Author: Fire Head (炎頭)
Translator: Hand of Vecna
Editor: Two More Free Thoughts
Pondering Megrez’s words, Sei wanted to hold his head in his hands.
We are finished. No, we were finished from the beginning.
Currently, Sei could not regard Ruphas as an enemy anymore. Rather than defeat her, he wanted to find a way to hold hands in a friendly manner. However, if this did not work, he could only cast himself into a fight that he would definitely lose. To fight Ruphas and the Demon King, the secret formula to quickly reach Level 1000—the “golden apple”—was absolutely necessary. But the only person who could produce it was Ruphas.
“In order to defeat you, please help us.” If it was like this, there was no way she would help. Once again, he strongly felt that the route he was about to choose was the correct one. Indeed, he must not be hostile to Ruphas.
“Why is it that only she could do it?”
“Your question is reasonable. However, I did not live in the age of myths, so what follows is purely my speculation. Do you want to hear it?”
Megrez nodded in response to Sei’s unhesitating reply. He turned a page and said.
“Let’s see. First, the earliest flügels in the age of myths could convert the impurities (mana) into golden apples. There is no doubt that this power remains in Ruphas. The problem is why such a thing happened. The sinners who ate the apples were exiled, while the remaining flügels were stripped of this power. Normally, you would not expect the power to remain in anyone. But if you look only at the results, that power definitely remained in posterity. Perhaps there was someone who escaped the goddess’ eyes. And then…that person might have taken the forbidden fruit.”
After thinking about it, Megrez continued speaking.
“I’m sure that person’s children were lucky enough to have white wings. And this luck allowed him to conceal his sin. But the crime was eventually discovered. After several generations, atavismAtavism (先祖返り) is a modification of a biological structure whereby an ancestral trait reappears after having been lost through an evolutionary change in previous generations. This is also known as an evolutionary throwback. occurred in his descendants and some were born with the power to collect mana, even though it should have been lost forever. Her black wings are probably the result of this. For this reason, jet black wings were considered taboo. Naturally, black wings are considered the proof of sin. It is the evidence of having consumed the forbidden fruit.”
“And that’s why it has to be…Ruphas Mafahl.”
“Hmm. I think so…But this is all just my speculation.”
Sei sighed and started thinking. Indeed, it sounded more reasonable this way. It was frustrating that it could not be confirmed as truth since there was little evidence, but it was well worth considering it as a hypothesis. At least, it was easier to understand why being born with black wings could have such great power.
“In any case, it is certain that Ruphas can create golden apples. As a result, we and Ruphas herself were able to absorb more mana than usual.”
“But the Sky King of Gjallarhorn is a flügel, right? Is it okay for him to consume mana?”
“Although it was the outcast who ate the forbidden fruit, the fact is that there is no negative physical condition for a flügel even after eating the fruit. The disdain for mana is probably due to mental influences by the goddess. The sin that was committed in ancient times has been imprinted on the subconscious mind. As a result, proximity to mana naturally sours the mood of a flügel…I’m sure that their concern over the colors of their wings is due to this potentially innate sin.”
Speaking up to this point, Megrez closed the book. Everything so far was just speculation. There was no evidence. But taking everything into consideration, there was no other answer.
“Well, so what do you think of this? I think you can understand why I asked your companions to leave.”
“Indeed…I can’t really talk about this. The shock would be too great.”
We came seeking a way to become stronger, but only Ruphas knew the way. Furthermore, the apple was a symbol of sin, so it would be impossible for them to accept. At least, it would be impossible for Cruz, since he was an acolyte with a strong faith in the goddess.
“But they must know and accept it sooner or later. I’ll leave the timing to your judgment. When you do so, they will definitely make a scene. The path you have chosen is full of thorns.”
“You might be given cold stares or regarded as a madman. You might even be considered a traitor and have weapons pointed at you. Even then, would you still choose the way to truth?”
This was a test. Sei had this feeling. The Wisdom King was currently trying to figure him out. If he backed off here, he would only be worth so much and he would be crushed in the pursuit of truth.
So please believe in me. Believe that if it’s me, there will be no problem.
Yes, it was trying to draw out his resolve without words. Sei unchangingly answered Megrez in accordance with his convictions. He was not a quick-witted or clever person to begin with. He could only show the righteousness that he received from his father in his heart. He believed that would be his most honest answer.
“My father was once a policeman. In this world, that would be equivalent to a knight or something similar, I guess? Basically, it’s a job that investigates crimes and catches criminals.”
“I am proud of my father. Since I was young, my father has been my hero. However, my father caught an innocent man one day. There were physical evidence and testimonies, but they were all fakes…Still, nobody questioned it back then.”
Even now, he could remember how his father’s face was filled with regret. He vividly remembered how his strong father became broken after that.
“My father…realized that something was wrong and wanted to investigate again. But it was rejected. Everyone said that the criminal was already decided and suppressed any further objections, so he went along with it. And…the weapon was pointed at the wrong person.”
