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Chapter 368: A Fragile Place
“Even so, the situation is one where the enemy can see our every move…”
It’s like the mental state I had right after I was summoned had infected everyone.
With something like this going around, there’s no wonder why it was so hard to be believed.
Glass came over, and called out to me as I was lost in thought.
“What’s up?” (Naofumi)
“What do you plan to do from here on?” (Glass)
“I entrusted tomorrow’s plan to Trash, did I not?” (Naofumi)
“Yes… but while that person may be skilled, his enemy is just a bad matchup…”
Ah, right, there was something recorded about that in the Four Holy Weapons’ Manual.
And wait, record important things like betrayal and revival, you useless book.
Is it something like the scene of the crime is a trivial matter to the case?
He had many schemes swirling around his head. It ended with that one sentence.
“And… when will Raphtalia-san be bringing the Holy Spear’s Hero?” (Glass)
“Yeah, about that…” (Naofumi)
Raphtalia’s arrival is much slower than expected.
Well, perhaps that parallel world was hard to enter, and she’s going through some trouble.
I mean, if she uses too much power, she’ll be noticed.
I can lightly sense her presence, but it seems that Raphtalia has yet to exit that world.
IT appears to fully gain their trust, I’ll have to wait for Raphtalia to get here.
And without Motoyasu here, it’ll be hard to hit the lynchpin protecting this world.
As long as I’m here, I don’t think we’re devoid of ways to win, but there’s the danger of that Goddess running away.
I can’t let her get away.
If she does, she’ll merely start perpetuating evil deeds somewhere else.
We have to stop her breath here.
The Spirits wish for it as well.
I can use power as a god, but the source of it is the spirits’ wills.
And the will of the Spirits is also tied to the will of the world.
I am… well, something like their spokesperson.
The spirits and the land whisper me, alerting me of an opportunity.
“I think it will take a while. Until Raphtalia gets here, we have no choice but to keep fighting. Of course, we will get the enemy’s front line to retreat, though.” (Naofumi)
“… Understood.” (Glass)
From here on, I won’t allow us to lose to the reincarnators.
My power follows the rules of this world, and within their scope, I think I can win.
But that’s only if she doesn’t notice.
“By the way, Glass, you were a Person of Soul, right? Can’t you see the souls of other people?” (Naofumi)
“I cannot see the souls of the living. In that respect, Sadina-san is more capable.” (Glass)
Just how versatile does she have to be, that girl?
When I tried imagining her, the Sadina of my imagination winked at me, and made a peace sign.
Yay! She said.
That actually seems like something she would do, so it’s scary.
No, perhaps that doesn’t matter.
A-anyways, I’ll have to gather the necessary information.
“Melty, tomorrow, where will you be fighting?” (Naofumi)
“Right now, I’m assisting father. The enemy is really powerful, and there are times when he has to on the front lines and use magic. At time like that I issue commands from the command tower, and prepare choral magic.” (Melty)
“I see.” (Naofumi)
“But recently, we’ve bene pushed back by the reincarnators, and I’m often being protected by Firo-chan.” (Melty)
With a pained expression, Melty muttered it.
Her level has risen considerably.
In the past Firo dragger her around to level until she was completely worn out so she could Class Up, and it’s even higher now.
And in her battles with the reincarnators, it rose further… a difficult story.
『So you’re finally back.』
There, I heard Gaelion’s voice.
『I sensed thy presence manifest near mine own forces, so I was watching thee. 』
I matched channel, and answered.
『What were you doing, anyways?』
『It’s not like we were being one-sidedly crushed, mind you. I and Wyndea, and regrettably that Filo Rial Queen were fighting at the enemy stronghold.』
A united front of rivals. A dream-like situation.
No, I know this isn’t the mood for something like that.
Even so, Gaelion and Fitoria were working together and fighting?
I guess that’s just how far cornered we were.
『How’s the situation』
『Unfavorable. My power is unable to triumph over the Goddess. We’ve slaughtered her front lines many times.』
So they beat the reincarnators several times…
Whenever they died, they had some sort of revival granted to them.
Are they truly fine with returning from death like that?
That’s just great.
But that Bitch Goddess’s revival has plenty of demerits, you know?
