Story of a Cannon Fodder who Firmly Believed He was the Protagonist, Misunderstood the Actual Protagonist as the Cannon Fodder, and Ended up Victorious
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Chapter 045 – Protagonist’s Awakening – Original Timeline and Alternate Timeline [A]
Round Table Heroes
Tlue and Arthur. The two were given an investigation mission to the abyssal city. Apparently, there was a paladin who detected a strange art there. It was also planned that the city would soon be modified into a new territory so people could live there properly. That was why the investigation mission for the mysterious phenomenon was issued.
The two of them were considered uncut jewels of the highest class within the knight brigade. That was why they were granted such a dangerous mission.
The place they arrived at was truly a lawless area. It was a different world where violence reigns supreme. The two took a breath in such a murderous space.
“Yes, this place feels very unpleasant.”
“…Apparently, people were disappearing one after another in this city. Our mission is to investigate it…”
“I doubt this would be an easy mission… I can feel something lurking here.”
Arthur looked at the collapsed cityscape. There were old men in tattered clothes and children eating garbage. However, the atmosphere of the place was so bad that it didn’t feel out of place at all.
“Excuse me. Are the two of you paladins of the Britannia Kingdom?”
A dignified voice called from behind them. Looking behind them, there was a stunning woman with shining golden hair down to her waist. She held a cane in one hand and wore a black robe.
“Who are you?”
Arthur asked. The woman responded to Arthur’s cautious words with a relaxed tone.
“Excuse me, my name is Merlin. I’m just a common magician.”
“I sensed light art from you, so I came to talk to you.”
“Please do not be alarmed. I’m only here to get rid of the monster that eats people in this city. I need your help to do that.”
“How do you know I have light art?”
“I have a special eye which allows me to see the flow of art. I can see a bright light emanating from you. That’s how I know it.”
The magician who called herself Merlin told Arthur the truth and requested her cooperation. Tlue and Arthur did come to this place to investigate an anomaly in this city so it might be convenient, but they couldn’t immediately agree to cooperate with an unknown woman.
“We can’t cooperate right away. Both Tlue and I came here for a mission…”
“I see, so the man beside you is called Tlue…”
Merlin stared at Tlue. She looked at him for some time as if suspicious of something before turning her eyes away. After that, she opened her mouth again.
“You must’ve come to investigate the anomaly in this city. There’s one of the Sevens in this place. Be careful.”
“Sevens… you mean the highest rank Abyss?!
Tlue’s words became rough as he asked the woman. Merlin nodded her head in affirmation.
“Most of the people who live in this city are either abandoned children, elderly who had run out of money, or unfortunate people who couldn’t find a job. It was considered the last bastion of such people. There are many criminals here, but there are also many innocent people here. And such an Abyss came to this place… since that Abyss likely thinks there won’t be a problem even if some people in this city are gone, that Abyss has turned this city into his nest and keeps growing by consuming people here.”
“…Who is exactly that Abyss?”
“Juggernaut (Wrath). He is a terrifying Abyss. His magic is enchanting magic from the era of Oumagadogi. It can directly kill his enemy mentally. Normal people would die if his breath even touched them. He also possesses a special sensing ability like I do.”
“…You sure know him well.”
“I’ve been chasing after him all this time after all. That’s why I’m aware of his horror more than anyone else. Therefore, I want to ask once again, please help me deal with him.”
“…What do you think, Tlue?”
Arthur asked Tlue.
“…I think it is okay. I don’t think Merlin-san is a bad person.”
“I see, since Tlue said so… okay, I’ll cooperate.”
“Thank you very much. Please come with me. He hides during the daytime, but he’ll appear at night. We’ll attack him then. Let’s form our strategy for it.”
They followed Merlin. She entered a rundown inn and guided them to a room. There was a bed and a chair there which she let them sit on.
“Well then, about that abyss…”
Merlin told the two what she knew about Juggernaut. As they kept talking, the sun began to set and the time to execute their strategy approached.
Before that, Merlin called Arthur outside to talk as just the two of them.
“Arthur, listen carefully.”
“That man is Tlue, right?”
“You should be careful with him.”
“…What do you mean?”
“Just as I mentioned before, I have special eyes. So I could see it. There is dark art dwelling within him.”
“I thought he was an Abyss initially, but he could move without problem in the daytime. However, I could certainly see malignant darkness within him. Moreover, it was so thick that it felt comparable to the Sevens.”
“…There’s no way it’s true. Tlue is not an Abyss.”
“…I’m sorry. I am also not sure what to say … It’s just that things would be dangerous if you are deceived or being exploited by him… so—”
“…There’s no such a thing. It’s just a needless worry.”
“I see. Perhaps it really is a needless worry since you said so. I also could tell he isn’t a bad person from my short time interacting with him. However, it’s true that he contains darkness within him. That’s why you should make sure to be careful. He is a dangerous existence. Please don’t forget that.”
