Arifureta - Chapter 154
Is it Lie, or Truth (Beginning)
Yue's hoarse voice resounded. Her eyes were opened unusually wide, her small and slender hands were shaking in small trembles as though expressing the agitation inside her heart.
Normally it was an impossible situation for her to not notice Hajime's call to her, it showed just how deeply she was agitated.
Giving a glance at Hajime and the others who were evidently shocked looking at Yue's condition, the golden-haired red eyed devil king smiled really gently while once more addressing Yue with the unfamiliar name.
’’That's right. It's me. Aleytia. Looks like you are surprised. ...That's understandable. But, that look of yours is nostalgically lovely. You haven't changed at all since three hundred years ago.’’
A smiling devil king. Yue took a step back, perhaps finally perceiving that the person there was her uncle. And then, just when she was about to say something with her trembling lips, the apostle Acht opened her mouth as though to beat her to the punch.
Acht called at the devil king with an expression that was like a mask, however, her intonation was clearly questioning. From that indication, it was as though the devil king's attitude toward Yue was an unexpected situation for her. And it wasn't just the apostles, even Freed was similarly making a slightly questioning look.
Hearing that call, the devil king faintly smiled and suddenly he lifted his hand. ...Toward Acht and others, the apostles of god.
The next moment, light of magic power that resembled Yue's exploded like a flashbang grenade, instantly everything was drowned in light. That light then was absorbed back into Denreed's hand as though in a playback, after that the figures of the apostles crumbling down like a machine that had its electricity cut off became visible.
Furthermore, as though it was an afterthought, Freed and Eri also fell down. Kouki who was beside Eri was dumbfounded by the sudden situation, he was only staring at Eri fixedly without even a twitch.
In front of Yue and others who were dumbfounded by the sudden event, the devil king released a sigh 'fuu' as though he had just gone through a really nerve wrecking situation, next he lifted his thrust out hand over his head and snapped his tongue, invoking some kind of technique.
What was reflected in Hajime's magic eye stone was a golden barrier spreading in a dome shape. However, its purpose seemed as though it had a slightly different effect compared to the normal barrier.
’’This is a barrier for deceiving interception and surveillance. It's something to show different voice and scene that I prepared. With this, the apostles outside this place won't notice what is happening here.’’
’’...What are you planning?’’
Hajime silently narrowed his eyes at this speech and conduct done by a person who seemed to be hostile toward the apostles while asking back.
’’Nagumo Hajime-kun, isn't it? Your vigilance is reasonable. That's why let me say this frankly without beating around the bush. I am the current devil king of the devil kingdom Garland, and the prime minister of the former vampire kingdom Avatar――Denreed Gardia Wesperitirio Avatar...a person who rebels against god.’’
The words that were said with the majesty as the devil king reverberated inside the wide audience hall dignifiedly. Those words carried the power that made the people in this place hearing them think that they were said seriously.
All the members other than Hajime gulped at the shocking truth. Who would ever think that the king of the devil race that opposed the human race was a rebel against god, such thing was unthinkable even in their dream. Their reaction was only natural.
Among them, Suzu who just managed to return to her senses yelled ’’Eri-’’ while trying to dash at her, but she was stopped by Kouki's hand. His hand touched the nape of the neck of the fainting Eri and he felt her pulse, then he nodded while smiling that there was nothing to worry about. It appeared that Eri only lost her consciousness. Looking at Suzu patting her chest in a relieved sigh, Denreed spoke an apology ’’Sorry to make you uneasy.’’
Incidentally, regarding the apostles, they had their function suspended. Freed and others had their body function suspended――to put it another way, they were in a temporary death state.
In addition, with the 'devil king's apology', among everyone who was lost for words from the sequence of events, Hajime's gaze was sweeping at his surroundings while he was about to press the question at Denreed about his true intentions. But, at that time a yelling voice suddenly resounded. It was a voice that sounded like it was desperately trying to deny something.
’’Lies...there is no way that's true-. Den-ojisama was a normal vampire! Indeed, he was exceptionally strong, but he wasn't a true ancestor like me! There is no way that Oji-sama, that Denreed is still alive.’’
