༺ Dovan (2) ༻
Renee quickly dismissed Vera.
It was a command based on the judgment that she might be provoked by Aisha’s emotional outburst. She didn’t want to have another seizure and show her bad side to Vera again.
Renee didn’t want to look like an ugly mess in front of Vera anymore.
“…If anything happens, please call me.”
Those were Vera’s last words before he left.
After Renee roughly responded to Vera and sent him off, she firmly grabbed Aisha’s shoulders and said.
“Are we going to stop talking about that now?”
A pitiful and impatient expression clung to her crimson red face.
Behind those words was the meaning, ‘please don’t reveal any more of my dark history.’
Aisha was unable to suppress her crying until now, and replied in a choked voice.
“I ap- apologize…”
Renee, with the most stern and serious expression she made recently, shoved her face in the direction of Aisha’s head and said.
“Did we have something between us to be sorry about…?”
Aisha’s head began to gradually shake less. Her tail was stiff and upright.
Renee could feel Aisha’s unvoiced answer through the movement of her shoulders, and nodded in satisfaction, then said.
Renee’s hand stroked Aisha’s head.
With this, it was resolved for now.
As Renee showed a hint of relief while stroking her head, Aisha who had been frightened the entire time looked up silently.
‘…She isn’t angry?’
Aisha thought that Renee would certainly become angry, but she passed by without a word and gently stroked her head. A doubt came to her mind.
‘If it were me, I would have punished myself…’
How compassionate does one need to be to act in such a way towards an insignificant matter?
When Aisha looked at Renee, she couldn’t help but think that not just anyone could be given the title ‘Saint.’
…That’s right. Renee’s actions which were meant to cover up everything related to her dark history touched the young girl’s heart.
Aisha wasn’t even aware of Renee’s true intentions. However, as her head was being gently caressed, Aisha felt her mind gradually begin to stabilize and let out a purring sound without realizing.
It wasn’t an action she did consciously, but rather out of instinct as a cat beastkin. As a result of the purring, Renee stopped trembling and laughed after erasing her previous feelings of embarrassment and panic.
And thought to herself, ‘As expected, a child is still a child.’
‘It seems all I have to do now is sweet talk her a bit more.’
Renee hugged Aisha tightly and patted her back as a result of those thoughts, then said.
“Have you stopped crying?”
Aisha’s face flushed red because she was ashamed for having pressed her head against the floor and crying.
“I’m not Saint, I’m Renee. We’re friends, right? Friends should call each other by name.”
Aisha blinked at Renee’s words and looked at her, then nodded.
She said those words with her head down. Aisha’s cheeks were extremely red.
Aisha felt embarrassed in this situation with her head buried in Renee’s arms, and needlessly wiggled her body, soon facing Renee.
Renee’s laughter entered her ears.
As Aisha’s head was laying in Renee’s arms, she suddenly had a thought.
Renee seemed to be a person with a big heart in many ways.
A week had passed.
Vera sent away the military forces of opposing camps on two separate occasions.
He used the platinum rosary in his possession rather than force. For Renee’s sake and Dovan’s work, he decided it would be better to deal with the situation quietly.
Vera gazed at Dovan’s back as he was working inside the forge, and continued to think.
‘So far, there are no issues.’
He kept an eye on Aisha because he thought that the army would be impatient and take her hostage, but the army showed no interest in Aisha at all.
It seemed as though the army disregarded Aisha’s existence, and treated her with complete indifference.
‘Certainly there has to be a disastrous event…’
Vera was well aware of the form that the ‘resentment’ held in the Demon Sword.
The moment he faced the sword, his heart was stirred by an emotion that flowed in. It was an emotion that could only be given rise to by an all-consuming hatred.
Where and how is the Demon Sword completed?
Vera observed Dovan’s work with those doubts in mind. Once Dovan finished working, he turned to Vera and asked.
“How is it?”
Vera’s gaze fell upon the object Dovan picked up with his tongs.
The object hanging from the end of the tongs was a long ingot that still seemed blunt. It was Froden which Vera commissioned.
Vera looked at Froden, which was still red from the heat, and replied with a tone filled with admiration.
“You’re quite fast.”
“Since you are helping me, I must finish your commission quickly. Oh, of course, I am not saying I will work carelessly.”
A playful remark was added.
Vera was smiling like a young boy as he looked at Dovan displaying Froden, and unknowingly uttered.
“…You seem to really enjoy this work.”
“Hm? Of course. You can’t reach this level without liking it.”
After placing Froden on the workbench, Dovan looked at the Demon Sword tucked away in the corner and said.
“Furthermore, a masterpiece isn’t created simply because one desires. A masterpiece is completed only when one falls into a trance and imbues ‘intent’ within.”
It was a tone riddled with longing and passion.
“I’m roughly feeling that limit. That sword cannot be fixed with technique alone. It just lacks the ‘intent’, but I have yet to find it, so I am unable to complete it.”
A word Vargo used habitually, and yet, it was a distant concept for Vera.
Vera followed Dovan and gazed at the Demon Sword while muttering.
“…You can do it.”
“Are you saying that to console me?”
Dovan’s eyes turned towards Vera, and laughter came from his mouth.
“If you become an Apostle, can you even know that?”
