Chapter 1 – Story 14: Seal

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“Why aren’t you trying to win?” (Souma)

Everyone was bewildered by Souma saying that.
They knew the guy as the human child who had recently been taken care of by their divine child. They wouldn’t openly criticize it because they had been told 「He’s my saviour」 by the divine child Shyemul herself, but they couldn’t get used to the discomfort of a human being in their village. Even more so, it was outrageous for the divine child, a girl at marriageable age, and a man albeit being another race, to stay in the same tent.
Everyone considered killing him if he did anything.
For the zoans, Souma was nothing more than a cockroach-like pest that was unpleasant to even glance at.
Everybody there hesitated on how to judge the unexpected words voiced out by such a human child.
Shyemul was the only one among them to move. In her case, she is thinking that it would be wrong of her to not defend him first, instead of worrying about what Souma said.
Showing up in front of her brethren who are resolved to fight the humans and be annihilated is nothing short of suicidal. He will probably be ganged up on, tormented, and killed by my enraged clanmates. His head would be used as a sacrifice in the ceremony for the departure to the front.
Shyemul runs up to Souma and stands in front of him for his protection.

“This guy is my saviour! Please overlook him in deference to me!” (Shyemul)

However, without turning his eyes towards the frantic action of Shyemul, Souma yells,

“Why aren’t you trying to win!?” (Souma)

The one Souma stared at while shouting that was Garam.
With this, it’s quite likely to be interpreted as Souma insulting the clan chief. If it turns into an insult towards the clan chief, his clan wouldn’t forgive him even if the one restraining them is the divine child.
Shyemul trembled due to a dread similar to having her entire body’s blood frozen.

“Soma! This isn’t a place where it’s fine for you to come! Disappear quickly! Please go away!” (Shyemul)

Even Shyemul’s pained shouting didn’t seem to reach the current Souma.
Garam spoke to Souma.

“Youngster, what do you mean with that…?” (Garam)

“Please wait, 《Ferocious Fang》! See here.” (Shyemul)

“Be silent, 《Noble Fang》! I didn’t ask you!” (Garam)

Shyemul was filled with despair. She wouldn’t be able to smooth it over any more, no matter what she does.
Garam’s attention is completely focused on Souma.The situation has already turned to a point where it would be impossible to act as if he hadn’t said anything. Not only that, a single misstep could cause the situation to develop into one where Souma loses his life. His clan wouldn’t stay silent, even if Garam had no intention of harming Souma.
However, Souma glared at him as if he hadn’t realized the danger he was currently in.

“It’s as I said just now! You guys aren’t trying to win!” (Souma)

“We are not trying to win, you say?” (Garam)

“Right! What you’re planning couldn’t even be considered a fight! It’s nothing more than suicide!” (Souma)

The warriors there raised angry voices because of Souma’s statement.

“Are you slighting us, human!!?”

“Bastard, I’ll teach you who’s suicidal here!”

Several quick-tempered warriors unsheathed their machetes and rushed towards Souma. In order to protect him, Shyemul reluctantly drew her own machete and stood in their way.
It’s likely that the warriors wouldn’t harm me, because of my status as the divine child. However, these warriors are zoans who are far stronger than me. From their perspective, there’s probably no way for me to overwhelm them.
She’s frantically thinking of a way to save Souma, to no avail.
The warriors slightly hesitated because of Shyemul standing in the way, but were far too angry to be soothed by something that minor. They were about to swoop down on the two of them to subdue her and tear the rude human apart.

“Stop, warriors!” (Garam)

Their assault was stopped by Garam’s roar.

“This weak human youngster wants to entertain us by prattling his nonsense. Let him speak until the end.” (Garam)

The warriors reluctantly withdrew due to his words.
Although it’s only temporary, Shyemul was saved from having to cross swords with her clanmates. However, the danger was still present, so she still stood protecting Souma with her weapon drawn.

“What’s wrong, youngster? Before you are killed, try to amuse us with your vigorous chirping.” (Garam)

Due to Garam’s jeering, Souma speaks with an enraged voice.

“You guys are cowards! You are just running away by using the term warrior’s pride! You aren’t even really trying to win against the enemy! It’s no more than fleeing from battle!” (Souma)

Shyemul was already close to fainting on the spot. Phrases like cowardice and running away are terms you must never mention towards a proud zoan warrior.

“We are running away, you say!?”

“Cowards!?”

“What does a human bastard understand about zoan warriors!?”

While holding back his brethren who were raging anew with his hands, Garam jerked his chin as if he was telling Souma to continue his speech.

“Of course I understand! Isn’t a real zoan warrior already present here!?” (Souma)

Saying so, the one Souma pointed at was Shyemul, standing in front of him.

“Shyemul said it! Warriors are those who fight for the weak. Like she said, the time when a warrior’s pride is hurt is when they were unable to protect those they should have!” (Souma)

Souma removed his sight from Garam and surveyed all the warriors present.

“To me it looks like you are fighting simply for your own sake! It appears as if the only thing you care about is solely your own pride!” (Souma)

“Don’t talk about things like this as if you understand, you lowly human!!”

