SETP Vol. 2 Chapter 2
Chapter 2 – A Reason not to Die
The party reached the kingdom of Saldance at noon, four days after the meeting.
On the ship headed to Saldance rode two members from Diestburg: Grerial Hanse Diestburg and Feli von Yugsten.
The knights originally escorting Grerial were ordered to guard Fay from the shadows in Feli’s place, so they stayed in Rinchelle.
From Rinchelle came Welles May Rinchelle, Lychaine May Rinchelle, Rowle Zwelg, and 40 knights.
They would stay in Saldance for two days: in that time they needed to negotiate with the “Faraway Hollow”’ and obtain permission to go to the remote island where the Rainbow Flower bloomed.
Rowle had already acted before the departure, so the procedures to enter the island were already complete.
“What shall we do, Princess Lychaine?”
In order to meet with the “Faraway Hollow”, the party split into two.
One group would actually meet and negotiate with the “Hero”: Grerial, Welles, Rowle and 20 knights.
The other group, who was asked by Grerial and Welles to tour the city freely until the negotiation ended, was composed of Feli, Lychaine, and the remaining 20 knights.
For a while, Feli had been leading the group, followed by Lychaine, with the 20 knights in tow.
Lychaine’s cheeks puffed up, expressing her distress in a manner very fitting her age, much to Feli’s confusion. She had been acting like this ever since Welles, Grerial, and Rowle left. Feli understood that it was probably her real self, but it made her quite troublesome to deal with.
After a few minutes of displeased mumbling, Lychaine finally articulated comprehensible words.
“That sword is really important to you, isn’t it.”
Lychaine’s cold look made it clear that she still felt something akin to disgust towards the black blade. Her gaze had softened, however, compared to the first meeting four days prior.
Feli often touched the shadow-colored blade, to check if it was still there. She treated it with vital importance.
Lychaine didn’t know if she did it consciously or not.
Seeing that so often, however, Lychaine didn’t feel like complaining openly about the sword anymore.
“Because His Highness entrusted it to me.”
A sword is a swordsman’s soul.
Even if he could create countless numbers of them, Fay was strongly attached to his “Spada”, as Feli could see in many instances while being at his side. So she treated it with even more care. The sword he gave her as a good luck charm, despite hating swords so much. What sort of emotions were enclosed within it?
Even while refusing to wield a sword and bringing himself down, there was still a swordsman within him. Thus what he would believe in the most was the sword, which would naturally surface in his mind as the most effective method.
That was why all Fay could do was to give Feli his sword.
Thinking that her master was worried about her to such a point, Feli couldn’t hide a smile.
He was kind, after all.
“….by His Highness, do you mean Prince Grerial?”
Lychaine furrowed her brow as she asked the question.
Grerial was a very honest and straightforward person. It could be said that he had a pleasant personality.
Thanks to her special eyesight, Lychaine could tell that the “Spada”’s nature was very different from Grerial. She mentioned Grerial’s name because she did not know of anyone else Feli would address as “His Highness”.
“No, I meant Prince Fay. His Highness Prince Fay Hanse Diestburg.”
Lychaine whispered the name in a barely audible tone. She could not recall anything by that name, however, so she asked another question.
“…what kind of person is he? Prince Fay.”
Lychaine was interested in Fay Hanse Diestburg, as he was “Spada”’s owner. She was purely interested in what kind of person would carry a weapon with such an ominous aura.
“Well…let me see. Simply speaking, I don’t really understand him.”
Lychaine was positively taken aback.
Feli understood all too well how she felt, however. She wondered herself why she had replied in that way.
“I think…no, he’s actually a very kind person, I’m sure of it. But he just won’t admit it. He’s really clumsy and always tries to handle everything by himself. That’s why he’s hard to understand.”
Always bringing himself down, full of defects, but he’s like a little brother to me. Since it might sound disrespectful, I will keep this to myself, though.
Feli then showed a gentle smile.
“…he must be very important to you.”
Her words were filled with affection, an emotion that would not be found in a normal vassal’s words to their master.
“Was it okay to do that then?”
Because of her words, Lychaine had another question to ask.
If she thought of him like a troublesome little brother, she would never leave him alone. Didn’t she want to stay at his side? Lychaine couldn’t help but ask.
“To participate in such a dangerous mission, when you have an important person to protect…”
According to Rowle Zwelg, their chance of success was about 50%. That was not the probability of all of them returning alive, but the probability of obtaining the Rainbow Flower.
The probability of the whole party returning safe and sound was probably around 20%.
A probability calculated by taking Grerial’s statement regarding Feli’s abilities as true and overestimating her. That was what Lychaine thought after hearing Rowle talk about the plan several times.
“Prince Fay, in his clumsiness, asked me to escort Prince Grerial, and I promised to. I had no choice, after all.”
Feli laughed bitterly, saying that it couldn’t be helped.
