It’s been a few hours since Alistair started the refurbishment process . Apparently, it takes a lot of time to get my internal system up and running, and ready to control .
As before, Alistair stood still with her eyes closed throughout, before suddenly opening her eyes and looking up .
“Okay, it’s ready . We can get into the renovation process at any time now . ”
Then, she wiped the sweat from her forehead . She has been working continuously for several hours without drinking or eating . I think she’s pretty worn out, but I didn’t see any significant signs of fatigue on her face .
『Hey, do you need a break? It’s already night, you know?』
From the only small window provided in this room, we could already see the darkness of the night before we realized . The room was so bright and shiny that I didn’t notice the passing of time at all .
“I’m okay . I don’t get tired easily . However, we do have a long way to go . Let’s take a little break…”
『Fran must be tired too, huh?』
“I’m fine . ”
“I’m tired . So let’s go take a break . ”
You just told me right now that you’re not tired .
Alistair was openly showing her concern for Fran . Lucky enough, Fran wasn’t a child who couldn’t read the air well enough to make that concern worthless, so she nodded with a coy smile at Alistair’s words .
“Then let’s go upstairs . ”
“Is resting here not good?”
“I don’t eat my meals in the workshop . ”
It seems like that’s a rule she abided as a craftsman . Good thing, the glutton Fran did not take out any food and started eating it during the analysis . Alistair’s concentration would probably have been disrupted and she might have messed up because of it . Or rather, the analysis process might have been interrupted .
Fran glanced at me . She appears to be worried about leaving me here .
『Fran, it’s okay . I’m not experiencing any pain anymore, don’t worry about it!』
『Unlike me, Fran is tired, and she needs a break . Even if I’m cured, what good will that be if Fran is incapacitated?』
And then, Alistair casually lifted me up .
What is she doing?
“Nothing, we’ve done some basic repairs, so as long as we don’t do any heavy fighting, we can carry you around . ”
You could have told me that earlier! We had such a heartfelt exchange for nothing!
“Here Fran . ”
“Hmm . ”
Oh, I knew I’d feel right at home on Fran’s back, sheathed in old man Gallus’ special scabbard . It fits me perfectly and I feel like I’m wrapped up in a comfortable blanket . Is this what it’s like, the comfort of coming home? Anyway, the relief I felt was beyond words .
“It’s here . ”
Alistair led me up the stairs, and I found myself in a surprisingly ordinary mansion . It was probably just slightly more luxurious than a moderately posh inn . The interior was made of stone and was decorated in a stylish villa style .
Through the door where Alistair just passed into, there was a dining room . There were also guests in front of the large marble dining table .
“Are you done?”
“Not yet . I’m just taking a break . ”
“Hey, make more space, stupid demon . ”
“O- oh, I’m sorry . ”
I still felt that Asura was feeble or reserved around Alistair . There’s definitely familiarity, but it also looked more than that, as if Asura was restraining himself .
Even towards that Kiara, Asura still spoke in a commanding tone . There’s a strong sense of dissonance that I felt when I saw Asura acting so meekly like this . It’s as if they weren’t the same person .
Fran seemed to think the same way, as she tilted her head slightly in puzzlement .
“Hey, are you two bad with each other?”
It was a straightforward question . Alistair raised her eyebrows and Asura looked troubled . Was it something that we shouldn’t have asked about?
“It’s not that we don’t get along . ”
I felt like they were trying to dodge the question . However, Fran continued to pursue it . I was interested in knowing more too, so I won’t stop here .
“Haa, when this guy first came to me, I was so taken aback by his stupidity that I gave him a little lecture . I’ve been calling him stupid demon ever since then . ”
“Yeah, and what do you think this guy said the first time we met?”
Alistair turned a stern gaze onto Asura . It sounded like they had a very bad first meeting . Just from remembering that time seemed to have already made her angry .
“This guy, you know, came up to me, and the first thing he said to me was ‘A divine grade blacksmith can destroy a divine sword, right?’ And then he gave me his sword and told me, ‘destroy this thing!!’”
“Th- that… . . I already said sorry about that…”
“Of course! To us divine grade blacksmiths, divine swords are like our own children! No matter if it was made by another divine grade blacksmith, they’re still special to us! And you wanted me to destroy one? By any chance, did you want to get your head split open, do you?”
Asura stroked his forehead silently . It was as if his head really got cracked . Afterwards, she made Asura sit upright while lecturing him with heated passion, continuing to do so for half a day .
“The Divine Sword Gaia, once it has been assigned to an owner, can only be used by that person . And even if it is thrown away, it will come back . But It’s not like they have free will……”
For a moment, I thought Gaia had a mind of its own, but apparently it didn’t . Maybe it’s more of a mechanical type of artificial spirit, something like Announcer-san .
“I don’t know why they picked me, but I thought it sucked . ”
I understood how Asura felt . Just when he was in agony after mutating into a calamitous demon and gained the mad demonization skill, suddenly he obtained the divine sword . If it’s going to come back to him when he discards it, then it means he’ll definitely have it in hand when the mad demonization is triggered .
To put it bluntly, it would be the birth of the worst kind of demon who could spread mass destruction . If he knew that he couldn’t seal off the madness, he must have at least tried to deal with the divine sword .
“I’ve already accepted that now . ”
“That’s why I’m hunting demonic beasts in the middle of nowhere so that I don’t bother people……”
Asura seems to have accepted his ownership of the divine sword by now, too . That’s probably why Alistair wasn’t complaining about it and kicked him out . Despite that, I still thought it was impossible for her to be gentle toward him .
“…Even now, I ended up causing you trouble . ”
“…Kiara didn’t die because of you . ”
“I understand . I’m not trying to put blame on who killed that woman, I just want to know what happened . Would you mind telling me about it?”
“Hmm . ”
“I’ll tell you . ”
“It’s fine . I’ll speak . I want to tell him what happened myself . ”
Alistair tried to take care of it, but Fran turned it down herself . She was only with her for a short while, but it was the death of Kiara, whom she respected . She probably wanted to speak of the incident in her own words . She seemed to think that this was her role as the person who witnessed Kiara breathe her last .
That’s not a bad thing . Personally, I think it’s a lot easier for Fran to get herself together by doing this than just dealing with it by herself . Besides, as Fran said before, the end of Kiara’s life was not a tragedy . She began to tell the story, including the part that she heard from me, as if she saw the events herself . It was the ending of a warrior, one who fought a powerful enemy and departed contentedly .
Asura no longer kept a sad expression on his face when he heard Fran’s retelling . Rather, he laughed .
“Ah, so you left while smiling…… You fought a powerful enemy that you couldn’t win even if you put everything you’ve got against it, scraped your life away, and died with laughter . It’s a very Kiara-like way to go . And I’m … well … jealous… . ”
I couldn’t fully understand the thoughts of these battle maniacs, but I could at least understand the weight of their feelings . Right to the end, having a satisfying battle and dying on the battlefield… All of that seemed really enviable to Asura .
Perhaps, this ending isn’t possible for Asura right now . If he gets caught up in a battle to the death, his mad demonization would be triggered . If that happened, he’ll either kill his enemies without realizing it or he’ll end up dead . Asura wouldn’t be conscious when that happens . At that point, the only thing driving him would be pure madness .
“I don’t know what you guys are going through…… But I’m pretty sure I could also imagine that person dying peacefully on her deathbed, surrounded by her disciples . ”
“Right . That’s right . ”
“The sword is for the battlefield…… . . I guess that means the same thing for warriors . That some of them would feel happier rotting away on a battlefield than on a shelf…… I’d like to understand that kind of feeling too . ”
That’s just like Alistair to be so empathetic .