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Densetsu No Yuusha No Densetsu - Volume 8 - Chapter 3

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Chapter 3: A key waiting up north, the southern gate[edit]

For some reason, it felt like time was slowly trickling by.

In the remote, peaceful village.

The people there were kind and never failed to smile.

It had a warm atmosphere.

Here, one could forget various things.

Within oneself, hatred, anger, and other such dirty things, one would utterly foolishly...

A remote village.

’’The imperial capital of the Gastark Empire, Grenslade village.’’

Such like that, Kiefer was currently in a private house of the ambiguously named village.

Looking at her reflection in the mirror...

’’... Uu, I've been tricked,’’

She quietly groaned.

Bright red eyes, red hair of the same shade. Though her body was slender, there was a trace of roundness.

Above that, right now, she was clad in a womanly dress that was apparently of the highest grade in Gastark.

While staring and frowning at her figure in the mirror...

’’... T-That Riphal guy... what was that about 'Wear the Gastark military uniform that'll be prepared'... I-Isn't this clearly a dress...’’

Then, to the her in that dress, the house's lady said,

’’Honestly, with that kind of pretty style, you're quite beautiful, Kiefer-chan! My, this auntie approves!’’

’’Ah, no, it's not like that...’’

’’It's fine, it's fine! I say, if it's that Edea son, he'll definitely fall in love you with right away, no doubt about it!’’

’’Like I said... haa,’’

Kiefer said, letting out a sigh.

By the way, the ’’Edea son’’ bit in the middle of what the lady said... though she meant the king of the Gastark Empire that, neighbouring the great country of Stohl, already seemed to have all the northern continent in the palm of its hand, Riphal Edea...

In this village, nobody called him king.

The Edea youngster.

The Edea boy.

The idiot son of Edea.

Or they addressed him by his name, Riphal.

Everything about this country was...

’’Honestly, just what is...’’

As Kiefer frowned and muttered that, the lady again seemed to misunderstand and went on.

’’That's why you don't need to make such an uneasy face. Surely, that Riphal boy, upon seeing you, Kiefer-chan, will be amazed by your beauty!’’

’’Like I was trying to say, what King Edea thinks, I don't at all...’’

She began, but unsuprisingly, the lady wasn't listening to her whatsoever.

After scrutinizing Kiefer,

’’The ribbon's good. The sash is also good. Your skin is pretty and your make-up is flawless. My work is complete. Now, take care,’’

She said, striking Kiefer's bottom. On top of that,

’’Kya ’’

Reflexively, she let out a shriek.

While rubbing her bottom that now hurt, Kiefer looked at the lady, who for some reason had tears in her eyes.

’’Eh? W-What is it?’’

At that, the lady happily nodded.

’’It's truly all right for you to go off... with this, I can finally be at ease.’’

’’... Heh?’’

Not understanding at all what she was talking about, Kiefer accidentally let a foolish-sounding voice slip out.

However, as expected, the lady didn't pay that any heed.

She steadily continued.

’’Honestly, that foolish brat even though he's called king, he's a fool at his roots... For the sake of this village, for the sake of this world, for something you can only say is great, he's pushing himself too far... I've always been worried. But...’’

Then, with teary eyes, she gazed at Kiefer, and,

’’With someone cute like you, Kiefer-chan, becoming his wife, he also...’’

’’Wait, what are you saying !?’’

Kiefer shouted.

With a surprised face, the lady

’’Eh? What do you mean aren't you two getting married?’’

’’Ha? Eh? What are you talking about?’’

’’That's what I heard... that Riphal boy said yesterday that he was getting married to you, Kiefer-chan, so the best dress...’’

’’That jeeeeeeeeerk!’’

Kiefer, tucking up the hem of her dress, began running.

Charging out of the house, she scowled at the neighbouring palace that the king of Gastark dwelled in.

’’......’’

No, there was no way one could call it a palace.

It was a tad larger than the other houses, but that was it. Only a slightly big wooden building.

This was what the villagers called this palace.

’’The Edea house.’’

Riphal was the only one who called it a royal palace...

Walking briskly to that Edea house, Kiefer opened the wooden door.

