Chapter 1 – Story 5: Jailbreak

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“You say neither of the divine children has died yet?” (Mildas)

Mildas was surprised.
Three days have already passed since they dropped Aura’s divine child into the hole with the captured zoan’s divine child in order to make them finish each other off. I had ordered the soldiers to not give Aura’s divine child anything but a small quantity of food and water and to tell him that he will be given food if he kills the zoan’s divine child. If Aura’s divine child makes a move on the zoan’s divine child because of this, the naive divine child of Aura will also be disposed of due to the zoan’s divine child’s curse. That was the plan.
However, even after three days passed, neither of them had died.

“With the zoan’s divine child still not having fainted, she might be beyond that child’s powers…?” (Mildas)

Mildas pondered. There was no way for such feeble-looking child to have the capability to easily kill a zoan warrior, even if she’s become weak and thin. He probably tried killing her, but got counter-attacked by the zoan’s divine child and was unable to finish her off.

“About that, Priest-sama. Though it’s slightly unbelievable, but…” (Soldier)

Mildas loses his patience due to the ambiguous attitude of the soldier who came to report.

“What is it!? Get to the point!” (Mildas)

“Yes, Priest-sama. That is, I can’t believe it either, but somehow it looks like that brat split his own food and water with the zoan.” (Soldier)

Mildas becomes flabbergasted.
From Mildas’ point of view, that’s equal of being told 「Fire is cold and ice is hot」.

“You mean it wasn’t stolen by the zoan?” (Mildas)

“No, that doesn’t seem to be the case.” (Soldier)

“Did you give him that much bread that he could share it?” (Mildas)

“Far from it! As requested by you, Priest-sama, it’s been only a very small piece of bread and a tiny amount of water. It’s such a small amount that he absolutely won’t be able to satisfy his hunger.” (Soldier)

There’s no indication that the soldier’s lying.
In that case I can’t understand the situation at all. Even though he’s starving as well, he split the little food he has with a filthy, inferior demi-human species? What kind of joke is that?
Mildas was irritated due to being held back by such a worthless matter, even though he wanted to get rid of Aura’s divine child at an early stage and then go to the Holy City while bringing the old man’s head along.

“Listen! You are absolutely forbidden from giving him any further bread and water! And, make the boy properly understand once more that he has to kill the zoan!” (Mildas)

“Roger, got it.” (Soldier)

After the soldier darted away with a loud noise of heavy feet, Mildas cursed.

“Good grief. To impede my blessed future, Aura is certainly a goddess of destruction.” (Mildas)

◆◇◆◇◆

“Ru Ork! Ru Ork! Furno!”

Souma woke up to that angry shouting while being poked into his flank.
Men were standing on top of the barred lid which is blocking the hole’s exit. One of them let a long staff down through a gap in the bars and poked Souma with it.
And, while hitting the the leather bag with bread in it as usual, he is shouting something.

“Ru Hap zoanlieu! Ru Hap!”

However, different from until now, they don’t drop a bag of water and bread today no matter how much time passes.
Using the long staff, the men skilfully push the spear, which was carelessly left alone at the bottom of the hole, close to Souma’s hand. And, displaying the motion of repeatedly pushing out the staff several times, they shout something while pointing at the beastman on the opposite side of the hole.

“Ru Hap zoanlieu!”

He doesn’t understand the words, but he grasps what the men want to tell him. I guess they are telling me to stab that beastman to death with the spear. That means I won’t get water and bread anymore unless I do as they told.
Souma takes the spear, which was forced upon him, into his hands with sluggish movements.
Once he does, the men above cheer for him with no more than a “Do it!”
Souma musters his scarce amount of strength.
And then the spear, which was thrown by Souma, struck the wall on the right side and fell down with a dry sound.
For a brief moment silence dominates the basement.
Serves you right! Souma thought.
He already had nothing but willpower left.
My hunger has reached its limit. I’ve been deceiving my hunger by chewing the rotten grass spread out on the floor, but without obtaining a peace of mind with that, it seems that my brain has become odd due to the hunger. I have never experienced this level of starvation while I was living in peaceful Japan. If someone placed freshly cooked rice in front of me and told me that I could eat it if I licked a shoe sole with dog shit on it clean, I think I would even lick it with great joy.
However, I have already run out of stamina. Even if they tell me now to kill that beastman, I probably couldn’t even get up normally anymore. If I’m going to starve to death either way, it would be much better to find a way to outwit those guys instead of putting up an unsightly struggle.
That was Souma’s obstinacy.

