LS – Chapter 265: As such, obedient

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— “What’s with that gloomy face, Haakudoku?”

Bro Gestaf is always dandy.

I have always been thinking about wanting to become a man of presence like Bro since the moment he picked me up and opened up my heart to him.

— “I couldn’t understand the book you were reading at all…” (Haaku)

— “It is about that, huh. It is just that it is too soon for you. You can’t even read yet.” (Gestaf)

Eh, am I talking on my own? Or more like, isn’t Bro younger? He looks like the time not long after I met him…

— “No, I had another adult read it for me and taught me in detail. But I couldn’t understand the point of doing that.” (Haaku)

— “That’s an impressive desire to learn.” (Gestaf)

Aah, this is a dream of the past, huh.

It is a memory of the time when I read stuff like politics and administration from the books in the room of Bro.

Bro was having complicated talks with the adults, and I didn’t like not being able to join in.

It is nice and all that I decided to study with my own strength, but I couldn’t even read.

I thought I could just have a nice old man read me the contents of the book to understand it, but it didn’t work in the end.

— “I want to become great like Bro, but I don’t feel like I will be able to…” (Haaku)

— “Even if you admire someone like me… Well, it is important to admire someone and grow just like that person. I am living in my own way, but you are living in order to grow. There’s definitely going to be a difference in growth from that.” (Gestaf)

— “…Are there cases where that won’t work?” (Haaku)

— “There are. Even if you manage to grow with me as your aim, it is not like you will be able to become myself. Conversely, I can’t become you. That’s what’s important.” (Gestaf)

I barely understood any of the depth in the words of Bro at that time.

But if Bro says so, that must be the case -is what I convinced myself with.

“—! —Doku!”

What, even though I am remembering a nostalgic memory here…

Someone is shouting loudly in my ear.

No, they are not angry.

“Haakudoku, keep conscious!”

“…Hn… Masetta…?” (Haaku)

I could see Masetta within my hazy vision.

It seems like my body can’t move. There’s the shadow of someone deeper in that looks like Mix, but I can’t see it clearly.

“That’s a relief! Your consciousness is more stable now! I am currently using healing magic on you, so you also do your part in accepting my mana!” (Masetta)

“I can hear you, so…please don’t…shout so loudly…” (Haaku)

I thought it was warm for a while now, but it was Masetta casting healing magic on me, huh.

I concentrate on that mana and imagine myself accepting it… Aah, it is so relaxing like when I am taking a bath after being completely exhausted…

“Looks like you will be fine now… Haah…” (Masetta)

“Don’t sigh so heavily after looking at the face of someone…” (Haaku)

“Whose fault do you think it is?! You are on death’s door here, you know?! You’ve gotten through the worst part though.” (Masetta)

I was on the verge of death? That’s not…ah, right.

I was in the middle of fighting the guy called Ritial, right? Yeah, yeah, I remember now. I couldn’t see a way to win in a prolonged battle, so I pulled a pretty big gamble there.

I detected the danger of death through Instinct-sama, and it tried to forcefully move me.

The more I go against it, the bigger the impact of it gets.

But that also means I can tell the timing of when exactly I will die.

That’s why I overexerted myself within a realm where Instinct-sama still works, and managed to act in a manner where there was a bit of danger, but wouldn’t die.

But that doesn’t work against Ritial.

I thought that I had to bring about a different result beforehand in order to defeat, no, deceive Ritial who can read my mind.

There’s something, but I thought that Ritial would definitely come at me with the intention to kill me if I were to go there to die.

I wanted to aim for that moment.

The timing of it is when Instinct-sama kicks me beyond the limits.

Basically, the moment Instinct-sama takes away my consciousness.

I maintain my trump card at the point where it is on the verge of exploding, and wait for the moment when Ritial jumps to range in order to kill me.

I endured Instinct-sama’s kicks to run away, held on, and continued until my consciousness flew away.

And then, I undid the control of the compressed mana the moment my consciousness went away and activated my trump card.

There’s no way for Ritial to read an attack unleashed out of my knowledge.

“…I am impressed…I survived.” (Haaku)

I could tell my back was damp once the sensation on my body returned. Moreover, the stench of blood is so strong to the point of making me gag.

This is my blood, right?

Masetta is placing a hand over my neck.

So he really came at me with the intention of slicing it off.

Just how deep did he get?

“There’s no doubt you would have died if a bit more blood had come out. On the contrary, it is flowing to a point where you normally wouldn’t be saved, you know?!” (Masetta)

“I am often told that I am hot-blooded, you know. I can bleed more than your average guy.” (Haaku)

“One more joke like that and I will burn the remaining wounds to close them.” (Masetta)

“I’m sorry. Please be gentle with me… Wait, what happened to Ritial?” (Haaku)

I wanted to move my head, but Masetta is holding it down, so I can’t check what’s going on.

