Since Naofumi lost his Wrath, I’ll need to make another header entry contest.
Chapter 307: Funeral
The next day.
After we both tired ourselves out with lamentation, I slept with Raphtalia.
(TL: No, not like that)
“These are the heroes that risked their lives to win this battle… Salute!”
In front of the castle on the land where Houou was sealed, a funeral service was being held.
Those who were lost in the battle were respectfully buried.
We had to part with several people from my village as well.
I raised them to be my pawns for war… but I wanted all of them to return alive.
Should I… stop deploying them in waves?
If I’ll have to feel like this every time, then I don’t want to send them into battle.
I quietly stood in front of Atlas’s casket.
It’s empty. Her body is… inside my Shield.
I gently place a flower on top.
Fohl follows my lead, and places one as well.
For some reason, Trash also silently garnishes the casket with flowers.
His expression is dark.
He says nothing to either me or Fohl.
But I knew.
When I retreated with Atlas to the back lines, Trash stood outside the tent the entire time.
Even though he wasn’t able to help at all, what does he plan to do at this point in time!?
But taking my anger out on Trash won’t accomplish anything.
Getting angry is pointless. It won’t bring anything.
… I couldn’t do anything either.
And I learned that Trash wasn’t the culprit.
He was with the Queen issuing orders when it happened. Many attested to that.
More importantly, Trash had little reason to do it.
Based on Atlas’s positioning, she would have been brought into the explosion regardless, unless I did something about it.
“… I’m going to fight it. The wave.” (Fohl)
Fohl declares this at me.
“Running away… will just lead to more of the villagers dying.” (Fohl)
“… I see.”
So that’s Fohl’s answer.
If I was in his position, I bet I would fight the Waves.
For everyone’s sake. For Atlas’s sake.
Kiel is quite worn out. She cries as she places a flower on the coffin.
“I’ll… fight too!” (Kiel)
On hearing my voice, Kiel directs eyes filled with determination at me.
“Niichan always said it! That it was a fight where we could die, that it wasn’t a game. Everyone was well aware of that when they chose to fight for you! I can’t just pull back because it’s dangerous!” (Kiel)
“Is what she says.” (Fohl)
Fohl continues after Kiel.
“Everyone in that village fought out of love for you… Aniki. They decided to fight for you. You can’t stop them anymore. Take… responsibility for what you’ve done.” (Fohl)
“… Got it.” (Naofumi)
But I don’t want to have them die.
Every time I remember Atlas’s words, my heart shakes.
What was I making these people do?
I never thought I was the one who didn’t realize it.
In order not to have any more regrets, I…
Raphtalia just silently stands in front of Atlas’s coffin.
Atlas told me that Raphtalia was in love with me.
I had pushed it out of my mind. It’s not that I never considered the possibility, but I deluded myself into thinking she was just a diligent child working for me.
Atlas’s will tightens around my heart.
I have nothing but regrets. They won’t leave me.
She once said that she might die any day.
Then… so I don’t have to feel like this anymore, should I answer those that say they love me?
What did I do for Atlas?
I took away her illness, but what else did I ever do for her?
I should have been able to give her more happiness.
… I’ll stop it. This train of thought.
I’ll leave if for after I do what I must. For after I know the world is safe.
The funeral concludes, and I address the Queen.
“Though this occasion may have given rise to many sacrifices, I am thankful for your efforts towards destroying Houou, Iwatani-sama.” (Queen)
“Spare me your pleasantries. I just want to see if you’ve identified the bastard who shot that unnecessary attack.” (Naofumi)
“… No, we have heard nothing of the culprit.” (Queen)
“What about the Seven Star Heroes that were supposed to come running here? They’re the greatest suspects.” (Naofumi)
“… I’m truly sorry, but we still have yet to get into contact with them.” (Queen)
“You sure are useless!” (Naofumi)
I’m getting pissed off.
