And then, it was the tenth day after Girard’s death. The funeral of the first Beast King, Girard Estaria, was held in the capital of the dog tribe, Elden, of the Falnido Beast Alliance.
Shin and Schnee participated too. It was told that Schnee came after she had heard the report of Girard’s death, and it was accepted without any doubt. Shin and Schnee lined up to see off Girard, equipped with a full body armor for that occasion. Some of the attendees wore the equipment that they had worn when they had shared battlefields with Girard, and Shin, who had put on armor, was mistaken as a veteran hero; he was thought to be a famous soldier. Girard had had a lot of combat experience, so unexpectedly, there were a lot of people who had shared battlefields together, but didn’t know each other by sight.
At the funeral, everyone in the upper echelon of the country was present, each tribal head and successor, retired former generals, and so forth; a terrific lineup had been gathered. The representative from the village of elves and pixies was also among them. Wolfgang, who was the king, and Cuore the princess were in the front row. There was a person next to Schnee. It was the representative of the dragon imperial empire, Kilmont, an ally of Falnido, and Shin’s support character no. 4, Shibaid Etraku.
He was a High Dragnil with red eyes, and scales like obsidian. As a fellow companion that founded a country, apart from as a person that also served as a fellow vanguard in Shin’s party, Shin heard they had formed strong communications. Both the capitals of the two countries should have a considerable distance between them, but somehow, he made it in time. Shin, who saw that figure, felt nostalgic, and thought that as soon as he had calmed down, he would meet him directly.
The funeral advanced solemnly, and finished peacefully without any trouble. Girard’s body seemed to be buried in the earth where the successive kings laid. ‘I am born from the earth, live on the earth, and return to the earth.’ That was the outlook on life and death that most of the beastmen had.
At the end of the ceremony, Wolf Type, Dog Type, and Fox Type, all of the beasts howled together. It was the melody of burial rites, to send off warriors who fought till their last breath.
Girard’s body was buried in the tomb of the kings while being seen off by many people.
When the funeral was over, Shin returned to the residence. Wolfgang and the executives of the country had a pile of matters to be discussed hereafter, and it seemed that they wouldn’t return home for a while.
“Can I sit next to you?”
Having called out to Shin, who was looking out at the garden, while he was patting Yuzuha above his knee, was Van. The figure of Rajim was seen behind him, too.
“Is the discussion going well?”
“We, the old soldiers, shouldn’t come into play.”
“That’s right, the country’s matters have already been entrusted to others.”
Van sat on the veranda, and spoke those words to Shin who was asking. And Rajim agreed with the words.
The two men were clad in such a calm atmosphere, that Shin had the feeling that they would disappear at any moment.
“What will you two do from now on?”
“Go on a journey.”
“Yes, because our companion is waiting, too.”
“…I see. Go join your friend.”
Their companion is waiting, too. From the words which Van said and the atmosphere around him, Shin felt something special. He knew the destination of the two people.
“…Hey, according to you two, what kind of guy did you see Girard as?”
After a few minutes of silence, such words came out from Shin’s mouth.
“He was a great person.”
“He was a warrior rivaled by nobody.”
As Van and Rajim were feeling nostalgic, they closed their eyes and spoke.
He stood before everyone else, a leader who showed the way. A great person, who possessed overwhelming fighting power.
“He was a solitary man.”
“He was someone who got lonely easily.”
A hero without equal. A lonely king.
Because of his combat power, it was often said that it couldn’t be helped that he fought alone on the battlefield. If neither Schnee nor Shibaid was there, the two people said he would really keep standing alone on the battlefield. And yet, he seemed to impulsively pick quarrels with his friends.
“He was a person who thought of his friends.”
“He was a person who could do nothing but fight.”
For this reason, people gathered in Girard’s surroundings. For the sake of his friends he picked up a weapon, and rushed on to defeat monsters, he gathered up the tribes during the confusion of the crustal movement. He was just like a hero from the fairy tales.
Just, unlike a lot of heroic tales, he had no enthusiasm to be king. Girard’s job was focused purely on combat. Other than that, it was not important.
Though people requested it from Girard, he himself knew that he didn’t have the ability to rule. If anything, he was fit as a general. Thanks to that, he needed people to support him. Van and Rajim were first on the list, and he was said to have a hard time. Nevertheless, though he never tried to stop them from leaving, he felt mutual trust within those surroundings.
While having fighting power that could be called abnormal, it wasn’t the contributing factor on why he was alone. As the gap between battlefield and daily life was tremendous, the two people spoke in unison at the end.
