The distance between swords is the distance to death.
A single man continued straightforwardly in his pursuit of the sword’s distance within the melee combat. Without caring about the sight of knights riding their horses and without pursuing the soldiers holding their spears at the ready in lines, anything and everything was unrelated to him, even the stone arrows. He killed men. He killed horses. He split apart earthen walls as well as armours. That head, covered in a green hood, desired to sweep over the battlefield with his sword style. If you read this anywhere but at Infinite Novel Translations, you are reading a stolen translation.
The man called Bertrand had such history of smashing a single battlefield to very small pieces. It is a story of seven years ago.
(Although he is called something like a hero, he is nothing but a single human. Straddling his white horse, donning his golden and silver armour and being in the centre of his own troops… there is no reason for him to escape my sword. Let’s prove that he is merely a bag of flesh filled with blood.) (Bertrand)
Foolishly separating from his army, he tore into the army of the Eberia Empire like a ferocious maniac. The oily flesh and blood of countless soldiers was littering the soil. Renowned nobles and commanders were exposed beneath the sky in equal tragedy. Their defeated officers and men had passed away in a similar manner. The equality of life was realized under the sword’s blade in the chaotic melee combat. It was Bertrand whose emerald green clearly stood out in the increasing moisture over there.
It was a single giant that stopped that sword which had murdered 20-30. That person didn’t even wear a proper armor. Wielding the lance, he undoubtedly picked up somewhere, like a club, he became a storm within the dirty mud of death. With the outcome already having been determined, it was a situation of how he would be annihilated. No one would approach such plain hazard. And yet, although there were the easy, high-priced necks of nobles right close-by, why go for the neck of such an ordinary soldier?
Only Bertrand attacked him. He was a phenomenon that valued the impartiality of death. It was because he was someone that didn’t one-sidedly chose high or low ranks, men or women and young or old. There was absolutely no reason to avoid the giant in front of him. Clashing the sword with the iron hilt, it turned into an one-on-one for a brief time.
(Death can only be compensated with dying accordingly. If you face someone holding a sword, it will result in either you or your opponent meeting death. Encountering death. By making sure to meet death everyday, it is the raw and genuine existence of death I worship as god.) (Bertrand)
While having an unexpected hard time to handle the level of resistance of the giant, Bertrand experienced a sudden change in the progress of the battle. First, miserably tattered friendly soldiers came rushing in. It was a large mass of them. Those were injured soldiers and the regiment of heavy wagons placed in the vicinity of the rear of the formed encirclement. Next, a rain of arrows and stones came down to the degree of changing the sky’s colour. And then a cavalry, whom you ought to admire for their level of refinement, charged in.
With tenacious sharpness, it was a storm of an assault doing as it pleased. Repeatedly merging into detachments of ever-changing large and small units, it was a thorough tactic of dividing the Eberia Empire’s officers and soldiers into units of a hundred and annihilating each of them. They were completely different from the empire’s army that swooped down on the hero lured by the greed of man. In all respects it was rational, efficient and inhuman… it was the creation of death as if being the logical conclusion of a methodology for the sake of destroying a large army completely.
The dreadful thing was that this methodology didn’t take into account the rescuing of the troops, led by the hero, within itself. Rather it was applied in order to create a gap on the enemy forces with confusion and unpreparedness. The Eberia soldiers in the rear without any fighting spirit left, the Eberia soldiers at the front cut off from their triumph and the hero and his followers suffering a dilemma… those three kinds of forces were densely crowded into one pack, without any of them being able to do anything about it, and butchered from the brink.
(That is certainly… that is certainly the incarnation of death. And the person conducting those deaths is…) (Bertrand)
Bertrand saw him. Sidestepping the sword of the distracted giant, he defeated him in reverse. While stained in excreta, spinal fluids, oily flesh and blood, he escaped at that time using the corpses, uncertain whether friend or foes, as shield. Commanding the troops as if being an avatar of death, it was a man murdering ten thousands as the herald of death. Without intending for anyone to survive and without even ceasing, he calmly created a mass of death while not indulging himself in it… It was the advent of a god of death.
In the end not a single imperial soldier from Eberia was forgiven. Without even accepting surrender, they were slaughtered… actually, the nobles and officers were killed without any being spared… of the common soldiers and mercenaries mere several hundreds survived and were all together turned into slaves. Bertrand also was one amongst them. Bound by chains, he was traded as manpower.
And he knew. About the mad ritual of the flame… the “Sacred Flame Festival.”
For the Eberia Empire he is the god of death. For the Asuria Kingdom he should have been a saviour. But the consensus in the kingdom was him not being satisfied, and therefore having killed in mere cold-bloodedness. His body was humiliated, his name was disgraced and in the end he was accused of blasphemy. Bertrand didn’t deem this as insanity. Rather, he consented to it with It stands to reason.
