Chapter 149 – The Survivors
The sun had already disappeared along the ridgelines of Galahad Mountain Range, and night had come upon.
Normally there wouldn’t be anyone who would walk in the dark roads here, but right now there were 3 shadows walking silently while a faint light was shining around them.
Kurono had been walking with his eyes cast down, Lily and Fiona walking behind couldn’t find words to say to him.
The three consumed the last potion to replenish their stamina for walking, soon after replenishing, they had started walking.
Their destination was, the place where adventurers were attacked by 11th Apostle.
If Misa’s words were truth, there should be traces of fight remaining on the road.
It hadn’t been more than half day since the queue of carriages carrying adventurers ran away, leaving Kurono and others, it could be predicted, the place of attack was not too far.
And, Kurono couldn’t help but confirm it.
(My feet, are getting heavy……)
The Kurono right now had stopped thinking anything.
What happened to the adventurers, what happened to the refugees, what to do from now on, what will it become from now on—–He had stopped thinking all this, just earnestly concentrated and moved forward.
Even so in the depths of his heart, faintly but surely the worst premonition・prediction, tried to torment his heart.
Hence Kurono walked, unless he confirmed the truth with his own eyes he couldn’t do anything else.
How much time would have passed since walking, it probably hadn’t been that long, finally on the road which felt like an eternity long to Kurono, he saw the end of it, the answer.
Upon being shined by Lily’s light ball instead of flame, a quadrilateral in far distance reflected in Kurono’s eyes.
To Kurono with eyes enhanced like that of an nocturnal animal, he could not make any mistake when seeing in the dark.
The moment he recognised the square/rectangular something, Kurono ran up to it.
He couldn’t listen their voices, he couldn’t remain still without confirming, even if, the worst conclusion was waiting for him.
That was without a doubt the wreckages of the carriages.
Without a mistake, it was the carriage they had created in a hurry for escaping, not even painted a carriage made of rough wood was broken in many parts.
The rear part was reflecting in Kurono’s eyes, the front part was in wrecks, as though an iron ball had hit it.
In front of it, toppled in the same way, broken in several places, many wreckages of carriage were spread out.
And, from the other side of still dark road, came the smell of blood which he had gotten accustomed to in past few days.
The thing that came in Kurono’s mind, was neither the faces of reliable adventurers, neither the faces of hateful Crusaders, nor the faces of absurd apostles.
It was the scene of Village of Irz burning, just that came up in his mind.
That hell, where everything was too late, he couldn’t save anyone.
Right now, there were neither burned houses or families, neither the friends who were crucified.
But here was, the scenery of despair, just like of the now destroyed Village of Irz.
“This is……too much……”
Kurono walked with unsteady feet, but finally his will power exhausted and his knees gave up on that spot.
In front of his eyes, inside the craters of various sizes, the mowed down trees, the traces of the violent fight were spread out.
Which sort of heroic battle started here, there was no way of understanding it now, but the thing he knew was,
the fact, adventurers were annihilated cruelly.
He saw corpses of people he knew, scattered here and there.
In one conspicuously big crater, one had been sewn inside the ground by the large fang sword struck in his chest, the person with big frame was Vulcan.
『Fang Blade・Evil Eater』which had pierced through the heart directly, was still being held on the hilt tightly by the right hand which had been cut off from elbow.
On the roadside was a black worn-out cloth lying down, if the wand modeled with skull was not lying besides it one couldn’t make out it was Morzun.
Whether he had taken a lot damage, or whether crushed by something big, from tip of toe to the top of head every bone was pulverised in very small pieces, there was no more the face of skull, it was absolutely impossible to identify him.
The 3 corpses lying on the toppled down trees as though they were leaning, were without a doubt of the 3 sisters from『3 Hunting Princesses』.
To a distant person it would look like three people were joining hands in an horizontal line, in truth their palms were pierced through by arrows, so their hands were forcibly joined together.
The three had their heads cut off cleanly, because the three had the same equipments and physique, He couldn’t understand who was whom.
He didn’t had any willpower to find the freshly severed head which could have been lying somewhere.
“What the heck……don’t f*ck with me, just what is this……why did this thing—–”
The more he looked the more bodies, corpses, remains he saw, all blood-drenched, there was not even one with complete body, he could easily feel the evilness of killer, it was an Over-Kill.
But, even in those scattered and gory corpses, from the body features, clothes, equipments, he could make out who is whom, he was made to know it.
