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439 Part 3

The thought of being about to die in vain crossed Eliwood’s mind.

 

The words “I’m sorry” rushed over his heart, filling it to the brim. He wanted to apologize for not really having accomplished anything relevant, and for running out of strength in such a place.

 

He wanted to apologize to his parents, who raised him to become a proud child of Spada. To the instructor who had hit him with spear and sword alike many times. To the superiors who had taught him how to survive on the battlefield. To the friends and subordinates who had believed in him and followed him so far. To His Majesty King Leonhart, to whom he had vowed to return victorious.

 

And to his wife, who loved such a boring man who only knew how to fight, and to his beloved daughter, who he had brought unto to this world.

 

“… I’m sorry, Erina.”

 

“I. Will. Protect. Rin!!”

 

A posture that is greatly upset and warped. Eliwood realized that his next thrust will be a powerful one, and that it would reach his unprotected throat.

 

He would die instantly after receiving such an attack. Facing his last moments, Eliwood closed his eyes, and the only thing that was on his mind was his daughter’s smile, the cutest girl in the entire world.

 

“– If she’s so important to you, then don’t bring her somewhere as dangerous as here.”

 

Although the battlefield was supposed to be dominated by the enthusiastic hustle and bustle, only his cold voice was strangely clear.

 

Who?

 

The moment he asked himself that question, he heard the sound of a person’s body being crushed.

 

Am I… Dead? –No.

 

The one who denied that was the thought of his daughter, who was still smiling, saying “I love papa”. Is this Heaven? No, I’m still in the middle of the battlefield.

 

Then, while lying down on his back, thinking he looked like an idiot, he stared piercingly at the wide blue sky.

 

“W-What… What happened…?”

 

A second later, and despite feeling like his body would collapse again at any moment, he vigorously raised the upper half of his body.

 

At the same time, the red-haired man, who had remained still in front of him with his spear in his hand, collapsed. Making a dull noise as he fell, he lay down on the ground facing upwards just like he himself had just a moment ago.

 

“Ah… W… What… Rin… I’ll…”

 

Leaving behind that unfinished sentence, the red-haired man passed away. His eyes, which had been burning with a fiery rage until recently, had now lost all of their light and were just vacantly staring at the sky.

 

The ground, which had become a mess by the deadly battle that had just taken place over the snow and mud, was now dyed red with the large amount of fresh blood he shed.

 

There was a big hole in the chest of the redhead man. A windhole so huge that you could clearly see through it. The cause of death was obvious.

 

“This… Who…?”

 

He didn’t ask anyone, but the answer came right after his murmuring.

 

“Are you okay, Subcommander Eliwood?”

 

Before he realized, a man in black stood beside him. Not the samurai man. Taller and bigger than him, and above all, he had an ominous presence.

 

Although it brought a chills to his spine, he had a certain familiarity with the face he looked up at.

 

“Adventurer Kurono… Why… Why are you here…?”

 

“I found a reliable magic user, so I entrusted the rear guard to that person. But moreover, those wounds are terrible. Here’s a high potion.”

 

With a terrifyingly sharp look and a smile, his manner of speaking was calm enough to forget that they still were in the middle of the battlefield.

 

This man isn’t normal.

 

This was the honest impression that Eliwood had at that moment. He was strange to the point that not even his acts of courage could cover up for it.

 

However, he also understood the fact that he had narrowly escaped death thanks to Kurono. Therefore, Eliwood gratefully accepted his high potion.

 

Even if the eerie black tentacles that gushed forth from Kurono’s shadow dexterously opened the bottle of high potion or if they instead smashed it on his head, he wouldn’t complain about it.

 

“Ouch, I poured on too much…”

 

Eliwood might or might have not heard Kurono’s disgusting muttering.

 

“I am truly indebted to you… Now I can fight for a little longer.”

 

The amber-colored High Potion looked a bit like whiskey at first glance was surely on the market as a high-end recovery medicine in Spada. Its effects were so powerful that even a fledgling adventurer could see the difference in both the amount and speed of recovery from the average potion he would normally carry with him. The “High” in its name wasn’t just for show.

 

Eliwood’s dying body was instantly given the strength to get back on his feet and pick up his sword again.

 

“No, there’s no need for that.”

 

Uttering a blunt denial, Kurono was no longer facing Eliwood.

 

His face was facing straight forward, and his black and red gaze was probably piercing the girl that was tens of meters away.

 

His focus was completely directed at the original goal –the one making those barriers– but the weapon in Kurono’s hand was pointing in a different direction.

 

It was a magical weapon made of iron and wood that he held with his left hand. Eliwood knew that there was such a magic wand referred to as a “gun”  because he used to spend his time around the weapons shop as a hobby. This probably was how he shot the red-haired man.

 

And the double horizontal muzzle of the gun, which emitted a dull, cold iron glow, was pointed at that red-haired man again, even though he already had  become a silent body.

 

The buzzing sound of two rounds being fired overlap at the same time. The red-haired man’s corpse bounced lightly due to the impact of its black flash. The bullets seemed to hit the abdomen, but no matter where they hit, nothing changed. The corpse remained a corpse.

 

Kurono knew that, but Eliwood still couldn’t understand why he took the trouble to shoot the corpse again.

 

He wasn’t scared that the corpse would come back to life and attack them. Was there such a hatred of the Crusades in his heart, or was it because he truly was a crazy warrior as his nickname suggested?

 

“Next…”

 

In a flowing motion, Kurono brandished a large sword in his right hand. At first glance, it looked like a cursed weapon, and a ridiculously strong one at that. With such a weapon, Kurono slashed at the corpse.

 

Spewing out a terrifying dark-red aura, the cursed sword swept away at the neck of the red-haired man’s corpse. Had he been alive, even if he had used the best possible guard techniques, his head would have rolled all the same.

 

Of course, cutting through the neck of a corpse was but a simple task for a blade that boasted the signature terrifying sharpness of a cursed weapon.

 

Then, Kurono kicked the severed head at the enemy on the other side. An almost laughably awkward scream echoed from a group of infantrymen who suddenly jumped as the red-haired man’s head fell at their feet.

 

“Please, leave this to me.”

 

Kurono said that with a self-dignified air, almost as if he was unaware of the fact he had just desecrated a corpse like a madman.

 

All Eliwood could do in response was to sigh deeply without saying a word. It was an understandable reaction. Kurono now seemed to have become a berser possessed by some kind of nightmare.

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