Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 39: “Next”
Aiz And Ay Billberry 13th always had this thought.
The balance between light and darkness in this world is too skewed.
For example, there was a substantial difference between the duration of the Witch’s age of darkness vs the Saint’s period of peace.
In the same moment as when the previous Saint completely turned into the Witch, the next Saint was born.
The Witch wouldn’t merely wait patiently until said Saint grew strong enough to defeat her and during those periods they could do whatever they liked.
How long were those periods? …No matter how fast they tried to be, no matter how quickly they fostered the Saint, it would always take at least 15 to 20 years.
While the Saint was already a Saint from the moment they were born, it would take a considerable amount of time for them to gain complete control of their power, with most taking 15 years or more.
It wasn’t like there was a rule that made it so, but statistics had proven that the duration needed was around that much.
It might have been because a child’s body was not strong enough to be the vessel of the Saint’s power; or maybe there was no particular reason for it at all.
As they aged, boys became manlier, and girls became more womanly. Likewise, once they reached a certain age, Saints became more Saint-like.
The kings called it an “awakening.” In other words, until they awakened, a Saint was just a person who was merely immune to damage caused by any other source besides dark power… just someone who was slightly more capable with magic than most people.
There had never been a Saint like Elrise, who awakened to their Saint’s power so early.
Until the Saint was capable enough to fight against the Witch, they would need to wait around 15 to 20 years.
The Witch’s Age of Darkness would last at least that long
In comparison, the peace that the Saint created merely consisted of the period between them defeating the Witch and until said Saint turned into the Witch.
History has proven that this period never exceeded 5 years. It would only last that long at most.
What was this? The difference was too big.
The act of rebuilding what was broken took much more time and effort than what the Witch needed to do to destroy; yet the period of destruction lasted longer.
What they gained from burning a tree, compared to the time and effort of raising a tree to maturity totally didn’t match.
Yet, this world has given the Witch a long amount of time to burn many trees, while humanity was only granted a small amount of time to regrow them.
It was an obvious conclusion for the world to decline. It was obvious that civilization wouldn’t be able to grow.
For example, there were demons and Greater Demons.
Those monsters were animals that were granted power by the Witch and loyally served her.
If the Witch changed, they would simply serve the next Witch, and lend her their power.
This was the reason why Alexia managed to escape.
It was absurd. The Witch’s side had allies who could kill the Saint, while it was only the Saint on the Saint’s side who could defeat the Witch.
In other words, there was a high possibility that the Saint would fail to do their duty and would end up dying in action. Meanwhile, the Witch could keep on living until defeated by the next Saint.
And the greatest problem they faced was the quantity of enemies.
Once the Witch was killed, demons would patiently bide their time and they wouldn’t attack humans. They would conceal their whereabouts.
But once the next Witch began to take action, they would come back, and start attacking humans again.
On top of that, those demons who had been granted dark power had an increased toughness compared to common animals and didn’t age.
While their lifespan may have been reduced, the Witch produced demons at such a rate that it didn’t matter.
Simply put, their numbers only kept growing. The generation from two generations ago will have to contend with more demons than the humans from three generations ago. This also meant that the current generation would have to contend with the most amount of demons compared to all the generations past.
Aiz only has three living Princes (sons) but, considering his advanced age, these three sons were way too young.
This was because… in the past, there were several princes who were older than these three. All of them were attacked by demons and failed to come back alive.
The danger of being killed by demons increased as the years passed.
But Elrise had flipped that balance over.
She destroyed demons and retook the land that had been conquered by demons.
Not only that, she actively hunted for demons throughout these 7 years, resulting in the demon territory being reduced to less than 10% of what it once was.
In addition, Elrise restored the natural environments that had been destroyed by generations of Witches.
The cracked earth, the barren forest, the withered river…
Where she walked, cracked earth turned into meadows and arid wastelands turned into habitable grasslands for livestock and wildlife.
There was no small truth in calling her the greatest Saint of all time.
The most convenient part was that she didn’t have the slightest interest in gaining control over others. She entrusted the governing to the people.
“To stand at the top, yet to not rule.” While she stood at top in public, she didn’t use any of her political power to pressure others into action. She was given a high standing but was passive with it.
She simply went around defeating demons and healing the people and nature around her. As such, the royalty and nobles of the different nations had little desire to interfere with her.
Because she stood at the top merely as a symbol of justice and the actual governing was still left to the royalty and the nobles.
But there was one problem.
Because she was the greatest Saint of all time, Elrise totally intended to accomplish her duty.