Though it hadn’t been more than a month, but there was no way he would forget the people who ate and slept with him, fought with him on the battlefield.
That’s why, he accepted their deaths without having any doubts.
It’s a lie, It can’t happen, It can’t be true, any objection was meaningless.
Now only did Kurono knew the truth, that the 11th Apostle Misa, really ‘annihilated all the demons passing this road’.
“We didn’t fight for something like this!!”
Along with screams the flowing tears, run along the cheeks and fall on the ground like a rain.
“Damn it! F*ck off! Once again I—–”
Kurono crouched as though he were rejecting the reality spread around the place,
“—–Once again I couldn’t protect anyone……”
He couldn’t help but cry the tears of regret.
But even if he regretted, he couldn’t get the answer to what he should have done.
Let it be invasion of Crusaders, defensive battle of Alsace, surprise attack of experiments, attack of apostles, he and his friends all face against all them things with full devotion.
However, it all ended up as nothing, wasted effort, wasted fight, and, wasted death.
What had gone wrong, what shouldn’t they have done, what should had been done, can the end be reached without this disaster waiting for them?
The answer couldn’t come out, it never will.
Even if got hold of the answer, it would simply added to his regret list, it couldn’t help to change the reality in front of him.
Inside the mind of Kurono who had fallen in the circle of those thoughts, a flash ran through it.
That gave him the absolute simple and clear solution, to the answer which shouldn’t had gotten an answer.
“……I was weak, huh”
That answer was,『Power』.
What if, he had the power to kill many thousands many millions of Crusaders?
What if, he had power to kill apostles?
“If I was more strong, had more power, nobody needed to die”
The moment he arrived at that answer, Kurono was tormented by the true regret.
He couldn’t forgive himself for bringing a situation which couldn’t be reversed, he recognised it as a sin which couldn’t be repented for in his life.
No matter what sort of radical reason it was, to Kurono it was the only truth.
“I see, everyone died because of me”
The thing, occupying Kurono’s heart was,
“Ha, Hahaha……I see, I now understand, all of it, was my fault, I was wrong—–”
Without a doubt『Despair』
At that moment, a light came near Kurono.
The moment a rainbow-colored phosphorescence reflected in his right eye, a warm, soft, small thing jumped on Kurono’s body.
“Kurono is not wrong! You tried hard! Really hard! Harder than anyone else!”
Clinging to Kurono’s chest, having tears swelling up in the corner of her eyes, shouting positive words, was the small Lily.
“Kurono, you have protected me!
I am alive, you have protected me, I am alive!
That’s why, you’re not wrong!”
Though they were clumsy words, but, those words certainly insert a line of hope inside Kurono’s heart filled with despair.
That light, was not the miracle to change the reality in front of him.
Kurono was very near to the kill himself by swinging the last weapon he had left,『Cursed Grudge hatchet「HaraRetsu」』
However, within Lily’s words was the power to stop the foot of Kurono who was about to be engulfed in despair.
A little bit, calmness returned to him.
“I’m fine, that’s why……don’t cry”
“Yea, Yeah! Lily, won’t cry!”
Kurono hugged Lily tightly, who had sank her head on Kurono’s chest, which only had a thin shirt now.
The small warmth he felt near his chest, gave Kurono back his calmness, and willpower to once again stand back up.
“……Let’s search for survivors”
While holding Lily near his chest, Kurono stood back up.
Leaving all the sorrow, grief, regret, repentance for a later date, he started to move for completing what he had to do.
“Oi! Is there anyone alive!”
Facing the darkness spread out in the surrounding, he yelled out loud.
Anyone, even if 1 person, if there was any person alive, they have to save them.
It didn’t even need thinking, the thing they had to do right now, was to search for survivors and rescue them.
“Oii! Oii! Anyone! Reply!!”
It’s useless, no one can be alive after fighting an apostle—–That thought, forcibly swelled up inside the corner of his mind.
If he just stood there the negative feelings will only return back, but, there was no time to stop, to be in despair, to be discouraged, saying that Kurono desperately tried to cheer himself up.
Kurono started walking to search for survivors, while holding Lily who was still grumbling ’I’m not crying’.
“ضوء شمعة تضيء ثلاثاء――『Torch』”
At that moment, the surroundings near Kurono suddenly lit up.
Upon looking, he saw many fireballs falling down while burning brightly from dozens of metres above in sky.
Like a flare, the space around the fireballs was illuminated.
“I thought it would be easy to search when bright.”