But I can tell from the atmosphere around us that we haven’t lost.

“If it is Ritial-dono, we have already finished restraining him-desu zo. There doesn’t seem to be any danger to his life, so I have left the treatment of his wounds for later though.” (Mix)

“…I see.” (Haaku)

I understand now that we won with the words of Mix just now.

But I would have died if I hadn’t been healed, yet Ritial is not in critical condition.

If this had been a one-on-one battle, it would have ended with just me dying.

I thought I wouldn’t lose when it comes to putting my life on the line though. Even that didn’t reach, huh… It really is vexing.

“Why are you looking as if you are mortified here? Are you misunderstanding this as a defeat or something? You hid your card until right before your head was going to be lopped off. It was 50-50 whether you would be able to defeat Ritial even if I risked my life to stop his sword, you know?” (Gradona)

“Ouch!” (Haaku)

“Hey, Gradona-san! This person is gravely injured, so can you not step on him?!” (Masetta)

“Listen here, Haakudoku. Ritial put his life on the line to stand here, but you had the resolve to throw away everything here. You showed no hesitation to throw away what Ritial couldn’t. It is your win. Be proud of it.” (Gradona)

Gradona laughed as he stepped on the stomach of someone.

I am happy by those words, but is there a point in stepping on me?

I can’t even tell whether it hurts or not because my whole body is paralyzed, but I can tell it is humiliating, you know.

“Now then, it is about time for them to come.” (Mix)

“Hah, who will be comi—buh?!” (Haaku)

“Haakudoku?!” (Masetta)

The moment I thought Gradona had finally moved, this time it was Molari who showed up on top of my stomach.

There’s Yasutet by her side.

I see, so that’s what it is.

“Uwa, I thought for a second there that I stepped on shit.” (Molari)

“…Move aside, Molari. He seems to be gravely injured.” (Yasutet)

“You people… I hope this is not on purpose…” (Haaku)

“There’s no way I would be able to pull off such a miraculous—Ritial-sama?!” (Molari)

Molari moves outside my vision.

Looks like she went to Ritial once she saw him.

“It would be troubling if he were to move, so I haven’t done any healing. There’s no danger to his life, so please heal him on your side.” (Mix)

“You people…how dare you do this to Ritial-sama…!” (Molari)

“…Calm down, Molari. It means Ritial-sama wouldn’t have stopped unless they got him to this state… Any more than this and his life would have been forfeit.” (Yasutet)

I can’t see, but can’t I move my head up?

I was thinking this and Masetta must have noticed what I wanted, she lifted my body up while keeping my head in place.

I see Ritial restrained and unconscious.

Uoh, his face is super swollen!

My trump card wouldn’t have dealt a wound like that, so it was probably Gradona… That means he could still get up even after I went that far… No, I shouldn’t feel mortified, but…

“Why are you so calm, Yasutet?! Don’t you feel anything after seeing this?!” (Molari)

“…I do feel anger…but if we allow ourselves to be controlled by emotions here, who will save Ritial-sama from this place?” (Yasutet)

“—!”

I understand how they feel.

Just thinking about Bro Gestaf being in that state… I even feel bad for what I did. Or more like, I feel like Tsudwali would also have a grudge on me.

“…Uh.”

“Ritial-sama!” (Molari)

It seems like Ritial regained consciousness because of the shouting of Molari.

He silently looked around without saying anything at first, but he must have completely grasped his current state, he groaned after sighing heavily.

“…So I lost.” (Ritial)

“That’s right. You’ve lost-desu zo, Ritial-dono. So—” (Mix)

“No need to explain. The resident of Yugura’s planet wants me to move away from this place, right? He could have just killed me. What a naive decision.” (Ritial)

“This was the agreement of Mister Friend with Molari and Yasutet to get their information.” (Mix)

“You are saying that because you are going to be keeping the promise of that man, then.” (Ritial)

We promised that, in the case Brother succeeds in incapacitating Ritial, we would be giving him to Molari and Yasutet who provided information.

But Ritial is honestly extremely dangerous. I want to eliminate him if possible -in the position of Brother and in mine and Bro’s position, too.

“Mister Friend would most likely laugh bitterly and say it was within his expectations even if I were to finish you. But I don’t want him to think I am that kind of woman.” (Mix)

“So you want to be the ideal you for your ideal partner, huh. To be young. But I have no right to complain here. He outread me after all.” (Ritial)

“That’s not right, Ritial.” (Haaku)

I unconsciously spoke there.

But this is something I was told I must definitely tell him.

