QualiA – Chapter 31: Seeking the last fragment… ⑥

Evil Vanguishing Sword, Futsu No Mitama.

The ‘Concept Weapon’ that I created with the amalgamation of all my power at the time when I was a Demon Lord; my magnum opus. A katana that has a pitch black blade. The reason why I had a sakura petal engraved in the scabbard was because it is a dark past of mine where my blood boiled with eighth-grade syndrome.

The blade is made from an alloy of the Orihalcum which is called as the organic metal, and also the philosopher’s stone. The handle and guard are made from World Tree Branch, Lapis Lazuli Wings of the Fairy King, Blood Tears of the Demonic Beast King, so on and so forth… In summary, it is made from the highest class materials.

“Makoto, the color of your hair…and also the color of your eyes…” (Amalietta)

“Hm? Ah, this?” (Makoto)

When I use this katana, my hair turns white and my eyes turn silver for some reason.

I don’t need a setting like that that screams eighth-grade syndrome, but it is apparently a result brought about by the special properties of the mixed materials. Even if I wanted to take out that effect, I can’t. It might as well be a curse.

“It doesn’t pose any problem, so don’t mind it.” (Makoto)

“I-I see.” (Amalietta)

“Well then, let’s finish this quick… [Target: Poison Lizard Subspecies].” (Makoto)

I take a stance with the katana, and make an horizontal swing.

“[Judgment: Lifeforce – Cause and Effect].” (Makoto)

The Poison Lizards were watching us from afar without approaching us, but they let out a short cry and fall to the ground one after the other.

“…What did you do?” (Amalietta)

“I cut them.” (Makoto)

“…..You…cut them?” (Amalietta)

Amalietta tilts her head in confusion, but when I inappropriately laugh at her for her gesture being kind of childish, she turned red and averted her face.

Oya, did I anger her?

Futsu No Mitama is a katana that specializes in cutting. The blade is thinner than the regular katana, but it is more than ten times sharper. However, even if it can cut rock and metal, it can’t cut through what’s said to be the toughest material that are the scales of a dragon. Even if this katana can regenerate, it is when used at its best when growth comes about.

And so, I have endowed a special trait to this katana.

That’s ‘Cause and Effect’. It is a rule breaker ability that can rewrite cause and effect.

Putting it simply, it can erase the ‘cause’ of the dragon scales being tough, and have the world temporarily recognize the ‘effect’ that it can be cut. In that state, the dragon scales end up turning basically into papers that only have as much defense as tofu. What comes next would be to cut as much as you wish. When I am fighting a dragon, this weapon becomes a priceless treasure.

“Hmm, explaining would be complicated. Putting it simply, this katana can cut what it wants to cut.” (Makoto)

“‘Cut what it wants to cut’?” (Amalietta)

“That’s right. And so, I only cut the soul of the Poison Lizard Subspecies.” (Makoto)

“Something like that…” (Amalietta)

This is a demonic sword that I created to fight against a God that’s a conceptual existence, but it cannot cut a God in half with a single strike, and it cannot cut their life like I did just now. Gods really are messed up existences.

In the first place, Cause and Effect has the weak point that it cannot show 100% of its ability unless I know the name of the target.

There’s no problem if things like the race or group have a clear name, but there’s cases when nicknames can lower the effectivity, I try not to abuse it or depend too much on it.

As for Gods, even if I know their names, they are superior existences, so a weapon that was created by a human like me cannot defeat them completely.

Also, special existences like Angels, Demons, Divine Beasts, and existences that possess equal strength are not affected by the ability of this one-hit kill. It cannot do that, but it can still incapacitate them. I am currently improving this weapon to create a weapon that can kill a God completely, but the future is bleak.

Just now, the name of the species was identified, so it was possible. The Poison Lizards didn’t have any way to protect themselves against an attack that takes away life itself, so they died without any resistance.

“This is the first time I have heard of something like that existing.” (Amalietta)

“Must be…” (Makoto)

“Really, what in the world are you, Makoto?” (Amalietta)

“An alchemist.” (Makoto)

“…”

Oh my, those eyes of doubt are crazy strong.

“If possible, I would like to know the truth…but, it won’t be so easy for you to tell me, right?” (Amalietta)

“Why do you want to know something like that?” (Makoto)

While silently confirming the bodies lying around, I ask Amalietta this.

