“Young Master’s past life?”
Nainiae had seen the scenery before through Riley last time. However, she could not close her mouth easily even though this was her second time to see it. Truly, the scenery was out of her world.
Standing in mid-air, with empty space as platforms, Nainiae walked to follow the black butterfly. She vacantly looked around the area.
“… This place is?”
Carriages running around with speed despite not having horses, buildings made of glasses, people wearing clothes she had never seen before… Everything about the place were mysterious to her.
“Wait. Did you just say this is Young Master’s… past life?”
Nainiae had her sights robbed by the fantastic visual below as she followed the black butterfly. Thinking about what the butterfly said earlier, Nainiae asked,
“What do you mean… by past life?”
As if she could not understand the current situation easily, Nainiae rolled hear brain. She covered her right eye with her right hand and muttered,
“Still, Young Master is definitely…”
Riley, in his head, was thinking about this particular scenery.
That meant Riley was aware of his past life.
“… Yes. He remembers his past life.”
An answer could be heard before Nainiae got thrown into chaos.
Nainiae was mumbling as she looked below. Having heard the voice, she looked to her front.
“Nice to meet you, Nainiae.”
The voice was not like Heliona’s. It didn’t have short echoes like her voice. The voice sounded like a human being’s voice. Nainiae said to the woman in black who appeared in front of her.
“… You are?”
She had long black hair and was wearing a black veil. She felt mysterious somehow.
“It is important to tell you who I am. However, unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time… so I’m afraid we will have to get to the main point right away.”
The woman in black bowed toward Nainiae and apologized. She then slowly swung her arm upward like how Nainiae swung her arm when she used magic.
“I have things I would like you to hear and see.”
When the woman in black swung her arm, at the same time, the firefly lights, like the ones that Nainiae saw earlier in the darkness, started to appear one after another around her.
“… These are?”
Their brightness was similar to basic Light magic. Nainiae vacantly stared at the lights and then redirected her gaze toward the woman.
“You are here because of Young Master Riley, right?”
Nainiae vacantly stared at the lights that were floating around her. Having heard the woman mentioning Riley, Nainiae quickly came to her senses and nodded,
“Yes, that’s right! Young Master… Is Young Master here?”
The woman in black nodded and gave a quizzical answer.
“He could be here. He could be not here.”
It was a nonsensical answer. Nainiae tilted her head to the side. As if the woman was trying to tell Nainiae that she should hold the questions until later, the woman in black brought her two hands forward and sent one of the firefly lights to Nainiae.
“Would you try catching it?”
Nainiae stared at the woman in black with suspicious eyes. However… Nainiae had no other choices at the moment. She decided to do as the woman said and extended her arm out.
<He is holding it? He grabbed hold of the sword!>
<T… That means… This child is?>
<Ah, right! This child will save us!>
<He is the brave hero. Finally, the brave hero appeared!>
As soon as Nainiae grabbed the firefly light, there were voices and visuals that zapped through her head. Nainiae was startled. She let go of the light and blinked her eyes.
“That just now was?”
“It’s Mr. Riley’s memories from his past life.”
“Memories from… his past life?”
Excited voices and expressions… Nainiae thought about what she just saw, which had people staring at Riley. In disbelief, Nainiae looked at the woman in black.
“You, just who…”
“To him, I had always felt sorry.”
The woman in black said in apologetic tone.
“In his past… in that place… I wonder if too much burden had been placed on just his shoulders.”
The woman watched the view below and muttered. Nainiae also looked at the view below their feet.
“This place is…”
“The view looks very different, right? It’s because this place is another world from yours. However, this place is… far more dreary and dangerous than you could ever imagine.”
Having heard what the woman said, Nainiae moved her eyes and started to carefully observe the place, including buildings at far distance.
“I think this place looks… beautiful?”
There were countless lights of various colors brightening the dark streets. Nainiae told the woman her honest opinion.
“It just appears to be. However, this place is far more rotten and dangerous than how it appears to be.”
As if she could not believe it easily, Nainiae had confused look on her face. The woman asked,
“Nainiae, can you see a forest?”
