We hid in a room inside the mansion to evade the bandits. From outside of the room, we could hear footsteps running through the hallway.
When I hold my breath to avoid being heard, I’m attacked by waves of sorrow.
From Caroline to my father and even the people that lived in the mansion. I never had a close relationship with any of them, but I never wished that they were dead.
Nonetheless, Caroline died and Father followed her. I have not seen any bodies of the servants, but there are several bodies of knights lying everywhere.
Why did this happen…?
I suddenly noticed Alice staring at my face.
“Leon, are you okay? You have a painful look on your face.”
“I can’t say that I’m fine, but I can keep going. I can mourn later, once we’ve escaped from here.”
“Leon-sama, you’re strong.”
“I’m not strong. I’m only desperate because of how weak I am.”
Because I’m so weak, I caused Saya sorrow. Because I was weak, I could not protect Milli, Claire, everyone. And even now I am still weak, so I am afraid of losing anything else.
“……You’re still strong as you are. You try to do everything by yourself, you remind me so much of my older brother.”
“Alice’s older brother…What kind of person was he?”
“We can talk about that once we’ve escaped from here.”
“Right…I’m looking forward to it.”
I thought that may be a chance to raise a flag, but Alice didn’t answer. I guess it is a hard subject for her to talk about.
“… Well, the bandits seem to have passed by.”
“Really? Do you think there are anymore nearby?”
“Well, there doesn’t seem to be any near us.”
Alice gives a clear answer to my question.
Alice seems to have better senses than humans, and so she is able to accurately scout out the surrounding area. Thanks to this, she had helped me many times so far.
If Alice was not with me, I would have been caught a while ago.
“Okay, let’s hurry and find the hidden door.”
I gently opened the door to check the area outside of the room we had been hiding in, just as Alice had said, there was nobody in the vicinity.
We carefully, but as quickly as we could, headed to the hallway on the second floor where the hidden door was located.
Along the way, there were several times bandits came near us, but thanks to Alice we were able to avoid them. We reached the location of the hidden door.
“Is this….the hidden door?”
I push around on the wall to find the way to open it. It was surprisingly easy to open. With this, we can escape from the mansion.
At the moment I reached out to push on the wall, I could hear a man’s scream coming from behind us in the hallway.
“That sounded like Blake-sama, it’s coming from just around the corner….Maybe he was caught by a bandit.”
Father had said he had already escaped, but he’s still in the mansion.
“……What should we do? It sounds like they’ve captured him, so they don’t seem to plan on killing him immediately. They’re probably going to interrogate him first…..”
“Is that so…”
If they’re planning on interrogating him, of course there will be other enemies with him…..
It would be dangerous for us to take a risk to save Blake. After all he did to Alice. Only a complete idiot or someone really good-natured would go back for someone like that.
– So I let out a sigh, knowing how stupid I was for doing this.
“Alice, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to escape first. I’ll go back to help Blake.”
“Please don’t say anything. I can’t stand to see any more of my family die. Even after everything Blake has done. To me, he’s still my older brother.”
“I’m not trying to stop you, I am your slave Leon-sama. If I leave your side now, I’ll be hit by an intense amount of pain from the slave contract’s seal.”
The seal on Alice marking her as a slave. There seems to be no way to remove this, and it prevents her from taking any action against her master. Lately, I had completely forgot about the fact that Alice is a slave.
“……Had you forgotten?”
“Ah….No, I’m sorry.”
“Well, don’t worry about it. Anyway, I will follow Leon-sama. I was honestly a little angry when you asked me to leave you here.”
“What, why? For someone like Blake…”
After Blake attacked her and wanted her to do terrible things. But, to me asking her why, Alice only showed a bitter smile.
“I hate him.”
“If you were to abandon Blake here, you would regret it forever. If that were to happen, I could never be happy, and so, I am going to help.”
It only took me a moment to understand her meaning.
“If I’m filled with regret, you can’t become happy?”
“…Well, you did say we’d be happy together. Or were you lying?”
“No, I would never lie about that….”
As I stood there confused, Alice showed a smile that I had never seen before.
The moment I see it, I realize that my face has turned red. However, there’s no time for this now. First of all, I need to focus on helping Blake, I pushed down the feelings Alice had brought up in me.
I head towards the direction I heard Blake’s voice coming from. As we turned the corner I could see a someone that looked like a knight standing there, Blake was pressed up against the wall with a sword pointed at his chest.