’’Aleytia.... You are shaken, aren't you? Even so...that's only natural. Although it was something necessary, I had done something horrible to you. If such a person suddenly appeared in front of your eyes, it would be stranger if you weren't shaken.’’
’’Don't call me Aleytia-! Don't pretend that you are Oji-sama-!’’
Denreed smiled sadly toward Yue who was in an agitated state that even Hajime had never seen. Perhaps getting rubbed the wrong way even by such an attitude, Yue pushed her hand out with seething killing intent. Tremendous magic power was bursting out from her body.
Although she had accepted the possibility of the difference in her memory inside the Ice and Snow Cavern, even so, the man in front of her eyes was the one who had locked her in the depth of darkness for a long three hundred years. It was the person who had betrayed her who had given him immense trust. There was no way she could be so easily convinced.
To say nothing of how that person who should have died to suddenly appear in front of her eyes, talking intimately, affectionately at her with the look that didn't change at all from three hundred years ago. Her heart was churning like a sea that was hit directly by a typhoon.
Following an impulse that she didn't even understand herself, Yue launched a lightning dragon. Nervousness ran through the other members at the current situation that was moving suddenly.
However, Denreed only kept smiling. With an attitude that could even be said as composed, once more, he snapped his fingers. At that instant, along the edge of the altar where the throne was located, a wall of light rose up. The lightning dragon that was howling thunderously while approaching Denreed crashed onto that barrier, yet it was unable to destroy the very strong barrier.
Inside the surging lightning, Denreed talked with a gentle voice from the other side of the barrier.
’’Aleytia Gardea Wesperiterio Avatar. The most beautiful and wise queen in history, my beloved niece. I am certainly your uncle. I wonder if you remember. That I was a powerful monster user.’’
’’If it's the current you then you should understand. Just why the I at that time was that powerful of a monster user.’’
’’...-, an age of god magic...metamorphosis magic.’’
Denreed smiled saying ’’Good answer’’, just like in the past when he watched over Yue's study. Attacked by déjàvu, Yue's expression distorted.
’’Exactly. To say further, I also obtained regeneration magic. Though unfortunately, my talent in that area is poor, it's like throwing a pearl before swine. In exchange, I can boast that I am very much talented in metamorphosis magic. I also worked really hard on it. As the result, not only creating monsters, I also became able to perform strengthening on my own body. That's how I extended my life until now.’’
Actually, Hajime had drawn out his railgun and nonchalantly fired under the cover of the lightning dragon, but understanding that the barrier couldn't be broken through easily, he put his hand on Yue's shoulder. With that lightning dragon that had bad efficiency and convergence rate incomparable from usual due to her disordered mind, it was only a pointless waste of magic power.
Yue suddenly returned to her senses from the warmth on her shoulder, she glared once at Denreed with dangerous eyes then dispersed the lightning dragon. She then recovered her calmness in a few minutes before making her question, even so, she didn't hide how her tone became rougher.
’’...That day the devil that uses the white dragon, he said that you are a god with the name Aruv. He said that you had led the devil race for a few hundred years until now!’’
At the very least Denreed had worked as the prime minister of the vampire kingdom Avatar for more than twenty odd years until Yue was imprisoned, Yue slapped the contradiction with Freed's statement at Denreed.
Even so, Denreed's composure didn't crumble. As though to say that what Yue pointed out was only natural, he calmly answered.
’’What Freed said is not mistaken. I am certainly Aruv, at the same time it can also be said that Aruv is not me.’’
Yue's gaze became severe hearing Denreed answering with something that sounded like Zen philosophy. Denreed smiled wryly at that while continuing his words.
’’The existence called Aruv was the retainer god of god Ehito during the age of god. He is someone like a subordinate. At first, Aruv swore loyalty toward god Ehito and became his hands and feet, yet one day, he held a doubt. Is it fine to keep overlooking the inhuman act of god Ehito like this, he thought. A few hundred years, a few thousand years passed while he was holding that doubt which grew largr and before long he grew to hold the intention of rebellion.’’