“Let’s say that it’s a swordsman’s intuition.”
Vera was certain that Dovan could do it because he had already seen the outcome in his previous life, but there was no way for him to explain that. In the end, what came out were vague words.
The completion of the sword that fed on hatred and radiated resentment.
Suddenly, a doubt began to form in Vera’s mind as he thought of that.
If the ‘intent’ imbued in that Demon Sword is ‘resentment,’ and if Dovan has to release such hatred to complete it, then is it really for himself?
Is watching from the sidelines truly the right thing to do?
Is the completion of that Demon Sword worth it? Is the birth of Aisha Dragnov, the Master of the Demon Sword, absolutely necessary in the battle against the Demon King?
A scale formed in his mind.
The future Dovan who harbored enough hatred to engrave resentment, and the future Aisha who would eventually reach the Demon King. The two were put on a scale as he compared their weight.
Which one is more valuable?
As Vera contemplated that, he came up with the answer rather easily.
It was because Renee already taught him.
‘…There is no great cause that is achieved through a sacrifice against one’s will.’
Vera’s eyes sank.
If that sword was completed with such hatred, then at least based on Vera’s knowledge, it would be right to prevent it.
The great cause that he desired wasn’t something like that. The duty he wanted to protect was in a different direction, so ultimately he would stand in its way.
Nevertheless, even with that, he wasn’t sure if it was truly the right thing to do. So he hesitated.
The questions that followed one after the other were being presented in a different form to Vera this time.
‘If at that moment, Dovan desires the completion of the Demon Sword.’
The moment when the accident occurs, when Dovan’s life hangs in balance.
If Dovan’s passion ultimately desires to fill the sword with his hatred, then is it truly for Dovan’s sake if I prevent it?
He continued ruminating.
Vera pressed his lips together, and delved deeper into his rising doubts.
Underground the Third Kingdom’s Imperial Capital in the Federation of Kingdoms.
The Bear Tribe General, Baretta, headed towards the deep underground of the Imperial Palace, following the minister’s summon.
“Where are we going?”
Baretta asked anxiously to the minister leading him.
The minister continued walking while looking forwards, and replied in the same manner.
“His Majesty is looking for you.”
“…In the underground like this?”
No answer came back.
Baretta walked after the minister and clicked his tongue.
A spiral staircase that led underground. At the end of the long walk down the staircase was a very thick steel door.
“Where His Majesty is.”
The minister knocked on the steel door.
As soon as the door unlocked, Baretta frowned at the loud noise of the steel door’s opening.
The minister stepped aside.
Baretta glanced at the minister for a moment, unsure of what he was thinking, and soon walked through the door.
The inside was entirely pitch-black. The only thing that could be heard was the sound of his own footsteps in the completely silent space.
As Baretta was walking through.
“You’ve arrived, General.”
A sudden voice startled him, causing him to tremble.
Immediately after, Baretta kneeled on the floor with a loud thud.
Baretta was uncertain of where the voice came from and repeatedly bowed his head while saying.
“I am honored to meet you, Your Majesty.”
“What of the Imperial Descendant?”
Baretta felt his expression contort upon hearing the question about Dovan.
A week had already passed, yet he had been unable to accomplish anything due to the Apostle unexpectedly staying there and returned frustrated.
The King’s voice resounded again.
“Indeed, I see. The Apostle.”
A faint smile was added to those words.
Baretta felt something uneasy about his Lord’s manner of speaking, and subtly raised his head.
A hint of intimidation dwelled in the voice he heard.
The succession to the throne was still covered in darkness.
It was still pitch-black and silent.
Baretta focussed his gaze and searched for his Lord in that space. It was after a long time that he finally found his lord.
Even that was just chasing after a silhouette.
“No matter how you think of it, is it not funny?”
“…What are you talking about?”
Baretta continued to chase the silhouette while answering.
His vision was becoming accustomed to the darkness.
The silhouette was gradually becoming clearer.
“This fixed state. What are they all so afraid of? Are they not crying out ‘great cause’ or ‘just cause’ all the time?”
“Please take back your words.”
“I will take them back.”
Baretta narrowed his eyes.
His Lord’s silhouette was almost visible.
“I mean, I think they’re all just excuses for cowards.”
A dragon robe was revealed in the descending darkness.
“The easiest answer is there, but they’re afraid to approach that answer, so they just raise their voices.”
Long flowing hair could be seen.
“So, shouldn’t only this brave and lowly king lead those cowards?”
A smile appeared.
Baretta finally saw the appearance of his Lord and gulped.
“You mean this? It’s a symbol of bravery. The symbol of a ruler.”
Baretta’s body began to shiver all of a sudden.
The Lord, His Majesty, that gigantic figure, turned around with a smile growing around his lips.
A sound echoed.
“Well, I called my general here because I thought I had to make a little example. This ‘symbol’ has yet to be completed.”
The sound gradually got closer.
Baretta stared at the giant that was now close enough for him to clearly identify, trembling all over.
The giant raised his hand.
“I will not forget you.”
A low cry echoed.
The giant’s hand then swung at a speed so fast that his eyes couldn’t keep up with it.
As Baretta was being beheaded, one word came to mind.
It was the name of a tyrant who died in the distant past.
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