In other words… She intended to fight the Witch and defeat her.
It wasn’t a funny joke.
For the rule of the ideal Saint who was capable of such miracles to only last a few years before losing her life was an unacceptable state of affairs.
He was certain that this kind of Golden Age would never come again.
Regardless of how Elrise left this world, the balance between the Light and Darkness would simply return to how it was.
That’s why they needed to keep this Saint living even if only for a year longer.
As long she was here, the human territories would continue to expand. Demons would be reduced in number. Nature would be restored.
As long as she kept living, the influence of darkness would be suppressed, and she could become a bridge for this prosperity to the next generation.
As for defeating the Witch, they could just leave that to the next generation’s Saint. Since next generation’s Saint wouldn’t be much different from the other previous generations of Saints anyway.
That was why he imprisoned her.
Where she could go to save people, where she could go to defeat demons would be managed by them.
If she were left to her own devices, she might end up meeting the Witch and that would be the worst case scenario.
To ensure that it could never happen, they would investigate the area to confirm the Witch was not present before sending Elrise there.
Obviously, Aiz was well aware this plan had already broken an unspoken agreement.
For Elrise to stand on top while being confined… no matter how you looked at it, it was treasonous.
It’s like we confined her and robbed her of her political power. We imprisoned her while leaving her political power intact and maintaining the illusion that she still was still sitting as Symbol of Justice.
No matter how it was phrased, people would be angry about such an act and he would likely be remembered by history as a criminal.
It wouldn’t be long before he would be brought to the execution ground.
But he was fine with that.
He was already an old person who didn’t have much time left anyway. There was no need for him to fear death at this point.
It was more important to him to create more hope for the future generation.
The times when the Witch roamed free were always hell.
Demons arrogantly invaded lands and claimed it as theirs, They slaughtered people and those who were left could only live and hide in fear of what might happen tomorrow.
The blessing of nature was unable to maintain itself due to the constant destruction and the cracked and parched land was unable to be used for raising crops.
No matter what they tried, there would always be people who starved to death daily.
For the sake of reclaiming land they had lived in for generations, they sent many soldiers over, only to die and still fail at reclaiming it.
For the sake of saving what lives that they could, there were times they had to be cold-hearted and had abuse hurled at them by the people who they had left to die.
The people could only grow up with gaunt bodies and lifeless eyes.
There was no hope for tomorrow as everyone was crushed by their heavy feelings of despair.
Even if the Saint did defeat the Witch, it would only grant them a slight respite.
“It will just end up being destroyed by the Witch anyway.”
Five years were not enough to reclaim what was lost. It was far too short.
While people would celebrate happily for the peace that had come, deep inside their hearts, they had already given up.
And also the people… within this short time of peace, they often chose to fight amongst themselves.
They wanted to have more resources to stock for the next dark age that came. They wanted to be more prepared for it.
This desire would lead to them stealing their neighbor’s harvest, robbing each other, fighting with each other… Sometimes, this shallow conflict even escalated nationwide, and it became a war between humans.
All this was rooted in the fear of what came “next.”
Aiz himself had also participated in those wars more than once.
Food was lacking. The forests and farmlands were scorched, the livestock were slaughtered, and there would always be people who died from lack of food.
Let’s get along and share with each other… they were unable to say such words. If that happened, each meal’s portion would only be reduced and everyone would starve to death.
In this situation, there were always people who tried to monopolize food. A few foolish nobles even used their political power and money to hoard food, which further reduced the amount of food that was available.
It was an evil cycle. Since there was only a limited supply, people stored as much as they could to ensure their own survival.
And with that, people who never intended to monopolize food in the first place would end up thinking, “Everyone is stockpiling food. This is no good. I must stockpile food as well.”
With that, the food supply within the area dwindled… and those who had failed to secure food could only end up dead.
Thus, he had no choice but to abandon them. The only thing Aiz could do was try to mitigate the amount of people that he abandoned.
He declared the hoarding of food as a crime and destroyed the noble houses which needlessly hoarded too much food.
And the food he seized from these hoarders were distributed to others who needed it.
Trying to save too many would leave him unable to save anyone at all, and as such he chose withhold support to some villages and abandoned them.
When he had heard that such villages were attacked by bandits, he waited until the bandits destroyed the village before eliminating them with his troops and securing what small amount of food was left.
He forced not only himself, but also his departed wife and children to fast.
His son Ukon may have now grown fat but… during his childhood he was so thin that it was pitiful.
What he did was cruel and he was aware of it.
