SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 30
Chapter 30 – Insanity and Death
The Water Dragon dropped its sword, kneeled on the ground and laughed.
Its eyes were pointed at my stomach.
“I trust you have not forgotten the condition you yourself placed on this duel?”
—If I suffer any kind of wound.
The words I said just minutes ago echoed in my mind.
I looked at the Water Dragon with absolute confidence and laughed scornfully. I casually threw my “Spada” behind me.
The “Spada” turned into shadows in midair, then melted away into the ground.
As if in exchange, I formed a new “Spada” with a dull blade. I hung it at my waist and continued.
“Don’t go getting wrong ideas now. My promise was with Feli.”
The Water Dragon’s eyes showed anger.
Though I was supposed to be defeated, I did not show it in the slightest.
“Crossing swords with you, I could understand most, if not all.”
The Water Dragon was probably referring to the fact that, despite how fierce my attacks were, I made sure not to wound or kill her.
“If you do not hate her, then why do you not keep her at your side?”
“That’s exactly why I don’t.”
I answered without hesitation.
I wanted her to protect Grerial. That was obvious.
“It is better for Feli to be with Grerial. I want both to live on.”
You should keep those you wish to protect close to you.
That was indeed the right course of action, and I wanted to do the same too.
“Sadly enough, my memories are filled with people who stayed close to me and died. I know it in my head, but the more important someone is to me, the more I want them to stay away. Even so, I want to stay close to the people I want to live on, to protect them”
I laughed, aware of how ridiculous it sounded.
“I ran away from this contradiction. The more I thought about it, the less sense I could make of it.”
“….is that why you desire death?”
My sword and fighting style were both specialized in killing. I was aware that such was my style.
The Water Dragon apparently realized it too.
The way I fought completely disregarded my own safety.
Damage accumulated in my body. I could feel that some ribs had been fractured. I spat blood every time I swung my sword too.
I still continued to swing my sword, fighting as if I had a deathwish. My way of thinking often viewed my own body as expendable.
I was aware that a “normal person’s thinking” had crumbled inside me a long time ago.
“Do you not fear death?”
For whatever reason, the Water Dragon asked such a question to me.
I felt that his words contained a sort of consideration towards me.
Maybe that was the reason why I more or less understood what it actually meant.
The person the Water Dragon was worried about was probably Feli. Since it knew about her feelings, it had to show concern towards me in this manner. In addition, I had the feeling the words it directed at me contained some sort of pity too.
I could not find the words to reply immediately.
I slowly looked for the right words in my head, then spoke.
“In a way, I do.”
That was my answer.
“Even so, there are people I want to meet again.”
People I wanted to see.
They were all already dead.
The Water Dragon probably understood what I implied: its expression clearly twisted in a grimace.
“That is probably the reason why I chose to wield my sword again.”
I did not know of anything that could bring me closer to death quicker than wielding a sword.
After all, the basis of all my actions was my desire to see my mentor and the others again.
I would never wield a sword again, no matter what happened. The reason why I could not say this with absolute certainty came from that, probably. I finally realized it and felt like laughing.
“…no, it’s surely that.”
I was afraid of dying in solitude.
Thus, if I could die by swinging my sword…
If I could die while protecting someone, I—
“Even if your death would bring sadness to others?”
“Do you even need to ask?”
If anyone would be sad by the death of a murderous beast like me…
I wanted to die before I was alone again.
Even if it meant burdening such people with an unnecessary cross.
That’s the kind of “trash” I was.
“My answer won’t change because of that.”
That was my, Fay Hanse Diestburg’s true nature.
“I am the world-renowned ‘Trash Prince’.”
I continued talking, as if trying to convince myself.
“A trash prince through and through. That’s all I am.”
I laughed in self-mockery.
I spoke while looking at the Water Dragon Feli.
“I understand that she’s really worried.”
Why did she concern herself with me so much?
If it was because of her loyalty to the royal house, then it was definitely excessive.
“I’m not as inhuman as to completely disregard such feelings.”
I was honestly happy thanks to her warm feelings.
My thinking would not change though.
Even so, I could die a bit later.
I thought… just a little.
“I’m not going to die yet. I still— ”
I crouched in front of the Water Dragon, picked up Feli’s body on my back and stood up again.
A very small body.
As light as its appearance suggested. It felt like it would snap with little effort.
It felt like such a weak creature.
“I… I can still walk…!”
The Water Dragon groaned from my back.
“In that state? Yeah right.”
With a sigh, I reprimanded it.
“You went a little too wild there, didn’t you? Besides, you should let Feli rest already.”
After saying this I started walking.
About 30 minutes had passed since we had arrived at the square.
The local residents would surely start arriving soon, so the first priority was to leave.
“The same can be said about you…!”
The Water Dragon objected coarsely, wide-eyed, but then it probably realized that I showed no sign of being in pain, so it stopped.
“Your own body is the first thing to conquer. Or so I was taught.”
The Water Dragon looked at me with confused surprise and I proceeded to reveal the trick.
“You’re wounded, so you can’t move anymore? Your body won’t stand up? Of course it doesn’t. Even so, *we* couldn’t stop. In order to survive, we had to overcome such *obviousness*. Pain was nothing but an obstacle.”
The Water Dragon’s face tensed.
It was like I said that its full-powered blow was nothing of importance to me.
“So there’s no need for you to think about it. You just keep worrying about Feli.”
I already crossed the limits of a normal human’s sanity. No, I had to do so.
If I remained within the “normal” limits, I wouldn’t be here now.
It wasn’t like I couldn’t feel pain.
When something hurt, I felt it, of course.
The priority was just slightly different than a normal person’s.
“I can see— ”
The Water Dragon suddenly started speaking again.
“I can see why the Yugstine girl is so fixed on you. Even others would say you aren’t to be left alone.”
What the Water Dragon or Feli thought about me mattered little.
If they wanted to worry about me, they were free to do it.
I only felt a slight happiness at the fact that someone thought of me in that way…as well as sadness of realizing that there was the possibility that they could disappear from my side.
“You are strong.”
The Water Dragon’s words reached my ears.
“The strength of your sword, of your life’s path, is not something that someone truly wishing to die can acquire. I feel a very deep attachment, a deep fixation.”
Swordsmen should speak through their swords, as they said.
It wasn’t a metaphor, but a literal fact.
Swing after swing, swordsmen poured out their emotions.
That was why crossing swords with someone enough meant baring your heart to them.
“Why do you seek death so much?”
The Water Dragon’s eyes were peering deep inside me.
That might have been true, but I thought it would be more accurate to say that I had no reason to keep living in this world.
“I am afraid of living while wielding the sword.”
To continue living, for me, meant to experience the solitude and emptiness of those dearest to me dying, and nothing else.
Wielding a sword meant to walk side by side with death.
Death would never be far.
Yes, like before. I would repeat the same thing.
I returned to my usual tone and cackled.
“It’s all just dumb jokes.”
I spoke to get rid of the heavy mood.
“But I really think that even if I live long, nothing good awaits.”
I recalled past memories.
A scenery painted in solitude.
Unable to stand it, I turned my blade on myself.
I continued talking, while laughing at how foolish my past self was.
“In a world where continuing to kill people is regarded as a sign of strength, there will be nothing good at the end. I think that you’d only end up finding something messed up.”
That sure sounds like you know, huh.
I couldn’t help but answer my own words like that.