Your lifespan shrinks immensely, and before you notice it, your soul is tampered with. If they knew about it, I doubt they would rely on it so much.
It may give off quite a game-ish feeling… but the world isn’t that much of a game.
If you die, you generally can’t come back, and even if you do, if the one doing the reviving skips parts of the process, your soul is tainted, and starts to fall apart.
At best… after two times, you may not notice it, but it should start shattering here and there.
I don’t know what she’s telling them to play it off.
They weren’t made to be okay after death like the Dragon Emperor.
“Hmm? Ah, and?” (Naofumi)
I concentrate on the conversation with Melty.
It may have been a conversation in my mind, but it was pretty much me calling Gaelion on a cellphone while my body was still talking to Melty.
“Father is calling you. Pertaining to the battles from tomorrow on, there are some things he wants to report, and other things he wants to ask.” (Melty)
“Got it.” (Naofumi)
I nodded, and started heading for Trash’s place.
… There was something I had to say.
“You worked really hard. I’ll definitely make it all work out.” (Naofumi)
“Naofumi, those words don’t suit you.” (Melty)
“Yeah, the past me would definitely never say them.” (Naofumi)
“Yes, but…” (Melty)
Melty cuts off her own words once.
“Yeah… thank you. Thank you for surviving…” (Melty)
With teary eyes, Melty said it loud and clear.
After parting with Melty, I headed to the meeting room Trash used to spin out plans.
It seems that he’s thinking of ways to stop the enemy advance tomorrow.
Even while I was talking with Sadina and Melty, he was here thinking. The boards in the room were filled with various ideas.
“Iwatani-dono, thank you for coming.” (Trash)
“How does it look?” (Naofumi)
Trash’s face is deeply dyed with the color of fatigue.
I mean, the enemy is the Queen he knows so well, and she’s the one taking command, so it’s hard to do it.
Durign the day, it seems my scolding had a positive effect, but there are many times when Trash runs into obstacles on the mental front.
“It may be tough, but you have to protect the country of the woman you loved.” (Naofumi)
“I know. I know!” (Trash)
It was a line he said to convince himself.
But I think the burden he bears should decrease now.
It’s a bit of a worrying factor that the enemy is the Queen, but I’ll assure him that it’ll be fine.
As I was thinking that…
Atlas came in by passing through the wall.
With her, Fohl and Kiel came to the conference room.
“It’s a misunderstanding! I’m not in that sort of relationship with Kiel!” (Fohl)
“I think you have it wrong, Atlas-chan. From me, the Crepe Tree is number one, then second is Niichan, and third is Fohl-niichan!” (Kiel)
So they were still on about that!
Atlas uses me as a Shield to hide from Fohl.
Hey, don’t go using me like that after wanting to become my Shield.
Also, Kiel, don’t make an incomprehensible hierarchy like that.
Why am I under that disturbing tree?
Trash and Fohl’s eyes meet, and the atmosphere becomes heavy.
Without reading the mood, Kiel continues to wag her tail in dog mode, while sitting on Fohl’s head.
Perhaps because these two are so similar, they’re often troubled with finding words to exchange.
Trash tries to concern himself with Fohl’s affairs, and Fohl finds that annoying.
“What’s wrong?” (Atlas)
“Atlas, I’d like you to show Trash that you’re doing fine. He’s someone who was worrying over you.” (Naofumi)
“Really…? Understood.” (Atlas)
In a half-transparent state, Atlas gently floated in front of Trash.
“Um, I’ve kinda become like this, but I’m fine. I would appreciate it if you put your mind at ease.” (Atlas)
Trash wipes away tears, and turns his back to Atlas.
“… This time, the enemy you’re fighting must be painful to go against. But… it’s true that she is a very important person to you… please consider that. Are all the important things you’ve ever lost your enemies?” (Atlas)
“… Right.” (Trash)
The Queen is currently an enemy.
But besides the Fake Atlas, no one with any relation to Trash has appeared.
The Bitch Goddess didn’t call up the one who was Atlas’s mother, or his sworn enemy, the Hakuko.
You could look at it optimistically, or think that she just didn’t want to send them out yet, though.
If she wanted to, I don’t think it would be beyond her.
But… I’ll bet the cost will be high for her if she wanted to do that.