I try confirming with Parallel Research, but there doesn’t seem to be a Poison Lizard subspecies alive around the area. Looks like the attack just now eliminated them all.

“…Because I ended up…falling in love with Makoto.” (Amalietta)

“Huh?” (Makoto)

When I turn around to Amalietta letting out a dumbfounded voice, she was looking straight at me with a beet red face.

“Why? We met just a few days ago, you know?” (Makoto)

“I don’t understand either… However, when I was watching you fight, my chest throbbed. I thought about wanting to have a duel with you.” (Amalietta)

Isn’t that just you being a battle junkie? Also, I don’t think there was a single factor to make you fall in love with me, but falling in love with someone doesn’t follow logic to begin with.

Just like how I…fell in love with Esthella.

“Also…argh, why is it so difficult to express my feelings in words?!” (Amalietta)

“Now now, calm down. I understand your feelings.” (Makoto)

“!! I-Is that so.” (Amalietta)

“However, I can’t go out with anyone right now.” (Makoto)

The moment I said this, Amalietta showed despair and lowered her head slightly.

“T-That’s…because you already have someone you love?” (Amalietta)

“Hmm, it is…a bit different, I think.” (Makoto)

Just as Amalietta said, expressing feelings into words is difficult.

Esthella was a girl that I had truly fallen in love with when I met her.

If I were asked how I feel now, I had no choice but to say I honestly don’t know. It is not as if I hate her now. There’s no way I would end up hating her.

But I don’t know if that feeling I have right now is truly love or attachment.

A certain woman told me this while crying: ‘Don’t cling to a dead woman forever’.

A certain man told me this with an exasperated look: ‘Even if you continue having feelings for a dead woman, those feelings won’t be reciprocated’.

A certain woman told me this while laughing: ‘Running away all the time. What a pathetic man’.

I do think it is clingy of me…however, I also understand that I have to put a conclusion to it. I am sure that if she were to see me being so wishy-washy, she would snort at me. No, snorting would be pushing it a bit too much, but she there’s the chance she would scold me with an exasperated look.

She is the type that is kind but strict after all.

…Esthella.

I have to move on already, right? It is pathetic to use you as an excuse. The man you fell in love with being like this is not cool, right?

“It looks like the subspecies has been dealt with, so how about taking a break?” (Makoto)

“R-Right.” (Amalietta)

Amalietta answers awkwardly, and we both move to the top of a rock to have our break.

☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆  

Finishing a slightly early lunch, I begin preparing some tea.

Within this dense mood, the warm tea flowing down my throat was like temporary bliss.

“So, what are we going to do after this?” (Makoto)

“…Let’s see. Since there’s no need to search for the partner of the variant anymore, what’s left would be to exterminate the subspecies.” (Amalietta)

“Understood.” (Makoto)

Amalietta quivered for a moment there, but she is a seasoned fighter. She soon calmed herself and gave out clear instructions.

Before going up the rock, I took out the variant to check whether it was both male and female, and after a thorough check, there’s no mistaking that it was indeed an hermaphrodite.

It would be quite the nightmare if there were another one of those in that size, but well, now that one of the mysteries has been solved, we now just need to concentrate on exterminating the subspecies.

Maybe this served to calm Amalietta a bit, her face was showing signs of relief. However, she is probably feeling something else as well. Her glances at me every now and then were ticklish, and it also made a sense of guilt well up in me.

“Now then, let’s finish this quick and go back.” (Makoto)

“Right.” (Amalietta)

Finishing the tea in one gulp, I throw the complete tea-making set inside the bag, stand up, and look around.

Amalietta also stood up and looked around, and with long sword in hand, she said ‘I will be going ahead’ and jumped off the rock. I jump off the rock and follow after her.

I thought Amalietta was acting strange at the time she was fighting the Poison Lizards. It was as if she was distracted, or like, her concentration was dispersed. Her swordsmanship was lacking its sharpness.

For a moment there, I thought that she had been poisoned, but she herself said no, and after that, it looked as if sharpness had returned to her movements. However, her state was strange later as well, so I thought it would be best to return as soon as possible, so I brought out my best sword, which was most likely a mistake.

Amalietta was about to be hypnotized by the katana, and suddenly confessed to me…

I am not that hopeless of a human being to make fun of love.

Even so…love, huh.

