Di Qi Ju: …revenge?
Di Qi Ju: …why is there a need for revenge?
Breman: As the head of the Military Police of Skills, Ferdila actually had the audacity to ambush my man, a soldier of Faith. As the commander of the Expeditionary Forces, how can I simply sit idly by and let this pass?
Breman: Don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten about yesterday’s pain?
Di Qi Ju: Of course, not…
Di Qi Ju: But, are you sure it’s Ferdila who did this?
Breman coldly laughed.
Breman: There’s no mistake, I even have proof of it.
Breman: A friend of mine happened to mention that Ferdila recently purchased a shipment of dangerous substances that would have dire consequences for any normal person who came into contact with them. Seeing as he had no motives to lie to me, nor would he do so if even he had, his information is trustworthy.
Breman: Think about it for a second, why is it that the moment he purchases such a shipment of dangerous goods, you immediately suffer such a horrific attack?
Breman: The motive and evidence is all there, so what’s the problem with taking revenge?
Di Qi Ju: But…logically speaking, that still isn’t enough to determine his guilt.
Breman: Normally, such a theory might not be as airtight as I would like it to be, but this is Skills.
Breman: Remember that trial you underwent recently? The evidence they used to pinpoint your guilt was just as far fetched.
Breman: We’re just a bunch of foreigners here, we’re simply engaging in the local customs.
Breman: Even if we put aside all that, as an individual, I wish to do this as well!
As he said those words, his eyes were constantly narrowed as if he was a hunter stalking his prey.
Breman: Just imagine him as our old nemesis, the great unknown and all its dangers.
Breman: When the unknown lunges and takes a bite out of us, what is our first response? To fight back and defend ourselves, of course.
Breman: Yet, we’ve grown soft. At this very moment, what is it that we should be doing, Di Qi Ju?
Di Qi Ju: ……
Breman: —strike back, conquer it, take our just rewards and compensation from it, turn it into a tool for…
Breman: …redeeming our humiliation!
Breman: Just because we aren’t used to facing against humans, doesn’t mean that we should lose our instincts for protecting our dignity and honor in the face of them.
Breman: Even forcing you to put on that freak show for a mere trial is enough for me to call for such an operation.
Breman: We’ll act now! Tonight, we sortie!
Di Qi Ju: ……
Should I support such a viewpoint?
Back then, I had already decided to consciously suppress my violent and bloody instincts in order to prevent me from getting addicted to such depraved thoughts.
Compared to me who had suffered that torturous experience, Breman’s need for vengeance seemed a lot higher than mine.
Why must we do this? Don’t you already know of my other form, was there a need to fuss over such minor matters, Breman?
It’s just pain, there’s no need to go to such lengths for me.
But, it looks like whatever I could say now would not change his mind.
I turned to my friends, hoping that they could understand my current thoughts.
Di Qi Ju: Then…how do you guys feel about this?
Di Qi Ju: Honestly, there’s no need for this right?
Di Qi Ju: Having one less issue to deal with is a lot better than having one more isn’t it? Being so far away from Faith, instigating such a conflict can’t be a good thing for us.
Mo Chuan: —I’m not opposed to it.
The first to answer was the lupine Mo Chuan.
Mo Chuan: Even though I didn’t talk to you last night when you came back, I could clearly see that the pain that was still torturing you.
Mo Chuan: I’ve experienced that kind of sensation before and I’m sure you’re still experiencing it now aren’t you?
Di Qi Ju: ……
Mo Chuan: If you forcefully suppress it, it will slowly turn into an unresolvable grudge.
Mo Chuan: While taking revenge might be shunned because it might start an unending chain, its biggest value is laid in its ability to banish such inner demons.
Mo Chuan: As long as Commander Breman has fully considered the consequences of this operation, I’m not opposed to it.
Breman: Naturally, I’ve considered the consequences.
Lee Sole’shot: —I approve, I approve, this way I’ll have more chances to shoot my load.
Di Qi Ju: Dude, we aren’t going to be hitting a target dummy you know…
Halfmoon Leak’age: …truth be told, I’m opposed to this operation.
Halfmoon Leak’age: However, my position takes precedence over my own personal beliefs. I’ll follow the final order you give.
Breman: Then, what about you One’day High?
One’day High: …
One’day High: ……
Breman: One’day High?
One’day High: —wah?! Sorry…I was slightly out of it for a second.
Breman: Is something troubling you?
One’day High: …it’s nothing, just some private matters.
One’day High: I’ll follow your orders. Whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do it.
Breman: You seemed to have been like this since you came back from Three’floral’s, are you hiding something from me?
