Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 4 Part 8

The children under Brain’s protection had already left this place.

Have they made it out safely I wonder. They were like seeds he had sown for the future, the source of his calm. Perhaps — there was a 0.01% chance, no, a 0.000001% chance that one of them would grow up to become powerful enough to rival the Sorcerer King. These pipedreams of his further improved his mood.

Brain stood at the middle of the road, waiting for his opponent to get closer.

It must seem terribly foolish!

What he should have done was hide and wait for an opportunity to take revenge on the Sorcerer King, and not oppose the monster that served as their vanguard.

An onlooker might say something along the lines of, “look at the bigger picture, don’t do something so stupid,” to him.

However, Brain’s goal in life was to live by his sword, so he would rather blindly allow himself to battle with his all.

After a considerable amount of time had passed, it was finally at a distance where he could make out most of its features.

His opponent was not human.

Yet he could innately understand that this light-cyan giant was of a race far superior to his own.

Not long after—

…so cold.

From this opponent’s direction was a gale whipped up and sent towards him, its temperature as cold as a frosty winter’s day. Brain’s entire body trembled, not because he had felt any bloodlust or an oppressive aura, but from the chill breeze alone. The white puffs of breath coming out of Brain’s mouth proved that this was no illusion.

“What…?”

He couldn’t help but mutter to himself.

Was his opponent a being that radiated cold air? Now that he thought about it, the gates just then — was it not shrouded in ice and then rammed into pieces?

Just how cold is he…

The gate wasn’t small at all, so whatever domain this monster belonged to, was seriously terrifying to him.

That said — he knew this already.

Brain tightened his grip on his katana and waited for his opponent.

His hands trembled, not out of excitement nor from the cold, but out of a certain emotion.

The emotion known as fear.

Time after another he lamented in his heart, the heart that told him to move aside and cower in the corner. That thing, although it is a monster, the way it pulled its halberd along the ground as it walked radiated a warrior’s aura. If he curled up at the sides, perhaps he would be ignored like a pebble.

The houses that lined the sides of the street had signs of life, but none seemed like they wanted anything to do with this.

And because of that — Brain should perhaps do the same.

If he did that, his life would probably be spared.

But — his legs refused to move.

He was not running away from this one.

He focused his strength onto the one hand that gripped the hilt and slapped himself with the other.

“Alright!”

He no longer trembled. He had made his resolve, in body and soul.

While it had already visually identified Brain’s presence, the light-cyan giant continued forward without changing its pace.

The being that held a halberd in one hand emanated an ever-increasing sense of pressure as the distance between them gradually shrunk. Brain gulped down a mouthful of saliva.

Brain waited, like a roadblock for the light-cyan giant.

Because of its overwhelming presence, Brain failed to notice that there were women behind the being until now. They were dressed in white, their skins a similar hue to its, their long hair were black, and from them were chill winds rushing towards him too.

He was made acutely aware of their gazes on him.

The enemy had not taken any action against Brain, who stood in their path, yet.

He pulled out a bottle from the belt by his waist and downed it in one go. He drank another bottle after that, and another after that. In total, Brain had applied three types of magical buffs on his body.

Even though he had drunk the potions, an act of aggression in and of itself, his enemies did not seem to plan to attack right away. Still, he felt something akin to fighting spirit from them.

The distance between them had been closed to around five meters or so.

Oy oy oy, another sheer cliff to overcome, eh?

At this distance, it was made all the clearer to Brain that his opponent was a being that held absolute superiority over him. It had reached heights that Brain could never even hope to reach. To Brain, one who had raised his abilities by a mere finger’s length in comparison, this was a being he had absolutely no chance of winning against.

Even so — even though he knew that, Brain still refused to move aside.

His opponents stopped its movement.

The distance between them was three meters.

Considering the length of its arm and the halberd in its hand, Brain was already well within its strike range.

“—Brain Unglaus.”

He declared his name, raised his sword, and focused his mind.

“One. Who. Serves. Under. The. Camp. Of. The. Supreme. Being, His. Majesty. Ainz. Ooal. Gown, Cocytus.”

In the moment, Brain’s eyes widened in shock.

