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Chapter 78: Scattered Flowers
That was something that should have never happened.
Everything was supposed to be over then.
The Witch got sealed, and that should have been the end of it.
However, Vernell’s power went berserk and ruined everything.
There were some reasons for this.
The pendant that was used to control the power fell down in middle of battle, and the sealed Witch wished for suicide, which triggered the power within Vernell to react.
But for the current Vernell, while it was hard to rein the power, it wasn’t an impossible thing to do.
But within Vernell, his hatred toward the Witch was great.
If only she didn’t exist, he wouldn’t have gotten thrown away by his family.
If only she didn’t exist… that day, he wouldn’t have met Elrise, and her lifespan wouldn’t get shortened because of it.
Such murderous intentions swirled inside Vernell, which boosted the power inside him.
As a result, it went through the seal and pierced through Alexia’s chest, dealing a fatal blow to her.
But for Vernell, that alone was not a big tragedy.
The Power of the Witch would dwell in those who killed them.
But since Vernell was not a Saint, he knew well it would only result in self-destruction if the power came, and even in the off chance he became an existence like the Witch, there were Elrise, Alfrea, and Eterna there, so it should be easy to control the situation.
But the real tragedy happened soon after.
Before Alexia totally met her demise, the chain that bound her shone.
Perhaps Elrise dealt the killing blow.
The reason for that… he didn’t have to think too hard.
As it stood, the Witch’s power would be transferred to Vernell and kill him, so she went and became his replacement to save him.
“E, Elrise-sama… wha, what are you doing!? Right now, what have you done!?”
Leila shouted in a shivering voice.
The chain was merely shining. It didn’t necessarily mean she finished her.
That’s why, please tell us it wasn’t the case.
Elrise quietly answered the question that was filled with such a desire.
“I have killed Alexia-sama. That’s why the Witch’s power will be transferred to me.”
That was the worst thing that should never happen.
The Greatest of All Time would become The Worst of All Time.
From now on, Elrise would turn into the Witch after a few years and bring despair to everyone.
However, the despair Vernell had because he knew Elrise’s identity was incomparable to that… and soon, everyone in this place would share his despair.
“It’s all right. I will definitely not turn into a Witch.”
As Elrise smiled and said so, Leila’s expression got better.
That was great, so she properly thought of a countermeasure for this.
Yes, she said from the beginning that she wouldn’t turn into a Witch.
There was a method to change fate… she said the cycle of sorrow would be cut off in this generation.
And Elrise was definitely not lying.
However, the truth she was thinking was decisively different from Leila’s understanding.
“Because… I’m not a Saint1.”
The unbelievable words made the atmosphere freeze.
She was not a Saint.
Who was? This Elrise?
She who was sung as the Greatest Saint of All Time; she who had done various miracles; she was not a Saint?
What nonsense, was what everyone thought, except Vernell and Alfrea who knew the truth.
If she was not a Saint, that meant this world had no Saint at all.
“The Real Saint of this generation is Eterna-san. I am… just a fake who happened to be born in the same village and got mistakenly taken instead.”
“…That’s a lie.”
Leila felt her whole body freeze, as if she was thrown into the extreme cold of a blizzard.
She couldn’t even tell if she was standing right now.
A great fear she never had before crept up from her foot and shook her body.
The fact that Elrise was not a real Saint was indeed a surprising thing.
The fact she was not a Saint, despite doing all those miracles, was hard to believe.
But that’s fine. Regardless of whether she was real or fake, she was Elrise without a doubt, so none of that mattered.
She was the master she served… and the master she loved. Even if there was another person who was the real Saint instead, her loyalty wouldn’t change.
That’s why she didn’t get disappointed, despite being told she was a fake.
But she was scared.
Because if she wasn’t a Saint, that would mean… the fate that awaited her afterward, could only be one thing.
“I’m sorry for deceiving everyone all this time. But the days of deceit end today. And Eterna-san… this time, I shall return the title of Saint to you.”
Eterna, who was suddenly being told “You’re the real Saint”, was unable to process the reality and was mumbling wordlessly.
But the “end” that Elrise said made everyone aware of what awaited her, regardless how much they wanted to deny it.
“A person who is not a Saint would be unable to inherit the Power of the Witch. Their vessel is not capable of doing so and will definitely lead to death… and, the Power of the Witch that lost a place to reside in won’t be transferred toward the Saint. That’s why… with this, the cycle that continued for a long time will end.”
“Such a thing is…”
Fiora cried after she heard Elrise say that, as if she thought it was the right thing to do.
From the start… Perhaps from the very beginning, Elrise intended to do this.
The Sealing Magic that came with Alfrea was an unforeseen option; something that she didn’t consider before.