There, inside the Edea house, there was a large room.

In the center was a large round table.

And the room's interior, as if looking down on the round table, was a place of the highest degree.

It was the throne.

No, unsurprisingly, the only one who called it a throne was Riphal.

Rather than a throne room, it was like one of those cheap wooden chairs that one bought along with a writing desk.

And in that chair, a single man sat with bad etiquette, with the back seat of the chair in the front.

Long, loose wavy hair. The colour, unique to Gastark, was brown... or better said, it was a peculiar peach-coloured shade.

His left eye, having been lost during the war with Stohl, was closed, giving off a calm impression in some ways...

Already on one side.

In the moment that Kiefer looked at his open right eye, she was taken in by it.

No, it would be the same for anyone, just by looking at his eye.

Dwelling in that eye was strong will and ambition... With that, a child's innocence also shone through.

Riphal Edea.

The supreme ruler of the northern continent.

The young king of the Gastark Empire.

Glancing at the ten retainers seated at the round table with a sharp eye,

’’... All right, that takes care of this topic. More importantly, we have one another problem that we have to discuss.’’

At that, the man closest to Riphal at the round table nodded, and,

’’Correct. This!’’

That voice was tense.

Kiefer winced at that.

No, it was the first time she'd seen the people gathered here at the round table.

These past few days, Riphal had been spending his time leisurely in the village...

Speaking of things to do, regarding the obstacles of Kiefer who'd been frantically going to the library to investigate the secrets of Ryner's Cursed Eyes,

’’Are you going to tell me about the Cursed Eyes?’’

Saying such things like that, and then hours later,

’’So, this is why I'm a surprisingly honest man. Did you understand?’’

’’Do I understand!? The Cursed Eyes!? What about the Cursed Eyes!? Why have you been going on and on about your character!?’’

’’Heh? Because I thought you wanted to know, Kiefer.’’

Saying that happily, he returned to the Edea house in good spirits that kind of way was how he spent his time.

Frankly-speaking, it really didn't seem like he did any sort of tasks as a king at all...

Right now was the first time he was doing his kingly duties.

The man by Riphal's side continued speaking to him in a reproachful tone.

’’What is the meaning of this!?’’

When it came to using honorifics towards their king, this village was unusual.

Plus, that Riphal's subordinate, with a sharp glint in his eyes, looked to be a sharp man.

Regarding his age, he seemed to be the same as Riphal, so around twenty-two or twenty-three. Unsurprisingly, he had Gastark's unique peach-coloured hair, and intelluctual, almond-shaped blue eyes. Rather than Gastark's military uniform, he donned an unusual outfit with blue as its colour scheme...

Though she didn't know what rank would allow a person to wear that uniform, he'd been bestowed the seat closest to the king. He likely had quite a high ranking.

At any rate, his neighbours seated were elderly surpassing their sixties, all dressed in uniform.

It seemed that the audience here were people of high status.

Somehow, they had a refined air to them.

Nobles...?

But they were completely different from the nobles Kiefer was familiar with. Rather than seem repulsive, they had an honest and integrious impression.

Surrounding the round table like that, from Riphal to Kiefer, they became younger in age.

But regardless of young or old, man or woman, all of them advanced through the meeting with tense, serious faces.

What were they talking about?

’’What's with this proposal!?’’

As that was said, it was evidently a matter regarding Riphal.

That was why Kiefer, without making a sound, moved to stealthily leave the room.

The blue-dressed man spoke.

’’Who in the world is this woman that Your Majesty brought with him!?’’

In that moment.

Kiefer froze in place.

’’Um... is this large problem... about me?’’

N-No, it's obviously a large problem.

She was a woman who came from another country with unknown origins.

One would naturally think from the beginning that she was an assassin.

Or a spy.

Anyhow, it was to be expected that a traveller whom one coincidentally passed by wouldn't be overlooked so easily.

A development where Riphal favoured her and she immediately became his ally shouldn't happen.

Rather.

Kiefer thought as she looked at Riphal's face.

She had no idea for what reason this man made contact with her.

’’Will you come with me?’’

