Chapter 28:

Five Swords

The Consequence of Saving the World

Melyeze stumbled backwards, looking at her empty palms in disbelief. Her prized possession belonged to her enemy. There was nothing she could do about it.Bookmark here

Remus only needed a mere touch of the grip of her weapon. From that point onwards, he could summon it anytime.Bookmark here

“Truth be told, girl. A sword doesn’t suit your fightin’ sty—”Bookmark here

“Silence! If you want to end my life, then hurry up and do it! Do not mock me!”Bookmark here

Blood replaced her spit instead of saliva. She was shot, battered and bleeding, yet her words were still filled with zest.Bookmark here

“Geez, if you ever reincarnate or somethin’, just take my advice, will ya?! The way you use earth magic is neat, but it doesn’t really match your movements. Use just your hands or some gauntlets. It’s easier to infuse magic with ‘em than with a sword.”Bookmark here

Offering free advice to an enemy he was about to kill—I gave up on trying to understand him long ago, yet he still continued to affirm my decision.Bookmark here

“W-Why are you telling me all this?” Melyeze asked a pointless question.Bookmark here

“It wasn’t much of a dance, but you did get a lil’ bit of respect from me to earn just that.”Bookmark here

He wasn’t even looking at her. His attention was focused entirely on her weapon as he admired it.Bookmark here

“Any final words, girl?”Bookmark here

Remus spun Melyeze’s blade around like he was juggling it with one hand. A sigh left her mouth, followed by screaming:Bookmark here

“I told you to run, so why the HELL are you still standing there?!”Bookmark here

My feet were still frozen in place. I couldn’t expl—Bookmark here

“Hey, there’s no way the kid could run, I got—”Bookmark here

“YOU! Shut up! I’m not done yet!”Bookmark here

Even Remus was shocked by her outburst.Bookmark here

“I bought all this time talking to him when you could sneak away! Why are you such a good-for-nothing Hero!?”Bookmark here

“If I’m so good-for-nothing, then why did you come here to throw your life away in the first place!?”Bookmark here

I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew better than anyone else how weak I was. Still, Melyeze didn’t have the right to insult me if she couldn’t do anything herself!Bookmark here

“UGH! You have no idea how important your life is, do you, you ingrate?! This country will go to war because of YOUR selfishness!”Bookmark here

“I KNOW! I know, Melyeze. You think I wanted this? But no matter what I say or how hard I fight, I’m not a Hero! I’m too scared to even run away, you think I’m a Hero?Bookmark here

I’m not as heroic or selfless as you think I am. I’m just a peasant, Melyeze. These two days have been the worst days of my life!”Bookmark here

Tears travelled down my face as I walked forwards, placing myself in between Melyeze and Remus.Bookmark here

“Before you kill her, I want you to kill me first!”Bookmark here

“Are you out of your mind?!” Bookmark here

Sorry, Melyeze.Bookmark here

“I’m not doing this to save you. I’m doing this ‘cause I’m scared. I’m scared to watch a friend die in front of my eyes!”Bookmark here

The experiences in my Memory Dive still haunted my mind. To see human life being extinguished before me was a lot more horrifying than being killed myself. This wasn’t a noble sacrifice—I just wanted the easier route out first.Bookmark here

“Kid, step aside. I need you alive to figure out how t—”Bookmark here

“I can guarantee you Remus. Strike me down, and Hanasuke will come back.”Bookmark here

The only thing I was half-decent at was lying. Might as well put it to good use.Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Even though I’m not a Hero, if I die as one, the real one would take my place. It’s now or never, Remus.”Bookmark here

“The hell are you on—”Bookmark here

“—Or are you too chicken to do it?”Bookmark here

“You little piece of—”Bookmark here

At that very moment, Remus’s head flew off his neck.Bookmark here

“Sorry Remus, my skills are getting rusty. I merely wanted to cut your tongue off for insulting Evan. Somehow, I accidentally lobbed your head off.”Bookmark here

“Lady Sereya!”Bookmark here

Earlier, I thought that Remus’s speed matched that of Sereya’s.Bookmark here

I had never been more wrong in my life.Bookmark here

There was no flash, no wind, nothing. Not even a single bloodstain sullied her blade. My eyes were telling me only one thing—Sereya teleported. I knew that wasn’t true. This was the merit of her own physical capability.Bookmark here