If it went well, then it was all good. Even if it failed, she would still bring all the sorrow along with her departure.
From the beginning, she already decided to do so.
“Leila… I need to especially apologize to you. I know you are proud of the fact you served a Saint. To keep you chained to this fake… no matter how much I apologize, it isn’t something that can be forgiven.”
“El, rise-sama… no, that… I was…”
Wrong, that was not the case.
It wasn’t important whether she was real or fake.
The Saint for her would always be Elrise alone.
Even though she meant to say that, Leila was unable to let out her voice.
However, time wouldn’t wait for Leila.
The black mist-like things flowed toward Elrise from Alexia inside the crystal.
The transfer of power had begun.
“A, Aa… UAAAAAAAA!”
Leila drew her sword and tried to cut through the mist.
But she was unable to cut it since it lacked substance.
The sword failed to do its purpose and missed, and the flailing movements of Leila, who tried to cut the air over and over, were rendered pointless.
Elrise slowly grasped Leila’s hand as she swung her sword over and over.
Elrise herself already understood how useless it was more than anyone else.
Since Elrise already judged it as such, nobody here could do anything about it.
Leila felt her powerlessness painfully, and her sword fell down.
Elrise used her finger to wipe Leila’s tear on her cheek, she showed her a smile, as if she understood everything.
There were definitely various feelings inside that one phrase.
Leila felt she had to say something, but her voice failed to come out.
That’s why she embraced Elrise with all her power, to give her feeling a shape.
As if a mother soothing her clinging child, Elrise kindly patted Leila’s head, who was taller than she was.
That made Leila feel even more sorrow.
It was disappearing… soon, it would all be gone.
She would no longer see this smile, she would no longer feel the touch of this hand.
That was death. It was the eternal separation that nobody could resist.
As Elrise comforted Leila, she faced everyone.
“With this, the Witch will no longer appear. The cycle that continued over 1000 years will come to an end, and finally, the World can start moving forward. I may not be there with you, but… even so, I wish for everyone’s happiness.”
The transfer of power never stopped even as she talked, though the amount of mist that flowed out from Alexia was decreasing.
Soon, that transfer of power would come to an end.
And at that moment, Elrise would die.
She understood that herself — that’s why, she gave her last smile of her lifetime, and said her last words of encouragement.
“From now on, it is your generation.”
As her words finished, Elrise’s body lost its strength.
Leila instantly embraced it strongly, supporting the thin body that collapsed.
But as she supported it, she came to know it. She came to understand.
Ah… no good. What a thing to happen.
She was no longer there.
Even though her body was here, Elrise was no longer here.
Her life was no more. Her soul was not here.
Elrise, who silently closed her eyes in Leila’s arms, had no power… and the undying flower that attached to her head all this time scattered fleetingly.
The undying flower that was maintained by Elrise’s mana turned into a mere flower, as her mana was gone.
For it to be scattered was proof that Elrise’s life met its end.
“This is a lie… it’s a lie, Lie! No! Elrise-sama! Please… please open your eyes!”
Leila was so upset to the point it erased all traces of her usual cool look.
Her tears overflowed, her face distorted greatly because of it.
But regardless of how much she called, Elrise didn’t open her eyes; it made one painfully understand what was there was merely what was left of her.
“It is okay, Leila. Your Saint will definitely not die.”
She remembered Elrise words from back then.
The person she referred to at that time was not Elrise herself.
She referred to the real Saint Eterna instead.
“I, I… I… never cared… even if you may be fake… all I want… all I want is for you to be there… for me, you are, the real…”
Leila cried and shouted with hardly an audible voice mixed with weeping.
“It’s okay. I will make the future a HAPPY END, where everyone will be joyful once they reach it.”
In that world, she wasn’t included within it.
The HAPPY END within her thoughts, she never imagined herself to be in it.
As Leila thought that, she embraced the warmth that remained in her master’s body.
This kind of thing… this kind of thing, there was no way she could laugh.
There was no way she could be happy.
Because, even if the world did reach their peace, her beloved master was not there.
How could she laugh when that happened.
“U, Ua…AAAaaaaAAA….! AAAAaAAAAAAaaaAAAAA!!”
Leila finally lost control of her emotions, and she cried loudly like a child.
Her tears flowed and she had a runny nose; she abandoned her dignified look as a knight and cried as her feelings dictated.
But nobody there laughed at her.
Everyone there shed their tears of sorrow, and Vernell wordlessly shed his tears and sat there with an expression of despair.
— There was no trace of the “HAPPY END” that Elrise talked about there… not even a fragment of it.2
A person who likes to make cloudy atmospheres!
By the way, L had Auron’s Theme playing inside her head as the BGM when she said “It is your Generation!”
While actually the BGM on site was “Fleeting Dream.”3
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