That was probably his opponent’s name. He had not expected to receive a reply at all.

While he was shocked, he also felt déjà vu.

What was it? He felt like he had heard this name before but he could not remember from where. Perhaps he was just overthinking it.

And then, Brain felt unbearable shame at how rude he had been.

The opponent in front of him was willing to respond to him, yet he was so rude to be lost in his own muddy memories.

The reason why his thoughts went in that direction was because his opponent was a monster he could never hope to match, it was probably on the same level as Sebas or Shalltear Bloodfallen. That meant that to his opponent, he was nothing more than an ant in his way. Despite all of that, his opponent did not treat him like an inferior being.

If their roles had been reversed, what would Brain do? He would have probably just cut him down without much consideration and continued on his way. Brain was so insignificant in comparison to his opponent, he probably couldn’t even leave an impression of himself in his mind.

Brain straightened his back and gently lowered his head, like what a student would do for his instructor.

“Thank you very much.”

“No. Need.”

Brain gripped onto the hilt of his katana tightly. Stronger, stronger.

To raise his weapons against a being who possessed overwhelming power without a plan felt like he was betraying the goodwill of those who had saved him. What he was doing right now was no different than suicide.

Also, if he thought about it, of what use would stopping the enemy here have?

None at all.

Yet still—

I’m such an idiot, this Cocytus-danna couldn’t be the only one attacking this city. I have failed those two…no, I’m no longer a child. My future is what I make it out to be. That’s right…it’s in my hands and my hands only.

Cocytus, who was looking at Brain, stuck his halberd into the ground.

“—God. Slaying. Emperor. Blade.”

An odachi of gigantic proportions, much longer than Brain’s height, was pulled out of thin air, with which Cocytus assumed the Jōdan stance.

(TL’s note: 上段の構え, one of the five stances in kendo.)

This was such an honour.

Words need not be exchanged. Cocytus had already conveyed his wish to resolve this by the blade.

Brain breathed out heavily and rapidly drew in air again. It was like he was trying to expel all of the air remaining in his lungs.

He was completely defenceless while doing so, yet Cocytus did not move a single inch. From his posture Brain could tell that he held massive respect for him.

Not only was his strength top-tier, but so was his character.

If he was of a similar level to the monster known as Shalltear, then he could probably make use of his weapon at speeds far greater than anything Brain could achieve, even in such an upright position. Even so, Cocytus still held his stance.

This wasn’t because he viewed Brain as a formidable opponent.

But under the pretext that Brain had made his resolve, Cocytus was treating him with the honour of a fellow warrior.

Such an action overwhelmed Brain with joy.

He’s not the same as Shalltear.

No, it would be rude of him to compare the two.

Hmm? Shalltear? Cocytus? I swear I heard his name somewhere… I think— No, don’t! How are you still wasting time on these unnecessary thoughts in times like these? What an idiot.

Brain concentrated his brainpower solely onto the matter of victory.

To parry the jōdan strike of this giant’s odachi would undoubtedly be difficult. If his opponent had similar physical attributes as Shalltear, receiving the blow with his katana on its own would not be able to stop it in its tracks. Brain’s head would probably be cleaved in half, his katana would probably break too.

So, should he try to dodge Cocytus’ first strike?

No, even if he got lucky and dodged the first attack, it’s not like his opponent would just stop there. The second and third strikes were sure to be continuous after that point. The common strategy would be to deflect your opponent’s first strike and counterattack while they’re correcting their stance. However, against this extraordinary foe, to even disrupt his balance and stance would require Brain’s full strength. That meant that even if he achieved this, he would not have enough strength leftover to counterattack. Because of that, Cocytus would probably end the fight by slashing upwards as a follow-up.

Which meant that—

This is a do-or-die situation, isn’t it?

He remembered something Vesture had said to him.

If he wanted to win against Cocytus, he had no options other than to strike a few milliseconds faster than him. That said, even if he managed to pierce Cocytus’ body or head, it would not change the path of his blade. The battle would end with both of them striking each other.

So he had to aim for Cocytus’ wrist, the one holding onto his blade.

To wish to move faster than a monster on Shalltear’s level and cut down his wrist was an absolute joke.