“May I ask what happened to the person who was caught?”
“…He committed suicide. My father had driven an innocent man to his death.”
Megrez closed his eyes and considered Sei’s father whom he had not met. Miscarriage of justice was a common occurrence in this world. The crime rate in Midgard was not comparable to that on Earth. In a world where possession of weapons was approved, crimes often resulted in deaths. Therefore, quick captures were necessary. There were many cases where it was too late to collect evidence. As such, the people in this world would simply catch everyone deemed suspicious, then collect the evidence after that. Therefore, it was not unusual for people to be wrongfully imprisoned due to a misunderstanding. But even though it was common, it was not something you want to get used to. It was not a good thing to get used to.
“My father taught me repeatedly not to point the weapon at the wrong person. I must choose the right path, even if I were to be hated or spoken of maliciously.”
Megrez thought back on his past and exhaled a small sigh.
This is a beautiful thing, he thought.
If one could choose the right path, everyone would have done so. However, one would not know the answer until after he had chosen it. Even after pondering over the choices for a long time, it was not uncommon to end up making the wrong choice.
But even so—If they had chosen the right path two hundred years ago…
If he had believed in his friend, if he could do just that much, the world would be a very different place now. If it was Ruphas, perhaps she could really defeat the goddess and obtain true freedom.
He was cowardly and was fearful of facing Ruphas. This led to the battle two hundred years ago. However, this immature youth had the resolve to walk the thorny road. Even if his false courage was based on a belief borrowed from his father, he was still steadily moving forward.
“Well…I understand now why you were chosen. Perhaps you are indeed the hero of Midgard.”
Sei was still weak. Unlike the heroes in many stories, he was not actively attacking monsters. Instead, he was searching for a way to avoid fighting. But what the world needed right now was the courage to move forward without fear, the kind of courage that Ruphas had.
One might be given cold stares and viewed with suspicions as the goddess could manipulate people’s hearts. Even if faced with such resistances, one must still find the right path. What was truly needed was not the courage to fight the enemy, but the courage to extend the hand of friendship to the enemy. And this youth surely had it.
“So the path you have chosen is to make peace with Ruphas?”
Sei shook his head in response to Megrez’s question. Truly, things were heading in the direction of making peace with Ruphas, but there was an important element missing.
“I still do not know Ruphas Mafahl well enough to make that conclusion. Therefore, I need to meet with her first.”
“Oh. You want to talk to the Black-Winged Overlord, who is a symbol of terror in Midgard? The general perception is that Ruphas is not someone who can be negotiated with.”
“But it isn’t like that, right?”
“Ah, indeed. She can be negotiated with and her character is actually quite magnanimous. Although she is merciless to her enemies, she would not suddenly just attack unless you are really rude.”
“It is decided then.”
Sei nodded with determination and looked straight at Megrez.
“I will talk to her first, then I will return to you once I have decided which path to take.”
“I understand. At that time, send a letter back with this.”
Megrez said and snapped his finger. A wooden bird, which rested as an ornament in the room, suddenly spread its wings and flew over to rest on Sei’s shoulder.
“A golem I created when I was bored. Give it a letter and it will deliver to me.”
“How does it fly? Even with wings, it should be too heavy.”
Flying golems were rare. Libra, one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, was one of them. But this bird did not have a jet pack like her and it was too heavy to fly with its wings. Sei was not familiar with golems and he did not know Libra. But he at least knew that this bird could not fly without exceptional workmanship.
“It is using the Mana Device that I invented…I embedded a small device that converts mana in the atmosphere into energy. Well, it’s a prototype for a new generation of golems. In the future, I hope to make golems that can use arcane magic.”
This was not something that could be made to relieve boredom. Even Sei, who was unfamiliar with golems, knew this, but he could not say it aloud. Considerable expectation was placed on him to be entrusted with something like this. Interpreting it favorably, Sei made a show of his appreciation.
“When the letter arrives, I will summon you with X-Gate. Okay?”
“Yes, thank you for everything.”
“Good. Your story is very meaningful to me. I pray for your safe journey, not to the goddess, but to your father.”
First, he must find the right path, thus he needed to talk to Ruphas. After making his resolution, he left the mansion of the Wisdom King. Honestly, he was terrified. The battle between the Overlord and the Demon King was a considerable trauma for Sei. Ruphas and Sei were fundamentally different grades of creatures. If offended or displeased, Ruphas could wipe out Sei and his companions on a whim.
“Let’s test the power of the hero!” For her, it might be just a playful jab. But this would be enough to reduce Sei to a lump of meat. Even if she did not intend to kill him, he would die. The difference between Sei and Ruphas was that great.
Even so, he had decided. He would not turn back in regret.
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After that, his party was surprised when he declared that he wanted to meet Ruphas. The tiger then desperately tried to escape…Well, that was his charm.