Tatakau Shisho - Volume 9 - Chapter 2.2
CHAPTER 2: THE WARRIOR AND THE SAVIOR OF LIGHT - PART 2
April 15, 2018Tgurneu
Hihak left the royal tower and got on his way back home. Next to him was his son, about to become seven years old that year. His name was Carloy. The father and son lived all by themselves.
’’What happened, dad?’’
Carloy said as he looked at his father's face. Hihak was supposed to say his eternal goodbyes to him.
’’Your dad ended up needing to come back. I've received orders from Ruruta and Veekithar-sama. So I'm back.’’
He lied to Carloy. He realized that such a lie would immediately be found out. However, right now he hadn't the courage to tell his son the truth.
Hihak was such a man.
Even Carloy could probably tell what sort of a person his father was. Yet he said nothing. They were a parent and child with no emotional connection. There was no way such a pathetic father would make his child connect to him.
’’We weren't able to get the seventh Memorial Weapon.’’
’’...If I was there we would've definitely gotten it. Since we're going again in a month we will definitely get it. Once we do, Ruruta's victory will be certain.’’
He was bluffing. But didn't Ruruta say this? He said that Hihak was strong. And that he could become stronger. So saying this much shouldn't matter.
Carloy made no response.
Suddenly he stopped walking. They could hear a roaring sound like a volcano from afar. From the far reaches of the northern skies.
Carloy was the one to mutter this. Both father and child lined up and looked up to the north.
Intermitted red lights blinked and the ground shook after a delay.
Ruruta was probably using explosive Magic. It was his usual training in preparation for the day of battle.
Ruruta made the Magic Rights of the Books he ate his own. Already more than 30,000 warriors gave up their lives and became Books. All of their Magic Rights became Ruruta's.
Humans could obviously not become his sparring partners. Ruruta crushed mountains, boiled the sea, and erased the earth to polish his battle techniques.
’’If you understand why I'm strong you will be able to become stronger.’’
So he had said. What did he mean? Hihak could tell how strong Ruruta was just by seeing the red lights. He was obviously strong due to being the world's savior. He was a different sort of being from Hihak in his very nature.
’’What did he mean...’’
The more he looked at it the more he could see the overwhelming gap between them. There was no way he could become strong.
The next day, Veekithar's aide visited Hihak. He told him to go and see Ruruta.
’’Were these his words?’’
He asked, but...
’’No, it is simply Ruruta's intention that you go see him.’’
The aide answered with a cold voice. He immediately left as if saying that he hated even seeing his face.
Leaving Carloy behind, Hihak once again came to the royal tower. In the courtyard there was a place surrounded by rows of trees and fences. This was Ruruta's training spot, and originally people like Hihak would not be allowed to enter. However, one of the gate guards today indicated for him to enter using his chin.
Inside the training grounds were Ruruta, Veekithar and an old woman.
Hihak muttered. It was his first time seeing her, but he had heard about the stone dagger she was holding. She was in the form of an old woman, but was merely borrowing the body of a dead person. Lascall Othello's true identity was rather that of the stone dagger.
Hihak didn't know much about Lascall. It seemed that it was in this world from even before Ruruta or Hihak were born. It was a being that produced Books for humans and gave Books to Ruruta.
If Lascall Othello hadn't been there, no Books would have ever reached Ruruta. Meaning there would be no chance to save the world. Just like Ruruta, Lascall was indispensible to saving the world.
However, its origins were enveloped in mystery.
’’Do you really plan on eating 99 people?’’
Veekithar said. Ruruta looked at him with his usual calm face that hid his determination.
’’Even your Book-Eating power is not flawless. Eating that many Books would be too dangerous.’’
’’They all staked their lives for my sake. And in exchange I will risk my own;there is nothing else to do.’’
On the ground were 99 Books. All of them danced in the air, floating around Ruruta.
’’As I thought, it's dangerous...’’
Said Veekithar, but he had no authority to stop Ruruta.
’’If I were to die here, defeating the Beasts of the Final Chapter would be impossible to begin with.’’
In a split second the Books all shattered to pieces. Turning to fine dust, the Books were being absorbed into Ruruta's body. After having finished eating all of them, he stood in place for a while with his eyes closed.
Ruruta's body fell to the ground. The next instant, he jumped away from Veekithar and the rest like an arrow.
’’Dear me, have you perhaps pushed yourself too hard?’’
Lascall spoke in a vaguely enjoyable tone. Veekithar pursued Ruruta.