“…Shut up, that’s excessive meddling. What do you know about Tlue?”
Arthur was in an unstable state. She had suffered from how everyone she knew about forgot her and considered her as an enemy in Britannia the other day, so for Arthur who wanted someone to lean on, having such a person denied by others was something unbearable for her.
She was driven by rage. That was why Merlin’s words failed to reach Arthur.
Arthur left the place and returned to Tlue. Merlin looked at her departing back as if looking at her little sister.
At midnight, the three of them ran through the abyssal city. By combining their physical ability and art reinforcement, their speed was close to the speed of sound. The three headed to the place where the terrible art was exuding from.
“Arthur, both you and I should be able to feel it more clearly. This disgusting feeling… Juggernaut appeared in this city recently and ate the people living here.”
“Why don’t the people in this city run away?”
“They have nowhere to go even if they escape…”
They arrived at a location that seemed to be a rubble arena. Numerous rocks and timber miraculously formed a ring and overlapped.
“…It’s coming, coming, coming, coming, coming, I can feel it. You’re still chasing me?”
In the middle of the natural arena, there was something white and big. His size was about two meters in total. He had two pairs of arms instead of one, the second pair emerging from his shoulders.
Strangely, even though he had a nose and mouth, he had no eye. He smirked and despite not having an actual eye, seemingly looked at Arthur’s group.
“Yes, that’s Juggernaut… but to think he already recovered that much art.”
Arthur, Merlin, and Tlue stepped into the ring. The next moment, black fog exuded from the entity known as Juggernaut.
When Merlin swung her cane, the entire ring was wrapped in the brilliance of the moonlight with her as its center. The light dispersed the fog.
“Aaaah, it feels annoying after all… I could feel that disgusting art. From you and also from you…”
Juggernaut pointed at Merlin and Arthur. In exchange for his lack of eyes, Juggernaut could sense art. Because of that, he could immediately sense the art that Arthur and Merlin possessed was the antithesis of his own dark art.
“However… What’s with you? Why are you standing on that side? Did you forget about our mission? Pride…”
“…Who are you talking to?”
“You, I mean you, that one who is over there.”
He pointed at Tlue. The pointed finger followed Tlue to prevent him from escaping or turning away from reality.
“Did you not notice it…? I see, I see, in that case, I will help you awaken. Our art was originally one and the same, entities that are split from primordial beings. It would resonate properly.”
Juggernaut’s hand launched some sort of wave. Just like a pebble dropped on the surface of water, it slowly spread like a vibration. Merlin cast light to wrap them around once again.
“The previous one was just my way of greeting you… my art has already surpassed yours.”
The moonlight shattered like glass. Arthur also tried to offset it with her light, but she couldn’t erase everything and the darkness approached Arthur and Merlin’s head. However, since they had light art, they could resist it.
The wave that Juggernaut launched would make people fall into darkness. The girls could resist it, but Tlue felt like something was trying to come out from his chest.
Along with a scream that likely frayed his own threat, darkness emerged from his body.
“…So it ended up like this after all. Arthur, now that it’s come to this…”
“Tlue… no way, no way, there’s no way this is possible…”
“I wanted to have you handle him, but well, I guess that’s too much to ask in your current state.”
Merlin saw through the fact that Arthur was mentally fragile. Tlue was the support of Arthur’s mind. With that collapsed, so did Arthur.
“…So it ended up like this… if possible… I wanted to continue to fight until all the Abyss are obliterated… but I’ll take care of this. That’s why, I’ll leave the world to you after I’m gone…”
Merlin was aware that Arthur’s light art was greater and thicker than hers. However, Merlin also realized Arthur couldn’t fight at her current state.
Merlin thought Arthur’s mentality was too fragile. However, she also knew the light within Arthur was the real deal.
After all, Merlin was merely an existence that served as a “buffer” until the greatest hero could come into being. Therefore, Merlin chose to believe and put her expectation on that light and sacrifice her life.
[“—Father… I-I will be the bridge for the future…”]
Merlin exerted her own light. A vast amount of light wrapped around the ring at an intensity that was enough to crush her own limbs.
—If only Merlin had another choice, she couldn’t afford to scatter her life here.
It was because her mission to obliterate the Abyss still remained. Merlin originally thought she could finish Juggernaut if she fought together with Arthur, but Merlin failed to consider Arthur’s fragile mentality.
Merlin exploded, taking Juggernaut along with her. The explosion turned into a rain of light and offset the mysterious darkness within Tlue.
Tlue regained consciousness as everything was done in an instant.
“I see nothing. I… know nothing.”
“…I see. What about Merlin-san…?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know anything.”
If the knight brigade learned that Tlue contained dark art within him, he might get alienated by someone. Perhaps she might even disappear from Arthur’s side. She was scared by the thought.
That was why Arthur chose to lie and pretend to know nothing. Tlue also had his memory of the incident blown away, failing to recognize the darkness within him. 1
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