But—

This is my only option, I have no choice but to use that move…

Brain lowered his waist.

He adopted the posture for the technique capable of cutting down Shalltear Bloodfallen’s nail — Hidden Blade Nail Clipper.

—No.

This was no longer merely Hidden Blade Nail Clipper.

Originally, Nail Clipper was a move that incorporated the martial art that guaranteed a hit, [Field], the lightning-fast [God Flash], and [Fourfold Slash of Light]. The crystallization of every skill under Brain’s employ still took all of his strength to chip off Shalltear’s nail. Of course, to have cut off her nail was already a momentous achievement — it would not be too strange for it to become a legend passed down through history even. However, Brain did not rest his laurels there, he continued to push forward for the sole purpose of reaching the same peak as she did.

It was for this reason that Brain sought to become stronger, going as far as to request assistance from that person — Gazef Stronoff’s teacher and former Adamantite-ranked adventurer, Vesture Croff di Leoghain. Under his assistance and through nonstop training, he was finally able to use [Sixfold Slash of Light]. Unfortunately, he was unable to reach the level of understanding that Gazef had of that art.

So while the use of [Field] and [God Flash] remained the same, the use of [Sixfold Slash of Light] over [Fourfold Slash of Light] made it a new technique.

Martial arts used something akin to focus. The stronger the martial art was, the more of it was required. Exceptional warriors — higher-level warriors, while they had a greater capacity for it, would also find it difficult to use multiple martial arts at the same time. Indeed, Brain had greater reserves of focus than your average warrior, but he had already reached his limit back when he used Nail Clipper against Shalltear.

So it should have been impossible for him to use [Sixfold Slash of Light], a much more focus-intensive art than [Fourfold Slash of Light], with his other martial arts.

There was only one reason why he could despite all of that.

The Brain Unglaus who stood there had already surpassed Gazef Stronoff — he had entered the realm of heroes.

All of this culminated in Brain’s new technique — True Nail Clipper©.

Cocytus moved his foot slightly forward to close the distance between them, a really short distance that was.

Considering the difference in their strength, it would not be strange for Cocytus to easily close the gap between them and hack straight down with his katana.

So why did he do such a thing?

The answer was simple, he wished to grant Brain a death that was befitting of a warrior.

Brain’s appreciation for Cocytus as a warrior deepened once more as he assumed the stance of True Nail Clipper©.

Not…yet…

Not…in range…

The magical buffs granted to Brain by his potions meant that he was much stronger than he was when he faced Shalltear.

Even so.

The human named Brain Unglaus could not hope to reach the domain of the monsters like Cocytus.

There was nothing he could do about it. After all, it was impossible for an ant to prevail against a dragon. A fact that was hard to swallow, but he had to nonetheless.

Still, he did not wish to lose. What should he do? It would be good to reduce the overwhelming gap in strength between them even if by a little, but how should he go about accomplishing that?

—I am a warrior, so I must do as warriors would.

“—[Ability Boost]”

Brain activated a martial art.

He had expended all of his reserves for True Nail Clipper©, there should not have been anything left for other martial arts.

However — Brain’s eyes began to fill with blood and blood began to stream down his nostrils. His capillaries had just burst.

A shing sound rang out as if to signify a transition. His physical capabilities were boosted to the next level.

He activated another martial art.

His physical capabilities were boosted once more.

But — Not…yet…

He was still unable to do it.

So what should he do?

There was only one answer.

Brain activated yet another martial art.

“—[Greater Ability Boost]”

Brain Unglaus had yet again, achieved something impossible.

He did not know this himself.

The true nature of his talent was an increase in his focus capacity, only with this and the addition of his higher levels was he able to activate the martial arts required by Nail Clipper.

But, even so, Brain had his limits. He could not use any more martial arts than that, a limit imposed upon him by the world.

But, in that moment — Brain broke the rules of this world once more.

A second miracle of this kind.

The first was when he cut Shalltear’s nail.

The second, was made in this moment.

The consequence of breaking the rules was that his body began to deteriorate.

His body probably won’t last for another minute.

However, to those who were strong, a minute was a long time.