’’Don't get close! You'll get caught up in it!’’
Ruruta shouted. The next instant, he grabbed his own throat and gasped for breath. His body began heavily trembling. Invisible explosions began appearing midair and phenomena such as light orbs, lightning strikes, fire or ice attacks began being emitted from his body.
’’What is happening...?’’
Hihak asked Veekithar, but he did not answer. Lascall spoke instead.
’’He is unable to control his Magic Rights. 99 measly Books would not make his Imaginary Entrails yield, but his Magic Rights are another matter entirely.’’
Lightning shot from Ruruta's back scorched Hihak's leg. The rampaging power also hurt Ruruta himself.
’’Ruruta-sama has to control his Magic Rights with his own power. Furthermore, both his body and his mind have already surpassed their limits of fatigue.’’
Hihak had never heard of this. He thought that one could simply gain power by eating a Book and be done with it.
’’However, he still is able to survive. That is why he is Ruruta-sama.’’
Ruruta's shaking gradually settled down. And he also began controlling the rampaging Magic Rights. He removed his hands from his throat and collapsed to the ground. Veekithar grabbed his body and took him to the tower.
’’Just as expected.’’
’’...I think so too.’’
Hihak watched Ruruta and the rest leave. Ruruta had not only an inborn Magic Right and talent, but also had the ability to study and endeavor.
’’Hihak-sama. You have been told to understand why Ruruta-sama is strong. So, are you able to grasp it now?’’
Lascall turned around to face Hihak. For some reason, he had the feeling that she didn't respect Ruruta. Even the fact that she addressed him as ’’sama’’ felt not like honor but merely to make a fool of him.
’’...I can't understand why Ruruta's strong... Can you, Lascall-sama?’’
’’Well then... such a lowly servant as myself can in no way understand such things.’’
Lascall said curtly.
However, there was something Hihak did realize that day.
Until now, he thought of Ruruta as a perfect and elegant being that knew of neither suffering nor pain. But that was wrong;he gained his strength through training and efforts. He endured great pain and undertook great challenges.
Hihak himself knew he had to grow stronger as well. He had to exert much more effort from now on.
However, he thought, I'm already past thirty. Undergoing the Magical Deliberation to obtain a Magic Right can only be done until one's twenties. No amount of effort would help me now.
Hihak didn't know what to do. How could he become stronger?
Inside the royal tower, warriors were conducting their Magic Deliberation. Their number has considerably decreased from before. Most of them had been eaten by Ruruta or alternatively had pursued the Memorial Weapons and died. Those who gathered there were the best of the best.
Hihak paced aimlessly among them.
They were all uniformly directing cold gazes at him. It seemed that both him deserting under enemy fire as well as what Ruruta said later became well-known.
Suddenly he looked to one of the rooms.
Inside were gathered people in their teens to their early twenties. In the middle of their circle was the statue of a girl with wings. This was one of the six Memorial Weapons currently in their possession, the Spinning Doll Ückück. Originally it was a tool with the power to deprive people of their Magic Rights. They modified it to serve as a tool bundling the Magic Rights of people together.
A man who seemed to be the supervisor said and they began the Magic Deliberation.
They were warriors of a much higher position than Hihak, but they haven't participated in the fight against the Punishment Angel. They will probably not take part in the next campaign as well. They had a different role.
As soon as the Magic Deliberation started, a single boy started scratching his head. His Deliberation was a failure;he came too close to chaos. The supervisor dragged him away, held his body and made him drink water. Hihak also helped him in a hurry.
’’You're done for today. Everyone else keep going.’’
’’No! Please let me do it! For a bit longer!’’
The agonized boy tried crawling back to position.
’’Stop, it's dangerous!’’
The supervisor tried pushing him. However, the boy clenched his teeth and spoke.
’’No, I won't. Just a bit more and the power we offer to Ruruta will be complete!’’
’’But you're at your limits already.’’
’’Today's critical. All ten of us don't fear death!’’
Pushed off by their vigor, Hihak gave up. The boy returned to the circle and continued his Magic Deliberation.
They were attempting to create a Grand Magic that could revive people. They were trying to obtain a Magic Right that would let them automatically revive once after dead. They would store that Magic Right inside Ückück and transfer it to Ruruta. When he had first heard of it Hihak thought that realizing such a Magic would be impossible. However, right now these youths were trying to make the impossible a reality.
The boy who collapsed before now screamed again. The supervisor shook his head. He was already beyond any help. However, none of the other youths lost even an ounce of their concentration.