I understand the Queen has done nothing wrong, but I can’t do anything about my emotions.
“Another important matter we have to attend to is the next of the four beasts. What do you think about it?” (Queen)
On my question, the Queen lets out a small sound of surprise.
“Have you not heard from the other heroes about the timing of the next wave?” (Queen)
I confirm the blue hourglass in my field of vision.
… 2 Days and 18 Hours.
Short! We have no time left!
I’m at a loss for words.
Oy, oy. The next of the Four Good Omens is… Kirin, was it?
The place it’s sealed… I never asked anyone!
“According to the Hero of the Sword-sama, the beast is set to appear around Faubley.” (Queen)
Faubley… Are we going to drag our current forces all the way to Faubley to prepare for it?
In less than three days?
If Firo wanted to run straight without and food or rest, I think it would take two days to get to Melromark from here.
How far away is Faubley?
“And wait, where was Houou’s blue Hourglass?” (Naofumi)
“It manifested in the center of the city. According to witness reports, it just glowed blue, and there was no sand, though.” (Queen)
Fumu… a sand less, blue Hourglass appeared.
That sure sounds strange.
Houou gave three months of long rest, but Kirin, only three days.
Both the turtle and the Bird moved to destroy as many life-forms as possible.
… The Four Good Omens.
The only answer I can think of right now is that the amount of lives they take extends the time to the next wave.
Those beasts were supposed to bring happiness and fortune.
So looking at the world as a whole, is this extension the fortune they bring?
Sacrifices… thinking about Atlas, and the others, I want to deny the possibility.
No, I should be denying it.
It may just be that the seal was going to break now by coincidence.
But more importantly.
“What will we do about Kirin? No, I should call Ren.” (Naofumi)
I raise my voice, and call for the Sword.
After a while, Ren answers my call, and comes towards me.
“What sort of enemy is Kirin?” (Naofumi)
“A monster on equal footing with Houou.” (Ren)
Kirin… I believe it was a set of two beasts, like Houou. Ki and Rin.
Is the Kirin sealed in Houou the same one I know of? The ones that would appear before kings of good virtue?
But Faubley’s under that Pig King, right?
That really doesn’t seem to be the case.
Perhaps the first time it manifested, the king was coincidentally a capable one.
But with only three days to spare, what will we do with the armies?
They were equipped to travel from the beginning, but there’s no time for weapon maintenance, and war conferences.
And what’s with this time limit? There’s no time to prepare or anything!
It isn’t even a distance easily trekked in three days, and even if we wanted to warp there, Motoyasu already erased it from his saved warp locations, so we can’t.
Is the only option to travel by land?
“At the very least, the heroes should set out. With three days, I’m not sure if even Firo will be able to make it, but we have to go.” (Naofumi)
As it is, it’s a powerful monster.
Even if we can’t make it, we have to go.
Faubley is this world’s largest country, so its population should be massive.
If a monster that hunted life appeared in such a place,what would happen?
The answer is clear.
I have to reduce the casualties as much as possible.
Perhaps… we can beat it with just the Heroes.
It doesn’t matter if I’m getting full of myself. We can only try.
If that’s the case, the villagers won’t have to become sacrifices.
“For now, let’s warp back to the village, and set out.” (Naofumi)
But we took all of the Filo Rials here to assist in the Army’s transportation.
Do I have to make use of the monsters I turned into Raphs?
They do have some stamina, but they’re not as fast as Filo Rials.
“Who should we take?”
“The Allied Armies have suffered heavy casualties, and moving them will be difficult. Queen, what will you do?”
“… I understand. I will accompany you with my Trash. I’ll negotiate cooperation with Faubley’s army.” (Queen)
Fumu, she really is Melty’s mother.
At times like this, she takes the initiative, and steps forward.
The Queen went to talk to the other army commanders.
It ended up that the Silt Welt generals would take charge of the Armies, and have them steadily proceed towards Faubley.