Saying that, he'd held his hand out to her.

Perhaps if I don't take his hand, he'll kill me. Kiefer had already seen this setup being done.

If she was a traitor, then she'd be killed.

It was that kind of relation.

And Kiefer took Riphal's hand.

The outcome she'd gained from that was that she had the right to read through the books of the Grenslade library as much as she pleased.

And that right was the only merit in taking on more risks.

At any rate, through only a bit of investigation through the books here, she'd made new discoveries not found in other countries.

Fairy tales and legends that were brimming with strange realities.

And descriptions of the Cursed Eyes.

She'd also heard about how this area was a unique place, where great quantities of ancient inheritance and relics had been left behind.

She didn't yet know anything in full detail, though...

At the very least, she wasn't able to hear about the black sword that Riphal had used in the war against Stohl.

His sword.

A black, abnormally long sword that was three times Riphal's height.

Its name was Glovil.

He offered part of his body as compensation towards that sword...

With just one swing, the sight before Kiefer's eyes changed.

Tens of thousands of Stohl's soldiers were easily wiped out.

But that wasn't the problem. What Kiefer wanted to know about was the voice that had echoed back then.

No, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it descended.

As if echoing directly inside one's head, a voice descended.

It was...

It was just like when Ryner's eyes had gone berserk.

A voice resounded.

A voice resounded.

It was a majestic voice with overwhelming power that took a hold of one's body without thinking.

But it was what Kiefer had been searching for all this time.

’’Answer. Answer. Come, offer thy compensation. In doing so, unleash my power.’’

Like that, the voice resounded.

And that sword devoured Riphal's left eye and slaughtered the Stohl soldiers.

’’......’’

It was abnormal power.

And that was Gastark's secret. If it were to be leaked out to an outsider, they should be killed immediately, right?

Without doubt, the world couldn't be allowed to know of Gastark's secret.

Sacred Sword.

Cursed Eyes.

Contract.

Hero.

And... God.

Riphal had spoken of such things.

In this library, such information existed.

A clue...

Perhaps here, there would be a clue.

Regarding the Alpha Stigma.

No, perhaps there would be a clue on how to save Ryner...

That was why Kiefer took Riphal's hand.

It was a given that she would betray him.

Once she gathered information, she would return to Roland.

Though she thought that...

’’... Looks like it won't go that smoothly...’’

But that was to be expected...

With an evidently displeased face, the blue-uniformed man was pressing Riphal for an answer.

To glare at his king with that strict expression... chiding the king who unwarily brought along a woman... It didn't look like that level of a situation.

Perhaps they'd already investigated Kiefer's origins and were proposing on how to kill her...

But then Kiefer shook her head.

Earlier,

’’Who in the world is this woman that Your Majesty brought with him!?’’

The blue man said that.

Who is this person?

That was to say, her origins had yet to be exposed.

However, even though they hadn't been exposed as of yet, they could be discussing on whether or not to torture a woman, or for what purpose she'd gotten close to Gastark's king.

In other words, to stay here...

’’......’’

Kiefer then looked at herself.

And she grimaced.

At her fluttering dress and high heels.

Like this, there was no way she'd be able to get away.

On the contrary, in these heels, even trying to leave this place silently would be a bit difficult...

Then, in that moment.

The blue-dressed man swiftly pointed in her direction, and,

’’What's so good about that woman who was trying to sneak away from this room earlier, and since then has been standing there, listening, and altogether acting in an extremely suspicious manner?’’

I've been exposed!

Kiefer thought, inwardly swearing as a reflex.

All at once, those seated at the round table turned to look at her.

Then,

’’Whoa, Kiefer, you're here!?’’

Despite the current situation, Riphal spoke in a cheerful voice.

At that, as she was feeling uncomfortable, she stood up.

’’... N-No... um... I didn't mean to interrupt your meeting...’’

She began, but Riphal interrupted.

’’Oh, it looks good! Even more than I expected. I thought that that dress matched your red hair, Kiefer, but they match even more than I expected. See, everyone, this is Kiefer Knolles. Isn't she beautiful? Since the current issue's about her, you should see her for yourself. Come on, come on, look, look.’’

