SETP Vol. 2 Chapter 17

Chapter 17 – Velnar

Something danced in the air, drawing blood-red arcs as it did. It scattered blotches of red, and fell on the ground with an unpleasant thud.

“Haha…hahaha…hahahaha.”

Loss of limbs.

The sharp pain of severed flesh, bone, and nerves slightly contorted Velnar’s expression, but he laughed to hide it, laughed as he had the whole time.

“You’re not going to stop yet, are you!!”

Velner continued his offensive, without even sparing a glance to the right arm he had lost, and I shouted in response.

“Do you even need to ask!? The only time I stop is when I die!! If you want me to stop so much, then try and kill me!! Got it!?”

Velnar howled an  incoherent sound back at me.

As soon as he noticed my diagonal slash coming down on him from above, Velnar suddenly swung his severed right arm at me, directing the spluttering blood in my direction.

A blinding attack out of the blue.

I instinctively closed my eyes and created an opening.

“……ch”

“Your stomach’s wide open!!”

“Ah…gah…”

A piercing impact struck my stomach.

My lungs are compressed, pushing out all the air inside them.

At the same time, the sound of several bones breaking traveled directly to my ears.

“K-khahaha!! Haha!! Hahahaha!”

The pain interrupted my thoughts.

I forcefully suppressed it and desperately made sure not to lose consciousness as I somehow managed to keep standing on my unstable legs.

Despite the damage, I still clearly recognized Velnar, who had closed in on me to swing his sword.

So I tried to create a “Spada” in the gap between the approaching sword and me.

“Are you…serious…!?”

Velner’s shocked expression was forced to see not spraying blood, not severed limbs, but sparks of fire.

My “Spada” and Velner’s sword clashed once again, with the distinctive clang of metal grinding against metal.

“But that instant sealed your fate!!”

Velner’s mouth twisted in an ecstatic smile, and he kicked the ground with his feet.

The next moment, a blood-red magic circle appeared.

It was different from the one used for the summoning. I somehow understood that immediately.

“This is the end!! Fay Hanse Diestburg!!”

A red barrier appeared out of nowhere.

”This… is bad…!”

I quickly stepped back, away from the area affected by the magic circle, but felt something blocking me.

At the same time, a sharp sensation of pain struck.

“This is called ‘Blood Blade Barrier’!! As long as you’re in there, you’ll be attacked by countless invisible blades of blood!!”

I tried to swing my “Spada” in an effort to break through the barrier, but only a dull sound of metal returned, together with the reality that it was simply blocked.

The so-called countless invisible blades of blood continued attacking me relentlessly. More and more cuts appeared, more and more blood scattered.

“This is your limit!! That’s what you get for swinging a half-assed sword like that!! And I thought I had found a worthy rival!! What a huge disappointment!!”

Another magic circle formed.

I had seen it before: this time it was exactly the magic circle used for summoning.

That magic circle was also formed in midair.

Seeing that I was stuck in the barrier, Rowle probably couldn’t stand still and rushed towards us.

However…

“Don’t come!!”

I shouted.

I let my voice echo in the surroundings.

“Haha!! ‘I’m going to protect my friends with my life?’ Is that it? Rest easy, as soon as I kill you I’m sending them all after you!!”

Velnar’s cohorts appeared from the magic circle and came towards Velnar himself and me. He probably meant this as the finishing blow.

That instant, my thinking accelerated.

I eliminated all unnecessary thoughts, keeping only what was vital for the moment.

Time around me stopped, and only my thoughts proceeded, slowly.

Who are you?

“I’m…”

I’m Fay Hanse Diestburg.

Nothing more, nothing less.

As Velnar had asked me.

What the hell do you live for?

The reason why I live is to die with a smile on my face. That’s it…or rather, that *was* it.

More and more reasons to die appeared in my head, one after the other. But I couldn’t put my reasons to live in words. Even if it was to protect others, I couldn’t say it well.

He told me to forget it all.

I couldn’t do that.

I can’t forget my sin, nor those days.

….my sin was not being able to protect anyone.

I couldn’t protect them and, in the end, I died like that. More than anything, the time I spent with my mentor and the others shaped the kind of person I was. It supported me. That time is the one thing I can be proud of. So I cannot forget about it.

My body isn’t used to it yet.

That’s just an excuse.

I was driven into a corner, on the brink of being killed in a pathetic manner. How laughable.

Didn’t I promise that I wouldn’t lose?

That I wouldn’t lose to anyone except my mentor and the others?

The words formed an echo.

They resounded in my mind, once, twice, thrice, so many times.

“I can’t lose to anyone.”

I answered. I didn’t need words anymore. My answer implied an order for the voice in my head to shut up, and the voice stopped.

“Once I have chosen to wield my sword, I can’t afford to show shame.”

The time around moved again, little by little.

Velnar moved closer and closer.

There was very little time left.

I was going to show him.

Show him the final destination of a man bound by a past, a man who kept dragging that past with him, a man who continued cherishing it.

<<“One slash, one kill. My heart, my body is forever a battlefield!!”>>

Words that encapsulated Fay Hanse Diestburg better than anything else. Nothing had changed since then. I was going to fight back until the very end.

If I didn’t, I’m sure I couldn’t go with a smile.

I would regret it again. So I shouted.

“What are you even saying now!? It’s too late to do anything!!”

Velnar and his monster cohorts approached the “Blood Blade Barrier” I was sealed in at even higher speed.

“…there’s nothing my ‘Spada’ can’t cut.”

I believed it with all my heart. So I could continue wielding my “Spada”, stubbornly believing in it no matter what.

I took my “Spada” in a loose stance and recalled vivid memories.

