Chapter 306 Here By Alva:
Chapter 305: The Girl Who Became a Shield
“Quit joking around!”
I understand what Atlas is trying to tell me.
And I shake my head at it.
“Do you understand the meaning behind your words!?” (Naofumi)
“Yes… I’m well aware. And still, I ask it of you.” (Atlas)
Her face isn’t one of someone telling a joke.
I look towards Fohl.
He’s… standing still, and glaring at me.
Even when I want him to speak up here, he stays silent.
He’s gripping his fists so strongly that they’re starting to bleed, but why…
“And please allow me one more bout of selfishness.” (Atlas)
I return my gaze to Atlas from Fohl, and see her mustering her power to get up. She gives me… A kiss on my lips.
The first kiss I ever got from a girl… tasted like blood.
As if her power supply had run out, Atlas falls to the floor.
“I always wanted this. My wish has finally been granted.” (Atlas)
“Why are you acting love-struck in a time like this…” (Naofumi)
Atlas calls out to Raphtalia, who had been watching over the exchange silently the whole time.
“The battle that I promised would definitely continue forever… It seems that it’s finally over.” (Atlas)
“No, it will still… continue forever!” (Raphtalia)
“Ufufu… for Raphtalia-san of all people to say something like that, I’m kind of happy. I think you understand, but I was always envious of you. No matter how hard I tried, I could never become Naofumi-sama’s number one. I knew.” (Atlas)
“That isn’t certain yet! Your competition with me will still… go on… and on…” (Raphtalia)
Atlas smiles upon seeing Raphtalia shed large drops of tears.
And she made a speech as if she had forseen this outcome.
“You sure are kind, Raphtalia-san. I understand why he likes you, but please listen to these words.” (Atlas)
“Not just these ones, I’ll listen to whatever words you have to offer. I’m fine with yielding Naofumi-sama once or twice, so please continue.” (Raphtalia)
“Raphtalia-san, Naofumi-sama… likes girls more than you think. He’s a normal boy. That’s why it’s fine if you… watch over him a little more.” (Atlas)
“… I know. But you’re the same, aren’t you? You can’t give up here!” (Raphtalia)
Raphtalia desperately pleads with her, but Atlas is already so weakened that she can’t even tell where she is anymore. She can no longer sense the chi in the air.
That’s just how little time she had left… the cold reality was approaching.
Eventually, as if she just noticed something, Atlas lets out words not directed at anyone in particular.
“Ah… that was right. Perhaps it would have been nice if I could spend my time with Raphtalia-san and Naofumi-sama together. Why didn’t I realize such a simple thing? … Thinking about it, I guess I’ve gotten another wish that will never be granted.” (Atlas)
“You’ll live! If it’s Naofumi-sama, you can definitely be saved!” (Raphtalia)
Atlas slowly shakes her head, more weakly than before.
“Naofumi-sama… please notice.” (Atlas)
“I was always doing my best to become number one in your heart. But… that wish was never granted.” (Atlas)
“What are you…” (Naofumi)
“Naofumi-sama, you yourself… probably didn’t think about it due to the wounds you bore on your heart. But become aware of it. Raphtalia-san… likes you as a member of the opposite sex. Just like me.” (Atlas)
“What are you saying at a time like this!” (Raphtalia)
“If it… weren’t a time like this, I know that Naofumi-sama would never lend his ears. Please believe… geho.” (Atlas)
I feel Atlas getting even weaker.
Ku… If I just use more Yggdrasil Medicine, and Revelation magic, then…
“Please… promise. I do nothing but ask things of you, so let this be my last request. Please… Naofumi-sama, please realize that there are people who like you. And please answer them. It’s a… promise.” (Atlas)
“Yeah! I understand! I get it, so don’t push yourself any further!” (NAofumi)
God in heaven… please! Please save the people who believed in me.
Even from the moment I was born, I never wished for a miracle.
I never made a wish, even when Witch tricked me, and I wasn’t allowed a voice in this world.
“It’s a… promise. Though I already asked for quite a bit…” (Atlas)
“I get it… I’ll think about it, so…” (Naofumi)
“Ufufu… for me to be this precious to Naofumi-sama… I… was… hap…” (Atlas)
Atlas goes silent.
I frantically shake her, but she doesn’t move at all. Her expression is frozen in a kind smile.
My scream… finds no answer…
I have no idea how peaceful her mind was in the end.
Raphtalia is shedding tear after tear. Fohl just continues staring at me silently.
Atlas’s life is no longer here.
What’s lying here is…
I mutter at Fohl.
“Hate… me.” (Naofumi)
The sister he valued more than his own life died protecting me, and I couldn’t even save her… He has enough reason to hate me.
But the second the words exited my mouth, Fohl grabbed my collar, and stopped his clenched fist in front of my face.
“As if I could hate you! As if I could put your mind at ease by hating you!” (Fohl)
“Atlas, you see, until the end, she loved you! For your sake, she chose to sacrifice herself! Then I cannot… hate or resent you. I wasn’t able to save her either. If at the time, I had just stopped her, it would have never come to this!” (Fohl)
Hypothetical possibilities floated in my mind.
At that time, if I stopped her, Atlas wouldn’t have died.
At that time, why couldn’t I answer to her feelings?
