Chapter 17 – Confrontation With Childhood Friend
Dark Knight Kuroki.
「It was surprisingly easy」
No one was able to resist my sleeping magic till I arrived here. I made everyone who I met so far to sleep.
If I knew that it’ll be this easy, I wouldn’t have worn my dark knight armor. I considered the possibility of things turning out into a fierce battle, but….
I just shake my head, as carelessness will bring your fall, after all. Better be safe than sorry.
As long as I open this door to the altar room, I expect to meet Rena there.
I send a telepathic order to the spartois to stop anyone from entering this room.
After I open the door and entering it, I find the altar room to be extremely wide. The room is being illuminated by several light magic tools.
A huge magic formation is drawn at the center of the room.
And there was a stone lantern which is just a bit higher than me standing at the 4 corners of the magic formation.
The stone lantern is somewhat similar to the one that I saw when I was summoned by Modes. Undoubtedly, these are tools for summoning assistance made by god of craftsmanship, Heibos.
And then, a woman was standing at the center of the magic formation with her back facing me.
「Have you captured the intruder, chief priest？」
Rena asked that question without even turning around.
「My apologies, I’m not the chief priest」
Rena turns around after hearing my words.
「Dark knight… No way, DIEHART！ ！ 」
Rena stammered with a panicked face.
「Transfer,（TELEPORT）！ ！ 」
But the magic formation couldn’t be invoked.
「My apologies, I sealed transfer magic the moment I started this temple raid. No one in this area can utilize transfer magic for now」
Renashowed a surprised expression.
I remember hearing that the magic to seal your opponent magic cannot be used if there’s a big difference in magical power level with your opponent. So, I guess the amount of Rena’s magical power and mine isn’t that much different.
If this method didn’t work, then it can’t be helped. I’m relieved that everything went so smoothly.
When I approach Rena, she took astep back while scanning her surroundings.
Perhaps, she is looking for a weapon.
But, it seems nothing in this room can be turned into a weapon.
「Your target is… me」
I shake my head in denial and then take off my helmet.
I can hear Rena catching her breath.
「Nice to meet you, Goddess Rena. My deepest apologies for intruding your temple in this manner」
Thus, I displayed my manner while holding my helmet on my side.
I became anxious as to whether I’m following the proper manners to her.
I learned from Modes regarding the manner toward the gods of this world. I thought that I needed to learn the manner after guessing that I will end up travelling this entire world.
The manner of this world wasn’t that much different with the one from my world. Since it seems that there’s no point of contact nor similarity of the cultures of the countries with my world, maybe it just happened to be similar.
The matter of me showing my manner is because it’s not yet decided that Rena is a bad person.
Though she may not be a bad person, I can’t just display an impolite gesture in front of her.
When I raise my head and look at her, I saw a figure that was even more beautiful than her image.
Rena is gazing intently at my face.
I was waiting to hear Rena’s words.
But, she just kept looking at my face without saying anything.
「Goddess…. Rena？ 」
I timidly call her name.
It seems she finally came back to her senses. Rena is slightly confused.
「I-It seems that your target is not me. What are you coming here for then, dark knight？ 」
Rena smiled gently. Unintentionally, I was charmed by her smile.
Maybe she’s relieved since I’m not aiming for her life.
「Goddess Rena, may I confirm something from you?」
「A… confirmation？ 」
「Yes. Are you…. going to summon the people of spirit world like me again？ 」
There, I told a lie. I was thinking of getting as much information as possible from Rena, since I’ve come all the way to this place.
「Ah, so it’s about that huh… You’ve misunderstood, dark knight Diehart」
It seems that Rena was thinking that I had come here to prevent the summoning.
「Then… what？ 」
「It’s to send the comrade of the heroes back. Wouldn’t that be more convenient for you？ 」
Rena’s still thinking that there’s antagonism between the hero and me. Maybe she thought that it’ll be more convenient for me if the comrade of the hero became non-existent.
「It’ll only decrease my war potential since the summoning of the people from spirit world has already been banned by the god world. So, there’s absolutely no summoning」
「Is that true？ That’s strange, as far as I know, returning the summoned people to their original world with this arts is…. supposed to be impossible, right？ 」
「Ah, it seems you already know about that from Modes… But, you have no choice but to trust him. No more summoning is the truth, you know」
「Understood, let us assume that I trust your story. But then, your actions will put the comrades of hero in great danger, right？ 」
「That’s certainly is true. But, it has nothing to do with you, right?」
When I heard Rena saying those words, I wear my helmet again.