Fiona who appeared from behind like a shadow had, her favorite staff『Ainz Broom』held in her hands.
“It helps, Thank you”
Seeing Kurono smile, Fiona felt relieved without changing her expression.
Fiona with zero friends, didn’t knew the correct words to say at that time.
She left the decisions to Lily, thanks to that Kurono got back the willpower, finally she felt relieved because she could talk to him again.
“By the way, is there any magic for searching a person?”
Fiona was about to smile, but hearing Kurono’s words she returned her poker face, and replied to the question
“The bloodlust or magical power can be searched within a certain range”
“No, even I can do that, or perhaps I should say, a person with serious wounds or is on the verge of dying can’t emit a presence like that”
Even the amazed gaze of Kurono, was somewhat comfortable for Fiona.
She once again realizes that she was quite unstable upon seeing the Kurono’s previous state.
“I’m sorry, but I haven’t learnt any magic for searching feeble presences of magical power”
“I see, then what about a magic to increase the loudness of voice?”
“I haven’t learnt that too”
“Can’t be helped then, I can only search steadily now. Thank you for lighting the area.”
Thanks to that, a larger area of disaster could be seen, but Kurono was trying hard to not realize much.
“Ooi! If anyone is alive, reply please!”
And, the moment he yelled out,
Certainly, a sound resounded
“Is anyone over there!?”
As though it were replying Kurono’s voice, this time even more clearer sound resounded.
That came from the wreckage of carriage, turned upside down.
The canopy had been completely destroyed by the weight of the carriage, but someone was within the small gap between the frame of carriage and ground, trying to come out from there.
After finding out the source of voice, Kurono dropped Lily as though he were throwing her and ran up to the broken carriage.
“Oi! Are you there!?”
While shouting, he lifted up the broken carriage by putting his hands in the gap between it and ground.
Kurono had superhuman strength due to remodelling enhancement, without even using support magic or enhancement martial skills, though he couldn’t easily pick the whole wooden carriage, but he could incline it easily.
“Are you alright!?”
He thought to call out to Fiona for taking out the person, but before he had a chance to do that, the person pinned under the carriage crawled out on its own strength.
“……Is it you, Onii-san?”
The person who came out was, The Sniping Alchemist, Simon.
Instead of his favorite sniper rifle『Yatagarasu』, he held a dark red colored gem in his hands.
“Simon!? It’s good, you are fine—–”
From the shape of Simon, though his clothes were very dirty, but his hands and legs only had some traces of bruises or scars, there was no fatal injury on him.
Seeing there was no danger to life, Kurono felt relieved.
“……It is not good”
He sat down on the ground, with face cast downwards. Kurono wasn’t able to see clearly the expression of Simon thanks to his ashen colored hair.
But, that voice was certainly trembling.
“It is not at all good……everyone is, everyone is dead, they were all killed by that person.”
“Simon……it will be good if you don’t think that right now”
The moment he said such words while crouching, Simon raised his head up.
In the same Emerald eyes like Lily, large drops of tears were swelling up.
“Susu died while protecting me! I can’t do that! I can’t help but think, that person, always, to me—–”
As though it were a ruby, Simon hugged the red stone tightly. Kurono immediately understood the identity of the stone.
That was, the core of a slime.
It was the source of life of Susu, who was a rank 4 thief, and was the spotter of Simon.
“I-I couldn’t do anything……I was so afraid, of that person……I only got protected till the end……Uuuuuuuuuu!”
As if the barrier was broken, Simon starting crying heavily.
“I’m sorry……I’m sorry, I couldn’t protect anyone”
Kurono, tightly held the slender body of Simon.
Just like how Lily did it for him, some moments before.
“Kuuuu……Why, Why must someone like me……be alive……”
“Dont say anymore! I’m really grateful that you are alive, really!”
“It’s okay, right now be happy that you survived, I’m really happy that you are fine, Simon.”
From then, Simon kept on crying silently while being hugged by Kurono.
Even Kurono who was cheering up Simon, didn’t had his heart completely healed, even while holding the small body, the negative feeling were spreading inside his heart.
At that moment, the sharp voice of Lily stopped the jumbled thought process, and returned him back to reality.
“What happened Lily?”
Lily’s appearance was still of a small child, but just from having his name called, Kurono understood her consciousness had changed to that of adult.
He won’t ask for what reason did she changed her consciousness.
He didn’t even need to think, because if she used『Queen Beryl』’s power more than the time limit, then it meant the situation was bad that she couldn’t help but regain her consciousness.