“At that time, if we had never met, Atlas… wouldn’t have died.” (Naofumi)
My field of vision took a 90 degree turn, and I was sent flying.
It was only after I hit the ground that I realized Fohl had hit me.
“Don’t say such things, even by mistake!” (Fohl)
“But that’s the truth-” (Naofumi)
“If she didn’t meet you at that time, Atlas would be dead! I was never able to raise the money necessary for the medicine to prolong her life. The next time she had a spasm, she would have died! And still… the one who let us walk freely was you! I won’t permit you to say things like that.” (Fohl)
“Even so… something like this…” (Naofumi)
“Don’t taint Atlas’s pride any further!” (Fohl)
Fohl turns his back to me.
Blood drips from his hanging hands.
He hit me, and I’m supposed to be harder than steel. He should be in pain.
The blood slowly drops on the ground.
“Atlas said it. She told me to think of the kids at the village like her, and to protect them. I have to honor her will! You are… the person I would have called my brother in law! I won’t let myself hate yooooooouuuuuuu!” (Fohl)
Fohl’s outburst echoes.
That voice… I’m not sure what power it held, but a bright light flew at him from the direction of the temple, and spun around him.
For a moment, a flash strong enough to make me close my eyes lighted the room, but it went out in an instant… On Fohl’s hands were a pair of Gauntlets.
They were familiar pieces of equipment…
What answered Fohl’s cry was the legendary weapon.
By scheme, or coincidence? The me of yesterday would have scoffed at this development.
But the current me doesn’t have the heart.
It’s already too late…
“I’ll definitely keep my promises to Atlas! I am… I am going to protect the villagers!” (Fohl)
Fohl ran off with tears flowing from his eyes.
To protect those on the battlefield.
I am… I am…
I sooth the sobbing Raphtalia, and… I think over the will left by the young girl that loved me.
“Please leave me alone for a moment.” (Naofumi)
I hold up the empty shell that was Atlas, and I… plead to Raphtalia, Rat, and the healers.
“… Understood. But don’t forget that the battle rages on.” (Rat)
“Yeah, I know.”
Raphtalia and Rat nod, and depart.
With a dim mind, I think about my my memories with this girl.
That night when she first came to my room.
“Because I am the Hero of the Shield, The only thing this world lets me do is defend.”
I scorned my own role as I spoke to her.
“… I know. When I look at this village, I see that everyone is being protected under Naofumi-sama’s wings.”
“If all you do is protect, everyone will someday leave your nest.”
“Anyone that wants to leave can leave, and still I will protect this village.”
“But then… Who will protect Naofumi-sama?”
“This is what I think. If Rafatalia is Naofumi-sama’s sword, then perhaps I could become Naofumi-sama’s shield.”
“Shield… That’s not as easy as it sounds, you know.”
(TL: This is chapter 173)
That wish was granted at the cost of her life.
That means I have to honor her last will.
If I, who can do nothing but protect, can’t grant a wish as simple as this… I would never be able to forgive myself.
Right… No matter who scorns me, no matter who abuses me, I, who was unable to protect this girl will honor my promise with her…!
Now, I will commit a taboo.
I bought this girl’s life, exploited her, worked her to death, and now I was going to torment her even afterwards. Why must a criminal like me feel this guilt?
I gaze at Atlas’s body.
This is a girl who liked someone like me.
she unconditionally accepted everything in me.
I’m going to absorb that girl into my shield.
Panic. Fear. Despair. Lamentation.
Various emotions swirl around my head.
I can’t stop the shaking in my body.
Even so, it’s something I must do.
If praying that much won’t bring about a miracle, if he is going to see this irrationality, and turn a blind eye… then god must not exist.
No, he’s an existence that can’t exist.
Like I’d let him exist!
If a god that permits this exists, I’ll never forgive him.
No matter what happens, I’ll kill him.
I mean, isn’t it strange!?
Everything was working smoothly.
I gave ample warning.
We were going to return home without any casualties!
If that light didn’t exist, Atlas wouldn’t have died.
To hell with Heroes.
To hell with God.
To hell with the Wave.
To hell with…
Why the hell should I… for this unreasonable world…
“Atlas… I think I kinda understand the reason you don’t want to return to the earth of this world.” (Naofumi)
The body of the girl who wouldn’t speak again was way too light.
But I will honor my promises.
I’ll never break them.
I won’t let her go to the heaven or hell of this shitty world.
The girl’s body disappears into my Shield.
It was the exact same light as when the Shield absorbed a monster or an object.
Curse Series. Wrath Shield, Blessing!
Blessed Series. You have unlocked the Shield of Compassion!
You have fulfilled the conditions to unlock the Soul Shield!
You have unlocked the Demi-Human Series! Series Completed!
You have completed the Slave User Series!
You have unlocked the Comrade Series! Series Completed!
You have dispelled the Curse of Blutopfer!
The Blessed Series is a series granted only to those who have overcome their curses. A powerful series of weapons.
There is a default form, and it can evolve to other shapes.
The Equipment Bonuses are based on the Shield it changes to.
Shield of Compassion
Skill 「Change Shield (Attack)」「Iron Maiden」「Meteor Wall」
Along with the blind girl’s disappearance… the Shield of Compassion was born in my heart.