I’ve confirmed everything.
「Dark…. knight？ 」
Since my state changed so suddenly, Rena is calling out to me with a bewildered voice.
Further questioning is useless.
I draw my sword while jumping high and then sliced one of the summoning assistance devices.
It’s Rena’s surprised voice.
The top part of the assistance device crumbled down and crashed to the floor with a bang.
Following that, I sliced the second, and the third device.
After slicing the fourth one, I point my sword toward Rena.
「What are the heroes to you？」
I’m saying so while supressing my rage.
Rena is confused upon hearing my question. There’s a little fear mixed in her expression.
「… That’s right… It’s natural since you’re a summoned person, too」
Rena’s mumbling with slightly misunderstood guess.
「Why are you going as far as to trick the heroes…」
I say so while pointing my sword toward Rena.
「It was an extremely big problem, you know… I worked on the summoning art to…」
Rena said with a bitter face.
Somehow she lost her composure to the point of going as far as making the summoning art.
「While it might be true…」
「It can’t be helped you know; it was such a disgusting thing. That ugly Modes went as far as creating my clone….」
Rena said while averting her gaze.
「He finally got expelled from Elios after such hardship, and yet…. WHY DID HE DO SUCH THINGS!!!」
I can’t reply anything after hearing her words.
The origin of her dispute with Modes was due to his ugly face. And then, we were summoned to settle this dispute.
To be honest, I lost my strength after hearing that.
But, when I try to think about it again, maybe the cause of any dispute, in general, is because of such emotional circumstances like this case.
Nevertheless, I’m starting to get a headache on thinking that nothing would have happened if Modes was the type of man that would be loved by women.
The demon king in the story has kidnapped the princess. Maybe the story used to gather the heroes to travel and beat the demon king is in order to not cause headaches after hearing the truth？
In the first place, if the demon king was a hunk, he wouldn’t need to kidnap woman if he was liked by all of them, and thus there won’t be a conflict. Rather, why the hell do they even need to fight?
The silent princess who has no chance to say a line during the course of the story might even curse, “DIE, YOU DISGUSTING UGLY PIG!” to the demon king. Since I have never heard the story where the kind-hearted princess spares the life of the defeated demon king.
But, that is not the reason for her to trick Shirone.
She has to at least tell them the real reason. That might be the best outcome for Rena and the other summoned beings.
「Goddess Rena, please tell the truth to the heroes」
I direct my sword toward Rena.
A tense air drifts between me and Rena.
「….Hey, will you become my knight？ 」
But, Rena said the most unexpected words.
I let out an extremely surprised voice.
「It’s strange for someone like you to serve under Modes. That’s why, you should just become my knight」
What the hell is this goddess talking about?.
Then, what will become of the hero？It was when I listened to such a strange request.
A shadow leapt out from the opened door.
「ZEYAAAAH！ ！ 」
The shadow approaches and slashes towards me just like that.
I retreat to dodge that slash.
「Thank god you’re alright, Rena！ ！ 」
That shadow was none other than Shirone.
「Sorry for being late. There were those spartois guarding along the way…」
Shirone is pointing her sword at me while protecting Rena behind her.
「You coward. HOW DARE YOU POINT YOUR SWORD TOWARD AN UNARMED WOMAN！ ！ 」
Shirone is looking at me with an angry face.
To be honest, I rather not to have her looking at me with those kind of eyes.
「Run, Rena！ ！ Leave the rest to me！ ！ 」
「Ah, yes… I understand, Shirone… I’ll leave the rest to you」
Rena, who was being pressured by Shirone’s spirit, rushed toward the door.
When I try to chase after her, Shirone blocks my path.
「You won’t pass beyond this point！ ！ Your opponent is me！ ！ 」
Kuroki Childhood Friend, Swordswoman Shirone.
I can’t let Reiji fight this battle.
I’m watching Sahoko frantically trying to stop Reiji.
She couldn’t let Reiji-kun go since anymore than this will hurt him.
That’s why it was my turn.
Reiji-kun is our hero.
I knew about Reiji-kun when I was in middle school. At that time, I just recognized him as a hunk.