Nainiae looked around the view, but she realized she couldn’t find a single tree in this beautiful scenery.
“How about mana, which flows in abundance in your world?”
“Now that you mentioned it…”
“There aren’t any, right?”
Earlier, Nainiae realized that she could not use magic when she entered this place. She looked around to find mana, but as the woman said… Nainiae could not feel even a tiny grain worth of mana.
“Actually, the scenery below looks as beautiful as it is now because of Mr. Riley. Before him… it was horrible.”
“Oh, it started.”
“There, please look below. The narrow street below the red sign.”
Nainiae looked at where the woman was pointing at with her finger. There was a severely drunk man. He was stumbling as he walked toward the narrow street.
“It’s about to happen. Please observe carefully.”
Almost immediately after the woman said that, as if the ground developed a crack, it opened red. Black hands popped out of the crack and ambushed the man.
“… U… Uuuup?!”
The man got dragged away by the hands. He didn’t even have the chance to scream. With surprised look, Nainiae strained her eyes big.
“Just now… what happened…”
“Those hands… They are the ones that Mr. Riley fought in his past life. To explain more precisely… he fought against the beings who were trapped underground where those hands popped out.”
“Young Master did?”
Nainiae muttered. Instead of a reply, the woman sent another firefly light toward Nainiae.
<Shoot them! Shoot more! Fuck! Brave hero? Is he not here yet!>
<Captain! We are running out of bullets!>
<God damn it. Have the super naturals stand to the front at least! We need to buy time in anyway we can, shouldn’t we! Are you going to let all people behind us die?>
In the memory from this firefly light, Nainiae saw men holding black staff looking objects on their shoulders and aiming at the monsters in front of them.
<T… That is! I don’t see any super naturals around!>
<I think they must have… ran away after noticing the demon’s level.>
<Are you serious?!>
<Captain! Our bullets!>
<God damn it!>
Frustrated, the man threw away the staff that he held on his shoulder. He tightly closed his eyes, thinking this was the end. It was at that moment. A voice, familiar to Nainiae, could be heard.
<… Everyone, please move back. I’ll fight it from now on.>
Nainiae mumbled after hearing the voice. The men who were wielding the staffs muttered.
“… Young Master!”
<T… The brave hero!>
<We are saved! We are saved now!>
Facing a large monster that was coming to kill him, and with the gazes of the people with high expectations behind him, Riley was drawing the sword from his waist.
Although for a brief moment, Nainiae’s face brightened after hearing Riley’s voice inside the memory. However, having discovered the look on Riley’s face, which was in shambles, Nainiae turned back to the vacant look as if she just lost her soul.
“… How was it?”
The woman in black, who was watching the look on Nainiae’s face, carefully asked.
“He looked… exhausted.”
Nainiae said as she bit her lips. The woman in black nodded and started to explain about Riley from his past life.
“When he was three years old, he held the Holy Sword, the sword that can only be held by the one allowed by the fate. With that, be became the Brave Hero. Since then, he had swung sword without a day of rest, and…”
Nainiae muttered, and the woman in black continued in low voice.
“When he was seven, he killed a human being for the first time. It was a criminal.”
“When he was nine, he was betrayed by the teacher who promised to lead him to the right way. He lost his own sister because of that teacher. That man raped Riley’s sister.”
“Wait, just what…”
“When he was eleven, he killed his teacher.”
“When he was twelve, including the demons he slayed, the number of heads he cut down was nearing a thousand.”
The woman in black took a moment to breathe and continued with the rest.
“When he was fourteen, he lost his parents because he was betrayed by a friend he trusted. Even at this moment, just because he ‘held the Holy Sword,’ to live up to people’s expectations, he was slaying the demons.”
“To live up to… the people’s expectations?”
“When he was sixteen, he finally learned that the friend he had been with all this time killed his parents. Having lost his mind, Riley hunted him down and killed him. However… while he was away, many people who were expecting his arrival to save them were killed by the demons.”