“In that case, why are you leading those who can’t fight to their death by having them participate in this battle? Is that what a warrior is?” (Souma)

With such a sore point having been pointed out, the warriors lacked any rebuke.
The warriors understood best their own worthlessness for being unable to protect the weak children and elderly. With such a humiliation being pointed out in front of them, the warriors started to expose their teeth and raise threatening growls.

“You human brat, all you are doing is bragging! Or, are you saying that you would be capable of driving away the humans in that place!?”

“If you are saying that you can win, show us by driving the humans out immediately!”

“Can you? You weak human child!”

Following that, the warriors scornfully jeer at Souma all at once.
However, ignoring their words, Souma yells,

“I can’t do it! However, I know the method you can use to win!” (Souma)

Due to Souma’s remark, the zoans ceased their sneering and murmured.
Even though everyone has given up on their prospect of winning, that human child says that it knows a way to win?

“If you obey my words, I will ensure that you guys achieve victory!” (Souma)

Despite Souma declaring that proudly, the zoans faltered.
Can we really win?
No, it must be a lie.
Since he’s insisting on it that much, maybe…
While wavering between such affirmations and denials in their minds, everyone was confused and stood stock still.

“Fuhahahaha…” (Garam)

All of a sudden Garam burst into laughter.
Souma was not alone staring at Garam, with the zoans also wondering what was up with his outburst.

“Haahahahaha! That was quite funny, youngster!” (Garam)

Garam said so, after laughing for a while.

“It’s pointless, youngster. We are proud zoan warriors. Zoan warriors don’t follow someone who’s inferior to them. Who would obey the orders of some bastard like you, who has never held a sword or fought a battle? Your words are empty! Thus, you are someone who’s definitely not worthy of being accompanied by us!” (Garam)

Garam’s reasoning sharply drilled into Souma’s weak point.

“Bastard, if you were a veteran warrior, we might have lent our ears to your words. If you were a general who had already commanded 10,000 troops, we might have obeyed you. But, did the empty you do that!?” (Garam)

Garam thrusts his finger with a claw growing out of it at Souma and shouted,

“Do you possess anything that rectifies these issues and would make us obey you!? Do you possess anything that allows us to trust you!? If you really want to make us listen to what you have to say, it would be best to show us proof that justifies placing our trust in you!” (Garam)

For a brief period silence descends at the location.

“You don’t. — Humph. It was an entertainment more enjoyable than I expected.” (Garam)

As if the conversation had already ended, Garam turned his back on Souma.
Reading his intention from Garam’s back, Shyemul was thankful. With Garam deliberately laughing at Souma’s statements and concluding it as an amusing side show, he had saved Souma.
Even the zoan warriors couldn’t take something that had been concluded as a funny side show by their chief as a serious insult to their dignity as warriors forever.
All the zoans present considered the matter finished.

“… I do.” (Souma)

“What!?” (Garam)

Garam isn’t the only one surprised. All of the zoans present, including Shyemul, opened their eyes wide in shock.
While gathering their gazes towards him, Souma slowly raised his right hand.

“If I show you proof that I can let you guys win, you will obey me, correct?” (Souma)

“Y-Yeah. We will…” (Garam)

Garam was baffled.
Just what is this youngster? Does he really possess something that will make us agree with him?
Garam trembled slightly.
Why is such a weak human child, who seems like he could be killed with me swatting at him, able to state something so assuredly up to that point? When I look at his eyes, I can see a strong will within them.That would mean he is definitely not a fool who’s gone mad.
Then, who is this guy?
Garam considered Souma to be a tremendously eerie monster.
Then again, Souma was scared as well.
Originally, he wanted to scream and escape from this place.
However, I stepped forward out of my own volition. I can’t go back anymore.
In reality there’s nothing that I could use to prove myself.
That’s only natural. There’s no way that Souma, who had lived in the peaceful and modern Japan, had ever participated in a war. He never fought while commanding a large group of people. It’s just as Garam said. The things I said, I don’t have any kind of experience to support them. They are empty words with no substance.
However, even if they are empty, I’m able to make them believe that they have substance. If they tell me that they can’t abide my words if I don’t do so, I will show them substance that shouldn’t exist. If my words are empty anyways, I will flashily pretend as much as possible, even if it’s only a glamour. All so that they deem my words for having an extraordinary substance.
Rather, I will probably be killed if I end up making them lose their temper.
Even so, for me there’s no other option than this.
The sole thing I managed to obtain, the me who had been dropped into this different world without owning a single thing.

“…! Stop, Soma!” (Shyemul)

Realizing what Souma is trying to do, Shyemul raises her voice in order to restrain him.
However, it was too late.
Souma’s right hand untied the headband which he wore on his forehead.
What was exposed on his forehead with a faint shine is a seal that seems to be a combination of 8 and ∞. It looks as if two snakes have entwined each others bodies and are biting the other’s tail while wriggling. It was an ominous seal.

“Y-You are a divine child…?”

“What’s that seal? It’s something I’ve never seen?”

“What kind of divine child?”

Facing the zoans who were abuz with questions, Souma lifted his front hair that was covering his forehead, exposed the seal, and shouted after taking a deep breath.

“I’m a divine child! I’m the divine child of Aura, the Goddess of Death and Destruction!” (Souma)

Souma pointed in the direction of the human encampment that was once the zoans’ village.

“If you obey me, I will bring death and destruction to those humans who make you suffer!” (Souma)

 


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