One’day High: It’s really just some personal matters. I won’t neglect my work obligations.
Breman: Alright then—in that case, we’ll proceed as planned.
Breman: Di Qi Ju, this isn’t just about you, it concerns the image of Faith’s Expeditionary Forces as well so don’t think too much about it.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Breman: —Mo Chuan, tonight, you’ll be in charge of protecting that girl, Bailey Estrange.
Mo Chuan: Hmm? Isn’t that usually done by Sole’shot?
Breman: If Ferdila immediately counter attacks after our operation, I don’t think Lee Sole’shot will be able to handle such a vigorous response. You, on the other hand, can.
Breman: That little lady didn’t seem to be afraid of you the first time you guys met so there shouldn’t be a problem. Unless, you find that protecting a lady is beneath you?
Mo Chuan: I wouldn’t say that, right now all of you seem like little ladies to me, except for Ju.
Lee Sole’shot: Oh my, that tongue lashing—
Breman: —Lee Sole’shot, you better watch that mouth of yours.
Lee Sole’shot: …what’s with this preferential treatment.
Breman: Lee Sole’shot, you and Halfmoon Leak’age will be the main force for tonight’s mission.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Understood.
Lee Sole’shot: Fine, so what’s the plan?
Breman: It’s simple, you will lie in wait near the headquarters of the military police, beat up one of the nearby patrols and dump him at their doorstep.
Di Qi Ju: …
Why does it sound so lackadaisical…as if it was concocted by some brainless rebel…
Breman: You don’t have to torture him too much since this is just the beginning anyway. All this is just to send him a message and make him see us as equals.
Breman: After that, I’ll prepare another gift that’s large enough for him to enjoy.
Breman: Honestly, this is nothing but a more aggressive form of diplomacy.
I have never heard of such a complicated-but-actually-isn’t way of taking revenge.
Breman: Alright, let’s set out. A tableside discussion doesn’t count as taking revenge after all.
After dinner time…in the backyard of Reitdarke’s Palace, Carmen was in the midst of training Naysis Ferne.
Carmen: Princess, are you sure you want to wear that ring into battle?
Naysis Ferne: …yes.
Carmen: Alright then. Thankfully, I had taken this into consideration and added some special features into the ring when I crafted it. It shouldn’t affect your swordsmanship.
Carmen: But, you still need to be careful. If you try any fancy moves, the ring will still hinder you.
Naysis Ferne: I know, I’ve always faced my targets head on without beating around the bush.
Carmen: Alright then.
Naysis Ferne: …
Naysis Ferne: …Carmen.
Carmen: Yes, what are your orders, Princess?
Naysis Ferne: No, it’s just, what kind of person are you to me?
Carmen: Hmm? I guess I’m a bodyguard. In the two years I’ve followed you, that has been the majority of my work.
Naysis Ferne: Do you feel that you have been wronged?
Carmen: No, why would I…
Carmen: This is the job and life I chose.
Naysis Ferne: But I’ve heard that you didn’t choose this life willingly.
Carmen: Fate definitely had a say in my choice that day.
Naysis Ferne: Then, if fate decreed otherwise, will you leave me as well?
Carmen: Princess, “leaving” comes in a variety of forms, not every one of them is the kind you have experienced with your “boyfriends”.
Carmen: Even if we’re separated by fate, it won’t be a betrayal of faith.
Carmen: Do you understand, Princess?
Naysis Ferne: …
Naysis Ferne: But the outcome…is all the same.
Carmen: No, it’s not the same.
Carmen: I’ve had someone dear to me leave me just like you, not everyone will leave your heart just because they are no longer by your side.
Carmen: Princess, in truth, you’ve never actually experienced a true tribulation in life. I can sense your confusion about this matter but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Carmen: You need to have more faith in the people beside you.
Naysis Ferne: It’s not that I don’t want to trust people, it’s just that Westrealm doesn’t allow me to trust someone.
Carmen: I understand what you’re trying to say, you’re referring to your wish ability aren’t you?
Carmen: I think you just haven’t discovered the crux of that ability. Wishes made to Westrealm have never been in vain before.
Carmen: Perhaps, when you finally understand a certain matter, that wish ability will manifest itself.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Naysis Ferne: I don’t understand it at all. It’s even harder than theology.
Carmen: Haha, don’t worry, you have plenty of time to comprehend such matters.
Carmen: All you have to do now is accomplish what you set out to do. Challenge Di Qi Ju, communicate to him what you wish to say and that’s enough for now.
Carmen: —oh right, I need to pick up the armor I ordered for you. Since Princess has even registered for the Battle of Death, we mustn’t skimp on such protection.