Till an event that occurred on a certain day.
At that time, I wanted to save my junior female friend from getting herself involved with delinquents.
I was quite confident with my own skills that I trained in my home. I really wanted to save my junior.
That’s why, that day, I went to save my junior while bringing along my wooden sword.
There, I met five men surrounding three girls. Maybe because the men were highschool students, they were releasing violent-looking aura from their body.
I never lost to a boy of my age until this point. I was sure that I can beat them as long as I have my wooden sword.
But, I was wrong on that day.
A man who become enraged when I pointed my wooden sword at them attacked me with an iron pipe.
I received his attack with my wooden sword. It was a terrifying attack. That time, my hand became numb, and I dropped my wooden sword.
They were sneering at me as I got frightened after losing my weapon.
Reiji-kun made his appearance during such a time. Not just me, my juniors also called for Reiji-kun to save them.
I can very well remember Reiji-kun’s maneuvers at that time. Reiji-kun is using his bare hands despite facing armed opponent, and yet he easily took out five of them.
Though he had no weapon when facing against opponents taller than himself, he easily beat them all. His figure was like that of a legendary hero.
That Reiji-kun was smiling gently at me who was trembling due to fear. I started crying upon seeing that smile.
Reiji-kun received a wound on his right hand due to the brawl. So, my junior and I decided to taking care of Reiji till his wound healed. Naturally, I planned to protect Reiji-kun if something were to happen to him.
I met Sahoko-san and Chiyuki-san during that time.
There were all kinds of teasing when we became Reiji-kun’s followers.
I was annoyed by such things. Even though I don’t care if they’re ridiculing me, I definitely won’t forgive anyone who ridicules Reiji-kun.
Even though Reiji-kun didn’t do something bad against them.
I even quarrelled with my childhood friend, Kurok,i due to that matter. Though Kuroki didn’t say it frankly, he obviously complained about Reiji. It made me extremely irritated.
No, maybe this is the reason why Kuroki became so angry.
This time, I noticed that I might have said too many bad things to Kuroki. I think Kuroki might have been dismayed when I said such cruel things to him.
I thought that I might have overdone it this time. Even so, Reiji-kun is a hero, and I wanted Kuroki to recognize that.
And that Reiji-kun is the hero of this world.
Now, I recall the anime that I watched a long time ago. It was the story about a hero who came from another world to defeat the demon king. The current situation is exactly like in that story.
Long time ago, Kuroki and I role played as the hero of that anime. The hero is I, while Kuroki was role playing as the villain and his subordinates. By the way, I forgot the name of the villain.
I know that Kuroki always wanted to play the role of the hero too. But, I wouldn’t yield, thus I always became the hero.
But, maybe the true hero is Reiji-kun. And not me.
When Reiji-kun almost died in the previous battle, I received a shock.
Before I noticed that, I considered Reiji-kun as the legendary hero who won’t lose to anyone.
But, I noticed that I was wrong when I saw Reiji-kun wounded till he was on the verge of his death.
I noticed of that fact when he lost to Diehart.
Sahoko-san became desperate at that time. She was desperately trying to heal Reiji-kun.
For Sahoko-san, Reiji-kun was a special existence.
Just like Kuroki for me.
Kuroki is definitely worried about me.
That’s why I have to go back.
I’m going back to our world with Chiyuki-san so that Kuroki will be at ease.
You’ll be worried if someone important to you is injured.
I can’t stop worrying about that when looking at Sahoko-san.
Thus, I rushed out.
It’s my duty to fight when Reiji-kun is injured.
I went to the altar room and defeated two spartoi.
When I entered the room, Diehart was pointing his sword toward Rena.
Seeing that, I lost my cool.
Reiji-kun will never turn his sword toward unarmed woman.
And this guy actually did that.
「DEYAAAAH！ ！ ！ 」
I draw my sword as I faced against Diehart.
Dark Knight Kuroki.
「PREPARE YOURSELF, DIEHART！ ！ ！ 」
I parry Shirone who’s attacking while saying those words.
Why did things turn out like this.
Moreover, speaking of Diehart, isn’t this just like the continuation of my and Shirone’s role playing hero long time ago?
I must tell the truth of the matter to Shirone. But, I can’t reveal my identity. That’s why things had turned into this.
I think about that while crossing swords with Shirone.