Such is “death!” Being shunned, being feared and being burned at the stake!
Humans are born while crying. They cry as soon as signs of death start to appear. The civilization is built up in the desire to repel and avoid this end once they realize its approach. Death is the driving force. They try to push it away since “Death” is the biggest uncertainty for man. They suppress the thing called death cowardly in the name of wisdom. They wish to turn away their eyes from the truth through deception.This translation is property of Infinite Novel Translations
Bertrand was convinced and he arrived at that belief.
He wore the shape of an incarnation of “Death” after all.
He was a man, who searched for god by the sword’s distance on the battleground, but he was able to clearly see the shape of his belief’s target of worship. The day of the festival enshrining the hero and killing Salomon was the day of revelation showing his god to him. It was the establishment of a religion even if it was just him.
(After god concealed himself in a temporary form, he will once again decide to show that form. If possible… If possible!) (Bertrand)
Bertrand escaped into the underworld after killing his master as a slave. He didn’t consider in the slightest to return to Eberia either. He continued to impatiently wait, breathing the violence on the streets and desiring the next revelation as a devout believer.
(Lukewarm. The world has become lukewarm. It is fine to give praises to the hero. It is also fine to shed tears, I guess. However, there is something called a limit even in getting carried away. Are you starting to forget the terror of my god? Why don’t you abuse any longer? Why don’t you become more sacrilegious? Do you plan to sink into thorough stupidity, oblivion? You are like cattle, coveting in indolence and growing fat while swelling!) (Bertrand)
He became interested in slave trafficking after that. He wanted to see the person he is bearing in mind. He sells out the hunted livestock while gathering funds… buying people who witnessed the deeds of god. The soldiers of Eberia, who survived that hell and became slaves.
They, who were scattered all across Asuria Kingdom, with not few of them already having passed away. Even if he found them, it wasn’t necessarily limited to those who were in awe regarding that god. And yet, he searched and gathered them, leaving the selected few close-by. Although he even lost interest in that before he noticed… however, there also was an interesting encounter. It was the giant. He was trading behind the scenes for the sake of raising funds. Before long, without even intending for it, he once again met a certain person. He always made a bored-looking face.
(That giant is also one of those who experienced that battlefield. Although it is fate, it is something trifle far off from a revelation.) (Bertrand)
Bertrand’s drinking capacity kept increasing. He fell and piled up irritation and resentment like dregs. Time was transient. Even while being angry about the tepidness, Bertrand existed while being swallowed by the large river called every-day’s life of the masses.
This time lasted until tonight.
As if naturally calling out he muttered these words. Bertrand came back to the reality in front of him. On the second floor of the gloomy bar. He is one amongst the garbage rotting in this society in great numbers. A single boy is standing there.
(What… what eyes he has. Those are… those eyes are… completely like that time… that!) (Bertrand)
The votive light, dangerously reflected in those two pupils, is blue. His view, dulled by drunkenness, is painful due to the serenity. And yet he can’t look at anything else. Nothing but the blue light is being reflected. I’m afraid, Bertrand thought. I’m glad, Bertrand thought as well. Even other various thoughts accumulated… once he noticed, he fell to his knees and looked up at the blue eyes. There were droplets of tears tracing down his face.
This was worship towards god.
Bertrand. That name will never appear in the military history Marko will go through. Even in the war chronicles of the Eberia Empire, 「Bertrand of the Green Cloth」 is considered to be killed in action during the war of subjugating “Asuria’s” hero. His existence was never admitted to history. The name of the god of his faith hasn’t been passed down.
However, something like written text, impertinently putting together the infinite upheavals, is nothing but scraps of the truth after all. Understanding something without apparently comprehending it, classifying something without sorting it out and reducing something without splitting it up, such conduct is no more than concluding that the sea holds a single drop of water. The faith’s figure was definitely there. He was the sole apostle offering his reverence to death. He received a revelation at that inescapable situation, a righteous purification ceremony of resentment, by a man blessed with blue eyes.
And this hidden existence will support Marko from the shadows in his exploits. Bertrand, for the people who found out about him, he will act in secret without ever appearing on the surface of history. Offering his respect to “death” absolutely reigning over the good and evil of nirvana, he will follow the commands of Marko, death’s incarnation… as a religious fanatic.
Well then, even as he is dreadful, at that time Marko is but a 6 years old boy.
For Oiva, being an adult who had seen Marko’s appearance, the sudden change in attitude shown by Bertrand was something he neither could deal with nor comprehend… Facing him, who was even exceeding the manners of a retainer, Marko told him without even the slightest agitation,
“That attitude is about right.” (Marko)
Bertrand was struck with awe due to the told words. His current self was exposing his unsightly carelessness. He admitted that this was something unforgivable. Even while being overcome with emotions, he kept holding down the desire of screaming within his trembling chest and just humbled himself in front of Marko.