“Haha… hahahaha…” (Souma)

Though hoarse, a small laughter escaped his parched throat due to the slight feeling of satisfaction he was able to obtain.
Did the soldiers regard such a Souma as some kind of evil monster? As if they were trying to escape, they ran away from the basement.
Souma lied down once again while curling up close to the wall.
It has already become bothersome to even think normally. My fingers are trembling, it feels like they are going numb.
Souma didn’t know, but humans won’t starve from just fasting for a few days. In theory they can survive for up to one month with only water.
However, the stress from a sudden change in environment, not obtaining enough water which caused him to dehydrate, and the mysterious feeling of drunkenness as well as the sensation of fatigue which is constantly gnawing at him, was whittling down his life force.
I wonder whether this is already hopeless, he pondered about it as if it’s somebody else’s problem and then lost consciousness.

◆◇◆◇◆

In the basement after the soldiers ran away, Shyemul fixedly stared at Souma.
As a warrior she had seen death, regardless whether it was that of her allies or enemies. In the village it wasn’t rare for people to lose their lives over injuries and illnesses. There were also many occasions where she took care of those people at their final moments as a divine child.
That’s why she realized that the human in front of her eyes was close to death.

“Just who the hell are you…?” (Shyemul)

She tried to ask him, but there’s no answer.
I wonder whether he ended up asleep once again?
Or did he already pass away?
When thinking so, she remembered an emotion close to remorse due to the mysterious circumstances.
Why did you share your food with me, going even as far as shaving off your own life?
Why did you try to save a zoan albeit being a human?
I wonder, would he have given me some answers if I spoke to him in the beginning without threatening him?
Shyemul, who had such questions surface in her mind without stopping and with no answer, fell asleep once again before she noticed.
And, when she woke up the next time, stars were already twinkling in the sky peeking through the skylight hole at the ceiling. No matter what I say, me being awfully sleepy recently is probably because my body has weakened due to the hunger and thirst.
I’m in no state to care about the worries of others, am I? Shyemul mocked herself.
At that moment she noticed the presence of someone descending into the basement.
It’s not the noisy presence of the usual human soldiers. It’s a presence that was subdued to a level that even Shyemul, who has sharp senses as zoan, ended up missing.
Though I don’t know who it is, that presence is heading this way at full speed.
If that person tries to target my life in this situation, I wouldn’t be able to resist at all. But, let’s at least show them a last moment that’s not disgraceful for a zoan warrior.
When the presences’ owner looked down the hole through the gaps of the barred cover, Shyemul growled menacingly while baring her fangs.

“I’m very happy to see that you seem to be full of spirit, 《Noble Fang》…”

“《Ferocious Fang》?!” (Shyemul)

It was a zoan who had a physique that was more than twice larger than Shyemul. His body, covered by an overcoat with a hood attached, is bulging with muscles as if about to burst, making it appear that he could end up tearing off a human’s head with one swing of those arms. One long sword cut runs down from his brows, through his nose bridge, to his right cheek on his sharp face. This gives one the impression of his looks being those of a tough beast.

“Why are you here?!” (Shyemul)

“Of course because I have decided to come rescue you.”

Saying that, the zoan, who was called 《Ferocious Fang》, grabbed the barred lid, fired himself up quietly and shifted the lid to the side.

“I searched all over for you since the only corpse I couldn’t find was yours. When I captured one of the fortress’ humans by chance, I came to rescue you like this since he told me that you are alive.”

《Ferocious Fang》 jumps down to the bottom of the hole soundlessly, takes out some keys and unlocks Shyemul’s handcuffs. Given that the smell of blood was lingering when he took out the keys, she didn’t ask him how he got them.

“Thanks for your help, 《Ferocious Fang》.” (Shyemul)

“Thank me after we safely reach the village. We have to swiftly escape before we get noticed.”

Looking at Shyemul’s appearance after saying that, he wrinkles up his nose. And then he tossed the overcoat he wore to her.

“What’s with that appearance? It’s too tempting. Cover yourself with this.”

