The morning after the day of the banquet ―― I made a 《Connection》 that we used to return to the Allied Nations.
It’s finally the day before the 『Fighting Tournament』. There’s lots of things that need to be dealt with because of the 『Dragon Subjugation』, but excusing myself by saying I had important business to do, I managed to slip out of 『Epic Seeker』. Moving to a vacant area in the residential district, I began acting on what I decided yesterday.
「Should I break it……?」
I take out the 『Crescent Pectolazuri Straight Sword』 from 『Items』 and place the blade on the 『Bracelet』. This sword is something that can even cut that Crystal Golem. No matter what mineral this 『Bracelet』 is made of, it should be able to break it.
I put strength into the sword on the 『Bracelet』 and try cutting it.
―― However, the sword left no mark on the 『Bracelet』.
It isn’t that the 『Crescent Pectolazuri Straight Sword』 couldn’t cut the 『Bracelet』.
I put strength into the sword on the 『Bracelet』 and try cutting it.
Put simply, the strength I put into the sword disappeared right before I could cut the 『Bracelet』.
Regardless of my will, my body lost it’s strength all on its own. Smacking my lips, I once again put strength in my arm.
Regardless of my will, my body lost it’s strength all on its own. With the click of my tongue, I try once again.
However, there’s no mark left on the 『Bracelet』.
No matter how many times I repeated this the end result was the same. As if I were cursed, the 『Bracelet』 was left unharmed.
If anything, I felt that forcefully trying to destroy it actually worsened my condition.
As if it were stealing my strength to oppose, I’m attacked by nausea and weariness.
It’s just like a『Curse』……..
「Kuu, I expected as much……」
Although I figured this would happen, the shock I felt was still great.
Until recently I thought that I’d be able to destroy the 『Bracelet』 if I ever felt like it. However, the reality was the complete opposite. Even with a solid determination, I couldn’t inflict a single scratch.
「…… Nothing I can do about it. Next」
I reinvigorate myself and move onto my next plan.
I was prepared for this situation thanks to all the time I spent thinking about it last night. I quickly make my way back to 『Epic Seeker』 and in a way no one would notice, I enter the office and use the 《Connection》 to move to the labyrinth.
Having moved to the eleventh floor, I begin searching for monsters.
As long as it has a decent offense anyone should work. Pushed by my impatience I begin moving around.
And then, I find a single easy to handle gorilla like monster. I approach it empty handed and the monster having found its prey roars and attacks.
「―― Magic 《Dimension Gladiate》」
I grasp everything in the surroundings and with a strong will I force myself to stay in place and block the monster’s arm using my 『Bracelet』 ―― but in the next instant, the monster is split into two.
As I see the monster turn to light and disappear, I feel a cold sweat.
Before I realized it, I was holding a sword in my hand.
I know. I know what happened because of 《Dimension》. It’s still fresh in my mind.
Right before I could block it with the 『Bracelet』 ―― an unknown feeling assailed me and at that moment I took out a sword from 『Items』 and cut the enemy.
「I can’t even have a monster destroy it……?」
While shaking at this new realization, I begin analyzing the unknown feeling that I felt. At that moment, what I felt was fear. The fear of losing something very dear to me.
And that fear forced me to cut down the enemy that was about to destroy the 『Bracelet』.
That much I understand. I understand it, but I have no idea why I felt that.
It’s like, this 『Bracelet』, is as important as my sister.
There’s no way this bothersome 『Bracelet』 can even be compared to my sister. At least that I can say with confidence.
In other words, this happening regardless of my own will is proof that my emotions were toyed with. The moment I finish my analysis, my emotions that have cooled down once again burst.
It was anger at the fact that my emotions were toyed with by someone.
I remember what Reaper said.
――『Don’t play with another’s fate』。
I now understood the true meaning of those words. And now, I finally understood the reason the cells in my body have been screaming.
