|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Yuki||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1376 words|
The boy timidly took a sip from the bottle that I gave him. Rather than actual thirst, it felt like he did that out of fear of what would’ve happened if he didn’t heed my words. His behaviour showed just how badly he had been treated.
“Have you calmed down now?”
The bottle was mostly empty already, so it didn’t take him long to empty it. I waited for a moment until he stopped drinking before speaking to him again. It was then that he responded to me.
“So, can you tell me what happened to you? I don’t think that this would be a good time for a kid to be loitering around.”
“But, you too――Ah, sorry.”
“You don’t have to mind me. I don’t really care about how you address me.”
I answered, guessing that he was apologizing for his argument towards me, and just as I had expected, his response to my answer was a surprised look.
“I don’t have any prejudice against half-demons. That’s why you don’t have to worry about it.”
“Is that so…… You are a rare――Ah!”
“Okay, yeah, if you treat me as a weirdo, even I’ll get angry, got it?”
I jumped down from the timber and quickly moved behind the boy, then pulled his cheeks as punishment.
My strength was enhanced by the threads covering my entire body, allowing me to move at a speed that would have been impossible for the boy to perceive. The young boy was shocked from the sudden pinch that attacked him from behind. After having my fill with the punishment, I moved back once again.
“I was really surprised because it was really fast.”
“Oh, you mean my movements? Well, it’s just something I devised.”
I jumped over the boy’s head once more.
Despite having low muscular strength, my body itself belonged to a young girl. Because of how light it was, the boost in my speed and jumping power was noticeably huge. Though, it still left much to be desired if compared to the strength of an adult…
“That, how are you doing it?”
“So you are going to ask that before introductions?”
“Ah, sorry……I, I am Cloud.”
“Is that so, I am――”
After saying that much, I finally realized something. That is, I had already gained quite some fame in this town.
If I gave my name right now, there was a possibility that they would find out about my special training. Rather, that possibility was extremely high.
“Let’s see, ah right, my name is Reid.”
“Reid? One of the Six Heroes?”
“That’s right. The coolest among them!”
There would only be few places where I could boast like this……besides, there’s nothing wrong boasting about it in front of a child, right?
“You mean the first one to die?”
“Imma flatten you.”
And so, Cloud’s cheeks were stretched once again. This brat sure doesn’t know how to hold back, eh? Not giving my actual name turned out to be a wise move, huh?
“If you’re a half demon, show some respect, you little…!”
“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
I noticed it after pulling on them, but his cheeks could stretch quite a bit. It was quite fun. Setting that aside, it pissed me off a bit that even my fellow half-demon was treating me like that. I suppose the fact that everyone had been holding a high opinion of me as of late made me a bit conceited.
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“B-but that person is an exception. The Six Heroes can’t be judged by the concept of races like half-demons.”
No one would criticize any of the Six Heroes in this world. That was just how big of an achievement it was to subjugate the Evil Dragon that had destroyed three northern kingdoms and claimed tens of…nay, almost a million lives.
Even if I was a half-demon, there was no one to voice their criticisms. If there appeared one that did, however, perhaps they’d have been thrown before a dragon and told, “go ahead, repeat his deed then.” But even if I had left such an achievement behind, that didn’t improve the half-demons’ standing at all. I was simply deemed to be one ‘exception.’
“You… I mean, Cloud, are you being persecuted too?”
“Eh, yes…… well……”
Cloud answered hesitantly. Though his behavior was already good enough as an answer.
“What happened to your parents?”
“I, I live in an orphanage”
“Are you being bullied by other children then. I believe the monitoring should have gotten stricter in that regard…”
There were a lot of cases where Half Demon Children were thrown out because of disgust by their parents. Since the start, the probability was very low, only one in several hundred, which prevented it from becoming a problem.
However, they differed a lot from normal people and their numbers were very few. That made them perfect targets for persecution. Such were the fate of half-demons.
For that reason, it wasn’t that strange to find a half-demon child in an orphanage. However, ever since my incident, the orphanages of Raum had been strictly monitored, so such acts of persecution shouldn’t have happened, but…
“Well, the teacher told us to get along, but……”
“Oh, I see. Children may be innocent――but they surely don’t hold back when it comes to things like this.”
In a way, the bullying among children could sometimes be so cruel it could even give the adults cold feet. His case was probably something like that too.
“So, you wanted to know how I did that earlier?”
“Is it to get revenge?”
Children’s hierarchy was built around things such as how nimble or how smart one was. If he could imitate what I did, he would be able to pull himself out of the bullying swamp. It was natural for him to think that.
Even I could understand his feelings. I had also been the target of persecution when I was young, thus I turned my rebellious spirit into my sense of justice and sought power.
My feelings ran wild and I indiscriminately judged what I thought was evil, and eventually became feared as an assassin. You could say the boy before me was the spitting image of my younger self. At this rate, he would probably recklessly chase after power just like I did.
“Well, this technique requires some special skill, so it would be impossible for you to learn it…”
“I see… It’s impossible after all…”
That’s just how overwhelmingly unreasonable Gifts were. An ability derived from one such Gift could be declared as power unattainable for an ordinary person. Instead of letting him cling to false hopes, it was better to declare it as impossible, for his own good.
In the first place, I developed and mastered all my techniques myself, and even Lyell couldn’t reach the amount of mobility that I could reach. But well, leaving Cloud down in the dumps would end up having a bad aftertaste for me.
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“Still, if it’s general fighting, I can teach you that much.”
Hearing that, Cloud responded with a bright smile. I wonder if this intense shift in emotions was peculiar to all children, or maybe just to this one alone. After that, I explained to him the basics of using a sword, and then proceeded to lecture about the actual use.
Naturally, I didn’t believe that he could master my thread techniques, so I just went the orthodox, highly-versatile way and made do with a sword and shield. You could easily find swords in this town, while a shield was a good way to protect yourself. Different from armor, it even allowed children to acquire sufficient defense. Besides, after the bitter disbanding of our party, I failed to gather my comrades back again. I couldn’t deny that my unique battle style became a bottleneck for that.
I didn’t want him to repeat the mistakes I made. For that reason, I wanted to put emphasis on versatility as much as I could. After that, I promised that I would teach him again if we ever meet again at night. It was in this way that I acquired my first disciple.