“…What’s not right, Haakudoku?” (Ritial)

“It is not like Brother won against you in predictions. Brother said he definitely can’t win against you on that front. That’s why he gave up on trying to read you.” (Haaku)

“…What?” (Ritial)

“Brother thought that all of his best plans would be read and he would lose. That’s why Brother simply made it so that it would be easy for us to move, and entrusted everything to us.” (Haaku)

The plan that Brother took…which can’t even be called a plan…was simply to form teams that would make it the easiest to raid the place.

He threw everything else to us.

If he can’t outreach him, just don’t do it.

Just how outrageous can you get?

“…I see. That’s why he stayed to keep Arcreal in place, huh.” (Ritial)

“That’s right. The aim was for Sis Ilias and Brother to hold back your strongest pawn, and to abandon predicting the moves you yourself would make.” (Haaku)

Ritial would definitely make moves to win against the predictions of Brother.

But the reality is that there was nothing to read.

Brother said that there’s the possibility for the others to win if he is turning his brain towards an opponent that doesn’t exist.

“I felt his intentions with the composition of the teams, but I couldn’t feel any of that in the following moves. He threw away his own line of victory, and had his comrades pick up the victory, huh…” (Ritial)

“You must have remained undefeated in a battle of minds, but even I can corner you if I just leave it to fate.” (Haaku)

Ritial couldn’t see through my last technique because he thought that Brother must have told me to do something.

That’s why he thought the whole time about plans that Brother might give me, and my blind foolish plan landed.

The irony.

If he had faced me head on from the very beginning, he might not have ended up like this.

“…I thought I could win against him…but he didn’t even show up to the match, huh. What a sly man.” (Ritial)

“Sorry to interrupt you while you are getting depressed there, but pick up Tsudwali who is over there before you go back. She is as injured as you.” (Haaku)

“—Yasutet, it is ahead of that hole. I leave the retrieval to you.” (Ritial)

“…Understood.” (Yasutet)

Yasutet left and headed to the hole I opened, and then, returned after a while carrying Tsudwali with him.

But she has something resembling a piece of cloth on her face, so I can’t see her expression.

Rather, she is not dead, right?

“Ritial-sama…sorry for failing duty…” (Tsudwali)

Ah, she is alive.

That’s a relief, whew.

If she died, I would have had to feign as if I lost consciousness after all!

“You managed to protect what must be prioritized the most. That’s enough.” (Ritial)

“…Yes.” (Tsudwali)

“Ritial-dono, I will be telling you this since you must follow the procedures no matter what. We had Molari-dono and Yasutet-dono drink poison before appearing here, and that goes for you, too. We have entrusted the antidote to the knights of Taizu that are on standby somewhere else.” (Mix)

“So where we have to go has been set too.” (Ritial)

“Yes. We will have you move to several spots, but we have made it so that you will have time to drink the antidote before the poison takes effect.” (Mix)

It is not like everything is fine with just Ritial and the others going back to the surface.

Even if Ritial can’t move, it would be beyond troubling if Molari and Yasutet were used for battle.

We will have them move to the place near the ruins that has the knights of Taizu on standby, then ask for the other location where the other knights of Taizu are.

And then, they will repeat that a few times until they get to the knights that have the antidote.

It won’t take that long since they have the teleport magic of Molari, but there’s no need to worry about them suddenly retaliating.

“Fine. I am grateful enough to be alive. We will obey. Molari, I am counting on you.” (Ritial)

“…Yes.” (Molari)

Molari activated teleportation magic, and teleported the four of them.

They were more obedient than I thought.

It was a fight with our lives on the line. I thought they would struggle a bit more.

“Now then, let’s go ahead. As for Haakudoku-dono…” (Mix)

“It is obvious he can’t continue fighting, but we have to let him rest in a better place…” (Masetta)

“Right. There should be a somewhat spacious room ahead according to the map. Let’s carry him all the way there.” (Mix)

Mix made a simple stretcher by using the hood of her robe and earth magic.

I was placed on top of it, and we all moved forward.

“I am fine with you leaving me behind though.” (Haaku)

“We stopped the bleeding, but it is not like the healing is done. We need Masetta-dono to stay back, too. We can’t have a girl rest in a corridor, right?” (Mix)

“…Right.” (Haaku)

“But are you okay? I confirmed just before, but the other teams got the wrong route…” (Masetta)

“Seriously…?” (Haaku)

Ritial was protecting this one, so I did have the feeling though.

So this really is the route that leads to the lower layer…

I am out and Masetta is coming down with me.

Mix and Gradona are tired from facing Ritial. Will they be able to face Nektohal like that?!

“We don’t plan on winning by ourselves-desu zo. It is fine as long as we don’t let them finish the resurrection magic, so we will instead be the ones buying time to wait for everyone to regroup.” (Mix)

“I see. You two should be great for that then.” (Haaku)

We were left speechless soon after being relieved and just before reaching the next room.

The path we thought was the correct one…was completely buried.

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