Shirone is swinging her sword with killing intent.
I am glad that Shirone’s pattern is easy to read. That’s why it’s easy to defend against her.
I noticed this during my match with Shirone.
The reason I was able to notice it is because I was defeated by Reiji at that time. So, I had questioned myself why Reiji had won against me.
The first time I fought him, I couldn’t read his pattern at all.
Thus I lost, and it was a devastating lost. I wouldn’t have been defeated just because I wore a heavier protector than my opponent.
And then, I couldn’t find the reason for my defeat. Anyhow, I couldn’t see my opponent’s sword. Thus, I was confused and couldn’t shake off my fear.
When I fought against him for the second time, somehow I could see his movement pattern. Thus, I won.
And then, I noticed it again when I’m fighting against Shirone.
Shirone’s pattern is based on the foundational basics of swordsmanship. That’s why I can understand the logic behind it.
Opposite of that, Reiji’s pattern isn’t a pattern of someone who had properly learned swordsmanship – it was a complete mess. That’s why I feared him, since I couldn’t understand the logic behind Reiji’s movement when I fought him a long time ago.
If I have to speaking frankly, it’s not a bad pattern to use in a brawl, but it wasn’t a movement pattern of someone who learns martial arts.
But, Reiji has extraordinary physical abilities. The way he fought was that of a beast which relies on its brute strength.
That might be the reason why the people who learnt martial arts in the school couldn’t win against him.
Because martial arts are originally skills to fight against humans. That’s why those guys were puzzled with the beast-like movement patterns of Reiji.
Naturally, the same applied to me in our first match. Since one couldn’t do such haphazard movements in kendo.
But when we fought for the second time, Reiji’s movement pattern didn’t change at all. That’s why I could read his movement pattern, and win against him.
And then, when facing against Shirone, I noticed that Reiji’s movement pattern is similar to that of a beast.
I can win against Reiji as long as I think that the one I’m facing against is not a human but a savage beast.
I definitely would’ve missed this fact if I had rejected Modes’s request at that time.
Even now, Reiji is a beast-like man.
A savage beast who is faithful to his own desires. Normally, you can’t live as freely as him by his way of living. That’s why the women are yearning for him, and the men are jealous of him.
I can’t live as freely as him. Could it be that Shirone was also charmed by his way of living？
Maybe I can’t win against Reiji in this aspect even if I can defeat him with my sword, or so I thought.
Shirone is brandishing her sword against me.
It’s been a long time since I had a sword match against Shirone. Could it be that Shirone has got weaker due to that？
I feel that the former her was stronger. Or else did I become so strong？
I must finist this lukewarm match.
I have to tell Shirone about the truth. For that reason, I have to make her listen to my story.
Maybe she won’t listen to me as Diehart.
But before doing that, I must disarm Shirone.
In fact, I can’t win against Shirone. It doesn’t mean that I’m going easy on her, it’s just that for some reason, I can’t hit her. That’s why I still lost in the end.
And then, currently in my hand was a real sword, not a wooden sword. That’s more reason for why I can’t hit her. Since I know that I’m bound to injure Shirone when I attack her.
And I can’t end this fight without injuring her.
Well, what should I do then？
Kuroki’s Childhood Friend, Shirone.
Strong. My sword can’t reach him.
I think so while looking at the enemy in front of me, Diehart.
He’s easily parrying against all my attacks.
My movements have been completely seen through.
My opponent is dodging my attack with paper thin margins.
As far as I know, there’s only one person who can do that gliding movements on the ground.
And that person is the uncle who came for training to my home’s dojo.
The uncle who came to train frequently was an acquaintance of my father.
My father once said that the uncle was a sword genius.
Sometimes, I saw the match between my father and that uncle. That strong father of mine was defeated without even touching that uncle.
Diehart’s movements are similar to that uncle’s movement. I’m sure that Diehart might be as strong as that uncle.
But, even that strong uncle didn’t have the eyes to judge people.
I mean he said that Kuroki had talent. Even though Kuroki never won even once against me. [TL : Uhm, must I put a retort for this line?]
That uncle taught so many things to Kuroki.
I would have been happy as long as I could learn some swordsmanship from that uncle.
As for why I couldn’t learn from him, it was because the guidance of that uncle was strict and made me giving up right away.
Now, I’m starting to regret my decision.
