SETP Vol. 3 Chapter 15

Chapter 15 – Fear

“Was that really alright?”

The room looked like a hurricane had passed through it. Feli used her magic to clean it, removing all traces of blood and even the revolting stench of death.

“What *that*?”

“About her…”

Feli then turned towards the open window, curtains fluttering in the wind.

“We heard what we wanted to know. If there’s no risk of her targeting us again, then there’s no problem. I wanted to kill her only to get rid of a seed of concern.”

So once she didn’t present any such concerns, I had no qualms letting her go, I said.

“Besides— ”

I pulled out a piece of paper from my pocket.

It was the letters from King Leric of Afillis and his daughter addressed to me.

“I’ve kept them waiting long enough, I should reply soon. I’ve got no time to waste on someone like that.”

I smiled and turned around.

I had already decided what to write in my reply— 

◆◆◆

<<I was given the mission to make you side with the empire or to kill you. Looks like they’ve taken the remote island events very seriously, you know? Too bad for you.>>

Idies Farizard was forbidden from harming the people close to Fay Hanse Diestburg, unless she was justified. In addition, she could not lie to Fay Hanse Diestburg.

The Geass Scroll bound Idies Farizard to those two constrictions. She spat out her words in a sarcastic tone.

<<The remote island…hm.>>

I recalled Velnar, an opponent much more dangerous than anyone else I had met in this world, and frowned.

<<They took advantage of my resentment for what happened in Afillis and sicced me on you. I knew the effects of those strange pills, so I was sure I could make you pay this time…but it didn’t work out, did it. I have no intention of targeting you again, honestly…I have never met any human person so resistant to my illusions…>>

How annoying.

Idies then lowered her head.

<<About those “strange pills”, then. Say all you know.>>

<<I’m very sorry, but…all I know is that a guy in a black robe gave them out. All I knew was about their effects, though. Those hunks of meat there told me about the black robe guy.>>

<<A black robe…>>

I repeated the words, as to etch them into my brain.

It was a very vague characteristic at best, but it sounded very *likely* to me.

Very much like the “Black Peddlers” I knew.

<<I’m sure that only people close to the elite vassals can get any information about those pills. Search everywhere if you want, but you’ll just be wasting your time.>>

Idies had seen how I obsessed over the black pills. So she continued even if I didn’t ask anything.

<<Really.>>

I learned what I wanted to know, so I turned my back to her.

There was no time.

Now that the threat posed by Idies Farizard was no more, there was one thing for me to do. I had to go to Afillis, as soon as possible.

<<Wait just a moment, now!>>

<<I don’t have time for you.>>

<<That’s why I said it. It’s a trap.>>

<<Whaat?>>

I had no idea what she was saying.

<<Afillis, still recovering after the recent war, and Diestburg, the kingdom which gained a new “Hero”. If you were from the empire, which of them would you want to put down first?>>

<<……….>>

<<Diestburg has some serious firepower, that lady elf included. Which country could potentially grow into more of a threat, now? Diestburg or Afillis?>>

From a geographical standpoint too, if Diestburg fell into turmoil Rinchelle would be isolated and unable to receive support.

It was clear as day which country the empire would want on its knees first.

<<And you are considered the most dangerous of Diestburg’s assets, Fay Hanse Diestburg.>>

Idies pointed at me.

<<There are too many mysteries about you.>>

Diestburg’s current main fighting power, Grerial and his “Gravity” fighting style were rather well-known.

Feli too had been serving Diestburg for many years already, so in terms of combat, most of her capabilities were already known.

Stenn, more than anything, was hindered by his bad legs.

On the other hand, I had fought in the presence of others on very few occasions. The only thing people probably knew was that I could use a large number of swords in battle. I had not lost yet and likely still had aces up my sleeve, so it wasn’t strange to be considered a mystery. Idies’ words made complete sense.

<<Suppose that you, the biggest source of concern in the empire’s eyes, leaves Diestburg for Afillis. What do you think is going to happen?>>

<<…..that’s…>>

I hesitated.

Which was the best course of action?

<<But you can rest easy *for now*.>>

<<For now?>>

<<Yes, for now. I don’t think the empire finished their preparations yet. So they’re acting like nothing’s going on, at least on the surface. If you headed to Afillis, they might send a few people to Diestburg…as long as you stay here, they’re not going to suddenly become aggressive.>>

I didn’t doubt the effects of Feli’s Geass Scroll.

But my heartbeat grew faster all the same.

Was Idies really telling the truth?

If I started to doubt her words, there would be no end to it.

But if it wasn’t the case…

As long as even one “if” still appeared in my mind, I couldn’t rest.

<<Hey.>>

A voice interrupted my thoughts.

<<Could it be that the princess is pleading for your help?>>

Before I could answer, Idies continued.

<<She isn’t, right? That prideful princess would never act all weak like that.>>

<<If you know that, then why— >>

<<Why ask, you say? Because you aren’t aware, obviously.>>

You’re sticking your nose in others’ business all on your own accord.