I want to go on a vacation, I want to lay about all day long. Feli had heard countless of such wishes before, but very rarely, if ever, heard Fay ask a serious request.
Thus she couldn’t fail to keep her promise.
“I am not sure why, honestly, but I myself am not too worried. Strangely enough.”
Welles told Lychaine that the final decision whether to participate in the mission or not was hers alone. In other words, she was here now on her own volition. Though she decided to go, she was not confident that they would come back alive, so Lychaine found Feli’s confident words very surprising.
<<As long as I can wield my sword, I will protect brother Grerial and you too, head maid. So you are not allowed to get yourself killed.>>
An instantaneous recollection. The exchange of just a few days prior resurfaced in Feli’s mind. It happened in the restaurant Fay and Feli visited right after arriving in Rinchelle. Fay spoke those words with an unusual, clear flame of conviction in his eyes, so they were engraved deep in Feli’s memory.
“He’s really reliable when it counts the most.”
Fay Hanse Diestburg was too kind to those closest to him. He would do anything to keep his promises. So Feli thought that regardless whether she lived or died, the worst case scenario would never come true.
“So I have no concrete proof, but I believe there is no reason to be pessimistic.”
After her battle with Fay a few days before, Feli had spoken with the spirit she had housed briefly in her body, the Water Dragon.
She couldn’t be pessimistic. No matter what happened, she would never give up on life. As these feelings smoldered in her heart, she recalled that conversation clearly, for some reason.
<<You’ve found quite a troublesome master.>>
Because of the spirit channeling effects on her body, Feli couldn’t talk properly at the time, so the Water Dragon simply spoke one-sidedly to her.
<<He is strong, indeed.>>
The Water Dragon recognized Fay’s strength. The Water Dragon, who lived longer than any humans and had seen many strong warriors, honestly praised Fay’s strength.
<<Because of his strength, however, he is burdened by something in his past.>>
Extraordinary powers were the fruit of extraordinary fates. The Water Dragon stated the truly strong often experienced very unusual events. They had something they could never give up on, pride or promises they would protect no matter what. Something they swore their lives on.
People grew stronger because of such fates. The Water Dragon stated without ambiguity that strength was directly proportional to the burdens one carried.
<<It can be said that he is a living dead man, but— >>
The Water Dragon thought back about the man it crossed swords with and spoke while choosing its words carefully.
No normal person would disregard their own lives like that. Even if they had such thoughts in their minds, their body would reject them. The opposite was also true.
If a person could reach such a state of body and mind— the most suitable word to describe it would be “broken”.
The Water Dragon knew it well, so it intentionally stopped talking and simply hinted at it. It stressed as much as possible how it wanted its master, Feli, to pay close attention to its following words.
<<That is absolutely not something he was born with.>>
Even among the people with a deathwish, there were different kinds. Broadly speaking, they could be divided in two categories.
The berserk-type, who willingly pursued death, and those who wished for death to escape from reality.
The Water Dragon judged Fay to be the latter type.
<<He simply fears being alone.>>
—I am afraid to live while swinging the sword.
A howl which came from his heart.
His true will, without an inch of falsehood.
<<If you truly wish to save him, you must cling to life, no matter what.>>
Death might not shake him anymore.
It might even be said that he grew tired of seeing it.
That was how much his eyes were blurred by sadness.
Even if he had grown tired of seeing death, however, it did not mean that he would feel nothing when witnessing someone else die. At the very least, if Feli continued to live she could become an obstacle for a person that sought to die.
<<He has opened his heart to you, to some extent.>>
Thus the Water Dragon spoke like that.
It repeated it, because it knew what Feli wished for.
<<If you were to die, death would surely become closer for him too.>>
It already looked like he had a deathwish.
If the shackles binding his heart disappeared even a little, he might return to a lifestyle of decadence. Or he might choose death. That was not sure, but one thing was: he would surely head in a negative direction.
<<Because of this, you must survive.>>
The Water Dragon stated it again.
<<Personally, I cannot bear to see one leading such a life either.>>
Appearance-wise, he looked like he was in the middle of his teens.
—In a world where killing people is regarded as proof of strength, nothing good waits at the end of that path. You’re only going to see an awful view, or at least that’s how I see it.
A normal person would never think like that.
His words were probably true. He was fatally aware of the truth, fatally broken. He definitely missed what other young men his age had. That was what clearly expressed how unnatural the human called Fay Hanse Diestburg was.
“I also have a reason not to die.”
Feli spoke, while recalling the Water Dragon’s words.
For the sake of her wish, she couldn’t meet her end in the Saldance kingdom. Thus she spoke with confidence.
She said it with a smile.
“There is no need for concern: I do not have the slightest intention to die. I’d worry too much if I died and left His Highness behind.”
Feli had her usual smile on her lips as she spoke.