At those words, everyone in the room scrutinized her...

’’... Yes, if it's this.’’

’’But if her beauty is all she has...’’

’’Has her origins been ascertained?’’

Everyone spoke.

At that, Kiefer said,

’’Eh? Heh? No, what in the world is everyone talking about?’’

Riphal cheerfully smiled, and,

’’Obviously, our marriage...’’

’’Which is why I'm asking what this is all abo...’’

But again, her words were interrupted.

It seemed that interrupting others was a specialty of Gastark's people.

The blue-dressed man said,

’’I utterly refuse to accept it!’’

At that, Riphal responded to his companion's ill spirits with a coaxing voice.

’’Well, well, you don't need to go all 'I won't accept it!'in a stubborn voice like that just look at her, Rize. Isn't she a beauty? I'm getting married to a beautiful woman. Isn't that every man's dream? That's...’’

He began, but then the blue-dressed man... the man called Rize again interrupted, and,

’’If it's beautiful woman, those are a dime a dozen. You're the king of this entire country, are you not? You can have whomever you choose!’’

’’Didn't I say that I don't want to because it's no fun that way? I want a bit of excitement in my love life, you know? That aspiration...’’

’’In that case, you're going to put a woman of unknown origins who could be a spy or assassin by your side!?’’

Riphal grinned broadly.

’’That's what makes it exciting, isn't it?’’

’’There's no reason for this to be a problem! Rather, why not those women... I selected plenty of beautiful women, but you wouldn't look at any of them.’’

Rize said;however, Riphal immediately scowled.

’’Weren't all of those women you brought along women who'd already fallen in love with you!?’’

’’I thought you wanted an exciting love life, so if you think of it as a plundering game where you try to steal a woman away from me, then for a while...’’

’’Are you a moron!? I don't want your leftovers!’’

’’M-Moron? Did you just call me a moron? You, who's called the idiot son of the Edea family, called me, Gastark's greatest prodigy, Rigwaltz Pentest, a moron!? I can't put up with this anymore. I know. From here on, I'll recite your first love letter that you wrote when you were only twelve...’’

’’B-Bastard, why are you always picking a fi...’’

’’Fu fu fu. Then, here I go. Ah, love's...’’

’’I-I'll kill youuuuuuuuu!’’

Riphal said, forcefully standing up.

But at that, Rize

’’Ha ! It's fine if you kill me. See now, it's fine if you wish for that. But Riphal, in the moment that you kill me, I've prepared for copies of the love letter you wrote to be distributed to all of Gastark you understand this as well, correct?’’

’’... Ah, guh.’’

Looking at Riphal, who moaned with a half-crying face...

Kiefer was weary.

It really was like a fight between children.

And the other people at the round table cheered them on as it swelled up while watching...

In the end, it was always the same here.

This country always, always acted like this.

A retainer who didn't think of his king as his king, and a king who wasn't like a king at all.

’’......’’

Is Riphal honestly the supreme ruler of the northern continent?

She was marvelling at such a thing.

Then Rize suddenly looked over his shoulder and spoke with a triumphant expression.

’’It's like that, you know? His Majesty is an extremely forgetful man who, since he was twelve, four hundred and twenty-one times... no, now it's four hundred and twenty-two times that he's forgotten that I know all his weaknesses. In fact, because even my name of Rigwaltz was too long for him to remember, he ended up shortening it to Rize. With such a poor memory capacity, he surely... won't remember even your face, ma'am.’’

After saying that, he stared at Kiefer.

Like that,

’’If you don't want to experience the sorrow of being toyed around by this man, then please leave...’’

Interrupting him from behind, Riphal spoke.

’’Why the hell are you deciding that for yourself...’’

Rize cut him off.

’’Because our king is a fool who won't use his head, it's my duty to work hard...’’

Riphal interrupted yet again... It didn't seem like this squabble was going to end.

However, Kiefer already stopped listening.

From the beginning, her body felt strange from this conversation.

That was why Kiefer took in a deep breath, and,

’’Please hold on for a bit!’’