Cocytus entered—

Into Brain’s range—

The God Slaying Emperor Blade in jōdan—

Brain pulled out his own katana to receive the attack from Cocytus’ katana—

And then—

—the sound of blood and flesh being rended could be heard.

After swinging the God Slaying Emperor Blade, Cocytus shook off the blood and fat from the katana and returned it to its space. He pulled his halberd from the ground and looked down at the corpse of the man he had just slain.

He is — was a fine warrior.

Cocytus was unscathed, the blade did not manage to reach him, yet his skills as a warrior was commendable.

…I. Have. Never. Heard. Of. Such. An. Excellent. Warrior…

It was such a shame that he had to kill him.

If it was possible, he wanted to save his life and have him become loyal to his master. He could have easily broken his opponent’s sword, tanked his hit, or broke all four of his limbs, but that is not the way of a warrior.

Cocytus had already sensed it when he saw this man standing on his own from afar, he knew it all the better when he stood face-to-face with him: this was a warrior who had made his resolve.

Cocytus could not dishonour such a man.

He knew exactly how beneficial it would be to bring him under their rule, but still killed him. It would not be wrong to say that he had betrayed Nazarick.

Still.

He wished to converse with him through the clash of their blades.

If Warrior Takemikazuchi were here, he would probably praise Cocytus for his decision.

By. Levels, He. Is. Probably. Around. Level. 40.

However, he felt that other than that single strike, there wasn’t much else power in him. Perhaps it was something like Cocytus’ Vidyārāja Strike, or perhaps he had used special abilities to strengthen himself.

He was insignificant in comparison to Cocytus, but in this world’s terms he was strong.

Cocytus picked up the katana Brain dropped.

“I. WIll. Be. Taking. This.”

Among the weapons in Cocytus’ possession, this was exceptionally weak — something that was practically useless to him. Perhaps it would be better to lay this sword by his side to mark his grave, but Cocytus decided to take the sword.

He was not too keen to leave his body as it is.

“You. All, Freeze. This. Man.”

After he gave his command to the Frost Virgins, the body of the man named Brain began to slowly freeze over.

Just as Cocytus was about to step over Brain, he stopped himself again.

He looked towards the castle behind Brain.

“…”

Cocytus turned his head around while deep in thought.

He turned right and walked into a path that was narrower than the one before. He walked down the path until he emerged onto the main street again, after which he took another right turn. He walked along while confirming the castle’s position, taking every right turn detour that he saw which brought him back to the main street.

Cocytus looked towards his right.

Brain’s remains were now quite a distance away.

Cocytus then silently walked towards his left — towards the castle.

——–
Mini-FAQs
Q: Where are we at?
A: As of this part: 492/568

Made a couple of mistakes in the last part
1. Blue Rose’s destination is Southeast, not Northeast.
2. Brain’s line “Honestly… I said back then that I’d choose the path of least resistance, now it looks like that was right on the spot.”
Should be:
“Honestly… I said back then that I’d choose the path of least resistance, but now it looks like I’ll have to revise that statement.”

Next part in 2 days.

Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 4 Part 7

Climb was powerless in the face of Evileye’s threats.

If I rendezvoused with Brain — if I informed Tina of the current situation… While Climb pondered, the unusual situation among the members of Blue Rose continued to unfold.

Tia appeared to be muttering something to Lakyus.

“I’ve been making observations for quite a while now, looking for ways to kill Lakyus…Normal methods would be resisted, so a combination of magic and poison would have to be used. That is the only way to do it. Surely not even you could resist the effect of multiple poisons simultaneously, right? Evileye, it’s your turn.”

“Alright.”

Confused, grovelling, and saddened. Pain was not the only thing conveyed through Lakyus’ expression, what stood out amongst them all was her inability to understand what was happening at all. Evileye casted a spell at her.

“I get it. [Resist Weakening]… No use. She resisted it.”

(TL’s note: would have went with [Resistance Weakening] but the Engrish in the furigana has spoken)

“What even.”

Gagaran landed yet another hit on Lakyus’ belly, the part of her body that she had minimized her own stature to protect, like a turtle retreating into its shell. Tia took out a new needle and stabbed it into Lakyus without any hesitation.

