BBYW Vol. 2 Interlude Part 18 (WN)
Interlude – Dietrich Maxwell’s Adventure
Part 18 – The Last Duel
That night, I headed to the White Demons’ vessel.
I boarded the moonlit ship and saw Grace on top of the mast.
“Hey. Beautiful night, isn’t it.”
Grace hopped down onto the deck and approached me.
The petite white-haired woman was wearing a white dress again. There wasn’t any blood on it this time, obviously.
Because of the moonlight and the transparent dress, Grace looked eerily beautiful, like a fairy descended from the moon.
“I came to tell you my answer.”
“That was fast. So, are you ready to become a pirate?”
I looked down, away from Grace.
“My older brother died. I have to inherit the title of margrave.”
I was still unsure, but I stated my decision.
I did consider forgetting about my home and becoming a pirate.
If I abandoned House Maxwell, however, the lack of an heir would bring confusion and turmoil to the province.
The royal family and central nobles might take advantage of the situation for their goals, and it also would create an opening for the Baal empire to invade.
I couldn’t be so cold as to let my homeland be threatened by political conflict or the flames of war…and do nothing about it.
“I see. There’s no other way, then.”
Grace’s reaction to my words was unexpectedly dry.
I expected her to get angry and shout at me, maybe even try to make me into a pirate by force, but there was no anger in her expression.
“Don’t make that face now. This isn’t the first time I was turned down by a man.”
Grace’s smile was clouded — very much unlike her.
“I’ve lived a pretty long life, you know. I fell in love with a number of men, and a number of men fell in love with me. Some of them even said they’d live by my side.
“They all left me, though. Some of them abandoned the sea for the land, others grew old and passed on to the next world. In the end, I was left on the seas, alone.”
“The man goes, the woman is left alone. Heh, happens a lot on these seas, actually. If you have a place to return to on land, you should go. Don’t mind me.”
“…that man…did Drake leave you too?”
The question had been on my mind since we left the island. Grace’s eyes opened wider for an instant, then she looked away.
“That was my brother. My brother, my enemy, my friend, my master…sometimes, even my husband.”
Hearing Grace talk about another man, I felt a spark of disgust burn up in my chest.
What could this emotion be?
(No…I can’t ignore it anymore.)
I knew. I had known for a while already.
Since we first met, since I first saw her drenched in blood, Grace’s presence in my heart had grown larger and larger.
From our duel to the death in the back alley, through the battle with the Lion King crew, to the defeat of the Sea Hydra…
As we adventured together, Grace took a firm, steady position in the center of my heart.
“Hey, Grace. How about we make a bet.”
I drew my sword and pointed it at the perplexed Grace.
Django had prepared it for me: it paled in comparison with Lancelot, but was still a fine piece of craft.
“A duel, here and now. If I win, from today you’ll be the margrave’s first lady.”.
“I don’t know how many men you’ve been with until now, but I’m going to be the last!!”
Grace looked at me, eyes wide open in surprise.
And then —
She laughed, happier than I ever heard her laugh.
All her melancholy had disappeared into the night. The crazed beast bared her fangs and howled.
“You’re on!! Sounds like fun!! Choosing you really was the right thing to do!! You really are my destined man!!”
“Yes! I am your destiny…and you are mine!!”
“If you win, make me yours!! In exchange, if I win I’m going to eat you down to the last bone!!”
“Couldn’t ask for more. Come at me, little lady!!”
Grace, her fists ready to strike, took a low, hunched stance.
I readied my sword for the counterattack.
“Get ready to die!!!”
Grace swung her fists, I swung my sword.
That night, an unidentified calamity destroyed about half of the Sapphire kingdom’s harbor.
As for the result of the violent battle…