༺ Ciel Midford (6) ༻
The smoke rising from Ciel Midford’s battered body scattered with the night’s breeze.
His body was screaming in agony every time the night breeze brushed against his scarred skin, but never once did Ciel Midford uttered a groan.
Ciel Midford was aware that the duel was over when he heard Prince Inas announcing his defeat……
However, the Knight didn’t let go of his sword.
With Ferzen now exhausted after the long fight, the perfect opportunity to kill him in his most frail state presented itself to him……
When would he ever get a chance like this?
His veins popped as his muscles bulged with renowned vigor.
If he committed the dishonorable act of striking his opponent when the duel had already ended……
His sin would hang over the Roverium Kingdom as much as on himself.
There was no stigma heavier for a Knight than to betray his lord, but if a Warlock examined his corpse he would be able to understand his motives and that his actions were of his own volition.
“You fought well.”
Prince Inas approached Ciel as he uttered those words, praising him for his failure.
Empress Gremory, who was standing next to the Imperial Princess Elizabeth, looked at him and smirked.
The Elmark Empire would no doubt protect him.
“Apologies, My Lord.”
“Hm? There’s nothing you need to apologize for! I felt your devotion to our kingdom, you fought well. So stand proudly like a true knight……”
Before Prince Inas even finished speaking, Ciel charged towards his target with an unyielding spirit.
* * * * *
Inas Del Prussian Roverium.
When he admitted his defeat, announcing the end of the duel, Euphemia was instantly relieved, as her worst fears didn’t come to pass.
And as she gazed towards her husband, she felt……happy.
Kept your promise.
Honestly, Euphemia wondered if Ferzen would kill Ciel regardless of his oath……
However, Ferzen stayed true to his words and didn’t trample on her past.
Turning her head, Euphemia looked at him, who was once her only friend and confidant.
It was heartbreaking for her to see him like this……
But Euphemia believed this was the best outcome possible.
She knew that Ciel would not give up right away, but with time he would come to realize that Ferzen was not someone he could overcome.
The past where they enjoyed each other’s company in Louerg was already beyond them.
For the lost mercenary who became a real knight. But Euphemia took this as the opportunity to free herself of her lingering attachments to her past……
After all, she also wanted to live her own life.
So she turned her gaze away from Ciel.
And looked at her husband once more.
But at that moment Euphemia’s golden eyes shook with barely contained horror.
Because Ciel’s sword pierced Ferzen’s body.
It happened so fast.
So fast in fact that Euphemia thought she was hallucinating, but……
There was no denying that she could smell the stench of her husband’s blood.
At that moment, Euphemia realized this wasn’t a nightmare.
* * * * *
Originally Ciel was aiming to pierce Ferzen’s back —- where his heart was located.
But Ferzen, who still saved a sliver of his mana, made Isabel increase the air resistance and twist the sword’s trajectory……
Ciel’s sword pierced Ferzen’s body.
No matter how much the air resistance was increased, the inertia couldn’t be stopped, so both Ciel and Ferzen were pushed to the floor.
But unlike Ferzen who was a Warlock, Ciel, using his superior reflexes as an Auror Knight, grabbed Ferzen’s neck and forcibly pulled his sword from his back as he regained his foothold.
Now that the sword was pulled from his back, the blood flowed out of the wound like a waterfall creating a puddle of crimson liquid on the floor.
As Ciel raised his sword once again to deliver the final blow……
A large amount of compressed air hit his body, launching him 3 meters away from Ferzen.
“What are the Roverium Kingdom’s intentions with this farce—-!”
The commander of the Imperial Wizard Corps.
Theor Roswell yelled with barely holding back his wrath.
In a blink of an eye, a prison made of crimson molten flames formed around Ciel.
And his lord, Prince Inas was brought to the knee, as several Imperial Knights pressed their swords on his neck.
Here, in this world, there are no such things as ‘plot armor’ to ensure that the ‘Protagonist’ survives any sort of obstacle put in his way.
For this is the cold and cruel reality, not a work of fiction.
And in this situation, where death awaits you in every corner, there is no way out.
“Someone stop his bleeding before taking him to the emergency room! And find the ones with the same blood type as Lord Louerg. Now!”
“Yes your grace……!”
As the medics were giving him first aid, Ferzen turned his head towards his beautiful wife.
As promised, I didn’t make you sad.
But the previous past you wished to protect, will be trampled upon nonetheless.
He, who carved the path for his own demise.
He, who stuck his neck to the guillotine blade.
The protagonist of this world will perish in such a tragic way that not even an epilogue will exist.
And as such, on this long night, in this dreadful stage, it was the time for the curtains to finally fall.
* * * * *
“Brat, you better stay put and don’t touch it. Otherwise, I assure you, not even ashes will remain from your sorry corpse.”
Theor all but snarled at Ciel Midford.
But despite his threats, Ciel Midford reached out his hand and grabbed the bars of his molten flame prison.
In an instant, the skin of his hands melted as the horrible stench of burning flesh invaded the surroundings.
And as the hungry flames increased, they engulfed his whole body with an unnatural voracity.
His armor melted fusing with his skin, creating a nightmarish appearance.
Death by fire is one of the most painful ways of passing.