She stood there—the same, cheap sword in her hand as she apologised to Remus with half a heart. Turning around, her eyes found their way to mine.Bookmark here

“Thanks for buying time, you two. Evan, you’re gonna get a loooong lecture after this is done.”Bookmark here

“Yes!” Bookmark here

For the first time in what felt like forever, I was able to answer with joy. Bookmark here

The tears rolling down my cheeks didn’t feel so salty anymore, but soothing. Seeing her made everything feel like it was okay again. As if everything that I just went through was just a bad dream. Bookmark here

I knew that Remus still needed to be dealt with, but if it was Sereya, I had faith that she was able to take him down. Bookmark here

“Lady Sereya, be careful, he can not only summon weapons, he can also summon the arm of Athmadana.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine,” Sereya reassured, “as long as it’s not Diphaxia, I can handle him.”Bookmark here

“I’m surprised you know the Demon Lord’s General, girl.” Bookmark here

The semi-formed mouth of Remus Whiteaxe began talking.Bookmark here

“But besides that, fancy seein’ you here, princess! The rumours are true. I didn’t even feel a single thing when you cut my head off!”Bookmark here

“Lady Sereya, let me hel—”Bookmark here

I was able to grab hold of her just before she collapsed. Melyeze really was something else. Even in this state, all she could think of was fighting. If anything, she deserved being a Hero more than me.Bookmark here

“You did more than enough, Melyeze. Those huge stone structures you made helped me find you. You can rest easy now.”Bookmark here

I carried the injured knight to the side, further away from the impending battle. Her armour made her incredibly heavy, but it weighed like nothing compared to the burden on my shoulders.Bookmark here

“I guess you’ll be more entertainin’ than the girl, princess. Sadly, I’m the worst possible matchup for you, ain’t I?”Bookmark here

I glanced behind. As expected, Remus already grew a new head. What concerned me more was his words.Bookmark here

Worst possible matchup?Bookmark here

I finally realised; Sereya’s specialty was inflicting damage on her opponents without them realising. Against Remus’s regeneration, that didn’t matter. Bookmark here

“That’s true. But I did prepare a little something that’ll let me defeat you.” Bookmark here

I expected her to have a trick up her sleeve, but when she removed her cloak, she had—Bookmark here

“FIVE swords?! Hahahaha!”Bookmark here

Remus exploded into laughter, seeing the five scabbards tied to her waist.Bookmark here

“You only have one hand, but you brought five swords?! This was what took you so long? Princess, you might be onto something, I might die of laughter! Hahahaha!”Bookmark here

“Evan!”Bookmark here

As I lay Melyeze on the ground, Sereya totally ignored Remus as she called out to me.Bookmark here

“She should have potions in her back pouch. Use them to stabilise her.”Bookmark here

A glimmer of hope.Bookmark here

Considering her status, Melyeze had to have some healing items. I moved her belt around so that the back pouch was positioned at the front. Frantically, my hands went inside to search for the potions, only for one of my fingers to get grazed instead.Bookmark here

The flasks were all shattered, leaving glass shards and coloured liquid inside the leather pouch. She must have broken them during the impact of her fall.Bookmark here

Despite this ill-fated setback, I refused to give up. Using the broken glass as a knife, I cut the pouch out of the belt as fast as I could. Then, I picked up and tossed aside the fragments of glass that were in the pouch. Bookmark here

Even though my hands were getting cuts of their own, time was of the essence. I also had to be careful not to let the liquid be wasted on my own injuries. This all happened as the clashing of steel took place behind me.Bookmark here

Once the larger shards were all removed, most of the liquid inside could flow freely again. With the pouch buttoned, I used the tiny opening at the corner to carefully pour the restorative contents into Melyeze’s mouth.Bookmark here

Her condition started to get better, but it could hardly be considered a proper recovery. The potions were broken and she had a bullet lodged inside of her. Still, I thanked the Goddess that she was no longer at death’s door.Bookmark here

With the sounds of fighting getting more and more intense, I finally turned around. My eyes bore witness to something incredible.Bookmark here

With revolver in hand, Remus fired shot after shot. The only thing my eyes could register was the sparks that flew several feet away in front of Sereya, followed by the sound of metal pieces landing on the ground.Bookmark here

She could block bullets!Bookmark here

“So you’re really faster than my gun, huh. Besides Darkmist, I never thought it was possible for a human to deflect gunfire.Bookmark here

How long could you keep that up, I wonder?”Bookmark here

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