Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 38, Part 4
I don’t know how much Alfred figured out when he found out about me being here with Schwede.
But now that he has asked that question…
I know that he’s smart enough that he’s figured out most of it.
What is the future of the village; what is going to happen to it?
What am I really trying to accomplish here?
That’s why I’ve…told so many lies. Lies about myself, and lies about the things we have done so far.
The true “Lian” doesn’t exist; my entire identity is a lie.
Alfred grabs me by my jacket and clenches his fists.
“You’re… You’re not going anywhere… are you?”1
He asks his question with a firm voice.
I know the meaning of the question. I know the reason he chose that word. I grab his head with my quivering arms and hug it tightly.
Not yet. I can’t tell you everything yet.
I don’t have the courage to say everything that needs to be said, not yet.
“…I’m… not going anywhere… no.”
I’m saying it to Alfred, but in my mind, I’m saying it to the Goddess as well.
I can feel Alfred’s stiff shoulders start to sag a little. I can feel his hands, which grip the back of my jacket tightly, start to loosen.
“…You’re not going anywhere…?”
He asks the question again; I can hear the anxiety in his voice. I nod so hard that it shakes both his body and mine, and I give him my answer, “Not anywhere.”
The arm loosens its grip even further.
“Then… make it a promise.”
I nod again and tell him, “I promise.”
“…You have to unconditionally promise me.”
“Do you swear?”
He nods back in understanding and exhales slowly.
I start to wonder if I’m still not forgiven, although I’m sure I’m not.
I finally swallow the breath that has been stuck in my throat all this time. I close my eyes as I hug his head. I ask a question on the verge of running away because I’m overtaken with fear, “─Can you forgive me?”
I was stupid and pathetic. I scold myself; I scared him with every mistake I made. I reflect on every mistake, and it only makes me overwhelmed with sadness.
I asked the question and now I wait for judgment from the person I have done the most damage to.
He answers after taking a deep breath.
“……………I forgive you.”
The answer felt reluctant, or perhaps it was the only way he could answer. The way he answered was if he had no choice.
The voice is lower than low, a voice that could be audible just as easily as it could be inaudible.
His answer puts me on the brink of crying—both from happiness and pain.
The quiver in my throat has grown out of control, but I have to express this feeling quickly and desperately. I say the words with such poor control of my voice that the sound doesn’t even reach my ears.
After that, not a single word comes from the judge I hold tightly.
He presses his forehead against my chest.
My arms start to hurt from hugging his head as hard as I have been.
─With his forehead pressing against my chest, he shakes his head up and down. His hair is tousled.
It is then that I realize what the present moment holds.
The entrance I stand in front of is miserable-looking. It looks as if it were a battlefield.
I feel so bad about it; it is as if I were buried in a pit that consisted only of that feeling: regret. My chest really hurts.
I call out the people who are cleaning and doing repairs and ask if they need help. They reject my offers with pale faces or avoid me. Finally, when I offer another person help, they get up and run away in terror, so I am now chasing this man apologizing to his back.2
After all of our offers were rejected, we shrug and walk away. They then begin to pray and show signs of worship towards us, for some reason.
What the hell?
I hope they stop. Seriously. This thing they’re doing, whatever it is, is really creepy. It’s making my heart feel uneasy.
Standing next to me is Alfred, who has furrowed eyebrows and a glint in his eye that anyone could tell is because he’s upset. Of course, it is natural for us to bow to them and turn around.3
I’m just as guilty as he is.4
There is no doubt that all the destruction around me is because of the miserable little problem-child standing next to me. I can’t even imagine what the cost of this damage adds up to. The thought of it just terrifies me and sends a shiver down my spine. Why did you break so much stuff, you bastard! Don’t you think you overdid it with your little outburst?
Alfred looks unhappy, troubled, and dissatisfied from beginning to end. He is acting like he isn’t responsible for the destruction.
This son of a bitch.
Shouldn’t he know that it’s bad to destroy people’s homes and things, just as much as it is bad to hurt people!
Don’t use excuses like a little child, saying things like, ‘He hit me first! They put the gun in my hand!’ Don’t even try to say you didn’t do anything wrong. Because you hit them back just the way they hit you, you’re just as guilty, you fucking bastard.
Because you have such an angry-looking face and bad attitude, nobody is going to help you. People run away with a terrified face when they see you.
I can’t even look at him. Even though I don’t want to act like a parent with a child who threw a tantrum, I have to tell him that he shouldn’t behave that way. I scold him saying that he should turn around and give a sincere apology. He’s a full-grown adult!
