There were two humans who looked at the various wildly shouting races from the side of the square.
It was Company Commander Aide Marchronis and Platoon Leader Setius, summoned from the fortress as advisors in regards to the proper policies and handlings after the human city surrendered.
“That’s quite the immature justice of a brat, isn’t it?”
Marchronis smiles bitterly at Setius, who spat that out.
“Say that after taking a look at your fists.”
Setius looked at his own fists in surprise and blushed in embarrassment over how tightly clenched they were.
Once again shifting his eyes from his subordinate, who hides his fists behind his back with an embarrassed look, he gazes at the square where wild enthusiasm swirls about and says,
“Certainly, it’s the immature justice of a brat.”
And then Marchronis sighed grandly as if spitting out passionate emotions.
“However, with only that, he shakes the hearts of men.”
For men that live in this world, they were likely to have dreamt of becoming a hero that slays a great evil or even just a proud and independent person.
Marchronis is also one of those. He recklessly kept running towards his dream with a sword in hand since his time as boy.
However, reality is cruel. Each time he struggled through a battlefield, he was made to realize that an unknown mercenary becoming some great hero is nothing more than a pipe dream. And before he noticed, he was worrying about the day’s expenses instead of talking about tomorrow’s dreams.
But, despite that, the still existing remains of his childhood dreams are even now smoldering within his chest.
And now, a single boy was about to start running towards the dream they couldn’t accomplish— no, rather towards something far bigger.
Will he be defeated halfway through his dream just like them? Or will he really reach the end of his dream?
I want to see how far that boy can go, Marchronis thought.
Besides, even if Souma and the others lose to Holmea State, all that awaits Marchronis is taking responsibility for having failed to defend the fortress. It would be great if it ended with a mere demotion, but likely it would be best for me to resolve myself to losing my head.
That being the case, it might be more interesting to follow these passionate feelings in my chest.
“Hmm, that’s not bad either, is it…?”
In Marchronis’ eyes, the zoan and the former slaves aren’t in any shape to be called military troops. He also couldn’t help but think that they didn’t have a single clue on how to handle things once they even managed to take the city of Bolnis.
Therefore, there should also be opportunities allowing him to capitalise on his knowledge and experience.
“No good. I became excited in a manner unworthy of my years.”
When Setius, who got surprised by that unresting monologue, turned around, he found Marchronis looking at the scenery with shining eyes just like a child’s.
Even after sunset the feverish excitement of the zoan and former slaves hadn’t cooled down.
Gathering in the feudal lord’s official residence and all around it, they are all chatting with agitated looks. Moreover, the surprising part is that the ones talking amongst each other aren’t limited to those belonging to the same race.
As a zoan enthusiastically talks with a dwarf, a dwarf hits the shoulder of a dinosaurian while laughing next to them. On the other side, a dinosaurian normally holds out a cup filled with alcohol to a zoan.
However, originally that was an unlikely scene.
Apart from the humans that naturally gather under the banner of the Holy Faith, the relationships between fellow races couldn’t be called good by any means. They aren’t all to the extent of the hostility between the dwarves and elves that has existed since the age of legends, but whichever race they may belong to, they never truly stepped foot into another’s domain nor would they allow others to tread in theirs. It is a sort of unwritten law.
For example, even when something happened like a zoan requesting for a dwarven-forged machete, it was nothing more than a simple exchange of services rendered.
Something like the talks between different races in regards to a single, common objective like in today’s Bolnis was something impossible if you exclude the small fraction of oddballs that can belong to any race. To say nothing of the thought that hundreds of people belonging to different races would be meeting together and talking with each other in such a manner.
Shyemul is staring at such a view in satisfaction.
The one having accomplished that being her 「Navel Master」 to whom she had offered her everything made Shyemul unbearably happy. Due to the vortex of raging delight inside her chest, she wasn’t able to stay still. She requested that Shahata guard Souma, which was something unusual for her, and wandered throughout the city at night by herself.
Once she got away a bit from the feudal lord’s residence, the place became dead silent as if it was a ghost town. That’s something inevitable, due to the residents being under strict order to not leave their residences during nighttime as well as the capture having just taken place yesterday.