Fortunately, there is only one opponent. If I act now, I may be able to take him down by surprise.
“We’ll try to take him by surprise. Alice get ready.”
I exchange words quickly with Alice as we hide around the corner from the knight. We begin to quietly approach the enemy from behind.
At that moment, Blake, who had spotted me, opened his eyes and pointed to me.
“He’s the one! Leon is the one you’re looking for!”
That idiot! On top of stopping us from being able to take the knight by surprise, he’s trying to get the knight to attack me! After all, it was a stupid decision to come to help him.
“Leon-sama, I’ve finally found you.”
The attacker turns around slowly. The moment I heard that voice, I froze in surprise. His face was covered with a mask, but that voice was familiar to me.
“I see…just by my voice you could tell.”
Regis said this and removed his mask. That face undoubtedly belongs to the butler of the Sfir family, Regis.
“Why are you here!”
“I’ve come to retrieve you.”
“Retrieve me? What do you mean!”
“Hey! You found who you were looking for, now let me go!”
Blake’s shouts cut Regis’ words short.
“Oh, sorry. I certainly no longer have any use for you. I’ll release you as you’ve requested.”
“O-oh, right. Now let me go.”
Blake escaped from the restraint of Regis and looked at me mockingly.
“I don’t know how you escaped from that room, but it doesn’t matter anymore! I’ll still have the last laugh! It’s a perfect end for you to die so miserably!”
Blake laughs arrogantly — Behind him, Regis showed only a cold smile.
“……No wait! Stop!”
I understand what Regis is planning and scream out to him. But at the same time, in a flash Regis swung his sword clean through Blake’s neck. Blake’s head was sent flying.
He collapsed without a sound. That was Blake — my brother’s death.
“….Why, why did you kill him!?”
“He would cause trouble if he was left alive.”
“…..What do you mean?”
“We can’t talk of that in this place. Will you come with me quietly?”
“You aren’t going to kill me?”
“No, I will be in trouble if I don’t bring you with alive.”
“….And if I were to refuse?”
“Then, I would have no choice but to use force to bring you with.”
The moment Regis responds, he closes the distance between us in seconds.
– He’s fast. I was expecting a surprise attack and just barely managed to avoid his attack.
I barely managed to parry Regis’ sword, but the power behind his blow is immense.
“Hou-, that’s an amazing reaction speed! It’s too bad. You lack the strength to match swords with me!”
I parry the first blow, but Regis continuously strikes at me. Just as Regis said, the difference in our strength is too great. In the end, the sword I was holding was sent flying across the room.
And then, the point of Regis’ sword was pressed against my throat.
“It’s over. Now please come with me peacefully.”
“…Why do you need me? Under whose orders are you here?”
“I can’t give you any specific details. All I can say is that it’s nothing bad.”
“….It’s nothing bad?”
I turn my eyes to look behind Regis. There, sat the remains of Blake.
And burned in my mind, are the bodies of the people of the Grances family, including Father and Caroline. I can’t trust Regis’ words.
I quickly focus my mind. I begin to collect the surrounding magical energy on my right arm and convert it into magical power. Immediately, the magical power on my right arm begins to release a pale glow.
“That’s…impossible! Someone your age is able to use magic!?”
Regis jumps back out of instinct. I began to retreat down the hallway away from Regis — threatening him with my right arm.
I only learned how to create magical power by Alice. She never taught me how to cast any spells. For now, this is just a distraction to create a chance for us to escape.
Alice who understood what I was planning threw one of the oil pots at the ceiling and smashed another on the ground. The pot broke with ease, one spreading oil along the hallway and the other covering Regis in oil.
“Agh– This is–!”
Regis immediately rolled out of the pool of oil. Almost at the same time, Alice threw the lantern toward Regis. The oil caught fire instantly and turned the hallway into a sea of fire.
A sea of fire may be an exaggeration — to be more accurate the fire is only about waist-high. But, Regis is covered in oil.
If he were to run towards us now, there is a chance he may be able to avoid the fire. However, the possibility of him catching fire is still there — this causes him to hesitate.
Then, there was a small opening where Regis lost sight of us. At this time, we quickly ran to the hidden door, there was a long stretch of stairs going to the basement from the second floor.
Like this, we succeeded in escaping the mansion.
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.