If I had learned from him for a bit longer, I might have been able to fight against Diehart.
I’m almost crying. Properly speaking, the match has been decided a long time ago.
The reason why my battle against Diehart’s dragging out for a long time is because my opponent is not attacking.
He’s toying with me, or so I thought.
I’m vexed. My opponent is a coward who’s turning his sword toward unarmed woman. I’m annoyed since I can’t win against this kind of opponent.
But, I couldn’t do anything but swinging my sword.
And then, after who knows how many times.
My hands feel lighter along with a “kin” sound.
I’m looking at my own hands. The sword that should be in hands is no more.
My sword had fallen to the side.
I’m dumbfounded when I noticed what my opponent did to me.
I was attacked during my weak moment.
Normally, I loosen the grip on my sword and only put strength to my hand when swinging my sword.
The empty moment is when I loosen the grip on my sword.
The full moment is when I grip strongly on my sword.
Diehart attacked right before I strengthen the grip on my sword to brandish my sword.
My sword was struck down by Diehart’s when it was still loose and flew away from my hands.
I can’t believe what I see. To think that there’s someone who can do such god-like feat.
He is a monster, was what I thought as I look at Diehart.
I’m dumbfounded. But, Diehart didn’t do anything.
Maybe I wasn’t even a threat to him.
「I couldn’t become a hero…」
Before I noticed, tears were coming out from my eyes.
「DON’T THINK THAT YOU WIN WITH JUST THIS！ ！ ！ 」
I’m glaring at Diehart while crying like that.
Dark Knight Kuroki.
It went well, or so I thought.
I managed to land an attack when she was unguarded.
This skill isn’t a skill that can be used on a rookie who always put more strength on their sword.
The reason why I can use this skill on Shirone is because she had learned swordsmanship and my experience of our past matches.
Shirone lost her sword and can’t fight anymore. Next is just how to make her listen to me.
I approach Shirone.
「I couldn’t become a hero….」
Shirone is muttering those words with her head hanging down.
My feet stopped up on hearing her words.
「DON’T THINK THAT YOU HAVE WON WITH JUST THIS！ ！ ！ 」
Shirone is shouting those words while glaring at me.
She was crying.
I can’t say anything when I’m looking at her tear-stained face.
「SOONER OR LATER, REIJI-KUN WILL BEAT YOU！！！」
And then, she catches her breath and says these words with a louder voice.
「BECAUSE REJI-KUN IS MORE HANDSOME THAN HUNDREDS OF YOU！ ！ ！ 」
Those words pierced deeply into my heart.
Honestly, it’s too painful.
Then I remember her saying the same thing in the past.
It’s just like when I quarreled with Shirone about Reiji.
That time was an extremely painful moment, too.
The thorn that pierced my heart at that time is still painful even now.
Yeah, I couldn’t win. Even if I win in swordsmanship, I can’t win against Reiji.
After shouting loudly, Shirone sat down on the ground and started weeping loudly.
I’m at a loss in what to do when I look at the crying Shirone.
I made her cry. Aren’t I the real bad guy in this case?
I can feel my mood sinking even further.
Though I have to tell the truth to her, I’m at a loss as to how to tell her.
The summoning tools are destroyed, so at least Shirone won’t be in any danger for now.
Even though Rena said that she won’t do anything but still.
「Are you alright, SHIRONE！！！」
Reiji’s voice came when I’m still pondering about such things.
Shirone is sobering a little and smiling as she saw Reiji.
Seeing that, now I’m the one who wants to cry.
「YOU―！！STAY AWAY FROM SHIRONE！！！」
Reiji is preparing to draw his sword.
His figure completely resembles a hero coming to save a princess.
If that was the case, the evil me had no choice but to disappear.
I sheathe my sword and then walk toward the opposite direction of Reiji and Shirone.
I don’t care about Reiji’s bewildered voice behind me.
As I walk, a black flame appeared on my hand.
It’s as if this black flame is something that’s gushing out from the bottom of my heart.
I fire that black flame toward the ceiling of the temple. It melts the ceiling and creates a hole without even leaving a speck of dust.
And just like that, my figure leaped from the top of the temple with flight magic and returned toward Nargol.
That dark land might be suitable for me.
I don’t care even if the gods from Elios find me while I am using flight magic.
My lonely figure was flying alone under the moonlight.