, a new question sprouted in my mind.
And that’s why I’m where I am right now.
In order to get an answer to that question, I left the inn alone and came to the front of the Knight’s station once again, though it was already half past midnight.
Not long after, a single figure filled my vision.
There laid a different lookout from the one in the evening, but nonetheless, I was well aware about who that person was.
“—There is one more thing I want to ask you.”
The curtain of the night fell, leaving the city tranquil.
I didn't need to raise my voice, as it already resonated throughout the place.
A giggle came soon after.
And after a few seconds, her words followed suit.
But for some reason, it wasn't a reply to what I had said, but a tangent to a rather completely unrelated story.
“There was once a man with a strong sense of justice named Bermuda. That man, from the bottom of his heart, wanted a happy everyday life for everyone. He hated unreasonable misery more than anything else.”
The person standing in front of me, Zenoah Almerida, using her magic『Mind Reading: Doctus』, was telling me that she knew the question I wanted to ask.
“I would also say that he’s foolhardy, but that’s beyond the point. His sense of justice was beautiful more than anything else. They were above all beautiful, shining and pure in every way.”
In a strange way, she said, he was loved
He was loved because his actions in pursuit of the beautiful ideals he set out to achieve were for the happiness of everyone.
“However, no matter how correct one's actions and desires are, the world is not always so clean or kind that everything can be made right.”
No matter how much we long and desire for something, the cold, cruel reality shatters our ideals as if it were a matter of course.
The reason why is because reality is unreasonable.
“Not everyone wishes for someone else's happiness, because plenty of other people wish otherwise. Therefore, people like him were especially easy to be taken advantage of by people's evil intentions.”
I found myself absorbed in listening to the words that were filled with emotion.
“...Shall I tell you why there are no magicians in the current Order? It is not because they took responsibility for that incident and quit. The reason is rather plain and simple. Many of the magicians who belonged to the Order quit because they were disappointed with the nobles running the country.”
In the darkness of the night, Zenoah's expression, dimly revealed by the faint light shining from the station, showed a slight tinge of anger.
“Five years ago, there was an active uproar over the succession to the throne. Due to that circumstance, this Order of Knights, an organization under the direct control of His Majesty the King at that time, was also exposed to ill will. Had we caused any scandal, the influence of the second prince, whom His Majesty the King had been promoting, would decrease. I heard that very idea was only a scheme, anyway.”
I don't know much about political strife, but from what she told me, I knew right away that someone from the Order was being set up.
“Our Order was used for political warfare. It is only natural that everyone would be disappointed and quit, isn't it? Even the organizations that are supposed to protect the public safety and the citizens have killed many innocent people for their own gain. Where is the value in protecting such people?”
The words didn’t stop.
As if dammed up, Zenoah's emotions overflowed.
“...Because of this, Bermuda, after suffering a near-death experience and continuing to regret not being able to save the kidnapped noblewoman… killed himself. We were told by the higher-ups to own his death and tell the public that we executed him because it was convenient for us. I didn't know what was going on anymore.”
[Translator – Niel ]
[Proofreader – DVN-L ]
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…Granted, Lilea was right.
If this story is true, it truly was a tragedy.
Undeniably, a cruel tragedy.
“I can understand why Bermuda's brother would resent us. After all, the official publication of events made it seem that we executed Bermuda to death in a variety of exaggerated ways.”
She said that they had to push all the responsibility and dirt to those below without exposing any of the rotten parts of the aristocracy above them.
“So let me reiterate once again. This is our problem. So please, will you back off?”
I refused to say anything based on the narrative so far.
And after staying silent, I opened my mouth.
“—If that’s the case, this is more terrible than I already thought it was.”
My sweat glands opened up all at once at the overwhelming murderous intent that was directed at me.
Did she think I would simply nod my head just because she told me a sob story?
If so, her magical ability to read people’s true thoughts was nothing but a sham, something to be laughed at.
“I knew I've seen those eyes of yours somewhere before, but now I finally remember.’
They were the eyes I often saw in my dreams.
Namely, they were eyes that the people who appeared in my “Star Slaying” dream often had.
Deciding that I didn't need to use honorifics for someone with such a ridiculous thought process, I decided to put my words together in my usual tone.
“It's the eyes of those who tolerate death for a purpose.”
I was right on mark, seeing how Zenoah was caught off guard at my statement.
“I don't know anything about political strife or anything like that even if you told me. But what I know is that the way you’re dealing with it isn’t the right way. Though I know for a fact that you’re a good person, too.”
You’re Fiole’s dear friend, after all.
I know you're not a bad person.
“Whether the “Magician Hunter” is using his ability to make you all atone or to exact revenge on a certain aristocrat is none of my business.”
I only have one life.
It’s not something one can entrust to anyone else, so it’s only natural for the individual to decide what to do with it.
Just let me say this one thing.
“As you already know, absurdity is all around us.”
“...What are you trying to say?”
“Even if the ‘Magician Hunter’ has seized the abilities of many magicians, he’s still just a magician who has a lot of magical abilities. That’s far from the real absurdity… And in order for me to become a real one, I have to be able to knock down the walls that's standing before me.”
I was certain that such a being, like the ‘Star-Slaying Swordsman’ I was aiming for, wouldn’t budge to question anything and would just slay anything that stood in his way as if it were natural, like stepping on an ant.
“...The real absurdity.”
“Yeah. From within this very kingdom, it would be someone like— ‘The King’s Sword,’ Zenova Kuznetsova. A brave, renowned individual that even I, who grew up in the countryside, knows… Anyway, reaching the top isn’t so easy that one only needs to be able to wield a lot of magic, you know?”
So I pointed out that even if the Magician Hunter was after either avenging the former Order’s honor or killing a certain aristocrat he resents, he wasn’t an exception to his own condemning— to get killed by someone else someday.
And rather than a wall to overcome— I had a building in front of me this time.
“Besides, if the existence of the Order is destroyed by self-serving actions, the weak who have no power will be in serious trouble. Do you understand that? If outlaws like him continue to plague this city, then even more innocent people will die. If you feel a sense of guilt for the righteous dead, I think you should do whatever it takes to make up for it. I think that's the best way to atone for your sins.”
How weightless were the words I spoke.
Because I myself knew better than anyone else that I was not the kind of person who would originally utter such gibberish.
Knowing that this righteous argument was only a pretense to wield a sword, it felt inexplicably cheap.
“...You don’t understand what I’m feeling, do you?”
“Yeah, I don’t. I don't even want to know. And that’s why I’m denying it my own way.”
The reason why the Order didn’t make a move.
Was it about the guilt from the past, or about what the existence of the Order should’ve been like?
Which of the two should really be prioritized?
Maybe it was because she couldn't make a decision that Zenoah’s expression showed a fragment of that struggle.
…However, it doesn’t matter.
I didn't care about any of those circumstances.
And the reason being I already had a straight reason for it.
If the Knights disappeared, outlaws would abound.
It wouldn’t only affect the capital, but also my village, my hometown.
I couldn’t have that.
Now, get your shitty thoughts out.
Spit them all out.
To the point of unreasonableness and absurdity, say the words like how you would normally say it yourself—
“I’ll use the ‘Magician Hunter’ as my nourishment to reach my dream of Slaying the Stars, after all.”
In order to become a ‘Star-Slayer,’ I would be the very obstacle that the ‘Magician Hunter’ would have to face.
Absurdity is something that’s lying around just about everywhere, after all.
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