Translated and Edited by: luccayn.
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“Noel Reiss. Today is the day our paths diverge for good,” declared Bren, the leader of the party and the Hero of Light. We’d just finished our victory toast in a private room of a renowned dining establishment among adventurers in the city.
“Ah.” The sheer impact of his words caused me to lose my grip, and consequently let slip a small ceramic cup filled with grape juice. It fell to the floor with a sad and dry crash, shattering into little pieces and splattering juice all around.
Our celebration was in honor of the party’s victory over one of the demon lords that ruled the land, in which a new member had joined the party and helped along the way. Bren’s visage tensed as he looked across the table and into my eyes.
“Sigh. What are you doing, Noel?” Bren pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Hmph! Crude as is your despicable attribute of Darkness,” Pallad put in his own two angry cents.
“Our eyes are opened to your impudence of disregarding fine cuisine. Your upbringing as a being tainted by Darkness is apparent,” Maria added.
“I-is it true? A mere brat who hasn’t even come of age yet? And to make matters worse, a bottom-of-the-barrel mutt with an attribute of Darkness? How was he even in the Hero of Light’s party?!”
Taking advantage of the opportunity before them, the other heroes who sat beside Bren added salt to my wounds, one by one.
“I-I’m sorry! I’ll clean it now—”
“No, leave it as is. It won’t take long anyway, and I’ll have one of the clerks clean it up later. Just sit down, Noel. Let’s continue our talk.”
Stopping me from apologizing and standing up, Bren quietly shook his head. As soon as I sat down again, I caught a glimpse of the round stain splattered on the floor—crimson as blood.
“Today, we welcomed a new member to our party, a Star Archer of the Light attribute, Seikyushi Stea. Alongside me, Hero Bren, as the party’s shield, is the Holy Knight Paladin, and the Saint Maria, who bears the responsibility of recovery and support. We now have a complete party of four Light attributes. Therefore, there is no longer a place for you.”
Bren said matter-of-factly.
“Do you understand? Noel, you are only an assassin. Not only that, you have the attribute of Darkness.” He finally declared.
I had a certain feeling that something like this was going to happen.
As a matter of fact, my seat would usually be prepared at a separate table. With that in mind, today I sat where they sat for some reason, and they all were on the opposite side. It was fishy, to say the least, and I’m not dense enough to chalk it up to coincidence.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t understand why I was being let go so haphazardly.
“Wait, Bren! I have contributed to this hero party in my own way until now! As a main attacker, no less! It’s hard for me to accept that I’m being expelled just because new comrades have joined us!”
“What did you say? Main attacker? Contribution? Don’t make me laugh!” Pallad yelled while banging his mug on the table. My body involuntarily jumped at the force with which his drink burst to my face.
He was the party’s paladin. A formidable giant that exuded an intimidating presence even when at rest. That same menacing person glared down at me with disgust and contempt.
“You’re not helping, you’re stealing our prey! The same ones we fight so desperately against! You hide disgustingly in the shadows with your filthy Darkness!”
“Correct. Noel, you’ve always been hiding in a safe place, and sometimes even behind Bren and Pallad. In fact, can you believe that I’ve never once cast a healing spell on you this past year, unlike with the other two? Well, to be honest, I didn’t want to give recovery magic to someone as impure as you, filthy bottom-dweller. You share the same Darkness attribute as all these monsters! Hah, it’s good I didn’t cast anything on you,” spat the Saintess with a cold smile on her face. It almost bordered on a scowl.
“That’s not true!? The most effective way for an assassin to demonstrate their power is through an attack from here the enemy can’t see! And during today’s battle against the Demon King, I dealt him a fatal blow and—”
“That’s a lie!” The newcomer in the party, Stea the Star Archer, stood up with a jolt and pointed an accusatory finger at me. “I struck the final blow on the Demon Kind, not you! When I arrived, you were on your knees right in front of the beast, trembling and unable to move. How can you lie like that?! Ugh, you’re the worst… Why did they even let you in the party?!”
“That… After I put all my energy into one previous hit, I was temporarily unable to move due to the recoil. Moreover, that hit pushed the Demon King to the brink of death, so anyone could’ve dealt the final blow!”
“You’re just talking nonsense, you parasite!”
I had stood up from my chair only to be kicked hard and lose balance. My body fell onto the ground, and the black coat I always wore stained itself with the puddles of crimson juice on the floor.
“Realize it already, you filthy Dark-attributed parasite! We were planning to expel you sooner or later! I just didn’t expect it’d take a whole year!” Bren snapped.
“Well, I’m finally relieved. Disgusting scum like you, user of Darkness, isn’t suited for the part of the Hero of Light. We’re the hope of the people, and renowned as one of the best! Honestly, you being with us was just due to Bren’s capriciousness.”
Being glared at by Maria, Bren just shook his shoulders lightly.
“Do you really have to blame him this much, Maria? Noel may be called an assassin, but he hasn’t officially become one yet. He hasn’t killed anyone on his own. Moreover, a year ago, when we couldn’t find any more comrades who could stand alongside us as users of Light, Noel, with his Darkness attribute, was the most convenient for us for the time being. That’s why we needed him as a stopgap solution. After all, he’s from the Darkness, so he could be cut out at any time!”
The corners of Bren’s mouth curved upward as he spoke, a cold crescent smile on his face.
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