“I’ll also caution you. It’s likely that those people may come out, but like with the Fake Atlas, they’ll be fakes created from your memory. I doubt they will harbor their true souls.” (Naofumi)
The shape of one’s soul is a complex thing in this world. I guess they also reincarnate.
But those souls flow in the dragon pulse, and once they’ve become pure white, blank slates, they’re reborn as new forms of life.
If the bitch were to drag Trash’s family out from that, she would have to tamper with the world’s laws.
That would take a considerably large cost, so for the Goddess who merely liked playing around and tormenting her enemies, there’s no way she would do that.
The reason she could recycle the Queen and the granny was probably because it hasn’t been too long since they died.
She could make them act so that even the ones in question wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
This is just hearsay, but apparently the granny acted exactly as she always did up to her betrayal.
No, perhaps she was brainwashed, or directly controlled. I don’t know which.
I mean, the fake Atlas was a manifestation of Fohl’s desires, so she tried to abuse me, it seems.
“Then… we’ll be leaving…”
Fohl took Kiel, and left.
These sure are loud folk.
“Didn’t you call me over to see if I was going to be reliable, or not?” (Naofumi)
“Yes… just how much strength did you gain, Iwatani-dono?” (Trash)
“Replying to that is a bit troubling, but I can probably take an attack from that Bitch Goddess head on. Ah, I’ll make a promise. If that Bitch tried to dishonor the dead by reviving them again, I’ll stop her.” (Naofumi)
I definitely can’t forgive her for making use of those passed.
It’ll be fine once Raphtalia comes, but for now, why don’t I interfere with her a bit?
“So you… need to put the Queen to rest. For Melty’s sake too.” (Naofumi)
Melty has a strong will, but despite that, she has some fragile places like Trash.
It’s because Firo’s there that she can hold out.
If her father were to lose the will to fight, the burden would be too much for her.
“You have things you need to protect.” (Naofumi)
Trash softly answered. He shook and sobbed, but he answered.
Even I could see how much pain he was in.
“Naofumi-sama, how about you use some of your power?” (Atlas)
“Reviving the dead is an act that twists the world’s order and its law of cause and effect. I don’t think it’s impossible, but…” (Naofumi)
If I use it, she’ll notice me instantly, and the recoil is too large.
What’s more, the Queen’s soul is already in the hands of that Bitch Goddess, so it’ll be difficult.
“No… I do not think that Mirellia would wish to be revived. For your consideration, Iwatani-dono… I thank you from the depths of my heart.” (Trash)
“Yeah, sorry for that.” (Naofumi)
There are people I want to bring back who died.
If, unlike the Bitch Goddess’s instant revival, I used proper methods, I would be able to stop the soul’s deterioration to some extent, the shield told me.
But I don’t think I’ll be able to use it too much.
Again, it has to do with the cost.
Any more resurrections, and she may become something that isn’t the Queen anymore.
It’s not a good thing at all. So we can’t go around using it.
“What is it, Iwatani-dono?” (Trash)
“Rest for now. Or else you won’t get any good ideas.” (Naofumi)
“… but…” (Trash)
As he was earnestly thinking up plans, on my orders, he slightly shook his head.
But Atlas approached him, and in the frame of his open hand, she tried to place hers.
“You really are tired. Please rest for a while.” (Atlas)
“If Iwatani-dono insists… then for a little bit, I will rest.” (Trash)
Trash leaned back in his chair.
I chant some fatigue-recovery magic, and remove some of his tiredness to a reasonable extent.
Even if I take away the fatigue with magic, I can’t do anything about the mental fatigue he has.
“Atlas, please talk to him, so he has a good sleep.” (Naofumi)
“Yes. I think it went something like…” (Atlas)
Atlas put her hand on his ear, as if to hide her voice from others, and started whispering.
“Onii-sama, please… to prepare for the battles to come, take a nice rest. It may be painful, but please, for the people you love as well…” (Atlas)
“Iwatani-dono, Atlas-dono… thank you…” (Trash)
On Atlas’s words, a teardrop drifts down his face as he quietly closes his eyes. He began breathing like someone asleep.
From one of his aides, I received a blanket, and I draped it over him.
I’ll put some expectations on him.
Tomorrow, the sleeping king of wisdom will turn out an idea good enough to overturn the battlefield.