Another boy and another have collapsed. The supervisor and Hihak helped them. When only six people remained, the supervisor forcibly picked up Ückück Ückück and stopped the Magic Deliberation.
Everyone began crying. The fact they had lost some of their comrades was not the reason;they lamented the fact their Magic was not completed. Some of them even pressed the supervisor to let them continue.
’’The last day approaches. If we lose because we weren't able to make it in time we will all die.’’
’’Go and rest. Tomorrow... we'll definitely do it tomorrow!’’
Hihak felt alienated in that room dominated by enthusiasm and a sense of duty. On one side were these boys who feared nothing and had no doubts and on the other was him, someone who didn't even know where to go and what to do. What was the difference between them?
Even though they are trying their best to this extent, just what am I doing?
Looking outside the tower's window down to the training ground he could see Ruruta's figure. He was engaged in something there. It looked like he was moving his arms repeatedly, but Hihak couldn't tell what he was doing. As he looked, Veekithar's aide passed right next to him. Although he was timid he tried talking to him. What was Ruruta doing? After he asked, Veekithar surprisingly answered pleasantly.
’’He is training his precision movements. He uses wheat grains and needles. He then throws one grain in the air like that.’’
Veekithar's aide gestured with his hands. It looked like throwing a grain of wheat into the air with his left hand and then cutting it with the needle in his right hand.
’’He cuts them hundreds of times in the air. In order not to break the grains he needs to weakly scrape them off with the needle. He repeats this hundreds of times.’’
Hihak was struck with admiration. Ruruta possessed not just enough destructive power needed to shave off mountaintops, but also had terrifying precision and speed.
’’Ruruta's physical abilities keep rising from the Magic Rights of the Books he eats. He can't control his body well right after eating. That's why he's doing this training.’’
Ruruta's right hand moved in a speed invisible to the naked eye. The wind pressure it created reached all the way to them. A cut ran through Hihak's skin as if he was struck by a blade of vacuum.
’’I have never seen Ruruta take a break. He only sleeps for a little while once every few days. Day after day he knows no repose.’’
What a difference from me, admired Hihak.
’’No, but there was one time...’’
Veekithar's aide mumbled at that time. He seemed like he was about to say something then stopped.
’’Is something the matter?’’
’’Nothing. Do you think that doubting Ruruta would be forgiven for you?’’
’’No, I have never... but what did you...’’
’’There is no need for you to know of that.’’
Leaving these words behind, the aide went away.
He couldn't really understand it, but it seemed like something happened to Ruruta in the past. More importantly he should think about himself.
Seeing Ruruta only made him aware of the overwhelming gap between them. He hadn't the slightest idea what to do with himself from now on. Time to go home, thought Hihak. Perhaps I'll think of something good tomorrow. Thinking tomorrow should be fine, right? He thought and went back home.
He took a meal like always and put Carloy to sleep. Leaving the bedroom, Hihak went outside to look at the moon. He thought of the future while looking at it.
He already knew how to become strong;what he lacked was a strong mind. A mind that would let him make great efforts, a mind that would not be disheartened, a mind that would not be afraid. His ability to become a tree was useless, but even in comparison to the other soldiers his bodily reinforcement Magic as well as sword and spear techniques were not inferior at all. Even in the fight against the Punishment Angel he would've won had he not faltered.
What should he do? How could he obtain a strong mind like that of Ruruta's? Hihak kept thinking. However, he went back to bed without having any idea.
I can just think of it tomorrow. I will definitely have a good idea tomorrow.
He always, always thought the he would become stronger the following day, and spent his days like this. When tomorrow comes he will definitely postpone it yet again. His ’’tomorrow’’ will not come for decades.
When Hihak had already drifted to sleep Ruruta finally finished his training. He flew in the sky and returned to his bedroom on the topmost floor of the royal tower. He opened the door attached to the wall made for him and entered the room.
’’I am glad you have returned safely. Here is your meal.’’
Looking at the person who came inside, Ruruta spoke.
’’Is something wrong? Surely you don't have such a lack of manpower that you need to personally serve me meals.’’
Veekithar was in his bedroom. Ruruta quickly ate the meal he had brought him. That meal was the same as that of commoners - barley gruel and some slightly salted meat. Ruruta normally restrained himself from having luxurious meals.
’’I have something to ask you about. It is about Hihak...’’
’’Is something the matter with matter with him?’’
’’Nothing in particular.’’
’’Don't come with meaningless topics for conversations. I am busy.’’