“[Resist Weakening]…alright. Now then — [Charm Person]. Done. Good job, you two. We did it.”

Gagaran and Tia pulled away from Lakyus.

“Lakyus, quick, heal yourself.”

“Yes, understood. Tia, could you help me pull these out?”

Lakyus spoke as if nothing had happened. The terror of mind control made Climb tremble with fear.

Just as Tia was about to do it, Evileye raised her voice to stop her in her tracks.

“Don’t. If you inflict pain on her now, you’ll be treated as a hostile and the magic may be dispelled. Lakyus, sorry but pull them out yourself. Those shouldn’t have pierced too deeply.”

“Its purpose was only to inject the poison, so the needle itself isn’t too thick…it’s the type that would be rendered ineffective if you were wearing armour.”

“I know, but pulling it out myself will still require a bit of resolve.”

Lakyus bit down on her lower lip and pulled the needle out. She then began to cast healing magic on the hole.

“Gagaran. Open the window and let some air in… What should we do about the blood on the floor?”

“Most of it was absorbed by her dress so not much made it onto the floor. No need to worry about it.”

Renner replied calmly. Everybody other than him was speaking in such a tranquil manner that Climb felt like what he was witnessing was an illusion. It was as if he had been transported to an unfamiliar world.

“Woah. Completely unshaken. I knew from the start that you had guts.”

“I do not think so…” Renner said with a puzzled expression, “I just felt that everyone would not just harm each other for no reason at all…but mind control is really scary though…Climb, what did you think about this?”

“Yes, I had the same thought.”

“So…could you tell us why you did this?”

“What if I told you that I won’t?”

“Are you not the least bit apologetic that you have soiled this room?”

Evileye appeared to be laughing behind her mask.

“Alright, nothing I could say about that. The reason is simple. Compared to the Kingdom or whatever else, we believe our companions’ lives to be far more important. That’s about it.”

“Defending the capital was oni boss’ decision anyways. We were against it deep down from the start.”

“But if we told her that, this dumbass would definitely say, ‘then I will defend it on my own’ or something. So, we decided that our only option was to forcefully take her away, but daylight kidnappings aren’t so easy. Neither did we have confidence in our ability to trick her into leaving too, so, though we must apologize to Your Highness the princess for what we’ve done, we had to exploit this opportunity.”

Tia and Gagaran shrugged in agreement. This must have been a collective decision made by Blue Rose barring Lakyus of course. Brain still had not returned yet, so Tina must be keeping him busy.

“But no matter what, this was far too excessive.”

“Haaaah, that’s what I said as well, but these guys—”

“It would be bad if she got on high alert after rejecting our suggestion…to catch an oni…to catch Lakyus out for sure required her to be completely off her guard. This is me speaking from experience.”

“So there is a whole system around this?”

“Aye. We used five types of poison, didn’t let her wear her gear, used debuff magic, and yet still had to rely on luck to see if we could charm her. That was why we had to go through all of this trouble, if even one of those elements was missing, we would have failed. Now then—” Evileye clapped her hands together, “after Tina comes back, we’ll head back to the inn with [Teleportation], pick up Lakyus’ equipment, and teleport out of this city.”

Evileye looked towards Climb and Renner.

“…Oy, opportunities like this won’t come twice. You know I could take you guys along with me, right? I’ll be frank with you, this country is doomed and the fate that awaits the princess of a doomed nation won’t be a pretty one. This might be your last chance at escaping.”

Climb couldn’t help but look towards Renner.

Wasn’t this exactly what he had hoped for?

If it was teleportation, they could escape even if the city was surrounded. Plus, what Evileye had said was the truth. Whatever fate awaited Renner would not be kind at all, nor was there any other way he could foresee this situation playing out. After all, their enemy was a nation of undead that trampled over the innocent.

“I wish to ask a question. Where will you be heading to?”

“Well, first things first, we have to leave this country. About that…we’ll probably be heading Northeast, I think? If we kept moving in that direction, there is a country that fell into ruin long ago. The capital there — we’ll be heading to the ruins cleansed by fire. Since that place is quite a ways away, we will have to teleport multiple times. Mmmm, in any case it’s a faraway land, one that none of you have heard of.”