He heard people voice their grudge against him several times. The number of times people had cursed and yelled at him to go to hell was already innumerable.
Even so… even so, it still wasn’t enough.
He had fallen and turned into a cruel beast doing everything without regard to morality, and yet even then, his people still died.
People didn’t stop their conflicts and kept fighting each other out of the fear of the Witch’s “next” coming.
Kindness, compassion, cooperation… such things could only be achieved when they had the leisure to do so; Aiz came to learn that.
When they lived bountifully, people had the leisure to help each other.
But when people were unable to even ensure their own survival, they would personally do anything to ensure it.
That wasn’t an evil thing to do. It was an obvious reaction.
Yes, it was obvious… that’s why it was only natural for people to end up fighting.
In a life without leisure, they also couldn’t nurture any peace in their own hearts.
But during these past seven years, since Elrise started active duty as the Saint, things were different.
There were abundant harvests, and nature gave them its blessing.
People gained a measure of peace within their hearts, and managed to cooperate with each other. Kindness grew within their hearts.
Even his son, who was once forced to fast, could now eat a large amount of food everyday.
That was why he wished to leave insurance for the future…
May this wonderful world last for the future generation.
A situation like a “next” time when they didn’t need to be afraid of the Witch… he wished to leave such an opportunity for the next generation.
It seemed like a serious battle happened while I had left them alone.
While I rolled on the bed, I overheard the battle and conversation happening outside.
Yep, everything. I could hear it.
I simply manipulated wind magic a little to pick up the airwaves generated by their voices and transmitted these to my ears.
I could improve this skill by compounding it with thunder magic to convert the sounds and the voices into thunder, increasing its range and speed but it was still a trial product.
“Even if I end up as a great criminal, I will keep this peace for as long as possible! That is what we are meant to do!”
“Just for that! You just confined Elrise-sama for your own convenience!”
This was the conversation between King Aiz, who confined me, and Vernell, who came to rescue me.
Sometimes I could hear the sound of metal clashing, but the one who fought Vernell wasn’t the king, but Stocco.
To think that the betrayal event happened here; this Elrise’s eyes seemed to be failing to not see that coming.
Then from another location, I could hear Perverted Glasses Bastard, who had disclosed information about the fighting style of Vernell’s group.
Ah, I see… so this is the kidnapping and confinement event.
Somehow, I could feel the hand of fate moving right now.
It wasn’t a good feeling though.
Well… since they went out of their way to go this far, I will honestly let myself to be rescued.
Honestly, I still wanted to enjoy my lazy NEET time, but if I did nothing for too long, the Witch might think, “Maybe this is my chance?” and end up leaving the academy.
As for why the Witch didn’t just escape by teleporting, it was because teleporting also posed a huge risk to the Witch herself.
Even in the game, the Witch was clearly weaker after teleporting.
This was the method used to defeat Witch earlier in certain routes; they could weaken the Witch enough to allow her to be beaten by low level players. It was just some kind excuse plot. Anyway, she would be weakened after teleporting for some reason.
Perhaps she wouldn’t be fully restored after being broken into numerous particles after teleporting.
So the Witch would rather avoid such a thing if she had the choice.
But since I was in academy, it was risky for her to walk out, so she had no choice but stay underground.
But if she became aware I was being detained, there was a high chance she would escape.
We did send fake information about my movements, but… the one who had been handling this was Perverted Glasses Bastard, after all.
Since he was currently siding with those who imprisoned me, it was honestly hard to trust him.
Because of that, if they really came, I would honestly let myself be rescued, but…
“Well, Leila. Arrest these people and send them to prison.”
Initially, there had been an atmosphere that seemed like they wouldn’t have fought but, , in the end, Stocco got provoked by King Aiz’s words and fought Vernell. Vernell was also unable to resist much before ending up captured.
Well Stocco was strong, after all. It couldn’t be helped.
The people who also went with Vernell also got caught by soldiers and Knights in various locations.
Finally, Eterna got captured by Stocco; the rescue team was all caught. Game over.
Was it a losing event then?
What did you guys come here for?
I wanted to say that but, I guess I couldn’t just leave them alone.
If I left them alone, they would end up as criminals who rebelled against the Royal family and would get exiled somewhere or worse, executed.
It couldn’t be helped.
Since I knew Leila was not a hostage, but had actually sided with the other party, I no longer had a reason to stay here.
And so, I cast magic at the door and escaped!
Ok then, the Time to Attack and Rescue Vernell-kun’s Party begins!
Illustration from ろぼと様