“Look at that”
She was looking towards the Galahad Mountain Range in far distance, with grave eyes which couldn’t be seen in her child form.
Kurono released the body of Simon, stood besides Lily, and looked towards the same direction.
There was, queues of light torches spread here and there.
There wasn’t any other explanation other than. ‘someone’ lit the torches and was walking the road in night in a queue.
“—–Is it the, pursuit squad of Crusaders!?”
“But, if they came, then it will be from behind, right?”
Lily’s point was right.
Kurono immediately understood, that the Crusaders can never come from the direction of Galahad Mountain Range.
“So is it the queue of refugees? No, that is going the other way—–”
Before he knew it, Simon stood besides him after crying out to his heart’s extent.
Seeing Lily’s sharp gaze, he was faltered a bit, but suddenly replied.
“Can you try using your light magic for seeing in far distance”
“That’s right, we have confirm what it is, by our own eyes.”
After completing the chant, a transparent lens formed in her hands, just like the one she had used when scout party was intercepted in Village of Irz.
Simon and Kurono look through the lens simultaneously, and start observing the group approaching from the other side of dark road.
“I can’t see it clearly……”
Even through lens, maybe because of darkness, Simon couldn’t see anything other than darkness and the light of torches carried by group.
But, in the right eye os Kurono which worked in the dark, it was clearly reflected.
“—–They don’t seem like either Crusaders or Villagers too”
Throught the lens, Kurono saw a armored-figure of a knight straddling on a horse.
It was completely different from the attire of Crusaders, it was a different army.
However, because there was no person with large build like that of beast person or golem, so everyone was of the size of human, but because it was made up of all humans the possibility of the army being of Crusaders cannot be rejected.
“Onii-san, can you see the crest on the flag?”
“crest? Hm……Yeah, it is, I can see it”
“Tell me what design does it has!”
Squinting his eyes, Kurono observed the two flags held up by the knights.
He felt relieved seeing on both of them, Cross was not drawn.
And he realized that both flags had different crests drawn on them.
“On one flag, crown and sword are intersecting each other, on the other, a helmet, shield, and spear are drawn. Do you know it, Simon?”
“Yeah, without a doubt, it is the army of Spada.“
Just for a moment, a sigh of admiration leaked out, he recalled the fact he sent a messenger to Spada for reinforcements.
If they were coming in this situation, did it mean they were really reinforcements?
“No, wait, will Spada really try to save us?”
That line didn’t seem like, it came from the guy who said to run to Spada, but in front of a completely armed army, that worry is only normal.
More than anything Spada was an enemy nation for Pandora, in the first place even if they accepted the refugees but for what reason, with an army in front he couldn’t help but worry.
“It’s alright, we can talk our way through that squad, ah, Onii-san, just to be sure, is the person walking in lead of that squad in more heavy equipments than others?”
“Nh……Yeah, certainly, only one person is equipped with heavy equipments.”
Even after using Lily’s lens, he could only see the silhouette, not the details, but he could still make out the appearance of knight was different from others.
The knight walking in lead, was without a doubt the leader.
He was equipped with the trademark of a heavy knight, the halberd and tower shield.
Naturally, the heavy knight himself too was suitably tall, compared from the knights following him on both sides, his head was more taller.
Other knights were, equipped with a charge lance with short hilt and long bade, though their shields were large but compared to the toughness of Tower Shield, they were no where to be counted, their armor too seemed thin compared to the one of leader.
Kurono told everything he saw to Simon.
“Yeah, those guys are certainly, Spada’s Army’s Second Squad『Tempest』, don’t worry, they will rescue us.”
To Simon making a relieved face, naturally he asked question.
“Do you know about armies of Spada?”
Upon saying that, Simon hesitated a little, but then talked honestly.
“Yeah, the heavy knight leading『Tempest』is my elder sister” [ET: One note for readers, pls don’t get too elated that she would be in his harem or not, because as you know this KnM is like Game of Thrones, if you get what I mean.]
He did say, because of obligation, but hearing all this Kurono couldn’t help but keep his mouth hanging open with amazement.
“Ah err, it isn’t like I was hiding, but there were some circumstances, I myself am not a soldier of Spada—–A,Anyhow, It will be fine”
There were a lot of things to ask, but for the time being the ‘help’ from Spada came,
“I see, we will be saved……”
Kurono finally realized that long fight had reached it’s end.
The long fight of Alsace came to an end, with only 4 survivors and utter defeat.