Because of this, Ciel struggled, his most primitive instincts pushed him to react, as pain and fear engulfed his mind……
‘Just like in the past……’
If the whole body is damaged, wouldn’t that force his mana to circulate and reconstruct his body faster?
With this single-minded determination, Ciel held the bars of his prison even more tightly.
If I lose this chance, I don’t know when I will be able to kill this man again.
I don’t know when I will be able to break her cage.
No……These musings are meaningless.
Because I won’t have another chance.
‘God….If you are hearing this plea……’
Like melting wax, Ciel Midford’s whole body was coming apart.
The flames generated by an Apollyon-class Elemental Wizard are not something one can withstand with their own body.
As such, the damage was so great that not even the mana reconstructing his body could handle it.
‘I’ve been through a lot……’
His father, a fallen aristocrat, married a simple village woman and had two sons.
As they grew, the children were forced to watch as their mother was abused and tortured, but even then, with all of her suffering, she never stopped smiling at them.
And in such a painful life, the siblings discovered the meaning of relief and perhaps even the hope of having a better life when their father passed away.
But when their mother died not long after, they realized that happiness and misfortune are tied together.
Now, orphans, they sought to become mercenaries while toiling away between the line of life and death. However, his younger brother gave up his life protecting him while they were on a quest.
The people he loved, the ones he cherished……
Were all taken away from him.
Thus, the young man hardened his broken heart and began to take dangerous quests trying to reach his end in battle. And in one particularly distasteful one, he reached Louerg.
There, Ciel met Euphemia.
A woman who shouldered a similar pain, but she never gave up and tried to manage her father’s territory the best she could.
At first, Ciel felt a sense of kinship towards that strong woman.
Because of this, after he completed his quest, Ciel Midford remained in Louerg.
In a territory where there were almost no young adults, Euphemia naturally came to rely on him to resolve some of the problems around Louerg.
And with time, Ciel could feel an itch from his broken heart.
But he tried to deny this feeling.
Because when he treasured someone……
The world would take them away from him.
However, human emotions aren’t so easily controllable.
If that were the case, then the act of falling in love with someone wouldn’t be as magical.
Because of this, Ciel Midford developed an array of conflicted feelings.
Where his feelings pushed him to act, but his trauma imprisoned him.
Perhaps that was the problem?
In the end, his worst fears were once again proven, as she was robbed right before his eyes. So, Ciel fled toward the Frozen Wilds of Louerg and as he remained buried in that pure white world he awaited his eventual demise.
But fate was a cruel mistress, for she refused to grant him the gift of death, and cursed him to live regardless of his pain.
So after being cursed with life, Ciel entered the Royal Road.
After reaching the Roverium Kingdom, Ciel Midford became a knight. It was as if he was being rewarded for all of his tribulations……
But Ciel Midford wasn’t happy.
If he looked at his feet, he could still see the misfortunes he endured pile up like a mountain of corpses.
His mother, his younger brother, and Euphemia are all of those who suffered because of him……
He was nothing more than a knight who bloomed from the suffering of others.
‘If I am to be cursed with misfortune and sadness for life, then… So be it……’
Resigned, Ciel raised his sword arm, prepared to make sure that, even if he was cursed with having a painful life, he could at least make sure the woman he loved would have a happy one.
In his arm, stood a plain and worn-out copper bracelet with the name – Ciel Midford – engraved on it.
The very first gift he received, was a reward the woman he so loved shyly gifted to him after he assisted in managing her territory.
Ciel kissed his most prized possession, as he revived their moments together.
But then, the bracelet, her gift, turned to dust as the heat around him increased……
Ciel watched as the dust particles dispersed themselves in the wind, as he clenched the hilt of his sword.
The ravenous flames that engulfed his body burned even more brightly.
Isn’t it said that a flame burns the brightest before it’s extinguished?
The knight prayed that his flame held strong.
That flame of a man who was willing to give up his own life for the woman he loved……
May his fire burn like the brightest sun.
Ciel Midford took a step forward.
The prison was made of pure molten flames, by an Apollyon-Class Elemental Wizard……Shook.
The raging mana emanating from Ciel Midford’s body distorted the magical construct.
Of course, the natural properties of his anti-magic mana were incomplete and untrained.
But even if it was imperfect, his mana broke through the molten flames.
A path was made for him.
Yes, this was the talent given to Ciel Midford.
His resolve carved out that path.
The will to make the very heavens submit and provide him a way when his heart is set on a goal.
Behind him, countless fragments of light converged, forming the shape of a familiar woman with green hair.
And with a loving look, the ethereal woman embraced his broken body.
That was the blessing of one of the Five Gods of Fortune – The Goddess of Protection.
The single most rare blessing in this world amplifies your power beyond all comprehension when one stands to protect someone with their life on the line.
May I be the key to free you from your cage.
May you spread your wings again.
May you be free to live your life as you wish.
The Euphemia, whom Ciel Midford knew was a woman with an iron will.
So even if her wings were broken, she would surely learn how to fly again.
So…… You don’t need to be sad anymore.
Thus, Ciel Midford.
Swung his sword.
TL NOTE: Now lemme go on a 2y hiatus while you guys hold this cliff
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