To think that was the reason why her thoughts were dispersed. Cause you know, it is only been a few days since we met. But well, Ba-sama said that Dragonewts are loyal to the one they fall in love with, so it will probably be quite difficult to have Amalietta seriously give up on me.

Well, I don’t hate it though.

“—Oi, Makoto.” (Amalietta)

“Hm? What’s the matter?” (Makoto)

Who was it that said ‘love is not a single string’?

“You weren’t listening?” (Amalietta)

“N-No, sorry.” (Makoto)

“Good grief. You are difficult to understand, Makoto.” (Amalietta)

“I am told that often.” (Makoto)

I chuckled and Amalietta returns it with a weary expression and it looked as if strength had come off from her shoulders.

“Don’t lower your guard, Makoto. It is not as if it is over after all.” (Amalietta)

“They do say an excursion is still an excursion till you return.” (Makoto)

“Excursion?” (Amalietta)

“Don’t mind it. For now, let’s just think about other things after dealing with the matter at hand.” (Makoto)

I place my hand on the sword at my waist, both Amalietta and I nod, and walk on.

Answering feelings is not something easy to do, but a half-baked response would end up hurting her the most. First, there’s the need to have her understand me. While thinking that, I let out a small sigh, and while being cautious of the surroundings, I hurried ahead.

……

Time passed, and it was now the time of the evening when the sky had a tint of red.

…Result, we were able to exterminate almost all the Poison Lizard subspecies.

Complete eradication is close to impossible in this vast wetland belt, and since we have cut off the source, they most likely won’t be increasing further in numbers. That’s the conclusion Amalietta arrived at.

That’s only if there’s no other variant, but just to search for the possibility of one existing, there would be the need for quite the time and patience.

“So we are done.” (Makoto)

“Yeah. It would be impossible to investigate further.” (Amalietta)

“Then, should we withdraw for now?” (Makoto)

“…Yeah. I have to write a report, so let’s leave for now.” (Amalietta)

On the proposal of Amalietta, we prioritize the report of the reason for the abnormal breeding, and thus, return to the town of Rosuha to write the report.

“Ah, right. Are we going to be going back on foot?” (Makoto)

“Yeah, sorry for that. I didn’t have a clear schedule for when the investigation would finish, so I didn’t prepare a carriage for our return.” (Amalietta)

“I see. Then, let’s quickly go back.” (Makoto)

With a small nod, Amalietta said ‘right’, and we walk on to exit the wetland belt.

☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆  

At the entrance of the Wetland Belt.

We had returned to the place we had departed from this morning, and set up the tent just like before.

“We finished faster than planned thanks to you, Makoto.” (Amalietta)

“Really?” (Makoto)

When I turn around in wonder, Amalietta was glaring at me with an exasperated expression.

“You saw through the subspecies that my appraisal couldn’t catch, and you even stored the whole giant body of the sudden variant inside your Inventory, and yet, you are telling me that’s not the case?” (Amalietta)

“…No, it is exactly as you say.” (Makoto)

Why is it that my instincts are telling me it is dangerous to deny it?

“I finished setting the tent.” (Amalietta)

“Okay~. I have also finished the preparations for the meal.” (Makoto)

On the low-height round table I set at the side of the open-air fire, there’s a variety of dishes lined up. My cooking skill has increased quite a lot with my six parallel world summons. At first, I could only make sad dishes like baking and seasoning it with salt and pepper. By the time I noticed, I could make most home dishes.

“Makoto, you are good at cooking too.” (Amalietta)

“Well, it was a necessity after all.” (Makoto)

“I should learn how to cook too.” (Amalietta)

I do want to taste the cooking of Amalietta, but why is it that I can only imagine her fumbling around in the kitchen?

“Why are you looking at me with those gentle eyes?” (Amalietta)

“…Live strong.” (Makoto)

“……Can I punch you?” (Amalietta)

How scary, oi.

“I was just thinking I would like to try your cooking.” (Makoto)

“I-I see.” (Amalietta)

“But for some reason, the only thing I could imagine was you failing.” (Makoto)

“Guh…that’s…uhm…” (Amalietta)

I have received a ‘guh’ of confirmation from the person herself.