“Is that so…”

Renner slightly lowered her head. Was she hesitating? Not long after, she lifted her head as if she had made a resolute decision.

“Thank you, but I cannot go.”

“Is that so…”

Evileye did not continue speaking.

Panicked feelings began to arise in Climb’s heart. If that was her decision, then Renner’s fate was set in stone. That was all he could think of.

True loyalty. Was it not what the members of Blue Rose had demonstrated? Should he take Renner to safety, regardless of whether he had to resort to violence or not?

To escape the frustration welling up within him, he looked towards Renner whose smile told him that she understood him completely. This was the expression that graced Climb every time she was about to lay down the truth.

“Climb. As royalty, I must fulfill my duties even if it costs me my life.”

He felt as though he had just been punched.

While Renner’s existence as a person was important to him, of equal value was her status as his royal liege.

In these situations, having to attend to one’s royal duties wasn’t a good thing at all. Yet, Renner, as royalty, as one who cared for her own people, was still willing to stay true to her royal status till the end.

Compared to him, someone whose thoughts were solely on survival, how magnanimous was she?

Climb made his resolve.

His responsibility in the end, will be to let Renner live for as long as possible, even if only for a second more. He will die at the hands of the Sorcerous Kingdom’s army, serving as Renner’s shield till the very end.

At the same time Climb steeled himself, he heard Evileye quietly say, “how rowdy.” Knocks came ringing from the door as it opened, stood outside were Brain and Tina, holding filled trays.

“We found and brought some desserts over.”

“Because the guy next to us had a bone to pick with me, it took a while, were we able to make it— What? What the hell happened here?”

Although the windows were open, Brain was still able to pick up on the faint smell of blood that lingered. He shifted his center of mass downwards as he carefully looked around the room.

“…lady over there. There’s blood on your clothes — did someone suspicious show up?”

“No—”

“Don’t mind it. Just ask Her Highness about it after we leave.”

Gagaran interrupted Lakyus to say. Perhaps he still felt uneasy, Brain shot a glance at Renner. One could sense the question ‘is everything alright?’ from his eyes alone. If Renner had responded in the negative, he would have probably unsheathed his sword.

“Everything is fine. There is nothing to be on guard for.”

Brain’s gaze turned to Climb.

Climb replied in the same manner as Renner.

“…is that so? That’s good to hear then.”

“Ah, right. Brain Unglaus, I have a question for you. Want to get away from this place?”

“…what?”

Upon hearing Evileye’s question, Brain began to survey the room once more.

“What are those two planning to do?” Brain answered with his own question as his gaze swung towards Climb and Renner. His lips curved into a smile after Evileye shook her head. “Is that so. If that’s the case — no, no matter what, I would not have chosen to run away — there is no point in it anyway… Honestly… I said back then that I’d choose the path of least resistance, now it looks like that was right on the spot.”

“…Really? I thought you’d respond this way, guess I was right.”

The members of Blue Rose gathered around Evileye and suddenly vanished as if they had already bid farewell. All that was left behind of them was the smell of blood and black tea.

This was supposed to be their final farewell, yet it ended so abruptly. But, considering the pain those two must feel when they have no choice but to separate, perhaps there was no better alternative to this farewell.

However, those were Climb’s thoughts, not Renner’s.

She must have been dealt a mental blow, so how should he comfort her? Climb stole a glance at Renner and saw that she was listless. The gentle smile that usually hung on her face was nowhere to be seen, it was like she had put on a mask.

It must have had an extreme impact on her.

Climb stood beside Renner.

“Princess, I can imagine the shock you must be going through right now, but…”

He could not finish his sentence. It was more accurate to say that he did not want to finish that sentence. While he wanted to say that he would stay with her till the end, how could he ever compare to that Adamantite-ranked adventurer, who was both a noblewoman and Renner’s friend. Still, he had to comfort the princess somehow, so he racked his brain.

Maybe his intentions were conveyed well enough, because Renner’s expression suddenly changed. It was back to her normal, gentle smile.

“I’m fine~, Climb…Nevermind that, Brain-san has important matters to attend to does he not?”