Carmen: Please permit me to leave your side for a moment.
Naysis Ferne: Mhm…alright.
After she left, Naysis Ferne sat down quietly in the corner of the courtyard deep in thought.
Thinking back on what Carmen said, she still couldn’t understand the meaning behind those words. Did she simply expect too much from others? Even so, did the problem truly lie with her? Exactly what kind of reason was she talking about that required a person to be older or worldly in order to understand?
She couldn’t understand.
Naysis Ferne: —!?
What she couldn’t understand as well was the scene she saw when she suddenly turned around.
A man had just jumped down from the walls of her home and landed behind her.
Under the dimming light of the sun, Naysis Ferne’s eyes were immediately drawn to the one unique point about his getup, his slanted little cap.
Naysis Ferne: Do you know whose wall it is you’ve just scaled over, little foreign thief?
??: I don’t think I went to the wrong place, Princess Naysis Ferne.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Naysis Ferne quietly reached for her dagger and stood before the man, checking if he was someone she knew.
Naysis Ferne: Who are you?
??: My name is Coagan, Princess.
Naysis Ferne: …never heard of you. Are you sure you have the right person?
The man smiled thinly. His tone was one of someone extremely familiar with the situation, completely unlike an unwelcome visitor but more like a lord of the land.
Coagan: Like you said, I’m not from this land, and you do in fact, not know of me. For all I know, you might have even forgotten about my brother whom you dated some time ago.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Naysis Ferne: Oh, I think I got the gist of it. Your brother must have been someone I fancied in the past but dumped because of his unfaithful actions. That’s why you’re here to take revenge on me, is that correct?
Coagan: I’m so glad you understand the situation, unfortunately you were only half right.
Naysis Ferne: Is that so? Then what do you think the truth is?
In order to get here, one normally had to pass through her bedroom. Most of time, only Carmen and the servant in charge of sending her meals would do so.
For someone to have infiltrated her backyard so easily, he couldn’t have been anyone ordinary. If this person truly wished harm upon her, chatting with him and stalling for more time was the safest choice she had now. After all, there was no guarantee that she was his match in a fight.
Coagan: What I think…
Coagan: He’s already dead, what kind of truth can there be?
Naysis Ferne: …what do you mean?
Coagan: After my brother was dumped by you, it didn’t take him long to get acquainted with the son of some influential official in Skills.
Coagan: Back then, I thought that he had finally given up on his meaningless, superficial lifestyle and started to be like me, going out to build valuable connects and start his own business…
Coagan: Who would’ve thought that he merely found a companion to vent his vengeful heart with.
Naysis Ferne: Huh? Exactly what are you talking about? What does that have to do with me?
Coagan: Of course it’s connected you.
At that, his relaxed expression immediately chilled, to the point where it almost froze over.
Rather than calling it cold, it would be more accurate to call it…maniacal.
This was the first time Naysis Ferne had ever seen a person change so drastically from a calm expression to such a violent one. It was as if this person only had these two emotions and everything else was a subset of them.
Coagan: My brother…and that son of the Head of the Military Police, the both of them, died right in front of you…Naysis Ferne.
Naysis Ferne: ……
Coagan: No matter what he did, no matter how much he sinned, he didn’t deserve to die like that!
Coagan: The main reason why a foreigner like me made the trip to Reitdarke is, to make you unforgivably sanctimonious b*stards pay for my brother’s death!
Naysis Ferne: —!?
Coagan: Don’t be so tense…someone has already left before you.
It was then that she finally understood what this man’s true purpose was—to kill.
Other than “kill”, there was nothing left in the man.
Motives, emotions, forgiveness? All these were nothing but a joke before him right now.
Naysis Ferne knew that she was about to be attacked, but her plan to stall had failed to buy time for Carmen’s return.
Naysis Ferne: …who?
Naysis Ferne: Who have you killed already?
Coagan: Ah, according to my investigations, he should be someone you know.
Coagan: His name is “Di Qi Ju”.
Naysis Ferne: …
Naysis Ferne: —hah! What a joke…
Coagan: Don’t believe me? I’ve seen it with my own two eyes…
As he said that, he removed his hat. Underneath it was a patch of hair that seemed like burnt, withering grass. Coupled with the normal black half of his hair, it formed a viscerally shocking sight to behold.
What was originally a pair of slits suddenly opened up, revealing a pair of eyeballs that looked like it could pop out of its sockets at any time.
Coagan: …he has already been reduced to a pile of goo thanks to the trap filled with a chemical I concocted myself!
Naysis Ferne: ……
Naysis Ferne: You—!!!!
Special thanks to Steve Granger, and Kaung Thant Win Naing!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.