She said in a loud voice.

At that, the fight stopped.

Everyone in the room looked at her all at once.

After confirming that, Kiefer spoke,

’’Er, so... I, with Riph... no, with King Edea something like marriage, I don't inte...’’

Then, over there.

’’Riphal !?’’

From outside the room, a young female voice spoke, interrupting Kiefer.

At that, Kiefer clutched her head.

Honestly, people in this country never listen to the end...

But the girl's voice went on.

Behind Kiefer.

From outside the room,

’’Help, Riphal !’’

It was a scream.

Sounding as if it were crying right now, it was a voice in which grief and despair were mixed.

Kiefer turned around.

But ahead of her, Riphal slipped by her and rushed out of the house.

Following him, Kiefer also exited.

There, on the open space outside of the house...

A man lay there, limp and collapsed, and hanging over him, crying, was a girl.

The girl seemed to be around thirteen? Wearing a pretty black dress that seemed to be designed to be easy to move around in, she was dirtied in mud and dust.

Her hair was also dishevelled, and unsurprisingly, her pretty, well-arranged face was dirtied with mud as well...

Her face scrunched up further, and,

’’Riphal! Riphal! B-Brother is!?’’

Regarding that, Kiefer looked at the man collapsed on the ground.

And...

’’... How awful.’’

Instinctively, she turned her face away.

The man whom the girl called brother was injured horribly.

His injuries were bad enough that it was amazing he was still alive.

From his shoulder to his chest, it was as if a beast had devoured and torn it to shreds, gouged deeply...

Around that wound, it seemed that somehow, ice was covering it.

In response, Riphal

’’Kuu! How many days have you been freezing his injuries!?’’

But at that, the girl called Kuu shook her head.

’’I-I don't know. I don't...’’

But then, the collapsed man on the verge of death said,

’’R-Riphal. I'm fine... m-more importantly, Kuu needs to re... st... she's... been using the scythe's power all this time to bring me here...’’

’’Stay awake, Sui! You can handle these injuries, can't you? Then...’’

Then, moving past Kiefer, Rize also came out.

And as soon as he saw the man collapsed on the ground called Sui, he made a high-pitched whistle with his fingers... In an instant, three men clad in black hoods appeared around him...

At that, Rize

’’Prepare for an operation. Use the holy cave.’’

’’Understood.’’

The black-hooded men dispersed.

But Rize didn't pay them any heed and again stared intently at Sui.

’’Just who did...’’

But Riphal interrupted him and shouted.

’’This isn't the time for that right now! Don't talk, Sui. I'll definitely save you, so just hold on.’’

In response, Sui said in a weak voice,

’’... N-No... I'll... talk. This might be the last time I can...’’

’’Don't say such stupid things! Don't be ridiculous. You won't die, no matter what! Damn it, is the cave ready yet!?’’

Looking at Riphal who was frantically calling out, Kiefer felt like crying.

It was clearly too late.

Sui's injuries were fatal.

That would be obvious to anyone's eyes.

Despite that, Riphal frantically called out.

Sui, looking up at Riphal, smiled.

’’As usual, Riphal, you're... too noisy...’’

’’I told you not to talk! If we quickly bring you to the holy cave...’’

But Sui shook his head and looked as if he wanted to say something;however, without saying anything, he sighed. Like that, he looked up at Rize, and,

’’... Rigwaltz... as expected... I don't have the strength to talk idly. For me... persuade... the king...’’

At that, after appearing deep in thought for a while,

’’... Your Majesty. Your decision,’’

Rize said curtly.

But it was in a completely different tone from before.

And he called Riphal ’’Your Majesty’’.

Your Majesty...

’’......’’

With only that, Riphal's face became tight.

It was the sort of expression that indicated he was trying to endure a heavy pain.

This was this king's true face.

Kiefer knew that face.

When he'd swung that sword and killed the Stohl soldiers.

When he'd killed people for the sake of protecting this country's secrets.

When he'd nevertheless advanced forward on top of those sacrifices, this kind of expression had appeared.

And he was to make a choice.

What would be the most needed?

What would be the most correct?