“Ahhh… Then, Your Highness, Climb. The timing is about right, it’s time for me to say goodbye. I apologize but I will have to leave now.”

What was this sudden development?

Climb could not understand what Brain was thinking, so he asked a question.

“Where are you going?”

“Hmmm? I plan to challenge the Sorcerer King in single combat. Mmm, I’d most likely lose, but I should be able at the very least cut down one of his subordinates.”

Brain took off the sword he kept by his waist side, threw it towards Climb, and said, “I’m returning this.”

“Wha!? What are you talking about!? The only one fit to wield this sword is the one who inherited Stronoff-sama’s will! Brain-san!”

“Oy oy, I told you back then didn’t I? I am not inheriting his will. First of all, this is one of the national treasures right? It’s not befitting someone as lowly as me. Princess-san, sorry, but please do return this to His Majesty.”

“I understand.”

“Princess-sama!”

“—Climb, Brain-san has already made his decision.”

“As expected of princess-san, you’re a good woman. That said, I don’t really understand women anyway. Mmmm, how do I put this.” Brain stood upright. “This is probably my last farewell. Princess, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Climb— back then, I was lucky to have met you and Sebas-san. It resuscitated me…and I am grateful for that.”

Brain turned his back on them and began to march forward.

“You and Gazef, it was my honour to have met the both of you.”

As those words fell, Brain’s silhouette disappeared behind the other side of the door.

“…How did it end up this way…Sorcerer King…if only you didn’t exist…”

Everything around Climb was being destroyed. Everything other than what was most important to him had been taken away and even that might not be long for this world. Her time was running out.

“Climb, I want to hand this sword off to father-sama first.”

The depressive mood had gotten a hold on him and those words managed to pull him back. Indeed, until that moment came, he had sworn to give his all to her — to save the woman who had saved him, to serve the person most important to him.

“…say, that, this, umm.” The sounds coming out of Renner’s mouth did not match the atmosphere of the room just then at all. “Can I hold the sword for a moment?”

“Eh? Okay, yes!”

After he handed over the sword, Renner drew it out.

“It is quite heavy.”

Renner handed the sheath to Climb. The blade of the Razor Edge was honed and could cut through armour like paper. Before Climb could say “it’s dangerous,” Renner began to wave the sword around in the air.

Climb was a little shocked. Indeed, because of the weight, her movements were wobbly, causing the tip of the blade to nick the floorboard. That was purely because she did not have enough strength to wield it, because her training still shone through her stance and movements. He could feel the sharpness of the blade from afar. If a man without experience were to swing this sword around, he would not have been able to make the sword gleam the way it did in her hands.

“Uuugh — Hmmm. I’m not too suited for this.”

“N-no, not at all. I believe that if you trained more, you should be able to win against me in a duel.”

“You jest. Plus, it is unlikely that I will ever hold a sword again.”

Renner sheathed the sword after Climb passed it to her and handed it back to Climb.

“Now then, let us head to father-sama’s side, but before then—” Renner looked at herself.

“I need to make some preparations.”

—-

Brain Unglaus walked through the empty streets of the capital. Usually these streets would be bustling with life, yet today not another soul could be seen. Everyone was hiding in their homes out of fear for the Sorcerer King, but Brain knew that would not bring them salvation.

Brain was around Renner for long enough to know that the Sorcerer King had no reason to not destroy the capital.

However, if someone were to ask him “how can we be saved?” he would not know how to respond.

If everybody coordinated and ran from the capital in all directions, surely some of them would make it out alive. That was the only answer he had.

Brain looked towards the buildings along the street, every door and window was shut tight. They must have been nailed shut from the inside so there was no easy way in.

Now…behind those doors there must be a few suicides or even entire families dead…

It was impossible for that to not be the case.

Rumours had already conveyed the terror inflicted by the Sorcerer King’s army.

He thought about how this situation could be turned around if God was willing. If every citizen in the capital could rise up for vengeance — though it would be useless, it would probably give the enemy a good scare. But for that to happen, someone had to unite the people under one banner.

If it were the princess, she could probably achieve it, but she did not seem like she wanted to make such a move.

If it was not me here, but him instead, would things have turned out differently…? Perhaps.

