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Chapter 2: Pronouncement of Death

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“…Who are you…?”

“Nice to meet you. My name is Cassius.”

Cassius, the young man who introduced himself, bowed his head while staring straight into my eyes.

“I am responsible for executing those who commit taboos. Please forgive me.”

He evidently had no intention of giving any leeway. His unwavering gaze spoke volumes, heralding my undeniable execution.

From the moment I became aware of his presence, I knew he wasn’t human. Therefore, the pronounced “execution” must be a decree of the goddess.

“Shinjin Kamuto…”

I deliberately verbalized what I knew. Cassius seemed surprised for a moment but immediately returned my gaze with a smile in his eyes.

“Yes, precisely. To be more accurate, I am Cassius, the Guardian of Catastrophe.”

I had heard the title of Guardian of Catastrophe for the first time from Cassius, but it sounded familiar. I understood that he was not someone I could defeat in battle, but I couldn’t just let myself be executed without knowing why.

In this helpless body, incapable of fleeing or fighting, all I could do now was to use my head.

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard ‘Guardian of Catastrophe.’ Not since the end of the Human-Demon Great War, perhaps?”

“In the sense of a Shinjin visiting you, yes, that is correct.”

Cassius responded in a measured tone.

The Human-Demon Great War refers to the conflict between humans and demon races that ended about ten years ago. Due to the advance of the legion of demons, loyal to the demon god Deusula, and the army of demon beasts controlled by the god, humanity, who are the protégés of the goddess, faced the brink of extinction.

I was no exception; the academic city of Argon where my atelier was located succumbed to the assault of the demons, sinking into a poisonous swamp.

As many lands and people were being ravaged by the demons, the goddess sent numerous Shinjin Kamuto to the battlefield, staking the survival of humankind.

To overturn the tide of the war, new weapons were developed rapidly. I was commissioned by a Shinjin claiming to be the Guardian of Catastrophe, supplying them with a great number of weapons as a servant of the goddess. Thanks to that, humanity seized victory, leading us to the present day.

“…Do you intend to use that sword for the execution?”

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The sword commissioned at the end of the Human-Demon Great War – the Divine Sword Bronze Serpent Nechushtan was one of them. My greatest masterpiece in alchemy was born exceeding my predictions and control, a convergence of three miracles and a hundred coincidences.

As expected, the Bronze Serpent Nechushtan was being carried by Cassius.

“You are quite calm, despite being sentenced to death.”

Cassius reacted to my question. It seemed like I could buy some time if we continued to converse. I had no other choice but to think in that slight gap. The only way to save myself was to find another method.

“Answer my question. Do you intend to use that sword for the execution?”

“I intend to.”

Cassius smiled gracefully at my second query.

“…It’s ironic, isn’t it? Being killed by the sword you created yourself.”

“Are you referring to this Bronze Serpent Nechushtan?”

As if recalling something, Cassius reached for the hilt.

I could feel cold sweat running down my back. I couldn’t let him draw that sword.

“Ah, I see… So, this was your achievement as well.”

Cassius caressed the hilt with his fingertip and quietly lowered it.

“There is no need to be so tense. I have no intention of executing you immediately.”

Cassius narrowed his eyes as if seeing through my anxiety.

“If you understand, then stop this dangerous charade.”

“My apologies. I lacked consideration. After all, you know better than anyone what will happen once this is drawn.”

With words of apology, Cassius stepped half a step back. He might be trying to show that he didn’t intend to cut me down right away, but I knew well that it had no meaning.

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It was simply a psychological ruse.

Because despite being called a “sword,” the Bronze Serpent Nechushtan had no blade; it was only the guard and hilt embedded in the scabbard.

“The ability of the Bronze Serpent Neushtan to ‘cut through’ undeniably severs space. The moment you draw it, I cannot avoid meeting my end.”

“That is exactly right. However, if you can choose the space to cut through, it should be possible to avoid instant death.”

Cassius says while sweeping his gaze across the room as if examining it.

“It’s a joke that isn’t funny. By the way, where did you get that?”

“I inherited it from the previous generation.”

The smile disappeared from Cassius’ face.

“…I see.”

Whether they lost their life in the midst of the Human-Demon Great War or not, at least I understood that I couldn’t prolong the conversation by mentioning the name of a divine being I knew.

—If it goes on like this, the execution will be carried out when the conversation comes to an end.

“…You mentioned execution, but I want to know the charge. It’s not the way of the divine beings to just hand down punishment without informing of the crime, right? What is the forbidden territory?”

“…What’s the point of knowing? In any case, your death will not change.”

Cassius frowns suspiciously, moving his right-hand fingers, making movements as if holding a non-existent hilt.

“There should be something to gain from repenting the sins. If necessary, I will confess to the god.”

“No. There is no need to repent for sins.”

Cassius coldly refuses. I could see his right fist being clenched tightly.

“Since I have already stepped into the forbidden territory, there will be no forgiveness.”

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I want to buy time. There must be a way to be saved somewhere.

“My mission is to erase you from this world.”

But the conversation ceased, and Cassius touched the hilt again.


I had a sensation as if the sound of my heartbeat was echoing in the room. Constant alarm bells were ringing in my head, urging me to escape from the approaching death.

But, there was no opening in Cassius. My body couldn’t move as I wished due to the Black Stone Disease, but even without it, my instinct understood that escape would be impossible.

“…This is my life and my fate. Besides, if I don’t know about the forbidden territory, I will commit the same sin.”

Is there no way to be saved? Is there no breakthrough?

Something, something…

In my increasingly frustrated ears, the sound of Cassius giving a faint smile echoed.

“We must thoroughly erase memories during reincarnation, shouldn’t we?”

—Reincarnation? Me?

Would it mean being able to be reborn as a new life even if executed?

“…I heard rumors, but it seems I can also reincarnate, huh?”

“The goddess grants equal opportunities to all souls.”

“Is that an atonement for the ‘execution’?”

“No, it is a principle bestowed upon the lives of this world.”

Cassius stated it indifferently as if it was only natural.

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“It’s a compassionate act. Hopefully, I can lead a better life than this one in my next life.”

Although it was sarcasm from the bottom of my heart, Cassius lowered his eyebrows sympathetically.

“Is that your wish?”


At the question, words choked up. I didn’t even know why I couldn’t answer.

“You haven’t lived happily in this world. If you are aware of that, you should be able to let go of any attachments.”

I noticed that Cassius put strength into the hand holding the hilt. It conveyed that there was no more grace period.

“What will happen to the truth I pursued? Wasn’t my achievement in the Human-Demon Great War something even the divine beings acknowledged?”

“We acknowledge your achievements. Let’s highly appreciate them. However, it doesn’t become a reason to overlook your sins.”

“But, I have only alchemy. I haven’t even reached the truth yet! If you’re talking about attachments, this is my attachment. Why won’t you let me pursue it with the life I have left?”

Anxiety brought on irritation, raising my voice. At the same time, a cough surged up, thrusting up my throat, and blood-mixed sputum scattered on the palm that instinctively covered my mouth.

“…Why are you so obsessed with alchemy?”

Cassius’ hand left the hilt.


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