He narrowed his eyes, and then to Rize,

’’To Kuu.’’

With only that, the message seemed to have transmitted to Rize, who struck the back of the neck of Kuu, who was clinging to Sui.

’’Ah...’’

She only managed that much.

As Kuu lost consciousness, Rize gently lifted her body, and,

’’... You've worked hard. Sleep soundly now,’’

He whispered that.

After confirming that, Riphal looked at Sui.

Sui made a relieved and peaceful expression.

’’... T-Thank you. For Kuu to see my death...’’

’’... Don't decide that you're going to die. We're preparing the holy cave, aren't we? As soon as you enter it, there's a chance that you'll be saved...’’

However, Riphal frowned, and,

’’... But troublingly, the chances that you'll die are high...’’

Sui smiled at that.

’’... That really is troubling, huh...’’

Then once more the black-hooded men called by Rize appeared.

’’The holy cave has been prepared.’’

The holy cave... though Kiefer didn't understand at all what that was, it seemed that if Sui was brought there, there was a chance that his fatal wounds would heal.

But at that, Riphal

’’It seems that the holy cave is complete... but we can't bring you there right away. There's a chance that you'll die... so...’’

That was his decision.

As a king, that was his decision.

When he made that decision, he didn't falter.

Urged by Rize, he immediately decided.

A king who didn't falter, and...

Unbelievable people.

Sui accepted Riphal's words as if they were utterly obvious.

’’... If Your Majesty says so... that's a relief. To be honest right now... I doubt I'll survive...’’

And he smiled.

It's impossible, Kiefer thought.

Subordinates who would easily throw their lives away for their king.

Without being ordered to, without hostages involved, they would throw their lives away as if it were only reasonable.

This was this country's strength.

This was the strength of Gastark, who'd conquered the northern continent with overwhelming power.

The soldiers would give up their lives for their king.

And the king as well would sacrifice his own body to move forward.

They wouldn't stop on their path.

Once they had the northern continent in their hands, next would be the countries in the central continent.

And eventually, Roland as well...

Then.

Sui spoke.

’’... A Cursed Eye monster that we were hunting... in the southern continent...’’

At those words.

Kiefer's thoughts were interrupted.

’’......’’

Southern... continent?

A Cursed Eye monster that they were hunting?

What is he talking about?

W-When he says Cursed Eye monster, he can't mean Ryner...

At that, Riphal said,

’’Then these injuries are because of that monster!?’’

However, Sui shook his head.

’’... No, this wasn't from Tiir Rumibul... Riphal, you also... understand, right? He can't win against us.’’

He said such a thing.

At that, Kiefer

’’... Tiir Rumibul...?’’

She said in a quiet voice others likely couldn't hear.

What was Tiir Rumibul?

The name wasn't something she'd heard before.

But judging from what was said, it was the name of a Cursed Eye bearer they were pursuing?

Sui went on.

’’But... he's dangerous... It seems... he's gathering the scattered Cursed Eye bearers...’’

Riphal continued those words.

’’... Ah, damn it. So he means to oppose us, who've hunted down Cursed Eyes? Then, the scope?’’

’’That's still... but it seems that in Nelpha... they've gathered that's the information we gained... so Brother...’’

’’... Lir? But he should be in charge of Roland...’’

There. Without thinking, Kiefer let a voice slip.

’’......’’

But they continued.

Riphal spoke.

’’... It won't be a problem if we leave the Iino Doue to Lir. But if that guy wasn't the one who did this to you, then who the hell...’’

At that.

’’An assassin from another country... uses a Rhule Fragmei... but it's the same type as the Ring of Lightning Beasts that Brother uses...’’

Immediately.

Riphal's expression changed.

Making an expression of utter despair,

’’... Which country? Nelpha? Runa?’’

’’... The... Rhule Fragmei used... isn't exclusive to one country...’’

Riphal further frowned at that.

’’... Just as thought, the south... the gate's... it's where the gate is.’’

’’... That's still... but first, it's likely...’’

Etc., etc.

Though she was listening to all of these unknown words, Kiefer couldn't understand their conversation at all.