He knew very well that they did not have any chance at victory in a battle, Brain saw it in his eyes when he led the army of 400,000 away. Yet he could not look past the 0.01% — no, the 0.000001% or even 0.0000000001% chance that they could win.

Zanac may have led them on a suicidal mission, but it wasn’t for a pipedream. He had just acted according to their best bet in that scenario

—just like what Brain was about to do.

Brain laughed in his lonesome and felt something.

Has the air…changed?

Nothing had changed in actuality, the capital still smelled the way it always did, but there was a noticeable difference. This was something a warrior could come to understand after experiencing multiple near-death battles. It was somewhat different from a pungent smell, it was a sort of psychological smell.

It was the same smell he smelled back when he and Climb looked towards E-Rantel’s night sky.

The smell of loss and defeat.

Has the Sorcerer King’s army finally made their move?

That was the only reason he could think of for such a sudden change.

An opportunity had come.

If Brain were to not use any tricks when approaching the Sorcerer King, the probability that he could make it to his side was really low. No, that was an understatement — it would be correct to say that he did not have a chance at all.

However, there was a chance that he could accomplish his goal in the midst of the chaos of battle. Of course, that depended on the security situation of the enemy’s camp. Still, to trample over a city as big as the capital would require breaks in formation and subsequently, lowered guards.

Brain stopped walking to mull over his next moves and saw the buttresses turn white.

It was as though white paint had been poured over it.

Wails could be heard from afar.

This was the start of the siege. The wails had come from the temporary shelters built for refugees from other cities near the buttresses. The enemy’s target had to be the castle, so there probably won’t be any refugees running towards Brain — towards the castle.

What should I do? Would it be better to abandon the initial plan once the siege began?

His initial plan was to get out of the capital first and wait for the moment the enemy’s army entered the capital. He was planning to slip past the army in the chaos of the siege to get closer to the Sorcerer King.

However, if the enemy had already made their way into the capital, it would be better for him to hide himself for now, wait for the army to pass over, and then go out of the city walls.

But if he did that, there was a high chance that the Sorcerer King might choose to leave his encampment.He had to first figure out where he was so he wouldn’t waste time running towards nothing.

Perhaps he could hide near the castle and wait till the Sorcerer King led his army inward to strike.

Well, in any case—

All of these plans rely on me hiding myself.

That said, he would not have to perfectly mask his presence like a rogue or assassin. He should be fine as long as he hid out of the enemy’s sight.

While he considered where to best hide himself, the city gates began to crumble. The white shrapnel being splintered off the gates reflected light in such a brilliant and beautiful way that Brain could not help but stop and admire this sight, even in this situation.

Was that…some kind of skill? But if he thought about it, he was about to make an enemy out of the Sorcerer King, one who could summon all sorts of deplorable beings. Nothing should be out of the ordinary for him at this point.

A tiny dot stepped over the collapsed gates. It only appeared tiny because it was so far away, adjusted for perspective it must be a giant compared to the average human.

Even though it had stepped over the threshold, no soldiers were rushing over to stop it. There could only be one reason why.

They were already dead.

Brain’s entire body began to shudder.

That had to be a super monster or something.

The being’s figure slowly began to increase in size, its stride slow and steady.

Brain’s expression became contorted.

This was a being with overwhelming physical strength, so its speed should be on par. To advance through an empty street shouldn’t take it too much time, so why was it wasting so much time—

Ahhh, indeed. They had already breached the capital’s defences, so the ensuing massacre should be easy for them. They could take as much time as they want!

It was then not strange for the enemy to be at ease.

However — Brain squinted and looked towards his slowly approaching yet still far away opponent.

This was the street where he was picked up, forcefully pulled along by Gazef.

This was the street he ran down with Climb to raid the Eight Finger’s facility, where he met Sebas.

This was the street he led the children destined to become the next warrior captains down.

This road was now being stomped upon carelessly by a monster. The road Brain had walked down with everyone he held dear was being stomped on.

Unforgivable.

Brain changed his mind. He no longer gave a damn about the Sorcerer King. Right here, right now, this monster in front of him—

—he swore to make it pay.

——–
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