The Consequence of Saving the World
The most impressive thing about Sereya wasn’t her lone victory against the band of around 20 or so bandits. It was how she did it. Not a single life was lost in that melee.
Using the extra rope the merchant gave us, we rounded up and restrained the incapacitated bandits. The more I tied them up, the more surprised I was. There was not a single cut or any signs of bleeding on them. She basically knocked them out without even unsheathing her weapon!
I turned to face the swordswoman in question. With her only arm, she was picking up the bandits’ scattered weapons and placing them into the abandoned wagon one by one. My eyes were struggling to believe that this was the same person who took out an entire party in literally seconds flat.
Melyeze explained to the merchant that we were to stay behind and transport these criminals to Allantheim with this empty wagon. We felt kinda sorry for him, so we let him go on without us. Luckily, we had extra rope leftover from capturing the bandits.
“Sereya, do you have some sort of taboo against killing? Is that why you’re called The Merciful Blade?”
“E-Eh?” My question startled her just as she was about to drop off a flail into the wagon, “I don’t have an issue with killing. If I have to give a reason, it would probably be because uhhh...”
After pondering into the air for a few seconds, she looked at me excitedly with the answer she found.
“...because it would be a pain to clean up their blood! Can you imagine if moss started to grow on this road because the plants used their blood as fertiliser? I don’t want to give extra work to the street sweepers. Their work is as tough as it is!”
She didn’t even see them as people at all! Fertiliser? Was this a side effect of killing demons for years?
“You didn’t know how Lady Sereya got the nickname, The Merciful Blade?” Melyeze joined in the conversation as she dusted off her palms.
Lady Sereya sounded very awkward to me, but considering how much of a fan she was, I’d guess it was normal for Melyeze to call her that.
“No, how did she get the nickname?”
“Amongst those who study the blade, Lady Sereya is a legend! She has reached the pinnacle of swordsmanship never seen since the Age of Heroes. So skilled is she with her technique, that those who fought against her never even realised they were cut. All of those who faced her, be it man or demon, die a painless death as a result.
There’s even a saying now that goes ‘if someone died peacefully in their sleep, they were visited by Sereya the Merciful Blade!’”
“What?! How mean, I don’t do that to sleeping people!”
“Hmmm, but I can imagine countless men dreaming about you while they sleep, Lady Sereya~” Melyeze was probably referring to herself.
“Ew! I don’t want this kind of reputation.”
As Melyeze and Sereya argued, I frantically checked my body. Sereya swung a knife a few times at me earlier today and I was afraid that I was cut without me realising it! Thankfully, she really did have self-control.
“So do you understand the greatness of Lady Sereya now?” Melyeze asked, “People who end up fighting her can’t tell if they were hit. If you didn’t die in an instant, you’ll find yourself gradually losing strength, wondering why your body couldn’t move as well anymore, before you finally blackout and the darkness engulfs you.”
“Yes I get it! I get it!” I didn’t want Melyeze to ruin my image of a gentle, beautiful Sereya any further.
“A-Anyways,” Clearly feeling self-conscious, Sereya changed the topic, “why were you looking for the Hero, Melyeze?”
The young girl was innocently dragging the largest bandit by his collar, someone more than double her size, with just one hand almost as if he was weightless. Hearing the question, she turned to observe me first, before flipping the comatose bandit over and laying him down on the back of the wagon in one fell swoop. While Sereya was a monster in battle, it was clear to me that Melyeze herself was a beast in her own right.
With her eyes locked on me, she suddenly shrugged, “Oh well, they never said it was confidential anyway.”
“I was tasked with inviting Hero Evansmith to the Seven Heroes Summit that will be happening in Allantheim,” as she changed her sights to Sereya, she continued, “Since I bumped into Lady Sereya instead, I’ll extend the invitation to you, too. Oh, but if you’ve seen the Hero, please tell him to come, too!”
“Y-Yeah, I will.”
“What’s the Seven Heroes Summit?”
Since it was clear to Melyeze that I was Evander Mortimer and not Evansmith Mattheld, I felt brave enough to inquire.
“I don’t know the details of what’s to be discussed, but it’s basically a gathering of all the Seven Heroes and representatives from the major nations in Fallcross. You can expect something major to take place!”
“But usually not everyone shows up, though,” Sereya added, “which always makes these discussions pretty complicated. When is the summit taking place?”
“Tomorrow, Lady Sereya. Some of your companions are already waiting for you in Allantheim!”
“I see. Sorry you had to go through the forest,” Sereya bowed in apology.
“Oh! Err hehehe,” Melyeze couldn’t hide her joy from Sereya’s display of concern. If she was a guy, I’d probably call her out for being a creep.
“If I knew I was going to bump into Lady Sereya, I wouldn’t have minded being trapped in that forest for years!”
All it took for you was three days to start crying though, you sure?
“Besides that, please report to the palace tomorrow, Lady Sereya!”
“Will do. Thanks for the hard work, Melyeze.”
“Also,” Melyeze’s gaze landed on the ground, her countenance expressing that of concern, “umm nevermind!”
Heh? She was acting shy. Curiosity wanted me to prod further, but I would feel bad to make a young girl like her spill everything out.
“If you need anything from us, feel free to ask away,” Sereya said what I couldn’t.
“It’s fine, Lady Sereya. Once we get to the gate, I’ll handle the issue with the bandits and this empty wagon. The two of you can rest easy!”
“Alright,” Sereya turned to face me, “If there’s nothing else, then shall we make a move?”
After double checking to make sure that we left nothing and no one behind, I assumed the role of driver and rode the wagon down the road. The horses were well-behaved, which was great because my nerves were getting to me. I never drove a wagon on a road this big before.
Sereya and Melyeze sat at the back, making sure that none of the bandits got up and ran. I wondered what the two of them were talking about.
Anyways, besides the two horses, the only company that I had was the refreshing breeze blowing in my face, which wasn’t bad at all.
It was a very smooth ride. I remembered when the main roads which led to a city were still dirt paths. To see them paved in stone really convinced me further that ten years had indeed passed. I hoped that Mum and Evelin were still fine in Breven.
There was a queue of wagons lining up outside the large, fortified city gate of Allantheim. After a bit of waiting, Melyeze helped to check us in while also keeping our identities hidden. Considering the astonished faces of the guards who inspected the ‘contents’ of our wagon, it was a great help. If it weren’t for Melyeze, we would’ve probably been brought in for questioning.
As I got off the wagon, I bade farewell to the horses one last time. It was a short journey, but being with animals really reminded me of home.
“So, everything’s settled now, yes?” Sereya asked Melyeze, who just finished issuing instructions to the guards. Her being a high-ranked officer made sense, I guessed. They definitely wouldn’t want to entrust an ordinary messenger to reach out to one of the Seven Heroes.
“Yup. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to accompany you to the palace, so I guess this is goodbye then,” the sadness in her voice was obvious. She clearly wanted to spend more time with her idol.
“I won’t be going straight to the palace. I still need to settle some business before heading to the summit.”
“Ah, I see. Then, farewell, Lady Sereya, and you too, Evan.”
The two of us waved goodbye to Melyeze, before heading into town.
Barely a few seconds later, and Sereya stopped dead in her tracks. I turned towards her direction, and Melyeze caught up to her, tugging the bottom of her mantle.
“Lady Sereya, I know this is an unreasonable request, but…
...I challenge you to a duel!”