“Come on now… Lord Lian. He was worried about you. It couldn’t be helped, you know.”
I wonder if he has finished giving his report, since Schwede ─ no, Sir Schutzer, comes to our side and says such a thing with a gentle smile.5
“…Sir Schutzer. Um… We’re sorry we did so much damage to the building… Uh… is there anything we can do to help?”
I don’t want to think about it, but I wonder how I will reimburse the church… This… I don’t want to think about it, but I wonder if my allowance will be enough to pay for the repairs… I’m scared.
I think I should pay for it because I was the original cause for the damage, but of course, Alfred needs to take some of the burden because he inflicted the damage to the building. Oh god, my stomach is doing flips.
When I offer to help several times, Schutzer responds by opening his mouth and belting out an odd laugh.
“It’s fine. It doesn’t matter. There are plenty of people here to help repair. And it’s not you; it’s this person here who created the mess. I didn’t get your consent for keeping you here, so I’m halfway responsible. I’m also the one who lured you away.”
“That’s right. And the next time you take him away from me… I’ll kill you.”
I chide him for saying such crude words, but Alfred glares at Schutzer with his eyes narrowed.
I see the golden flecks scattered across his sky-blue eyes.
…What the— He looks really angry. He looks like he’s one step away from snapping.
…What should I do?
This is… this isn’t good. This is really not good.
Shutzer is someone who is going to join the story and become Alfred’s sidekick towards the end.
In the story I know, they have a scene together where they admit their abilities are on par with each other but their personalities and beliefs conflict.
I think he needs to start building a friendly relationship with Schutzer now so that they can work together in the future.
Because Schutzer is a “party member” who will fight by his side in the future.
“Alfred, there were various circumstances which led Sir Schutzer to do what he did. He’s not an entirely bad person, that’s why─”
“Oh, as expected, Lord Lian… I’m glad you understand. Thank you.”
“Why the hell are you taking that guy’s side! You should be angrier, too! I mean, he’s the one—”
“Hey, calm down! I get it, I get it! Just calm down, Al!”
I thought it was going to be okay, but it doesn’t seem so. Ah, already, we’re screwed.
Alfred finally snaps, and as he is about to grab Schutzer and punch him in the face, I hurriedly step in between and frantically hold Alfred’s chest with both hands.
Schutzer does not look angry or disgusted. On the contrary, he has his arms folded in a relaxed manner and is smiling as if he were amused.
He’s an adult. No, he’s certainly acting more like an adult than we are.
“Haha. He is like a wild dog, isn’t he? He is also very strong, so it will be very difficult to train him. Well, if he is too much for you to handle, I will take care of it.”
What the hell!
Stop saying that shit; it will make him angrier! I beg of you! Please!
“Oh?! You son of a bitch! You think I’m kidding? Who do you──!”
“Enough, Al! If you calm down…! Look, let’s just go home! Alright? Let’s go home!”
Sure enough, I have to hug Alfred as hard as I can to hold him back as soon as he starts lashing out. If I don’t, he will attack. I’m breaking out in a cold sweat.
Schutzer reaches out towards my neck; he’s laughing for some indiscernible reason.
He touches his finger to the collar woven with threads of silver and various other colors.
He sings a few words quietly.
The strings snap.
Fluttering silver threads woven with colorful ones unravel and fall to the ground, withering away.
“Even though… we had chained you down and sealed your power, it seems… in the end, we could not take you with us.”
Why are you still saying that?
“…I’m not going.”
“…I understand. If that is what you wish, then we must follow it… Lord Lian, do you have any other wishes?”
“Yes. At the very least, we would like to be able to assist you. We look forward to working with you.”
…If he could assist me in the way that I think, that is what I was hoping for. The more manpower, defense plans, and strength, the better.
“…If I said, ‘Could you please assist me?’ would you… I hope you will help us with that. That day. If you could please help us get over that day… If we survive that disaster, more people will be saved in the days that follow.”
If the village of Lieis is attacked by the demons and falls, the next destination is the town beyond it.
Since it’s a town, there will be knights and mercenaries. If they hear of the story of Lieis in advance, they could gather and prepare for battle. It might give them an advantage, at least for a little while.
Even with that, many people are going to get hurt.
That’s why, if we can fight off the demons at the village of Lieis, it means not only the villagers but the lives of many others will also be saved.
Schutzer squints his eyes and gives a wide smile.
“…I understand. Please leave it to me. I promise to make haste to your village and rid you of that darkness. And─ the Goddess and I will lead you to the light. I swear this on my honor.”
So are you saying you will come to help?
To protect us on my behalf?
Will you fight with me?