However, for Shyemul, who wanted to cool off by herself, that was convenient.
Walking at a light pace while quietly humming a song inside the city illuminated by the pale moon, she suddenly felt like the moon had moved and lifted her face. Looking up at the round moon that’s currently shining directly above the towering city wall, she wrinkled up her nose.
With the round moon as a background, there was just then the figure of someone on top of the city wall.
Even if the zoan and slaves join together, they aren’t able to monitor all the residents that total to ten thousand with their numbers that slightly exceed a thousand. Also, rather than awkwardly, strictly watching them, the method of limiting their movements to the extent of prohibiting going out at night will likely encounter little opposition from the residents, according to Souma. Upon his order there shouldn’t be any guards atop the city wall either.
Feeling some bad premonition, Shyemul drew her machete and went up the stairs of the city wall with quiet steps.
Shyemul, who arrived at the top of the city wall after erasing her presence, saw something unexpected there.
“…!? A human girl?”
The person standing atop the city wall, which still had traces of blood here and there, was a little girl clad in an attire similar to a white poncho. The girl spreads both her arms and moves about in a revolving dance.
Just a kid that came to play on top of the walls without telling her parents about it, Shyemul believed, but when she tried to call out to that girl, she froze.
“Aaah! My cute, cute Souma!”
The girl clearly mentioned the name of her respected and beloved 「Navel Master」.
As of yet the majority of the city’s residents shouldn’t know of Souma’s existence, let alone his name. Even if they knew it, there would be no reason to mention that name in such a place.
This girl is obviously strange.
Even if she might be a girl, there’s no way that Shyemul can overlook something that could bring danger to her beloved 「Navel Master」. Shyemul decided to interrogate this girl about that and even resolved herself to fight against the girl depending on the circumstances.
Therefore, I will take step forward and call out to the girl.
However, she wasn’t able to do that.
For some reason her body has stopped moving as if it was frozen in place. Even her voice felt like it was clumped up inside her throat, refusing to come out.
Without noticing Shyemul, who is in a state of confusion about the bizarre happenings, the girl continues her words in a sing-song voice.
“Oh, my adorable Souma. Your spark is brightly burning. It’s such an intensely burning spark! It’ll consume all of them, the dinosaurians and marmen, the dwarves and elves, the zoans and harpyians, and even the humans as its precious kindling! Desiring its warmth, the freezing people will try to get close to your spark. But, it will be a dreadful, world-destroying conflagration that will turn everyone into fuel and burn them to cinders. Everyone will happily offer their bodies to the conflagration for your sake! They will burn out even as they call your name!”
What’s this!? What’s this girl!?
Shyemul, who was still frozen like a sculpture, raised a question resembling a scream within her chest.
“Finally it was planted, the seed of destruction! The hurt people will flock to the large tree grown from that seed while looking for peace. But, that seed will sprout into a great tree, which will swallow all the people gathered under its shade as its own beloved nourishment! Destroying everything and anything, it will stand towering over the surroundings by itself!”
The girl embraces her body with both arms and says in a sweet and heartrending voice,
“Oh, how very foolish, Souma. Because you have shown a dream to everyone they should aim for, you have to play the act of a hero, don’t you? To deceive everyone in order to save everyone! To deceive yourself in order to save everyone! Oh, how foolish, ridiculous, ugly and how lovely, Souma.”
The small, slender legs of the girl firmly step on the city wall. Thereupon, as if released from gravity, the body of the girl that lightly floated up swoops down atop the parapet.
Even though she will fall headlong below the city wall if she makes one wrong step, the girl stood atop the parapet with her back turned towards Shyemul without showing even an inkling of fear.
“In order to guide everyone, the empty you will decorate its exterior and play the part of a fictive hero. Even though the beautifully adorned box is empty, a mere hollow shell.
No, what’s inside it is the real you. The very small, weak, cowardly and the very frightened real you.”
The girl nimbly bends her fingers and joins both hands together as if forming a bowl.
