|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2888 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1422 words|
After we parted ways with Luvias and Lapis, I headed towards our house. I had walked through these streets many times before, but somehow walking through them felt more stressful than usual. There was a change in the city’s aura, and I was worried Stied’s men would find me at any point.
“I hate this so much…I might have trained a lot, but I’m still bad at melee combat.”
On top of that, I no longer had my self-defense dagger either. All our equipment had gotten worn down from the training, and we had to pile it together and hide it. I had to disguise myself as a female merchant to hide my pointy ears too, though there are not that many female merchants, making me afraid I might stand out even more.
I avoided making eye-contact and walked quickly. As I got further along the street, I noticed there were less people around. The number of buildings also became sparse. We lived on the outskirts, so that made sense.
“Spirit of the wind Sylph, go on ahead and see if you feel the breath of men.”
I felt a gentle breeze blowing all around in me in response. Weaker spirits did not have much physical power, but they had the benefit of only being visible to their master. They were perfect for stealth missions like this.
“…Three? What should I do…”
According to Sylph’s murmur, there were three people around the house, and would not move from there. I could not imagine the neighbors or passersby hiding in silence like that, so I had no doubt they were part of the nobles’ men.
(I could probably kick them out, but there might be someone else keeping watch over them from a distance, maybe too far away for Sylph to detect them. If I’m not careful, I might end up on the run like Karin and Ciel.)
I would have liked to get rid of them all at once, but no one was supposed to know that the Hero’s Party was back in the city. Karin and Ciel were still believed to be spies from another country, so I could not go wild either.
(Maybe I can’t check inside the house, but I should be able to pass in front of it, right?)
I could not see the enemy yet. I slowly walk towards our house, and see it getting bigger in my view. I walked along, just glancing to the side to see how the house is doing, and I could not believe what I was seeing.
The main door was broken, and all the windows shattered. The garden we had all tended to was trampled over, and the furniture we crafted to match the house was destroyed beyond recognition. I felt my blood boiling as I watched that. Seeing the house where I spent so many fun times, left in such a state by complete strangers, filled me with rage.
Before I realized, I was already planning on tearing those men limb by limb. I could easily do that with my current strength. But the small portion of my mind that remained calm kept telling me doing that would only make things worse for us. I gritted my teeth and clenched my fists until they hurt. I had to calm down. I could always take out my anger afterwards. I pushed my anger into the back of my mind, and looked away from the house, heading to the training school now.
My breath became ragged. As I get away from the house, I feel the gazes on me becoming less intense. What could I tell the others? If they heard the house was destroyed, they would definitely mourn it. It was depressing just thinking about it.
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As the familiar building came into view, I noticed there was something different about it too, like the house.
“It doesn’t feel alive…I can’t hear anyone.”
Usually the training school was a loud place. There were always the vigorous grunts from students running on the tracks, or the clanging of swords clashing and magic explosions. It was always noisy from early in the morning until late at night. I guess the gatekeeper was right, and people had stopped going there.
I continued approaching the training school, and saw only a handful of adventurers there, scattered about. There were at most ten people there. Their movements were clumsy too, just like those of a beginner. But even they gave me an odd feeling like something was wrong.
“Hey, on your feet! No adventurer is so weak!”
I thought some of them were instructors, but it turns out they were some of the nobles’ men. They were swinging their swords against clearly new and inexperienced adventurers, mocking them and laughing at them. There were three of them in total. Two of them wore regular knight armor, but one of them was covered in pitch black armor. It was black from head to toe, and just one look at him gave me a hunch. That had to be one of those men in black armor I was told about.
“I was told the students in this training school were incredibly strong, but they’re just a bunch of weaklings!”
“I know, right? I even had my hopes up!”
One of the men cackled before swinging his sword, hitting one of the adventurers in the shoulder and making him collapse on the ground. The adventurer held his shoulder while groaning. They were using the flat side of their swords, so it was more like a blunt hit. Maybe even they know that killing an innocent person could be troublesome? Though it still drives me mad.
“If the students are like this, then that girl they say is so strong…Lapis or whatever, is probably no one special either.”
“The rumors of her killing a lich are all stories anyway. They probably just saw a skeleton and thought it was something more.”
A muscle in my face seemed to twitch. Were they really talking smack of Lapis just for fun? If she got serious, she could turn all of them into ashes instantly! I was already annoyed after seeing what they did to the house, and now I was being pushed to my limits. I felt like I was about to shout at them out of rage, but one of the adventurers stood up and replied to them in my stead.
“You’re wrong! Our teacher is actually strong! She’s the hero that saved this city! I’ll never forgive you for insulting her like that!”
I only watched them fight for a short while, but I could roughly estimate their skill and strength from their muscles. It was like there was a deep abyss separating their skills. But I knew it took a lot of courage to speak up like that, choosing to defend their teacher, Lapis, even though they were in such a deplorable state. It warmed my heart to see that, though the nobles’ knights just snorted and laughed at him. They really thought of him as nothing but a barking pup.
“So what? Are you going to change our mind by force? Or are you too weak? You barely have any skill! Come already if you aren’t too scared!”
Unable to bear the shame any longer, the offended adventurer held his sword and attempted to charge at them. But the result was the same as before. His sword was flicked away instantly, before being hit in the stomach and thrown on the ground.
“Learn your place already, peasant. You can try all you want, but you can never change where you were born into!”
The adventurer writhed in pain, tears in his eyes, but still tried to grasp his sword, before being kicked again. That was too much for me to handle, and I felt like a switch was just turned in my brain. I had been overtaken by rage earlier, but now my mind felt clear. It was like another personality had taken over me, one far calmer, but more cruel. I glared at the men with cold eyes.
“…I’m sorry everyone. It seems I can’t hold back anymore. I know causing a mess will only make things worse, but I can’t call myself a hero if I turn a blind eye to this.”
I pull back the hood covering my head, and walk towards the men.
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