Denreed walked around the throne with steady sounds of footsteps. That calm tone for some reason resounded really well despite its volume that wasn't loud at all, even so it didn't make anyone feel discomfort at all.
’’But, there is no way he can match god Ehito who is the chief god. Therefore, Aruv formed a plan. That plan is, he would descend to the surface as Ehito's pawn and intensified the war of the people, and as the situation fell into chaos, he would shoulder the role of devil king――under such pretense, he would then search in the surface for any method and battle strength that could oppose Ehito.’’
Denreed stopped talking for a moment and opened and closed his hand repeatedly. He was doing that gesture as though to ascertain the sensation while continuing.
’’But, a god that doesn't have flesh body, needs a flesh body as a vessel so they can act fully on the surface. Aruv also searched for a person who could become his vessel to reside his soul into that body. Originally, making one's soul reside inside another person's body isn't something easy even for god if the rejection of the body's owner is strong but...if they displayed their existence as god then there won't be anyone rejecting them. After all, it's not like the person's self will disappear, rather it even feels like an honor, right?’’
’’...Like that, Denreed was also chosen by Aruv?’’
’’Aruv was mad with joy, you know? If I was merely someone with aptitude, then he would only tell me that he was a retainer god of Ehito, but I knew the truth. I could possibly become a true fellow rebel. Aruv told me his will from inside my body while outside I was under the observation of the apostles. Even now Aruv is inside me, giving me help in various matters. Two souls in one body. That is the meaning of my words that I am Aruv and also not Aruv.’’
Denreed paused to ascertain whether comprehension had reached Yue and the others while putting his hand on the throne. Seeing that, Yue made a complicated face while asking.
’’It happened just a little bit before you succeeded the throne. At the same time, even I who was unable to do anything even knowing the truth understood that there was something that I could do. I thought that as my mission.’’
’’Yes, the mission to overthrow god. Though it was really hard making it so that god Ehito and his apostles wouldn't catch my true intentions, you see. Thanks to that, I was made to do many things that were not my true intention countless times.’’
Denreed smiled asking if there was anything else she wanted to ask, seeing that smile it woke up the memory of the time when he was in the role as her instructor, shaking Yue's heart. The way he talked and his atmosphere felt like the uncle inside her memory. She began to think that by any chance he might really be alive just like he said.
And then, if that was really the case, there was something that Yue wanted to ask, no, something that Yue had to hear at all cost.
’’...Why did you betray our country? Why, I was impri...’’
’’-...I don't want to hear your apology-! The reason-’’
Yue yelled at Denreed who was saying words of apology with a mournful expression. Hajime at her side put strength into the hand he put on her shoulder to calm her down. The other members were also directing serious expressions at Denreed without butting into this matter that was related with Yue's past.
’’Aleytia. You were a prodigy, to the degree that no other could possibly catch up to you in the field of magic. Even I who was a user of an age of god magic wasn't a match against you. This strength was too conspicuous. That was why eyes were attracted to you. Just like Nagumo Hajime who is at your side.’’
’’That's right. Aleytia, I wonder if you remember? At that time, the upper echelon of Avatar was already in the process of being dyed by the influence of god Ehito's faith. That included both your parents too. You should have felt a glimpse of that.’’
’’...I remember. Oji-sama and Chichi-ue quarreled often regarding my education. ...Oji-sama was assigned as my instructor. That was why I was raised without really getting concerned by the faith.’’ (TN: Chichi-ue is father.)
Denreed nodded back toward the nodding Yue.
’’That was because I knew the truth. I didn't have any method to ascertain whether the liberators' words were truth or not, but I thought that it was dangerous for you who was still young to put your faith unconditionally. I wanted to protect you. But, my effort to distance you from the faith became in vain.’’
’’...A pawn that didn't move as wished for was a hindrance?’’
’’Something like that. The plan to assassinate you became fully all-out. Your immortality isn't absolute. Especially if the enemy is a god then that's even truer...even after I obtained the age of god magic, I didn't have the confidence to protect you from god's intention. Besides, I who had Aruv residing inside my body and awoke to my mission didn't want to lose you who are a trump card. That was why, before the assassination was carried out, I arranged your death and hid you. Until the time when the beacon of the rebellion can be raised.’’