In anger, I clench my fist until blood spills from my palm. I try smashing the 『Bracelet』 with that clenched fist ―― but I miss. My fist hits the area near my elbow causing a pain to run through my body.
「Damn it……! One more time. This time more……!」
I’ll try again with an even stronger determination.
This time no matter what happens I won’t move. With that decision, I look for another monster.
Not long after, I find several of the same monster and I expose myself so that they can surround me.
Using their arms the gorilla-like monsters attack from all four directions.
In my heart I decided to accept it all in order so that at least one attack could reach the 『Bracelet』.
Without moving from that spot, I receive a direct hit. I continued receiving hit, after hit, after hit ―― but, the『Bracelet』 remained unharmed.
That’s just how much my body avoided it on its own.
No matter how much damage my body received, it made sure to at least protect the 『Bracelet』.
My head is hit causing my vision to flicker. My abdomen is hit causing my conscious to dim. My limbs are hit causing me to lose maneuverability. But even then, the 『Bracelet』 remains unharmed.
At this rate I’ll die, with no other choice I defeat the monsters surrounding me.
Inside the dispersing lights, I wipe off my dripping blood. Taking out a restoration item from 『Items』, I stop the minimal blood needed.
「So this is also useless……. Then, next……」
I drag my body covered in fresh wounds to the tenth floor and return to 『Epic Seeker』 using the set 《Connection》. I immediately spread 《Dimension Multiple》 throughout the office and search for someone who can break my involuntary defence.
First I’ll look for Lowen. He’s currently walking around the town.
As he’s walking around I make contact with him and forcefully bring him to the first open lot we cross.
Although he was a bit surprised, he did obediently follow along. It’s then that I make a straight request.
「―― Lowen, can you destroy this 『Bracelet』？」
Lowen listened to my words, then looked at my wound ridden body, and seemed to have understood it all.
And having realized, Lowen’s face warps.
「The 『Bracelet』……? Why, why now……?」
「…… I can’t ignore the lies, I finally noticed. Reaper taught me」
「Re, Reaper did?」
Lowen was shocked. He probably didn’t expect that name to come up.
「That’s why, I’ll remember it all…… Everything, it already took too long……」
As friends, I convey my true feelings to Lowen.
However, Lowen hears that and his face darkens. It darkened a lot.
「I’m sorry, but…… I can’t. Only that I can’t do」
Lowen averted his eyes and denied my request.
「After I noticed the discrepancy in your mind and body, I spoke with Rail Senks……. Most likely more than what you heard, Kanami……」
I was the one surprised this time. However, as friends I knew that Lowen didn’t tell any lies. In the same way as I didn’t disguise my words, neither did Lowen.
「This is the conclusion I came to after hearing that. That not removing the 『Bracelet』 is for the best. I believe the same thing as Rail Senks. Kanami, not having your memories return would be for the best. That way you can remain 『Happy』. ―― Everyone will be 『Happy』」
I listen to Lowen’s reply and grimace.
「Lowen! Even if I’m 『Happy』, I believe that something unforgivable happened. A 『Happiness』 smeared in lies is wrong. Even without my memories, I know that the past me is angry. That’s why, I will definitely retake my memories. As soon as possible……」
「Yo, you can’t……! If you remove that 『Bracelet』, Kanami, the possibility of you not fulfilling my wish is high. And it surely affects more than just me. That’s why, I can’t help you remove it. I don’t want to……!」
His voice was weak. It looks like he’s ashamed to have shaken his head due to his own circumstances.
「That won’t happen! I’ll help you resolve your lingering regrets! Even if my memories return, definitely!!」
「Something like that, the Kanami without his memories can’t understand……. I don’t know what will happen if your memories return. In that case, I’ll choose the current Kanami……」
「The one who said my body and heart were in shambles was you Lowen! Even after having said that, is this really what you think, Lowen!?」
Lowen hesitates. From his tone, I understood that he truly doesn’t think that the current situation is fine. However, there’s a reason he won’t yield.