“In truth, the decorated box that was hidden by you is a big egg. That egg will give birth to the monster which is you. The bigger the egg becomes, the bigger the monster inside will grow. The thicker the egg shell, the more terrifying the monster inside will become.
I wonder, what kind of monster will be the real you that will be born once that egg’s shell finally breaks?”
The girl pressed her cheeks against her hands that had taken the shape of an egg while looking at it dearly.
However, as if her hands have suddenly burst open, she opens them.
“But, if the egg breaks before growing into a monster, everything will come to nothing. That will be very, very boring.”
Suddenly the head of the girl bent as if trying to fall backward with a snapping sound.
Shyemul swallowed her voice that didn’t became a scream.
The girl, whose face had become upside-down with her long, white hair flowing down, turned her face into Shyemul’s direction and obviously stared at her.
Within the girl’s face with its pale skin that was illuminated by the moonlight, there are only eyes, but they are shining with glitter and sparkle.
“That’s why, make sure to dearly protect the egg, okay, Shyemul?”
Shyemul was scared.
This is something absurdly old.
This is something outrageously terrifying.
Encountering it for the first time personally, Shyemul’s thinking became completely blank due to the indescribable terror.
And then she comes to her senses.
The girl that was just in front of her had suddenly vanished. No matter how much she checked her surroundings, there’s not a single trace of the girl’s existence left behind.
Was it a hallucination?
However, due to the overwhelming intensity of the view she had witnessed just now, Shyemul mind had been burned out.
As if swimming in cold water, her entire fur was soaked in cold sweat. While wiping below her chin with her repeatedly trembling hand, Shyemul muttered,
“Just what the hell was that…?”
There was no one who could give her an answer to that.
The proclamation of the 「Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki」 that took place in the square of Bolnis was afterwards called 「Proclamation of Iron」. It became known as the first reference to freedom and equality on this continent Seldeas.
In those days it was still an era stuck in the ancient legends. The rulers controlled their countries while pretending to be the incarnations and agents of the gods. Many of the ignorant masses believed that and accepted the government of their rulers out of their free will.
The 「Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki」, who was able to hold onto the ideals of freedom and equality in such an era, truly was a heretic— no, an existence that might be called unique.
Even the great history scholar Sokras has written in his own literary works that 「It makes me want to seriously verify the legend of the Divine Son of Destruction being a visitor from a different world that was circulated in those days to deify him」.
However, evaluating the reference to freedom and equality as the true meaning of this 「Proclamation of Iron」 and as something groundbreaking is limited to only a very small fraction of historians.
The majority of the historians judged it as nothing more but an incitement of the masses by Soma.
In a certain area there’s a local proverb saying 「Those fallen into hell even pursue a spider’s thread」. It means that those who have fallen into suffering and predicament will frantically try to cling to anything, even if it’s as fragile and easy to cut as a spider’s thread.
For the zoan and the former slaves, the words of Soma were probably truly a 「Spider’s Thread」.
Very likely there didn’t exist any people among those present at that time, who truly understood the meaning of the words freedom and equality Soma mentioned.
However, for the zoan, who had been driven into a disadvantageous situation and had no hope for the future, the words of Soma, which made them expect something new even though they didn’t understand them, were sufficient to ignite the fire in their hearts.
That strikes true all the more if applied to the former slaves. It’s easy to imagine that the words of Soma, which mentioned bestowing them the dignity, freedom and equality that was completely stolen from them after they fell into slavery, might have sounded as something sweet in their ears.
It’s said that grasping the people’s nature and using the cajolery of freedom and equality in this 「Proclamation of Iron」 was a plot to unify the wills of the disconnected, different races by presenting them something that would become the foundation of 「Our Country」.
The evaluation of the 「Proclamation of Iron」 was greatly split like that, but as for the following matter, the opinions are one.
Namely, 「The 『Proclamation of Iron』 made by the 『Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki』 was nothing more than a declaration of war against the entire world in those days, including the nations and the commonly accepted ideas in the world」.
And, as if proving that, the people led by the 「Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki」 gleefully threw their lives into the horrors of war while yelling the Divine Son of Destruction’s name and the glory of everyone being free and equal without regard to the races and their circumstances until then.