Her uncle didn't betray her. Rather he was trying to protect her. Even if he had a feeling that considered her as battle strength, his words contained the feeling that he didn't want to let her die, which matched with a portion of Yue's memory.
Right now, Yue's expression looked anxious as though her unmanageable emotion that was too much for her had lost its place to go, as though she was a lost child.
Her powerless trembling voice that displayed her unstable feelings threw the last question.
’’...The hostage? If you are really Denreed-ojisama then...if you say that you didn't betray me, then why?’’
Toward those words mixed with criticism inside from Yue who was casting her eyes downward, Denreed smiled wryly while murmuring ’’About that’’. And then he snapped his fingers once more. Instantly the radiance covering the cages silently dimmed and vanished, the lock of the cages also clicked open.
The captured classmates, Myuu, and Remia stared at the unlocked door with bewilderment.
’’I thought that if I didn't do this then I wouldn't even be able to meet you. Besides, I also had the objective of guarding them for the sake of when the times come. I want you to forgive me about their wounds. The one who went to pick them up were the apostles. I couldn't treat their wounds in front of them. Just in case I commanded them to not kill anyone. After all, perhaps they might become allies from here on together with Aleytia.’’
It seemed that according to Denreed it was that kind of reason. Perhaps she had used up everything that she could use to argue, that Yue only repeated Denreed's words with doubt. Her voice already had no heat in it, furthermore her raging heart became even stormier. Because she was given a large amount of information all at once, and how all that information was something important and impossible to ignore for her, she was unable to sort her feelings.
Even Shia and others who were watching over Yue couldn't hide their bewilderment of what to do. The people imprisoned inside the cages were unable to move feeling the atmosphere of the place.
Inside such an atmosphere, Denreed watched fondly as though he had seen through Yue's heart, he descended from the altar while making a smile. The destination where he was walking calmly was Yue's location.
’’Aleytia. I want you to believe me somehow. I love you, whether right now or in the past. Just how impatiently I have been waiting for this day when I can see you again. During these three hundred years, there wasn't a day that I had forgotten you.’’
’’That's right. I am your Den-ojisama. My cute Aleytia. The time has come. Please, lend me your strength, in order to finish everything.’’
’’...Lend, my strength?’’
’’Let's defeat the god together. Just like when we fought the country's external enemy together back to back. God Ehito is already going to end this era. Actually I planned to hide you until the time when we really have to fight but...this is a windfall. You have become far stronger compared to the past, and then there are even this many users of age of god magic gathered here. Surely we can even reach god Ehito.’’
’’...I, I am...’’
Denreed's words shook Yue. Denreed was spreading open his arms, as though he was going to embrace Yue who was like that.
That posture resurrected a memory of her childhood at the back of her mind once more. When the young Yue achieved some kind of result in magic training or class, 'Den-ojisama' would smile looking even happier than Yue who made the accomplishment while he would surely spread open his arms to welcome her. And then, he would praise Yue who jumped at him saying ’’You worked really hard’’ while stroking her head.
The hug of her important relative who was alive, and who didn't betray her. She loved him dearly like a father, even more than her real father. Yue's eyes wavered.
Denreed's smile was increasingly deepening, he was about to say some words in order to embrace Yue.
’’Now, let's go together. Aleyti――’’
Such familiar dry sound reverberated. At the same time, Denreed's body snapped back facing up, and then he collapsed behind just like that.
No one was able to grasp what just happened, they were staring at the collapsed Denreed with their pupils turning into dot. His body didn't even twitch. The vast audience hall was filled with silence.
Inside such an atmosphere, a 'click' sound that was like a cocked firing hammer, no, it was exactly the sound of firing hammer being cocked broke the silence. The people in that place twitched with trembling body and sent their gaze at the sound's source all at once.
There a scene that they half-expected unfolded.
’’Move out of the way. I'll make that guy into mincemeat.’’
Holding Donner that had white smoke rising up from it, while spouting abusive line like a hoodlum, the figure of Hajime who had vein pulsing on his forehead was there.