I take a step forward in order to further question him. However, I’m interrupted.
「―― Forgive me, Kanami. Please wait until the end of the 『Fighting Tournament』」
Lowen is aware that what he’s saying doesn’t make sense. But even then, he’s pushing his wish on me. And with an apology, he concludes our conversation.
「The 『Fighting Tournament』 is far too convenient in many ways. If you go there, I’ll be able to ascertain something. That if I surpass you, I’ll become a 『Hero』. ―― And as long as that 『Bracelet』 is still on, I am sure that you will fight me at full power in order to learn the truth. Haven’t you made such a trade with Rail Senks? That’s why, I don’t want to destroy that 『Bracelet』. I can’t afford to destroy it……」
Lowen spit out his desire and plan.
「Lowen……, is that the length you’ll go to in order to become a 『Hero』……?」
「Aah, that’s my dream. Ever since I was a child, that is all I wished for. Aah, ever after a thousand years……. Always……」
Lowen spins his words as if he were chasing something. He continues, and at the end yells.
「To give up on that, would be to betray my life! I have to fulfill the Araith House’s dearest wish, otherwise, for what reason was I born!」
Lowen’s yells were filled with pain.
Unable to force a smile like Reaper and me, his face warps.
Somehow I’m able to understand the difference between us.
Reaper and me were able to accept that we were 『Mistaking our wishes』. However, Lowen still hasn’t accepted that he has 『Mistaken his wish』.
「There’s no way your regrets will disappear with that pain in your face…… Lowen, even if you were to become a 『Hero』, you won’t be saved……. There has to be some other way to save you. Even the current me understands that……」
「Aah, that may be so…… However, I remembered. That this is the destiny of the eldest born of the Araith House, that I was born in order to become a 『Hero』……」
Lowen silently shook his head. He takes a step back.
「The 『Fighting Tournament』 is already tomorrow……. I came here to inform 『Epic Seeker』. It seems like the participants have to go to the mobile giant theater 『Valfula』 by the end of today. I’ll go on ahead. We’ll meet at the tournament, Kanami. …… There, everything will be settled」
If I want, I can settle everything right now. If I’m thinking only for myself, I can defeat Lowen Araith here, or I can even recover my memories through Rail-san.
However, I don’t want those 『Given Paths』. If I were to choose those ―― it’d be my loss. Therefore, I choose to abide by Lowen’s wish and have everything decided at the 『Fighting Tournament』.
In the end, Lowen turns his back and leaves.
That back, I once thought that it had weakened, but in his current precarious state, the mana coating Lowen had thickened before I had even realized.
With the 『Fighting Tournament』 before him, he has taken back a firm hold on his lingering regrets.
The true identity of those lingering regrets, it can’t be anything but Lowen’s thoughts of a 『Hero』.
『Hero』, 『Glory』, 『Honor』, none of those can help Lowen.
I faintly felt it before, but it became a conviction after yesterday’s dragon subjugation.
But even then, Lowen will still desire it.
Is it for the sake of the Araith House, for the sake of those he knew while he was alive, because of some kind of promise, I don’t know. I don’t know…… but I do know that the far too kind Lowen is aiming for the top of the 『Fighting Tournament』 for the sake of someone other than himself.
―― If no one stops him, Lowen will continue down his mistake path.
And I feel that I’m the only one who can stop that. It felt as if that was the duty given to the one who arrived at the thirtieth floor.
But right now, that’s impossible. I also felt it with Reaper, if I can’t even settle my own problems then nothing will be solved. If I can’t even remember what is important to me, how can I guide someone else down the correct path.
For Lowen’s sake as well, I have to hurry and destroy the 『Bracelet』. I spread 《Dimension》 and search for the person I put off
I’m uneasy about it, but there’s no other option. There’s no one else that I know of that can destroy my 『Bracelet』.
I walk to 『Epic Seeker』 where Snow is waiting.