’’Rhule Fragmei’’... and ’’Lightning Beasts’’ and ’’Gate’’, etc. she couldn't follow whatsoever.

But she could guess that something significant was happening in the southern continent...

Then, all of a sudden.

Sui spoke.

’’About that... in Roland... there's a monster by the name of Ryner Lute.’’

Immediately.

Kiefer's mind blanked out.

W-What did he say?

Ryner Lute?

W-Why is this guy saying Ryner's name...?

Riphal spoke.

’’... Ryner Lute? Who the hell is he?’’

What were these two talking about?

She couldn't understand.

Why did things suddenly become like this?

Who was Ryner?

Even though Kiefer had gone on a journey to investigate that. Why was this suddenly...

Just who was he?

And how could he be saved?

In order to investigate that, Kiefer had gone on a journey.

She'd left the southern continent.

Then she'd come up all this way to the northern continent on the other side...

However, she heard his name again here.

Kiefer trembled.

After all, perhaps in this place, there was the answer she'd been seeking all this time...

Sui spoke.

’’Just from looking... he seems like a normal Alpha Stigma bearer... but I've never seen that kind of monster...’’

But Riphal already seemed to understand everything by that point. His expression changed further, which Sui looked at, and,

’’Ah... as expected, Riphal, what he is...’’

Riphal nodded.

At that, Kiefer's body stiffened.

He knew.

What Kiefer wanted to know so badly.

Riphal knows!?

And as he opened his mouth...

’’... Ah ’’

Kiefer noticed it.

Sharp blue eyes.

Rize was staring straight at her...

He interrupted Riphal.

’’... Your Majesty. From the beginning, the outsider here...’’

At that... This is bad, she thought.

Rize was staring in her direction.

Not at Riphal, not at Sui he was glaring at her.

But from when exactly?

From when had he...

That answer immediately came.

Rize spoke.

Staring at Kiefer,

’’... The southern continent... When those words were said, your complexion changed, didn't it?’’

Kiefer wanted to cry at that.

He'd been watching her from the beginning.

In this kind of situation.

In this kind of situation where his ally might die...

He'd been constantly watching to see which parts of Riphal and Sui's conversation she reacted at.

’’Next was Roland. And after that, you reacted at Ryner Lute...’’

Then, a smile arose in Rize's face.

’’... This has become quite interesting, hasn't it? Someone quickly take Sui to the holy cave. It seems we'll be hearing the rest from this lady...’’

He began, but then.

Kicking off her heels, Kiefer began to run.

Somehow, she had to escape this place...

However.

Rize grabbed her hair. Like that, he pulled back, and furthermore, moved to punch her stomach...

’’Gah!?’’

A pained voice arose.

But it wasn't Kiefer's voice.

Rather, Riphal leapt from behind and punched Rize's face...

’’R-Riphal, you bastard, what are you doing!?’’

’’What do you mean, what am I doing!? Why the hell were you about to punch a girl's stomach? Not to mention the stomach that could one day carry my child!?’’

’’H-Haa!? Are you seriously saying that?’’

Riphal laughed at that.

It was the smiling face of an eternally carefree child.

’’... Didn't I say it before? That I wanted an exciting love life?’’

Then, he looked this way.

’’... But if we're to talk any further, even though I didn't want to just rudely ask about a girl's past... it seems that that's impossible now, huh?’’

As he said that, he now made a regretful, sad expression.

’’But relax. I don't care about the past. Even if you're a spy from another country or an assassin who's come to kill me, if you become our ally now... you won't have to worry about anything, Kiefer...’’

And he stared at Kiefer with a gentle gaze.

However, he spoke in a low, sharp voice.

’’... So? What will you do?’’

There were two options.

Again, it was as before.

Sell out information about Ryner?

Or die?

’’......’’

Letting out a sigh, Kiefer looked up at the sky.

And though it was the sky of the northern continent, it was also the sky of the southern continent where Ryner was, wasn't it?

She thought about such things.

After thinking that, she regretted it.

’’... Ah, geez, I feel like crying. Ryner's too far away from here...’’

Then she looked at Riphal.

And the choice she made was...



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