“Anyways, let’s eat.” (Makoto)

“I will be cooking the next one, okay?” (Amalietta)

“I request for something eatable, okay?” (Makoto)

“I will do proper practice, so it will be fine.” (Amalietta)

Amalietta puffs her cheeks and then takes a bite of the steamed bread, and in an instant, her face melted into that of happiness as she continued to eat silently.

The soup with plenty vegetables has a gentle taste to it and came out pretty well. Eating the steamed bread by dipping it in the soup gives a new taste and is also delicious. I have also grilled meat as main dish, and in this one, I have used a yakiniku sauce that I replicated the taste of a certain famous manufacturer to an incredibly close extent. Ogon Karakuchi is the best. <Name of the sauce.>

“Hmm, delicious.” (Makoto)

“Yeah. This sauce…hngh, and the aftertaste…! I feel like I will get addicted to it.” (Amalietta)

At some point in time, Amalietta had a meat skewer in hand and was blissfully eating. She licked away the sauce that was around her mouth, and continued eating single-mindedly.

“Hey, Amalietta.” (Makoto)

“Hm, what?” (Amalietta)

“About what we were talking about before…” (Makoto)

A half-baked response wouldn’t convince Amalietta. She had her eyes round in surprise, but I decide to speak out my thoughts.

“There’s a woman I can’t forget about.” (Makoto)

It may be pathetic, but I have no choice but to have her listen to it -my true feelings.

“That woman is no longer present…because I killed her with my own hands.” (Makoto)

“—!! That’s…” (Amalietta)

“In reality, I wanted to save her…but I had no means of saving her. I pushed and struggled over and over, and yet…” (Makoto)

What am I even telling a woman I have just met a few days ago?

Even so, in order to answer the serious feelings of Amalietta, I have to return them seriously as well. Even if that means hurting Amalietta in the process. If I were to run away from this, I feel like I really won’t be able to progress a single step forward.

“I couldn’t save her no matter what I tried… That’s why I killed her. Killing her was the only thing I could do to save her.” (Makoto)

“…….”

“She must definitely be thinking I am an idiot for still clinging onto those feelings till now. I have tried many times to forget about her, that I should move on already…but no matter how long, I still can’t forget her…” (Makoto)

The smile she showed me in her last moments is still burned in the back of my eyelids.

“I think…” (Amalietta)

That voice of hers was so low it could have been overwritten by the sound of the flickering fire.

“There’s no need to force yourself to forget.” (Amalietta)

But it clearly reached my ears, and when I directed my gaze at Amalietta, she was looking straight at me.

“Maybe because I pass all my days training, I am not well acquainted with love, and so, I don’t understand much about the subtleties between men and women. Thats why…I can’t understand just how much pain you are feeling, Makoto. I might end up saying unnecessary things that will anger you.” (Amalietta)

Heat steadily increases in her voice and gradually grows louder.

“Even so…Even so, I wouldn’t want to be forgotten…” (Amalietta)

However, it slowly got lower, her eyes dampened showing her emotions, and tears were wetting the corner of her eyes.

“—! S-Sorry.” (Amalietta)

“N-No, it is okay.” (Makoto)

Our faces were unknowingly at breathing proximity now. Amalietta hurriedly jumps back and hides her beet red face. I avert my gaze from that and look at the sky.

Wouldn’t want to be forgotten, huh.

Right. Moving forward isn’t synonym to forgetting. There’s no need to force myself to forget her. It is not as if my memories together with her will be gone after all.

“Even if I am gone…I probably wouldn’t want to be forgotten…”

Haha, right. She did say that too.

That I dreamed of her for two days in a row must be her way of scolding me. It is possible for that kind, strict, and meddlesome girl.

It looked like I was facing the past, but in reality, I was averting my gaze from it. She must have been irritated at that sight of me.

I do understand that this is just a convenient explanation I am creating here. I do understand, but it is pathetic how much worry I am causing. It truly is pathetic.

“Thanks, Amalietta.” (Makoto)

“No, I didn’t really…” (Amalietta)

“I feel like I have moved a bit forward.” (Makoto)

“…I see.” (Amalietta)

It is mysterious how Amalietta’s words enter my heart. I don’t know why, but it is by no means something unpleasant. Even though this kind of talks felt strongly annoying in the past… I truly might have moved a bit forward.

…Thank you.

After that, we didn’t have a single conversation, and until the time to go to sleep, we were passing the time absentmindedly watching and listening to the cracking of the campfire…

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