“I see, thank you for telling me.”
The appearance of a Girard, whom Shin didn’t know, was there.
“Shin-dono, I want to express my gratitude once again.”
“What’s that, suddenly.”
Van straightened his posture and bowed to Shin. When he moved his line of sight, Rajim too, was bowing in the same way.
“Hey now, both of you.”
“For granting the king’s wish. Our feelings of gratitude will never end.”
“Come on now, just quit it. It happened by chance, really.”
Yes, it really was a coincidence for him to return, and etiquette was not necessary, Shin thought. Moreover, if Shin didn’t return, Girard might still be alive.
“We don’t think of those kinds of things at all.”
Rajim spoke his words while raising his head, to Shin who did think about these kinds of things.
“A life that does not end, it’s painful for us beasts, who are not of the long-life kind.”
Rajim said. The average lifespan of a beast didn’t vary much compared to humans. It was about 120 years at most, even if one had a long life. Sure, there would be people who would live for several hundreds of years, that were born in this age, but judging from the whole, it was only a small handful. In comparison with the elves and pixies, who seem to live for an eternity, it could be said that life was too short.
However, that was fine. Elves are elves, pixies are pixies, and beasts have the beast’s way of life. It was very cruel, that he alone deviated from that road.
Except for himself, the other people that were born, died. People who lived in the same time as him, left him. Certainly, Girard’s soul was gradually being eaten away by time.
“We are people who live for just a short time. Living a long life is like an endless prison. Thus, to Shin-dono, who released the king from there, it’s natural for us to express our gratitude. Even if it was by chance that you returned here, you did not leave without doing anything.”
Van and Rajim left, and a veil of darkness descended in the area. Because he conveyed that he would have dinner by himself, no one came to call on Shin.
While the moonlight shone, Shin was still on the veranda. Yuzuha had curled its tail and was sleeping.
Shin called out to Schnee as he perceived her approaching. Though Shin returned to the residence soon after he had witnessed the burial, Schnee, who was in a special position, was unable to return immediately.
After the fight, outwardly, Shin appeared to have no change until now. However, looking at it from Schnee’s viewpoint, that state of no changes was unnatural. For this reason, she wanted to be at his side if possible, but Schnee had to attend a meeting.
The general greeting was finished, and when she returned to the residence and felt the presence of Shin, she discovered that he was looking at the night sky from the veranda. But the face that she saw from the side seemed to melt inside the moonlight and disappear; he looked empty.
Schnee approached quietly and embraced Shin. Because he was sitting, Shin’s face was held against Schnee’s breasts, but his expression didn’t have any big changes.
Shin called Schnee’s name in wonder. But that voice somehow lacked feeling, too.
“The current Shin seemed to have disappeared somewhere.”
Oddly enough, it was the same feeling that Shin felt from Van and Rajim. In order to erase the anxiety welling up inside his mind, Schnee put power into her arms to hold Shin.
“Whatever it is. Please say it to me.”
She didn’t know what she was able to do. But to make him even just a little energetic, Schnee spoke the words.
Before long, an answer came back.
“Just a little while ago, Van and Rajim came.”
Saying few words, Shin conveyed the things he talked about with those two. With Schnee embracing Shin closely, she listened to his voice.
“Van and Rajim said they understand it.”
“They also said they understand Girard’s own wish.”
“Even me, I understood it as the opponent.”
While speaking, Schnee noticed Shin’s voice was trembling a little.
After coming to this world, the time Shin spent with Girard was awfully short. However, they discussed each other’s intentions through weapons, to fill the time they had been apart. It was neither NPC, and not data either; it was the real Girard. The length of time spent and so on, was unrelated to the two people.
Therefore, in a sense, this was the proper reaction.
Even if the person himself wished it. Even if the surrounding people consented. But still.
“My friend died…it’s hard….”
It was painful. Because Shin understood it at the end.
“…Please cry. You have fulfilled your obligation. It’s okay to grieve.”
While hugging Shin, Schnee also noticed that her view was blurry.
She must be sad, and it must be difficult. To Schnee, Girard was an important companion.
Beneath the moonlight, without sobbing, and without crying voices.
Only the tears didn’t stop.
The two shadows that drew close to each other under the moonlight, slowly separated.
The person who got over his sadness, in his eyes a fire with a strong light was lit .
The moon sunk over the horizon, and the sun made its appearance.
The spectacle that filled the world with light, Shin directly watched it.