“When he was seventeen, people started to say that people are dying because the Brave Hero existed. Because of this, he stopped taking actions. As of result, half of the humanity lost their lives… Ironically, it was the Brave Hero who got all of the blame and punishments.”
“After this, he was blessed by… No… He was cursed by the Priestess of this world so he could not commit suicide. Since then, he had been swinging sword like a slave. Also…”
Every story was a tragedy. Nainiae’s lips was shaking since a while ago.
“When he was nineteen, many innocent people were branded as demons or witches because of bad judgments of the Priestess. They cursed him as they were slain by his sword.”
As if there was more, the woman in black continued.
“The Priestess’ blessing and curses from the demons and the citizens… With all of them mixed in, he held all of the pain in his chest and continued to swing the sword. However, he only had one body… Occasionally, there were instances where he could not save a side because he could not be everywhere at once.”
“When he was twenty-two, the children from a city that he could not save came back as demons… In the end, he had to cut those children down with his own hands.”
The woman in black handed one of the firefly lights to Nainiae. The woman quietly pulled her chin.
<Mister… Mister… Who are you?>
<Fool… Cholok… Take a look at the sword I’m holding.>
<Holy… Sword? Then, are you a brave warrior?>
<… That’s right.>
<‘Hehe. That… is good… Mister… Then you came to… kill us?>
<… That’s right.>
<Fool. Why… Cholok… Why are you happy?>
<I should be happy… Mister… You said you will stop us, so…>
<Is that so? I guess that is right. You should be happy.>
<Mister… I have a favor to ask. Can I ask you just one favor?>
<I am sorry, but I don’t take requests from monsters…>
Hearing Riley’s voice coming through the head, Nainiae tightly grabbed her chest as if she was going to tear off her heart.
<We are not monsters.>
<Mister, we are not monsters. Really.>
<Huk… Mommy… I want to see mommy.>
<We are like this now because of you.>
<So, I’ll ask you for one favor.>
<Comfortably, without pain, kill us like that.>
<Mister, it hurts so much. We are suffering so much.>
In Nainiae’s eyes, there was Riley, who was raising the sword with tears in his eyes, being reflected on.
Watching this, Nainiae also ended up shedding a drop of tear.
“… There are more. Would you like to hear?”
The scene from earlier, which showed Riley swinging sword in tears, disappeared. Now, the woman in black appeared again and asked. Nainiae lowered her head and shook it left and right.
“… When he was twenty-six, he lost his life when he defeated the demon lord.”
As if she was trying to say that this was the last, the woman in black muttered in quiet voice and gave Nainiae another firefly light.
<You have defeated me. So, how does it feel?>
<Since you asked…>
<… I’m tired.>
<I’m tired… Honestly, I’m tired.>
The firefly light allowed Nainiae to hear the last words that Riley spoke in his past life. The woman wiped off the tears from Nainiae’s eyes.
“I had always been feeling sorry toward him.”
The woman in black repeated what she said earlier.
“The fact that he didn’t lose his mind to the very end… I still cannot believe that. Now… it seems the memories which he had been suppressing tightly are in danger of bursting.”
Nainiae realized why Riley was refusing to sleep. With piercing gaze, Nainiae looked at the woman.
“So… at least in this life… I tried to let him rest. I tried. Unfortunately… The situation came to where I now have no choice but to seek his help again.”
“If we left it be, many people will die. Not just the people in this world, but the people in your world will also be in danger.”
The woman in black looked at the view below once and then Nainiae once. She unveiled her face and showed her white skin as she lowered her head down.
The beautiful face that was behind the veil was very similar to someone’s face.
“… not a summon spirit?”
Nainiae asked the woman. The woman looked at Nainiae and nodded.
“That’s right. I ended up deceiving Andal and Heliona, but… I am not a summon spirit.”
Standing in front of Nainiae’s eyes, there was a beautiful woman who ‘looked exactly like herself.’ It seemed Nainiae figured out the true identity of the woman. Nainiae pointed at her right eye and asked,
“You… You gave me this eye to me, didn’t you?”
“Unlike myself, who has horrid looking appearance, you are the most beautiful person I had ever seen… You must be…”