“S-Sorry.” (Shyemul)

Shyemul tore up the overcoat he had passed to her and hid her breasts and hips with the pieces.
《Ferocious Fang》 placed his finger on a slight protrusion of the wall, jumped up vertically while using it as a handhold and easily left the hole.
And then he looked back down on the hole’s bottom and tried to help Shyemul leave, but for some reason she remained at the hole’s bottom.

“What’s wrong. Do it quickly.”

“Please wait. I will take this guy with me.” (Shyemul)

Wondering whether another of his brethren was taken prisoner as well, 《Ferocious Fang》 opened his eyes widely in surprise when he peeked at the person Shyemul was trying to carry in her arms.

“Are you sane, 《Noble Fang》!? Isn’t that guy a human!?”

“Yes, I’m sane. I will take this guy along no matter what.” (Shyemul)

After wrapping up the unconscious Souma with the overcoat’s remains, Shyemul puts him on her back and ties him with an impromptu string, made out of the torn-up cloth, to her body.

“You are absolutely crazy, 《Noble Fang》!?”

Shyemul placed her fingers on the wall’s protrusion just like 《Ferocious Fang》 and tried to jump out of the hole, but as she apparently lost more strength than she expected, she dropped back down to the bottom of the hole due to lacking the necessary altitude. 《Ferocious Fang》 gets down behind Shyemul who goes down on her knees at the bottom.
Ahead of 《Ferocious Fang》, who tries to say something, Shyemul turned around to him, struck her chest strongly with her right fist and declared,

“This 《Noble Fang》 Fagul Garguss Shyemul swears on my own pride and my father’s name that I will take this person with me!” (Shyemul)

“Shyemul…!”

Shyemul jumps up once again, but can’t get out of the hole after all.
《Ferocious Fang》 spoke to Shyemul with a disgusted tone.

“Drop that human, 《Noble Fang》.”

“I should have told you. That I will take this guy with me.” (Shyemul)

“That’s why I’m telling you to lower him.”

Due to Shyemul turning her head around not understanding what he means, 《Ferocious Fang》 says with a sour face as if he bit into at least 10 bugs all at once.

“Let me carry that guy. For the current you it’s impossible…”

“…! S-Sorry 《Ferocious Fang》.” (Shyemul)

He likely does it quite reluctantly as he doesn’t even answer while having a morosely expression. 《Ferocious Fang》, who switched with Shyemul in shouldering Souma, jumped out of the hole with an agility that was no different from before. After that Shyemul succeeded in leaving the hole as well.
When the two exited the basement, the corpse of a guarding soldier, who was apparently finished off by 《Ferocious Fang》, was lying in the darkness close to the entrance of the basement. But without either of the two even looking at it, they quietly rushed over to the outer wall of the fortress.
They scale the outer wall by using the prepared rope and join up with their brethren who waited for them. Their brethren had a puzzled expression due to the human who was tied to the back of 《Ferocious Fang》, but there was no one who directly confronted 《Ferocious Fang》, who is the strongest warrior in the village, about it.
The zoans got on all four with 《Ferocious Fang》 in the lead and broke into a run towards the dark plain.
Noticing the disappearance of the two divine children before long, the fortress went into an uproar, but as the time had already advanced into deep night it became impossible to chase the zoans who vanished into the night’s darkness.

◆◇◆◇◆

Later on many humans will painfully lament over the chain of events transpiring in this fortress.
What if they killed the 『Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki』 at that time?
What if 《Noble Fang》 didn’t encounter the 『Divine Son of Destruction』 at that time?
What if the soldiers didn’t let those two slip away at that time?
If one looks back at history there exists a great number of big turning points of fate.
However, these events aren’t understood as one of these turning points of fate until it becomes something of the past after a long time passes.
Hence, even if one realizes it being a turning point, time that already passed can’t be turned back, and even arguing about the possibilities of 『if』 at that point is something that bears no meaning.
But, despite that, many humans can’t help but to discuss the possibilities of 『if』 in the incidents at that time.
The extent of them feeling compelled to do so is owed to the events at that time being a turning point which ended up greatly altering the history of the Seldeas Continent.
『Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki』.
《Noble Fang》 Fagul Garguss Shyemul.
That moment, when the fate of those two who originally should have never met, intersected, was the instant when a new history of the Seldeas Continent was born.

 


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