“Hurry up, you should answer. Did you kidnap a woman in this town tonight or didn’t you?” (Marko)
“Ha! No. I… it’s nothing I am aware of. The gang, being in town tonight, is the people drinking on the first floor. The other people… are those raising their skills and those being in charge of slave trafficking. Currently they are staying at the territory’s capital city.” (Bertrand) (T/N: Formal speech)
“Why?” (Marko) Supporting thieves is like encouraging the translator to stop translating!
“Ha! They are there because a large slave market will be held in the territory’s capital city soon.” (Bertrand)
Slaves are high-priced goods. There won’t even be any dealings done without gold coins. There are small and large gold coins circulating in Asuria Kingdom. The price for a typical labor slave is around 15 small gold coins. If you were to pay in nickel coins, that would be equivalent to 1500 coins. It will be 10 times the number if you use bronze coins. There are also sky-rocketing prices on the market. You will have to use several large gold coins for the highest grade slaves. 1 large coin is equivalent to 100 smaller coins.
On the other hand, going by the fact that they are also goods suffering from maintenance costs, the slave market is never a permanent exhibit and it is only held at urban areas where the rich live. With there only being one other large town besides the territory’s capital city within the Helrevi domain, it is only opened once at the beginning of winter in the town Bertrand decided to be his stronghold. There are countless people failing to pay the tributes afterwards.
Concerning Bertrand’s search for remnants of the defeated Eberian army at that fated inescapable situation, it should be important to have a permanent market. Things like new goods are no more than goods used to earn an income through the profit margin of selling and buying. They are at various locations… with many divergences, such as from feeding grounds of wild animals up to the bedrooms of nobles, but no matter where they are, they probably have been already abused and thus they flow to the market as slaves once again. There Bertrand can find the slaves he is looking for. The irregularly held large market in the territory’s capital city always trades with slaves. Finding those slaves there is easy.
However, these circumstances had no relation to the boy.
“If that’s the case, I don’t have any business with you any more either.” (Marko)
For an instant being mentally slow, as Marko turned on his heels and left, Bertrand chased desperately after him with a roar immediately following.
“P-Please wait! Oh please… please wait for me!” (Bertrand)
With a weeping voice he frantically calls out towards the boy who looked over his shoulder with nothing but his cheek. Bertrand knew that he is a miracle that is hard to find. He doesn’t worry about his reputation. In the first place, even disgrace is of no concern in regards to that visible world. With a state of clinging to the heels of the boy, who doesn’t even reach up to his own waist, he begged.
“I have a clue! If it’s someone who can kidnap a woman in this town tonight without getting the soldiers involved, there is only one person!” (Bertrand)If you read this anywhere but at Infinite Novel Translations, you are reading a stolen translation.
“Is it a baron from somewhere?” (Marko)
“Oh! That’s right. However, you won’t be able to locate the woman concerned at the baron in question. That’s because that person has vacated the mansion with the goal to attend the large market at the territory’s capital city as well.” (Bertrand)
“… His retainer, huh?” (Marko)
“Oh, oh! Right! You are absolutely right! If this is the case, it will be a situation caused by the shadows behind the scenes. If possible, I intend to support your honourable intention there, master… I beg you, please give this foolish me your divine command… I beg you.” (Bertrand)
Being called master, did I attract his affection to the degree of requesting me to order him… the boy turned around. Even while restraining the current furious light in his eyes, there was “death” deep inside them without change. He answers.
“Can you do it?” (Marko)
“Ha! It is impossible to do trade without the flow of money or goods. Evil knows evil. Those bad people aren’t working alone.” (Bertrand)
“In what way?” (Marko)
“Ha! The fox will be caught in the tiger’s trap.” (Bertrand)
Marko slightly raised his eyebrows above his blue eyes. That was the proof that he got it.
“Then, I command you. Rescue the woman, Hannah, from Kikomaru, that was kidnapped in this town tonight.” (Marko)
It became a faith. The delight began.
“I shall follow master’s heart’s desires… !” (Bertrand)
He rose as swordsman dedicated to death tying his green cloth. From the upper floor, that has become oddly quiet, the instructions soar to the gathered gang. “Disperse and run in the night of the town in groups of two or three. Not only the drinking men, the women will go as well.” The spirit lacking any hesitation from Bertrand was transmitted to the remaining gangsters and they left quickly except the two skilled ones.
As the gang vanished from within the bar, only 2, Marko and Oiva, have remained.
“What? Why?… What-has-happened??” (Oiva)
Facing Marko and moreover asking him at last after a short time, the answer was a childish smile.
“There are this kind of people in the world as well.” (Marko)
Tossing away the wooden sword, he held in his hand, the giant grandly shouted “Like that could be the reason!”