The power of my “Spada”, a symbol of destruction that could cut through anything and everything. The countless scenes of carnage it gave birth to.

I pronounced the following words in a chilling tone, swinging down my “Spada”.

No matter the situation, no matter the crisis, I firmly believed that my “Spada” could cut through anything.

“Kill Once and for All – Spada!”

A shadow-colored object filled my field of view, trying to cut through the blood-red barrier.

One second later, I felt a sort of rumble from the ground.

Something that affected everything in front of me.

“Ah…ghah…!”

—and tore it to shreds.

I noted Velnar had  perceived the incoming threat and had tried moving out of the way, but he still ended with the right half of his body missing. He groaned in pain and collapsed on the ground.

“—haah….haah…haah…”

His breathing was heavy, ragged.

I slowly walked closer to him, as blood continued to flow from my whole body.

“Haha…hahaha….it didn’t work after all. You got over it the last damn second, huh…”

Even while spitting the blood gurgling in his throat, Velnar laughed with a feral smile and continued to look at me.

His lifeforce was definitely waning. His organs should be out of commission too.

The wounds I inflicted were lethal, no doubt about it.

Even if I didn’t do anything else, Velnar would surely die.

From the start, he had done nothing but spout high-and-mighty speeches, but he had still given me a chance to face my true self.

I should give him the coup de grace. With such thought, the grip on my “Spada” grew stronger.

The blade in my hands pointed towards Velnar’s neck.

“The reason to live isn’t something you can get from other people…nor something other people can give you…don’t you use other people as your reason to live. If you can’t find one, just keep on struggling. Live on your own two legs, with your own will…that’s what living really means…! And…you know that already, right…?”

I more or less understood what Velnar meant to say.

I wanted to protect others out of my own will.

I needed to at least become able to say that properly. That’s what he was telling me.

It’s fine to be bound by the past, but don’t just be tied down by it, go on living on your own legs, hands, will.

If you don’t, you’ll eventually reach a wall. This is what he probably meant to tell me.

“…I know someone like you, see. I guess that’s why I blabbered so much.”

That was the reason behind his irritation then.

“…oh well, sometimes a day like this isn’t bad, I guess…”

Velnar’s body progressively lost its energies.

“The loser here will be watching the swordsman boy from somewhere…and the *scary guy* that’s watching over him…”

Those words caught me slightly off guard.

It was just a blink, but Velnar didn’t miss it. While trembling, his lips curved into a grin.

He seemed happy to see me surprised.

I thought it was impressive he could do something like that, despite being at his limits.

I did not ask anything.

Velnar didn’t have any intention of saying anything more in detail either. It looked like he just wanted to drop a hint. A pain to deal with until the end, I thought.

“Anyway, you really went and defeated me. Don’t you go die a shitty death now.”

That was his wish.

A warrior’s wish.

The opponent that killed him was someone he had no objections about. Someone he could accept losing against. Velnar’s words sounded a bit like an earnest request.

“Well, I guess that was pretty fun.”

—Aah, yeah, it isn’t half bad to be killed by someone strong…

Velnar’s expression did not show any regret.

On the contrary, he had the broadest smile on his face. A deep satisfaction for finally realizing the duel to the death he had sought for such a long time.

“Struggle while you can, Fay Hanse Diestburg….!”

As soon as he uttered these words, fresh blood sprayed from his neck.

From my “Spada” I felt the sensation of cutting through flesh and the solid feeling of severing bone.

“…I said, stop talking as if you knew everything.”

Vernal spoke as if he had been watching me since who knows when, despite not actually knowing a thing about me. I didn’t like that at all, but I couldn’t say I disliked him.

To live by prioritizing your own desires was something I found beautiful and also correct. Something I yearned for.

So I did become a bit sentimental, but spoke of the kind of person I was all the same.

Despite the fact that he couldn’t hear anymore.

“I am the infamous ‘Trash Prince’.”

The usual words which had become a trademark for me, at this point.

I started using them to put myself down, but eventually I found it pleasant to say them.

Or rather, every time I used them I felt they became more and more apt to describe me. I could feel it now more than before. So I did it again.

“Just like a prince, I’ll arrogantly carry them all now. The past and the future. And this present too.”

I was as weak as ever.

I couldn’t throw away anything. Always scared of losing. Even if losing one important person meant to save two. I would still try to save all three of them, or lose my life in a fruitless attempt to do so, without saving even one.

Even if by discarding my past I would have found a happier life, I would spit on such a choice without the slightest hesitation.

What meaning would such a life have?

If I could discard the future, even if I could return to who I was in the days I was called ***. I knew that that kind of thinking would make it easier to live, but I couldn’t do it anymore. Because I had found people I wanted to protect.

I was aware of the idiocy of such a way of thinking, of course.

No matter what happened, I’d end up with new regrets. That’s how I felt.

So, if I was going to embrace those new regrets anyway…

I’ll carry everything with me, and create the grandest regrets ever.

It didn’t work out, after all…I’ll say to myself as I chuckle and pass away.

This kind of thinking was the best, I thought.

More than anything, it was ideal for me.

“What? I’m being too selfish?” 

I talked to Velnar’s remains, in a taunting tone.

Talking with the dead, what a farce.

No answer would ever come.

I would just be talking by myself, nothing else would change.

So I continued.

So I laughed, as always.

“You can say that after you kill me and my arrogance with me.”

The moment a sword is wielded, everyone is on the side of evil. The winner is applauded as righteous, as evil becomes justice.

Now, my stance was the right one.

I was on the side of justice, so— 

“So I can’t deal with you seriously now, see?”

If you were here in my place, you would have said it like this, right?

.

.

Right?

.

.

My mentor.


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