Ruruta finished eating in no time flat. He called his aides to massage his tired body. They applied medicine to his wounds and checked there was nothing wrong with his body. For Ruruta even resting was a battle. He had to heal his fatigue and wounds in preparation for tomorrow's training.
’’Why did you need to save Hihak? I simply cannot understand it.’’
’’Is such a thing so important for you? Just how much free time do you have?’’
Ruruta spoke bluntly.
’’If it is important to you, then I must act as well.
Is his ability - changing his own body to the form of a tree - so important?’’
’’No such thing. If I needed his ability I would have let him died there and eat his Book. He himself wanted it. In the first place how is that ability useful?’’
’’If you keep the form of a tree you can live for thousands of years...’’
’’The battle with the Beasts of the Final Chapter will come in several months. Winning there is everything. If it's not useful it's meaningless.’’
’’That is true, but...’’
’’He is nothing, just a simple man. There is no reason for you to care about him.’’
’’Then, Ruruta, why have you saved him?’’
Ruruta abruptly made a small sigh.
’’You wouldn't understand it. You wouldn't get it no matter how much you think about it. You, at least.’’
Saying this, Ruruta had Veekithar leave.
That night, Hihak had a dream. Oh, not this dream again, he shook in dread.
This was the dream commonly known as Orntorra's Whispering. Everyone in the world had it about once every month. It was shown to humans by the one who sent forth the Punishment Angels and the Beasts of the Final Chapter to destroy the world - Orntorra.
In this vague dream world Hihak was all alone and the Beasts of the Final Chapter were surging from afar. Even just a few of them would result in a tough fight, but there were millions, tens of millions, no - an infinite number of them rushing at him.
Hihak held his spear and ran away. He couldn't even consider fighting;it was like trying to extinguish an active volcano using a cup of water. Or like trying to stop a tsunami using a single sliding door.
The running Hihak was caught by the Beasts and held down. He was promptly ripped to pieces and died.
Orntorra showed him that dream to make him surrender. To make him realize that fighting was useless and to give up on living.
Hihak woke up. His body was covered in cold sweat. Just like a dead person.
’’...Haah, haah, haah...’’
He was made to understand every time he had seen this dream: the Beasts were far too strong. He didn't think even Ruruta would be able to beat them.
Ruruta should have also seen this dream countless of times. And yet he lived without fearing the Beasts, without doubting his victory and without losing his way. How could he do that? Hihak just couldn't understand him.
How could he become stronger? How could he obtain a strong heart? He remained clueless and the only thing to progress was time.
After three weeks Hihak was summoned by Veekithar. He kept racking his brains throughout all of this time, yet looking from the side it would seem as if he merely ate, slept, and wasted his time.
’’Have you become strong like Ruruta wished for you to?’’
Veekithar said. Hihak couldn't think of any way to talk himself out of it, so his voice was clogged. Veekithar then spoke without hiding the contempt in his voice.
’’Hmm, so you're the only exception of Ruruta's discerning eyes... but...’’
He looked at Hihak with his hawk-like eyes.
’’This is not the reason I have called you here today. This is another matter entirely. A moderately strong warrior is needed. Take this.’’
Hihak was handed a sword. It was a bizarre sword with a hilt shaped like a spider and a blade as thin as a thread.
’’Is that... no way...’’
’’Yes, it is one of the seven Memorial Weapons, the Ever-Laughing Magic Blade Shlamuffen. Learn how to use it for this day only.’’
Hihak further inquired to what he needed to do with it.
’’Including you idiot, I have gathered four warriors. I will have you lot help with Ruruta's training. You will use four of the Weapons to fight against him.’’
Hihak felt chills down his spine. Even if he were to use Shlamuffen he wouldn't last a single second against Ruruta.
’’No, Ruruta has said that he will not make any offensive move. You will all launch attacks at him and he will simply evade all of them barehanded.’’
Hihak felt yet another chill. What if they by chance ended up killing Ruruta? It seemed like Veekithar was afraid of that possibility as well.
’’I also told him that. I said that he should refrain from any dangerous conduct. However, since Ruruta has resolved himself to do it I shall obey. There is no other choice.’’
’’Ruruta also said that he wouldn't forgive you going easy on him even a little bit.’’
Hihak received the Magic Blade while trembling all over. He was afraid He was afraid of killing Ruruta with his attack much more than his own death.
The following day, the training took place in the desert at the end of the end of the world. Hihak and the other warriors were brought there by Ruruta. Everyone had a gloomy countenance, but Ruruta ordered them to attack regardless of their anxiousness.