It was unnecessary and a bad move.

It would be fine if it was the first time, maybe, but this would be the second. It would be different if Afillis was in a critical situation, but since it presently wasn’t, going to help them would mean exposing the fact that they are incapable of protecting themselves.

It would be like telling the princess and all of Afillis that you have little trust in them.

<<Or rather…I guess I’ll go ahead and say it.>>

After the binding of the Geass Scroll, Feli used her healing on Idies, who recovered enough to be able to stand up.

<<Why does your face look like you just saw death?>>

Her words felt like I was suddenly struck by thunder.

<<You defeated those guys in seconds. They’re dead. So why are you so scared?>>

I’m not, I’m not scared.

Don’t forget. In those too realistic lucid dreams you have, you have seen “Abominations” a sickening amount of times, you’ve witnessed people die too many times to keep count.

Idies didn’t say anything you haven’t known for the longest time. So laugh at her. Act strong. Hide your feelings.

…after a few seconds, I shook those thoughts away.

Thoughts that appeared in my mind in a very natural manner. I swallowed my breath.

<<Why do you say I— >>

Did I just try to fake my feelings?

Hearing the truth pointed out to me turned my head blank.

<<I thought it was weird from the start…your crazy powers, your crazy way of thinking…the way how you looked like you gave up on everything. Too much for your age, all of it. I thought the same thing last time, but can it be that you— >>

—that you’re just terrified…of people dying?

Idies talked like the man with dreadlocks, who once told me “I feared too much”.

She probably showed interest in me because I defeated her.

Fighting instincts that easily neutralized her illusions. It was obvious for her to want to know the secret behind them.

So she stepped inside.

Coming closer and closer to the core.

To the fact that I probably shared some connection with the “Abominations”. How I crushed their heads to pieces was more than enough proof.

There was no way to know, just by looking at them, that they would still move if their heads weren’t crushed. So Idies concluded that the monsters did something to me in the past, but was interrupted by another voice.

<<I think that’s quite enough.>>

My conversation with Idies was cut off by Feli, who had kept silent until then.

<<You don’t want to know more about your master?>>

<<I do. I obviously want to know, very much. I’m sure I think so much more than you do. But I don’t want to force him to talk.>>

<<…this might become a disadvantage in the future.>>

<<That is not an issue.>>

Feli firmly shook her head.

<<I have decided to wait until His Highness decides to talk of his own will.>>

<<Even if not knowing might cause *His Highness* to die?>>

<<If anything like that happens, I’ll be there to protect him.>>

<<…really.>>

Feli’s gaze brimmed with conviction. Idies finally turned away.

<<I have nothing else to say, then. I told you all I know. So— >>

<<You’re right.>>

Idies seemed ready to leave quickly, probably meaning to get away before angering me or Feli more, but I stopped her.

<<I am terrified.>>

Of people dying.

Of solitude.

Of my past. Everything.

I thought I was used to it.

But it turns out I was just fooling myself.

I wasn’t used to it at all, I didn’t get over it at all, that’s why I continued experiencing my past, again and again, in those absurd lucid dreams.

I was scared of the death of people I knew.

I was terrified of the death of people I held dear.

I was deathly afraid of being alone.

A puppet with a laughing mask on its face. That’s what I was.

But…

<<But I’m not so hopeless that even you have to worry about me.>>

The time when I could only rely on others was long gone.

I was a weakling that could live only under the protection of others.

I was definitely not thinking that I could do everything by myself. There was no mistake about it.

I had to know my limits.

<<Those “Abominations” are a trauma for me. But that ends today. If the empire is really making the black pills, I will exterminate them. And get rid of my trauma in the process.>>

Putting up a facade of pride is pointless, I thought.

Facing the “Abominations” again made me lose my cool.

They must be killed, every last one of them. All the people connected to the black pills must be cut down.

Thus I needed to regain my composure.

<<That’s right, if I went to Afillis now, without a formal request for support, I’d just be in the way. There are many proud knights in that country, after all. I let my arrogance get the best of me.>>

Logsaria Bornest. I recalled the name of the knight who was the *trigger* for me to wield a sword again, and laughed.

<< —So I guess I have to thank you this time.“Game of Illusions”, Idies Farizard.>>

And…

<<You…please wait just a little more.>>

I mentally apologized to the maid standing next to me for the worry I was causing her, and she smiled helplessly.

My previous life in that living hell of a world.

I didn’t know if she would believe me when I told her about the life I ended up living in that world.

But I would properly talk to her about it, one day.

So I decided.

◆◆◆

The day I wrote my replies to the letters from Afillis, at dinner…

Father viewed the incident caused by Idies very gravely.

“I am thinking of holding a Curia.”

In order to contrast the empire’s power and influence, Rinchelle, Diestburg, and other kingdoms formed an alliance to act as a counterbalance.

The meeting of the representatives of such an alliance was called the “Curia”.

The signs of an impending invasion by the empire had become more frequent.

Father made this painful decision in order to prevent any more dangerous incidents.


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