Their fear of killing Ruruta turned out to be needless. None of them was even able to see his movements. He ran at a speed far beyond what their eyes could follow and danced in the sky. Far from simply pointing the blade at him, Hihak had no idea where to attack.
’’This isn't fit for training.’’
Ruruta said. Hihak and the rest were relieved. However, Ruruta then spoke other terrifying words.
’’I will not move from here. You all attack me however you'd like.’’
He stood atop the sand.
None of them moved. All of the four warriors froze in place with the four Memorial Weapons in their hands.
Hihak was holding the Ever-Laughing Magic Blade Shlamuffen. Although imperfect, the sword could enact attacks that erased cause-and-effect as well as an assault of countless slashes that would rip apart anything and everything.
Another was the Ever-Crying Magic Blade Acharai. It worked on the same principle as Shlamuffen but had less power.
Besides these two swords were three other Weapons superior to them. They were the Dark Club Gmork, the Colorful Sand Battleship Graógramán and the Rhythmic Barrier Uyulála.
Dark Club Gmork was a simple bludgeon covered in a black fog. One could ascertain its shape by touch, but its real form was invisible. It was said that those who see it directly would become blind. It could smash the earth using a large, invisible blow.
The Colorful Sand Battleship Graógramán was shaped like countless iron scraps the size of a dagger assembled together. It moved according to its owner's will and could change its form. That ship was like a flying fortress.
’’...I will not use the Rhythmic Barrier. I will only defend using my own power.’’
The fifth Memorial Weapon - Rhythmic Barrier Uyulála - was the pattern tattooed to Ruruta's shoulders. It possessed defensive capabilities of the cause-and-effect erasure kind. He would always activate this invincible and absolute defense unless he had no intention to fight.
In addition, the sixth Memorial Weapon - Spinning Doll Ückück - was not there on account of it being unable to be used directly for battle. Adding the seventh Memorial Weapon which Hihak had failed to retrieve, these were all the weapons they needed.
Also, the Passed Stone Blade Yor did not count among the seven Memorial Weapons. Thus Veekithar had told him but he didn't really understand why. A little while ago it should have been counted though.
’’Come at me now.’’
The warriors shook their necks to the side.
’’We can't, we're too afraid, our hands won't move...’’
’’Do it. Don't be afraid.’’
Ruruta rebuked them.
’’Ruruta does not fear anything. Ruruta will never falter. So Ruruta will never be defeated.
Believe in me. If you have the will to believe you should be able to attack.’’
After a short while of silence, Acharai's crying voice reverberated. Also, Graógramán took a dense offensive formation, and the destructive hammer of Gmork was unleashed. Hihak, despite being a step late, invoked Shlamuffen's power.
Ruruta swung both hands. A black wave drowned the attacks of Shlamuffen and Acharai;Countless giant needles rose from the ground to intercept Graógramán;Gmork's attack, enough to make the ground collapse, was repelled using a single fist.
’’A spiritless attack. Do you still not believe in Ruruta?’’
There was some anger in his calm words. The warriors lost their tempers hearing them.
The fight lasted all night. But the one to give up wasn't Ruruta but the four warriors.
Ruruta muttered. His figure was bloody. As expected even Ruruta couldn't get out unscathed. His wounds have long since healed due to his super regeneration, though.
’’I'm... sorry. But my legs can't... anymore...’’
Hihak and the rest collapsed to the sand. Their whole body felt as heavy as lead. Their throats were as dry as sand.
’’This isn't about you. My...’’
Ruruta clenched his fist.
’’My power isn't sufficient.’’
Hihak was astonished. He was far beyond them even using the four Memorial Weapons. And yet he says his power is insufficient?
’’I need power. A power much stronger than it is now. Let's go back to the royal capital.’’
Saying this, Ruruta grabbed the four warriors with an invisible force and made them float. They flew like this back to the capital in the speed of an arrow.
’’I will protect...’’
Ruruta muttered something. Hihak had the feeling he heard someone's name, but he couldn't grasp it.
And that was not all: Hihak's worries became far more deeper than that.
Even though Ruruta held so much power it wasn't enough for him? What could Hihak do to compensate for that? Even if Ruruta were to eat his Book it would be like adding a cup of water to a large river.
I wasn't able to approach the answer today. All I realized was that I am powerless and Ruruta has overwhelming power. That's it.
Does he really need me? Hihak couldn't help but ask himself this most fundamental question of all.